While dogs often want company, cats enjoy seeking out quiet spots for time alone. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s been a tough time for pets too – though there’s professional help on hand

All three designers say that calm colours, rich fabrics and layering will help to add that luxe feel to your bedroom. Photograph: Getty

‘You can often pick up great bedding bargains in department store sales’

 Karen Cafferky with her husband Joe Hurl and children Autumn, aged 13 and Ethan aged 11 and dog Harry at their home in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Karen Cafferky and Joe Hurl wanted to take an eco-friendly approach to renovating

‘Middle age is a time when many people may have put on weight and this adds to the whole issue of not feeling good about themselves’

Despite looking after my health, I still wake up most days feeling exhausted

An infant's curiousity and enthusiasm can be a troublesome mix. Photograph: iStock

‘Now would be a good time to invest in some striking art which will be safe on your wall’

Cathy Lynch and her husband, John, with their sons Conor, Liam,  Seán  and his fiancee Lydia Mooney.

Cathy Lynch had cancer 15 years ago. After treatment, she had thought it was all behind her

Anne D’Avilez and  Rob Brading’s home  in Portugal.

There’s a ‘sense of freedom, and phenomenal cost savings’ living outside a resort

Roberta Horgan: ‘We need to highlight hereditary cancer syndromes so we can give families the opportunity to reduce their cancer burden’

‘I now see my diagnosis as a great opportunity to reduce my cancer risks’

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The shift towards environmentally friendly fashion has been building for many years

Georgina Radic on her wedding day.

Irish Cancer Society supported Georgina Radic through her diagnosis and recovery

Mags Morrissey of Hedgehog House, Baunskeha, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, outside her converted barn with family dogs Barney, Bailey and Bridie. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Morrissey used local tradespeople and traditional limewashing in this Kilkenny conversion

Dave Kerr, from Greystones, Co Wicklow, is a fan of underwater rock running.

Irish scuba instructor Dave Kerr carries rocks across the seabed several times a week

Alan Byrne in his home office, which he converted from a stable in just three weeks. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Civil servant Alan Byrne says having an office in the garden separates work from family life

It’s important to add some structure to our days. Photograph: iStock

Exercise daily, find joy in small things and find a routine that works for you

Tom Lynch (8) from Meath was seven years old when he was diagnosed with Dejerine-Sottas syndrome – a condition he had endured since birth.

February 28th aims to raise awareness of 300 million people with rare medical conditions

A HSE spokeswoman said information on coronavirus side-effects remains scant. Photograph: iStock

Patients have reported brain fog, high resting heart rate palpitations and insomnia

Helen Cooke: riding side-saddle

Side-saddle riding, a martial art, aerial silks, boxing – enjoy it and you’re likelier to keep at it

Chef Neven Maguire: ’I think people were a bit shocked when I shared a video with some of my old records playing.’

The TV cook dusts off his old DJ decks and more than 2,000 dance records

The O'Donovans: Sophie (12), Robyn (10), Katie (7) and Jack (17) are being homeschooled by their mother, Lynsey, while schools are closed by Covid-19

The pandemic has weighed particularly heavily on parents of children with additional needs

Sunrise over Bull Island, Dublin. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught many to stop putting things off and grab opportunity when it comes. Photograph: iStock

In 2021, those long-held personal plans will finally become reality, these people promise

Agness Meehan of Agness Vintage ReDesigns at her workshop in Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

The Covid and climate crises are driving demand for eco-conscious homewares

Runuary aims to support runners of all levels to maintain their exercise routines. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

‘Consistency will help you to progress in running,’ says Olympic athlete Thomas Barr

Leah Kennedy.

It is a natural part of female life but the stigma still remains among women

Rachel Gotto

Rachel Gotto overcame paralysis and drug dependency and hopes her memoir can help others deal with life’s challenges

Alexandra Furbee will be spending Christmas in Ireland with her partner, but says she will miss spending the time with her parents in Florida.

Schedule calls with loved ones, stay in contact and make the festive season different from the usual traditions, says psychologist

Interior design expert Anne Tuohy Anne  says we should change things up a bit by adding some variety.

Three experts offer simple steps to make your home more lovable during darker days

Máirín Ni Bheacháin

Doctors could find no cause for Máirín Ni Bheacháin’s succession of worrying symptoms

Deirdre Collins:  there is no Sjogren’s specialist in Ireland, so she sees five different doctors to manage her different symptoms.

Every career decision Deirdre Collins made was based on what she could physically do, rather than her ambition

Centre: Shóna and Wayne McGann. Left: Clara Malone of Coastal Ceremonies helped arrange an elopement on the Cliffs of Moher. Photograph: Jessica & Danilo. Right: Mary Carroll and JP Canning. Photograph: Emily Quinn

Shorter guest lists mean couples are spending more on bespoke menus and bouquets

Left: woodturner Glenn Lucas; centre: Fiadh Durham of Fiadh Woven Design; right: Eamonn Terry of Criostal na Rinne

Looking for a perfect gift? Jewellery, textiles, toys, beauty, art, food, and more, all made in Ireland

Maggie Green with her husband Danny, and children, Abigail (10) and Conor (eight), at home in Creeslough, Co Donegal. Photograph: Joe Dunne

MS Readathon encourages adults to take part and rediscover love of reading

Keanu Fischell has upped sticks to Crete

Meet the people who have upped sticks to work from home and live for less in sunnier climes

Derek McCarthy from Irish Hide Designs along with his wife Mary in their wood cabin in Lisnagry, Co Limerick.Photograph: Diarmuid Greene

A few alterations could turn this winter of discontent into one of contentment

Collette Furey: ‘I have always been intrigued by cold and remote places.’

Galway teacher Collette Furey quit her job and booked her passage to the South Seas

Writing a book has allowed Liam Gildea to study his illness, bipolar illness type 2, in detail. ‘It has proved to be very therapeutic and I hope it will help others understand the illness,’ he says

Liam Gildea says life would have been a lot easier if he had tried to deal with his issues when he was a teenager

Linda Sankey,  the communications officer for GetIrelandWalking.ie. “Six months into our new normal, we can all agree that the two most important tools used to sustain and facilitate living in a pandemic, have been Zoom and walking.”

National Walking Day is the perfect time for people to join a modern mass movement

Repair of aneurysms and dissections have improved over the years but adequate recovery time is important.

‘I don’t want his death to be in vain ... everyone is deserving of their chance to survive’

Des Bishop says he is happy to share his story if it makes even one man go to the doctor with suspicious symptoms as early detection is vital. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The comedian is part of Blue September, which aims to raise awareness of male cancers

Aoife McGettigan (28) and Ronan Ward (29) pictured in their house, Milltown, Dublin 6. Photograph: Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

Aoife McGettigan and Ronan Ward initially dismissed this Milltown house before realising its charm

Laura Dunne: “I put off going to the doctor for months because I was embarrassed to talk about my bowels or to tell my friends and family that I was in pain.”

Laura Dunne is just 22 but has been through surgery for bowel cancer. Early detection is key

Majella O’Dea from Athenry: “Gardening is totally absorbing, and I regularly lose track of time. I love trying to grow different plants.”

Lockdown gave people the impetus and space to improve their physical and mental wellbeing

Show your kids the basics of car maintenance such as putting water into the engine and filling up the windscreen wiper. Photograph: iStock

Use summer’s final month to teach them valuable life skills and play classic board games

You can still have a great summer despite the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: iStock

Cancelled breaks are a disappointment, but there’s still a way for families to compensate

KiwiCo camps kick off online from June 22nd, and offer loads of free content for 3 to 11 year olds

Activities are curbed due to Covid-19, but there’s plenty of ways to keep kids occupied

Caitríona Plunkett: “Don’t feel like you have to do this on your own because you don’t. You are never alone”

‘It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to ask for help. I know that recovery can be around the corner, so try not to worry as your(...)

Carol-Anne Crowley works as a chef at Mercy University Hospital, Cork.

An army of people are working behind the scenes in the battle against Covid-19

Maeve Culligan, director of the County Boutique, at home in Ennis with daughters Aisling and Aoife. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Boutique owner Maeve Culligan is tie-dyeing, sewing and painting through the lockdown

Niki Warner, who has inherited the cancer-causing gene mutation BRCA1

After her mother died of cancer, Niki Warner learned she had the same gene mutation

Roisin Graham and her husband Mark, who are living in the garden shed while their children Maeve, Brendan and Emma Graham stay in the house. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

It’s hard to work and keep children amused in a lockdown but what happens when adult children have to work from home too?

Maurice Kavanagh in Portugal in 2019: ‘I really worked at making myself have a good outlook’.

Maurice Kavanagh’s long catalogue of illness ended with dread advice - but he’s still upbeat

Sebastian Sebo and his partner Malgorzata Stelmach

Jobs are scarce on Arranmore off the Donegal coast, but for one Polish man it’s the perfect place to live right now

Megnificent Creative founder Meg O’Gara: “I would like tell others not to be afraid to be their true, authentic self because this is when they shine the brightest.”

Living with a limb disorder gave Meg O’Gara the courage to launch a design business

A little planning and imagination will help to maintain harmony in your home over the coming weeks

School work, baking, exercise, online resources... Help is out there, even if you can't go anywhere

  Joey and Andrew Miller with their children Fox (four) and Jay (two)   in the back garden of the house they bought in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Life was getting expensive for Andrew Miller’s young family. It was time to buy in a place they could afford

Sallyanne Brady founded The Irish Menopause to raise awareness of this very real life change

Sallyanne Brady endured years of ‘hell’ before receiving hormone replacement therapy

Chateau du Coudreceau, home to Éanna Hassett, a Kildare native who moved to France in 2018

The appeal of buying a pile in the French countryside is alive and well

Louise Hoey: “LQTS is a very difficult thing to live with. No one understands what it feels like as you never know when or how it will strike.”

Louise Hoey and her children tested positive for genetic condition Long QT syndrome

Mags Boland Murphy with her daughter Freya on the site of where their house will be built near Curracloe, Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Returning home, Mags Boland Murphy is set to build on family land in Wexford

Lisa Lambe: ’My husband accompanied me to the clinic, and I think we both realised how serious it was although we were very calm throughout.’

Parkruns have become a huge part of Lucy Lambe’s life after her cancer diagnosis

‘I don’t think anyone should worry about getting older – it’s just a number.’ Photograph: iStock

Maintaining good mental and physical health is key to staying young at heart

Extra care and attention. In her workshops Hazel Larkin discusses issues of control, power and triggers, along with the challenges that can surface during labour, birth and postpartum. Photograph: iStock

A sexual abuse survivor and mother is running courses to address this important issue

Christie Hennessy and Hermione Ross on Music of the Night in 1992

On World Cancer Day, Hermione Ross remembers her father, the singer-songwriter

The Deacon family in their home on Tara Hill, Co Wexford. William and Gráinne Deacon with their children Sam (12), Aoife (11) and Adam (9). Photograph: Patrick Browne

Rebooting this Wexford home to make the most of the views took longer than expected

Edwina Kestell and  Colm Egan: renovated their house on Foster Place North, Ballybough, Dublin 3. Photograph: Alan Betson

Edwina Kestell and Colm Egan didn’t initially realise the extent of work required

Adam Bruton, who became ill three years ago with meningitis, stresses the importance of getting vaccinated

Dublin man who fell ill with disease in 2017 tells of difficult battle to return to full health

Dermot Behan and family

Kildare man Dermot Behan has pledged to climb 50 mountains in Ireland during 2020 to raise funds for the LauraLynn Children’s Hosp(...)

 Aidan and Marina Murphy with their daughter Anna, aged 4 at their home in Ballinrobe, Co Mayo. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

It took two house moves for this Dublin couple to find the right home, in Co Mayo

Catríona McCormack: ‘I had always been a go getter . . . Now I spent most of my time in bed, a 360 degree turn of events - it was pretty soul destroying’

Gynaecological condition is difficult to diagnose and in many cases can be life altering

Your house will feel instantly brighter when all of the detritus is removed. Photograph: Getty

It’s time for new beginnings. Here are some tips on how to give your home a whole new look

Craig and Paul (he bought the house from his grandad). Photograph: Alan Betson

The owner of this cottage gave his grandfather’s old home a makeover

Move to the country: Gavin Glass and Amy Walsh with   daughter Emmy-Mae in their home in  Curracloe, Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Gavin Glass and Amy Walsh have left the pricey capital for a fresh start in Wexford

Anne Marie Cahill: As soon as Halloween is over, the decorating of the house begins and is usually finished by the middle of November

The entire ground floor of this Co Clare home is bedecked with baubles and some decorations even stay up all year round

Kim Hanly set up  Cervical Cancer Awareness Ireland, a support group to help women in Ireland affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.

Kim Hanly has had a lengthy journey with cervical cancer

Spa treatment: when the therapist leaves the room you have no idea how long you have to throw off your clothes and pull on the hugely unflattering paper knickers. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Massages and facials should leave you feeling Zen, but what if you’re just sore?

Andrew Browne: ‘You have to be very tough but I have found that being as fit as I possibly can both mentally and physically is something which helps my condition and being a professional golfer, I am quite fit, which is definitely a help’

‘My first thought was that I was dead but a nurse appeared and said I was alive – it was a relief’

Ireland’s Ciara Mageean competing in a   1,500m   semi-final at the  World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar,   on October 3th, 2019. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

‘I now have so many mechanisms and exercises which I use regularly in order to help me deal with the mental challenges’

The Daffodil Centre in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, is one of 13 such centres across the country which have helped   300,000 people   since   2009

Daffodil Centres offer vital support for people during and after their cancer diagnosis

Bernie Riordan: ‘I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 19, which was very late, and I have been told that it is usually worse in people who develop it beyond childhood’

Asthma requires regular monitoring and review and often worsens in Irish winters

Maria and Barry with Luca and a photograph  of his big sister Lola.

‘The only way we are getting through this is by firmly believing that our babies couldn’t stay with us for a reason’

There is growing evidence social activities could protect people from dementia in the long run. Photograph: iStock

Staying social and active in old age can keep loneliness at bay and reduce dementia risk

Tony O’Donoghue was in his first year at UCC and, at 17, was ‘really still a child’ when he lost my dad, says the sports commentator.

Campaign highlights importance of early detection in treatment of prostate cancer

Pumba, a Chowchow from Kerry, is the nation’s cutest puppy. Pumba’s owners are Catriona and Taylor Dowling. Photograph: Alan Place

Caring for a blind puppy or a dog with epilepsy is costly but their owners wouldn’t have it any other way

‘Mam says the wait was probably the scariest part of the ordeal. But the good news was that it hadn’t spread.’ Photograph: iStock

A Breast Aware app shows women signs and symptoms to act on immediately

Camping (without a tent!) in Greece

In 1991, having just turned 20, I headed off around Europe on the adventure of a lifetime

The overall impact of noise on an individual’s hearing is cumulative during the life time – but there are many simple ways you can reduce the potential damage caused by overexposure to loud noises.

The message is loud and clear: use earbuds to prevent damage to your hearing at gigs

Jessie Barr: “Research has found that engaging in just 20 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as running, can improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety for several hours post-exercise,” Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Running has been shown to enhance our mood, reduce stress and anxiety and helps to improve our sleep quality

Kayaking on the Suir Blueway.

With its rich history and myriad of outdoor pursuits, there’s a lot more to this county than hurlers and horses

‘On holiday abroad, especially Europe, I feel far more carefree and relaxed – focused on enjoying my holiday, rather than my wobbly bits.’ Photograph: iStock/Getty

It’s holiday season, which means body-image pressures for too many Irish women

Venetia Quick: ‘My advice to people who are worried about symptoms is don’t be scared to hear bad news, give yourself the best chance and go and see your doctor.’

After her husband Martin died from the disease just five months after being diagnosed, Venetia Quick is urging people to be aware (...)

Bee-keeping class at Seed Savers, Co Clare.  During the summer months courses include gardening for senior citizens, planting an orchard, wild food foraging, herbal medicine and rewilding a garden

Learn to play Irish music or speak the language, to sail, cook, understand wine – and much more

Melanie Hearns, a cervical cancer survivor, with her grandmother Mary Power, who died five years ago from stomach cancer.

Cancer survivor Melanie Hearns will be taking part in the Irish Cancer Society’s Colour Dash to raise much-needed funds

Roy Taylor with his band: ‘Although I can no longer play my beloved bass, I can still can sing, strangely enough.’

‘My initial reaction was complete numbness: my body shut down as I tried to comprehend the news’

‘I was totally in shock and so upset but tried to remain strong and kept telling my parents it would be fine’

Fit and healthy, everything changed for Deirdre Ruane when she started developing strange symptoms

Barceló Teguise Beach in Lanzarote is an adult-only hotel.

There is something so deliciously relaxing about a few days away sans les enfants

Tusla, the State’s child and family agency, strongly advises parents not to take children out of school for holidays during the school year. Photograph: iStock

Many parents say they can only afford a break during term-time. But experts say children risk losing out on education

Mark Nugent with his wife Jacqui. Mark has completed five marathons.

A cycling accident left sports mad Mark Nugent paralysed but he refused to let it stop him from pursuing his athletic goals

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