Nowadays, there are an estimated 67 million domestic workers worldwide

Tanya Sweeney: In Ireland, we have a funny relationship with the idea of house cleaners

There is scant evidence to suggest that Melania Trump has had any kind of influence on her husband in the past four years. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

The first lady used to act as if under duress. But she remains detached even after last week’s riot

Your relationship with your mother-in-law will be a complex one - but does the cliche hold up? Illustration: iStock

Tanya Sweeney: I’m officially acquiring a mother-in-law – and I couldn’t be happier

To say that we are clean out of emotional bandwidth and can’t take on another moment of negativity is probably stating the obvious. Photograph:iStock

Tanya Sweeney: A tiny break in stride is nothing to lose the bap over

The only positive thing about walking into a hair salon for the first time in a year is that your stylist can’t really chastise you about home trims. Photograph: Getty Images

Tanya Sweeney: To be accused of not caring about your appearance used to be a huge denigration

Kathryn and Fintan Cahill (right) in their home Virginia, Co Cavan with their guests for Christmas Rolf and Denise McLaughlin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

The pandemic means many people will have a very different Christmas this year

Gone for good: some of the businesses that closed in 2020. Photographs: The Irish Times

Owners of restaurants, pubs, shops and cafes on how Covid-19 closed their doors for good

Writer and academic Emma Dabiri: “The difference with this [and other social media platforms] is that now the creator is getting paid as well as the platform. Maybe it’s a fairer model. It’s quite radical in some ways.”

Covid-19 has changed everything and makes an audience subscription model attractive

Olivia O’Leary: ‘A little part of me has begun to stop being a journalist.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The broadcaster talks sexism, ageism and Golfgate on The Irish Times Big Night In

This might be the only year you get to choose what you eat, what you watch, who you speak to. It can get you back in touch with what Christmas really means to you. Photograph: iStock

If you choose to fly solo during the festivities, here’s how to really enjoy your own company

Realistically, you should have at least a carload of junk for the recycling centre.

Tanya Sweeney: There is something inherently stressful about upending your possessions

Buy them a membership, subscription or ecologically sound product – or make your own

Tanya Sweeney: ‘My cute, curious, affectionate, joyful baby has been replaced by a changeling’.

If I knew the ‘terrible twos’ were coming, why do I feel so at sea?

Dolly Parton photographed by Stacie Huckeba

Country icon on depression, weight stigma and visiting Páidí Ó Sé’s pub in Co Kerry

Socially distanced cinema

A wealth of cultural activity resumes all over the country this week as restrictions are eased

 Marie Cassidy: “Women are very good at modern forensic pathology  because we are happy to be part of a team.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Working as the chief state pathologist made Cassidy very well known, something she found ‘disconcerting’

Research shows men’s sexual desirability peaks at age 50, while women hit their prime at 18. Photograph: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Tanya Sweeney: My experience of a relationship with an age difference was a disaster

Leta Powell Drake says to Elliott Gould, ‘But they’ve all made a fortune, Elliot,’ like a frustrated stage mum

Leta Powell Drake’s 1970s access-all-areas savage chats with the stars have gone viral

Claire Byrne: “I didn’t feel sick enough not to be broadcasting.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

An ‘early adopter’ of Covid-19 in March, she continued to broadcast through the illness

A  Macra na Feirme survey found that only 57 per cent of Irish people interact with their neighbours on a regular basis. Photograph: Getty Images

Tanya Sweeney: I doubt I’d have made it through recent months without the tribe on the doorstep

Back in March, the Zoom quiz seemed like a great idea . . . it didn’t take long to see them for the folly that they were. Photograph: Getty Images

Tanya Sweeney: A Zoom quiz invitation? I thought we’d waved that blight off for good

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown. Photograph: Netflix

The fourth series of the much anticipated 10 episodes was reportedly produced on a €110 million) budget

Sorcha Judge at her home office: “It helps to reach out to your colleagues. Even before a meeting starts, make sure to have that social chat.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Starting a job at a physical remove from colleagues is challenging – but it has upsides

Caitlin Moran: ‘I honestly thought middle age would be a beautiful era of serenity.’ Photograph:  Rune Hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images

The writer and firebrand says the ‘maintenance shag’ vastly improved her relationship

Amid the chintzy swan figurines and the souvenir plates from Mallorca we found stuff that made memories return like an avalanche. Photograph: Getty Images

After my mother died, a weekend spent clearing out my family home brought our family closer together

This year’s celebrations won’t be like the Halloween we know and love but people can still have fun and stay safe at the same time. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Even in Level 5, with a little creativity and ingenuity you can still get a a kick out of the scariest season of the year

Just dropped on Netflix – A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting. Photograph: Netflix

Round off the week with festive activities and a new spooky instalment of the Babysitter’s Club

Geocaching requires a device with GPS, and the app, to find caches hidden all over Ireland by fellow players. Photograph: iStock

Try out geocaching, make a sock puppet or take in some time-travel adventures on TV – and there’s an easy one-pot wonder to cook f(...)

You could try Pandemic the board game. Photograph: iStock

Try a family quiz show, a local nature lesson, some board-game action and a kitchen crowdpleaser

Paper games require little to no equipment, try Xs and Os, dots and boxes, or hangman

Meatballs for dinner, a new Pixar film on TV and back to basics with indoor paper games

Stuck for mid-term inspiration? Here are plenty of great ideas the whole family can enjoy to get you started

‘In a just world, a nude photo shouldn’t have the power to damage someone’s reputation, or end a career, or even cause embarrassment.’

How is the naked female body something so loaded with toxic meaning?

French writer, feminist activist and member of the Paris Council Alice Coffin. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images

One French feminist says women should, but is this throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

We have worn out the phrase ‘We must do a Skype soon’ to the point that it’s lost all meaning. Photograph: Getty

We’re letting go of each other without much of a fight as all joy deserts our interactions

 Billie Eilish attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood in February 2020. Photograph: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Despite her groundbreaking music, opinions about her body always, always get in the way

Actor Dominic West and wife Catherine FitzGerald in a public display of affection outside their home in the Cotswolds  after West was seen kissing actor Lily James in Rome. Photograph: GlosPics/MEGA/GC Images

West and wife Catherine FitzGerald put on a public display of affection after pictures emerge of actor kissing Lily James

Love in a Covid climate: boil-washing masks doesn’t feature highly on the Hot Things To Do Together list. Illustration: iStock

If anyone asks how I’m doing, my first instinct is to reply, ‘Well, we’re still together, so that’s something!’ And it is

At their best, music gigs can make me shiver with happiness. Photograph: Getty

If I try hard enough, I can feel, smell and hear my happy place: a live music gig

Elizabeth Day: The author, journalist and broadcaster’s  How To Fail podcast is listened to by millions of people worldwide. Photograph: Jenny Smith

The author and presenter of the How To Fail podcast on overcoming multiple miscarriages, reclaiming failure and counteracting the (...)

Eileen Flynn: ‘A lot of my teachers believed in me.’  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The Senator and Traveller was speaking at the Women’s Podcast ‘Big Night In’ live event

It’s a lovely sisterly concept but  sending the lift back down could  put yourself at a professional disadvantage. Photograph: iStock

Sending the lift back down requires a woman to be at a certain, fairly exalted point in her career

Suzanne Kane and her husband Joey at their home in Walkinstown. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times.

The relaxed atmosphere of lockdown has led to a spike in pregnancies, says one hospital

Chrissy Teigan and John Legend: she shared the loss of their baby with her  40 million social media followers. Photograph: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

The rawness in her words and photos are likely to make others feel much less alone

Friluftsliv: People hike above Lough Tay, in the Wicklow Mountains. Photograph: iStock

The Norwegian practice of ‘free-air life’ offers the ideal escape room during the pandemic

Photograph: Getty

The Dignity with Dying Bill gives hope to people whose lived experience demands a choice

Caroline Flannery: ‘It was a really awkward space, with lots of slopes and nooks and crannies, which are notoriously difficult to design anyway.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

The awkward top floor of a Dublin Georgian has been reworked as a bright city pad

The problems arise when you find out that these gestures are all for show, designed to lure the interest of potential lovers. Photograph: iStock

If he says he’s a feminist or if she adds #BlackLivesMatter to her profile, tread carefully

Katherine Ryan’s new Netflix series The Duchess is a none-too-distant cousin of Catastrophe or Motherland, both co-written by Sharon Horgan. Photograph: Oliver Upton/Netflix

The Canadian stand-up on ‘laddish’ comedy culture, her Irish dad and flipping stereotypes in new series The Duchess

Ellen DeGeneres: ‘I take responsibility for what happens at my show.’ File photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty

Apology over harassment allegations has tang of woman using right buzzwords but not really believing them

To experience that kind of love twice over is barely believable

I’m already missing the newborn phase even though it felt like someone was very nicely pushing my head underwater

Going for the sensible option isn’t always a good idea. Photograph: iStock

Friends in my class applied for law, physiotherapy and medicine. Not a single one of us are in any of those jobs now

Ask any of these callers what they might like to see happen, and almost all of them wish for a health system that took their respective conditions more seriously. Photograph: iStock

Tanya Sweeney: What I learned volunteering for a mental health helpline

Francis (left) and John Brennan run the Park Hotel in Kenmare, Co Kerry.

Familiarity breeds contentment in some of our best-loved family-run hotels and country houses

Matt Damon takes all precautions on return to Ireland. Oh no, hang on it’s a still from The Martian

Warning: The Irish are suddenly not so fond of Americans coming from a Covid hotspot

Tim and Fred Williams react to U2’s Where the Street Have No Name. Photogaph: YouTube

Videos of YouTubers Tim and Fred Williams listening to classic songs have racked up millions of views

‘I relayed the earliest days of our romance to a friend. He was lovely, I told her, but I’m not sure where this is going.’

‘We can never see contentment for what it is when we’re there, living it in that moment’

 Cahal Sweeney from Dublin and his girlfriend Abbi Purches from Boston who have been separated for over six months during Covid-19. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Abbi and Cahal had spent just a fortnight in each other’s company when Covid-19 hit

Terri White, editor of Empire, has written a new memoir, Coming Undone, in which she evocatively details a childhood pockmarked with poverty, violence, sexual abuse and shame.

Terri White’s memoir, Coming Undone, is a catalogue of violence, abuse and horror

An influencer’s life may look effortless, but it requires more than a smudge of Vaseline on the lens. Photograph: Getty

A cold war has been brewing between traditional journalists and influencers for some time

21 Glandore Park, Dún Laoghaire, asking €575,000, was sale agreed in just two weeks.

The snobbery that lingers around bungalows means there could be gems galore out there

Caroline Flack (left), Jack Charlton and Naya Rivera. Photograph: PA/The Irish Times/Getty Images

When a well-known person dies, the spectacle carries on for days in the news agenda

Anne Doyle on retirement: ‘If I could have afforded it, I would have gone out earlier.’ Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

The former RTÉ newsreader on her popularity, perks of retirement and not enjoying lockdown life

Tanya Sweeney: ‘I won’t be trying to outsmart my body with punishing diets or regimes, as I’ve done before. My body gets me from A to B with minimal fuss, and that’s good enough for right now.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Reach a place of genuine body neutrality and you will find it liberating in every way

Photograph: iStock

I’m desperate to have a house with enough room for the three of us

With 1,256,808 posts in 2020 so far, gallery walls are by far the most popular trend on Instagram. Photograph: Getty

Home Front: Arrange smaller pieces of art and photographs together to make an impact. Then think about ditching the drinks trolley

Manssistant: Stephanie Zimbalist, as Laura Holt, and Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele. Photograph: NBC

Tanya Sweeney: It’s amazing how much easier life can be when people think you’re a man

By 16, Pepe and the rest of it are a distant memory, because by now you have gone full Curehead/goth/grunge. Photograph: Michel Linssen/Redferns

We’ve all had to undergo a certain amount of trial and error in sartorial department

‘He is a rapist. Not rape-adjacent, or a bit rapey – he’s a rapist’: Arabella (Michaela Coel) in I May Destroy You

This most insidious of acts leaves survivors with a cloud of uncertainty over them

Samantha Power. Photograph: Stephen Kelleghan

Power and Melody Barnes, both former Obama insiders, spoke to Fintan O’Toole

Imelda May. Photograph:  Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

May recited GBH (or Grievous Battery Harm) at The Irish Times Summer Nights Festival

Lenny Abrahamson. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Abrahamson and Nadine Reid featured on day two of The Irish Times Summer Nights Festival

Social media is often a nuance-free zone without a shred of perspective

We need to see the difference between activism and meaningless online performance

Grey is the most popular interior paint colour – but which shade of grey is it?  Photograph: Gettty

Home Front: The photo-sharing social media site offers clues to the latest hues

Kanye West has announced on Twitter he will run for president, and his organisational mode for the White House  is allegedly based on the secret country of Wakanda in Black Panther. Photograph: Michael Wyke/AP

The rapper has said a lot of odd things over the years, but this is the strangest yet

Johnny Depp libel trial: Amber Heard (centre) and her ex-husband have accused each other of assault and abuse. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Whether the spotlight is on Bobby Brown or Tom Meighan, it can help victims seek aid

Would any Irish person ever really be able to buy into the idea that any GAA accessory could be an instrument of kink? Photograph: Getty Images

A New York club is using a GAA hurl in its sex parties. It serves a variety of purposes

Dr Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at the LSE, on the BBC, being interrupted by her daughter

Two reactions to kids interrupting their mums say much about work during the pandemic

Laura Dockrill: ‘You have to follow the thoughts through the really rational part of the brain, in a really scary way.’ Photograph: Sonny Malhotra

Author pays tribute to singer in compelling account of her experience after son’s birth

Cinema reopens: Karcsi Bennett, from Clonskeagh in Dublin, with his parents, Karl and Renata, at Movies@Dundrum on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘You can’t live in fear,’ says one Movies@ customer as screens reopen after lockdown

Why am I desperate to hand over upwards of €7 to a stranger for a glass of wine, in a room full of other strangers?  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Tanya Sweeney: Picturing sitting in my local again is an image that has kept me vaguely sane

A passenger wears a mask on board a bus. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell/ The Irish Times

On a Luas carrying around 80 passengers, just five are wearing masks

Marino Park extension designed by Ryan W Kennihan Architects.

The public is being asked to vote on the best buildings of the year, among them a handful of home extensions

RTÉ Does Comic Relief: the evening features Saoirse Ronan, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, Deirdre O’Kane, Dara Ó Briain, the Derry Girls, and Zig and Zag, among others

The charity telethon takes over RTÉ One on Friday night. Here’s what to expect

Author Sophie White’s new book is a sequel to her debut, Filter This. Photograph: Kip Carroll

Author Sophie White on her new book Unfiltered and being late to the Instagram party

Malachy Clerkin with his daughter Cara in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Eight different kinds of dad on how their experience of fatherhood has changed them

Freelancers and temporarily unemployed hair stylists are making private appointments in clients’ homes for cuts and colours.

Early reopening of salons should put an end to stylists covertly visiting clients’ homes

Tanya Sweeney: My daughter, now that she is walking, takes every chance she can get to bolt out of the house. Photograph: Getty Images

Tanya Sweeney: Is it strange to want your little one to never grow up?

Letting it all hang out is a romance in and of itself. Photograph: iStock

Tanya Sweeney: The boring bits of our relationship have turned out to be the best bits

Domestic violence: JK Rowling wrote this week about her first marriage. Her ex-husband denies abusing her. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty

I stayed silent when I witnessed domestic violence. But we all need to speak out now

Paul Mescal: the Normal People star has crossed the Rubicon into style-icon territory. Photograph: Enda Bowe/Element/RTÉ

Gucci’s €550 nylon shorts look suspiciously like the Normal People star’s Maynooth kit

There’s a long-held belief that people who eat to regulate their emotions are weak-willed or greedy but science says differently. Photograph: iStock

At a time of huge uncertainty and anxiety, we’ve gone full Christmas round here

Love/Hate: Brian Gleeson, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gillen in the first season of the Irish gangland drama

Before Normal People, the crime drama was Irish TV’s record-breaking must-watch series

Ita O’Brien: ‘I feel there are times we have sat and watched a sex scene where the actor isn’t feeling comfortable, and we squirm in the audience, because you feel that discomfort’

Intimacy co-ordinator Ita O’Brien has drawn up guidelines for trauma-free onscreen sex

Tops on: Lynn Ruane in the swimsuit that Lidl security objected; and Paul Mescal in Normal People. Photographs: Twitter/@SenLynnRuane and Enda Bowe/Element/RTÉ

As the actor jogged topless around London, Lidl asked the Senator to rethink her outfit

Even the most equally minded of households have been sent askew. Photograph: iStock

If this is the moment in history where we re-evaluate what's important, why not redress the domestic balance

Were you really mad about the Smiths and the Goonies, or do you just think you were?

Is looking back at simpler times really that heartwarming?

Big day out: I’m  determined to divine a balance between a special occasion and ostentatious wedding nonsense. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty

A lockdown nuptials could be perfect for all of us with no taste for big-day ostentation

Candace Bushnell: 'There are so many conflicting messages on how to behave when you’re in your teens and 20s.' Photograph: Brian Ach/Getty Images

The author of Sex and the City is back with a call to arms for the post-#MeToo era

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