Life and Style

Q. I'm a single mother in my forties and I think I've begun to develop some kind of social phobia. People think of me as quite a confident person. I'm fine dealing with people in my work and at the school gate (I have two sons aged 11 and 14), but I dread any social event.

Festival goers arrive for Bestival 2013 at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight

First summer without a festival - does this mean I'm getting old?

After too many summers spent getting drunk on warm cider and soaked by cold rain, is it time for a year off?

Chalk Talk: A tour with Blondie? That's top-notch work experience for students

Some experiences that you notch up as a student you just can't beat.

Reginald D Hunter

Reginald D Hunter at the PFA Player of the Year awards: Right man, but wrong event at the wrong time

The Independent's Sam Wallace, who was in attendance at last night's awards, provides an insight into events

Brit Awards 2013: nominations in full

Emili Sandé is the most nominated artist up for four awards followed by Rita Ora, Mumford & Sons and Alt-J with three nominations each

Rizzle Kicks have been confirmed for the Isle of Wight Festival

Rizzle Kicks added to Isle of Wight Festival line-up

Hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks have been added to the line-up of the Isle of Wight Festival along with 1980s favourites T'Pau.

Bob Geldof hasn't played with the Boomtown Rats' since 1986

Music: Bob Geldof reckons it's boomtime for the Rats

"It's time to re-Rat, to go back to Boomtown for a visit," Bob Geldof said as he announced the Irish post-punk outfit that really don't like Mondays were to reform for shows including a Sunday-night spot at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Paloma Faith would put Fifty Shades of Grey in Room 101; comedian Jack Whitehall hates 'glamping'

What gets my goat! 'Room 101' returns

A new set of celebrities reveal their pet hates. Jonathan Owen investigates

The launch of ‘He Ain’t Heavy...’ in Liverpool

Justice Collective's Hillsborough charity single He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother wins chart battle beating Simon Cowell-backed X Factor winner James Arthur

Proceeds from ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ will pay legal costs for relatives campaigning for justice

Ellie Goulding and Debbie Harry of Blondie

Blondie, Ellie Goulding and Bloc Party join Isle of Wight line-up

Singer-songwriter Jake Bugg, Blondie, Ellie Goulding and Bloc Party are among acts added to the line-up of next-year's Isle of Wight Festival.

Paul McCartney goes for Christmas chart-topper with Hillsborough tragedy charity single

Sir Paul McCartney is to take on the X Factor for the Christmas number one after joining the line-up of a Hillsborough charity single.

Wogan addresses BBC's Savile crisis on 'Children in Need' as appeal beats 2011 total

The BBC's Children in Need appeal raised more than £26 million during this year's live television show, beating the 2011 total.

Where's Pudsey? No sign of BBC's Children in Need with only three days to go

Three days before the BBC hosts its annual Children in Need telethon it is desperately fighting to shore up public trust in the organisation.

Gary Barlow to play at Chris Evans' pub

Take That frontman Gary Barlow has signed up to play what could be the smallest gig of his career - in DJ Chris Evans' pub.

Gary Barlow tops singles chart with official Diamond Jubilee song

Gary Barlow and his Commonwealth Band have leapt to the top of the chart this week with Jubilee anthem Sing.

Paul Epworth and Adele

Behind every female superstar...

When Adele's producer stepped into the limelight at the Grammys, a Svengali was unmasked, says Elisa Bray

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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
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links