i Robert Burns, 1759 to 1796. Scottish Poet

Ah, Scotland’s favourite son.

Wine: Something for the weekend

Night in

Alan Bennett has accused Nina Stibbe's book of 'misremembering' him

Alan Bennett says Nina Stibbe's Christmas hit book Love, Nina ‘misremembers’ him

As literary monsterings go, accusing Alan Bennett of being good at fixing washing machines is at the milder end of the scale. But for the celebrated playwright, the allegation of mechanical competence has proved too hard to stomach.

James Gray enjoys lunch at The Holiday Inn in Sutton with Marian and John Cunningham

Page 3 Profile: James Gray, Christmas diner

He looks like he’s enjoying a nice Christmas dinner

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The last PMQs before Christmas. Thank goodness it comes round only once a year

Ah, the last Prime Minister’s Questions of the year. MPs always find it impossible not to overdo the festive references, as though they had just been given uniquely privileged inside information that Christmas was only a week away. There is the frankly obsequious kind, such as Therese Coffey’s: “Thank you for calling me, Mr Speaker, and a merry Christmas to you and your family. The people of Suffolk have enjoyed a cracker of a Christmas present with the excellent news on the A14 [not becoming a toll road]...” Then there is the beseeching, as in her fellow Tory Stewart Jackson’s: “Will the Prime Minister give an early Christmas present to Peterborough people by giving his personal support to our bid for a university technical college.”

MMA: GSP announcement precedes stacked card - just another week in the UFC

Georges St Pierre takes a break - but Dana White is confident UFC can cope

The 10 Best Christmas puddings 2013

If you haven’t found time to make your Christmas pud, don’t despair. We select the finest of this fruity festive staple

The 10 Best Christmas hampers

From gourmet festive fare to chocolates with a royal seal of approval, these fine hampers make mouth-watering pressies for foodies

The Cross, Kenilworth: Restaurant review - the grand dowager has had an expert facelift

It's a tricky decision for a lady of mature years. At what stage do you have work done, if at all? Do you slide into comfortable decrepitude? Or undergo a discreet cosmetic procedure, and run the risk of emerging with a startled, over-shiny face that looks too young for your body?

The draw ceremony in Brazil

2014 World Cup draw: BBC sticks to script with bikinis, Blatter and back-heels

It was left to Sir Geoff Hurst to deliver the fatal blow in Fifa’s glorified game of battleships

<b>8. Lindt</b> Everyone loves Lindt and this includes 24 of their most iconic festive novelties, including mini Santas, mini reindeers and those melt-in-the-mouth Lindor balls. Children, be warned - you might need to hide it from the adults.
£5.29 www.lindt-shop.co.uk

The 10 Best advent calendars

The most delicious chocolate treats help make waiting for Christmas so much more enjoyable for children and adults alike

Raj minimalism: Downstairs there's a second dining room and a cosy bar with a nice, speakeasy feel

Restaurant review: Gymkhana, 42 Albemarle Street, London

Five years ago, Trishna opened near Baker Street specialising in upmarket (and expensive) Indian cuisine. It was the brainchild of Karam Sethi and his brother Jyotin, both born in London, and specialised in the cooking of south-west India. The memory of its Isle of Shuna mussels and its coastal lamb curry has remained with me ever since, and I wasn't surprised when the place picked up a Michelin star last October.

Stop and Search: Drugs and the aggravating factor of being black

A study has found that in forces across England and Wales, drug policy was a major cause of racial inequality in the justice system

Gregg Wallace with girlfriend Anne-Marie Sterpini as the MasterChef judge brawled with a man and punched him in the face for allegedly groping his girlfriend, it was reported.

MasterChef's Gregg Wallace 'punched man in the face for groping his girlfriend'

He’s used to playing culinary good cop to John Torode’s bad cop in the BBC’s popular cooking competition MasterChef.

The carnivore: So, would you eat a test-tube burger?

Eating meat has always been a question of stomach overruling head for me. I am a voracious carnivore, raised on a diet of full English breakfasts, hearty lasagnes and my mother's Sunday roast.

Anthony Rose: Keep it sweet

PX is a unique Spanish sweet wine that I discovered a while ago, so sweet in fact that it resulted in me having to make a trip to the dentist. PX, or Pedro, short for Pedro Ximénez, is one of the darkest, richest, stickiest wines in the world and by rights shouldn't exist as a wine at all. Oozing with viscous sucrosity, it's the perfect blending sweetener, in small doses, for cream sherry and sweet oloroso. Did someone dunk a finger in a cask of Pedro one day and think "I could get a pat on the back from the mouthwash industry for bottling this on its own"?

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Day In a Page

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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn