Where to see spectacular autumn colours around the world: our readers’ tips

Winning tip: Ojców national park, Poland
They call it the Złota Polska Jesień – the Polish Golden Autumn. It’s when the oaks and sycamores around Krakow do their best New England impression. Just 20 minutes’ drive north of the city is the smallest national park in the country: Ojców. A series of small, sylvan valleys turns into a beautiful patchwork of ochre and rust-red starting in September. There are forest trails running past streams, caves and crooked cottages. You can climb up to lookout points for views over the tops of the woods, and see Ojców Castle studding the hillside like something out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
A walk through Strid Wood with its sessile oaks and Wharfe river views takes in various types of autumnal wonder. The abbey is wonderful abbey, there’s a river feature called the Strid, where the Wharfe suddenly narrows, or a longer stroll to the top of Simon’s Seat in the moors to view the season’s multicoloured glories from above.
Jamie Samuel

Lake District
As you stroll along Windermere to the centre of Ambleside, autumn colours are abundant. Looking across the water, it seems that the treeline is alight with red and orange leaves. As you round the bend on to the road into town, you are faced with a hillside that celebrates autumn at its best, highlighting different colours throughout the day. Catch it at just the right time in the morning and you’ll see the mist creeping down and giving the trees an eerie presence. Catch it as the sun is descending in the late afternoon and you’ll be amazed at the vibrancy of the colours as the leaves are framed by the light from the setting sun.
Alice Southern

Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
The entire arboretum is fascinating at any time of year, but in late October the acer (Japanese maple) glade is absolutely magical. It’s a good idea to stay at the Hare and Hounds hotel (doubles from £125 B&B), which almost adjoins the arboretum and go to Westonbirt early in the morning to beat all the daytrippers and photographers because it does get very busy in the autumn. Another attraction is a new 300-metre aerial walkway that takes you 13 metres up into the canopy.

Herne Hill, London
After picking up a coffee in Herne Hill or breakfast at the wonderful Lido Cafe, take a stroll around Brockwell Park for wonderful views of the London skyline and beautiful autumnal colours. One place to stay or go for a drink is the Half Moon, right on the doorstep.

Dolgoch ‘rainforest’, north Wales
Snowdonia national park provides some of the richest, and most unspoilt autumnal views in the world. The Talyllyn Railway spoils visitors not just with a seven-mile journey from the Tywyn seafront up the beautiful Fathew valley towards the peak of Cader Idris on steam trains, but also gives direct access to the autumnal majesty of the Dolgoch Falls and Nant Gwernol woodland. Alighting at Dolgoch station and following the waymarked trails, visitors are soon amid the valley’s temperate rainforest habitat, sometimes referred to as the Celtic Rainforest, surrounded by ancient trees and carpets of moss and ferns. This habitat is full of life and, in autumn, the landscape glows in lush greens and golden browns.

The glorious town of Peebles, an hour’s drive south of Edinburgh, is scenic at all times of year but, come early October, the trees that surround the town explode into a riot of colour. For close-ups of huge specimens (including the caramel-smelling Japanese katsura tree) visit the nearby superb Dawyck botanic gardens (adult £6.50, child free), which has an excellent cafe. Peebles itself has a top-notch coffee shop/chocolate boutique, Cocoa Black.
Gavin Pearson

Cinque Terre, Italy
Autumn is the best season to see and sense the explosion of colours in the woods and paths high above the Mediterranean as you walk from one town in Italy’s Cinque Terre to another. The Sentiero Azzurro connects the villages between Monterosso al Mare and Riomaggiore over 12km and will take you from shady copses sheltered by red- and gold-leafed trees to deep green olive groves before you emerge into sunlit walkways with views of the shimmering sea. However, some of the route is closed at present (most famously the Via del’Amore at Riomaggiore, reopening in 2019) due to landslides, and in autumn there are often closures as wet weather damages paths. On some sections there’s a charge if €5-€7 to use the path – the money helps with repair bills.

Thief – hands-on in the city of stealth

Eidos Montreal’s reboot of the respected stealth-‘n-steal series is out in a month. Here’s what is right – and wrong – with the return of Garrett, the master thief

As obvious as it sounds to say so, in Thief you nick things. You nick a lot of things. Broaches, necklaces, wallets, candelabras – anything valuable that’s lying around, really – all disappear into lead character Garrett’s bottomless sack. You find some of these trinkets in the oddest of places. One would expect to find a golden bracelet or two in a wall safe behind a painting, but who on earth leaves a goblet on a rooftop or a couple of coins at the edge of a pond?

It’s possible Eidos Montreal has left these treasures scattered around its game in order to put players into the headspace of its protagonist. If that’s the case, it’s an absolutely brilliant piece of game design because stealing stuff in Thief isn’t just fun, it’s addictive. After you’ve snagged your first five or six baubles, you turn into a veritable magpie, filled with the need to obtain any shiny object that catches your eye – even if it means potentially exposing Garrett to danger in order to do so.

This compunction to loot is backed up by the game’s open-ended structure and its seductive visuals. Thief is set in a gloomy urban sprawl where the architectural schools of Gothic Europe, Victorian London and Steampunk Sci-Fi seem to have collided in a mass of fog and iron. Garrett, the antihero of the series since its 1998 premier, it back, returning to his home town, which is now in the grip of both a horrendous plague and a tyrannical ruler, The Baron. A palpable sense of foreboding drapes over the city’s gas-lit streets and shadowy rooftops, an effect that’s bolstered in no small part by the flashes of lightning that briefly throw Garrett’s shadow onto the walls and pavements around him.

As sinister as all of this sounds, it becomes apparent early on that the city’s darkened alleys and rooftops are Garrett’s natural turf. His almost superhuman ability to move noiselessly through his surroundings turns the skyline into his thoroughfare and makes every shadow inviting. Garrett also has the ability to ‘swoop’ in and out of pools of light quick enough to avoid detection and he’s armed with a decent array of equipment including lockpicks, arrows and a crowbar to force open the odd window.

Stolen moments

From the evidence of the preview build I had a hands-on with, Thief contains the odd brief linear passage, which helps move the narrative along, but once Garrett is in view of a building that houses a valuable item he’s after – whether it’s part of a side task or a story mission – Thief’s structure opens up. Couple this loose framework with the kleptomaniacal impulses instilled in the player early on, and the world in Thief simply begs to be explored.

A great example of this came in a passage of play that occurred after the game’s tutorial level. Following a bungled robbery, Garrett has to flee back to his headquarters through one of the city’s mercantile districts. As I picked my way across the rooftops, noticing one of the streetlamps below me was on the blink, I heard a couple of guards remarking on how beautiful a golden mask in the window of a jewelry shop looked.

Well, I thought, since it’s on my way…

The jewelry shop raid showed there’s no set way to successfully pull off a burglary. It was possible to enter the premises by observing the nightwatch guards, taking note of their patrol patterns, timing one’s movements to reach the shop’s door undetected and then picking the lock. Alternately, I found after circling the emporium that one of the back windows was open and it was possible to enter by shimmying up to the

Once inside, I found that the open-ended nature of progression extended to the style of play, too. To wit, players can proceed as loudly or as quietly as they wish, although, they’ll find that playing to Garrett’s strengths – moving stealthily and hiding from view – will prove easier in the long run.

In my run-through I found one guard on patrol in the front of the shop, but incapacitating him was easy enough. Once I’d helped myself to everything that wasn’t nailed down on display, I picked the lock of the window display case and found that the mask in the window that had so impressed the guards was actually gilded glass – and thus, worthless. At this stage I could’ve easily made my exit but I decided, since I’d gone to the trouble of breaking and entering, to explore more of the shop.

Waiting game

I’ll neither reveal what else I found, nor will I reveal any details I uncovered about the game’s plot. Believe me when I tell you I’m doing you a favour. The less one knows about the game’s story and its hidden gems, the better time one will have when it’s released at the end of next month. That is, if the developers manage to sort out a couple of issues that, while not deal-breakers, are irritating nontheless.

Garrett’s inventory, for example, is mapped to the touchpad on the PS4’s controller, but the way it’s been implemented renders it virtually useless. Selecting items involved hammering the touch pad and while this is irritating enough during sections of the game where players have a lot of time to consider their next move, it would be potentially infuriating if they’re under duress.

Second, I can report that Thief has a lot of beautiful loading screens, and it’s a good thing that they’re beautiful, because players will be staring at them for an awfully long time. Loading times feel interminable and when they appear after a dramatic cutscene, they manage to break the atmospheric spell the rest of the game is so successful at weaving. Facial animations also look positively last-gen, which is strange because the environments surrounding the characters are fantastically detailed and beautiful to behold.

Here’s hoping Eidos manages to tighten up these flaws because they’re sizable chinks in Thief’s armour. Without them, there’s a lot in this game to admire and the pull of its world is intoxicating. Thief puts players into the headspace of a light-fingered ne’er-do-well and drops them into a city filled with trinkets to steal and houses to break into. Even with its niggles Thief accomplishes what the best adventure games set out to do – it surrounds you in a world you could get lost in and then encourages you to do just that.

The princess and the platforms: how these Gucci trainers became a symbol of excess

If Marie Antoinette had lived in the Snapchat age, would she be wearing £640 Gucci platform trainers? That is the question on everyone’s lips today, as we survey the fallout from Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Olympia of Greece’s joint 50th and 21st birthday party.

In case you missed it, the pair threw a bash at an 18th-century manor house in the Cotswolds, and it was pretty relaxed. Just a few dozen viscounts, the queen of Holland, King Felipe of Spain, some Delevingnes, some Hiltons and a man intriguingly referred to by the Daily Mail as a “society osteopath”.

Given the mess that the Greek economy is in, and the fact that Greece doesn’t actually have a royal family, photographs of the world’s wealthiest doing the conga around gold-plated pineapples and pyramids of macaroons haven’t gone down brilliantly on social media. But the standout symbols of the furore were fashion-based: Olympia’s trainers, which were centre-frame in countless social media posts, owing to the cunning deployment of a series of Instagram-friendly chorus-line-leg-bend poses.

Here’s what we know about the shoes. They are gold nappa leather overlaid with the Gucci brand’s red-and-green striped logo. They have an 8.5cm foam rainbow platform. They were part of Gucci’s 2017 Resort collection, which was presented in Westminster Abbey, and it’s a bit of a shame, in a way, that they have become a symbol of the excesses of the super-rich, given that Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele conceived of them with the best of intentions.

The earnest Walter Benjamin-quoting designer – the man behind the “geek chic” renaissance at the Italian superbrand – made them as a homage to Britain, taking inspiration from club-kid platforms of the 90s and the creepers of the New Romantic era. There was speculation that they had also been designed in honour of gay pride, which would be very on-brand for the new Gucci, which delights in celebrating inclusivity in its explorations of gender-fluid fashion and ethnically diverse cast of muses and models. Still. They do cost 640 quid. Which is quite a lot, even in the ever-escalating world of high-end trainers.

The fact that trainers have recently become part of the fashion vernacular has inspired a rash of unbelievably costly styles. On sale right now are studded Christian Louboutin high tops for £1,995, appliqued denim plimsolls by Valentino for £770, Rick Owens high tops for £697 and Giuseppe Zanotti mid-tops for £950, which feels a bit unnecessary given that the Reebok Club C85 – on sale for about £40 – has recently been hailed as the fashion trainer of the season.

These are not for the sneaker-heads, either, who seek out exclusive trainer styles, not expensive embellishment. For dedicated hypebeasts the holy grail is the drop of cult, limited edition kicks, such as the Yeezy Boost by Kanye West, which sell for about £150 and resell on eBay for upwards of £350. Instead, these are trainers designed for the feet of the super-rich, which must be always swathed in precious skins and diamante.

Though there is the one style that unites the trainer nerds and the billionaires: the Vetements x Reebok Instapump Fury, a model that quickly sold out despite its $760 (£586) price tag. These are squishy, oversized 90s trainers covered in meaningful doodles – “I’m bored”; “no future”; “minority” – something you could try at home with a pair of clean Reebok Instapump Furys (£87.46) and a felt tip pen if you are feeling creative. Plenty of fashion fans on a budget this season already have, which feels a lot less daft than dropping the price of a sofa on a pair of trainers.

Great outdoor activities in Colorado: readers’ tips

Winning tip: Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Strawberry Hot Springs in the Rockies mixes very hot natural spring water with ice-cold runoff from melted snow. There are a number of pools at different temperatures, including (for the brave) an all-cold pool. The rustic design is very peaceful and attracts locals and tourists. One local said: “After dark you can tell who’s from out of town because they’re the ones wearing swimsuits!”
• Adult from $15, child (3-17, daylight hours only) from $8, strawberryhotsprings.com

Run away to Glenwood Springs
The relaxing hot springs of Glenwood Springs, between Aspen and Vail, make a perfect getaway. Nearby, the Hanging Lake Trail ascends more than a mile and hugs a rushing river. At the top is a pristine lake with trout and a lovely waterfall. It’s definitely worth the hike.

Ballooning, Steamboat Springs
he best way to enjoy the spectacle and variety of Colorado’s mountains, valleys and lakes is from a hot air balloon. At Steamboat Springs, northern Colorado, colourful balloon launches begin in the calm early morning hours. As you rise slowly above the misty fields, villages, forests and herds of cattle become visible, the Yampa river snakes its way through grasslands, and snow-topped peaks stretch to the blue horizon in all directions.

Ride the Rockies
Cycle 400 magnificent miles with locals across the mountain passes of Colorado by taking part in the annual, fully supported Ride the Rockies bicycle tour. Each night you stay in a different mountain town and the organisers come up with routes to ensure that some of the most beautiful reaches of the state are included. This year some 2,000 cyclists crossed the stunning 3,300-metre Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan mountains.

Enjoy a ‘Cliffnic’
As a wedding gift, relatives promised us a hotel stay in Estes Park at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains national park, and lunch at a place with “Colorado’s best views”. Little did we realise it would mean abseiling 100ft down a rock face to eat on a portaledge! From the Stanley hotel, our guides drove us, equipped us and then waited on us, zipping the meal down to our ledge. The views were spectacular and food was delicious. As if our dining experience wasn’t scary enough, the Stanley was the inspiration for The Shining, and back in our room the movie played on a loop on one of the TV channels.

Bag a ‘thirteener’ in the Rockies
Colorado has 58 mountains over 14,000 feet high, and every tourist, local and distant cousin wants to “bag a fourteener”. The result is overcrowded trails, especially on the less-challenging fourteeners near Denver, such as Mounts Bierstadt and Evans. Instead, summit one of Colorado’s thirteeners. From Denver, head to Georgetown to Guanella Pass, and spend a beautiful fall day on 13,763ft (4,204 metre) Square Top mountain. Enjoy a top-notch hike with stunning views all the way to the top. Fall colours abound this time of year. The summit view will not disappoint. As a bonus, the hike also offers fantastic close-up views of Mount Bierstadt, as it starts at the same trailhead.
Dianne Cole

Ute Mountain tribal park
This park is more than twice the size of the adjoining and better known Mesa Verde national park, and contains hundreds of wall paintings, petroglyphs and cliff dwellings. There are still pots lying where they fell that broke centuries ago. The tour of the park requires you sign up at Towaoc visitor center, a small office building about two miles from Ute Mountain Casino and Resort (a wonderful place to stay). A tribal guide leads groups of all sizes into the park. There are a number of tours: the half-day one is a very good start ($29pp plus $12pp transport). We first saw Mancos canyon, which has a petroglyph that may be of the 1054 supernova on the canyon wall. You can also camp in the canyon. Our guide, Marshal Deer, told us about the spiritual meanings of petroglyphs.

Get Creative With 15 Almond Beverage Recipes

If you think almond beverages are just for pouring on your granola or adding to your latte, you need to think again! We challenged 15 FBC members to come up with creative ways to use Almond Breeze almond beverage in the kitchen. You’ll be amazed at the versatility you can achieve with this beverage! Everything from cool, refreshing drinks to an impressive array of savoury entrees to try for dinner, and, of course, decadent desserts! And now, you can find Almond Breeze in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

On Board In 20: Harissa Honey Rib Chops With Broccoli Tabbouleh

Welcome to On Board in 20: a recipe series where we share wholesome, family-style meals you can prepare in about 20 minutes. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times.

Move over sriracha, there’s a new condiment in town! It’s time to add harissa to your pantry. Harissa is a blend of roasted chili peppers, garlic, oil and spices like cumin and coriander. It’s such a fantastic way to add a rich, deep flavor to a dish in a short period of time (not unlike how jarred roasted red peppers gave our 20-minute lentil stew a boost last month). There’s no doubt this sauce is the star of this month’s 20-minute meal of rib chops with broccoli tabbouleh. I chose a mild version and added a little extra honey for my little eater at the table, but you could easily go spicier for an extra kick.

Tabbouleh is traditionally a vegetarian salad made primarily of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion and bulgur. In this 20-minute meal we’ve swapped out the bulgur for quinoa, which gives this meal the added bonus of being gluten free. You could easily substitute couscous for the quinoa as well for an even quicker cooking time. The broccoli is barely blanched before processing and boosts the vegetable content of the side dish. The mint is a pretty important element in this salad. Although there’s only a small amount, it makes a difference in the final product.

As with most of our 20-minute meals, the order of execution is important. My kettle boils 1.5 litres of water in about five minutes, so this always goes on first. This is enough time to get my pots on the stove and preheating, and get out most of my ingredients. You don’t need to worry too much about the ratio of quinoa to water; just be generous with the water and you can always drain out the excess.

And one final tip: set the timer once the pork chops go down because four minutes goes by fast, and it’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish while they sizzle away. This dinner finishes beautifully with a squeeze of lemon and whatever fresh greens you may have on hand.

Oculus Rift: Valve promises to take virtual reality to the masses

Valve is backing the Kickstarter-funded VR headset. But will consumers warm to immersive technologies?
For a few years, back in the early 90s, virtual reality (VR) looked like the obvious future for video games. Here was a technology capable of truly immersing participants in the digital environment; the essentially alienating presence of the 2D screen would be gone for ever, to be replaced by computer-generated realms that we could step into and exist in. Consumer headsets by companies such as Virtuality and Victormaxx crept on to the market, as films like the Lawnmower Man and Disclosure considered the implications of our soon-to-be lives in cyberspace. But the screens were low-resolution and the motion tracking primitive, the sensors prone to sickening lag. The gulf between expectation and reality was impassable. The future moved on.

Two decades later, in a packed room at the Washington State Convention Centre, Valve Corporation told the industry that virtual reality can become a consumer reality by 2015. When Valve says something, people in the technology sector listen. Not only has it produced two of the most beautiful and sophisticated science fiction game series’ of all time (Half-Life and Portal), it also runs the Steam digital distribution service, where 75m PC owners purchase 20m games a month. During a talk at the company’s Steam Dev Days conference, attendees discovered that Valve will be working closely with the creators of the Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift, a VR device that has received a huge amount of positive attention in the gaming press. The aim? To “drive PC VR forward”.

The attendees have seen in Valve’s declarations a genuine desire to explore and support the technology rather than to stake a claim on the mega-bucks that could ensue. “I remember when computer entertainment companies were careful about toying with new technology, and constantly missed new trends because they lacked sufficient mainstream exposure,” says Leonard Ritter of German studio Duangle, currently working on Nowhere, an experimental RPG for Oculus Rift. “I’m happy to see that an established player isn’t afraid to meddle with cutting edge tech, not because someone did the numbers, but because they think it’s cool and they’d like to see it succeed.”

On a PowerPoint slide that has been widely photographed and shared through Twitter, the proposed specifications for a consumer VR technology were laid out. It would have a mere 20 milliseconds of latency, 110-degree field of vision, and one million pixels per eye. Valve now seems to be suggesting that it won’t bring its own prototype head-mounted display to market – despite impressing developers with a short demo. Instead, the company is set to release a VR platform that will make it easier for developers to create and share virtual reality games; there’s even a VR interface in development for its Steam service, which would turn the online store into a virtual space. It seems Oculus Rift,will be the go-to hardware.

And there is plenty of support for Rift from an enthused and curious development community. The main candidate for “killer app” right now is perhaps space combat title EVE Valkyrie, which astonished many who saw it at Gamescom and CES. But the likes of zombie survival adventure DayZ, forthcoming shooter Doom 4 and David Braben’s long-awaited modern day Elite sequel, Elite: Dangerous, have all promised implementation.

These are all a way off. Right now, the Rift is available only as a developer kit, which lacks some of the specifications of the proposed consumer version set to arrive later this year. The company, which has attracted almost $100m in funding since its successful Kickstarter campaign, showed the latest version of its head-mounted display (HMD) technology, dubbed Crystal Cove, at the CES show – to impressive effect. Developers are lining up to support the device, which is relatively easy to accommodate. The $300 developer version comes with an SDK, documentation and sample code, and current game projects can be retro-fitted with compatibility in a matter of days.”The process involves increasing the internal framebuffer resolution, inserting a post processing shader and applying an additional transformation to the camera,” says Ritter. “We integrated Oculus VR support across all three platforms – Windows, OSX, Linux – within a week or so.”

“Video games are one step before a whole other virtual universe” Vin Diesel
But the real challenge for coders and designers is to learn the new language and conventions that virtual reality demands. “Details are vital,” says Daniël Ernst, who has produced the highly regarded Rift demo, The Shoebox Diorama, and is now working on a narrative adventure. “In a traditional game, environmental micro-details are less important. You won’ t really notice the names of the books on the shelve, or what text is written on a piece of paper on a desk. There is always a distance between you and the environment. With the Oculus Rift, you don’ t have this distance. Things can be a couple of inches from your face and if the texture is blurry or pixelated it will break the immersion. You actually have to measure objects before replicating them in 3D. You will even notice if a telephone is a couple inches too big.”

Interestingly then, true immersion may well put the brakes on mainstream gaming’s constant sense of forward momentum. Titles like Call of Duty are always prodding the player forward through corridors of escalating sensory violence – is that just compensation for the lack of physical ownership of the game space. In VR worlds, we may be happy spending several hours exploring every aspect of one room. “We’ve found that a vast majority of our players behave differently in VR,” says Hrafn Thorri Thorisson, co-founder of Icelandic games and simulation company, Aldin Dynamics. “When you’re inside a virtual world, as opposed to looking at it on a regular monitor, the urge to explore and inspect is really compelling.”

Henrique Olifiers is overseeing the Oculus Rift version of Bossa Studio’s hugely successful Surgeon Simulator title. For him, the problems are in jettisoning some of the effects we usually see in first-person games designed for a 2D screen. “The difficult bit is grasping what works and doesn’t fly on VR from a content point of view,” he says. “For instance, you don’t want abstract interfaces in a VR game, the information has to be shown in the world itself. You want to avoid movements that are not triggered by the player, such as camera shakes as they cause discomfort. You have to strip out unnatural behaviour like running backwards or strafing laterally – all hallmarks of first-person shooters. The manual on game development for virtual reality is yet to be written, there’s a lot to learn before we can create amazing games with it.”

James Parker at Bristol-based developer Opposable Games sees similar challenges. “There’s an ongoing issue with what’s the most appropriate control system, particularly in shooters,” he says. “Traditionally, players are used to pointing their gun essentially in the same way as their face – as soon as you separate those two things, it’s a pretty radical shift in control experience. On the other hand, if you keep the two locked together you lose a lot of what make VR so immersive.” Meanwhile, David Braben, founder of Frontier Developments, believes developers will need to consider the playing position of the participants. “Oculus Rift is great, but it works particularly well with games where, in the setting you’d actually be sitting.”

Clearly, there is powerful potential in the concept of inhabiting a virtual environment; indeed the technology has been used in science, medicine and the military for many years, aiding in everything from training to therapy. If nothing else, a cheap HMD like Oculus Rift will allow more researchers to try out a greater range of serious implementations – just as the Wii Remote and Kinect camera have done with motion tracking. “Imagine VR for learning life-saving skills such as first aid, for example,” says Thorisson. “That’s something that the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines has been exploring in collaboration with us.”

But for consumer appliance, it’s about whether developers can pull themselves away from the forms we’re used to. “My general view of VR is sceptical,” says Ed Key whose exploration game Proteus is currently being retro-fitted with Rift compatibility by programmers Aubrey Hesselgren and Nick Ludlam. “At the moment it seems like not many people having figured out good things to do with it beyond naively trying to make current FPS games into a holodeck. I think there are a lot of unsolvable problems if one just assumes you can put on a headset and amplify immersion. You’re still just pressing buttons to move around, and you’re not getting most of the sensory input that you get from actually moving – ie inner-ear stuff, forces on the body, proprioception. Any successful VR work has to understand the limitations before making something satisfying.”

Anthony Vaccarello makes a brazenly sexy debut at Saint Laurent

The Belgian-Italian designer’s first show for the Parisian house was full of clothes almost exclusively not suitable for work

For Anthony Vaccarello, the solution to the problem of going forward at Saint Laurent came from going back. Tuesday evening in Paris marked the Belgian-Italian designer’s first show for the Parisian house, following its previous, incredibly successful, four-year reboot by Hedi Slimane.

Arriving at the venue – the half-finished HQ of the brand – invitees were greeted by a giant neon Yves Saint Laurent logo, originally designed in the early 1960s and conspicuously absent in the Slimane era. Against a couldn’t-have-asked-for-better sunset, it was a moment curated for Instagram. A cluster of editors were happily obliging – and suddenly an iconic idea of Saint Laurent was resurrected in the most modern of contexts.

The same principle went through the collection that followed this stunt. The logo was the heel of stiletto shoes, earrings, and on the ankle of 10 denier tights. The designs also played on Saint Laurent’s original work, mostly from the 1980s. Black dominated, often in leather. There were nods to Le Smoking jackets, transparent chiffon blouses and party dresses worthy of Loulou de la Falaise at Le Sept, but nothing was explicit. Instead, after the show, Vacharello, after greeting guests including Amber Valetta and Jane Birkin, said he was inspired by “the idea of Saint Laurent”.

A press release sent out afterwards provided a little more detail. It referenced Saint Laurent muse, Paloma Picasso, who inspired the 1972 ‘Scandal’ collection, as well as the tuxedo, a sailor coat and a specific dress with exaggerated sleeves that Vacharello discovered in the archives. “Anthony Vaccarello has let himself get carried away by the images of the designer,” it read.

Vaccarello’s aesthetic shares a certain rock’n’roll sensibility with Slimane’s indie-influenced work. But at both his own brand and work with Versus, his designs are more brazenly sexy. The clothes in this show were almost exclusively not suitable for work, with short hemlines, bare breasts and asymmetrical necklines. It was an after-dark-only collection, but styling tricks stopped it from being a period piece.

Models wore little makeup, their hair loose, with slouchy jeans. Some had either biker boots or brogues with socks, a sweetness that contrasted with leather basques and PVC macs. This collection could be seen as a logical next step to Slimane’s outgoing one. Shown in March, it was an ode to 1980s nightclubbing.

The new creative director would be foolish not to take heed of his predecessor. Slimane, in his four years in charge, was commercial dynamite for the brand. Revenues were £839m in 2015, up from £609m in 2014. Vaccarello was announced as Slimane’s replacement in April. In a statement announcing his appointment, Francesca Bellettini, president and CEO of Saint Laurent, commented that Vaccarello “impeccably balances elements of provocative femininity and sharp masculinity in his silhouettes”.

Slimane’s next move is unclear. He will be awarded around £10m by Saint Laurent’s parent company, Kering, following a dispute regarding his exit package from the brand. Rumours persist that the designer may be in line to replace Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel when the octogenarian designer decides to retire, or he may launch his own label.

Other debuts this fashion week see women designers moving into positions more recently held by men. The relative unknown Bouchra Jarrar will show her first collection for Lanvin on Wednesday and Maria Grazia Chiuri – ex of Valentino – does the same at Christian Dior on Friday.

Chiuri is the first female designer to take up the Dior helm in the house’s nearly 60-year history. Her work at Valentino with creative partner Pierpaolo Piccioli since 2008 has gained fans for its modern, younger take on femininity. Chiuri’s Dior is set to be one of the most anticipated shows of the week.

Newer labels are gaining hype with an aesthetic that has more of a street edge to it. Tuesday had shows from Koché and Jacquemus – both brands led by a new generation of Paris designers, playing with sportswear and staples such as trenches in new ways.

This new mood for Paris is further emphasised with street labels from America – Rihanna’s Fenty Puma line and Virgil Abloh’s Off White – also on the Paris schedule, both with shows on Wednesday.

Share great autumn foodie destinations in Europe for a chance to win a £200 hotel voucher

Autumn is a fantastic time for a foodie trip as festivals and restaurants across Europe celebrate the harvest season. And in many rural areas, old traditions of foraging – for berries, mushrooms, chestnuts and truffles – put dishes on the table that aren’t around at other times of the year.

Tell us about your favourite places in Europe to visit in autumn with full details of the meals, drinks and festivals, and where you tried them. Please also mention walks and places to stay if they formed part of your food trip.

Send us a tip via GuardianWitness of around 100 words.

The best tips will appear in print in next weekend’s Travel section and the winner, chosen by Lonely Planet, will receive a £200 hotel voucher from UK.hotels.com, allowing you to stay in more than 260,000 places worldwide. Submit your tip by clicking the blue button and using the text tab.

You’re welcome to add a photo if you own the copyright to it – but it’s the text we’ll be judging.

On Board In 20: Fish Tacos, Slaw And Avocado Crema

Welcome to On Board in 20: a recipe series where we share wholesome, family-style meals you can prepare in about 20 minutes. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times.

There have been 12 installments in the On Board in 20 series and I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe for fish tacos here yet! Fish tacos are such a quick, family friendly meal — and by quick I mean lightning speed. Sometimes proteins can be tricky to get on the table in 20 minutes. They usually require some handling (pounding or mincing) and you have to keep a close eye on them. Most fish, however, requires little to no handling and cooks through in about four to five minutes.

The key is ensuring you start with very cold fish (unlike other animal proteins where you want to bring them to room temperature before cooking) and a smoking hot pan. The sear is essential to preventing the fish from falling apart when you remove it from the pan, and a good fish spatula doesn’t hurt either.

I selected cod for tonight’s dinner but easily could have used snapper, halibut or even salmon. Cod is nice because it comes boneless (as with any fish, always keep an eye out though) and flakes really well on high heat. As the cast iron gets to a smoke hot temperature, you can mix the rub and season the fish.

This recipe is very mild and suited for a little one’s taste buds, but a bit of Cajun seasoning or cayenne would give it a nice kick. The cabbage adds a much needed crunch and red cabbage would work equally well.

The avocado crema has several options for variety. If you don’t have a mini processor you could simply layer the avocado, sour cream and cilantro on each tortilla shell and add your own healthy dose of lime. We like the smooth texture of bringing them all together.

And finally, I wouldn’t skip the feta. You could also use queso fresco or Cotija but they are harder to find in our neighbourhood. A small amount of dry feta gives a perfect briny balance to the rich crema and smoky fish.