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29 November 2019


Irish stars share their festive plans Gifts for him, her, kids, tech enthusiasts, book lovers and much more! Ways to give back to charity this Christmas


Wrapped ALL




Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

15 people for dinner. Everyone was in fine spirits. My nana was playing some of her favourite songs on the piano while we were all dancing around the sitting room to Beyoncé. I still have the funniest videos and photos from that Christmas. My nana had a ball and, while I miss her greatly now that she is gone, I’m glad we laughed so much that day and have those memories to cherish.” Pure Results Retreats with Kathryn Thomas have just launched their eagerly awaited 2020 calendar dates and Christmas gift vouchers! A Pure Results voucher is the ideal holiday gift for those who are looking to kickstart their healthy lifestyle or lose those extra Christmas pounds in the New Year after the festive indulgence. Their seven-day and weekend retreats throughout Ireland and Spain are based on the three pillars of health – fitness, nutrition and wellbeing. Pure Results cater for all levels of fitness for both women and men. For more information, visit or call (087) 441 7090.

Contents 03 The young ones

04 Tech these gifts out! 06 The reading round-up 08 All I want for Christmas is… glowing skin! 10 Give her a wonderful Christmas 12 The Spirit of Christmas 14 Secret Santa 16 Gifts for Guys 18 Festive family events 19 Charitable gifts 20 Your Christmas directory

A BeCreative Editorial Production EDITOR: Shauna McCrudden DEPUTY EDITOR: Clodagh Dooley CONTRIBUTORS: Celia Wright and Meredith Miller ADVERTISING: Terri Byrne (01) 705 5469 DESIGN: Robert Armstrong, INM Design Studio, Belfast REPRO: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… ✱

Johnny Smacks from The 2 Johnnies

Ahead of the festivities, we spoke to some well-known Irish faces about their Christmas wish lists and upcoming plans Sarah Breen

Co-author of the bestselling ‘Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling’ with Emer McLysaght. It’s the third book in the Aisling series, which are based on a very particular type of Irish girl – one we can all identify with at some point!

What is your alltime favourite festive memory? “Myself and my husband lived in America for a few years and had our Sarah Breen. first baby there Photo: Al Higgins in April 2013. Bringing her back to Ireland to meet her extended family that Christmas was particularly special. From the ‘welcome home’ and a wink at passport control to the choir in Arrivals at Dublin Airport, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” What Christmas present would you like this year? “God, I’d kill for some solitude! I have three small kids, so I’m never alone. A voucher for a spa break would go down well – I’ve always wanted to go to Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa in West Cork. Or, if anyone is feeling particularly generous, a pair of black Gucci Jordaan loafers. I’m size 41, thanks.” What is Aisling planning on getting up to for Christmas? “Aisling always looks forward to pints in the local with the girls on Christmas Eve, followed by oohing and aahing over everyone’s Good Coats at Midnight Mass (at 8pm). She relishes her role as unofficial sous chef on the big day (chief responsibility is stirring the lumps out of the gravy and setting the table). She’ll

be asleep in front of the telly before the Angelus.” ‘Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling’, Gill Books, €14.99

Kathryn Thomas

TV and radio ✱andbroadcaster with RTE owner of PureResults Bootcamp. What would you like to see under your Christmas tree this year? “I would love a Dyson Air Wrap, new boxing gloves, dinner in Aimsir at the Cliff at Lyons and Lazy Sunday Morning perfume by Maison Margiela.”

What plans do you have for Christmas this year? “Myself and my husband Padraig will be just back from our honeymoon, right on time for Christmas, so we have very little plans. We will probably spend most of the holidays hunkered down at home with the fire lit up. We always spend Christmas Eve in town with my Dad. We amble up Grafton St, have a few drinks in Bruxelles, then a tasty Nepalese meal in Montys of Kathmandu. “We will be spending Christmas Day with Padraig’s brother and his family. It will be nice to have dinner served up! I’m back to work on New Year’s Eve and will be on Radio 1 from 9am-11am. Then, Operation Transformation kicks off the first week in January.”

One half of comedy duo and band, and co-author of ‘Dear Johnnies’, a book packed with ‘sound’ advice for all sorts of dilemmas.

What’s on your wish list this Christmas? “I’ve already got The 2 my wishes. I used Johnnies to be a butcher, so at this time of year I’d normally be up to my neck boning and rolling turkeys, listening to Shakin’ Stevens on repeat, with all the auld ones constantly complaining about the cold. My wish was to go full-time as a ‘Johnnie’ – that was two years ago now, so I can’t ask for much more. I’ve also got a Gold Card for Coppers, so there’s not much else I need!” Who will you spend Christmas with and what are your plans for the holiday? “I’ll be at home in what we call Ros Vegas (Roscrea, Co Tipperary) with the family. As usual, I’m sure my mother will be complaining that she has overcooked the turkey, I’ll be nursing a hangover from Christmas Eve, and my dad and sister will be asleep on the couch, with ‘Only Fools and Horses’ on the TV. Typical Irish family Christmas.”

What advice would The 2 Johnnies give to anyone stuck in a dilemma this Christmas? “Take it handy at the work Christmas party. We all know someone who overdoes it. Unfortunately, that’s been me on numerous occasions. Singing ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus, while holding your 70-year-old boss in a headlock seems like great craic at the time, but trust me, it is not a good look. I called in sick the following Monday to save myself the embarrassment. What is your Also, telling your co-worker Kathryn Thomas fondest Christmas you’ve always fancied them may memory? seem a good idea and so romantic, “I hosted dinner one but you’re not in ‘Love Actually’, and Christmas, and all my relatives you’re definitely not Hugh Grant.” came over from the UK. There were about ‘Dear Johnnies’, Gill Books, €12.99

SPONSORED 29 November 2019 I Irish Independent


ALL Wrapped UP


The gift of reading Give the greatest gift of all this Christmas

The President’s Surprise – €14.99 Peter Donnelly’s third book in the series, The President’s Surprise, takes you along on the president’s birthday adventure around Phoenix Park, and lets you in on the preparations for his party. The bold, colourful illustrations are easy to follow while the large text is perfect for the little ones.


Travel through the stars with this LEGO City Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control Expedition toy set. This 837-piece set includes six minifigures, and even a robot figure, and is easy and fun to build on Christmas Day. Young scientists can work on their rover driving skills, help the technicians prepare for countdown or take the tram to the rocket. Treat your little astronauts with this toy rocket launch set which is actually inspired by NASA’s current and future Mars exploration missions. It’s out of this world! LEGO 60228 City Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control Mars Expedition Set available at or select retail stores, €79.99


Topps Match Attax have become popular in every classroom in the country and now is a great chance for kids to top up their squad. On Christmas morning will they manage to get that key player they have been searching for all season? Match Attax come in various packs but in a tin (Aguero and Messi) is €11, mega tin (Wonderkids) is €15, and the Countdown Calendar is €30. These make perfect stocking fillers and are widely available


The little Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Printer is every would-be photographer’s dream gift. The lucky new owner can snap or video all the special moments they want and instantly print high-quality colour images on the mini printer. Their snapshots of all the family together on Christmas Day is a present in itself. With a variety of films and templates to choose from – mini, square, wide, deco, and monochrome – they


Young Ones

Whether you’re looking for toys, tech, or other cool gifts, we have collected the best gift ideas for kids at any age can create unlimited looks. The Fujifilm Instax fits right in a little pocket too, so the kids can carry the fun with them long after Christmas is over. Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Printer, available at and Fujifilm stockists nationwide, €139.99


protecting your child’s feet with these booties - they are vegan, utilise recycled materials, and offer that barefoot experience that benefits growing feet. Vivobarefoot Primus Bootie available at, €75

Give your budding scientist or animal lover endless fun and exploration with the Lego Friends Rescue Mission Boat. With characters Olivia, Andrea and Mia, along with Zobo the robot, they can save the narwhal or test samples in the science lab aboard the 3-level motor cruiser. The adventure continues off the boat, as they can dive for treasure in the underwater coral and tour the heart-shaped island. This 908-piece set is recommended for ages seven and up. Lego Friends: Rescue Mission Boat available at or select retail stores, €80.65

furReal Cubby, the Curious Bear Interactive Plush Toy is going to be the hottest property this Christmas (if you can get your hands on one!). It is like a real bear due to its interactivity and you can play peek-a-boo and dance together! Plus its sleeping mode is great for when you want to get the kids down for the night. With the plushest of fur, this toy will give years of comfort and companionship to the lucky owner. Suitable for 4 years+. Available at all good toy shops, €84.99



These are the perfect footwear for your little adventurer. These water-resistant booties are winter ready, yet also perfect for Irish Spring walks, with a tough rubber outsole and a removable thermal insole. You can even feel good about


Beloved characters Anna and Elsa return to theaters this month, and Frozen 2 is sure to be the biggest Christmas movie. Let your child take home a piece of the magic with a singing Anna or Elsa Doll. Suitable for ages three and up, the dolls

The Great Irish Science Book – €24.99 Turn your child into the scientist of the future with this inspirational book. Trinity professor Luke O’Neill takes us all the way from the Big Bang to the mysteries of the human body and alongside Linda Fahrlin’s lively illustrations, the topics are made accessible and fun. Encourage the kids to keep exploring with the mini experiments throughout the book and the frequent spotlights of local Irish scientists. They will be making discoveries in no time! The Accidental Adventures of Onion O’Brien, The Head of Ned Belly – €12.99 In this second instalment of the Accidental Adventures of Onion O’Brien, you get to hang out with the Five O gang as they try to stop the destruction of their local hang-out. Filled with comedian Jason Byrne’s famous wit, this is fun reading no matter what age you are. All books available from Gill Books and all good bookstores

look like they stepped right out of the movie, complete with their iconic dresses and hairstyles. And they sing too! Press the button on the doll’s bodice to hear a clip of an original song from the movie. Anna and Elsa Singing Fashion Dolls are each sold separately. Available at most good retailers, €24.99


The Nintendo Switch gives the gamer in your life unlimited options they can play at home, or on the go, solo or with friends and family. There are over 2,000 games so far, including exclusives from beloved franchises such as Super Smash Bros™, The Legend of Zelda™ and Mario Kart™. With the sleek Nintendo Switch Lite, playing handheld games from anywhere is made even easier. And there’s no need to choose, as digital games and data can be accessed on multiple systems. This is a must have for the gamer in your life. Nintendo Switch Lite, available at Curry’s PC World and all good game stores, €229.99



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

✱Playing the game

✱Music to my ears

Giving the gift of music this Christmas? We have selected the best in-ear and over-ear options for incredible sound and wireless practicality. The Momentum Wireless 3 is the latest release from audio experts, Sennheiser. This upgraded over-ear option has genuine leather head strap and ear cups, so they feel uber premium! You can connect up to two devices at a time such as a phone and laptop, plus the sound is so rich you could get lost in the music! And with 17 hours of battery life, you will never be without music close at hand. Or, maybe you’re sick of your in-ear buds constantly falling out and getting lost. If you are looking for a model that will never slip out, then the Sennheiser IE 80S BT earbuds are for you. The ear hooks and neck-band design is excellent, making sure you actually keep hold of them. The sound is the real focus here and is noticeably better than other in-ear rivals. Favourite songs start to sound more detailed and nuanced, like living in a music video! These two options are gifts that will make any music enthusiast very happy on Christmas Day. IE 80s BT €499 and Momentum Wireless 3, €399 available at and Curry’s PC World

✱Lost and found

Losing keys and searching for them seems to take up most of the day, which is why a gift of this incredible little product, the Tile tracker, is a godsend. Tile’s range of products include the Tile Pro and Mate, as well as the newest addition, the Sticker. It features an adhesive back which means it can be stuck to virtually anything! Tile Slim has a new design meaning it can be slotted into the smallest of spaces, like a wallet or luggage tag. They connect to your phone via the app so that you can ring your Tile when you’ve misplaced your belongings. We all know someone who could use this and if you don’t, it’s probably you! Tile Family pack, available at, €74.99

Tech these gifts out! We round up some of the best tech gifts this Christmas ✱Music without bounds

✱Hello Google

Google has some great new tech launches out now. The Google Nest Mini is a Google Assistant-connected speaker, so you can put on your favourite song by voice control. The speaker can connect to various devices such as your TV, lights and other speakers too. Once you have it you won’t be able to live without it! They have also launched the Google Stadia which aims to revolutionise the way games are played. With the Stadia, you won’t need a console to play games such as Destiny 2 and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, it’s all in the cloud! Plus, you won’t have to wait for games to download as they are all streamed directly to your TV through Chromecast Ultra. Get online and get your game on! Google Nest Mini, €59 available online at and Harvey Norman. Google Stadia €9.99 per month, Google Stadia Controller, €69and Chromecast Ultra, €79, or as a set €129 available online at

Have the perfect soundtrack for your day with the House of Marley: No Bounds Sport Speaker. This stylish Bluetooth speaker is waterproof and dustproof, so you can clip it onto your bag and take it anywhere, from relaxing on the beach to climbing a mountain! With 360° audio, your favourite tunes sound great to everyone, and the 12-hour battery life means the music will last as long as the party! It’s one of the best Bluetooth portable speakers we have seen. House of Marley: No Bounds Sport speaker available at Curry’s PC World, €119.99

EA Games has something for every gamer this Christmas. Build a dream squad of all-time heroes with FIFA 20. With the new addition of Volta to the game, you can experience authentic street football. It makes this the most innovative FIFA yet. If you know a big fan of American football, then Madden NFL 20 is a great way for them to feel close to the action. The realism will blow you away and the gameplay is intuitive, so any sports fan can take part. You’ll also want to race out to buy Need For Speed Heat. It offers stunning visuals as you go from racing in sanctioned events, to competing in illicit contests for underground glory. Star Wars fans, and anyone who enjoys a great story-driven game, will also want to check out Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. From ancient forests to windswept cliffs, it is a treat for the eyes, while the lightsaber combat is simply thrilling. FIFA 20, Need for Speed: Heat, Madden NFL and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on PS4, ORIGIN, XBOX ONE, available now all €59.99

✱All you need is data

An Post Mobile has some great low cost and easy-to-use prepaid offers ahead of the Christmas season. For as little as €20 per month, customers can avail of the All You Need Plan that includes 16GB Data, unlimited calls and unlimited texts to any network. Perfect for the loved one that wants lots of data and unlimited calls at a very affordable price. Get the Samsung A10 from €149.95 or the iPhone 6 (16GB) for €149, available at An Post Mobile post offices

✱See the light

Newtownards company See.Sense have just launched their Icon2 front and rear bike light set – a top choice for the dark nights this Christmas. Cyclists are required to have front and rear lights on during lighting up hours and this set gives incredible visibility, with 400 lumens front and 300 lumens rear all packed into a tiny package. With their 16-hour battery life, we haven’t seen a better light out there. They can even be seen 3km away! Being a ‘Smart’ light also means they react to cycling conditions like turning and braking and you have an app to complement them too. Anyone who gets them this Christmas will be smiling as brightly as their bike lights! See.Sense Icon2 front and rear bike light set, available from See., €174.20

✱The next level

Take your gaming even further with this Acer Gaming Laptop. This powerful laptop is ready for all your favourite games. The Nitro 5 stays cool under pressure with dual fans and Acer CoolBoost technology, so you can finish off all your work or gaming quests no matter how long they take. And with the incredible deep bass audio, it will do justice to every movie explosion, song and conversation you have. Dependable and cool at the same time. ACER Nitro 5 AN515-54 Intel® Core™ i5 GTX 1050 Gaming Laptop, available at Curry’s PC World, €839.99



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Laurence O’Bryan

Christmas is perfect for curling up with a good book in front of the roaring fire. If you’ve got a bookworm in your life, you can never go wrong with a gift of one of the best books of 2019. Laurence O’Bryan, founder of the hugely successful Dublin Writers’ Conference and an author with six published novels, offers some of his recommendations, “Books are the best presents for all family members. And you can always buy one for yourself too! I especially recommend Wild Atlantic Way, a truly stunning collection of photographs from renowned photographer Giles Norman, published by O’Brien Press. “For those who enjoy history, The Murmur of Masks, by Catherine Kullmann, is an impressively researched and elegantly written story of love, heartbreak and second chances, sweeping readers from Regency ballrooms to the battlefield of Waterloo. And finally, you might like to consider my own new novel, The Road to The Bridge, about the battle of the Milvian Bridge.” All books are available from all good bookstores and online. If you are going to buy books as gifts this year, try following Laurence’s advice or one of the incredible new books below:


The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware Don’t get too cosy this Christmas because this creepy new mystery thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. Ruth Ware, author of The Lying Game, has created another classic which is equal parts haunted house and psychological suspense novel. A child dies under the charge of a new nanny in a remote Scottish mansion. Is she guilty of murder or was it someone else? It will hook you from the start with every twist and turn. As the title suggests, the book pays homage to the classic Henry James’ horror, The Turn of the Screw and it is just as thrilling. Available from Penguin Books at all good bookstores, €12.99

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

The reading round-up

Christmas Day reads

What better way to relax than with a fun, Irish read?

Book editor Shauna McCrudden selects her favourite reads for the winter break FOR THE POLITICALLY MINDED

The Tribe: The Inside Story of Irish Power and Influence in US Politics by Caitriona Perry Caitriona Perry is a well-known face to RTÉ viewers and with her second book, she uses her expertise in American politics to provide readers with a look at the role of Irish Americans in the US political system and their influence over the years. With interviews and in-depth analysis, Perry takes us on a wild ride, from the heights of the Kennedy reign to Trump’s ‘Green Army’ of Irish American supporters. If you like politics or even just a good story, this book is the perfect read. Available from Gill Books at all good bookstores, €19.99


Read all about it Former Ireland and Millwall striker and RTÉ soccer pundit, Richie Sadlier has written an incredibly emotional memoir. From the lows of his injury-induced retirement from football at only 24 years old and his dependence on alcohol, to the highs of his recovery and rebuilding his life. This is an inspiring book which shows it’s possible to get help without shame. Recovering by Richie Sadlier, available from Gill Books at all good bookstores, €24.99


The Testaments by Margaret Atwood The 2019 Booker Prize-winning The Testaments is a worthy

follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, now a successful TV show. The sequel is set 15 years later and offers fans the chance to learn the fate of main character Offred. It gives the reader a look at the inner workings of Gilead, a society where women are reduced to breeders, maids or passive wives. It was a task to write a sequel 34 years after the original, but Atwood has definitely succeeded and gives the world an entertaining and thrilling second novel. Available from Penguin Books at all good bookstores, €18.99


The Quick Roasting Tin – 30-minute one dish dinners by Rukmini Iyer If your New Year’s resolution is to start cooking more, then look no further than the latest in the Roasting Tin series. All meals take just 10 minutes to prep, 30 minutes in the oven and require only one roasting tin to cook. So, you can make delicious, healthy meals without all the hassle. With 75 new recipes to make for lunchboxes and family dinners, it’s easy, speedy and perfect for your new cooking aspirations. Available from Penguin Books at all good bookstores, €19.50


The Pippa Guide: Live Your Best Life by Pippa O’Connor Ormond Style icon Pippa O’Connor Ormond is here to reveal her guide to modern life. She shares tips on how to create your perfect wardrobe, the best beauty

Boulevard Wren and Other Stories by Blindboy Boatclub

Waterford Whispers News 2019

My wife is married to a Feckin’ Eejit by Bernard O’Shea

The Irish Country Women’s Association’s Book of Bread and Baking

routine for your skin and even tips on bringing positivity into your life. Pippa shares personal moments and life lessons to help you live your best life. Available from Penguin Books at all good bookstores, €19.99


Growing Up with Ireland – A Century of Memories from our oldest and Wisest Citizens by Valerie Cox In this captivating novel, 26 ‘FreeState’ babies share their memories of growing up in what seems like a totally different country. This is an incredibly heartwarming glimpse into lives in some ways warm and familiar and in others vastly different. It has tales of old school romance, climbing trees and flasks of tea on the beach. An ideal Christmas gift for grandparents and parents to delve into their treasure chests of memories, this is a unique insight into the life of the ordinary men and women born nearly 100 years ago. Available from Hachette Ireland at all good bookstores, €14.99



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

All I want for Christmas is…

glowing skin!

It’s important to take care of your skin, especially during the winter. Which is why you can’t go wrong with skincare gifts this Christmas, writes beauty editor Clodagh Dooley A renewed you

Having over 20 years of luxury beauty expertise, PRAI Beauty CEO Cathy Kangas found that a lot of beauty brands were shutting out women over 50, and so PRAI was born. This sparkly limited Christmas edition of the successful Ageless Throat & Decolletage Night Crème (30ml) is a perfect gift for mam or gran. Powered by two types of retinol and hyaluronic acid, the formula is clinically proven to renew and repair skin while you sleep and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Another great gift is PRAI’s new Beauty Neck Rescue Duo, containing the Ageless Throat & Decolletage Night Crème (50ml), as well as the new night version (15ml). Both products are vegan and cruelty-free, with proceeds going towards animal charities worldwide to help animals in need. PRAI Ageless Throat & Decolletage Night Crème (€35) and PRAI Beauty Neck Rescue Duo (€33), available nationwide at Marks and Spencer

Sustainable skincare

If sustainability is a factor you take seriously when buying skincare products, then check out Louth-based company Celtic Wind’s new CBD range. Founder Paul McCourt has long been inspired by the enduring power and rich history of the hemp plant. He developed Celtic Wind, a fully sustainable, Irish hemp business focussed on premium products and supplements that are all 100pc natural. I’ve been applying Celtic Wind Skincare CBD Body Oil just before I go to bed at night, and I’ve noticed my skin feeling softer and looking more energised when I wake up. This gift could make a great stocking filler. Celtic Wind CBD Body Oil, available at and stockists nationwide, €44.95

Plump it up

Kinvara is an Irish skincare brand we adore in our office. Founded by Joanne Reilly, the vegan-friendly and organic products are produced in Co Galway, but her inspiration came from travels abroad, when she became passionate about using plants as a natural resource. Some of our fave products from the range are the 24-Hour Rosehip Face Serum (€32.95), which creates radiant skin; the Hyaluronic Youth Boost (€22.95), which helps to target signs of aging and plumps the skin; and the Elemental Exfoliating Powder (€34.95), which is enriched with vitamins and marine minerals to remove dull skin cells. Kinvara has a Glow Getter gift set, which includes all three of these products, but this sells out fast, so keep an eye on the website for re-stocks! Also, check out the Eye Wow! Eye Serum (€29.95), which will be a saviour for puffy eyes after late nights this festive season! Kinvara products available at and pharmacies nationwide

Supple skin

Another trusted skincare brand I have great time for is NEUTROGENA®, particularly for their Hydro Boost® Hydrogel Recovery Mask. I try to use this on my face at least once a week and I place it in the fridge for the ultimate refreshing experience! So, the NEUTROGENA® Hydro Boost® Gift Set is definitely going to be on my wish list this Christmas. Along with the mask, the set includes City Shield Hydrating Lotion SPF25, Water

Gel Moisturiser, Eye Awakening GelCream and Cleansing Facial Wipes. Treat someone you love (or yourself!) to this set and they’ll be equipped with all they need to keep their skin hydrated in the chilly weather. Neutrogena®Hydro Boost® Gift Set, available at select stockists nationwide, €25 RRP

Wash out!

You’ll find all the shower essentials in this beautifully-packaged limited edition Cleansing Shower Care Set from Dr Hauschka. The set includes Shower Cream, which has an invigorating lemon and lemongrass scent; a Cleansing Cream, to gently exfoliate and refresh your skin; and Soothing Cleansing Milk, which removes dirt and make-up prior to cleansing with the Cleansing Cream. Dr Hauschka Cleansing Shower Care Set, available at, €39.95

A prime example

I swear by Pestle & Mortar’s Pure Hyaluronic Serum, which leaves my face feeling super hydrated and soft. According to research, hyaluronic acid in our bodies decrease with time, leading to dry, ageing skin and wrinkles. This is why it’s important to include hyaluronic acid in our skincare routine. I regularly use the serum as a make-up primer and it produces a flawless look. I also love their Superstar Retinoid Night Oil, which supercharges your skin as you sleep. Pestle & Mortar is an award-winning Irish company, founded by Sonia Deasy, who bases her formulas on natural healing remedies passed down through her family. Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum (€43) and Superstar Retinoid Night Oil (€76), available at and select stockists nationwide

Skin saviours for the men! The men in our office share the grooming gifts on their Christmas wish list

Shave the day

Since 2014, Irish company Manly Stuff have been providing the men of Ireland with top-quality grooming products. Their slick shaving set is a collection of their most popular items, including a Luxury Safety Razor, which is the latest trend in going back to basics shaving. We would highly recommend making the move to Safety Razors and found it a closer shave, with zero plastic and much cheaper. What’s not to love? The set also includes the Manly Stuff Shaving Soap and the Shaving Oil, which are natural and excellent for sensitive skin. It’s the perfect package, but if you want to REALLY treat your loved one go for the wooden shaving bowl and brush set, hand made in Roscommon, for €149. It’s a piece of true craftsmanship and could last for generations. Five Piece Matte Black Shaving Set, available at, €69.99

A NEUÚ you

NEUÚ Seaweed Skincare range for men is a firm favourite in our office. Products are based on bioactive seaweed ingredients developed by the company at its laboratory in UL and designed to hydrate and soothe dry and sensitive skin. Not only are NEUÚ products backed by scientific evidence, they are also vegan and cruelty-free and are an example of the many quality skincare companies that deserve support in Ireland. Our favourites are the Hydrate: Moisturiser (€42) and the Invigorate: Hair and Body Wash (€27). They also do a great shaving range that focuses on protecting the skin’s lipid barrier. The Moisturiser is the best we have ever used here at HQ and the branding and packaging are really premium, making this a perfect gift for the man in your life. The ladies in the office are looking forward to the company launching its female-focussed sensitive skincare range in 2020, so watch this space! NEUÚ Seaweed Skincare range is available at and from



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019


✱Hair we go

Invest in a quality styling tool and you’ll never have to go to a hairdresser again. Well, not as often anyway! The 01 LanaiBLO hairdryer, developed by husbandand-wife team Katie Jane Goldin and Barry Scallan, gives hair an incredible shiny, bouncy finish. I honestly don’t know what I ever did without it in my life! LanaiBLO has become well-known among stylists and celebrities, including Caroline Flack, Una Healy and Vogue Williams. Even the male celebrities are loving the effects of the dryer on their locks, such as Love Island’s Kem Cetinay. The classic LanaiBLO is available in four unique colours: white, black, pink and electric candy. But this limited edition LanaiBLO’s Chrome Hairdryer, which has recently been launched, is amazing. It gives the dryer a sleek new look, but with the same innovative technology to add a touch of glamour to your hair repertoire this festive season and beyond. [01] Limited Edition Chrome LanaiBLO, available at while stocks last, €99

✱Curly Christmas

Another hair styling must-have for those who want voluminous curls and bouncy waves. The new InStyler Cerasilk Wand’s unique technology features a woven ceramic texture, which acts as a built-in heat protector to defend against damage with every twist of hair. It also has a cool touch grip tip, featuring silicone bristles that gently grasp the hair to allow you hands-free wrapping and the ability to secure the hair to ensure the perfect style. This patented, clip-free design also prevents breakage and creases in the hair. Available with four different heat settings and an eight-inch professional swivel cord, the InStyler Cerasilk Wand suits all hair lengths and types. [02] InStyler Cerasilk Wand, available at, €89.99




Give her a

wonderful Christmas

Whether it’s something for your mother, grandmother, daughter, best friend, sister or girlfriend, Clodagh Dooley shares some special gift ideas

upgrade, the Fitbit Versa 2 uses 24/7 heart rate tracking, and provides guidance and insights to help you reach your fitness goals. It’s water-resistant and has other smart features, including a Sleep Score, to help you learn about your sleep and develop better habits, along with intelligent voice controls that allow you to control your music from Spotify and set reminders. What’s not to love? [04] Fitbit Versa 2 Special Edition with Amazon Alexa Smart Watch – Navy and Pink Woven, available at Harvey Norman, €229.99

✱All is calm, all is bright

✱A run for your money

You might be a fitness lover. Or, maybe you’re planning on taking up running after all the celebrations and mince pies consumed over Christmas. Or, perhaps you’re not planning on doing any exercise at all! Whatever the case, these New Balance running shoes will make your feet look very stylish and the neutral colour means they’ll work well with both joggers or jeans. For active women, the running shoe features a blown rubber outsole for long-lasting durability, and cushioning provides great comfort. [03] New Balance Ladies Fresh Foam 1080v9, available at, €170

✱The act-ive kindness

Fitbit is a very popular gift each year, but check out this new special edition, navyand-pink woven Fitbit Versa 2. A chic

Luxury Irish fragrance brand Jane Darcy has launched its All Is Calm gift set, just in time for Christmas. The set includes a candle (200g/7oz), Reed Diffuser (180ml/6oz) and a brand-new Room Spray (30ml), all packaged up in a beautiful gift box. The three items hero the scents of Burnt Amber and Patchouli – beautifully warm and earthy to infuse rooms with a sense of calm and tranquility. [05] Jane Darcy All Is Calm gift set, available in selected stockists nationwide and at, RRP €50

✱Pop the question

Christmas is a special time for proposals, and Fields the Jeweller have a wide range of engagement rings to suit all tastes and budgets. Our team attended a

Fields event recently to check out their gift offerings for Christmas and we had the opportunity to speak with Kathy de Stafford, one of Ireland’s leading bridal designers. Kathy has collaborated with Fields on a selection of beautiful white gold engagement rings. She told us, “Since I opened my first shop in 1990, so many of our brides had chosen their rings from Fields and were very impressed by their wonderful customer care and service. I love the fact that they are an Irish company and, like me, have been working with brides for over four decades.” Kathy added, “In the past, I designed small pieces of jewellery for friends and family, so it was like a dream come true when Fields approached me for a collaboration. I have enjoyed every moment.” The Kathy de Stafford engagement rings range in price from €750 to €3,995. Your partner will fall in love with this gorgeous 0.25ct Double Diamond Signature Ring. [06] Kathy de Stafford 0.25ct Double Diamond Signature Ring, available at Fields the Jeweller stores nationwide or, €1,100


✱Baby, it’s cold outside

This elegant tailored jacket from UK-based family business Welligogs will put a smile on her face this Christmas. Made from 80pc wool and 20pc polyamide tweed, the check coat will be sure to keep her cosy over the cold months ahead. And what’s even better about the coat, is that it is a versatile piece for your closet – it can be worn with practically everything, so it is a brilliant investment. The coat looks dressy enough to wear over your party outfits on nights out, and you can also wear it casually during the day, whether you’re heading out for a stroll, going Christmas shopping, or simply want to keep warm on your way to work. It’s also the perfect Christmas Day jacket! [07] Welligogs Demelza Blue and Tan Check Wool Coat, available at, 07 €343.33

✱Beauty crackers

If you buy someone any Charlotte Tilbury make-up as a Christmas present, it is bound to be well received. I use the legendary make-up artist’s iconic Pillow Talk lipstick, which creates a lovely matte



29 November 2019 I Irish Independent

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nude-pink pout. Give someone the Gift of Pillow Talk Lips – the set includes the lipstick and lip liner. But if you’re really torn about which make-up product to choose, I would also highly recommend Charlotte Tilbury’s fantastic Glittering Galaxy of Make-up Magic Beauty Advent Calendar. It includes a variety of her make-up and skincare heroes, including a full-size Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk, Legendary Lashes Volume 2 Mascara, Multi-Miracle Glow 3-in-1 Cleanser, Mask and Balm, plus much more. I know I would be very excited if I saw this under my Christmas tree this year…hint, hint! [08] The Gift of Pillow Talk Lips (€32) and Glittering Galaxy of Make-up Magic Advent Calendar (€185), available at and select stockists nationwide

✱Crown jewels

The Blue Topaz drop earrings are the epitome of elegance and look more expensive than they actually are! That’s two good enough reasons to consider getting these for your loved one this Christmas. A third is the fact that these are Irish-made, so you will be supporting Irish design. Designed by Madeline Blaine, owner of The Collective store in Dublin, the earrings are just one of the many beautiful treasures from her Gallardo & Blaine label. The Collective is celebrating its second anniversary trading in Dublin’s Creative Quarter, with an expansion of its store space and gift ideas. The store showcases 22 emerging and established Irish and

European jewellery designers, along with offering candles, scarves and homemade soaps. The Collective has also launched new, four and nine-week jewellery making courses at its in-house workshop, SilverWorks @ The Collective. Another unique gift idea! [09] Gallardo & Blaine Sequola Earrings in Blue Topaz, available in-store at The Collective, 24 Drury Street or at, €44

✱Brush it off

Overwhelmed by the amount of make-up brushes that are available today? The award-winning Nima Brush brand is about to become your best friend. Founder and make-up artist Niamh Martin popped into our office recently to show us the range, which has a new luxurious look, but the same great quality. Niamh explained what helps the brushes provide a professional finish, is the fact they are created using the highest grade of natural fibres and strongest brush ferrules. Meanwhile, her vegan brush range is designed using smart ‘NimaFil’ technology, which ensures the most natural finish from a synthetic brush. Not only can the brushes achieve the best results, but Niamh has made it even easier for users to figure out how to use each brush type. The Basics Starter Set (€50) is the ultimate beginner brush set. It includes seven travel size brushes designed to cater for your everyday makeup needs, displayed in a beautiful clutch-style purse. The Girls on Tour set (€60) caters for a more detailed contour and structured make-up application, but the seven brushes are also simple to use. And, I’d strongly advise picking up one of the Nima Nets 10 (€4.95) too. These help to keep your brushes hygienic and help to avoid brush hair snagging. Very convenient for carrying around brushes in your handbag! [10] Nima Brush gift sets, available at

✱Party on

Nasty Gal have just launched their new party wear collection, a collaboration with British model and

influencer Emma-Louise Connolly, and I am obsessed with some of the pieces. Particularly this leather number, which could be worn as a dress (with or without tights) or as a jacket. As for the sparkling shirt-and-trousers combo? You’ll be the star of the show at all Christmas parties if you’re spotted in this! [11] Spotlight Worthy Sequin Wide Leg Trouser (€98), Spotlight Worthy Sequin Shirt (€84) and Oversize on the Prize Faux Leather Blazer (€90), all available at

✱Tan time

Treat yourself, or a tan lover in your life, to a flawless glow, with the new ‘Glow Girl’ Christmas Gift Sets, the latest launch from Iconic Bronze Luxury Tan. You can get the sets in a dark or medium colour, whichever shade is your preference. Each set contains one of Iconic Bronze’s Luxury Double Sided Velvet Tanning Mitts, cult favourite Airbrush Body Bling and one of their essential tanning products, Luxury Tanning Lotion or Luxury Tanning Mousse.

Another incredible set, and a popular luxury tan also owned by businesswoman Linda Stinson, the Iconic Bronze Director, is Bellamianta. I loved their three-piece Dark Self-Tanning Tinted Lotion Gift Set, which contains the lotion, as well as Skin Perfecting Instant Tan and a Luxury Double Sided Velvet Tanning Mitt. Both sets are great value and will be much needed for tanning lovers with all the events and parties happening at Christmas! [12] Iconic Bronze Medium Mousse Glow Girl Gift Set, available at IconicBronze. ie/shop, select pharmacies and Boots stores nationwide, RRP €24 [13] Bellamianta Dark Self-Tanning Tinted Lotion Gift Set, available at bellamianta. com and select pharmacies 13 nationwide, €28



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose-coloured glasses of life.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Christmas is a time for getting merry, and there’s nothing that will bring a rosy sheen to cheeks like a tipple or two of a favourite drink. Someone who knows the importance of the right drink for the right occasion is Michelle Lawlor. Michelle has an impressive wine background, with a career in the industry spanning three continents. With an extensive knowledge of alcohol, we asked Michelle to share some recommendations for Christmas. “Champagne is a lovely place to start at Christmas and Charles Heidsieck Brut NV is one of the best non-vintage champagnes on the market. It retails at €69, so it’s an absolute steal.” (Available nationwide from O’Briens and all good independent retailers) As a gift this Christmas, Michelle offers a wine course from the Nude Wine Company. “I think this is the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one,” says Michelle. “It’s a unique way to liven up a party, book club or night in with your friends or partner.” With the Italian DIY Wine Course box, A Taste of Italy, you can taste your way through six quintessential bottles of Italian wine. Packed with tasting notes and other expert information, this course is perfect for learning more about wine – or just having a good time! You can compare your notes and get insights into how each bottle should taste. The box includes: one bottle of Ripasso Valpolicella, one bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, one bottle of Langhe Nebbiolo, one bottle of Chianti, one bottle of Gavi and one bottle of Prosecco. Bottoms up! The DIY Wine Course – Taste of Italy available at , €128 In the mood for a merry time this Christmas? Why not try some of these other Irish gems?

The Spirit of Christmas Are they gin lovers, cognac drinkers or wine connoisseurs? There are plenty of Irish brands that are sure to be your loved ones’ favourite this Christmas


Give the gift of a true Irish specialty, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin. This fresh citrus taste is sure to please gin lovers. Hand-distilled at PJ Rigneys Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, the gin blends together twelve botanicals from around the world, including the namesake Gunpowder Tea. Served in a bespoke glass bottle harking back to apothecary medicine bottles, the gin fuses cultures together to create one unique spirit. Or, why not try their premium Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka? The name is taken from the Kigelia Africana plant, also known as the ‘sausage tree’. Handpackaged in a striking red-tinted bottle, the smooth taste of the vodka is distinctive and is truly ‘nature’s purest vodka’. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin 70cl and Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka 70cl, available at O’Briens, Molloys, Tesco, Dunnes Stores and leading off-licences, both €49


The Grace O’Malley brand, named in honour of the rebellious Irish Pirate Queen, is all about its West Ireland roots. This can be tasted in its Heather Infused Gin which captures the floral aromas of the region. The Irish Heather grows

even in harsh environments echoing the rebellious nature of O’Malley. Another great choice is their blended Irish Whiskey. Aged in a variety of handselected oak, bourbon, and rum casks, this smooth and fruity mixture is complex and full of character. Drinking this, you will feel as powerful as the mighty Pirate Queen! Grace O’Malley Heather Infused Gin 70cl, €44 and Irish Whiskey 70cl, €40 available at and select off-licences


Launched earlier this year by Wild Atlantic Distillery, which is soon to open the first gin and whiskey distillery in Co Tyrone, Wild Atlantic Gin is inspired by the wildness of the Atlantic Ocean. As the name suggests, the organic botanicals are harvested by hand from the waters of the Wild Atlantic Way and the Porcupine Bank, which gives the gin its unique taste. With

a perfect balance of traditional and organic ocean botanicals, the gin has a spicy flavour and ends with a sweet aftertaste. An impressively tasty gin for any gin lover. Wild Atlantic Gin 70cl, available at, €43


This new limited-edition seasonal beer is a blend of cognac and imperial brown ale to take you through the cold winter months. The blended drink, entitled Garnet, is brewed by Rye River Brewing Company. It has been matured in Cognac barrels for the last seven months to produce rich flavours of cognac, coffee, dark fruits and cherries. Recently crowned the world’s most decorated independent craft brewery at the World Beer Awards 2019, they have now created a beer to warm you up and leave a lingering taste. Perfect for the beer lover in your life. But hurry, as this seasonal beer is only available while stocks last as there are only 2,080 bottles of this limited, small batch release. Rye River Garnet 750ml available at selected independent off licences, €14.99


Named for the artist George Chinnery, who found inspiration in China, Chinnery Gin distils this inspiration of the colourful history of the Old China Trade into one delicate Irish gin. The spirit has a blend of oolong tea and spicy cassia bark, also known as Chinese cinnamon, and osmanthus, a flower with a sweet fragrance. This is the first spirit to be produced by Chinnery Spirits, whose label features both a Georgian Dublin townhouse façade, with sash windows and colourful images of the Far



29 November 2019 I Irish Independent

East. The sweet-tasting gin is perfect to serve with a slice of grapefruit and each bottle comes with an elegant outer box. Ideal as a gift this Christmas. Chinnery Dublin Dry Gin 70 cl, available at Celtic Whiskey Shop, Mitchell & Son, Molloy’s Off Licence and other independent licenses, €49.95


The Powerscourt Distillery has launched their new Fercullen 18-year-old Single Malt Irish Whiskey in a limited release. Created by Master Distiller Noel Sweeney, the Single Malt has been matured in bourbon barrels for over 18 years to reveal an oaky, smooth taste with plenty of

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character. Fercullen 18-year-old Single Malt is being launched one year after the Fercullen range was first introduced. Taking its name from ‘FeraCulann’, the Gaelic name given to the lands surrounding Powerscourt Estate, the whiskey has been distilled against the stunning backdrop of the Sugarloaf Mountain. It has been produced and laid down by the distillery which is unique in today’s Irish whiskey landscape. Fercullen 18-Year-Old Single Malt Whiskey 70cl, available at The Celtic Whiskey Shop, L. Mulligans, Mitchell & Sons, James Fox, Redmonds in Ranelagh, The Powerscourt Distillery Visitor Centre gift shop and online from, €140


Try a refreshing gin and tonic – The Davy Mac – voted Ireland’s best gin and tonic at the Great Irish Beverages national Gin & Tonic festival. Add 40ml of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin and 140ml of chilled Elderflower tonic. Serve over cubed


ice and garnish with a thick wedge of fresh red grapefruit. If you are in a fruity mood, add three fresh, wild raspberries on a bamboo skewer to make it really stand out! Enjoy!



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019



UNDER €20 All for one

Dreaming of a stress-free Christmas? This festive season, An Post is making lives a little bit easier with a huge range of products and features to cut out the stress of gift buying, parcel sending and getting those Santa letters to the North Pole well ahead of Christmas Eve. Their One4All Gift Card is the perfect stocking filler or gift for people of all ages who are tricky to buy for, or if you’ve found yourself in need of last-minute inspiration. There are over 8,500 outlets nationwide to choose from including Argos, Arnotts, Boots, Debenhams and New Look. [01] One4All Gift Cards can be purchased for a minimum of €15. Pick up a One4All Gift Card at your local post office right up until Christmas Eve

06 03

Secret Santa

Have you set up a Secret Santa at your work, home or friend group and are finding it difficult to stick within the budget? We have plenty of gifts for every price that will suit any personality type

Get skin happy


Light it up

Your Christmas decorations will always look beautiful, but shouldn’t they smell like Christmas too? With Max Benjamin’s scented decorations, your loved one can add the festive fragrance of fir trees to hang on a tree or a garland. And now they can even make their car smell fresh and festive with the luxury car fragrance. Designed to clip on to a car air vent, this floral aroma is designed like a chrome vintage steering wheel. [02] Scented Christmas decorations, €12, car fragrance, €10 available at

In winter, the skin gets dry and brittle which is why everyone needs a nice moisturiser to get them through the cold months. Give the gift of beautiful skin with the AVEENO Daily Moisturising Gift Set. Featuring four full-size AVEENO products including the AVEENO Daily Moisturising Body Wash, Body Lotion, After Shower Mist and Hand Cream, it is a great addition to anyone’s skincare routine this winter. It is presented in a beautiful gift box to make gift wrapping much easier. [03] AVEENO Daily Moisturising Gift Set, available at all good pharmacies nationwide, €18.50 04

UNDER €50 Ride along

This is the perfect gift for those who spend a lot of time in the car. The Groov-e QI Air Vent Mount not only holds your phone, it also charges it wirelessly. It is so easy to use and it features an automatic detection and release grip system using infrared technology, literally taking charge of any device (between 3.5”-6.7”) within seconds. Listen to music without worrying about your battery or whether your phone is secure. [04] Groov-e QI Air Vent Mount, available at, £29.99/€35

UNDER €100 Staycation

With a choice of over 350 hotels and guesthouses from across Ireland, offers you the perfect solution for gifting this Christmas. Their gift cards offer your loved one the freedom of choice of where they can book a stay with one of their hundreds of hotels. For the Christmas planners, they offer a postal option complete with gift card and card holder. And for all the last-minute shoppers, they offer an instant e-card straight to your inbox. This

year give them the gift of choice with [05] Buy a gift card from €50-€1,000 available from

Glowing winter skin

Make her dreams come true with the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette in Gorgeous, Glowing Beauty. It features the richest shades to create glowing skin. The seven shades for eyes, face and cheeks can create a gorgeous makeup look from just one palette! Brighten, enhance and smoke your look with the three eyeshadows, sculpt and define your complexion with the face bronzer and highlighter powder, and give your cheeks a pop with the two beautiful blushes. Prepare to rock the night! [06] Instant Look in a Palette in Gorgeous, Glowing, Beauty available at and select stockists nationwide, €69

An Irish Christmas

When someone leaves Ireland, it’s not just their family and friends they miss – it’s also the incredible Irish brands they grew up with. But now with Paddy Box, you can give your loved ones a taste of home. This new Christmas Paddy Box has all the best Christmas treats you could ask for. From Tayto Cheese and

SPONSORED 29 November 2019 I Irish Independent


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Give the gift of acting



07 Achill Island. They deliver fully prepared carcase or sides nationwide as a special gift for Christmas dinner. Or why not give the gift of nature with an Achill Island hamper? Choose between the Calvey’s Achill Mountain Lamb Carcase Hamper Fully Butchered and Crafted Packed and Freezer-Ready (€120) or the Flavours of Achill Island Hamper (€150). [08] Delivery nationwide is €15, order two, get free delivery. Visit or call Grainne on 098 43158. Order early today

Have hope

Onion to a Cadbury Christmas Selection Box to Barry’s Tea, not to mention all the chocolates and mince pies which are a staple of any Christmas occasion. This will bring a happy tear to any Irish person this Christmas. [07] Paddy Box, available at, €59.95

UNDER €200 Glorious food

Have you got a foodie friend? They will love Calvey’s Achill Island Mountain Lamb for Christmas. It is succulent and juicy, lashed with flavours of coastal heather hilltops, misted seaweed shores and everything in between! Achill Lamb™ products from Calvey’s are naturally special and distinctive. The lamb is crafted and produced by Calvey’s on-farm Abattoir Butchers since 1962 on

The MoMuse jewellery brand has released a new 9kt gold ‘Hope’ Pendant in support of Pieta House. The stunning pendant is engraved with the simple message of ‘Hope’, which is at the core of everything Pieta House does as it strives to achieve its vision of a world where suicide, self harm and stigma are replaced by hope, self care, and acceptance. [09] The MoMuse 9kt gold ‘Hope’ Pendant is available from 22nd November and is priced at €195 with 15pc of proceeds going to support the charity. Available at

Who do you think you are?

Gifting a Health and Ancestry Kit from 23&Me is giving the most unique gift of all – the chance to look into a person’s own history. This easy to perform test gives tons of information about what makes a person who they are. The results include detailed ancestry information, health predispositions, trait reports and

carrier status, so they can learn about the past and be empowered to improve the future. Discovering where they got their sweet tooth and blue eyes is just the beginning! [10] Available at, €169

Keep safe

If your Secret Santa is out on the road a lot, then show them you care by giving them the best protection they can get. The Kask Valegro cycling helmet (€189 in glossy colours, €209 in matte colours) is worn by Team INEOS, so you know the quality is exceptional. Some people don’t like wearing a helmet, but with KASK, you don’t even realise you have one on, as they are so light and comfortable. The Valegro only weighs 180g and has so many vents to prevent overheating, yet you still get the best safety protection in case of an accident. Choose one of 16 colours and look sharp no matter which one you choose. Eyewear is very important too and the KOO brand, developed by KASK, offers a number of benefits which show why they are worn by top professional racers and amateurs alike. Their Open Cube glasses (€199) have the coolest foldable pivot arms and their interchangeable lenses by Zeiss Optics give incredible clarity day and night. You can really see the difference good quality lenses make and they work great for running too. This Italian brand comes in 13 colours – both items make perfect gifts. [11] Available from and

We all have to act in life. It could be making a presentation at work, speaking in front of a group of colleagues, or appearing in a movie, writes Editor Kevin Flanagan. “I recently attended a GET INTO FILM & TV Acting course with renowned casting agent Gillian Reynolds, and I learnt that acting in a movie is quite a similar experience to speaking in front of your work colleagues! Both are stressful and require steely nerves. And both require the knowledge to do it well! This course provides you with the skills and confidence to stand up in front of anyone – anywhere! – from acting in front of the camera to presentations and interview techniques. That was certainly my takeaway from the 10-week, all-day Saturday course I just completed with Gillian. I became more confident and able to perform on demand, and I saw the same improvement in my colleagues who were from all ages and backgrounds. Gillian knows her stuff, having cast numerous feature films and TV series, with the likes of Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Fiona Shaw, as well as casting for Ireland’s big commercial companies like Guinness and Vodafone. If you have someone in your life who wants to make an impression – on camera or off – try one of Gillian’s Film Acting courses starting this January. You also complete the course with a professional headshot and showreel. And it’s great fun too! What’s more, you can buy gift vouchers – so it could make a very special Christmas gift.” Email dublincentralschoolofacting@, visit or call 087 261 9718 for more


10 Gillian teaching Kevin her craft. Photo credit: Keith Dixon



Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019





✱Keep warm

In this cold weather, it’s always tough to know what to wear – sweater or jacket? So why not both? With the Lumista Hybrid Sweater Jacket, you will have a stylish mid-layer which feels super premium and warm. And due to the merino wool, it is ready for heading out into nature or into your everyday adventures. Made from all-natural materials, this Icebreaker brand is a sustainability-focussed brand whose products are aimed at outdoor adventurers, yet stylish enough for office wear too. They are worth checking out and hopefully more clothing brands follow their sustainable approach to materials and production. [01] Icebreaker Lumista Hybrid Sweater Jacket, available at, €289.95

✱On the block

Inside the head of every man is a little boy who wants to play with LEGO. The LEGO Technic Land Rover Defender is a gift that will give you great memories. Sitting around after dinner assembling 2,573 pieces into what ends up being an impressive display piece of intricate work is an experience you won’t forget. Lego Technic are their advanced models with many intricate moving parts. The engine and drivetrain on this model are amazingly detailed and work perfectly. In the end you will have many hours of fun putting it together, and is a great way to spend time together for ages 11+ (The + means the very big kids are also included!) [02] Available at and good toy stores, €179.99

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Gifts for Guys

Buying for your father, grandfather, husband, boyfriend, brother or friend? Have no fear, we’re here to help you with your gift-buying needs

✱The Ultimate Cycling Kit

buy. Like all the above items, they should With so many people looking to cycle to last for years. Getting any of these gifts work and at weekends, we wanted to put will make every trip a joy and that’s really together the ultimate cycling combo, with the best gift you can give. each piece making the perfect Is your loved one still going gift. The best starting point out in flimsy runners for their is Rapha’s Commuter Jacket weekly cycle? Then now (€120). It’s waterproof, is definitely the time to comes in six colours and convert to clipless pedals like all Rapha products has and footwear. Some cycling a great cut. It’s so stylish shoes can be uncomfortable, it makes excellent off bike but Fizik are known for wear too. unmatched comfort and fit. Some like to The Fizik Tempo Overcurve wear regular R4 cycling shoe (€200-215) clothes cycling, comes in sizes 36-48 and but for those who colours include two luminous 03 commute or cycle options or matte black or a bit further out, a white. The name Overcurve pair of the Rapha Core Cargo relates to the shoe’s construction process Bib cycling shorts (€135) or which conforms to the foot’s anatomy. Classic Winter tights with pad You can really feel the difference. No (€240) is perfect for getting the matter which shoe you choose for the miles in! This is probably the cyclist in your life, they will travel happily best kit you can get. Rapha’s and in style. Fizik do ranges for all types Core range is some of the of cyclists from commuters through to best cycling material on the racers and triathletes. market. Finish off by keeping [03] Products available at your fingers toasty and dry (the or ultimate combo!) with Rapha’s Deep Winter gloves (€165). With ✱Flame on! knitted merino cuff, gel padding Mavic Air is one of the most popular and warm fleece fabric, these are drones from brand DJI. It is the most 02 the best winter gloves you can portable DJI drone to house a 3-axis

mechanical gimbal. It is capable of shooting 8K Sphere panoramas, HDR photos, slow-motion video and can be controlled by a remote control or your Android or IOS smartphone. If you are planning to give him a great drone with a superb camera this Christmas, the Mavic Air is highly recommended. [04] DJI Mavic ‘Air Flame’ Drone, available at Harvey Norman, €849

✱Wake me up before you go-go

Waking up in the cold mornings is hard for most of us, but with the Groov-e Athena (£34.99/€41) or Groov-e Aura (£44.99/€52) you can have a smooth morning routine. The sleek and stylish Athena isn’t just an alarm clock, it’s also a wireless charging device and nightlight. No need to find a charger at the end of the day, simply place your mobile on top of the Athena for easy, wireless charging while sleeping. The gentle night light with three settings enables you to choose what level of brightness you want at bedtime, through the night and first thing in the morning. Want Bluetooth capability? The Aura is another product in the range and is the perfect bedtime partner or office companion. It is a 3-in-1 wireless charger, Bluetooth speaker and touch control LED



29 November 2019 I Irish Independent

light. Simply place your mobile on the charging base to give it juice and listen to your favourite tunes with the built-in Bluetooth speaker. [05] Available from

✱Cool and classy

The STEEL Chronograph is the ultimate in luxury men’s timepieces from Irish Company, Watch & Wallets. Using top quality components such as Sapphire Crystal and a full Chronograph movement, W&W has managed to produce a luxury watch at a very affordable price, with a cutting-edge design. Check out their wallet collection too. Their Italian Saffiano leather slim wallets are very stylish and come highly recommended. [06] Watches range from €129 to €249 and wallets €15 to €45, available at

✱Christmas comfort

Let him enjoy the long, lazy winter break in his comfy Rockån bathrobe. There is lots of space to move and rest, and with an adjustable belt loop that works both ways, the robe is functional and comfortable. The robe has the same, soft terry cotton on the inside as on the outside, so you can wrap yourself in warm comfort after a bath or shower, while also looking good. The pockets are placed on the sides which are handy for warming your hands, storing tissues, keys, phone or pencil for the odd crossword puzzle. While in the comfy robe, why not be extra classy with the Charmera Carafe? Suitable for any

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drink, the clear glass, handmade décor is mouth-blown making each glass unique. It also comes with a stopper, so pour, drink and relax. [07] Rockån Bathrobe, €27 and Charmera Carafe, €12 available at Ikea

✱Coffee to go

One gift that he will love is the Nespresso VertuoPlus. This offers freshly brewed coffee with rich crema, even in a large cup. Gifts include 100 capsules and a two month coffee subscription! Help him out in the morning, and give him a great cup of coffee. [08] Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee Machine by Krups, available at Harvey Norman, €239


✱Get ahead

As we get into the colder months, everyone needs to wrap up warm. And what better way to do that than with a 100pc featherweight baby cashmere hat which also helps charity? For every purchase of the ARC Baby Cashmere L’il Rol Mop hat, the company donates a hat to ARC Cancer Support, who provide an invaluable haven from the outside world and offer a true place of comfort for people affected by cancer and those who care for them. The price includes Sphere One gift box, post and packaging. [09] ARC Baby Cashmere Li’l Roll Mop Hat available at, €95

✱Fenix rising

The recently released Garmin Fenix 6 is going to be hot property this Christmas. There are various sizes and colours to choose from, but all do an incredible job as a multi-sport GPS smart watch. Monitor all your activities in one place and so much more. [10] Available at and Harvey Norman, from €717




Christmas ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

Festive family events Here are some fun things to do over Christmas


Christmas at the Castle is a unique festive event, set in the historic surroundings of Dublin Castle. From the 12th to 22nd December, the courtyard will be filled with traditional market stalls, featuring decorative crafts, inspiring gift ideas and mouth-watering seasonal treats. Visitors can immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere with evening carol

singing provided by local choirs, a vintage carousel for children and weekend horsecarriage rides around the Castle grounds. There will be complimentary access to the festively decorated State Apartments every evening from 6-8pm, and visitors are also invited to take in the exquisite Neapolitan Baroque crib. With over 1,000 years of history and the best of festive food, crafts, music and entertainment, there will be something for everyone. Christmas at the Castle is presented by the OPW in collaboration with DCC. Admission to the market is free. Open from 12pm -8pm daily. Visit

has been described as “A tradition that has fascinated generations of children from all over Ireland for more than half a century…” Visitors are met with a montage of many historical and fun stories, scenes, competitions and an illusion wall, which all give a little touch of magic to help convey the real meaning of Christmas in an unforgettable and fascinating manner. Capturing the joy and spirit of the season with an engaging atmosphere, it is sure to

offer a day out the family are guaranteed to remember! The amazing Bray Gospel Choir will also be celebrating ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ with visitors, by performing throughout the afternoon on Sunday, 15th December from 12 noon. Open: 28th November, 2019 - 5th January, 2020 from 11am-6pm. Please note the event is closed on 25th and 26th Dec, as well as 1st Jan. Call (01) 874 5465, email or visit


Celebrating its 63rd birthday this year, The Moving Crib will be opening its doors in Parnell Square, Dublin, from the 28th November, 2019 - 5th January, 2020 and admission is still FREE! Its old-world charm has remained unchanged and

Ho, ho, hot-el gifts!

Treat someone special to a hotel stay this festive season Experience the magic in Sligo

Let Sligo Park Hotel & Leisure Club take ✱ care of everything this Christmas. Life is so busy, leave the stress far behind you and

Maryborough Hotel

join them for what’s sure to be a truly magical Christmas at the 4-Star Sligo Park Hotel. Relax and enjoy this Christmas at the new-look, contemporary Sligo Park Hotel & Leisure Club. There’s festive food, luxury accommodation and plenty of entertainment. A two-night package is from €359pps, while a three-night package is from €479pps. Call (071) 919 0400, email sliogo@ or visit

Christmas in Cork

Sprinkle a little magic this Christmas ✱ and spoil that person close to you with a Maryborough Hotel Gift Voucher.

The Maryborough Hotel delivers a unique atmosphere with personalised service in exquisite surrounds. The hotel, located in Douglas, Co Cork, boasts 93 en-suite bedrooms, including five luxurious suites in the Old House. With a two Rosette award-winning Bellini’s restaurant, state-of-the-art leisure centre, luxurious ESPA spa, and newly launched Drawing Room for Afternoon Tea, guests are treated to opulent services. If you can’t decide which Gift Voucher package to choose, then their monetary vouchers are the perfect gift for any occasion as they can be used throughout the year. Choose from an Afternoon Tea Voucher, Bellini’s Restaurant Voucher, Spa Voucher or a Luxury Break Hotel Voucher. All vouchers are stylishly presented and can be purchased online and sent directly to you or to the lucky recipient. Call (021) 436 5555, email or visit

garden, and a tranquil lake, it provides a captivating backdrop for that special celebration. Complete with Championship Golf Course, the award-winning Wolseley Spa, and extensive Leisure facilities, this unique environment offers the perfect escape. Join them at the most magical time of the year for an array of Christmas and New Year Special Offers. With the family Santa Train Sale and a magical Santa Train Christmas Experience for all, the whole family can experience the excitement of a Christmas at Mount Wolseley Hotel. Why not blow off the cobwebs and visit for a post-Christmas Break, with fun-filled Christmas activities in Santa’s Elf Club? Or, ring in the New Year, enjoy a festive 4-course dinner with a pre-dinner glass of mulled wine and musical entertainment in the Aaron Lounge complete with a glass of Champagne and finger food at midnight. Enjoy Christmas breaks for all the family. Call (059) 918 0100, email or visit

Afternoon Tea at the Lord Mayor’s Lounge at The Shelbourne

The Lord Mayor’s Lounge at The ✱ Shelbourne is home to one of the most pleasurable of rituals at Dublin’s favourite Sligo Park Hotel & Leisure Club

five-star hotel – afternoon tea. The Classic Afternoon Tea includes all the essential elements of a traditional afternoon tea, with the selection of sandwiches, including whiskey-cured smoked salmon with Lakeshore mustard on Guinness bread! The afternoon tea menu at The Shelbourne showcases the art of the pâtissier, with pastries created by Executive Chef Garry

Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa & Golf Resort

A charming stay in Carlow

Ideally located within an hour from ✱ Dublin, Kilkenny, and Waterford the majestic Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa &

Golf Resort in Tullow, Co Carlow offers a perfect setting for all occasions. With a sweeping tree-lined drive, beautiful private

Lyrath Estate

The Shelbourne Hughes. The éclair has a surprise filling of lemon and raspberry with Swiss meringue and a classic carrot cake has cream cheese frosting and an unexpected centre of zingy orange. The new Classic Afternoon Tea is both a trip down memory lane and an indulgent modern delight. The Classic Afternoon Tea is available for €55 per person, with Champagne Afternoon Tea from €70 per person. The team in The Shelbourne will be launching a new Classic Afternoon Tea Menu from 5th January 2020, so expect some delightful new bites on the menu. For more details visit

A Kilkenny Christmas

Set amidst 170 acres of mature ✱ parkland, Lyrath Estate Kilkenny offers the ultimate in luxury. Old-world charm and

modern luxuries blend seamlessly at the 139-bedroom Estate. From spacious suites and traditional manor house rooms, to the award-winning Oasis Spa, two restaurants and a traditional bar. Lyrath Estate is the home of festive luxury; from stunning Christmas décor to festive afternoon teas, fine dining and pre/ postChristmas breaks. It is the perfect place to spend time with loved ones throughout the festive season. Give the gift of luxury this Christmas with a Lyrath Estate gift voucher. For more information visit



29 November 2019 I Irish Independent

ALL Wrapped UP


Charitable GIFTS Help bring Christmas joy to those who may not otherwise receive it; here are a few ways you can give back this Christmas Christmas Carol’ with Ebenezer Scrooge, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and Tiny Tim! The show has been organised by the Order of Malta Knight Run, which not only TA provides food, ORDER OF MAL water, hot drinks and supplies for the homeless each week, but also a friendly face for homeless people to talk to. Show dates and times are as follows: Show 1: Friday, 13th of December at 7:30pm Show 2: Saturday, 14th of December at 2:30pm Show 3: Saturday, 14th of December at 7:30pm Show 4: Sunday, 15th of December at 2:30pm Show 5: Sunday, 15th of December at 7:30pm supporting the

homeless in Dublin

of hospice services. To sponsor a light (€6 per light), just call (01) 832 7535, or sponsor a light online at St Francis Hospice wish you much peace at Christmas time and thank you for your support

the Order of Malta in support of Knight’s Run

Show Times:

13th Dec at 7:30PM 2:30PM and 7:30PM at 14th & 15th Dec

photograph and

gifts for people who really need them, as well as funding critical work in Trócaire’s justice, resource rights and women’s empowerment programmes. So, how does it work? You buy a sustainable and ethical gift from the Trócaire Gifts range, which could be anything from soap to a school kit. Your loved one receives a beautiful card with details of the Trócaire Gift. Finally, the gift is sourced in the country and given to a family in need so it supports local business. To order, call 1850 408 408 or visit

Pieta House

Irish Heart Foundation Christmas cards

Support hearts across Ireland this Christmas by sending friends, family and loved ones an Irish Heart Foundation Christmas card. By purchasing these cards, you will be supporting the vital work of the Irish Heart Foundation, fighting heart disease and stroke in every community in Ireland. You can help the Irish Heart Foundation to support patients, provide health checks, train schools and communities in CPR, and empower people to mind their hearts. Cards are available at all Eason, Woodies and Hallmark stores, along with various independent stores nationwide. You can also purchase a card on

Trócaire Gift of Love

Pieta House tackle the issues of suicide and self-harm day after day, issues that have touched every community in Ireland. The organisation provides a free, therapeutic approach to people in suicidal distress, those who engage in self-harm, and those bereaved by suicide. But Pieta House relies on the generosity of the public, with donations and fundraising contributing over 80pc their income. As Pieta House expands their services around Ireland, they need your help more than ever to support their life-saving work. Make a donation this Christmas by visiting If you or someone you know has been affected by suicide or selfharm, call 1800 247 247 or visit to find your local Pieta House

Give a Trócaire Gift of Love this Christmas and help transform lives. When you buy a Trócaire Gift of Love, your money goes to the developing world – buying life-changing

‘A Christmas Carol’ for the homeless

Boniface (Kenya) Photo: Gary Moore]

Support the homeless in Dublin this Christmas by attending a special production of Charles Dickens’ classic ‘A

design by Abe

Neihum Produccon


‘A Christmas Carol’ will take place at the Order of Malta Ireland, St John’s House, 32 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Tickets are €15 and €12 concession and directly fund the homeless outreach. There will also be mince pies and mulled wine provided by Roly’s Bistro on the night! Tickets can be bought at the door on the night, by visiting ChristmasCarol-2019 or by calling Kevin Flanagan on (086) 606 2868

Cats’ Aid

A kitten or cat is for life, not just for Christmas. Cats’ Aid, an organisation run by volunteers who care for and rehome unwanted cats, advises people to avoid introducing a cat to a new home at Christmas, if you can. This is because several Christmas plants, especially Poinsettia, can be toxic to cats, so be careful with decorations, trees and candles. If you are going away for Christmas, make provision for your cat and book boarding early, as popular catteries book up. If you are planning a quiet Christmas at home and would like a feline companion, consider fostering for the holiday period. Contact Cats’ Aid for further details on (01) 275 1665

A Time to Remember The Shared Network

A Time to Remember

Christmas is a special time when we remember all those we have lost. In December, you can remember a loved one by dedicating a light on St Francis Hospices’ Christmas Trees and, at the same time, help so many people in need

An Post has recently launched The Shared Network – the first mobile data sharing initiative created for people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation across the country. An Post is inviting everyone to support the service which donates data from An Post’s mobile network and redistributes it to Ireland’s homeless. The Shared Network will be powered by an initial transfer of 18,000GB of data from An Post Mobile. For every new customer that joins the An Post Mobile network from now until the end of 2020, An Post has also committed to add 1GB of data as well as a further 18,000GB of data at the end of March next year. This will help keep the Shared Network powered up to help people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation. Visit for more information



ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

29 November 2019 I Irish Independent


ALL Wrapped UP




ALL Wrapped UP

Irish Independent I 29 November 2019

29 November 2019 I Irish Independent


ALL Wrapped UP


Profile for BeCreative

All Wrapped Up 2019 in the Irish Independent and The Herald  

Ireland's leading gift guide featuring all the top brands and gift ideas with a massive reach through the Irish Independent and The Herald....

All Wrapped Up 2019 in the Irish Independent and The Herald  

Ireland's leading gift guide featuring all the top brands and gift ideas with a massive reach through the Irish Independent and The Herald....