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In the middle of the night, hidden beneath the covers, I start laughing at the idea of anyone else finding out what I'm Googling. No, I'm not funding the dark web, I'm not streaming illegal stuff of any kind, I'm not even shopping for kittens; I'm soothing my troubled insomniac brow on frenchclick.co.uk, gazing at things formerly only purchasable in French supermarkets, now brought all the way across the Channel to my London front door – with no delivery charge on orders of more than £35. (More than £35? Pah. I can spend over £35 on biscuits alone in a French supermarket.)

The Big Six: French ski retreats

Take your pick in Courchevel, Chamonix, Sainte-Foy, Megève, and Val Thorens

The Lockhart, restaurant review: Brad McDonald has picked up the south-western ball and kicked it out of the park

At the risk of straying into territory staked out by my more lurid male counterparts, I once saw a strip bar in Nashville with a neon sign outside advertising '99 Beautiful Girls! And One Ugly One'. They can get away with that kind of playful hucksterism down in the American South. Here, outraged punters would be demanding refunds and invoking the Trade Descriptions Act.

Travel agenda

From Ben Fogle's shore excursions to a new Hemingway hotel in Madrid, and discounted family rail travel in the UK

Thirsty at thirty? The Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is 30 years old. But is it the cultural force it once was?

Titus Clarysse eats at a restaurant in Ghent, western Belgium in 2009; Clarysse was known in and around the university town of Ghent for walking into any restaurant of his choosing, ordering anything for steak to lobsters and walking out without paying

Titus Clarysse: Belgian man who skipped 100 restaurant bills is killed

He was a “happy-go-lucky” guy who was notorious for spicing up life on benefits in the medieval Belgian town of Ghent by strolling into a restaurant, calmly ordering lobster washed down with the finest brandy or some other gastronomic delight and then walking out without paying the bill.

Travel agenda

From a converted railway station in Snowdonia and a new resort to San Diego to Sawdays' sale and Gooey travel accessories

One of the world’s top culinary teams is calling for blood to be used more widely in the everyday food we eat

Gone right off eggs? Try blood (even in ice cream) ... The grisly ingredient is overlooked, say cutting-edge culinary experts

The Nordic Food Lab says blood is nutritious, delicious and could be the solution to the growing problem of allergies

Postcard from... Brussels

Postcard from... Berlin

The 10 best low-fat snacks

New year, new start? Us too. Daisy Wyatt rounds up the best healthy snacks from popcorn and seeds to dried fruit

A baby northern gannet stands next to one of its parents

Gannet chick-eating championships provoke anger from wildlife lovers

The first “world championship” for eating pickled baby gannets, known as “guga”, has sparked new calls for a total ban on the Hebridean tradition of hunting chicks by clubbing  them with sticks.

A tweet showing Russian artist Viktor Ivanov's bear fashioned from cuts of chicken.

The nightmare before Christmas: the terrifying 'Turkey Bear'

The photo of a bear put together using clumps of meat is almost enough to put you off Christmas dinner

Evgeny Kissin, LSO, Tilson Thomas: classical review

Barbican, London

A bin of corks used as evidence in the trial of wine dealer Rudy Kurniawan

US wine dealer who made $1.3m by selling ‘vintage’ stock made in kitchen facing up to 40 years in prison

Renowned seller made fortune from bogus bottles sold to rich American collectors

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee