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The Insider: Miniature gardening (minus the garden)

Who needs flowerpots? Whether you're planting indoors or on a windowsill, patio or balcony – or even in a garden with (like mine) minimal flowerbed space – take tips from a lovely new book, Teeny, Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy (£14,99, Cico). It is stuffed with inventive ideas for weeny things you can turn into quirky planters. Such as…

Hamish Rutherford defies England test auditionees in New Zealand

Tour match, Queenstown (day two of four) New Zealand XI 224-6 v England 426

Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been in the right place at the right time

Marco Rubio’s star rises as Republicans look for a renaissance candidate

If US presidential politics is largely about being in the right place at the right time, then Marco Rubio most certainly is.

The former England captain Michael Vaughan launches Yorkshire Tea’s deal at Lord’s yesterday

Stephen Brenkley: A storm in a sponsored cup... ECB stirs up controversy by selling off the tea break

Tea has always been archaic yet sacrosanct. As an institution it has embodied the entire ethos of a type of game that probably did not exist, except perhaps at Blandings: at 20 minutes in length, neither one thing nor the other.

Five-Minute Memoir: William Nicholson recalls being driven over the edge by a white van

This is a tale of suffering, redemption and white vans. Late last year I needed to transport some furniture from our house in Sussex to my son's rooms in central London. I should have paid a man to do it for me, but foolishly confident in my driving ability, I decided to hire a van and drive it myself. It was a white Ford Transit 280 panel van, which if you've ever driven you'll know presents special challenges to the driver. It's long and wide and you can't see out of the back. You never really know how close you are to anything else on the road. Turning corners brings with it new surprises every time. Overtaking becomes an act of reckless abandon.

Stranded Somerset drivers forced to bed down in Nether Stowey village hall

Thirty people were forced to spend the night in a village hall after being rescued by police when they became stranded in their cars because of snow.

Australia remain in control against Sri Lanka

Report from Day Two of the Third Test

The Republican Speaker has offered tax rate rises for the rich

Fiscal cliff: Partisan differences narrow in negotiations over US budget

Republican Speaker and White House offer concessions as deadline for automatic cuts nears

Australia claim late wickets to earn victory over Sri Lanka

Australia win first Test in Hobart

Pair jailed over witches' coven 'ritualistic' sex abuse

Two men accused of being part of a paedophile ring involving murdered “witch” Peter Solheim have been given lengthy jail sentences for their part in “ritualistic, sickening” sex abuse of young girls.

The Walking Dead Episode 5: No Time Left – Review

A fitting finale of a series committed to the emotional experience.
Ricky Ponting of Australia greets his wife Rianna, and daughters

Ricky Ponting plays final innings for Australia

Australian legend makes a disappointing eight

All so homely until a bungling groundsman lets the cash out of the bag

View From The Sofa: FA Cup live coverage, ESPN

Amazon takes on supermarkets with huge growth in groceries

Amazon has launched an assault on Britain's supermarkets with a sevenfold increase in the groceries it offers online in barely two years.

Warren Gatland (left) watches training with assistant Rob Howley

Injured Carter's withdrawal gives Wales glimmer of hope

All Blacks' talismanic fly-half out with ankle injury as coach Gatland returns to lead Dragons

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'