Steer clear: you may run into trouble with insurance companies if anyone other than a qualified plumber worked on your water pipes

Arlene Harris: Is everyone too busy to do small jobs, or are they just not bothered?

“There is never a bad time to sell, with the exception of the weeks leading up to Christmas.” Photograph: iStock

Winter can be a hard time to sell but simple steps can make a property more desirable

It is four years since her  cancer diagnosis and Kathleen O’Connor stresses the importance for people who are newly diagnosed to be honest, accept help, communicate and get plenty of rest.

Over 3,000 Irish women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually but the number of survivors is rising

Alison and Mick Rooney at Ballyalla lake in  Ennis, Co Clare. Photograph: Mike Mulcaire

Exercising with your loved one should make the experience a much happier one

Ann Marie Hoade after treatment for ovarian cancer. There are about 410 cases of the disease and 270 deaths as a result it each year in Ireland.

Ann Marie Hoade’s cancer was diagnosed only after she asked for advanced scans

Louise Liam Mac an Tsaoi  from Clonberne, Co Galway, with seven-year-old son Liam

Health hero: Louise Mac an Tsaoi is a full-time carer for her son who has lung disease, PKU and autism

Joanne Farrell, local services manager of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland: “Every brain injury is unique.” Photograph: Eamon Ward

Health Hero: Joanne Farrell is a dedicated advocate for people living with brain injuries

Damian Timoney, before (L) and after (R) Weight Watchers

Seventy per cent of Irish males are now overweight compared with 52% of females

Broadcaster Marty Morrissey with Bobby Mulvaney from Sallins Men’s Shed get their blood pressure checked at the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit.  Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Men are three times more likely than women to die early from a heart condition

Jane Johnstone with her son Evan and daughter Ciara.

Jane Johnstone is sole carer for her two sons, whose complex needs sometimes keep her up all night

Neil Kelders: “If I could give any advice I would say that the most important thing to do is talk – I know it took me over 21 years, but trust me, talk.” Photograph: City Headshots Dublin

Neil Kelders kept his depression secret for 21 years, until a chance conversation with his sister-in law prompted him to get help

Paula Robinson from Cavan was announced as Ireland’s CarePlus Pharmacy Carer of the Year 2017. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Health hero: Paula Robinson is full-time carer for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and her father, who has bowel cancer

Marc Harris with his wife Marisa: “my rock”.

Marc Harris’s childhood leukaemia left him with a major side-effect – infertility

‘I travel a lot and I was anxious about sending away my old passport in case it took up to six weeks (which it has done in the past) for a new one to arrive.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Given the high number of pre-Brexit applications for Irish passports, Arlene Harris skips the queues and gives the online service (...)

Heaven and hell: the balcony of our first apartment overlooked a building site; our second apartment had the views we thought we’d booked in the first place

A week’s self-catering turned into an endurance test, but a furious complaint paid off

Dorothy, Carrick and Zondra Meaney. Photograph: Brian Gavin Press 22

Zondra Meaney lives with the rare genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but thanks to the round-the-clock help of her mother Do(...)

Mavis Ubuntu, originally from South Africa, has lived here for two years. “I think connections between people and strong, supportive communities are very important,” she says

Health Hero: Mavis Ubuntu helps run a kitchen in Dublin where asylum seekers can prepare meals

Nuala Geraghty: “We have had over 1,000 calls in the last four months from families pleading for a dog. We have had to say no as our waiting list is closed. We need the Government to support autism assistance dogs as a vital service to children in crisis.”

Health hero: Nuala Geraghty set up Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland to provide highly trained dogs to improve the quality of life fo(...)

Francis Nesbitt with his goats at Croan House, Co Kilkenny.

Francis Nesbitt gave up city life to create an eco business on his sprawling Kilkenny farm

Mary Grogan: “Now I’m off the patches and just use the inhaler, and I continue to take one day at a time. The days are ticking by, and I am getting stronger and more able”

The right support is vital to have the best possible chance of quitting tobacco

Nicky Brennan with his student Laura Maloney at her graduation

Many musicians and bands can testify to Nicky Brennan’s guidance and how he helped them discover their talents

Dr Robert O’Connor: “I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, especially the sea.”

Dr Robert O’Connor, Irish Cancer Society head of research, believes education is key to a healthy society

A paved driveway is harder to lay and more expensive, but very popular

Whether it’s tree-lined or a pocket-sized patch, picking the right finish adds to the appeal

Your lifestyle choices can bring on this life-changing condition

Nicole Dickerson, a sixth-year boarding student at St Columba’s in Dublin. “There is a great support system here because we are surrounded by friends,” she says. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

While the recession threatened the future of some schools, enrolment levels have bounced back to boom-time highs

Catherine Cox: “My proudest achievement is the fact that here are over 800 people across Ireland involved in Family Carers Ireland.” Photograph: Mark Steadman

Health Hero: Fighting for fairness on behalf of nation’s carers

Brian Herman: ‘I had no symptoms at all apart from the occasional bout of erectile dysfunction which I attributed to my advancing years.’

Recent research has revealed the possibility of a new urine test for prostate cancer

Úna McNicholas with her sister Elizabeth, who is living with brain and spinal injuries

Una McNicholas from Lucan has learned how to administer life-saving injections for her sister Elizabeth

Ann Norton with her eldest daughter Nicole who has Cerebral Palsy and is visually impaired

Ann Norton and team provide 10,000 hours a year to children with special needs in Clare

‘You could also replace your light fittings with low-energy LED bulbs which are long lasting, use very little energy and are available in lots of different fittings to suit every application.’

A better BER rating makes for a more comfortable home that will be easier to sell

Lung cancer victim Joan Burnby died on St Stephen’s Day 2014, just six months after first feeling unwell. She never smoked, was not overweight and always looked after her health.

Widower reveals his pain and disbelief after his wife was diagnosed with disease at just 42

An increasing number of people are cheering fellow athletes on through the medium of social media. Photograph: iStock

Social media groups are giving advice and encouragement to first-time athletes

Kathleen King: “Accurate information is essential in any condition, but especially in endometriosis. Life-changing decisions can be made due to the wrong information.”

Endometriosis sufferer Kathleen King wants to educate society about the painful condition

Sparkling windows, fresh colours and more floor space will lift the mood of a room. Photograph: Getty

This time of year lifts the spirits and puts us in the mood for a makeover

Sandra Kavanagh: ‘I could not believe that I was being told I had cancer again, on top of everything I had been through and so soon after I had recovered.’

Sandra Kavanagh found a lump in her right breast when she was 38

Architect Darragh Breathnach in the upside down house he designed in Booterstown for clients who wanted to enjoy the sea view

Architect convinced owners to move living quarters upstairs

Between the jigs and the reels: Irish-dancing competitions can require “hideously expensive” outfits. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Some parents are uncomfortable with the wigs, make-up and expensive dresses of the modern Irish dancing world

Surveys indicate that pupils in all-girls schools are more likely to feel exam stress and feel negative towards school. Photograph: Getty Images

Psychologists say girls in single-sex schools are more likely to suffer from social or emotional problems

Maureen Durcan: The Sligo Cancer Support Centre now caters for the emotional needs of over 9,000 patients. Photograph: Peter Wilcock

Health Hero: Maureen Durcan runs a sanctuary for ‘people in emotional or psychological pain’

Architect Dermot Bannon  at home in Drumcondra,  Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

An extra bedroom, a new kitchen and clever storage are among the most wanted

Pádraig Ó’Dhonnabháin, a UCC student on Erasmus in Venice. “The teachers and lecturers that I have had so far are really fantastic,” he says.

Taoiseach says one of his ‘big regrets’ is not taking opportunity to study abroad

‘Joggers are almost certainly and unwittingly damaging their lungs by breathing in diesel’

 Maria Androulaki Anna Tsigaridas and Christos Tsigaridas at home in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

We talk to three couples from overseas who have rented or bought homes here

Teaching children to cook is a way of sparking an interest in healthy eating. Photograph: Getty Images

It can be difficult for parents to get their children to eat healthy food but teaching them to cook can having a lasting impact on(...)

Simon Says, Swing Your Partner, Meet in the Middle and Follow the Leader are always good fun and plenty of movement can be orchestrated

‘Taking exercise should be part of family life and it needs to be driven by the parents’

Rising numbers of Irish school-leavers are opting to study abroad in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Denmark. Photograph: iStock

For Irish students studying abroad, heavier workloads, less spoonfeeding and more independent learning can be a jolt to the system(...)

Laura Steerman and family: “We’d all rather spend time at the park or playing, doing arts and crafts or just chilling, rather than dusting the shutters or giving the bathrooms a heavy clean.”

While chores may prepare children for life, for some parents it's not worth the hassle

Sophie Buckmaster in hospital. 'It’s very tough having a child in hospital during Christmas, but seeing Sophie so happy and enjoying all the fun stuff she is doing helps us get through it.'

‘The staff have been absolutely amazing and are so thoughtful and caring to her'

Every year (since 1924), the Order of the Knights of St Columbanus have provided a hot meal on Christmas Day for the poor and homeless of Dublin City and surrounding areas – with hundreds of volunteers giving up much of their Christmas day to feed several thousand people.  Photograph: Frank Miller

Ireland has the highest rate of volunteering in Europe

Linda and Frank Comerford with their four children - Michael (16), Darragh (11), Shauna (4) and Frankie (2).

‘It is unbearably frustrating as everyone keeps fobbing us off,’ says Linda Comerford

Niamh Holmes from Dundalk. What looked like an insect bite on her leg turned into something very sinister.

Sarcoma, a rare cancer, can be difficult to detect but is also very aggressive

Chloe, Cian, Tracey, Jamie, Kieran and Callum Smith: “There was no help available to us and while the boys were too young to understand, it was hard on Chloe,” says Tracey

Tracey Smith is still angry over her ordeal before and after her daughter’s stillbirth

Plenty of outlets will deliver a new sofa before Christmas. Photograph: Getty Images

Some bespoke items, such as Italian leather sofas won’t be ready in time but plenty of outlets will deliver before the big day

Caroline McGuigan, of Suicide or Survive (SOS), at the annual forum of the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention, in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘SOS is leading the way through active collaboration which we believe will drive positive social change’

Caroline, left,  in 2017.

When a mother-of-three started eating healthily and set fitness goals, everything changed

Aoife Power: 'Some of my earliest and fondest memories are being outside helping my parents with the gardening.'

Aoife Power grew green fingers in Dublin’s parks, but now her world is window boxes

Parents are placed under increasing pressure to fork out large sums for elaborate and expensive school trips abroad. Photo: iStock

Most second-level schools now organise overseas tours for students. But many question if they are too expensive and have any educa(...)

Katie and David Crosby at the Rock’n’Roll Dublin half-marathon last August.

David Crosby is running the marathon despite having had a double lung transplant

Colleges and universities are increasingly shifting their focus towards “lifelong learning”, identified as a key growth area in education over the coming years. Photo: iStock

Colleges are catering to a rapidly-growing section of the population: retirees

Anne Neary: “I have been using the tomato knife for years and if I had to go to a desert island it is the one kitchen gadget I’d like to bring with me.”

Blending, blitzing and the one-pot wonder are always close to hand in these kitchens

Arun Kapil, author of ‘Fresh Spice’ and founder of Green Saffron,  in Green Saffron, Midleton, Co Cork. Photograph: Clare Keogh

Beat Winter series: Spices will undoubtedly add flavour to your cooking but may also improve your health

Cancer Week Ireland runs from Monday, September 25th to Sunday, October 1st

The role of three general categories; genes, age and lifestyle, in the diagnosis of cancer

The Cullen children, Joshua, Kayleigh, Leon, Amelia and Cara, who range in age from 16 to five: Their mother, Jessica Cullen, believes 10 is the best age for a child to have a phone

A Canadian study finds screen time is linked to an expressive language delay

Karen Donoghue  (right) from Dublin, is well aware of the dangers. Pictured here with her  mum Margaret

Heart disease and stroke cause many deaths in Ireland each year. Three survivors speak

Alan Coleman and Brian O’Briain with Charlie at home in Kilcorney, Kilfenora, Co Clare. Photograph:  Eamon Ward

Holiday houses that are big on memories or in great locations can spark a life change

A 1980s debs memory: Arlene Harris (right) in her neighbour’s wedding dress

Broadside: Sure we were only gorgeous, we thought: the height of fashion

“However, it is very important to state that if anyone is on prescribed medication they must adhere to their medication and use exercise as an adjunct,” says Dr Julie Broderick of Trinity College Dublin

Adrenalin-pumping rock climbing can help combat depression, and gets you fit

Pat, Aoife and Ríain O'Malley at Spanish Point House, Co Clare. Photograph by Eamon Ward

The O’Malleys – hospitality veteran Pat and teacher Aoife – spotted the potential in Spanish Point

Child psychologist Peadar Maxwell says parents shouldn’t beat themselves up about a lack of expensive holidays.

Embrace your summer adventures and create new experiences together as a family

David Moreau, of On Board Ireland, at Dublin Airport. Like most things in life, perception is mostly about one’s own experience. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Moving here from another country need not be the bureaucratic nightmare you feared

TV chef and ‘Irish Times’ food writer Donal Skehan in the kitchen in his home in Los Angeles

Donal Skehan, Constance Cassidy, Deborah Donnelly and Nessa Robins invite us in

People are flocking to online language courses that offer cheap and inventive ways to learn. Photograph: iStock

Apps and web tutors claim to offer a cheap way to gain fluency - but are they effective?

Solicitor and garden designer Emily Neville

This week’s edition also visits an artist on Achill Island and looks at floral furniture

Time to quit: 5,200 people die every year in Ireland from smoking-related illnesses. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Use the available supports to increase your likelihood of kicking the deadly habit

Children playing in the “mud kitchen” of Wigwams Childcare Service, Kilcullen, Co Kildare. Experts say too much screen-time and inactivity is depriving young people of vital lifeskills.

Too much screen-time and inactivity is depriving young people of vital lifeskills

No need to take supplements if the content of your fridge looks like this

Research says ‘multivitamin and mineral preparations promoted for use during pregnancy are unlikely to be needed’

Shirley Hennigar at home: “I’m not ‘fixed’ and never will be. I can only learn how to handle my Black Dog when he visits.” Photograph: Eamon Ward

The more we discuss depression, the easier it becomes for sufferers to seek help and find a means of coping

 Paul Conway at his home in  Co Clare. He regrets putting in timber window frames “as living in the Irish countryside, the wood takes a lot of battering from the weather and the frames have to be repainted every year”. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Three who designed their own homes come clean about the mistakes they made

Paul Walsh of Castle Antiques, Clarecastle, Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Owners of antique shops reveal the eclectic gifts visitors to Ireland covet the most

Retired postman Michael O’Donoghue from Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, who has recovered from bowel cancer after discovering he had the disease in 2010. Photograph: Liam Burke/Press 22

Don’t ignore the symptoms: some 1,000 people die from disease in Ireland every year

Mark Kenna: “I know I’m one of the lucky ones, but only now do I feel my cancer journey has come to an end.”

‘Sometimes nothing can help but always believe in the amazing medical teams’

It’s not all bad news. The reduction in oestrogen during menopause may improve the take-up of oxygen in the muscles

Research shows the menopausal years are the perfect time for physical exercise

‘Pressing that little button on your airline seat to give you a couple more inches may seem like your ‘right’ as a paying customer, but what about the needs of the person behind you?’

Broadside: Your squashed knees are all about their high-flying sense of entitlement

Ali Budan,  a barista  at The Fumbally, Dublin 8, uses a  Clever Dripper or a Kalita Wave, depending on her mood.

Six professional coffee lovers reveal how they prepare their own coffee at home

Pee Wee Pumps - infant footwear that is a step too far

 This year it’s expected that 40,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer. March 24th is Daffodil Day. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Sarah McGinley is just one of the many people with a positive ending to their cancer story. She was diagnosed with cancer of the t(...)

As well as keeping our brains active, learning a new language is an ideal opportunity for making new friends, having new experiences with others and reaching a goal.

Multilingualism has social, cognitive and wellbeing advantages for people of all ages

“Something special”: Bru na Mara in Carna, Connemara, a collection of holiday homes, for sale for €800,000

Foreign customers are in short supply, but the Irish are spending again

Getting your child to eat vegetables can be challenging – but not impossible if you adopt the right approach. Photograph:  Getty Images

Don’t lure them with a lollipop to eat greens, or keep serving food they don’t like

The Merriman Tavern, Scariff, Co Clare

Drawing pictures for Enya, and singing songs for Planxty was all part of life over the bar in Scariff, Co Clare

A teenage disco in Kilkenny caused uproar by enforcing a dress code and banning what they called 'deplorable' dresses but boys hav(...)

“Now that Peter Capaldi, the 12th doctor, has announced his departure for the next season, many people are calling for the 13th doctor to be female – a Time Lady, if you like.”

Broadside: Women don’t need to stand in men’s shoes, they can have their own characters

Aiming high: Tyrone manager Mickey Harte with Seán McHugh (11) and Jamie Smyth(11), from Scoil Chiaráin CBS, at the Healthy Clubs launch in Donnycarney, Dublin. Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Mickey Harte and star players tour country’s clubs to battle obesity epidemic

‘Britain’s toughest teacher’ Katharine Birbalsingh at the Michaela Community School in north-west London during a visit by former London mayor Boris Johnson. The school has been dubbed ’the strictest school in Britain’.

Tiger Teachers: Principal of Michaela Community School Katharine Birbalsingh and her staff have published a book to educate other (...)

Marion Morrissey from Co Limerick was diagnosed with psoriasis at 15.

Up to 140,000 people in Ireland have psoriasis with many developing psoriatic arthritis

Stove safety: no standard cert for safe installation of stoves in Ireland, according to an expert

Stoves mean a warmer home and lower fuel bills but with installation issues and a lack of safety certification, stove-related dome(...)

Nothing beats a written thank you note, particularly when it comes from a child

Broadside: A thank you costs nothing, so teach your child to acknowledge presents

Anti-gravity  yoga: Work-outs involve body strengthening and  stretching followed by meditation.

Whether it is Nordic walking, gravity-defying yoga or hockey, it’s all about having fun

Garda Laura Conlon: “As well as the usual burglaries, road traffic accidents and domestic violence that we may have to deal with, we will also receive plenty of calls from people looking for advice.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

As the country slows down for Yuletide many rescue workers will be hard at work

Sarah Crowe, Emily Doyle, Maria Doyle and Katie Stoker Phelan of the RTÉ Cór na nÓg children’s choir  in Croke Park in December 2013. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

All of us are touched by songs and music, and singing can improve your health and mood

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