How you can make a difference to the planet in 2022 – starting with your garden

Water butts are a great way to save water. I have nine, not all connected to down pipes as we have spring water only and the catchment area is mainly from the garden and meadow, but I find that a... Read more

Dear Richard: ‘How soon should I wait to try and fix a massive family bust-up?’

Dear Richard, I won’t bore you with the details, but we had a huge family argument at Christmas. There had been so much anxiety leading up to the day and we should have just been grateful that we were able... Read more

How will Covid travel restrictions affect my winter sun or ski holiday?

The winter holiday season was thrown into disarray with the emergency of the omicron variant. However, the UK Government has now rolled back the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the highly contagious variant. Those travelling to... Read more

Dear Richard: ‘My partner has already taken my Christmas gift back to the shop’

Dear Richard, As I write this it’s the day after Boxing Day, and the coat I bought my wife has already made its way to the returns department of our local store. She’s exchanged it for some other things (a... Read more

Half and smaller bottle wines to try

If you’re not doing dry January but want to cut back on wine drinking this month (or for longer), then one simple idea is to buy smaller bottles. Couples sharing a half bottle of wine – that’s 37.5cl – are... Read more

My secret to staying cosy and glamorous in winter

From left to right: cashmere-wool jumper, £268, 12Storeez; velvet jumpsuit, £345, The Fold; satin T-shirt, £225, and trousers, £380, Vince Other points to remember are that any knitwear that can be belted, or is tailored, is a plus, particularly if... Read more

Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks, review: funny, scary, inventive and the best episode in years

New Year, New Who. Happily, Doctor Who (BBC One) began 2022 with a bang. A demolition blast and a spectacular pyrotechnic display, to be precise. Hour-long special Eve of the Daleks was the most entertaining episode in a long time,... Read more

Resolutions shouldn’t be about self-harm – which is why I’m giving up dating apps

A tangle of fairy lights, the chaotic rush of last-minute presents, piles of unwritten cards, cardboard boxes waiting to be broken down ready for the recycling bin.  Along with the endless to-do lists of Christmas, last year is finally over... Read more

The experts’ guide to what we’ll be drinking in 2022

South African wine is hitting a few sweet spots at the moment. At the £20-plus level, producers in the Cape are making wines that are both interesting and impressive.  These are managing to attract the attention of collectors and wine... Read more

Does The Princess Bride work even better as a radio drama? Inconceivable!

There was a similarly melancholy undertow to the soothing Moominland Midwinter (Radio 4, Saturday), in which young Moomintroll wakes from hibernation early, and wanders in a lonely, frozen world (with an atmospheric score). He learns about the cycle of the... Read more

Worzel Gummidge: Twitchers, review – a beautifully plotted, confident piece of storytelling

The many fans of the quiet cult comedy The Detectorists would have particularly enjoyed the second episode of Mackenzie Crook’s Worzel Gummidge reboot. Both shows are written by Crook, both are set in the countryside and for this episode at... Read more

Christmas cranked up to 11: why Die Hard 2 (not 1) is the greatest festive film

It’s as much a Christmas tradition as tiresome clichés about sprouts and family arguments: “Is Die Hard a Christmas film or not?” But this annual debate overlooks the film’s lesser yet more successful sequel, Die Hard 2: Die Harder. Now 30 years old, Die Hard... Read more

Around the World in 80 Days, episodes 1 and 2 review: a fun story that needed far fewer changes

“I was hoping for a little more colour.” The words of Abigail Fix in Around the World in 80 Days (BBC One) after she asked Phileas Fogg why he believed he could circumnavigate the globe, and Fogg gave some dull... Read more

Death in Paradise Christmas special, review: a half-hearted attempt at festive cheer

The blurb for the Death in Paradise special (BBC One) promised “a ray of Caribbean sunshine this Christmas time”. I’ve seen more sunshine on a wet weekend in Hull. Pity this episode’s guest star, Juliet Stevenson, who must have packed... Read more

A Very British Scandal, review: a poor attempt at redeeming a truly unlikeable person

But there isn’t a single sympathetic note. Margaret is a spoiled, scheming, pathological liar. At some level, she is the product of her upbringing: an indulgent father and an uncaring mother. But all that can really be said in her... Read more

Twixmas was invented by women. Why? So finally, we can switch off

If you’re reading this in loungewear, prone on the sofa surrounded by wilfully esoteric Christmas treats and only a hazy idea of what day it is, then congratulations: you have successfully segued into Twixmas. This is that unique, safe space... Read more

Dear Richard: ‘I’m still grieving for my husband, but my children want me to celebrate’

Dear Richard,  My husband died shortly after Christmas last year. It wasn’t Covid-19 but the pressures on the NHS arising from the pandemic did impact on the care he received: it was not a peaceful or a dignified end, and... Read more

It would be heartwarmingly apt if the ‘star’ of Bethlehem were a comet

The beginning of the Christian Era is said to have been marked by an extraordinary celestial event – the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem. The Christmas carol “We Three Kings of Orient” tells us how three Wise Men –... Read more

Travel tales of Twixmas past, and what to book this year

Drinks with the neighbours – a younger farming family – were, thus, a relief. And then, just short of midnight, it was time to go. And, oh my, how the world had changed. It was darker still, funeral-black, and what... Read more

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, review: from Peckham to penguinography – a joyful end to a vintage year

Opening the show, Sirieix formed a frisky French-Australian pairing with pro Dianne Buswell. With hair dyed red to match his partner’s, he dressed as an undignified turkey and flew down from the ceiling for his frothy quickstep. He proved the... Read more

The Abominable Snowbaby, review: this Christmas fairy tale is not as charming as it thinks

Whatever legal or marketing zooms led to Channel 4’s big Christmas animation The Abominable Snowbaby being branded as Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snowbaby, they boobed. The implication is that the story can’t stand up on its own and needs the Pratchett IP... Read more

Call the Midwife Christmas Special, review: a well-judged lesson in the importance of community

Ten series in, and Heidi Thomas has for some time been confident enough to dispense with the stunts and the gimmicks for the Call the Midwife Christmas Special (BBC One). No bombs or epidemics in 1966 Poplar; instead, just a... Read more

Dear Richard: ‘There’s no Christmas food my family can all enjoy at the same time’

Dear Richard,  After a challenging few months I am delighted to be looking forward to a big family Christmas this year. We’ve ordered the necessary food and drink, beating the shortages and dodging the queues. The presents are on a... Read more

26 of the UK’s most beautiful winter walks

Hampstead Heath tends to be the busiest walking venue in north London. Hollow Ponds, which is a few miles to the east and in Leytonstone, is just as nice thanks to its tranquil waters and wizened oaks. It’s in London,... Read more

How to enjoy Christmas, according to the Van Tulleken brothers

Both are fathers with expertise in children’s issues, which led to them backing the Duchess of Cambridge’s early childhood project, the Royal Foundation Centre For Early Childhood, which hopes to transform the lives of generations of children. And their theatre... Read more