Travel

Take your pick in Courchevel, Chamonix, Sainte-Foy, Megève, and Val Thorens

Harriet Walker: 'I understood with crashing clarity that I was old'

When was the last time you had a weekend you would categorise as perfect? The definition changes with the seasons, or the personalities we put on with each phase of our existence.

Woolf Hall: Emma Townshend finds a new book about the author's final home irresistible - and she's not the only one

So I'm standing next to a woman in Belgravia Books (it's much friendlier and less posh than it sounds, and a tippety-top-class independent bookseller, to boot), and she's clutching this book, Virginia Woolf's Garden, to her chest.

The property's historic bedroom

Stay the Night: Lendal Tower, York

Once part of the city walls, then a water tower, this medieval building now accepts guests. Holly Williams takes a step back

Cheap and filling: A hearty fish soup

Mark Hix recipe: A hearty fish soup

Serves 4-6

Anthony Rose: 'A little bit of sugar helps the medicine, whether tannin in red wine or acidity in white, go down'

I first heard of Apothic when the PR for the new California brand from Gallo asked me if I wanted a sample of a wine "fusing Old World intrigue with modern sophistication". It sounded too untrue to be good so I declined. I thought no more of it until, lo, two days later it turned up all sweet and chocolatey at Tesco's press tasting. Yum, I hear you say. Perhaps. The wine trade refers to this kind of wine as an 'entry wine', in other words, designed to appeal to newcomers to wine in the same way as, say, moscato or gewürztraminer.

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Night in

Creepy crawly: We are often unused to seeing what we eat when it's alive

Burger and Lobster, London: A gnawing guilt after coming face to face with my meal-to-be

The consequences of our collective disregard for what we put in our mouths is disastrous

'The Russian J Edgar Hoover’s' lecture was like a pile of exploding mashed potatoes

Our man in Paris: Alexander Bastrykin was making a rare public appearance at the Sorbonne University

10 best red wines for winter - go on, it's Christmas (nearly)

With the weather turning brisk, keep warm by curling up indoors with a glass of ones of these wines in hand

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury (right) speaks with John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, as the Church of England General Synod debated the principle of allowing women bishops

Breakthrough? Church of England moves step closer to women bishops as General Synod backs new proposals

Church governing body votes massively in favour to support their introduction - but with guidance for parishes that reject female ministry

Glencore trader Andrew Kearns is suing the mining giant from wrongful dismissal after being sacked for

Glencore trader fired for 'serious misconduct' smashed a bottle of wine during business dinner

Andrew Kearns is suing the mining giant for wrongful dismissal

The 1726 Haggadah, illustrated by one of Judaism's most famous scribes, was found in a garage

Rare Jewish manuscript found in garage expected to fetch £500,000

The Haggadah (a book read by Jews on the first night of Passover) dates from 1726

The help desk: 'I'm a single mother in my forties and I dread any social event'

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.

A cricket fan sits alone in his tram home

Sport on TV: A great spectacle puts everyone else in the shade

Some say the Sky is falling in after BT Sport's hijacking of the Champions' League broadcasting rights. Yet without the satellite platform we might not have seen Sachin Tendulkar's 200th and final Test match (Sky Sports 2, Thursday). They have been faithfully delivering cricket from all corners of the old empire since early 1990, coinciding with all but three months of the Little Master's remarkable 24-year career.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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Day In a Page

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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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