The return of quango-slaying is a welcome development

When the Conservative Party was last in opposition, quangos and quangocrats were a favourite, and merited, target for attack. The preponderance of public bodies under New Labour led Michael Howard to declare that while quangos “came to help and protect... Read more

Mark Hix’s simple seasonal dinner party menu

One of my dad’s friends used to always tell me about his mother making Champagne rhubarb. It puzzled me for years what he meant as people never used to drink much Champagne in Dorset, let alone put it in a... Read more

Are supermarket own-brands a better buy?

We are turning our backs on brands. As the nation collectively tightens its belt, we’re making the switch from the famous shelf staples to supermarkets’ own versions. The cost of our groceries has risen by 5.2 per cent in a... Read more

Five simple ways to declutter your brain – and stop the mind chatter

Her practice blends modern psychology with the 30,000-year-old ancient belief system of shamanism, although she says: “You won’t see me with my face painted and dancing around in head gear. I prefer a corporate suit.” Negus claims to have always... Read more

Queen of Malaysia interview: ‘I had 16 rounds of IVF, and on the 17th I succeeded’

Our conversation, however, kicks off, more surprisingly, with IVF. The Queen, herself a royal princess from Malaysia’s southerly Johor region, struggled to conceive after she married in 1986. ‘I had 16 rounds of IVF, and on the 17th I succeeded,’... Read more

‘A doctor told me I didn’t have the right face for Botox’: the 7 beauty treatments Cat Deeley will be bringing home from LA

Her latest project is launching e11even (e11evenfragrance.com) a unisex perfume she developed with her make-up artist friend Amanda Grossman. Deeley points out that the blend of essential oils was created completely sustainably – demonstrating that while leafy north London is... Read more

The spring coat that will instantly revive your wardrobe – no matter your style

 We’re in that awkward transitional phase of the year where events are starting to happen and dresses and sandals are a must for said events, yet the weather refuses to co-operate. This means that it’s time to dust off your... Read more

What’s the best way to keep my hedges healthy?

If you love your garden but need advice on how to keep it looking lush and welcoming all year round, top head gardener Tom Brown can help. In this regular column he demystifies common gardening problems, explains what to tackle when,... Read more

Russian soldiers write ‘Christ is risen’ on missiles fired into Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin goes to midnight mass

Russian soldiers wrote “Christ is risen” on missiles fired into Ukraine over the Orthodox Easter weekend as Vladimir Putin spoke about “neighbourly love” at a Moscow cathedral service. At least a dozen people died in the Russian missile attacks exactly... Read more

Boris Johnson warns UN chief that Vladimir Putin will ‘manipulate’ his Russia visit

Earlier this month, Karl Nehammer, the Austrian chancellor, held a “not friendly” meeting with Putin at his official residence outside Moscow. He was criticised for attempting to negotiate with the Russian president over Ukraine, which the Czech foreign minister said... Read more

Ukraine repels first week of assaults by Russian forces in Donbas region

Whether Mr Putin can find a way out of that dilemma will likely be a crucial moment. In a recent report for Rusi, Mr Reynolds and Dr Jack Watling, a senior research fellow, suggested that May 9, when Russia celebrates... Read more

Joe Biden wavered on appointing Kamala Harris over her relationship with politician 30 years her senior

Mr Brown has continued to be a supporter of Ms Harris, heaping praise on her in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle as she became vice president, describing her as “the multiracial, multicultural, Democratic female power ideal who stole... Read more

First same-sex wedding in Antarctica as crew members of RRS Sir David Attenborough to wed

“We’ve even had the coordinates of the wedding location engraved into our rings,” Mr Carpenter said. The ceremony will be attended by the 30 crew of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, followed by a reception with around 100 staff from... Read more

What would it take for Le Pen to beat Macron? Your French election questions answered

Kingmaker in the Assembly  Q: Can either Macron or Le Pen win a majority in the Assembly election in June? A: Emmanuel Macron is not guaranteed a majority, which he achieved in 2017, if he is reelected. The traditional centre-Left... Read more

Ukraine’s Orthodox worshippers turn away from Moscow as they mark first Easter of war

But if Putin wishes to reunite “ancient Rus” around a strengthened Orthodox communion, the way he’s gone about doing it has backfired horribly. In the past weeks, hundreds of Ukrainian priests have demanded that Mr Kirill be tried by a... Read more

Vladimir Putin sets up Stalin-esque network of state informers

Officially the so-called “special operation” is widely supported by the Russian government, but the Kremlin is still worried about dissent. Open criticism of the war, which Putin has said was necessary to defeat Nazis, is banned and talk of casualties is suppressed.   The... Read more

The secret hack to getting cheaper hotel rates

Of course, swapping Saturday for Sunday isn’t a new concept, and those who have tried it have quickly cottoned on to its appeal, but even so it’s been an uphill struggle trying to persuade my friends to give up their... Read more

Madrid is Europe’s capital of glamour

Right across the street from the Prado, the Mandarin Oriental Ritz opened its doors last year after a three-year transformation of the original Ritz. The project involved restoring the Palm Court’s glass dome, which hadn’t been seen for 80 years.... Read more

‘I don’t care what a bunch of 19-year-old gender-studies students think’

Owers says he won’t take on authors for the sake of it. “If what they’re arguing is of no merit, or is pure provocation with no real argument, I don’t want to publish it.” That said, he “will publish people... Read more

A broken-down bank clerk and a month in Margate – how TS Eliot wrote The Waste Land

It’s 1921, and in Margate the sunniest October on record is fading into a cool November. On a bench in a shelter down by the beach, a tired-looking man of 33 is trying very hard to do nothing. This does... Read more

‘Get Carter? I thought no reputable actor would do it’: how Mike Hodges shook up British film

To be clear, a producer did not pull a loaded gun on Mike Hodges on the set of the Omen sequel. It actually happened in an office, during an argument over the film’s budget. And, as Hodges recalls today, 45 years... Read more

Gaslit, review: Julia Roberts shines in the forgotten story behind the Watergate scandal

Welcome back, Julia Roberts. While her peers – well, mainly Nicole Kidman – have been all over TV and film projects in recent times, it has been four years since Roberts last appeared. For her return, she’s chosen an absolute... Read more

What’s on TV tonight: Rugby Union: England v Ireland, Our Changing Planet, Grace and more

Sunday 24 April Rugby Union: England v IrelandBBC Two, 11.45amEngland, one eye firmly on October’s World Cup, have been imperious so far as they bid for their third successive Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam. Ireland recovered from defeats to Wales... Read more

Cashless parking is ageist, complain pensioners as councils adopt app-only systems

Pensioners have complained that cashless car parks are ageist as councils adopt app-only payment systems. As many as 13 councils in England and Wales have gone completely cashless in car parks, and many more machines do not take coins, requiring... Read more

What happens to pop stars after their 15 minutes of fame – the ugly truth

“Pop music is supposed to be fleeting; likewise, its players,” writes Nick Duerden of “an industry obsessed with the idea of novelty”. But what happens to pop stars after their Warholian 15 minutes of fame? In his new book Exit... Read more