Author Catherine Gray on taking a year off dating and finding happiness on her own

 LIsa Wilkinson at Elbowroom Escape, Donard, Co Wicklow decided to “run away” from her life and retrain as a yoga instructor. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

3.2 careers in an average lifetime: there's a case to be made for jumping into the unknown

Tim Firth and Gary Barlow with the cast of Calendar Girls including Rebecca Storm. Fern Britton, Sara Crowe, Denise Welch, Ruth Madoc, Karen Dunbar and Anna Jane Casey

Writing ‘Calendar Girls’ took Take That star way outside his musical comfort zone

Women’s names written on post it in different colours

Tanya Sweeney: I have a baby name in mind and I might test it out in Starbucks

There are moments of weighty introspection in Samantha Irby’s book on being a woman of colour; experiencing grief and mental health issues; dating, and  chronic illness.

Samantha Irby's essay collection is not for those who prefer their writing with a side slice of stirring, poetic lyricism

Calm The F**k Down is a new book designed to help people relax. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bestselling author Sarah Knight is a leading light in the 'sweary self-help' phenomenon

Take an afternoon to avail of offers and switch providers

Now's the time of year to implement small but effective financial hacks

Most countries have dropped their  nannying TV health shows. Not us. Operation Transformation remains one of RTÉ’s great juggernauts

Review: The makers of the weight-loss reality show sure have brought the feels this year

Tanya Sweeney: “I’ve started to think about the times my own mother taught me left from right, tying shoelaces, the difference between ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and there’. The most basic and quotidian things, doled out in moments of selflessness and sacrifice.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

About to have her first baby, Tanya Sweeney reflects on her youth and her late mother whose maxim was 'don't make me a gran'

 Declutterer supreme Marie Kondo

As the decluttering queen starts a new series, Irish designers share tips for a tidy 2019

Tanya Sweeney: “I might get away with a non-Christmas or two in the coming years, but after that, I’ve been assured that the festive season becomes hard work.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Christmas isn’t just for children – sometimes, it’s also about being someone’s child

Marty Morrissey with Ksenia Zsikhotska dancing on RTE's Dancing with the Stars. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

An eventful and heady year: From the return to boomtimes to the Beast from the East

Laurence Baker and Kristen Flanagan at their home in Roebuck Castle, Clonskeagh Dublin, with their dogs George and Stanley. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Getting a foot on the property ladder wasn’t easy in 2018 but for some it worked out after years of planning and saving

“Some of my friends think I’m crazy for not wanting a shower and baby register. ‘You’re only going to end up with hundreds of babygros and none of what you really need,’ warned one.”

As my bank balance races to zero, a thought sat in my stomach like a brick: how can I afford to bring a baby into all this

Look out for pre-lit Christmas trees to remove the annual light detangling from your to-do list

Take the hassle out of the festive season by following our expert guide

Sometimes at Christmas there’s nothing for it but to crack out a board game,  Photograph: istock

Ditch the screen time and try your hand at some old-fashioned family bonding (or simmering tension)

Tanya Sweeney: “There is so, so much new stuff to know in a relatively short amount of time.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Apparently, if you’re not suffering then you’re not putting your back into this mothering thing, are you?

Volunteering can have a number of personal and professional benefits

With everything from renovation to quick phone calls, there’s a role to suit everyone, plus 20 ways to give back in 2019

Conor McGloughlin, Chanchan Yubozhou and Cameron Drumm, of The Palestrina Choir of St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Choir may be more diverse than ever, but it’s still notoriously difficult to gain a coveted spot

Tanya Sweeney: There is so, so much new stuff to know in a relatively short amount of time, even if your only plan is keeping a baby alive. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Men are eyeballing my heaving belly warily (don’t worry love, it’s not yours)

Katia and Nadia Narain say self-care should be an everyday activity

London gurus in well-being Nadia and Katia Narain count Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Reese Witherspoon among their followers

Tanya Sweeney: People who know and love me have never seen the like. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

I'm pregnant and everything from pork to Brian Cowen is leaving me in tears. Don't get me started on the pelvic girdle pain.

An alcohol-free trip to Vegas was the longest four-day junket of my life. Photograph: iStock

Solicit advice on the subject and you’ll get any number of wildly varying opinions

Sara Cosgrave at Lansdowne Place: “Some people have more of an inclination towards whimsy, but others want a very clean, contemporary aesthetic. Very minimal, very Minotti, very Italian.”

At an average age of 54, buyers in the Lansdowne Place scheme come with plenty of worldly goods but the luxury scheme has engaged (...)

Sara Thompson of Thompson Clarke.

Kitchen islands are giving way to walk-in spaces where clutter can be concealed according to interior designer and pantry expert S(...)

Composer and multi-media artist Una Keane with her daughter Willow and dog Indie: “Experiences are now more important to me than things. I can live without this stuff.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Priced out of her Dublin home, composer Una Keane is taking baby and dog on a road trip

A map showing the four parking zones in Dublin city centre and the current charges associated with each.

Cuffe says city centre increase should be accompanied by parking fees in shopping centres

Tanya Sweeney: “Whether women have children or not, they are united in their enthusiasm to immediately dispense advice; the good, the bad, the poo-related.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Friends’ reactions to my pregnancy ranged from utter disbelief to, um, utter disbelief

Trifle: Paul Howard still makes a Bird’s every Christmas in a nod to his working-class childhood. Photograph: iStock/Getty

Aspirational foods of 1970s and 1980s Ireland included Smash, Vesta and Angel Delight

Tanya Sweeney: ‘I have 18 years, possibly more, of hard, unpaid labour ahead of me.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

On track for a child-free life, when two lines show up on a pregnancy stick

Jane O’Callaghan, owner of Longueville House, at Longueville, Ballyclough, Mallow, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

‘Ireland’s Blue Book’, now in its 45th year, has outlived many vagaries of the hospitality scene

John Niven: Many years of experience in the music industry also stood him in supremely good stead. Photograph: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

Be prepared for onyx-dark prose, misogyny and twisted world views in this biting satire

Monkstown kitchen extention Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The owners of this Monkstown home needed a bigger, better kitchen. Architects Arigho Larmour Wheeler obliged with a clever design (...)

Robin Wright delivers a nuanced central performance in House of Cards. Photograph: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Season six opener: the show appears to be doing just fine without Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood

David Gillick’s lemon and rosemary beef casserole

Some well-known names share their kitchen favourites

Directors of the Abbey Theatre Neil Murray and Graham McLaren: vision and ambition go hand in glove

TV Review: In The Abbey, A Riot Of Our Own there is endless enthusiasm but whether the directors are winning in their crusade to s(...)

Anca Dumitra as Ana in Doing Money. Photograph: BBC/Renegade Pictures/Peter Marley

TV Review: New bone-chilling drama makes for uneasy, but essential viewing

Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgard in The Little Drummer Girl. Photograph: Jonathan Olley/BBC/The Little Drummer Girl Distribution Ltd

Review: Florence Pugh mesmerises in this adaptation of a John le Carré spy story – and Alexander Skarsgard is not too shabby eithe(...)

Along with ‘The Reek’, Westport offers a large range of outdoor activities. Photograph: Brian Cregan

Bracing outdoor pursuits, vibrant nightlife and showstopping restaurants make for one of the most lively weekend breaks in the cou(...)

Former Airbnb host Ceire Sadlier in her apartment in Townsend Street , Dublin in 2016. Photograph: Eric Luke

New restrictions on Airbnb rentals will persuade some hosts to abandon the service. But the rules may be hard to enforce

Experience + Innocence: Bono at U2’s London show on Tuesday. Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty

The band’s Experience + Innocence tour is deeply nostalgic yet very plugged in

Architect Dermot Bannon helps launch Vodafone Ireland’s Vodafone Gigabit Broadband campaign. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

The architect and self-confessed luddite looks to the future home

Spending a little extra on some things might save you a few euro in the long run

Time to cosy up. Photograph: Getty

Our experts have simple tips to make those long nights in worth running home for

Finbar Furey and Imelda May performing sweet sixteen at The Late Late Show in London. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Review: The move to London made Friday’s Late Late Show even more parochial than usual

Laura Whitmore: From a family of strong women

Who Do You Think You Are?: Whitmore is effervescent in the face of scant material

Node Residents Kelly Fischietto, Stefano Gambarotta and Rowena Doyle. Photograph: Tom Honan

For the 50 Node residents in Dublin, the price tag makes financial sense in a city of rising rents

Blood: Carolina Main as Cat Hogan, who suspects that her father (played by Adrian Dunbar) may have killed her mother.

‘Blood’, starring Adrian Dunbar and Carolina Main, has the makings of must-see TV

Meghan Markle closed a car door. Photograph: Getty

Reports on the Duchess closing her own car door have hailed her as humble, while also slamming her for flouting royal protocol

Strictly Handbag hadn’t been Martin Thomas’s first rodeo – before Strictly Handbag, he had started a club night in Powers Hotel.

In 1990s and 2000s, Irish club night scene collided with both acid house and Celtic Tiger

Summer nights: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in Grease

Released four decades ago today in Ireland, the hit coming-of-age movie has barely faded

Owning a home is a more elusive goal then ever for twentysomethings. Photograph: Getty

Baby Boomers watch the housing crisis much as they would a disaster unfold abroad

The Courtyard house by Tom de Paor

Tom de Paor’s extension to a 1940s semi is one of Open House Dublin’s hottest tickets

Laura Kirk and Laura Gallop of the Berkamsted Revisited podcast

'Berkhamsted Revisited': 'When you’re a teenager, the other gender is completely alien'

The video is a humorous parody of Victoria Beckham’s Spice Girls years. Photograph: Vogue/YouTube

A mockumentary marking Beckham's 10 years as a designer and Spice Girl history has gone viral

Pope Francis: a big attraction for many, but also easy to avoid this weekend. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty

There are lots of alternatives this weekend – and ironic takes on Francis’s Irish trip

Susannah Walker: author of ‘The Life Of Stuff’. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/ The Sunday Times

Susannah Walker’s memoir of her mother’s hoarding highlights their difficult relationship

Maurice and Suzanne Hedderman with their son Luke and Luke’s girlfriend Jessica Rielly at Prospect Park Mobile Home Park, Ballymoney, Gorey, Co Wexford. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Mobile home parks took a hit with the advent of cheap flights, but owners keep coming back for the stress-free summers they offer

Muireann O’Connell has the enthusiasm, not to mention the affability, to keep things palatable

Early morning offerings run a narrow gamut from hectic to lightweight

From pets to beauty and overseas treats, there’s a range of products to choose from

The kitchen is not just a place to make breakfast; it’s an extension of our personalities, our bank balances and our tastes. Photograph: Getty Images

We spend more time in our kitchen than in any part of the home. It’s become the focal point, and the thing we’re most likely to co(...)

It’s a shame, really, that Cathal Murray’s Late Date doesn’t offer more of a platform for little known or emerging artists.

Eclectic music has long been preserve of night-time radio, as have more outré talk shows

Hiring a night nurse to help out at home can prove a godsend for stressed mums and dads

Beach View Heights, Achill, Co Mayo - located just 650m from Silver Strand Blue Flag Beach

Thoughts often turn to escapes by the water at this time of year, but expect to pay an €11,000 premium for those watery vistas

Visiting Japan is like being deposited on an alien planet, but once you get over the culture shock, it feels friendly, calm and sa(...)

The objective of today’s honeymoon party, it would seem, is to ensure that a bride doesn’t have to befall a last-minute dash to Boots for suncream. Photograph: Getty Images

There’s been a tangible rise in this trend in Ireland. But what the hell are they?

The 45-60 age bracket is a time in life when women are often at their most vulnerable

Rory McIlroy takes a selfie with the cast of Riverdance in 2015. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Katrin Tiidenberg’s studies of selfie culture challenge the narrative of narcissistic youth

Meghan Markle  greeting spectators as they arrive for a visit at Trinity College in Dublin. Photograph: Trinity College handout

How did this week’s royal visit become a national obsession here?

The cast during rehearsals of Paul Howard’s ‘Copper Face Jacks’ in the Olympia Treatre, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw  Copper Face Jacks: The Musical: Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The ‘big, sweaty’ Dublin nightclub is successful because it ‘doesn’t have notions’

Beck Dorey-Stein: Obama 'can put everyone at ease by cracking a joke, but then of course you feel really dumb because he’s always funnier than you'. Photograph: Lawrence Jackson

Stenographer Beck Dorey-Stein on working for Barack Obama and Donald Trump in the Oval Office

Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein at the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Photograph:Jason Merritt/Getty Images

‘Lady Bird’ was a big break for the US actor Beanie Feldstein, who will star in Caitlin Moran's ‘How to Build a Girl’

Sally Bayley: Fans of orderly, mapped-out narratives will likely be driven to distraction by her often experimental structure

Sally Bayley recalls her difficult upbringing and love of letters in unforgettable style

Cocktails are becoming more and more popular in Ireland.

Move over pints and chardonnay – discerning Irish people are discovering there’s much more to cocktails than Sex on the Beach

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Dee Featherstone hopes to set a world record today with her charity skinny dip

Woodview, Tinahely, Co Wicklow

Rising rents, long commutes, the ceaseless hamster wheel of daily life. If a change of scenery is needed, there are plenty of oppo(...)

Dave Haslam: 'Mark E Smith always seemed to symbolise something beyond himself'

Dave Haslam, onetime Hacienda DJ, has vignettes on Madchester, Morrissey and Mark E Smith

Dave Conway with friends.

Each day my wife whispered in my ear, ‘come back to us, Keisha needs you’

Hipster style: Using industrial accents, reclaimed wooden pallets and battered mid-century furniture was, in the very first instance at least, likely borne out of financial necessity. Getty

The ‘hipster basic’ trend has filtered down to the high street and every Airbnb listing

Ben Adams and Joanne Clifton in Flashdance: “When I was told the leading man was Ben from A1 I first said, ‘couldn’t you get him from Westlife?’” says Clifton

Ben Adams, head heartthrob in 1990s pop act A1, is now starring in ‘Flashdance’. He looks back on the madness of his pop-idol care(...)

Anastasia Kriegel (14): her  body  was found at a derelict farmhouse in Lucan, Co Dublin

So far this year four women have died in Ireland by femicide

 Full-time artist Leah Hewson  has a new jewellery line with Edge Only jewellery. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Leah Hewson is on a creative roll, and is finally ditching the ‘Bono’s niece’ tag

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle ride in the Ascot Landau carriage after getting married at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19th, 2018. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Cycle unnoticed in the Phoenix Park like Beyoncé or go bowling like Bruce Springsteen

Louise O’Neill at the Everyman Theatre in Cork, where the stage adaptation of her novel ‘Asking For It’ will be performed as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival. Photograph: Darragh Kane

Author Louise O’Neill talks modern life and sexuality with secondary-school students in Cork

It’s not the done thing, evidently, to openly admit to liking the royals, or wanting to celebrate the royal wedding. Yet cometh the hour, it’s safe to assume that most Irish people will be throwing a glance, even a furtive one, towards the nuptials.

There’s no better way to watch royal event, even ironically, than a viewing party

Ed Sheeran with Siobhan Jones-Evans: she has travelled the globe with other superfans to watch Sheeran perform, from New York and Dubai to Paris and London

Siobhan Jones-Evans is going to Sheeran’s gigs in Cork, Belfast, Galway and Dublin

Dermot Bannon - making plans

TV star’s tips on getting the most out an architect’s hour in the RIAI Simon fundraiser

 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on  their engagement day. Photograph:  Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Body language expert Judi James on Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Leo Varadkar and Donald Trump

Ed Sheeran on the opening night of his Australian tour,  at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia, in March. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

As a superfan, Siobhan Jones-Evans has a busy time ahead of her

High-octane visuals help the Irish band deliver a rousing live show in Oklahoma

“It’s huge very emotive and I accept that,” says Edge. “But I’m for it. I support Repeal.” With Bono at this year’s Grammy in January. Photograph:  Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Dublin band choose Trump-supporting Oklahoma to kick off their ‘issues based’ tour

Christie Watson: ‘I started to become emotionally numb to quite shocking events.’

Christie Watson’s insight into humanity – the suffering, compassion, hope and tenderness

'The truth of it is that a kitchen island rarely stays looking like a stunning showcase piece for long.' Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

They are the ultimate status symbol for the Irish home, but are islands necessary?

Concealed pregnancies: during a study carried out in 2015, midwife Sylvia Murphy-Tighe spoke to women who described their fear of being pregnant as “paralysing”. Photograph: Getty

Concealed pregnancies, such as one revealed in Co Offaly this week, are more common than most of us think

Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis in Sex and the City: still influential 20 years later

Soon celebrating its 20th anniversary, the hit TV show rewrote the playbook for women. But how has it aged?

JD Wetherspoon: ‘I don’t think they had a strong social media strategy to begin with.’ Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

It makes business sense. Creating content is hard, and a good website is more valuable for them

Linda Barker: Throughout the 17 series of ‘Changing Rooms”, the wow factor was paramount.

Since the heady days of 1990s TV, Barker has learned about future-proofing property

Artist Chára Nagle in her studio.

Four recession survivors advise on how to keep your head in good times and bad

Dublin 8 house redesigned by Ryan Kennihan

Glass box extensions can make a home feel too open, says architect Ryan Kennihan

‘I wanted to create a headstone that was durable, timeless and beautiful’.

Dealing with her parents death led Carol McGowan on an unlikely career path designing headstone and ‘cremation art’

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