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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine