Alice-Azania Jarvis

Alice-Azania Jarvis is a feature writer for The Independent

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RNLI - Part of the big society for nearly 200 years

The RNLI is remarkable both for its volunteers and for the success of its fund-raising. Alice-Azania Jarvis reports

Welsh wonder: It's time to reconsider the cuisine next door

Wales, with its damp green valleys, may not be famous for its food but bara brith is just the start.

Last Night's TV: Horizon: The Nine Months That Made You/BBC2<br />Jamie Cooks Summer/Channel 4

Exercise daily? Eat your fruit and veg? Stopped smoking? Bad news. You could be doomed, nonetheless. David Barker's theory sounds pretty hokey when you first hear about it. The idea is that, irrespective of that £100 gym membership, those five-a-day and that kicked habit, much of our health has been determined by the time we get out of the womb. You can see why mothers don't believe it when, on Horizon: The Nine Months That Made You, they are asked about Barker's theory, at random in the street. It seems less a scientific prescription, more a kind of fortune-teller's ruse. I'm not sure I want to believe it, either. After all, life would have been a lot more fun if I'd known I had a free pass all along (for this was one enormous baby, back in the day).

'I just wanted my husband back': One woman shares her personal research into strokes

Devastated by her husband's severe stroke, Aviva Cohen trawled thousands of research papers for treatment options.

Last Night's TV: Monty Halls' Great Irish Escape/BBC2<br />Carrot or Stick &ndash; a Horizon Guide to Raising Kids/BBC4

"It's like a drug," mused Monty Halls, surveying the Connemara coastline. "You just want to sleep and relax." He was talking about the views, of course. For the next six months, Halls will be living on an island just across the water from a place called Round Stone. And he's right: looking at the twinkling lights and sweeping coast, you do just want to nod right off. Unfortunately, it's an instruction Halls seemed to have taken to heart. For the next 50 minutes, to the soporific soundtrack of something that wasn't Titanic's but may as well been given the proliferation of pan pipes to be heard, we got observations on multi-coloured shop fronts, unsuccessful hunts for whale carcasses and anecdotes from Halls's childhood (his sister, apparently, would chase him round the house with a handful of sprouting potatoes, such was his fear of spuds).

Catch of the day: Fresh ways to enjoy British sardines

For Stefan Glinski, in the small Cornish fishing village of Newlyn, nightfall means one thing: sardines. Every day, as families around the country settle down to dinner, he heads out to work, braving wind, rain and waves in his 70-ton 44ft boat. "I've gone out in full-blown gales," he says. "The only time I stop is when I can't stand up."

Last Night's TV: Trollied/Sky1<br />Town with Nicholas Crane/BBC2<br />Little Box of Horrors/E4

I'm concerned about Jane Horrocks. She's being typecast, or so it seems to me. First that Tesco advert – you know the one, from the mid Nineties, the one she said paid for her home ("Tesco Towers") and stopped her having to do dross TV. That's as opposed to her new series for Sky1, Trollied, which, presumably, she doesn't think is dross TV. It's about a supermarket called Valco ("Valco serves you right!") and good old Jane plays interim deputy manager Julie. See? Typecasting. Horrocks obviously screams aisle four from a mile off, though I doubt she'd thank you for saying it. After all, it was her who in a recent promotional interview claimed to find shopping in Tesco "a little scary" because "you can have rather a lot of chavs" in there.

Last Night's TV: Town with Nicholas Crane/BBC2<br />The Rattigan Enigma by Benedict Cumberbatch/BBC4

There are almost no chains in Ludlow, said Nicholas Crane. There's no McDonald's and no Burger King, no Topshop or Next. I wonder what else it doesn't have. Is there a Starbucks? A Caffè Nero? A Boots? Everywhere has a Boots, surely. I bet it has Hobbs – or if not Hobbs, then at least Whistles or Jigsaw or something similarly ladylike. L K Bennett, maybe. Kate Middleton shops there.

10 best sparkling wines

The days of sickly fizz are no more – now there are some scintillating alternatives to champagne, as this array of crisp, delicious vintages shows.

A &#163;75,000 bottle of wine &ndash; but the cork stays put

For Christian Vanneque, it was the ambition of a lifetime.

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Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories