Arts and Entertainment

Something strange happened while I was watching the new series of US legal drama The Good Wife (More4) this week. I found myself humming the theme tune from Australian soap opera Home and Away. It was my unconscious mind's way of serenading new addition to the cast, Melissa George.

'We're on the fillet steak every night': The Royal Marines being put up in a Holiday Inn hotel because there's no room in the barracks

Royal Marines are being put up at taxpayers' expense in a Holiday Inn just four miles away from the base where they were posted

Edinburgh can't afford to ban its sauna sex trade

Not everyone is fond of the world’s oldest profession. But that doesn’t give Scotland's new consolidated police force the right to sweep thousands of individuals under the rug

Facebook and Twitter top twenty: The Independent stories you've been sharing this year

From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Postcard from... Malmo

Attitudes to nudity are somewhat more relaxed in Sweden than here at home – as I found out earlier this week in Malmo.

To heat or not to heat: How much is too much central heating for student houses in winter

Nothing causes more arguments. So how much should you have the heating on?

The Big Six: Nordic retreats

Northern Lights, rustic rooms, viewing bubbles, canvas walls, saunas and luxury domes

The 10 Best British spas

Pamper yourself into blissful oblivion before the festive season arrives in this selection of the finest spas in the country

Devon Alexander lands another blow on a struggling Lee Purdy

Boxing: Lee Purdy can't make either the weight or a title fight of it

Late stand-in comes up short as his conqueror looks to take on Khan

As cardinals gather to elect Pope, Catholic officials break into a sweat over news that priests share €23m building with huge gay sauna

A day ahead of the papal conclave, faces at the scandal-struck Vatican were even redder than usual after it emerged that the Holy See had purchased a €23 million (£21 million) share of a Rome apartment block that houses Europe’s biggest gay sauna.

And ... relax: the Siam Spa

When at Bohemia get set for rhapsody

Room Service: Bohemia Suites, Gran Canaria

If you value your life, move away from that thermostat

How to keep warm this winter.

St Georges Hill, the private residential estate in Weybridge where Alexander Perepilichnyy rented a house

The exclusive gated community in Weybridge where Alexander Perepilichnyy lost his life

Ringed by fences, electronic gates, CCTV cameras and a  24-hour contingent of security guards, St George’s Hill in Weybridge, Surrey, is one of Britain’s most exclusive and secure private estates.

Two men die after collapsing at Pleasuredrome sauna in London

Two men have died after collapsing in a sauna near Waterloo station in south London.

The “Long Way Down” Gondola Kitzbühel, Austria or Whistler, Canada

The Big Six: Great gondolas

The 10 Best British spas

The perfect places to have a relaxing soak

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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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

How podcasts became mainstream

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
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
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