• Spoil yourself with a luxury train tour of the Highlands

    Of the few named trains still in service around the globe, the Royal Scotsman is one of the elite group operating in old Europe. It may not be surrounded by quite the aura of legend that encompasses the Orient Express, but in terms of comfort, service and price, it's well up there, with the shortest – two-night – route costing around 2,600 € – over £2,000 – per person. Mind you, once the ticket's been paid for, all the organised visits – to distilleries, castles, stately homes etc. – the exquisite table d'hote meals and the fine wines that

  • Everyone's 'Mad' about Christina Hendricks – but she just can't find a dress

    She has the hottest figure in Hollywood, hailed as a body icon de jour. But while Christina Hendrick's curves are coveted by women everywhere, it seems designers are yet to embrace her voluptuous shape. The Mad Men star, who has hypnotised fans as sexy secretary Joan Harris on the show, has spoken out about the difficulties she faces finding clothes that cater to her UK size 14 figure (US size 12). "People have been saying some nice, wonderful things about me," Christina said in a recent interview. "Yet not one designer in town will loan me a dress." CLICK ON PHOTO FOR

  • Barack Obama's stylish Oval Office makeover

    Nearly two years after moving into the White House Barack Obama has taken advantage of the summer holidays to give the iconic Oval Office a stylish refurbishment. It seems the US president has opted for comfort over tradition, with the new sofas in a softer material, complete with small striped cushions. The former focal point of the room - the carpet designed by the previous First Lady, Laura Bush - has also been replaced by a rug featuring quotes described as being "of meaning" to the president. The White House press secretary was keen to stress that the redecoration was

  • How Natalie avoided Tinseltown drama to become a poster girl for the new generation

    As we have seen this week, growing up in the glare of the Hollywood lights can be a tricky business. Not for Natalie Portman. While many peers struggle with the pitfalls of wealth and fame at a young age, the brunette has managed to body swerve brushes with the law and the paparazzi, emerging as one of the most poised actresses of her generation. Now 29, she's the kind of girl of whom her co-star in 1999's Anywhere But Here, Susan Sarandon said it was like "working with an equal". Opening the Venice Film Festival with her pyshcological thriller Black Swan

  • Passion fruit crème brulee

    Ingredients (makes 4) 3 large passion fruit 60g caster sugar 3 egg yolks 30ml milk 300ml double cream (I use a 284ml tub normally and add a splash more milk) Demerera or caster sugar for glazing A few drops of vanilla essence Method Pre-heat your oven to 120°C. Beat the sugar and eggs together until light and golden. Bring the milk, cream and vanilla up to boiling point in a pan. Remove from the heat and pour a little at a time on to the egg mixture, whisking carefully as you go. Strain and pour the liquid into ramekins. Cook in a bain marie filled to about two thirds up the

  • Slow burner

    Restaurants have been cooking sous-vide (prounounced soo-veed) for a few years now and Heston Blumenthal, Ferran Adria and Thomas Keller are all big fans. The technique involves sealing food in a vacuum pack and cooking it in a water bath for very long time at very low temperatures. This yields incredible results – tough cuts of meat are rendered into delicious, fork-tender morsels with very little effort on the part of the cook. Until now water baths were only available for commercial use, but with the Sous Vide Supreme the technique now goes domestic. This is a super-cool piece

  • Are Katy Perry and Rihanna starting a new hair colour trend?

    Katy Perry has taken to experimenting with her hair colour, wearing a selection of wigs in bright hues and, most recently, sporting streaks of vivid colour flashing through her hair (pictured). Rihanna, meanwhile, just seems to like red, a bright synthetic shade she’s been wearing for months now. So we’re starting to wonder if this could be a new trend that’s going to follow through to the high street. Especially when news came through that Paul Mitchell haircare has launched a range of daring shades that are the opposite of natural looking. There are royal blues, baby pinks, purples, oranges,

  • The world's first Armani Hotel opens

    Giorgio Armani can now add another accomplishment to his already glowing CV: the Armani Hotel in Dubai. He joins a select handful of designers who have worked with luxury hoteliers – among them Elie Saab, who brought his unique style to the Tiger Woods resort in Dubai, the late Gianni Versace and his Versace Palace in Australia, or Christian Lacroix and the Du Petit Moulin in Paris. The Armani Hotel occupies the first eight floors as well as levels 38 and 39 of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai's tallest tower. This spectacular hotel is a distinctive reflection of Armani fashion

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