Last week, a message popped up on my phone announcing the April arrival of a friend’s baby number four. I joked that I was in awe of his wife.

The reply: “What about me? I deserve that tea and toast too!” I suggested – very strongly – that he should absolutely stay away from that most precious of meals when the time comes.

This was of course all in jest. But I think most would agree that, when in hospital, post-labour or any form of operation, the offer of a simple slice of toast and a hot cup of tea is Manna from heaven. And not just when “Dad toast theft” is a potential threat.

What we eat impacts our bodies and minds, as it has the ability to appeal to or disgust all our bodily senses.

Joyce Timmons. \ Claire Nash
Janine writes (page 4-5) as part of her interview with chef Joyce Timmons “nutritious foods possess the power to help us heal and live healthily”. When in hospital or in care, we are not fully in control of our diet and the experience may or may not be positive. Joyce, the kitchen manager at Marymount Care Centre, has challenged the norms of “institutional food”. Her efforts to create attractive food for those she cares for, particularly those suffering from dysphagia, which impacts the ability to swallow, are commendable.

Last week, when Hannah Bolger’s blog arrived in my email inbox, news was unofficially rife that schools will not reopen as planned. No surprise really and I have written previously of my frustration at how we are now conditioned for bad news well in advance of it being announced.

Hannah Bolger. \ Claire Nash

So with the challenges ahead, I thought that Hannah’s piece, which generally appears only online, would resonate with lots of parents and her approach to “Emergency educating” is genius.

Hannah’s is not the only familiar – but not recently heard – voice.

This week we also welcome Ciara back following her maternity leave with her little girl Molly.

I personally wish she could have been back a few weeks earlier, as we could have done with the clarity provided by her article on Online shopping post-Brexit. Although that may be a royal “we”, I doubt I am the only one with a couple of sale dresses, purchased from a UK boutique pre-new year (pre-Brexit), now undelivered as they were posted in 2021 (post-Brexit). Discussion on said purchases continues. I really feel for the boutique owner who is a small independent online retailer.

She genuinely seems to have been given no official information about how her business would be impacted by Brexit.

In our surveys, readers asked for the return of our Money Mentor page. And this week, Margaret Nolan steps into that role

The extent only apparent, when all her Irish-destined packages were returned to her, 10 days after shipping them. Buyer beware for now.

In our surveys, readers asked for the return of our Money Mentor page. And this week, Margaret Nolan steps into that role where she will deal with financial topics from succession to pensions, taxes to loans.

She is starting off with a few tips to start 2021 on the right foot but it is your queries that matter. Margaret can be contacted at

Also rejoining us is Irene Bermingham. Irene completed her internship with us in 2018 and we are delighted to have her back looking after our careers and education coverage. Please contact Irene on

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