Alice-Azania Jarvis

Alice-Azania Jarvis is a feature writer for The Independent

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Last Night's Viewing: London's Burning Chanel 4<br />Lorraine's Last Minute Christmas BBC2

What with it being nearly New Year and all, we're almost at the stage where we can safely start assessing the highs and lows of the Year That Was. We are approaching the end of the risky pre-emptive period, where the combination of major world events and celebrity deaths threaten, perilously, to render us redundant. Soon, tantalisingly soon, we will be able to write our Hundred Best lists with confidence.

Bits on the side: good vegetables can make a Christmas meal

Festive vegetables that are worth sprouting about

Use these hints to give your parsnips some zip and turn even die-hard Brussels haters into fans, says Alice-Azania Jarvis

Last night's viewing - The Butlin's Story, ITV1; The Hairy Bikers' Christmas Party, BBC2

Had Billy Butlin, already established by 1936 as a successful entrepreneur with a tidy line in amusement parks, not decided to open up the first Butlin's on the unglamorous shores of Skegness, the world might have missed out on "Rockin' All Over the World". Imagine! In true Sliding Doors fashion, it was while performing at the Minehead outpost of Butlin's franchise that Rick Parfitt met Francis Rossi. And lo, a five-decade love affair with double denim and dodgy hair was born.

Lines of communication

Helplines: Call for help

A voice on the end of the telephone can be a life saver – the elderly are the latest group requiring a dedicated helpline. But funding problems threaten cuts at a time of great need

DVD: The Killing II (15)

She's back, sporting a new red jumper and tasked with solving another gruesome crime.

DVD: The Killing II (15)

She's back, sporting a new red jumper and tasked with solving another gruesome crime.

We all know that relationships come under pressure when times are tough

Is the financial crisis leading to more divorces?

The relationship between love and money is a little bit more complicated than that

William with his mother Michelle at the Swindon Rainbow Drop-In Centre

Independent Appeal: 'I was devastated and close to a breakdown'

Michelle, the mother of a disabled son, was at her wits' end before the Rainbow Trust stepped in

Season's eating: an Ocado staff member packs some crackers

Supermarket delivery services gear up for a bumper Christmas

Fifteen miles of conveyor belts, 3.7 million packets of stuffing and thousands of 'pickers'...more and more of us do the biggest shop of the year online.

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Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there