• The Cathar castles of Languedoc

    Tired of the angry criticism and growing influence of the Cathars, who rejected the physical world of power and matter and aspired to the purely spiritual, in 1208, the Catholic Church declared their beliefs heretical; so began a bloody crusade that would end over a century later with the execution of Guillaume Belibaste. The persecution ended the golden age of the Languedoc region, and  brought the southern principalities under the control of the King of France, but the glory of the inaccessible castles where the martyrs sought refuge remains. There are few walled towns as picturesque as the medieval town

  • Lovely lentils

    Not to get high and mighty about it, but it is just about possible that some of us may have marginally overdone it over the Christmas period - and are about to do it all again for New Year's Eve or with a feast on New Year's Day. An ingredient of the week, then, to aid in a marginal spot of detox betwixt the two. Puy lentils, aside from being delicious and nutritious, contain an amino acid called arginine, which is great for your liver and also aids in the breakdown of ammonia - a side effect of eating

  • Extremely happy: Reese Witherspoon announces engagement to Jim Toth

    It's been a week for celebrity engagements. After Natalie Portman, Lily Allen and Hugh Hefner's happy news became known, Reese Witherspoon has joined the club. The beautiful actress has confirmed she is to wed Hollywood agent Jim Toth, whom she has been dating for almost a year. "They are extremely happy," Reese's rep told American publication US Weekly. The 34-year-old Oscar winner started dating Jim in January after she split from Jake Gyllenhaal. They went public with their relationship two months later. Forty-year-old Jim is said to have bonded with Reese's two children Ava, 11, and Deacon - seven -