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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
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

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People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
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Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

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From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m