Bright ideas: how to stay safe when running in the dark

More than 12,000 runners take part in the 72km SaintéLyon night run. Photograph: Gilles Reboisson Do you like running around in the dark with lots of other people? Well, I may have just the race for you. It is little known outside France, but one of the oldest ultramarathons in the world takes place in the Rhône department of France. ... Read More »

Ten of the best beers for Christmas

Left to right: Ninkasi; 01|01; Rodenbach Grand Cru; Mac Spreadsheet Ninja; and Jester IPA If the very thought of brandy and eggnog gives you a festive headache, take a risk this Christmas and swap the port for a pint of porter. Good beer pairs as well with food as wine does, and if you stick with lighter brews you’ll skip ... Read More »

Crush of the week: Jessica Jones

Krysten Ritter plays the super-strong title character, a bracing mix of abrasive, irritable, funny and disappointed ‘Have you watched Jessica Jones? You should.’ Photograph: Steve Sands/ Getty Images Years ago, a friend gave me a copy of the first issue of Alias, a comic he assured me I would like very, very much. It centred on Jessica Jones, a hard-drinking, costumed superhero-turned-private-investigator in ... Read More »

A letter to … the midwife who blew in with the snow at Christmas

We jumped when the doorbell rang. It was that time between Christmas and New Year when no one is around much anyway, but unexpectedly thick snow had cut us off from everyone and we had been on our own for two days. I remember your huge smile and bright red cheeks showing from underneath the furry hood of your parka as you stamped the ... Read More »

Experience: I saved a man while dressed as Santa

‘Every Christmas I’d dress as Santa and drive out with a couple of colleagues to deliver gifts to disadvantaged kids.’ Photograph: Justin Clemons for the Guardian Every Christmas, the firm I worked for raised money for disadvantaged kids in the area, and every Christmas I’d dress as Santa and drive out with a couple of colleagues to deliver gifts. Some ... Read More »

Nigel Slater’s breakfast smoothie and muffin recipes

Breakfast of champions: Nigel Slater’s passionfruit and pineapple smoothie recipe. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer Christmas morning aside, the next few days will probably start a little later than usual. The gobble-and-go of the working week makes way for a breakfast that is more leisurely, leaving time for the slow, sizzling glory of a full English, eggs Benedict or ... Read More »

My baby, the refugee: mothers on the hardest journey of their lives

hey have travelled for thousands of miles, carrying their babies in rucksacks and risking dangerous sea crossings. In Calais’s Jungle camp, we meet the women refugees forced to flee with their children • Donate to our refugees appeal Leyla and Sara, from Iraq. Photograph: Abbie Trayler-Smith . In a caravan in Calais, two little girls are playing a game. While ... Read More »

‘He has to have a life, we have to take that risk’: children living with extreme allergies

Until recently, Elian could only eat six different foods. Eggs, dairy, nuts or lentils could kill him – and he’s far from alone. What’s behind the explosion in childhood allergies? Elian, three, is allergic to eggs, dairy, nuts, peas, lentils, beans, leeks, lamb, turkey, garlic, chickpeas, sesame, rice, oats, barley, cats, horses, dogs and antibiotics. Photograph: David Yeo for the ... Read More »

Beyond Fitbit: The quest to develop medical-grade wearables

Rosalind Picard, MIT professor and chief scientist at Empatica, and Matteo Lai (L), CEO of Empatica, wear the company’s Embrace devices while talking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 25, 2015. A new wave of wearable computing devices that detect and monitor serious diseases is moving from the laboratory to the market, potentially transforming the treatment ... Read More »

Luxury brands shower attention on well-heeled Chinese students in U.S.

A visitor from China looks at her mobile phone after shopping at Tifany & Co. jewelers in New York City in this April 4, 2013 file photo. Sellers of Western luxury brands eager to capitalize on the new wealth of Chinese consumers are showering attention on mainland students in the United States, even as sales in China falter. The strategy ... Read More »