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Schoolteacher William Buchman was arrested after officers found over 300 living and dead snakes inside his property

Harriet Walker: I am Christmas personified

A strange transformation has taken hold of me this festive season: I'm actually looking forward to it.

Cinderella: the Midnight Princess, Rose Theatre, Kingston

A massive clock with a complicated system of whirring cogs dominates Ruari Murchison's fetching, resourceful set. It betokens how time is of the essence in Charles Way's inventive, charming, if slightly stuffy, reworking of the Cinderella story at the Rose Theatre in Kingston.

St Lucia: Sweet luxury in a tropical hideaway

Room Service: Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort Saint Lucia

Cuddington, Cheshire

A four-bedroom house with spectacular panoramic views across the Cheshire countryside. £485,000

Not just clutter: 'Between the Ears' on Radio 3 looked at downsizing

The Week in Radio: Moved by the memories of those who can't let go

"This is my life, I can't just throw it away," said an elderly woman in Radio 3's Between the Ears, the panic rising in her voice. She was in process of moving into sheltered housing, and the prospect of reducing her worldly goods was making her ill. She had, she explained, just spent three days in hospital.

Average cost of upsizing to a 4 bedroom house is more than £145,000

The additional cost of moving from a three to four bed property varies from £60,500 in Hull to £1.59m in Kensington and Chelsea

Jersey House is £39.95m

Property: What can you get for £52m?

He has spent 12 years making RightMove the country's top website for househunters and the property-porn obsessed, but Ed Williams, who co-founded the site in 2000, has decided it's time to cash in his chips and spend more time with his £52m fortune.

Take a shine to metal

Don't go over the top with this season's latest shiny trend. Subtly is king when is comes to metallics, says Trish Lorenz

Kristel in 'Emmanuelle': 'I thought I knew it all and I was going to conquer the world,' she said

Sylvia Kristel: Actress who became typecast by her role in the erotic classic 'Emmanuelle'

When she auditioned for the part of Emmanuelle, a young diplomat's wife who embarks on a series of ever more daring sexual adventures during a trip to Thailand, the Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel didn't expect the eponymous erotic film directed by Just Jaeckin to ever get finished or be passed by censors in France or anywhere else.

Your chance to buy an island in Fiji

It's not often that private islands come up for sale in Fiji so if you have about £6 million going spare, you could buy the pleasantly titled Nananu-i-Cake and Mabua Islands.

Grayson Perry plans to build his house on a site in picturesque Wrabness

Grayson Perry's vision for Essex

'Gingerbread house' has ruffled feathers. By Charlie Cooper

Grayson Perry plans to build his house on a site in picturesque Wrabness

Grayson Perry has a vision for Essex... but the village of Wrabness doesn't like it

The Turner Prize-winner's latest work is a holiday cottage on the coast - complete with statue on the roof

A Monster Calls, By Patrick Ness

Children's writer Siobhan Dowd died when she only had the idea for this fifth book; Ness has taken that idea and made of it both a classic tale and a tribute to her. Young Conor's mother is ill with cancer, and he is having nightmares regularly.

Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals last May

Navy Seal's book rewrites story of Bin Laden's death

Account that al-Qa'ida leader was unarmed when assassinated contradicts official line

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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