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Fashion and beauty ďŹ xes FIGURE BOOSTING BEACHWEAR

Hot and hip places for a holiday GOING SOLO


Build your best body Sizzling summer dishes & cool cocktails




Summer romance & weddings, entertainments, days out, motoring & more...

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 3


4 Meet the rising son of country/rock, Chris Loughrey 6-7 Let’s get your summer look sorted


8 Great gear for outdoor kids 10-11 Hey handsome! Summer trends for guys

42-43 Body builder Neil Anderson’s hacks for getting fit for life


44 Shape up for summer with our 15 minute workout

12 The mane attraction - banish frizz for lush summer locks

46-47 Sizzling summer dishes from Supervalu chef Estelle

14-15 Get gorgeous... beauty tips for your skin and body

48 Fresh cocktails from the experts at Hastings Hotels

16 The good tan guide to the best bronzers

Timefor blueskythinking...


elcome to Countdown to Summer! It’s around this time of year, when we’re starting to pack away the winter woolies that the first tentative signs of hope begin to emerge. The few beautiful days we’ve had in spring serve to heighten the optimism. Perhaps this year, the jetstream will stay to the north of the UK and the sun will smile on us for more than a couple of days at a time! The team at Countdown to Summer are determinedly optimistic and have focused on living the dream for the next few months. We have the lowdown on summer trends whether you’re out and about or at the beach, not to mention the style edit for picking swimwear to have you looking your best. Skincare, make-up, faking a natural looking tan, helping your hair survive the worst summer can throw at it - we’ve hunted down the best solutions. Of course you want to feel your best to make the most of the season and we went along to GymCo to talk to fitness instructor and body builder Neil Anderson about how to go about improving your fitness. We also have a 15 minute workout for people who are too busy to get to the gym. Healthy eating is key to getting in shape for summer and nutritional therapist Estelle Wallace has teamed up with Supervalu to give us top tips and yummy recipes. Wash them down with refreshing cocktails from the team at Hastings. There are even a few for the children to try!

By now the spring cleaning is in full swing and once you have your home sparkling and shiny, you’ll want to add some summery touches. Check out what’s about on our homestyle pages, along with advice on extending your home. There’s no point in having a beautiful home interior if the garden is an eyesore. We’ve looked at everything from gardening jobs that need to be done now, to adding stylish finishing touches to help you throw the best barbecues and garden parties. Make sure you have someone lined up to water your plants when you’re away this summer. Whether you’re holidaying close to home or looking for somewhere exotic, we’ve checked out some of the hippest places on the planet. We’ve also checked out great places for days out and getting active, sporting events and festivals and events for your summer entertainment fix. Antrim woman Cliodhna McCorley is hoping for a great night out when she hosts a gala ball in London to support the hospital where she received treatment for a brain tumour. For many of us, summer is time for romance and weddings and we meet a couple who turned their holiday romance into a wonderful marriage as well as another loved up couple who are saying ‘I do’ this summer. We also meet former air hostess Gemma Hunt who recalls meeting the stars of the silver screen, and one of the stars of the future, Chris Loughrey who is also tipped to be going places. Happy reading, have a great summer!

18-19 Be a swim star with swimsuits and bikinis to flatter your shape 20-21 Everything under the sun... your beach accessories, sorted

50 Great gadgets to get you through 52-53 Outdoor action, the best walks and sporting highlights worth following 54-57 Summer lovin’ from holiday romances to weddings!

22-23 Let the sunshine into your home 24-25 Take steps to get your dream home... plus, what’s trending at Harvey Norman

58 What’s on this summer


26-27 How does your garden glow? Make the most of your outdoor space 28-29 Simple steps to a great garden 30-31 Great breaks close to home 34-35 Hip and happening spots overseas 36 Travel solo and you’re never alone... Stephen Hollywood’s experiences 38-39 Cliodhna McCorley is planning a gala ball in London to say thanks to the hospital that saved her life 40 Watching my steps with a super smart timepiece

60 How Gemma loved life in the clouds

PUBLISHED BY Belfast Telegraph Clarendon House, Clarendon Dock, Belfast, BT1 3BH ADVERTISING Jackie Reid Senior Advertising Manager Tel: 028 9055 4685 EDITOR Fiona Rutherford Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd CONTRIBUTORS Davina Gordon, Maureen Coleman, Matt Gault, Ruaidhri McCarney DESIGN Susan McClean INM Design Studio, Belfast PRINTING INM, Newry

4 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

Writing his own music has helped rising music star Chris Loughrey deal with his anxiety, he tells Maureen Coleman

this so I took myself off to a room and began to write. “I wanted to write an album of songs that everyone could relate to. It’s a deeply personal album with universal connections because as human beings we all suffer from the same emotional anxieties and complexities of emotions.” For Chris, this meant opening up about private issues that have plagued him for many years, such as social anxiety, depression and OCD. “I think it’s very important in my music that everyone can connect with it,” he says. “I write about things that are real to me or else the songs wouldn’t ring true. “The title song from the album, Long Day is based around a character who suffers from anxiety and can’t sleep. “He finds it impossible to wind down, to relax because of this anxiety. For me, there has to be a parallel with the character in the song. “I love films and I wanted to give this album a cinematic feel, so the listener can go on the journey with the character in the song. It was quite tough and challenging to open up about personal issues, but it also felt like therapy, which was good.”


ith a new album just released, tour dates across Ireland coming up and a few hushhush projects in the pipeline, Westmeath singer/songwriter Chris Loughrey is looking forward to a busy summer. The rock/country star, whose single Just To See You Smile (a cover of the Tim McGraw hit) went straight to number one in the iTunes charts, is hoping to repeat that success with his latest album Long Day, the second to be released on Northern Irish-based label, Emerald Records. The 36 year old, who cites Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley as musical inspirations, launched the album recently at the Hudson bar in Belfast before embarking on a tour. The success of his number one single has helped catapult the Mullingar man into the spotlight but it hasn’t been a case of overnight success as Chris has been performing for 18 years. MUSICAL PARENTS “My mum and dad used to play in a band called The Rangers and they would bring me out on tour with them,” he says. “I loved music and was particularly inspired by Bruce Springsteen. I can remember being about eight or nine and listening to my sister’s Bruce cassettes. I would jump up and down on my bed, pretending the hoover was my guitar. “Then I watched a documentary about Elvis Presley on the television and that was it. I was blown away and decided that’s what I wanted to do.” Chris learned to play the guitar and joined a number of local bands, gaining valuable experience as a frontman. At the same time, he worked in a factory, to earn enough money to fuel his passion and pay

LONGDAY heraldsnew dawnfor

LOUGHREY the bills. A once-in-a-lifetime trip to Nashville brought home to him just how much he wanted to perform for a living so he decided to launch himself as a solo artist and was signed to Emerald.

“My first album was mostly covers with a few original songs thrown in,” he says. “But when it came to working on the second album, I was told to write my own material. It’s every artist’s dream to do

ON STAGE Chris performs with such confidence and looks so comfortable on the stage, that it’s hard to imagine he suffers from crippling social anxiety. But he says that when he’s on stage, it’s easy to slip into character. “It never gets easier,” he says. “I live with this all the time and social anxiety can really whack your confidence. It can be so intimidating getting up on stage and performing in front of people. That has anxiety written all over it. “But music keeps me grounded. Once I’m up there, performing, I feel okay. Yes it’s a real challenge to psyche myself up to get out there, but I’ve been doing it for 18 years now so I guess I’m used to it now. And I love performing. It’s what makes me happy.” What keeps Chris going is maintaining a positive mind-set and staying busy. And the next few months are gearing up to be pretty hectic. “I’ll be in Northern Ireland a lot over the coming months as I’m working on something exciting that I can’t really talk about yet,” he says. “But everything is going really well at the moment and I’m over the moon with the new album. I know it helped me to write it and I’d like to think that maybe someone suffering from anxiety or depression might find a bit of comfort in it too.” * For further information log onto www.

6 | Countdown to Summer

Blue Contrast Stripes Blouse, £24.99, New Look

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


Per Una Stripe Off The Shoulder Top, £29.50, M&S


Pink Ruffle Sleeve, £27.50, M&S

urrah! It’s time to banish our winter woolies to the darkest corner of our wardrobe and say hello to bright, cheerful tops, skirts and dresses sure to put a spring in our step. You can’t go wrong with bold stripes, pretty florals and tropical prints. There’s so much to choose from. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, the bolder the better. For tops, ruffles are bang on trend as are one shoulder tops, great for flashing a tanned shoulder at a summer soiree. We love M&S’s answer to the off-the-shoulder trend with their eye-catching striped Per Una Top. For skirts, floaty is best and we love River Island’s cream pleated skirt, great for keeping you stylish and cool. Gingham is always a safe bet if you want to add some sunshine to your wardrobe. Footwear wise, flatforms are a huge trend, but you can go a little zany with feather mules from high street favourite River Island. Be bold, be colourful, but most importantly, be you.

Pink Tie Up Sandal, £22.99, New Look

Tie Dye Denim Skirt, £35, Miss Selfridge

Gold Flatform, £29.50, M&S

Embroidered Parka, £30, Primark

Yellow Raincoat, £34.99, New Look

J by Jasper Conran Skirt, £45, Debenhams

Slingback Heels, £29, Miss Selfridge

Autograph Tropical Print Dress, £59, M&S

Red Herring Gingham Shorts, £22, Debenhams

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 7

Blazer, £17, Primark

Nude Skirt, £35, River Island

Autograph Dress, £65, M&S

Bird Print Wrap Dress, £45, Miss Selfridge



Pink Metallic Raincoat, £44.99, New Look


ath Fe




Dress, £5, Primark

Pale Pink Mesh Pump, £25, M&S

Autograph Floral Bomber Jacket, £69, M&S

, ule

I er Riv

Dress, £45, M&S

Floral Dress, £40, River Island

8 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

Rainbow Tinted Metal Framed Sunglasses, £10, Claire’s

Aloha cap, £5.99, Zara

Older girls denim jacket, £10, Dunnes

Harpy Myth Inf Denim Blue Leather Girls Sandals, £32, Clarks

Basic cardigan in range of colours, £10.99, Zara

Greatgearfor outdoordays

Blue dress, £19.99, Zara


here’s no need to sacrifice comfort for style when it comes to getting kids kitted out this summer. They can easily have both with comfy playsuits with off the shoulder styling and cool cotton tops. Denim is huge, as are vibrant jungle patterns and bright jewel colours. Black and white and stripes are also popular for children and as with women’s fashion, pinks, greens and yellows are totally of the season. Sandles should be fitted professionally, just as when you’re buying shoes. Keep a cardigan, hoodie or jacket on standby in case it gets chilly.

Ruffle playsuit, (3-16 years), £13-£18, Next

Cosima Bright Embellished Sandal, £20, Monsoon

Cosima Colourblock Dress, from £24, Monsoon

Mexicana Aztec print swim bag, £9.60, Accessorize

Green zip mouth dinosaur T-Shirt (3mths-6yrs), £3 - £6, Next

Teens Pink Cold Shoulder Bardot Neck Tie Front Top, £12.99, New Look

Teens Mesh Oversized T-Shirt in range of colours, £12.99, New Look

Boys’ denim Bermuda shorts, £14.99, Zara Jolly Crazy Jr boys’ sandal, £32, Clarks

Teens Orange Pineapple Print Beach Shorts, £7.99, New Look

Baby Girl T-Shirt and Short Set, £4.50, Primark

Older boys’ smart silver jacket, £17-£20, Dunnes

Make getting changed at the beach easier with the Paw Patrol Skye Hooded Towel Poncho, £9.99, Tesco

Ruffle cardigan in range of colours (3-16 years), £13-£18, Next

Two tone backpack with tassels, £22.99, Zara

10 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

LOOKSHARP thisseason W

Mini checked seersucker blazer, £229, M&S

inter has ended and spring has finally sprung, bringing with it longer days, warmer weather, blossoming flowers and a chance to wear clothes you haven’t worn in half a year. Though it’s not quite time to ditch your umbrella and raincoat (it probably won’t ever be that time here), feel free to start suiting up in lighter fabrics and more colourful clothes.

TAILORING The warmer weather will soon start to make your thick wool or herringbone suits feel like walking around in your own personal sauna, so instead swap them out for suits made from lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. Unstructured blazers are perfect for this time of year also as they have fewer layers and are softer in the shoulder, lending themselves to a

wide range of layering options both in and out of the office. Spring is the ideal time to experiment with colour, though make sure to not stray too far into Willy Wonka territory. Let your socks, ties and pocket squares catch the eye in formal settings, but try and stick to a single colour palette. CUBAN COLLARS For something a bit more eye-catching and unusual to wear on the weekend, a Cuban collared shirt gives an old school cool vibe - just be sure to stay away from the garish bowling alley and Hawaiian beach patterns. Stick to lighter materials and go for a warm-weather, casual look when adding a Cuban collar to your outfit, otherwise Tony Montana will introduce you to his little friend for stealing his look.

Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys

Hudson linen suit, £299, Suitsupply

Polka dot linen shirt, £120, Todd Snyder

Countdown to Summer | 11 7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Endo shirt, £85, Hugo Boss Capri Collar Shirt £75, Italian Seersucker Pleated Trouser £119, Campbell Trainer £98, Jigsaw

Remus Uomo 3 Piece Fashion Suit Available in Slim & Tapered Fit, McCall’s of Lisburn

Ignite sandal, £45, Dune

Unstructured pique blazer, £70, Mango

Nexus backpack, £65, Dune Unstructured cotton-linen blazer, £168, J Crew

12 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

Seal & Shine, £7, Tints of Nature Straighten It Baseline Intense, £18, Wella

Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel, £14.95, Sexy Hair

Glam Mist, £9.99, Wella Pro-V Smooth & Sleek 2 Min Masque, £3.99, Pantene


Pro-V Smooth & Sleek Dry Argan Oil, £5.99, Pantene

Professional Hydro-Finish, £19, Sassoon

Soya Want Flat Hair, £14.95, Sexy Hair

Expert Collection Keratin Repair Masque, £4.99, Pantene

between straggly, dry ends and a luxurious glossy mane. hile sun, sea and sand is the perfect If there’s no getting around using tongs or mix for a summer day, it can mean straighteners, then make sure you reach for Soya a perfect storm for our tresses, Want Flat Hair, just spritz on sectioned hair leaving them dry and frazzled. before applying heat. It shields against heat If you’ve thick hair, you’ll be rewarded with styling, while providing flexible, long-lasting a mane not too dissimilar to a lion, while hold and enhancing shine for a super sleek, if you’ve fine hair, you’ll struggle to keep it straight finish. Wella’s range is wonderful looking fresh and bouncy. Thankfully, there’s too, their Straighten it Baseline Intense is a plethora of fantastic products out there to amazing for creating a long-lasting smoothkeep our locks looking luscious. ness and more manageable, silky hair. The cheapest way to keep your hair Wella’s Sun Hair & Skin Hydrator is great moisturised is with a leave-in conditioner. for providing essential nourishment after a This will give your hair an extra barrier when period of exposure to the sun. it comes to coping with UVA/UVB rays and If you prefer your hair a little less ‘done’ and jumping in and out of the pool and/or the Sexy Hair range is great for creating a sea water. If you want to give your strands a ‘slept in’ look. If you’ve short style, their little bit more TLC, Pantene’s range is Control Maniac is on the money. To finish excellent. Their Pro-V Smooth & Sleek 2 Pro-V off your style try Pantene’s Pro-V Ice Shine Min Masque is an intensive cure for all-day Ice Shine Hairspray for radiant hair that has body frizz control. Pantene Smooth & Sleek Dry Hairspray, and hold. These frizz-fighting weapons Oil is a must for your toiletry bag. Perfect £4.49, will keep your hair looking and feeling for dry hair, it makes all the difference Pantene gorgeous this summer.




ou’ll want to keep your locks off your face while you soak up the rays. While there’s nothing wrong with swirling it up and tying in a topknot with a simple bobble, you can earn some serious style points by wearing a bandana, head scarf or visor, depending on your taste, to make your lazy up-do oh so trendy. Here’s our favourites:

Black Floral Print Bandana, £7.99, New Look

Sun Protection Cream, £12.29, Wella

Black Print Scarf, £3.99, New Look

Print loral imark F e s r Ro £4, P f, Scar

Orie n £4, tal Sc Prim arf, ark

Silver Metallic Visor, £2, Primark

Red bandana, £9.99, New Look

Ylang Ylang, Argan & Rosemary Conditioning Shampoo, £5.95, AA Skincare

Style Sexy Hair Control Maniac, £15.95, Sexy Hair

Style Sexy Hair Slept In, £15.95, Sexy Hair

14 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


Autograph Gorgeous Glow, £18, M&S Autograph Perfect Finish Nail, £15, M&S

GORGEOUS I t’s not just your summer wardrobe you be a staple. You’ll also want to ensure have to think of. No, it’s time to get your your perfectly applied make-up stays make-up bag ready before you jet off. put – invest in a good face powder so Avoid the mad dash around the airport your foundation doesn’t slip off in the pharmacy before you board, with a little heat or if you’re not a fan of powder, bit of preparation you can be good to glow. try Estee Lauder’s Set & Refresh It’s good to invest in a waterproof mascara Perfecting Make-up Mist. although that’s not essential, unless you plan to be You can have fun with your lip wearing full eye make-up at the pool or beach – but colour... everything from hot pink to isn’t that what oversized sunnies are for? Other pillarbox red to chocolate is on trend. summer essentials include a good bronzer and Finally, you’re not complete without shimmer blush. Anything iridescent a slick of pretty nail polish. is your friend. Choose from neutrals, pale pinks If you want to feel a little or opt for a french manicure pampered as you soak up the with a twist, with the white tips sun (safely), then M&S do a slanted diagonally as seen on gorgeous Cocktail Kisses Fizz the Cushnie Et Ochs runway. & Bubbles Scented Lip Balm. Now you’re glam and Benefit is great for foundation Cocktail Kisses Fizz & gorgeous, you can get on with and their How to Look the Best at Bubbles Scented Lip the very important business of Everything Complexion Kit should Balm, £3.50, M&S having fun in the sun.

Limited Collection Step by Step Brow Kit, £8, M&S

P.S Beauty Lipstick in Atomic, £2, Primark

Bright and Badder Mascara and Instant Eye Brightener, £19.50, Benefit

Natural Lipgloss in Flamingo, £6.95, Benecos Natural Cosmetics


PS Liquid Liner, £3, Primark

Autograph Pure Luxe Multi-Blusher in Soft Coral, £12.50, M&S Autograph Eyeshadow Palette, £15, M&S

Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer, £3.99, Rimmel

How to Look the Best at Everything Complexion Kit, £35, Benefit

Fake Up Concealer, £26.50, Benefit

Set & Refresh Perfecting Makeup Mist, £20, Estee Lauder

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 15


Zelens Triple Action Advanced Eye Cream, £75 TESTER: Ash Sands



etting your body ready for the sun is no mean feat after months of wearing bulky jumpers and thick tights. While there’s no doubt that baring all can be a bit daunting, a good place to start is with a skincare supplement. Work with Water’s daily skincare supplement is a perfect natural solution to get your skin summer ready from the inside out. The next thing to think about is exfoliation. Removing the top layer of dead skin will give your razor the cleanest slate to remove hair from. Frankincense & Mandarin Body Polish by Neal’s Yard is a fantastic option as it smoothes and rejuvenates to reveal smooth supple skin. Another option is Cor’s Silver Soap which brings essential vitamins, moisture, and protein to your skin cells in the most effective way and is great for rejuvenating the skin. Invest in a good razor and use a moisturising shaving oil like Fair Squared’s Women’s Shaving Oil in Apricot. Once your skin is buff and beautiful, complement it with a gorgeous body oil like Bellamianta’s Shimmering Oil or Argan Liquid Gold Nature’s Luxury Beauty Oil. If you’re not a fan of oils, be sure to use a good quality moisturiser like Jasmine Enriching Cream from Neal’s Yard or Body Lotion in Apricot & Elderflower from Benecos. Finally, if facial imperfections are an issue, look no further than Argan Liquid Gold Multi-tone BB Cream which blends to your own skin tone and helps skin to appear plumper.

Cor Silver Soap, £39, available at SpaceNK

Clear Skin Help, £39.95 for a 28-day pack, Works with Water


ight, refreshing, and oooh so ahhhh… this darlin’ of a triple action potion quenches the insatiable thirst in skin around my eyes. It has the consistency of a gel crossed with a balm and is a bit like putting a dessert of cool souffle on your skin. A small amount is sufficient to feel as though you’ve applied something nourishing and rehydrating - so the psychological complement is a sense of beauty-regime-relief vs smugness. As a 41 years on earth woman - my main facial concerns would be dehydrated skin - particularly in the suburbs of my eyes… deep, dry rivulets indicating late Prosecco evenings. My eyes are very sensitive and if I put a cream around them - it tends to make my lids (un-sexily) heavy and swollen, post-absorption. Therefore in the mornings, the mirror greets a damn good facsimile of a forlorn-eyed Nemo. So, after searching for a nurturing partner for my eyes - one that moisturises, soothes, hydrates and is a pleasure to apply - I’ve found it.

Jasmine Enriching Cream, £27.50, Neal’s Yard


Frankincense & Mandarin Body Polish, £17.50, Neal’s Yard

Massage Mitt, £6.50, Neal’s Yard

Christian Dior famously said a perfume tells more about a woman than her handwriting. If you haven’t got your summer scent sorted yet we’ve two great options for day and night...

Natures Luxury Beauty Oil, £65, Argan Liquid Gold

Body Peeling Scrub in Apricot & Elderflower, £4.95, Benecos

Body Lotion in Apricot & Elderflower, £4.95, Benecos


Eau Des Indes Eau De Perfume, £39, Rituals This stunning perfume finds its origins in the richly fragrant plantations of India. A marriage of fresh and warm, simple and generous, this fragrance contains sparkling ginger, citrusy bergamot and breezy white tea.


Tropical Fruits Sugar Scrub in Strawberry and Papaya, £5.95, Beauty Naturals

Women’s Shaving Oil in Apricot, £12.95, Fair Squared

Multi-Tone BB Cream, £70, Argan Liquid Gold

Shimmering Oil, £20, Bellamianta

La Nuit Tresor, £49, Lancome This sultry, smouldering perfume has notes of fresh raspberry, frankincense and vanilla, with a bewitching heart of Black Rose. The perfect scent for a candlelit meal under the stars.

16 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017



TAN Guide

With so many excellent fake tanning products on the market, there’s no longer a need to subject your skin to harmful Ultraviolet rays from the sun or sun bed. Whatever way you look at it, there’s no denying that tanned skin is damaged skin. So why risk it when you can fake it? Whether you’re a sun worshipper or fake tan addict, here are seven amazing Irish tans that will leave you glowing and golden, whatever the weather, and more importantly, without detriment to your health.



Tantastic delivers a fabulous tan every time that lasts up to seven days, with fast-drying and nonsticky formulations that are packed full of moisturising ingredients, that keep your skin soft and help keep your skin soft and help keep you glowing for longer. Tantastic Fast Drying Self Tan Liquid 150ml, £14.95, at selected pharmacies nationwide, including Gordons, Medicare and



This award-winning tanning range is a quick and easy to apply with a light liquid formula that dries in minutes, delivering a gorgeous natural-looking golden colour that lasts up to seven to ten days. As with all He-Shi formulations, the Express Liquid Tan can be layered to achieve a darker depth of colour. It’s also paraben and alcohol free and uses Moisture Lock Technology to keep skin hydrated and help prolong your tan. He-Shi Express Liquid Tan, £21, at selected salons and pharmacies. Visit



Vita Liberata


anti-ageing. The tan BROWN TIPS: Cocoa Brown Body Blur, the cult product dries in 60 seconds and  Apply a coat of clear nail Cocoa Brown by created for makeup artists develops in 2-4 hours. varnish so tan doesn’t stain Marissa Carter 1 to ensure their celebrity clients The tan also boasts nails Hour Tan Mousse has would have flawless skin, is even wear off thanks  Place a small amount of gained cult beauty now available in shades of Latte to Papaya Extract and petroleum jelly through the status since its launch. Light and Mocha. Body Blur a gorgeous Bergamot eyebrows to prevent tan clinging Accelerating ingredients Instant HD Finish disguises scent. Bellamianta is to hairs. mean that this speedy flaws such as spider veins and paraben, sulphate and  Leave your face, hands, self-tan develops into a cellulite, creating the illusion of alcohol free. knees and feet until rich Cocoa Brown colour in longer, slimmer limbs and colour Bellamianta Self Tanning last. as little as one hour and lasts corrects to enhance skin tone in Lotion, £16.99, at selected between five and seven days. Wait a 24 hour formula that also has salons and pharmacies. Visit www. one hour for a light glow, two hours for water resistant properties. Vita a medium tan and three hours if you Liberata is paraben and sulphate prefer a deeper colour, then rinse off gently in free. Insanity Tan the shower. Other benefits include a Tahitian Vita Liberata Body Blue HD Skin Finish, Insanity Tan is a premium Gardenia scent and a quick drying mousse £29.95, at Space NK and John Lewis. Visit organic and hypoallergenic formulation that delivers flawless results. It’s tanning and skincare range also kind to sensitive skin and is paraben free. that is kind to skin and perfectly Cocoa Brown Extra Dark is their deepest darkest Bellamianta formulated to ensure a natural and most natural version of Cocoa Brown Tan Bellamianta tanning products contain looking, streak-free tan. released and will be on shelves in April. one of the highest, premium grade DHAs Developed for all skin types, the Cocoa Brown is £7.99, at Primark, which is added to formulas which are bursting unique formulas are ideal for pharmacies and salons nationwide. Visit with natural fruit extracts. These beneficial those with sensitive skin. The extracts, combined with its unique combination products are specifically designed of Bergamot, Sea Buckthorn, Vitamin E (and to hydrate, calm and soothe, and Botanic Tan more) offer many additional skin benefits are infused with anti-ageing This spray tan contains natural and including firming, toning, and & anti-oxidant rich White organic ingredients such as green Tea extract & Aloe Vera tea, coffee extract, rosemary extract, Aloe which work together to Vera and more. The botanical extracts BELLAMIANTA reduce the appearance used are known to have powerful skin tips: of fine lines and wrinkles conditioning properties whilst tanning your  Wax 48 hours or shave 24 as they actively nourish the skin. The tanning agent used develops with hours before tanning to allow skin skin, ensuring a perfect fade. your natural pigmentation to develop and to recover and pores to close. Insanity Tan products are pH natural golden colour to suit your skin tone.  Exfoliate daily in the lead up to balanced and combine the It’s lasts for five to seven days and leaves your tanning day and thoroughly highest grade blend of DHA no nasty tanning smell. It also fades off moisturise. and Erytholose to create the evenly and does not stain. Botanic Tan  Don’t apply body lotion or perfect tan. comes in a travel friendly size and, rather deodorant before tanning and Insanity Tan Bronzing cutely, claims that it is boyfriend friendly. avoid using oil based Mousses, £18, visit www. Botanic Tan, £18, at products.




Bea SwimStar 18 | Countdown to Summer


Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


here’s much to be excited about if you’ve got your holiday booked but the thoughts of bikini shopping can fill many with dread. There’s not only the familiar fear of exposing your pasty pallor from months of hiding under thick jumpers, but how do you navigate the minefield of

knowing what suits you and knowing how to showcase your best assets? Fear not, we’ve taken all the trauma out of swimwear shopping by giving you the lowdown on the best swimsuits and bikinis for your shape. Keep in mind that you should be trying on lots of different suits and you’re encouraged to look outside your comfort


zone. Don’t be tempted to go a size up as swimsuits expand when wet. If you’re top heavy, straps are your friend. Remember, great style begins with fit, so don’t be swayed by something that’s on trend if it doesn’t suit your body type. Follow our guide for looking gorgeous on the beach, whatever shape you are.

Ombre Swimsuit, £49, Phase Eight


CHARACTERISTICS: Wide torso with hips narrower than bust and flat bum.  DO wear swimsuits with an empire line.  DO wear tankinis.  DO wear swimsuits and bikinis with vertical stripes  DO wear swimsuits with shirring  DO wear halter necks  DON’T wear metallic shades  DON’T wear skimpy bottoms  DON’T wear a swimsuit with a belt or bow around the waistline


Navy Crochet Trim Cut Out Swimsuit, £40, River Island

Red Raffle Swimsuit, £24.99, New Look

CELEBRITY: Kate Hudson

CHARACTERISTICS: Opposite to your big busted sister and can fall under any shape.  DO wear bows and patterns to create illusion of larger chest  DO wear triangle tops to create the illusion of curves  DO wear bold prints  DO wear push-up tops

White Floral Halter Neck Bikini Top, £16.99, Bottoms £9.99, both New Look

 DO wear bandeaus  DON’T wear girly prints  DON’T wear solid-body swimsuits

ATHLETIC CELEBRITY: Jennifer Aniston CHARACTERISTICS: Straight body without curves.  DO wear swimsuit with cutouts to create illusion of curves  DO wear swimsuits or bikinis with bold prints and ruffles  DO wear monokinis

Butterfly by Matthew Williamson Bikini, £24 and Bottom, £18, Debenhams

 DO wear tie-side bikini bottoms  DON’T wear bandeaus  DON’T wear boy-cut briefs  DON’T wear shapeless full-pieces J by Jasper Conran Swimsuit, £42, Debenhams

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 19

HOURGLASS CELEBRITY: Kim Kardashian CHARACTERISTICS: Small well-defined waist with equal proportioned shoulders, bust and hips.

Asymmetrical Swimsuit, £30, River Island

 DO highlight curves but look for swimwear that gives support  DO wear retro suits  DO wear high waist bottoms  DO wear boxy halter tops  DO wear asymmetrical swimsuits  DO wear colour block bikinis and swimsuits  DON’T wear monokinis  DON’T wear string bikinis with thick ties  DON’T wear mix and match bikinis

J by Jasper Conran Bikini, £28 and Bottom, £18, Debenhams

LARGEBUST CELEBRITY: Katy Perry CHARACTERISTICS: Top heavy but can fall under any shape.  DO wear suits or bikinis with a moulded cup and underwire.

Palm Print Halter Neck, £8, Primark

 DO wear suits with a higher back  DO wear suits or bikinis with adjustable thick straps  DO lean forward to adjust so bust is completely covered  DON’T wear ruffles on top  DON’T wear triangle or string bikinis

J by Jasper Conran Swimsuit, £42, Debenhams

Palm Print Bottoms, £4, Primark



CHARACTERISTICS: Carries weight on lower half of body and has narrow shoulders and small bust.

 DO wear swimsuits with a skirted bottom that falls just below the largest part of the upper leg.  DO wear plunging necklines  DO wear eye-catching tops  DON’T wear boy shorts or thickbanded bottoms  DON’T wear bright coloured bottoms Black Frill Trim Bardot Neck Swimsuit, £22.99, New Look

Pink Crochet Plunge Lattice Front Swimsuit, £24.99, New Look



F you’ve got your holiday cossie or bikini sorted, now’s the time to think of ways to accessorise. Your summer ensemble just isn’t complete without an obligatory floppy or straw hat, statement sunnies Reger by Janet Reger Hat, and bling to inject some £22, Debenhams high glamour. You might be reclining for most of your holiday but that’s no excuse for your feet not to look perfect. Whether you go for a wedge, flatform or espadrille, there’s a plethora of choices out there. Perhaps one of the most important accessories you can have beachside is the all important bag… you can go nautical, zany

Brushed Geo Wrap Ring, £5, Accessorize

Hat, £18, Tote, £25, Top, £28, Bottoms, £20, Floozie by FrostFrench, available at Debenhams

Black and White Embroidered Wedges, £45, Miss Selfridge

Floozie by FrostFrench Pineapple Bag, £29, Debenhams

or classic. Have fun, don’t worry about being too matchy, in fact, you can clash with confidence! We love Floozie by FrostFrench’s take on the wide brim floppy hat, just pair with a bold red lippy for ultimate sailor chic. M&S are on the money with summer footwear, whether you’re on the lookout for a strappy sandal or simple slide. Toughen up pretty floral swimsuits or beach dresses with gorgeous cuffs or even a metallic cinch belt. You can cheat your way to instant glam with a great pair of sunglasses, we love the range from Debenhams. You’ve no excuse not to look beach ready with our handpicked selection from the high street...

Sunglasses, £14, River Island

Marble Frame Prep Sunglasses, £16, Debenhams

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

Buckle Slide Ochre, £25, M&S

20 | Countdown to Summer

Pineapple Print Bag, £7, Primark

Kath Swirl Cuff, £25, Phase Eight Metallic Backpack, £28, Miss Selfridge


5, M

a, £1 edor F m i Tr Pom Pom

Strappy Metallic Espadrilles, £49, Faith

Zig Zag Fabric Choker, £8, Accessorize

Brown Mix Flat Brow Sunglasses, £15, M&S

loozie by FrostFrench, £8, Debenhams


Red and White Tote, £30, Debenhams

Hat, £4

, Prima


BIBA Luper White and Gold Sandals, £59, House of Fraser

Countdown to Summer | 21

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Everything undertheSun Whether you plan to sunbathe in your garden or set up camp in a lush park or at a sandy beach, it’s wise to prepare so you can make the most of the sunshine. Our cheerful collection of parasols, cushions, beach towels and absorbing summer reads will make your trip, wherever it may be, all the more memorable. Don’t forget the suncream!

Debenhams Fuchsia Lotus 2.7m parasol, £160, Debenhams

Pineapple Shaped Cushion, £3, Primark

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, £8.99

Bloomingville Deck Chair, £165, Amara

Four Person Hamper, £59, M&S

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell, £14.99 Paisley Quilted Throw, £17, Primark

Mandala Round Pom Cushion, £5, Primark

Mermaid Flask, £3.50, Primark

Lafuma Folding Deckchair, £60, Cuckooland

Talk to the Palm PU Handle Printed Water Bottle, £3.50, Primark

Mustique Round Towel, £65, Amara

Lotus Grill BBQ in Green, £129, Cuckooland

Tweedmill Pure New Wool Picnic Blanket, £98, Amara

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, £9.09

The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington, £5.59

The Girls by Emma Cline, £4.99

22 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

Spring is here and summer is on the way. It’s time to give your home a seasonal shift...


Parrot cushion, £16.99, TK Maxx

Marble topped side table, £19.99, TK Maxx Tropicals add a burst of colour to any scheme. Amazonia White cushion, £25, www.

Cocktail Shaker Pineapple Gold £34, Oliver Bonas


eekends may be precious but it’s worth setting aside some time to do a thorough declutter and spring clean. Once you’ve reclaimed your space, you can look at adding sparkle to your living areas. Banish anything that whispers Christmas to the roofspace and it will be like greeting an old friend when it’s time to take it out again. Those dark shades and luxurious velvety fabrics were perfect for cold winter nights but pack them away for now and treat your home to some lighter, brighter accessories for the new season. In your dining area, swap winter’s red candles and rich fabric table cloths for summery scented candles and bright table cloths. Get bedrooms shipshape for summer by swapping heavy winter duvets for lighter, summer ones. Make sure you wash the winter ones before storing them away. Replace heavy winter quilts with a bright, summery throw which will still keep you toasty on the cooler summer nights.


7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 23 French Linen Water Filled Tumbler scented candle, £12, Harvey Norman

Marble white and gold table lamp, £50, Harvey Norman

ACCESSORISE Cushions and throws in bright jewelled colours will bring your living area bang up to date while some of the key trends of last year are going strong - especially botanicals and tropical or jungle patterns. great for bursts of colour. If that’s too fussy for your taste, geometric patterns are trending and work well in a modern or minimalist scheme. Pink is a pretty addition to a monochromatic scheme and earthy tones like terracotta are a key part of the swing towards nature in home decor. Pantone’s colour of the year is Greenery, adding to the rehabilitation of green in all sorts of shades, spaces and forms. Houseplants are an easy way of bringing green into a scheme and add freshness, vibrancy and fresh air to every room in the home. Finally, let your home sing of summer with the season’s sunniest shade - yellow. Metals are great for transitioning from one season to another. Refresh them by rearranging displays of picture frames, lights and candlesticks.

GO NATURAL Natural materials make a wonderful addition to most schemes. Nothing says summer like crisp white linen while earthy tones are supplied by wood and some old timers enjoying a comeback - terracotta, rattan and cork. Stone has enduring appeal while marble is huge this year and set to stay with marbled patterns finding their way into all sorts of surfaces and not just in the kitchen or bathroom. Work the trend with a marble-topped occasional table, vase, clock or even marble patterned wallpaper. Exposed brickwork is the way to go for either an arty, loft-living vibe or a rustic feel and is easily faked with wallpaper. Even bare concrete is having a moment for those going for an industrial scheme.

Lantern, £16, Debenhams

Embroidered French Knot And Fringe Trim Cushion, £40, Harvey Norman

Plants, natural wood and concrete. Scandi style wire dining chair, £160,

Lene Bjerre Marble Grey Candle, £12, Yellow Supersoft Throw, £4, Primark Large glass storage jar, Marble pastry board, Marble utensil holder, Conical grater, Marble paddle board, Knife block (set of five), J by Jasper Conran, Debenhams

A few small plants and flashes of pink brighten up a neutral bathroom Marble cube vase, £14.99, TK Maxx Hanging frame, £12, Debenhams

Make a statement with a great piece of art. Turf Boat, £79, by Jim McKee,

Pineapple Shaped Cushion £3, 6 Piece Copper effect utensil set, £16, Next Primark

24 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017





o cobweb is safe as spring cleaning season gets underway, no hideous heap of detritus left to lurk under sofas and behind cabinets. Once the annual deep clean is out of the way, however, you might find the house is still falling short of your dream. Time for some quick fixes or perhaps a major improvement. This can involve some upheaval and is best done during good weather.

CREATING SPACE If your rooms seem too crowded and small, begin a thorough declutter. Don’t have every available space full of trinkets and pictures. Add table lamps to brighten a room and mirrors to make the space

appear bigger. If you’re thinking of changing your suite, the latest styles are a little smaller than previous ones and will make your room look bigger! A win-win. A coat of paint can completely transform a space - add a statement wall in a contrasting colour to give the room more vibrancy.

GOING UP If there’s no getting away from the need for an extra room, there are a number of routes you can pursue. A garden room is the most straightforward option, especially if it’s a playspace, or a den that’s required. A garden room is also good if you need a home office - for

mentally helping you separate work from home life as well as for privacy – how much better would Robert Kelly have felt after his hilarious interview with the BBC had it been conducted well away from his kids and their frantic mum. For additional chill out space, you can’t beat a sun room or conservatory. Extra light can flood into the house with this stylish new space for relaxing or entertaining in and it doesn’t need to be big to make a difference. For an extra bedroom or bathroom, an attic conversion can work if the layout upstairs allows for access? The ceiling height needs to be 2.4m with at least half the floorspace free of the sloping parts of the ceiling so that you can move around comfortably. You may also need to strengthen the floor to comply with Building Control. GOING OUT Thinking of building a one or two storey extension? An architect can help design it in such a way that it integrates properly with the rest of the house and adds maximum value to the property, especially if

it’s to the front or side of the house. Before you proceed with a contractor, it’s wise to get written quotes from two reputable firms rather than estimates which can turn out to be off target. The quotes will list the work to be done along with a breakdown of costs and should make clear whether VAT is included. No matter what size of job you are having done to your house, make sure the quote is based on the completed job and not a daily rate as a disreputable tradesperson might spot an opportunity to drag the work out. Also, prepare yourself for major upheaval and make arrangements to stay elsewhere if possible while the work is going on. Make sure you have valuable furniture stored well out of the way as the dust generated by building work can seem to get into every nook and cranny and continue to gather for weeks after the workmen have left the site. It can seem like a major operation but if the end result is transforming your ordinary house into the home you’ve dreamed of, it will all be worth it in the end.

Mirrors add both light and interest to this hallway

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 25


HARVEYNORMAN The buying teams at Harvey Norman HQ have brought together a show stopping new collection for the new season. The Harvey Norman Interiors Spring/Summer ‘17 catalogue features 40 pages of inspiration, from our favourite sofas and alternative lighting options, all the way through to the bedroom ...


Earthy tones and use instant aging materials to add texture and dept to this look – a softened industrial feel.


Transform your sleep space by using less pattern and more texture. This will give you something not only more tactile but also create something you’d like to get lost in again and again.

Glass Pendant £55 each Cushions from £15 each, Set of 2 Large Floral Pots £60, Livia Chair £79 each (full sets available)


Ceramic Table Lamp, £165

Add lustre to your living space with these hero accessory pieces.

‘Elizaeta’ Cushion £35 each

NEWSEASON SIMPLICITY Clean lines, natural palettes and tactile materials create this welcoming Scandi influenced interior.

Colorado Dinning Table, £649

Harrogate Double Bed Frame £629, Fable Kari Double Duvet Cover £95, 2 Drawer Bedside £229, 3+2 Drawer Chest £799, Dressing Table £429, Fable Charbagh Throw £220, Linen Pink Cushions £25 each

Adela 3-seater sofa £899, Trey Nest of 3 Tables £149, Oversized Brass (Gold) Floor Lamp £150, Task Desk Lamp in concrete grey £75

26 | Countdown to Summer

Otomi Embroidered Cushion, £29.50, M&S

Zebra Crewl Work Cushion, £25, M&S

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


Geometric Mosaic Table and 2 chairs, £379, Small Classic Lantern, £15, M&S

FOUND W ith balmy weather on the way, the inclination is to move outdoors to enjoy the delicious sensation of warm sunshine on skin and to sip a refreshing Pimms over ice. While it’s wonderful to have a garden, it’s not absolutely necessary. You really only need a small space to create your own little

Forbury Small Window Design Metal Garden Mirror, £120, The Chandelier Mirror Flocked Buddha, £24.99, Company

piece of paradise. Let your imagination be your guide and go bold with beautiful exotic colours or go more laid back with rustic pastels and lots of lush greenery. Bring the indoor outdoors with cushions, lanterns and of course candles. Here’s our pick of some of the most beautiful items that can help create your little piece of heaven.

Orla Kiely Large Hanging Plant Pot in Oval Spot Flower Apple Print, £26,

Rattan Swing Chair, £265, Oliver Bonas

Folk Floral Embroidered Cushion, £29.50, M&S

Toucan Floral Cushion, £7, Primark Bleeding Hart Candle, £29,


io ush d C rk e t n i a rim f Pr Lea £5, P

Biba Zebra Print Weave Throw, £60, House of Fraser

Clay Chimnea with Grill, £99.99,

Smart Solar Metal Silhouette Peacock, £34.99, Tea with Mary Shelley Candle, £20, WickedWickofStamford on Etsy

Wire Lantern, £50, House of Fraser

Tall Palm Pot, £14.99, Homebase

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 27

OPENSEASONFORTWITCHERS Gerry Millar on why birdwatchers have a spring in their step at this time of year...

Multicoloured Carnival Solar Festoon Lights £14.99,

Bamboo, Tiki LED Battery Candle Torch, £8.99,

Solar Flower Lantern, £19.95, House of Bath

Ceramic Butterfly, £19.99, HomeSense Fisherman Metal Lantern, £65, House of Fraser

Malvern Tall Battery Outdoor Lantern, £39.99,

Rabat Rustic Shepherd’s Solar Lantern, £12.99, National Trust Willow Windlight,small, £15, shop.

Metal Lantern, £80, House of Fraser


or anyone who loves birds and nature, spring can’t come soon enough! Because it’s a time when all garden birds are able to embrace life once more – at least those who managed to survive the winter hardships. Their thoughts (like ours!) turn to love – which means our gardens are once more filled with beautiful songs as the males try to attract a mate. And then they’ll build a nest which they’ll hide ingeniously so their offspring won’t become victims of a hawk or cat. Robins and dunnocks live in most of our gardens and I always keep an eye on these birds from the kitchen window in the hope that they’ll lead me to their best-kept secret, their nest. But year after year, they outsmart me! As you can see from this picture, you can build up trust with the garden birds by simply being kind to them and helping them to survive winter. I spend a small fortune on food – especially sunflower hearts which are gobbled up at an incredible rate – but it pays off. This robin now regularly lands on my outretched hand to feed. All through winter my days were brightened up by blue, coal and great tits, goldfinches, blackcaps and of course robins, dunnocks and blackbirds in my Belfast garden. Once spring arrives and worms and insects reappear, feeding your garden birds isn’t so vital. But it’s best to wean them off feeding

gradually to ensure they make it safely through the last month until the height of the breeding season in May. Nestboxes too are a great way to attract birds to your garden – and many of these boxes come with tiny cameras inside so you can actually watch the eggs hatching and the chicks fledging. My box at the side of the house attracted a pair of blue tits last year and they successfully brought up a family. Many of the birds that visit your garden in winter disappear in summer to nest in our parks and hills, so it’s great when you can supply boxes for birds to nest in. In a few weeks’ time we’ll enjoy an influx of birds returning from Africa, including swallows and swifts. Suddenly, our relatively empty skies will be filled once more with these amazing streamlined birds. All these birds brighten our lives and give us many hours of enjoyment – especially in spring.

28 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

Simplesteps toa



other Nature has flung open the door to spring and with it, renewed optimism. Whether this summer fulfills our hopes for a long and sunny season with the rainfall keeping night hours remains to be seen. With May sometimes bringing the best days of the year you don’t want to miss out on those tasks that will have your garden at its blooming best for the start of summer. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t achieved much in previous years or feel intimidated if your experience of ‘green shoots’ has been limited to economics, as you don’t need a great deal of know-how to see your garden burst into glorious life. A bit of time, a refusal to be cowed by gardening jargon and a ‘can do’ attitude is all that’s required. Time to get to work... First of all, give the garden a good spring clean. Remove faded daffodil and tulip

heads and remove any plants that haven’t survived winter. Also, give your borders and flower beds a good hoeing to deal with any weeds that may be trying to get established. Then apply a general purpose fertiliser on those areas. Remove any dead flowers from your pansies, primulas and other spring bedding plants and you’ll be rewarded with another crop of flowers. Get into the habit of deadheading throughout the garden as often as possible and your plants will look well for longer. Remove some of the old compost from the top of your pots and containers and treat your shrubs to fresh compost. If any potted plants are failing to thrive, they may be root-bound so tip them out and check whether the roots are very compacted. If they are, replant them in a bigger container and watch them flourish.

A rustic bench, large vase and lantern add interest and depth to this beautiful garden

Countdown to Summer | 29

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph



f you haven’t tried sowing from seed since primary school days, when you had one seed and a polystyrene cup of soil to grow it in, why not give it a go? Early April is a great time for sowing outdoors, as it’s warmer than March and wetter than May. In the case of many beautiful blossoms, such as the bright blue Nigella, snapdragon or California poppies, you can sow the seeds directly into the ground, much easier than trying to separate tiny seeds into modular trays. Create a natural ‘drift’ effect by sowing in lines rather than chucking handfuls onto the soil. This also helps you identify weeds and avoid pulling up seedlings. Experts disagree about whether you should work fertiliser into the ground before sowing, as it can promote leafy growth at the expense of flowers. However make sure there are no weeds and rake the


ground over well, breaking up any lumps of soil. Use a stick to create holes, following the packet directions for spacing and depth of planting. Sow the seed and cover over with soil. As the seedlings emerge, you will want to thin them out – use the excess from one area and plant them into another. Some hardy annuals are self-seeding so you can enjoy their display every summer and they can provide lots of variety:

Great for... ÷ Colour - Aquilegia (columbine), with its blue bell-like flowers, Penstemon and the exuberant foxglove (digitalis) ÷ Architectural form - Anglica and Sea Holly ÷ Height - Californian poppies, tree mallow, sweet pea (don’t forget to provide support) ÷ Ground cover - forget-me-not, feverfew.

If you love to have flowers in every room, it makes sense to grow your own for cutting. Delphineums and phlox make for striking and colourful displays and gypsophila adds romance to a display and fills it up if it looks gappy. You can sow gypsophila seed directly outside once the soil has warmed up a bit and it flowers rapidly. Keep scattering the tiny seeds every few weeks to keep the supply going. Roses are hard to beat when it comes to beautiful blooms and are easy to grow.

This strain of Delphinium hybridum ‘Pacific Giants Mixed’ produces strong spikes of mainly semi-double blooms in a wide colour range on sturdy stems, 4-5 feet tall. One packet (110 seeds), £2.99,




This is a good time to begin planting your summer flowering bulbs like gladioli, freesias and dahlias. Don’t leave them lying around after you buy them and check that they are firm and healthy looking. Choose a spot with good drainage to save them from rotting and if your chosen spot is a bit sodden, mix in some gravel or sand or plant them on a bit of a slope to help with drainage. Fertilise after planting.

Aquilegia or columbine is famed for its beautiful blue bell-like flowers

Californian Poppy ‘Sun Shades’ produce fiery orange and yellow blooms above a sea of ferny blue-green foliage for a bold summer display. These dainty hardy annuals thrive on poor, dry soils and attract bees. One packet (100 seeds) £2.99,


ome gardening terms can seem obscure and put the amateur gardener off having a go but ‘dividing clumps of herbaceous perennials’ is a great way of getting lots more plants from those you already have and is simpler than it sounds. Spring is a good time to do it, whether it’s crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils which have finished flowering or summer flowering plants which aren’t yet growing actively. The RHS ( lists some examples of plants that benefit from dividing: Agapanthus, Anemone, Aster, Bergenia (elephant’s ears), Convallaria (lily-of-the-valley) Crocosmia, Dierama, Delphinium, Epimedium, Eryngium (sea holly), Euphorbia, Gentiana (gentian) Geranium, Helianthus, Hemerocallis (daylily), Hosta, Iris (in summer), Lychnis, Lysichiton, Lysimachia, ornamental grasses, Primula (primrose) Ranunculus (buttercup), Salvia, Sedum, Verbena, Zantedeschia (arum lily). How do you do it? Lift plants gently with a garden fork, so as not to damage the roots then shake off the excess soil so that the roots are clearly visible. Then, depending on the texture of the root, you can simply tease some of the plantlets apart (as in Ajuga). Some have

Perennials tend to cost a lot more than annuals as they last longer and are worth looking after. Add to your gardening satisfaction by not only planting out your latest purchases but also growing new plants from cuttings from the larger plants. Use a sharp knife to cut off a new shoot that’s about 3 inches long. Remove the bottom leaves, dip the bottom of the shoot in hormone rooting powder and shake off the excess, then plant it in a pot with a good quality compost, making sure the shoot is secured by

Gypsophila paniculata or Baby’s Breath is a popular hardy perennial grown for its clouds of flowers which grow to 3-4ft. One packet (600 seeds) £2.99, fibrous roots which can be gently pulled apart to produce small clumbs (such as Heuchera, Hosta and Epimedium). Others might require more force and in the case of woody Hellleborus or fleshy Delphiniums, it’s better to cut them with a spade or knife, aiming for clumps with 3-5 shoots. Either plant up your new plants individually or plant them in the garden and water in well.

pressing the soil down around it. Water it well and let the water drain away, then put it in a sheltered spot until it is strong and healthy looking enough to plant out. If you don’t have hormone rooting powder, place the cutting in a glass of water and leave it on the windowsill for a few weeks and you should see roots emerge. Some perennials, such as geraniums and fuchsia, are great for window boxes and hanging baskets and growing your own from cuttings will entitle you to a summer of smugness.

30 | Countdown to Summer

Notjust a‘shore’ thing


here’s no doubt about it, we’re spoilt for choice of great holiday spots without leaving these shores. Why not use this summer to explore parts of this island you’ve never visited before? Whether you go for the coast, cities, mountains or the lakelands you are in for a treat. Take a tent or caravan or book into an hotel and forget about cooking for a while. Many of our hotels have great kids’ clubs and children’s facilities, and lots have spas to make your stay even more special.

Head for the Causeway Coast for majestic landscapes, historic sites and great tourism facilities. Visit the iconic Dark Hedges, a must for Game of Thrones’ fans or simply park yourself at Dunluce Castle or the Giant’s Causeway and take in the incredible panorama. Tour Bushmills followed by dinner in Portrush or Portstewart. On a fine day, the seven, pristine miles of Benone strand are hard to beat.

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017 Dingle celebrity Fungi

Benone strand

Go west for a Wild Atlantic adventure. The longest defined coastal touring route in the world, the Wild Atlantic Way stretches 2,500km from Donegal to West Cork and is famed for its breath-takingly rugged scenery, its lively music and pub scenes and great food and cultural experiences. The Atlantic coast is also home to lots of fascinating islands, like Tory Island, off Donegal, or Dursey Island, accessed via a swinging cable car. For sheer remoteness, visit the rocky Connemara Gaeltacht or for a livelier holiday, stay in Sligo or Westport. For mind-blowing scenery and the chance to see wildlife, including dolphins up close, head on south to Kerry. For more information visit www.

tombs and early Christian round towers. The entire region is full of great treasures waiting to be Kilkenny discovered anew. Check Castle out the many castles that bear witness to the Norman legacy, such as at cosmopolitan Kilkenny and Cahir, Co Tipperary, or get your fill of the historic sites, not to mention majestic mountains of Wicklow. Stay in one of the cool villages near Dublin and shop till you drop in the city or head on down to the sunny south-east where Viking heritage vies with a thoroughly modern vibe in Waterford and Wexford. For more ideas, see www.

Meanwhile, the Ancient East boasts 5,000 years of history with its big houses, Victorian gardens, megalithic passage

Ireland’s stunning coastline might be the envy of every landlocked country, but our lakelands are every bit as beautiful

and well worth a visit. These inland beauty spots are packed with great places to shop and stay as well as visitor attractions to keep everyone entertained, from the Marble Arch Caves to the Arigna Mining Experience. The Fermanagh Lakelands merge seamlessly into the Cavan Lakelands where the majestic River Shannon has its humble beginnings in the Shannon Pot. Follow the Shannon the length of its 240 miles and take your pick of counties along the way – Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon, Westmeath, Offaly, Tipperary, Galway, Clare and onto Limerick where the great river meets the Atlantic Ocean. Many visitors hire a cruiser and take a leisurely approach to exploring the country, however, you can find many great stopping off places whether you travel by car, coach or bike. For further information visit www. and

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 31

KilronanCastleEstate&Spa scoops7IrishHotelAwards The team at Kilronan Castle Estate and Spa, County Roscommon, are beaming with pride right now after a successful night at the recent Irish Hotel Awards.


aving been shortlisted for Castle Hotel of the year, Fine Dining Hotel of the year, Spa Hotel of the year and Wedding Hotel of the year the team (pictured below) were even more delighted to have been awarded seven prestigious awards on the night. Executive Head Chef David Porter won Regional Chef of the Year Connaught and also the Chef of the Year Award for the whole of Ireland. Pastry Chef Marcin Brewlyski was also delighted to have been nominated and shortlisted for the Star Chef Award. Ciara Maxwell represented the hotel on the night also and was overwhelmed with the awards presented: “I just couldn’t believe that we won the three awards in the wedding categories! To have won Regional Wedding Hotel of the Year Connaught and Overall Wedding Venue was just brilliant, then to top it off I received Regional

Wedding Planner of the Year for Connaught. I just can’t stop smiling!” It didn’t stop there either, Katie Gill then brought home the Best Spa in Connaught Award, The Spa at Kilronan Castle Estate and Spa boasts amazing Thermal Suite Facilities which include: Sauna, Light Therapy, Aroma, Steam Room, Tropical Showers Hot & Cold Infinity Pools, Hydrotherapy Shower, Ice Feature and Relaxation Suite, a world of escapism is at your fingertips. The icing on the cake was then to receive the Castle Hotel of the Year Award, General Manager Michelle Coghlan said: “It was an amazing evening, I am extremely proud of the team at Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa and look forward to many more awards and accolades in the future. Well done to all of the team!” For reservations contact 00353 7196 18000, visit



fter 20 years providing tours to visitors from all over the world, local Tour Company, McComb’s Coach Travel, are now steering in a different direction! Local couple Rodney and Caroline McComb have decided that now is the time to show local people the highlights of our beautiful country with a brand new 2-night coach tour to Fermanagh. “It has been a long-term ambition of ours to move into the local tour market, and we have finally decided to take the plunge and offer this fantastic trip to Fermanagh,” commented Caroline. “2016 was our 20th year in tourism, when we were named as ‘Coach Tour Operator of the Year’ by the Federation of Passenger Transport. We take more than 70,000 overseas visitors on tours to Giant’s Causeway, Game of Thrones Filming Locations, and Belfast every year, and we feel that it’s time that local people got the chance to enjoy our hospitality!” The brand new tour includes travel onboard one of McComb’s luxury coaches to

the 4 star Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel where guests will enjoy 2 nights bed & breakfast and one evening meal. There are also coach tours to Florence Court, and the world-famous Belleek Pottery (pictured). The tour departs from Belfast, Lisburn and Portadown, and is available throughout May, June and September 2017. Rodney added: “At just £169 per person sharing this is a fantastic offer. It’s not only great value for money, but also an amazing trip for local people to enjoy those areas that seem to be on our doorstep, but that we never get around to visiting.” More information about McComb’s Short Breaks to Fermanagh is available online at, over the phone on 028 9086 6162, or by calling into their Travel Centre in Victoria Square, just in front of House of Fraser.

34 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017 Pretty villages, lakes and mountains mark out Quebec, Canada

Hip and happening

While the Spanish Costas, Portugal and Croatia continue to be popular hot spots for Northern Ireland’s holidaymakers, an increasing number of solo travellers, students, adventureseekers and backpackers are looking to more far flung, ✱CANADA off-the-beatentrack destinations. Here are five of the coolest countries to visit in 2017... BY MAUREEN COLEMAN


This year marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation – the moment Canada became a country – making it an opportune time to plan a holiday there. Year-round celebrations are due to take place so expect plenty of birthday bonhomie if you do decide to visit. Everything about Canada is big – its size, its landmarks, its big-hearted, welcoming approach to guests. From the Canadian Rockies to the Niagara Falls, the scenery is spectacular and cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec are considered among the coolest spots in the world. Canada’s reputation as a happy, healthy, energetic country has been buoyed by its vibrant new leader Justin Trudeau and the country is currently topping many polls as the hottest destination for 2017.


Once the homeland of nomadic warlord Genghis Khan, Mongolia is the fourth most sparsely inhabited country in the world and it’s this vast emptiness which lures travellers to the Land of Blue

The yurt looks most at home in the Mongolian desert

Skies. To this day the nomadic tradition still remains and yurt camps are part of the fabric of this stunning landscape. This year it will be easier than ever to visit Mongolia as a new state-of-the-art airport opens in the capital city, Ulaan Baatar. The city, which is home to around 3 million residents, boasts plenty of excellent hotels, including the multi-million pound Shangri-La. A good time to visit is during July when the annual Naadam Festival gets underway. For those not put off by cold weather, travelling to Mongolia from November until the Lunar New Year is still an option, with winter tourism becoming big business.


Not quite as tourist-driven as its Nordic neighbours Norway and Sweden, Fin-

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 35

The ancient pagodas of Bagan in Mandalay, Myanmar


Helsinki’s old town is a must for visitors to Finland

land is set to be party central this year as it celebrates 100 years of independence. To mark this centenary, events are planned up and down the country throughout the year, from sauna evenings to outdoor concerts. The country even has a new national park in Hossa, a hiker’s paradise. It also boasts around 188,000 lakes and in the northernmost part of the country, aurora-hunters descend in their thousands to try and see the Northern Lights. Finland is also home to Santa, let’s not forget! With the country playing host to the World Figure Skating Championships and the Nordic World Ski Championships this year, 2017 is a perfect time to visit.


From its famous Horseshoe Bay to Elbow Beach, Bermuda’s coastline is renowned for its glorious pink sand, its coral reef formations, its crystal blue water and shipwrecks. Normally a quiet island, with just over 60,000 residents,

Flamingos gather in Bermuda

it will come alive this year when it hosts the 35th America’s Cup race. The base for the race is the Royal Naval Dockyard, just north of Great Sound, where the drama will unfold against a backdrop of beautiful beaches. The action starts on May 26 with the Cup Match races on June 17-18 and June 24-27. The capital city of Hamilton, with its yacht-filled harbour, is worth a visit and St George’s, at the north-eastern tip of the island, is a Unesco World Heritage Site, with its many historic buildings. St George’s is the oldest, continually inhabited British settlement in the New World and is made up of small winding streets with typical British Colonial architecture. Other landmarks include the Crystal and Fantasy Caves and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, one of the oldest cast iron structures in the world.


Southeast Asia’s most secretive country is gearing up to welcome an influx of visitors as the tourist industry there slowly begins to pick up. When Burmese politician and author Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in 2010, it signalled changes were afoot and the country, long shrouded in mystery, began to welcome tourists. In 2015 Myanmar voted in its first democratically elected government in more than 50 years and although problems still exist, there is an openness now which is helping to draw outsiders in. What brings them there is the allure of the unknown, but also the fabled Irrawaddy River, the golden temples, the Buddhist monasteries and its traditional Asian appeal, which it has managed to retain.

My friend and her husband go to the same holiday resort in southern France... every year. It’s not because of their love for the place, though they do enjoy it. It’s not the guaranteed sunshine, fresh local food and cheap but eminently drinkable wine that draws them, though they enjoy those too. It’s because the road from the airport to the resort is the only Continental route they have found themselves able to negotiate without a potentially life-altering or even life-ending row. Roundabouts are a particular cause of anguish, with my friend - a very capable person normally skidding to a halt and flatly refusing to get back into the car the last time they tried to go somewhere else. While some of us might think it’s a shame to limit yourself to the one dot on the map, they are able to look forward to their annual holiday knowing that they are not booking a one way ticket to the divorce court. And there is a lot to be said for knowing how your holiday is likely to pan out from the minute you complete the booking. DO YOUR HOMEWORK Aside from going down my friend’s well worn route, you do your research and take your chances when it comes to selecting the main holiday of the year. With increasing numbers of people taking two or three overseas trips a year, it appears that practice is, indeed, making perfect. For most of us the first consideration is budget which dictates the length of holiday. The amount of time both earners can get off work - and when - are also factors as there’s no point in going to Australia for a fortnight. In today’s climate, unfortunately, security is also a consideration. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s latest security advice at before booking your holiday. Often, certain parts of a country are advised against whereas others might be fine. The FCO website is also a mine of information regarding visas required for each destination as well as up to date info

on local customs and the potential penalty should you break the law. Visit for details of vaccinations needed or other health considerations when travelling overseas and organise to have your jabs a month or so before travelling. TAKE COVER While many holidaymakers are aware of the need for travel insurance when doing a long haul trip, according to ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents) as many as a quarter of British holidaymakers head off without any travel insurance and Northern Ireland travellers are even more likely to do so. The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only covers basic medical treatment on the continent. Some people take out the most basic insurance without considering what it covers. John de Vial, Head of Financial Protection, ABTA says travel insurance is ‘an essential’, adding: “The increase in the number of people travelling uninsured is alarming. We hear too many horror stories of people who have forked out huge sums of money or not got the right treatment because they’ve had an accident abroad and been uninsured.” Lynda St Cooke of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office says: “It is important that people understand what the FCO can and cannot do to help British nationals who get into trouble abroad. We cannot pay medical bills so it is vital that you have a comprehensive travel insurance package for trips overseas. We also advise reading the small-print to check that your policy covers you for everything you want to do on holiday. If in doubt, contact your insurance provider.” Of course, the other essential item is an up to date passport. There is simply nothing worse than turning up for a longed for holiday only to find your passport has expired. Some countries will turn visitors away if their passport is only valid for a further six months. Find out more at, a travel advice site run by Megan Singleton. Once you’ve covered those bases you’re all set for a stress free and well deserved holiday.

36 | Countdown to Summer



he night before Belfast man Stephen Hollywood was due to travel to Australia for his first solo holiday, he began to have second thoughts and almost called the trip off. Having missed out on the opportunity to take a gap year abroad or backpack around Europe, as many students do, the idea of solo travelling appealed to his sense of independence and wanderlust and at the age of 25 – with no responsibilities or commitments – he thought it was the perfect time to explore the world. He talked himself out of those last-minute nerves and the following morning, jetted off to Australia for a six-week adventure. Ten years on from that trip-of-a-lifetime, he’s become a seasoned traveller, visiting far flung places from California to Cambodia. And according to the 35-year-old educational mentor, solo travelling has had a huge impact on him and has changed his entire perspective on life. “It’s true what they say about travel broadening your mind and I believe it makes you a more rounded person,” says Stephen. “You’re challenging yourself by being outside your comfort zone, you are your own master and can make decisions not based on anyone else. There’s so much to learn about the world, you realise that experiences are way more valuable than material things. I think someone once said that travelling makes you speechless then turns you into a storyteller and it’s absolutely true. And I know that every time I come home, I’m a little bit different than when I left.”


On that first trip to Australia, Stephen flew into Sydney where he stayed for one night with a friend, before meeting up with an organised tour group of 32 people from all over the globe. Not being an extrovert, he found it quite a nerve-wracking experience having to stand up in front of these strangers and talk about himself. But any initial reservations he had soon dissipated and Stephen went on to have an incredible time. “I did think about cancelling the trip because I was so nervous but thankfully I didn’t because I had the experience of a lifetime,” he says. “Australia is such a beautiful country. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to experience when I got there, that was part of the fun, and in that respect I wasn’t disappointed, but also I guess I didn’t realise just how many other aspects there are to Australia. The lifestyle there is so laid back, including working life and certainly not as fast paced as the UK. How could it not be with beautiful weather most of the year and stunning beaches all around. “By the end of the trip we were like one big family and there were plenty of tears shed when we were all splitting up and going our separate ways.”

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

‘Travelsoloand you’renever alone’ ing with a rural Cambodian family who were destitute and living in poverty. “That family used a hole in the ground for a toilet, cold water to wash in and a thin mattress covered in a mosquito net for their beds,” he recalls. “They had nothing but their positivity, friendliness and generous nature and I found that very humbling.”


From top: Stephen Hollywood at the Grand Canyon, surfing in Australia, enjoying Croatia’s coast and in Hollywood, USA


In the intervening years since that life-changing holiday Stephen, who is now 35, has visited almost all of Europe, the west Coast of America, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Dubai and has kept in touch with many of the people he has met on those trips. This summer he’s planning a 12-day tour of India. Although he travels alone to his selected destinations, he always stays in hostels and takes part in organised tours, so he says he is never really alone. “People often misconstrue that you’re alone 24/7,” he says. “In reality, I’ve always been surrounded with other like-minded people – be it in travellers’ hostels or organised tour groups which I generally stay in and do. In fact, you’re probably more alone when staying in a hotel with a friend or family in my experience. “Some of my friends think I’m crazy and don’t understand why I choose to holiday this way. But I always tell them that I’m never lonely. Any time I’ve walked into a hostel, the people I’m sharing a room with have come over to shake my hand and say hello and within 15 minutes, have invited me out for a drink or to join them for dinner. Everyone’s in the same boat after all. And at night, there’s always something planned like a barbecue or drinks. “I’ve never been without something to do or company.”


He finds it hard to single out one favourite destination because everywhere is so different and has its own unique personality. He loved Croatia for its stunning scenery, Rome for its history and architecture and Dubai and Las Vegas for their over-the-top opulence. But he says he’ll always have a soft spot for Australia. “They say you never forget your first love and in that respect I’d have to go for Australia if I really had to choose,” he says. “I’ve been lucky because I’ve never been to a place where I couldn’t wait to leave. The concentration camps of Auschwitz, (Krakow) Dachau (Munich) and Sachenhausen (Berlin) were places I’ll never forget and while they aren’t the worst places I’ve visited in a general sense, they’re certainly not enjoyable visits. That said, I’m glad I went to those places and learned a lot from the experience.” He’s notched up quite a few ‘wow’ moments too – experiences that will stay with him forever, such as sailing around the Whitsunday Islands in Australia and anchoring up for the night in the Pacific Ocean, viewing the Grand Canyon or stay-

Another stand-out moment for Stephen was hiking up to the famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles to see his world famous namesake. “Given my surname, I just had to do it. It was too good a photo opportunity to miss,” he says. “I hiked up with a few others from the hostel I was staying in and got right up to the sign. It was a lovely day and I just sat there, taking it all in, thinking ‘I’ve finally made it here’.” Of course there are downsides to solo travelling too. With no-one around to look after your bags, it is easy to be targeted by criminals. And health can be a cause for concern too. Occasionally Stephen has found himself in fairly frightening situations, like being lured into a dodgy nightclub in Hong Kong and being prevented from leaving by the gangster-style doormen until he’d bought up to 20 drinks. But despite this ‘terrifying experience’, Stephen won’t be deterred. “Getting to and from the airport can be a tad lonely, but once you arrive and meet your tour group or meet room-mates and travellers in hostels it’s absolutely fine,” he says. “Anyway the perks far outweigh the downsides.” The Ballygomartin man hopes to take in South America and go on safari in Africa in the future and says he plans to travel somewhere different every year for as long as he is able to. But wherever he travels to, Northern Ireland will always be home. “I love getting away; I really look forward to those summer holidays,” he says. “But I’m a home-bird really. It’s always nice to come back home too.”

38 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

OnMay29,2015, 24-year-oldCliodhna McCorleywas diagnosedwithabrain tumour. Twoyears on,thevibrant, bright youngwomantalks toDavinaGordon about herrecovery and plansforacharity event inLondonto raisemuch-needed fundsfortheBrain Tumour Unitthat savedherlife. Hersis astoryofheartache andtrauma,butalso one ofstrength and the powerofpositivity.

From left: Cliodhna McCorley enjoying life to the full; in hospital in London; with brother John Paul and finishing a marathon with friend Andrea


fter a trip home to Antrim to see her parents Anne and James McCorley and to cradle her new goddaughter, Cliodhna returned to work in London. She was sitting at her desk when she experienced an intense pain in her face. “I thought I’d been electrocuted by the headset I was wearing so I threw it off.” She thought nothing more of it until she got home and suffered a painful fit. “The pain was excruciating,” she recalls. Thinking it might be wisdom tooth pain she made an emergency appointment at her dentist who told her it may be trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition. “Every single professional I came in touch with was bang on the money.” She was advised to make an appointment with her GP straight away as it would make it easier for her to get a referral to a neurologist. Cliodhna began experiencing more frequent fits lasting seven to 10 seconds, during which time she would be crippled with pain. “My GP referred me for an emergency MRI and gave me a prescription for drugs used to treat severe epilepsy.” She was told that the condition

I was loving life, I didn’t expect to be faced with my own mortality

‘We’reallheroes insomeway’

was extremely rare in someone under the age of 50. She suffered another painful fit in the pharmacist when she was getting her prescription and was told to keep a note of how often they were happening. At University College London Hospitals (UCLH), not grasping the gravity of her situation, she chatted to the radiologist about flying to Glasgow for her friend Andrea’s birthday after her scan. Of course, she was advised not to fly, but, not fully digesting what was going on in her head, she hopped into a taxi and went to the airport. She could never have envisaged what was about to happen. “I had gone through security and was about to board when I got a call from a neurologist with the MRI results. She said ‘You can’t get on the plane’.” It was at that point that she realised the enormity of the situation. While the neurologist couldn’t give her specifics over the phone, she was was told that she had swelling on her brain but it was fixable. Cliodhna says she was “incredibly fortunate” to have her big brother and his fiancée at hand and they accompanied her to get her fateful results. “I can’t even describe what it was like to

be told I had a 3.6 cm tumour, which was pressing down on my trigeminal nerve. The worst thing was my brother’s face. The whole thing was terrifying. I was loving life, I didn’t expect to be faced with my own mortality.”


She then had to make the harrowing decision about what type of surgery to have. One option – leaving 40% of the tumour in – proffered a high risk of facial palsy while the other – near total removal of the tumour – meant she would lose hearing in her right ear. “It’s so unfair,” she told the neurologist who summed it up succinctly: “There’s nothing fair about having a brain tumour.” Cliodhna chose the second option and reasons, “Living with one-sided deafness is a small price to pay. “There are certain downsides, like not being able to hone into a conversation and not being able to hold posture in yoga,” she laughs, “but you cope. I live a happy and functioning life.” Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, Cliodhna noticed that there were, if very subtle, signs. “There were things so small

that I was willing to ignore.” She recalls that every three to five months, she would wake up and lose vision. She brushed it off, thinking maybe she had jumped up too quickly. Another time, she remembers running up the stairs, fainting at the top and falling back down them. “I was always exhausted, but I put it down to my busy lifestyle.” While one of the usual signs of a brain tumour is poor hearing, she, amazingly, had perfect hearing. There are other things to look out for too, like mood swings, tiredness and personality changes. “Often, the changes are subtle and they don’t feel real because they’re not something you can see.” After major surgery, Cliodhna suffered the lowest moments of her life and acknowledges that she “totally failed to keep positive”. Still, she felt she had a responsibility to be strong for her family. “I’m so proud of the way we all behaved. I went from having to be strong, prior surgery to being completely dependent. I was unable to walk, eat or go to the bathroom by myself. I was poked and prodded and had to have stitches without anesthetic. I developed a panic disorder that led me to speak to a psychologist and psychiatrist.

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph FAMILY SUPPORT

“I wouldn’t have got through it without my family. My mother and father were the ones that really suffered. They gave up their lives. It broke their hearts. My brothers were always about having a positive mental attitude. You just have to believe that things will get better. There is so much bad in the world, but the love and support I received along with the kindness of strangers gave me strength. “You can always find a way to be positive. I’ve met people who are unsung heroes. It’s taught me that we are all capable of anything. We’re all heroes in some way.” “The generosity of people is incredible,” she says citing a recent instance when a family set up a crowdfunding page to raise £205,000 for treatment for a patient. The money was raised within five days, an example, Cliodhna thinks, of the innate kindness of human beings. She says she now appreciates the small things. “Nothing matters but friends and family. I’ve never been stronger. Things can be terrible but people do survive.” Did she ever think why her? “I thought I had a healthy life. The unfortunate thing is that brain tumours don’t discriminate.” Since her experience, she has met many people who’ve gone through similar, worse or better situations. In fact, she knows people with ages ranging from 19 up to 60 who are suffering from neurological disorders. The statistics are chilling. Brain tumours are the biggest killer in children and adults under 40. Over 5,000 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year and at least 102,000 are estimated to be currently living in the UK with a brain tumour.

Countdown to Summer | 39 FINDING FUNDS

The instances of high profile people who have died from brain tumours like socialite Tara Palmer Tomkinson and magician Paul Daniels help raise awareness of this devastating illness, but it’s not enough. Since her recovery, Cliodhna has reassessed her priorities and has moved from corporate PR to the charity sector, working for the National Youth Theatre and FR Events. Her work, she says, is a great way to make her own small input in the world. Exactly one year from her diagnosis, Cliodhna ran a half marathon, despite suffering hip injuries during training. She completed the course in two hours and 11 minutes. “I’d hoped to raise £1,000 and I raised £7,000,” she exclaims. “Crossing the finishing line, I collapsed into a friend’s arms and cried solidly for half an hour. Never in a million years did I think I would run a half marathon, never mind survive a brain tumour.” Her current fundraising venture is to raise £70,000 (although she is aiming for £100,000) for The National Brain Appeal which will complete Molly’s Fund and double the size of the Brain Tumour Unit at UCLH. Little Molly May Lane Fox was diagnosed with a malignant tumour and died just after her fifth birthday. Together with her family, The National Brain Appeal set up Molly’s Fund in her memory and £1 million was raised to create the UK’s first dedicated brain tumour ward which opened at The National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery (NHNN) in 2011. However, demand for the unit has outgrown its capacity and there is a need for the The Molly Lane Fox Unit to be relocated to a larger space.


On June 8, the second anniversary of Cliodhna’s diagnosis, her charity ball ‘A Night For Life’ will take place in the stunning Art Deco Ballroom of the Park Lane Hotel. ITV Sport presenter and cancer survivor Ed Chamberlin will host the evening’s entertainment extravaganza organised by West End Producer Jimmy Jewell, featuring comedians, world class magicians and stars from West End productions of Aladdin, Dreamgirls, The Book of Mormon, Wicked and The Lion King. Randox Health, a global leader in healthcare diagnostics and preventative health, will be the main sponsor for

the evening. Randox Health founder Dr Peter FitzGerald says: “Nothing is more important than the fight to save lives and Cliodhna is an incredible example of how timely diagnosis and the right care can make a difference between life and death.” Work will start on the Brain Tumour Unit at the end of June. Cliodhna admits she is having a lot of exciting conversations and is thrilled to be working with a wonderful committee including Robbie Graham, a Belfast native. In fact, there’s a plethora of Northern Ireland talent involved. “People in NI are brilliant! There are so many real specialists in their field for this night that will make a real difference.” Cliodhna is keen to continue her charity work. “I’m very passionate about fundraising, you can’t put a price on someone saving your life.” She’d also like to do a marathon at some stage. “Now it’s on paper I have to,” she giggles. “I’d like to do something significant once a year for the hospital so watch this space.” Cliodhna works with many charities including one close to her heart, WellChild, which takes young people out of hospitals to be treated at home. On her Facebook page, Cliodhna says, “My happiness comes from my family, my friends and laughter. Nothing else matters, really.” ÷ Tickets for A Night For Life cost £280 and include a three course meal by a Michelin star chef, wine, champagne and first class entertainment. ÷ For more information and to donate visit and

40 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

WatchingmystepswithGarmin BY FIONA RUTHERFORD

The Garmin Vivomove retails from £139.99. The black bar on the left of the face charts daily steps and the red one to the right warns of sitting too long. It’s waterproof to 50m


s a child at primary school, I went through a phase of running around the dining hall. Around and around I would go, like a little Forrest Gump, full of serious intent. I don’t know why I did it or for how long but I can tell you it wasn’t the start of my career as an elite athlete. By the time I’d finished ‘big school’ I was a big girl with an aversion to sports and especially any involving running. By adulthood I’d got myself together and have spent the past few decades on cruise control, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle: Walking the dog most days, going to a weekly Irish dancing class, cycling with my daughter on occasion, always taking the stairs instead of a lift. I’ve never darkened the door of a gym and still can’t run the length of my (small) kitchen, however, it was a smug hand that reached for the Garmin Vivomove when it was offered. Having viewed the arrival of these fitness trackers with a detached respect, I was more interested in the sleep monitor than anything else, sleep being one of my favourite things. Without a good, steady eight hours I almost need ropes and crampons to make the ascent to a positive view

of life. Apart from a Wednesday morning. Then, blood coursing with endorphins from the dance class the night before, I wake up ready to give the world a big, happy hug. HIGH ON STYLE When the package arrived, I swiftly decided that the Garmin was the better looking of the pair of us. It’s on the thick side for a timepiece but slim as you like for a computing machine. White strap and rose gold features mean that my wrist, at least, will be fashionable this summer. It’s childsplay to set up. All I needed to do was download the Garmin app to my phone and sync the watch to it by pushing in the botton at the side. It has two stripes on its face, one tracking the number of steps taken in a day and the other which is supposed to give me a polite nudge in the form of a colour change if I haven’t moved in an hour. Being a worker, wife, mother and coffee addict I’m not sure that that bar has registered red yet, I’ve been too busy to notice if it has. In any case, if I got to sit still for an hour, I would be less than impressed at anyone suggesting I needed to get moving again. However, I can see its purpose for someone who has seriously sedentary habits.

Surprise at being pretty much on the target each day has been tempered by disappointment when I fall below it

EASY TO USE You can choose your daily step target but for a newbie like me, who has no concept of how many steps one normally takes, the default target chosen by my new friend/ conscience is around 7,500. Already, I find myself opening the app on my phone, pressing the button on the watch to sync them, and checking how I’m doing at meal times and bedtime. It not only charts the all important length and quality of sleep, but also, how many calories I’ve burned up, both resting and being active, steps taken during the day and peak times of movement and you get little awards for exceeding the target. You can view how you’ve done over the course of a day in detail or get an overview of the month. Surprise at being pretty much on the target each day has been tempered by disappointment when I fall below it and I find that I want to do that little bit more each day and now frequently top 9,000 steps. Needless to say, the dog is delighted with the extra stretch to our beach walks. Amazingly, if I fancy diving into Belfast Lough for a swim with her, I won’t have to find somewhere safe to stash my Vivomove as it’s completely waterproof to depths I’ve no intention of ever getting to. It’s a revelation to find how many calories you can burn without trying to and that waking up feeling tired isn’t necessarily a reflection of how many hours’ sleep one has had as the app charts the time spent in a deep sleep, a light one, and waking moments. SHARED PROGRESS While I’m still flying (all right, dawdling) solo, I can now see the attraction of joining a network which is also easily done through the app and allows you to share your progress with other Garmin users. As the days stretch to weeks, I expect the natural progression would be to up my activity levels and/or join a network. With just the mute prompting of a wristwatch I’m already doing a bit more, who knows but that I might revisit my primary school habit in days to come, and begin running for the first time in decades!

The app charts your monthly progress, gives detailed breakdown of your night’s sleep and your activity levels during the day.

42 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017



ou could say that fitness is in Neil Anderson’s blood. As a child, he was very competitive in sport. Among the many and varied activities he enjoyed were mountain biking, surfing, rugby and track and field. He recalls his father dropping him off early to school so he could sprint the distance. Despite being young in his school year and being a late developer, he was determined to be the fastest in school. His ambitious pursuits and drive set the scene for a stint as a pole vaulter – a discipline that required speed and strength and lent itself to weight training, sprinting and gymnastics. “The regime, competition and physical developments helped my confidence and ability in the classroom.” His obvious talent, ability and love of self-improvement meant pursuing a career in the health and fitness industry was a no-brainer, even setting up his own business, Neil Anderson Fitness. The rest is, as they say, history and he has been doing what he loves for over 15 years. He has several prestigious bodybuilding titles to his belt, winning his debut in the NABBA Mr Northern Ireland, a second place in the LA Pro and he’s also gained a pro card in the WBFF (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion), Having previously gained a top 10 spot in the WBFF Worlds, he now has his steely sights on a top spot.

START YOUNG I caught up with the successful personal trainer and model to get tips and get the skinny, as it were, on some fitness secrets for us mere mortals, hoping to shave off the stubborn flab that seems unwilling to budge after a winter of indulgence and New Year resolutions to go to the gym that have been sadly just that. On a sobering note, the UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe with more than one in four adults obese and nearly two out of three overweight. Recently, BBC Breakfast led with shocking statistics that one in five children leave school obese.

Furthermore, the fact that children are adopting more indoor lifestyles has seen a rapid rise in rickets. With the current obesity epidemic and the health problems associated such as type 2 diabetes, heart and respiratory problems, Neil thinks it is more important than ever to really assess our own levels of fitness. The current obsession with modern entertainment doesn’t help either, creating, says Neil, “the perfect environment for more sedentary lifestyles”. Furthermore, as healthy habits are instilled at a young age, Neil is concerned that there seems to be less emphasis on compulsory school sports and physical activity. “I don’t understand this, especially with mounting evidence illustrating the negative impact on cognitive function from poor eating and sedentary lifestyle. Exercise and healthy eating should be a more important part of school life and beyond.” EATING WELL It would be foolhardy not to mention the obvious cog in the wheel to well-being – nutrition. Despite Neil’s what some might consider punishing regime to look and feel the way he does, he doesn’t place sanctions on himself. “I love food and enjoy putting together recipes that are both healthy and enjoyable. As much as I enjoy the odd pizza or take out, I would take a steak, fish or lean cut of meat with a colourful plate of vegetables and interesting salad over those every time.” During competition season, he cuts out

treats and processed foods that he would have on occasion and favours a low carb approach, eating enough so he doesn’t suffer cravings. He doesn’t like the term ‘cheat day’. “Food is just food, some should be avoided for being nutritionally poor and causing a propensity to overeat.” Neil believes that nutritionally dense foods should make up the majority of our diet and those meals should be made from fresh ingredients. “Without a balanced diet you simply won’t have lower body fat. Equally, when it comes to recovery and performance, nutritious foods will make that process infinitely more effective, not to mention improved mood, consistent energy and better sleep.” If all this fitness talk doesn’t have you making a beeline for the gym, Neil suggests simply moving more: “Try to cut out sugary foods and sauces and become a little more adventurous in the kitchen.”

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How often should an average teenager workout per week? This is relative to intensity of training and level of fitness so as often as comfortable. Listen to the body and aches and niggles should not be overlooked. Often, less is more and I recommend a full day’s rest a week. What healthy habits should they adopt? Reducing sugar, processed foods and avoiding trans fats is a great start. Plenty of vegetables and home cooked meals are the ideal. What are the best exercises for teens? Often bodyweight exercises early in teenage years are the ideal to develop flexibility, speed and strength for sport. However, avoid maximal strength lifting due to the increased risk of injury. What should a teenager avoid at the gym? Pressing and pulling behind the back carry greater risk to hyper-extendable shoulders. Teenagers often have ranges that leave risk of rotator injuries. Simple compounds – pushing, pulling, pressing and squatting are ideal. What is the biggest mistake that teenagers make? Lifting beyond one’s limit. Leave the ego at the door.


What is the best way to target a problem area like a tummy or bottom? Bottoms suffer from being sat on for long periods in the day; as a consequence most people find they have tightened hip flexors that remain shortened when seated. This causes dipping when squatting for example, the hips then overwork when the glutes

should be engaged, Work on hip mobility through foam rolling and active stretching then some glute engagement exercises. Then squat, lunge, step ups and split squats will all help. I rarely focus on the stomach specifically however some engaging of the rectus abdominis (abs) before these big compound movements will take pressure off the lower back and allow the abs to develop.

What is the top mistake that women make at the gym? Lifting weights that are far too light, that will simply not do anything to change their shape. You will not get bulky from lifting heavy, rather from overeating. Also, train for the shape you desire, if a marathon runner’s body doesn’t appeal to you, why train like one? What advice would you give to a woman wanting to slim down and tone up for a holiday or special occasion? Do not crash diet. Eat regularly, eat lots of colourful vegetables and avoid sauces. Instead, flavour your food with fresh herbs and spices. Move more, have active weekends. TABATA weight complexes or HIIT (interval training) are great ways to shed unwanted fat. What foods should a woman avoid if she wants to lose weight and get definition? Avoiding gluten in my book works as a great starting point and add a greater amount of vegetables to bulk meals out. Avoid health snacks that spike insulin levels causing a crash that can lead to a binge. What are the best exercises a woman can do? Squats, deadlifts, pressing and pulling are the main movements to incorporate the entire body.

What should a woman avoid at the gym? Arm curls. You’re best working along the back with chin-ups, lateral raises, seated or hammer strength rows etc. Avoid the cross trainer unless you are trying to reduce the load placed on the body.

What foods should a man avoid if he wants to burn fat and increase definition? Similar to females. Follow the outside aisles of the supermarket or stick to the butchers and greengrocers for the majority of your shopping.

 MEN:

What is the top mistake that men make at the gym? Training with their ego, both by being too proud to ask if they are training correctly and trying to outdo their training partners. Lift heavy within your limits so you can move weight correctly.

What’s the best way of getting rid of a beer belly? It’s often said that abs are made in the kitchen and it’s true! A large belly can be indicative of higher visceral fat. This tends to coincide with poor insulin profiles that is generally down to sugars and hydrogenated or trans fats being too high in the body. The notion of beer belly is also reference to the yeast and sugars in beer that don’t help. So moderation is key; combined with greater levels of activity which will steadily chip away at the ‘beer belly’. What are the best exercises for increasing muscle? Bench presses and variations for chest and triceps. Lateral pulls and rows for back and biceps, overhead presses for shoulders. Leg squatting and leg pressing which target the thighs with some deadlifts to engage glutes and hamstrings.

How long would it take an average-weight man to become a more defined version of himself? Within 12 weeks I have seen men dramatically change their shape with enough focus and consistency. Some individuals are genetically predisposed to respond more quickly and significantly, however, all can make a difference in a relatively short period. However, don’t expect it overnight.

er at Gym Co, which he believes offers a very personal touch. “The broad spectrum of amazing athletes that train there offers motivation alongside every day individuals just simply improving their lifestyles. The

Generation Café serves great food and protein treats and is a nice social environment It is a unique place with everything you could want in terms of equipment down to a spa that hosts an ice bath, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi.” So, however you decide to improve your health and wellbeing, make it a habit for life. As Neil points out, “If you don’t move it, you lose it. “Over time, the body becomes atrophied and metabolic rate drops, leading to fat gain. By simply remaining active and eating well, we can combat this and improve wellbeing throughout our days.” Apart from the aesthetic benefits to keeping fit and healthy, the physical benefits are abundant. Neil says: “It’s about quality of life, being able to do more on account of having more energy and physical capacity to do so. “I feel confident when I am physically fit, capable and strong for practical challenges and outdoor activities.”

On the other hand, if you’re a regular gym goer, but not seeing results, you might be doing it wrong. Neil says that too many people fixate on burning calories rather than trying to change their bodies. “Move quickly, lift weights and bound in multiple directions. Adding lean tissue or at least maintaining lean tissue keeps the metabolic rate high and the fast movements adapt the body to shift fat and improve the way the body uses energy at rest. The body only chooses fat as its main fuel at rest, so it is important that the body works hard to recover, thus using more energy at rest.” FEEL GOOD, LOOK GOOD So far, the upsides seem to be vastly outweighing the downsides. But one thing that puts a lot of people off going to the gym is getting bored. Neil believes working hard at the gym is its own reward. “With sufficient effort, the body releases dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and growth factors that all serve to boost mood. The

problem is often people simply go from machine to machine and put little effort in. Classes can be a good idea for some that really struggle.” Neil currently works as a personal train-

What should a man avoid doing at the gym? Do not go near the adductor machine. That should go for everyone.

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Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017




BY MATT GAULT ummer is coming, and that means holidays. It’s an exhausted adage that everyone wants to look their best for beach season and now is the time to do something about it. Joining a gym and actually going to it regularly, and working it around an already busy schedule of work and play is daunting, even unrealistic for some. Like with everything else, you want exercise to be quick and stress-free. You don’t have to worry about hauling yourself to the gym – getting fit for the summer is about to become enjoyable.

it’s best to aim for three completed rounds with proper form. As you continue to do the workout, you’ll adapt and get stronger. After a while, you’ll be able to complete five full rounds, which you’ll soon find out is an intense, extremely effective workout that acts as great cardio.

Upper body



If you can’t spare 15 minutes in your own house, then you really don’t have much hope. This workout is designed to test muscles all over your body and, done regularly, will contribute greatly towards helping you shed those unwanted pounds. Start your stopwatch and do 30 seconds of regular push-ups, maintaining form, then launch immediately into 30 seconds of high-intensity jumping jacks. After that, rest for 10 seconds, and go straight into mountain climbers for another 30 seconds. For this exercise, start in a regular plank position and bring your left knee up to your chest, followed by the right as you return the left to the starting position. This is an explosive exercise so try to maintain speed. Follow this with a regular plank, holding for 30 seconds. Take a short break, recommended not longer than 15 seconds, and start squatting for 30 seconds, before finishing off with jumping lunges for 30 seconds. That’s it. Six exercises, 30 seconds each. That is one full round. Repeat the round 3-5 times. If you’re starting this workout,

Full body



If building your upper-body is your main goal, you should consider this workout. With plenty of push-up variations and other exercises aimed at working your arms, chest and shoulders, it’s an explosive challenge that will burn your upper-body and steadily build up your strength. Start the stopwatch and do 60 seconds of regular push-ups. Move into 60 seconds of a regular plank. You’ll be feeling the burn at this point, but move quickly into 60 seconds of tricep dips, before finishing with wide push-ups, which shifts the focus of the exercise to your chest. That is round one. Round two switches it up slightly. Once again do 60 seconds of regular push-ups, followed by 60 seconds of a regular plank. Take a slight rest, because the second part of round two is tough. After a short rest, do 60 seconds of ‘Spider-Man push-ups.’ Starting with a regular push-up position, bring your right knee up to your torso as you come down.

This exercise is a great variation that builds strength, balance and flexibility. Finally, finish it off by trying 60 seconds of burpees. To perform a burpee, begin in a squat position, with your hands on the floor. Kick your feet back into a push-up position and returning the feet to the squat position. Then leap up into the air as high as you can manage. Burpees are the most difficult exercise, so make sure to pace yourself while maintaining proper form. Try repeating both rounds once and, after performing the workout several times, you should be able to tackle repeating both round twice.



Add in this intense ab workout to help strengthen your core after burning fat with either of the other two. Performing this workout 2-3 times a week for about a month will start to yield serious results. Your abs will feel tighter and stronger.

Ab workout

Remember, it’s important to push yourself. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds. Start with bicycle crunches, then lift your legs vertically and start reaching your fingers to your toes. Following that, do elbow-to-knee crunches, moving your right elbow to your left knee and vice versa. Then move on to leg lifts, while lying down flat, to work your lower abs. Switching to obliques, assume a normal sit-up position, moving to the left and perform a normal crunch. Do the same for your right side. Finally, round off the workout with a plank. Perform these workouts in conjunction with a balanced, healthy diet and you’ll be fighting fit in no time. These are merely guides. The great thing about bodyweight workouts is that you can get creative, so if you find them too advanced, feel free to vary them slightly. If you’re performing the workouts comfortably, add on a round or two each time you do them to make it harder.

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 45 ADVERTISING FEATURE




ooden Spoon is the Children’s Charity of Rugby which has been supporting disadvantaged and disabled children and young people for over 30 years. It was founded after the woeful performance of the England Rugby team in the 1983 Five Nations, which was the last time they won the “wooden spoon” for finishing last in that Championship. After the last match in Dublin five English supporters were presented with a wooden spoon which was signed by Willie John McBride and auctioned at a Golf Day. Fund-raising continued and eventually a national charity was formed. These days there are over 40 Regions in the UK and Ireland with the Ulster Committee being constituted in 1995. The Ulster Region has raised over £650,000 to date, with and donations being distributed to many projects, including substantial amounts to Torbank School, the Cedar Foundation, the NI Cancer Fund for Children, Mencap and the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice. Ulster’s Regional President, Willie John McBride, is hosting the Wooden Spoon’s next fundraising event at the Hastings Culloden Hotel, Cultra, on May 26. This will be a lunch previewing the Lions Tour

Willie John McBride at the official opening of the Mencap Centre’s MultiSensory Play Area following Wooden Spoon’s £67,000 donation to New Zealand and the guest of honour will be Munster, Ireland and Lions legend Keith Wood. Other Lions such as Tommy Bowe, Jeremy Davidson, Tyrone Howe and Stephen Ferris will also be in attendance. ÷ Tickets are £75 per head for the Lunch and further information is available from Ulster Chairman Peter Wood at 07799 711914 or email peterwood444@ Come along for an enjoyable day in the company of some real rugby legends!

The return to outdoor fun has led to an explosion in interest in bushcraft and survival skills, while camping holidays are more popular than ever. For those who want to escape to the sanctuary of the countryside but don’t necessarily want to focus on activities, ‘forest bathing’ may be the answer. It emphasises the restful nature of forest life and the opportunity to stop and take stock of the natural treasures around you. Jim Rutherford, of Forest Bathing NI, explains: “Most of us sense that a walk in the forest is good for us. It allows us to take a complete break from work, enjoy the beauty of nature and the peace of the natural setting.” Research in the USA and in Japan, where the term Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing was coined, has confirmed the physical and mental health benefits to be found from spending time relaxing among trees... ✱ Boosts the immune system ✱ Lowers blood pressure ✱ Reduces stress ✱ Improves mood ✱ Increases ability to focus, even in young people with ADHD ✱ Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness ✱ Increases energy levels ✱ Improves sleep. People suffering from anxiety, depression and fatigue can benefit from time in the woodland and researchers have also found that looking at wildlife, birds and plants allows the brain to rest. Forest Bathing NI can take individuals or groups of up to eight people to a woodland retreat in Co Antrim. “Our flexible approach

means you can either enjoy a complete rest and emerge refreshed and rejuvenated, or you can have a go at activities like archery or ‘The Island’ style challenges,” Jim explains. “Relax and explore the beautiful forest and a campfire and food will be provided or if you prefer, you can learn how to light a fire and do your own backwoods cooking. People can stay over or simply make a day trip of it. “Anyone, from a person wishing for time alone to think things over, to a group of friends or a family wanting quality time together, can benefit from time spent enjoying the trees.” With a background in youth work and personal development, Jim is happy to work with young people who need extra support and he can also provide John Muir Conservation Awards programmes.

✱ Visit for research findings

collated by the Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State. ÷ For further information contact Jim Rutherford, call 07500 900 850, email or follow @ForestBathingNI on Twitter.

46 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


Northern Ireland nutritional therapist and fitness professional Estelle Wallace has been announced as Wellness Ambassador for SuperValu and is pictured alongside 4 year old Evie Morrison. For further information on Estelle and her recipes and tips visit www.supervalu. or Like SuperValu NI’s Facebook page.

Estelle Wallace, the new Wellness Ambassador for SuperValu, shares some of her favourite easy recipes, along with a few tips for optimum health...

SuperValuteamsupwith wellnessguruEstelle


uperValu has launched a range of over 200 health and wellness products across its 36 convenience stores in Northern Ireland. The partnership will see nutritional therapist and fitness professional Estelle Wallace help educate and inspire customers on healthy eating, cooking and exercise. The range includes free from meals, benefit foods, supplements and sports nutrition with a diverse selection of products including kale, goji berries, quinoa, spirulina and chia seeds on offer in store. Estelle will be using a number of these ingredients in the healthy recipes she will be creating for SuperValu and she will also be providing simple nutritional and exercise advice and tips to consumers, both in-store and online. Estelle is using a number of these ingredients in the healthy recipes she is creating for SuperValu as well as her Shrink Cookbook and she will also be providing simple nutritional and exercise advice and tips to consumers, both in-store and online. Estelle, who is manager of Pure Wellness Gym in Galgorm, is full of praise for SuperValu’s ethos: “It is fantastic

that SuperValu is promoting such a wide range of healthy foods to help their customers create healthier families province-wide. I’m so excited to be Wellness Ambassador for SuperValu and I am looking forward to bringing wellness into homes across Northern Ireland. I love the way they are so in favour of Northern Ireland produce. They are great at promoting locally grown and locally made foods.” Desi Derby, Head of Marketing, Musgrave NI, said: “SuperValu has a very strong brand vision for health this year as both our consumer research and sales demonstrate that our customers are looking for healthy, convenient inspiration when they visit our stores. “We are delighted to welcome Estelle on board as our Wellness Ambassador and her principle of healthy balance and love of ‘real food’ embodies the SuperValu brand and supports our mission to help provide our customers with tips and advice to make simple, healthy lifestyle changes,” he added. For further information on Estelle and her recipes and tips visit or Like SuperValu NI’s Facebook page.

BANG BANG CHICKEN INGREDIENTS ÷ 2 Large chicken fillets, cut in slices ÷ Biona Coconut oil ÷ 1 Teaspoon Lazy Garlic ÷ Pinch of Chilli Flakes ÷ 1 Bay Leaf ÷ 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce ÷ 1 Tablespoon Meridian Peanut Butter ÷ 1 Teaspoon Italian Herbs ÷ 1 Teaspoon Crushed Peppercorns ÷ 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil ÷ Sesame Seeds ÷ Rocket Leaves ÷ Parmesan Cheese

METHOD 1. Heat a little Biona Coconut Oil in a frying pan to it becomes a clear liquid 2. Add chicken fillet slices and stir fry with ‘Lazy Garlic’, chilli flakes and the bay leaf until the chicken is fully cooked 3. In a separate dish, mix the soy sauce, Meridian Peanut Butter, Italian herbs, crushed peppercorns and olive oil 4. Transfer mixed ingredients into the pan and sauté with cooked chicken 5. When ready, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with rocket and shavings of parmesan cheese.

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

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SHRINK BUSY MUMMY BLAST Being a mummy sometimes has us juggling a lot of hats in little time. This smoothie is for times when you are on the run but still need to keep the energy levels up...

INGREDIENTS ÷ 2 Tablespoons Oats ÷ 2 Tablespoons Total Greek Yoghurt ÷ 6 Strawberries ÷ 8 Grapes ÷ Small handful of Spinach ÷ 100ml Coconut Water METHOD Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz for 20 seconds. Top with a strawberry and enjoy!

Estelle says: “Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates creating energy for the day ahead, Oats are also loaded with important vitamins, minerals and contain no added sugar. They also help fill you up until lunchtime. “Spinach is well known for its nutritional qualities, particularly iron, and has always been regarded as a plant with remarkable abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. “Strawberries are rich in the essential nutrients - Vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fibre. They also have antioxidant value. These potent little juicy fruits protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer.”

SHRINK CHOCOLATE BITES (Healthy choccy alternative for kids and adults) ÷ 3 tablespoons of goji berries ÷ 2 tablespoons of almonds ÷ 2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut ÷ 2 tablespoons of chia seeds ÷ 2 tablespoons of cacao powder.

Mix with 2 tablespoons of heated coconut oil, blend together until a paste consistency, roll into balls and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.


SuperValu’s Wellness ambassador Estelle Wallace says any season is a good one for adopting a healthy lifestyle. “A lot of people book their holidays and then have a 6-8 week panic session of getting bikini ready whereas if you make plans to do this in advance it doesn’t shock the body and everything is done in a safe way. Eat healthily should be part of your normal lifestyle and not just for the holiday season.”


“Drinking up to and above eight glasses of filtered water daily is not only a great asset to your skin but to your body as a whole. It relieves fatigue, improves mood, treats headaches and migraines, helps indigestion and constipation, aids weight loss and flushes out toxins. If you leave drinking water until you are thirsty you are already dehydrated – keep topping up even when you don’t feel thirsty!


SHRINK CRISPY CRUNCH CHICKEN INGREDIENTS ÷ 2 Chicken fillets cut into strips ÷ 80gms of flour ÷ ½ teaspoon of dried mixed herbs ÷ 2 tablespoons of milled flaxseed ÷ 2 large eggs ÷ Black pepper and coarse salt METHOD 1. Mix the flour, flaxseed, seasoning and herbs together. 2. Dip the chicken into the beaten eggs then coat with the flour mix 3. Cook in olive oil until lightly browned Serve with sweet potato chips sprinkled in chilli flakes and side of tinned or fresh sweetcorn.

“The nights are on the turn and each night they are stretching a little more. Make some time to get wrapped up and get out for a brisk walk or even a little jog. I have trained so many of my clients to run by using this simple tip: Start walking to a certain point like a lamppost, for example, then when you reach it lightly jog until the next point you set. When you reach that point then walk, then at the next point jog etc. You will be amazed at how far you can jog when you set yourself mini goals. Soon the points you will jog to will stretch farther apart and you will find yourself jogging more than walking. Try it, you will be surprised and your mood will also be lifted due to lovely endorphins being released into your body via exercise.”

r e v o l l a ’ n i Shak 48 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017 Taylor Kirk, Deputy Bars Manager at Hastings Europa Hotel

Put the ‘fresh’ into refreshments with these great Summer Cocktail recipes from Taylor Kirk, of Hastings Hotels ...



INGREDIENTS 4 Freshly Muddled Lime Wedges 8 Mint Leaves 50ml Armagh Apple Juice Crushed Ice Mint sprig and lime wheel to garnish


METHOD Break the mint leaves to release aroma and add to a tall glass along with the fresh lime juice and sugar syrup. Muddle together and add crushed ice and Armagh Apple Juice. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.

FROZEN MANGO MARGARITA INGREDIENTS 15ml Mango 25ml Patron Tequila 25ml Cointreau 20ml Citrus Fruits Ice


INGREDIENTS Tablespoon Forest Berries 15ml Vanilla syrup 15ml Orgeat 100ml Pineapple Juice Pineapple wedge to garnish METHOD Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake well and double strain into a tall glass filled with ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

METHOD Add all the ingredients including ice to a blender, blend until smooth and serve in a Margarita Glass.

PINEAPPLE & MINT SANGRIA INGREDIENTS 75ml Fresh Pineapple Juice 25ml Hennessey Brandy 50ml Beaujolais 8 Fresh Mint Leaves Ice Pineapple Wedge to garnish

METHOD Break a handful of mint leaves and add to a tall glass. Muddle 3 wedges of fresh pineapple in a Boston Cocktail Shaker. Add ice, the pineapple juice, brandy and Beaujolais to a Boston Cocktail Shaker, shake well and double Strain over ice into a tall glass. Using a spoon stir the drink and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

ELDERFLOWER CRUSH INGREDIENTS 15mls Elderflower Cordial Lime Juice 1 tbs Fresh Blackberries 50ml Soda Water Crushed ice Berries to garnish

METHOD Build this cocktail by adding a spoonful of fresh blackberries to the glass, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, elderflower cordial and crushed ice. Muddle the ingredients in the glass, add some more crushed ice and top with Soda Water. Garnish with berries.


INGREDIENTS 25ml Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum 10ml Galliano 10ml 10ml Vanilla 10ml 25ml Fresh Pineapple juice 6 Fresh Raspberries (and some extra to garnish) Ice

METHOD Add crushed ice to a whiskey tumbler. Muddle 6 raspberries in the shaker and then add all the ingredients, along with ice, to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into the whiskey tumbler filled with crushed ice. Garnish with raspberries.

50 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017



Whether you’re heading off on an annual family holiday or fulfilling a student fantasy by travelling some far-flung area of the world, travel gadgets always help the process of getting from A to B. While some are designed merely for convenience, others can be an essential tool that helps make the experience of travelling easier, safer and more enjoyable. When you’re preparing to head off on holiday, it’s always best to cover all bases, so here are a few excellent travel gadgets you may want to consider...

 Joby GorillaPod

£15.47 GorillaPods are not new, and there have been huge advancements in the last few years, but the original remains a best-seller, mainly because it’s under £20. This GorillaPod will latch onto practically any surface, making it the ideal tool to capture the perfect holiday snap.

 Cushtie travel pillow

 Hodgson Anti-glare sunglasses

£17.99 Stylish, resilient and suitable for men and women, anti-glare sunglasses are brilliant protection for your eyes, especially if your trip involves extensive outdoors activity. They’re also a huge help if you’re planning a long drive as the anti-glare coating helps in avoiding tired eyes. An investment definitely worth your while.

£10 Let’s face it - sleeping soundly while travelling can be troublesome. We’ve all had a case of the ‘noddy head’ on aeroplanes, but with a soft and comfortable travel pillow, you can keep yourself calm and well-rested while tackling a long-haul flight. Seriously, having one of these under your head makes a world of difference, especially if you’re not the happiest of flyers.

 UE Roll portable Bluetooth speaker

£64 Last, but certainly not least, this funky, unique-looking portable speaker is the perfect music companion to soundtrack your travels. Its design makes it unmistakable, yes, but the audio quality is also loud, clear and crisp, so it’s no joke in the quality department either. Modern travelling is nothing without a great portable speaker, and this one has you covered.

 Sandless beach mat

£44.99 We all love hitting the beach to catch some rays, but there’s no denying that being covered in sand after is stressful and irritating. Well, let this sandless beach mat ease your troubled mind. Spread out for a picnic on the beach and lounge in the sun without worrying about sand annoyingly sticking to your skin.

 Vesgantti Digital Luggage Scales

£6.99 Just like you, your luggage is inclined to come back a little heavier after two weeks in the sun. Yes, those shoes you bought are going to tip your bags over the luggage allowance, causing a headache in the airport. You can eliminate such a frustrating scenario with this luggage scale, designed to measure the weight of your bags so you don’t end up paying the airline extra.

 Pocket-size washing machine

£42 Equipped with a flexible washboard, this Scrubba washbag will save you plenty of money and time, regardless of where you are or what your holiday involves. It’s lightweight, washes your clothes in three minutes and requires merely a drop of water and some washing liquid to get your jeans sparkling clean - need we say more?

52 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


Bouldering at Bloody Bridge

greatoutdoors The daysare longer, thetemperatures arerising andnature iscallingyou outto playandenjoyour spectacular landscape. Opportunitiesabound foradventure northor southofthe border...


Forest parks are perfect for roaming and rambling and by the end of April, many will have a magical carpet of wild bluebells to admire. Pack a picnic, some rain gear and good shoes and head for Tollymore and the Mournes or perhaps the expanse of Slieve Gullion Forest Park near Newry. It has an adventure playpark and coffee shop where you can recover after your exertions. Or head west to Donegal and explore Ards Forest Park with its spectacular viewpoints and beaches, or base yourself in Dublin and visit the new 42km Dublin mountains route between Shankill and Tallaght, with spectacular city views along the way. For information about forest parks in the Republic, visit


Thinking of dipping into a spot of fishing? You’ll need a rod licence for trout, pike and coarse fishing in Northern Ireland but not the south. You need a licence for salmon and sea trout fishing in both jurisdictions but not for sea fishing for marine sport fish. For salmon and trout, head for Lower Lough Erne, the Lower Bann and the Causeway Coast rivers. The Lough Erne Resort offers fishing trips. Upper Lough Erne is great for pike, bream, roach and perch and you can also enjoy good coarse fishing at the Toome Canal and Lough Beg, to the north of Lough Neagh, Kinnego Marina and the Upper Bann to the south of the Lough. Or how about a spot of mackerel fishing along the Causeway Coast? Head south and pick up a family fishing ticket from Rathbeggan Lakes in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, where you can hire rods and book into a course for new anglers. Book a fly fishing course for beginners at Spiddal Angling School in Co. Galway or try your hand at trout fishing

Cycling in Fermanagh, photos © Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Surfing with Alive Surf School, Portrush

Paddle boarding at Limavady

at Courtlough, Ireland’s newest rainbow trout fishing centre, in Balbriggan, north Co. Dublin.


Spring and summer are perfect for seaside trails. Muster all your courage and take a guided walk along The Gobbins, the towering cliffs along the Causeway Coastal route. The more adventurous might head for Ballyhornan, Co Down, the north coast or the Mournes and go bouldering and coasteering. All you need is a wetsuit to get in some early swimming in the sea - lots of people are doing it these days. Or have a go at surfing... and if you’ve always fancied canoeing or kayaking, there’s no better time. Visit for details on getting started. Alternatively, head south and literally throw yourself in at the deep end from the thrilling Blackrock Diving tower at Salthill, outside Galway. There are a number of different levels and people somersault,

dive and jump into Galway Bay all year round. The Atlantic is great for surfing and you can hire equipment and get lessons at Sligo or Bundoran, Do Donegal, and Lahinch, County Clare.


Bring your own bikes or hire anything from an electric bike to a tandem or mountain bikes at a number of venues across the island and get exploring. An electric bike gives you the option of doing the work yourself or flicking a switch and letting the motor do the work on the tougher hills. Look up bike hire on and you’ll not only find out where to hire bikes but get some great inspiration for places to take them, from Rostrevor to Blessingbourne. Ireland’s biggest mountain biking centre is at Ballyhoura, Co, Limerick and offers 92km of dedicated bike track. Fairymount Farm near Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, is home of the new Bike Park Ireland, a purpose built course where ex army trucks haul you

and your bike back the top of the trail.


Ray Mears and Bear Grylls have influenced a generation of adventurers and there is no shortage of places to go and learn some basic bushcraft skills. Learn to build a shelter and start a campfire without matches at a venue to suit - whether out in the wilderness or at an adventure centre. Find a provider at Most of the training providers, such as Mobile Team Adventure, offer ongoing courses and dozens of other activities to whet the appetite. Down south, check out Bushcraft Ireland in Louth, Pioneer Bushcraft in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and The Living Wilderness Bushcraft School in Navan, Co. Meath.

÷For more ideas of things to do, visit or #thisisLIVING.

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 53

Epic walks and spectacular views afoot


eed a steer on where everyone else is going for a great walk? Pick up the National Trust’s guide, The Little Book of Great Walks or visit Most of them end in a tea room - what more incentive do you need? Walks include a trail through Crom estate in Co Fermanagh which includes the prospect of spotting some red squirrels, otters or fallow deer. At Mount Stewart in Co Down, three miles of new walking trails have recently been launched, opening up previously unseen parts of the demesne. Tackle the 6,000 year old sand dunes at Portstewart Strand and come out at the Bann Estuary, a salt marsh where you can enjoy the sight of green, white and brown

shelducks swimming alongside other waders. Or climb Divis Mountain for views of Belfast below, and on a clear day, glimpses of the Scottish, Cumbrian and Welsh uplands. Another treasure trove of info for walkers is which also includes a guide to the best place to see bluebells in Northern Ireland. If you spot bluebells you can send your pics to #WalkNI on Instagram, @WALKNI on Twitter or via the WalkNI Facebook Page. This year WalkNI held its inaugural awards and the public voted the Mourne Mountains the ‘Best Walking Destination’ in Northern Ireland whilst the Causeway Coast and Glens are officially home to the ‘Most Epic View’. Belfast man Der-

mot Breen took home the ‘Outstanding Achievement through Walking’ Award for his inspirational fundraising efforts for Cancer Research UK - he covered 652 miles along the Ulster Way in memory of his wife. The Mourne International Walking Festival won ‘Best Walking Festival’ and Slieve Donard via Glen River topped the poll for the ‘Best Route in the Mourne Mountains’. Ballintoy to Bushmills along the Causeway Coast Way won the ‘Best Route in the Causeway Coast and Glens’ and the

Causeway Coast Challenge Walk, organised by local walking group the Bannside Ramblers, won ‘Best Walk Challenge Event’. Why not sign up for this year’s Causeway Coast Challenge Walk, on April 30. It’s 30km along the rugged coastal path with outstanding sea views towards Rathlin and the Scottish islands. Register on the day at Portballintrae Village Hall between 8-9am and finish by 5pm to receive a badge and certificate. Entry fee is £6 for adults and £3 for children. For details and guidance, see

SPORTINGHIGHLIGHTS Whether you’re a dedicated athlete or prefer to get your sports fix from the sidelines, this year is a big one for ‘major’ events in NI. Here are a few for your diary...

returns north this year, and will be played on one of our finest links courses, Portstewart Golf Course


This long-standing football tournament attracts youth teams from round the world along with talented, young, local players as well as home-grown talent.

Now in its 36th year The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is the biggest single participatory sporting event in Northern Ireland with 17,500 runners expected to hit the streets of Belfast.


The Vauxhall International North West 200 is one not to be missed, attracting the finest line-up of road racers to the superfast circuit across the Causeway Coast.


The third edition of the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will see thousands of cyclists experience some amazing historic and iconic climbs. The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia NI weekend is fast becoming one of the ‘mustride’ sportives in the UK and Ireland.


Malone Golf Club, Royal Belfast Golf Club and Shandon Park Golf Club have teamed up for this inaugural event.


Hosted by the Rory Foundation the Irish Open



Another exciting returning highlight in Northern Ireland’s road racing calendar is the MCE Ulster Grand Prix holding the record as the fastest road race in the world and attracting many of the top names in road racing.


The Irish Football Association are hosting the 2017 finals which will be be played at venues across Northern Ireland.


The 8th Women’s Rugby World Cup gets underway in Dublin before moving Belfast for the play-off rounds and final at the Kingspan Stadium, home of Ulster rugby. It will be jampacked with lots of events and activities.

÷For more information visit

Downhill Demesne, picture by John Millar for the National Trust

54 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

LOVE isintheair

Long hot days and balmy romantic nights have Cupid working overtime. For some, summertime is full of the promise of true love, for others, it’s the perfect season for saying ‘I do’. We caught up with Deborah, who found a holiday romance turned into much more when she met the love of her life, and Susie, who is looking forward to her dream wedding to fiance Michael this year.

‘Ican’twait towalkupthe aisletoMichael’ BY MAUREEN COLEMAN


hen Belfast woman Susie Hunt got engaged to her boyfriend Michael Vint two years ago, her married friends warned her that the months leading up to the wedding would fly in and the big day would come quicker than she could ever imagine. That was in June 2015 and Susie remembers thinking she had plenty of time to organise her dream wedding. Now she can’t quite believe that she will be tying the knot in just four months’ time – although the stress has been taken out of the preparations as Susie threw herself into the wedding planning just days after Michael popped the question.

“I work as a Parents Support Officer in the New Lodge Schools Cluster so I’m off all summer,” she says. “Michael and I got engaged on my 30th birthday in June 2015 and as all my friends were still working at the time, I’d nothing really else to do. I had a lot of free time on my hands so I started thinking up themes and ideas and started the ball rolling pretty much right away.” EVERYTHING’S ROSY Susie met Saul man Michael in Belfast’s Hudson Bar where they were both working at the time. She says she knew from early in the relationship that Michael was ‘the one’ but even so, was gobsmacked when he packed a picnic on her birthday, brought her to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, famed for its roses, got down nervously on one knee and popped the question.

Michael and Susie “I genuinely didn’t see it coming,” she says. “I know people say that but I really had no idea at all. I said yes, of course, because Michael is the kindest, most caring man and he’s always so supportive of me. He’s very laid-back too and we’ve never had a row. We just get on really well.” With the date set for July 18, 2017, and St Therese Chapel on the Somerton Road booked for their big day, Susie knew she had plenty of time to arrange her perfect wedding. But friends who’d already tied the knot told her the time would fly by and

before she knew it, her wedding would be taking place. “It really has flown in,” she says. “For a while I was very nervous about it but since Christmas, I’ve been so excited. I just can’t wait for it now.” CHARMED BY CARLINGFORD To begin with the couple considered going abroad to get married but given the number of guests who are being invited, this would not have been convenient. The pair checked out a few venues but not long after

Countdown to Summer | 55

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph



was watching him walking up the street and I said, ‘Did you know one of your feet is turning inwards?’” Not the most auspicious of starts in terms of great romances. It was Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol, circa 1987. Nineteen year old Deborah McShane, a champion Irish dancer, was there with two friends, trying to enjoy her lunch at a poolside restaurant and this guy kept dripping water over her food. “I was wondering, ‘Who does he think he is?’” Paul (20) was there with his parents, brothers and various other relations. Later, he and his brothers came to talk to them at the pool, adding insult to earlier injury by saying they knew they were from Northern Ireland because they were so white. “They asked us would we go up the town later. I was watching him walking up the street and said, ‘One of your feet is turning in’. He was very offended.” She laughs: “He wouldn’t have known that dancers are always told to marry a man with good feet.” The pair dated while on their holiday but when it was time to come home, Deborah thought it had simply been a holiday romance. “He lived in Armagh, I lived in Lisburn. When he asked for my number, I made one up.” Fortunately for both of them, he overheard her giving the correct number

their engagement Susie happened to be in the medieval town of Carlingford one day and fell in love with its traditional charm. “I went into the Four Seasons Hotel and everything just fell into place,” she says. “I knew straight away it was where I wanted to have the reception. Not long after, I went back down again with Michael so he could see it too, and he loved it as well. “Michael has a lot of relatives coming over from Canada for the wedding and as they’re all originally from Ireland, I thought the town of Carlingford would be

to some girls from Ballyclare she had got friendly with. He phoned her a number of times on their return but kept missing her. Deborah recalls: “I did like him when we were away and then when we got home I found I missed him. I showed my friend a photo of him and she said to ring him.” She did but the message wasn’t passed on and Deborah thought that was the end of the romance. After a few more weeks had passed, Paul rang: this time she answered and the rest is history. “We had been on holiday in the August and were engaged by Christmas. We got married the following October and by that Christmas I was pregnant with our first child, Jonathan.” They went on to have two more boys, Matthew and Christopher, and returned to Fuengirola for their 25th wedding anniversary a couple of years ago. “It was all changed but it was lovely to go back there,” she says. The couple settled in County Armagh where Deborah now teaches many of today’s champion dancers. She and her Zephaniah Dance Ministry were featured on the BBC’s Jigs and Wigs series last year with Paul playing a supportive role off camera. Deborah can’t believe they’re approaching their 30th anniversary next year. “I don’t feel I’m married that long. It feels really fresh and alive. “He’s my best friend ever, the one I completely 100% trust.”

perfect. It’s so traditional, has stunning views and there is plenty of accommodation.” PERFECT DRESS While out with her mum one afternoon, Susie popped into a bridal shop in east Belfast and stumbled upon her wedding dress. “It was the fifth one I tried on and I just loved it,” she says. “It’s absolutely gorgeous and I knew once I tried it on that it was the one for me.” The dresses for the bridesmaids – three

Paul and Deborah when they started going out together

lifelong friends – were then purchased, along with their jewellery and shoes. And the outfits for the mother-of-the-bride and the flower girls, Lara (9) and three-year-old Cara, were also sorted promptly. “I opted for dresses that fitted in with the summer theme and suited the three bridesmaids’ skin tones,” she says. “And my mum’s outfit co-ordinates perfectly with them. “I have to admit, I did have quite a lot of the organising done by the Christmas after the engagement. I knew I had two years, but I didn’t want to leave everything until the last six months. I would’ve found that far too stressful, so it suited me to buy bits and pieces as I went along. “I was also trying to stick to a budget so I checked out sales for things like jewellery and my veil and went to a few wedding fairs too. I also won a fabric bouquet from Little Posy through a Sparkle Weddings competition. Month by month I kept ticking things off the list.” After choosing his best man and groomsmen – two close friends and Susie’s brother – Michael took a bit of a back seat and gave his fiancée a free rein with the organising. “Michael was very excited about the plans but he just let me get on with it,” she laughs. “Anyway, I really enjoyed all the organising. It’s all part of the build up to the big day itself.” Up to 180 guests will be invited to the Hunt/Vint summer wedding and many will stay on in Carlingford for a few days as the newly-weds plan to host a huge barbecue post-wedding for family and friends. Then the couple will head off on their honey-

moon to Thailand and Singapore for a fortnight. IT’S ABOUT COMMITMENT Susie says that now the countdown is on in earnest, she’s feeling increasingly excited and is relieved she organised so much well in advance. “It hasn’t been stressful at all because I gave myself so much time,” she says. “But what is a bit stressful is the pressure to make sure everyone is happy. There have been times when the reality of it all has hit home, just how much the wedding is costing, but then I remember that it’s just one day. It’s a marriage, not just a wedding and what it’s really about is Michael and me and our commitment to each other.” Given the unpredictability of Irish weather, Susie is slightly concerned that it might rain on her big day but is hopeful the sun will make an appearance. And she concedes that she’s expecting to feel nervous on the morning of the wedding. “That’s when the nerves will really kick in,” she says. “When there’s a full house of bridal party, make-up artist, hairdressers, photographers, videographer, that’s when I know I’ll start to feel nervous. “I just want to make sure that everyone gets ready on time. I’m guessing too that there will be a lot of tears, especially from my mum. But will I feel nervous in the chapel? Not at all. I can’t wait to walk up the aisle and show everyone my dress. “And I can’t wait to walk up the aisle to Michael. In fact, I might just prance up the aisle instead.”

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Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


summer wedding T

he most longed for guest at a summer wedding is an extra terrestrial being. Its appearance can feel like a blessing from above... but whether the sun shines or not, the summer is still our favourite season for getting married. The bright skies enhance the romance and optimism of the day and everyone turns out looking their tanned and healthiest best. Opting for a summer wedding means a world of choices when it comes to floral arrangements, transport – especially if you dream of going to the church in a carriage or convertible – and photo shoots. Whether your preferred backdrop is an ocean cliff or the rose-laden grounds of a sumptuous hotel, it’s going to look better in summertime. The longer, milder evenings make for an extended evening reception and you may even welcome your first day as Mr and Mrs watching the sun rise. And while summer weddings have long been a favoured tradition, weddings, like everything else, are continually evolving. These days, some loved up couples are choosing romantic or spectacular locations to get engaged, never mind honeymoon. The most popular locations for popping the question are Central Park in New York and the top of the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. For weddings, growing numbers of couples are opting for a two-centred event, getting married somewhere exotic like Sri Lanka and honeymooning in the Maldives. Anyone considering going abroad to get married is best consulting a reputable travel agent who will sort out the red tape. There’s no point going to Paris only to discover you have to wait 30 days before saying ‘oui’.


However, for the majority of couples, the idyllic palm trees by a tourquoise sea can wait until the honeymoon! For them, a wedding is as much a celebration of the family and friends who have seen the bride and groom this far as it is of their love for each other. Whether you’re newly engaged or have been planning the big day for a year or more, it can seem as though there are a million and one decisions which need to

be made to get to the wedding day itself. You may want the all singing and dancing fairy princess wedding or something much simpler and the summer season offers the prospect of having the entire day outdoors if you desire. Valeria Gribakina and Simon Higgins chose August for their wedding in Belfast. Valeria was born in Russia and lived in Australia until she was 11 and her parents moved to Belfast. Many of her Russian relatives came from Germany, Norway and Israel for the occasion. “We chose August because it’s a nice time to get away. Simon proposed in October and we didn’t want to wait years so that gave us 10 months to plan and organise things. We only had 40 guests. The weather actually wasn’t great on the day but the guests mostly stayed for a week and it was good for them. “Our wedding car was a big yellow Hummer and we went more for balloons than flowers as there were a lot of children there and we thought it would be good to let them play. We had air walker balloons of the bride and groom which were great. “We went on honeymoon to Russia, to St Petersburg and Moscow to see the sights and catch up with family.”

For weddings, growing numbers of couples are opting for a two-centred event, getting married somewhere exotic like Sri Lanka and honeymooning in the Maldives

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph


There is lots of advice available on organising your wedding but the first thing to do is get a journal so that you can keep track of all the arrangements – the chances are it will be the biggest event you’ve ever put together. The first thing to settle is the date and venue for your reception – the most popular hotels are often booked a year ahead with Saturdays obviously in huge demand. Everything else follows on from that... not least the amount you need to budget for and the size of your guestlist, which will be dictated by the capacity of the room. Take advantage of the expertise that

Countdown to Summer | 57

people involved in the ‘wedding industry’ have, from wedding planners and coordinators at venues, to the person conducting your ceremony. Many hotels have their own wedding co-ordinator who will help you plan the day and then make sure it all goes smoothly. Once you have your date and venue, you can start booking the rest of the services and suppliers such as photographer, florist, invitations, cake, decor, music – for both the ceremony and the reception, transport, hair and make up. Once you’ve taken care of those essentials you can begin the fun bits – choosing your wedding dress and the bridal party’s outfits and looking at honeymoon options. Don’t forget to check that your passports are valid and whether you’ll need vaccinations for where you’re going. As the big day draws near, you’ll need to go for final dress fittings – it’s amazing how many kilos you can shed in the run up to a wedding. You’ll also need to give the venue/caterer the final head count, draw up your table plan, take care of your beauty regime and organise money to be paid to suppliers on the day as well as gifts for your bridesmaids, groomsmen and the officiant. Somewhere in there you need to plan the ceremony itself, including your vows – it’s little wonder people worry about forgetting the rings! Don’t worry about any minor issues. Your guests are there to celebrate your marriage and they’re unlikely to notice (or care) if details aren’t exactly the way you planned them. And should the sun decide to show up, so much the better!

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Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

What’son THISSUMMER...


Lookingforentertainmentoverthe next few months? Eastermarksthe startofthe action withfamilyfriendly events. Here’s ourat-a-glanceround-upofsomeofthe highlights,fromEasterand beyond...

NOW UNTIL APRIL 9, BELFAST Belfast Film Festival continues with unforgettable movie moments which for some lucky cinema fans, will have included seeing John Cusack in person. There’s still plenty of action in the festival’s closing weekend across a range of venues, see

NOW UNTIL APRIL 9, NEWTOWNARDS This is the closing weekend of Ards International Guitar Festival and there are lots of events before the closing concert featuring Sarah McQuaid with special guests Eilidh Patterson and Brigid O’Neill. See


APRIL 14-16, NATIONAL TRUST From the Easter Fair at Castle Ward to the Easter Egg Hunts and family fun days at Florence Court, on Easter Saturday and Monday, there’s lots going on at a National Trust property near you. Visit for details or follow @nationaltrust on Twitter for updates.

APRIL 15, LISBURN CITY CENTRE Lego fans will confirm that Everything is wonderful at Lisburn’s Lego Extravaganza on Easter Saturday ( Lisburncitycentre)

APRIL 15 & 17, SHARE DISCOVERY VILLAGE, CO FERMANAGH The centre incudes a trip on the Inishcruiser in its Easter Activities Tickets are from £8 per person if pre-booked. Call 028 6772 2122 or

APRIL 28 TO MAY 1, BELFAST CITY CENTRE The Festival of Fools brings some of the finest and funniest street shows touring the world to Belfast, including Luis Brusca with his prize-winning clown show, the unicycling Flying Dutchmen and Mat Ricardo, the Gentelman Juggler. Acrobatics and circus acts from as far afield as Spain, Italy, France, Canada, Holland, Argentina, USA and England are among the acts performing for free.

APRIL 30, SEAMUS HEANEY HOMEPLACE, BELLAGHY Fans of the best-selling books War Horse and Private Peaceful won’t want to miss author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo,


Tiësto will headline this year’s Vital Festival

APRIL 27 - MAY 1 City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival features over 200 acts, including Imelda May, at 70 venues,

one giant performance space with hundreds of musical performances of all genres in the streets, squares, venues, churches and communities. See or email

MAY 9-10, ST GEORGE’S MARKET, BELFAST The Spring Picnic Twilight Market returns with live music by local entertainers, chef demonstrations and arts and crafts.

MAY 13, BANGOR Ards and North Down Pipe Band Championships return to Castle Park

MAY 26-JUNE 4, BALLYCASTLE Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival brings lots of land and water based fun to the stretch of water off Ballycastle.

APRIL 30, NEWTOWNARDS Jazz in the Gardens at Mount Stewart Estate. Bring a picnic.

JUNE 1, BELFAST Belfast Waterfront will ring with the sound of one of Belfast’s most famous sons and living legend of the flute, Sir James Galway. A Very Special Audience with Sir James Galway and the Ulster Orchestra is the closing gala event in the Orchestra’s 50th anniversary season. Tickets are available from or at the Ulster Hall Box Office (028 9033 4455). A special VIP experience is also available, including private reception and dinner with Sir James.

JUNE 10-11, LIMAVADY Danny Boy Jazz and Blues Festival

JUNE 13-30, BELFAST Belsonic at Ormeau Park stars, among others, Arcade Fire, The 1975, Jess Glynne and The Chainsmokers. See

JUNE 21-27, DERRY~LONDONDERRY Music City returns this summer, turning Derry city into

Nathan Carter is among the big names for the inaugural Harvest Festival

JUNE 28-JULY 2, DERRY Celtronic Music Festival brings the best of electronica to a local audience. See www. for announcements. JULY 12-16, NEWCASTLE The Soma Festival attracts great music and artists to the heart of the Mournes. JULY 15, CASTLE ARCHDALE A variety night with a difference will see Ritchie Remo, Outdoor Entertainment and Dale Thomas Comedy Hypnotist in action. JULY 22-23, DERRY Flavours of the Foyle showcases Londonderry’s fine food and drink producers, as well as the city’s musical talent.

JULY 29-30, HILLSBOROUGH Festival fans are now booking their tickets for the annual extravaganza that is Sunflowerfest. This year’s event is themed A Parallel Universe and stars the Rubber Bandits among many other acts. See www.sunflowerfest. for the full line-up.

AUGUST 5-13, CUSHENDALL Heart of the Glens Festival

AUGUST 26, BELFAST Tiësto will headline this year’s Vital Festival when it returns to Belfast’s Boucher Road Playing Fields. Support includes Clean Bandits.

AUGUST 27, BOTANIC GARDENS, BELFAST Belfast Mela (meaning ‘meet’) returns iwith a high energy, vivid and vibrant day out for all the family. The event celebrates NI’s increasing cultural diversity with a range of music, dance and food. Visit

Among the events in Northern Ireland... Hambly & Hambly, Magheradunbar, Enniskillen, will host a special reading by poet and author Maria McManus, alongside an exhibition of work from artists including Cathy Carman, Claire Falconer, Susan Mannion, Michael Hoy, Di Henshaw, Simon Carman and Matthew Gammon, and the NI launch of Ruth Le Gear’s art book, Water Senses.

At Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, explore Reflections on ‘The Haw Lantern’, a site-specific sound installation by visual artist and curator Varvara Shavrova in response to a poetry cycle by Seamus Heaney.

Paul Durcan is in conversation at Seamus Heaney’s HomePlace Bellaghy, on May 6. ✱ An exhibition of poetry and photography by Noel Connor and David Gepp, artists from opposite ends of Finaghy Road North, at Verbal Arts Centre, Derry~Londonderry.

AUGUST 26-27, ENNISKILLEN AND WESTPORT Harvest is a new two day country music festival split between Enniskillen Airport and Westport House. More than 30 acts are perfoming, including Miranda Lambert and Nathan Carter. See for details.

AUGUST 28-29, BALLYCASTLE The Auld Lammas Fair is one of the big community events at the close of summer.

Festival of Fools returns to the streets of Belfast

here will be lyrical waxings of all sorts for Poetry Day Ireland 2017 on April 27. Established in 2015 by Poetry Ireland, this major oneday festival includes more than 100 events across the country. This year’s theme is Poetry Connects, and everyone is invited to join in or link-up. Events include a Facebook Live poetry reading (www. featuring names including former Vice President Joe Biden and Snow patrol’s Gary Lightbody. “We have been delighted and inspired by the enthusiastic response to Poetry Day Ireland to date. From Kerry to Derry more than 100 creative, inspiring and thoughtprovoking events will take place on 27 April,” said Maureen Kennelly, Director, Poetry Ireland. Poetry Ireland will distribute Pocket Poems to venues and anyone wishing to get involved in the day. Pocket Poems are 12 mini cards, each featuring a different ‘Poetry Connects’ themed poem. Pass on your favourite Pocket Poem or share it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #PoetryDayIRL. Pocket Poems can also be downloaded at, along with a handy guide by Niall MacMonagle. Poetry fans can look forward to a number of free treats at Log on to download a free ebook of work by 2016’s Poetry Ireland Introductions participants, new copies of the journals FourXFour and A New Ulster, and a special ‘Mix Tape’ of audio poems from Lagan Online and Poetry NI.


A casual poetry recital in association with Women Aloud NI, an initiative which aims to raise the profile of the women’s writing scene, at Houston and Williamson Funeral Home, 117 Crumlin Road, Belfast. Share a Favourite poem - your own or by someone else at the Thyme & Co Café, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim.

60 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017


Gemmalovedlifeintheair BY MAUREEN COLEMAN


tanding shivering and rain-soaked on the tarmac one night, waiting for her British Eagle colleagues to come off their flight from Singapore, Belfast woman Gemma Hunt decided it was time to apply for a new role within the former airline. Part of the ground staff based at Heathrow Airport in the 1960s, where she checked in passengers, took part in meet and greets and looked after VIPs flying with British Eagle, she loved her exciting job but when she saw the cabin crew alighting, sun-tanned and fresh-faced from their trip to the Far East, she knew she wanted to get a chance to travel and see the world. The next day Gemma applied to the airline to work as an air stewardess and was delighted when she got the job. Having spent all her summer holidays in Donegal, where her mother was from, she’d never travelled further than London before and couldn’t wait to visit destinations in far flung and exotic locations.

ROUND THE WORLD Her glamorous new cabin crew role took her from Moscow to Malaysia, Bermuda to Bahrain on scheduled flights. Tourism was taking off at the time and the introduction of jet aircrafts meant passengers could fly further - and faster - around the world. “The first place I flew to was Venice, taking holiday-makers to the city as part of an inclusive package tour,” she says. “British Eagle was one of the first airlines to bring in inclusive tours. “On domestic and European flights I only ever got to stay in a place overnight so I didn’t get to see much of Venice. But it was exciting enough just to be there.” After six months of domestic and European flights, which saw her stop off in Paris, Rome, Rimini and Malaga, Gemma was promoted to long-haul flights. Among

Gemma with Roy Orbison and her best friend Winnie Briggs. Winnie, now deceased, worked as ground crew

the Olympics. On another occasion, she recalls being on an aircraft that was forced to land in water at Hong Kong. “It was very stormy weather this night, with thunder and lightening and we had to ditch into the water,” she says. “There were no passengers on board as we were going to pick them up in Hong Kong, so that was fortunate. Cabin crew used the emergency exits to get out and we were rescued by boats that waited in the water near the runway, as this was a fairly common occurrence.”

Gemma in Pompeii the destinations she visited were New York, Montreal and Kingston in Jamaica. “I really loved Jamaica,” she says. “It was the people who made it such a special place. When we came off the flight we were greeted by locals, who presented both passengers and crew with garlands of flowers.”

THE LONG, LONG HAUL But it was mainly chartered flights Gemma worked on, travelling all over Australia and Asia. She flew on a Ministry of Defence flight, bringing military to Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpar and also accompanied emigrants to Australia. “When we were flying to Australia at that time, it took crew almost a week, sometimes a fortnight, to get there, because we had so much plane-hopping to do,” she recalls. “We flew from London to Istanbul, then onto Kuwait, then Bombay, then down to Sri Linka (Ceylon), then Singapore or Hong Kong, and finally to Darwin, our port of call in Australia. “We also did onward flights to cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.” Working on chartered flights meant Gemma was able to stay longer in the various destinations en route, being accommodated in first class hotels and getting to know the cities and surrounding areas well as she became a regular visitor. “In total I probably stopped off in about 50 countries and hundreds of cities, includ-

ing a place in the mouth of the Amazon called Paramaribo, which no one had ever heard off,” she says. “As we were the main chartered company we did a lot of unusual flights to unusual destinations. But that’s what I loved about the job, the randomness and unpredictability.” One stand-out memory is a flight to Mexico, which saw Gemma and a second crew member accompany four horses to

On a flight to Mexico, she accompanied four horses to the Olympics. On another they were forced to land in water at Hong Kong

THE STARS Gemma also got to meet hundreds of A list stars during her career, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, The Beatles, Sophia Loren, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinitra and Roy Orbison. One of her favourite memories is dancing down the ramp at Heathrow Airport with Gene Kelly as he serenaded her with Singin’ in the Rain at 3am. She remained with British Eagle for almost 10 years, enjoying the brilliant opportunities the job presented to her. “I got to travel to so many wonderful places, meet some wonderful people and I had a ball,” she says. “And I got paid to do this at the same time. “Of all the destinations I stayed in, my favourites were New Orleans, Perth and Singapore. I wasn’t so keen on Bombay because of the appalling levels of poverty but it was a regular stop over so I was there many times. “Working as cabin crew on British Eagle was undoubtedly glamorous back then but it was also hard work and exhausting. But I loved every minute of it.” These days, the mum-of-two still enjoys to travel and cites Italy as her holiday destination of choice. “It’s funny, an Italian city was my first stop-over as an air hostess. I went on to get married in Rome because I fell in love with the city when I stayed there and even now, Italy remains my favourite place.”

7 April 2017 | Belfast Telegraph

Countdown to Summer | 61

Staying safe in hot weather H

ot weather is a rarity in Northern Ireland, but it does happen – last May, the temperatures matched the balmy Costa del Sol. While it’s wonderful to get out and enjoy the ephemeral sun shine, it’s not always a blessing for older people. Extreme temperatures can be particularly dangerous for those over 75 and sustained hot weather can trigger health problems unless adequate care is taken to stay cool. Among those most vulnerable are people with heart or breathing problems, Parkinson’s disease or people on certain medications including those that affect temperature control. Seek help from a GP if an elderly person is suffering chest pain, intense thirst or dizziness as a result of the heat. Temporary measures to cool the person down are bringing them somewhere cool and giving them plenty of fluids. Do not give them aspirin or paracetamol as the body is already under stress. If heat exhaustion isn’t spotted and treated, it can lead to heatstroke which can be fatal. Here are some tips to keep safe in hot weather whether you’re an older person, carer or family member... ✱ Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids such as water or diluted fruit juice. ✱ Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, tea and

coffee as they act as diuretics. ✱ Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content. ✱ Stay inside during the hottest part of the day, which is typically between 11am and 3pm. ✱ Keep cool by splashing with cold water throughout the day or have a cold bath or shower. ✱ Keep rooms cool by closing blinds and curtains to keep the sun out and only open windows when cool enough to do so. ✱ Use shutters if you have them – these are extremely effective in keeping out the heat. ✱ Spend time in the coolest room in the house. ✱ Use electric fans if temperature is below 35 degrees. ✱ Keep up to date with weather forecast and plan accordingly. ✱ Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors. Also apply sun block. ✱ Plan ahead to ensure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and medication. ✱ Make sure medicines are stored below 25 degrees or in the fridge. For more information, visit:



he Public Health Agency is using Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (April 1-30) to encourage everyone who is eligible to make use of the bowel cancer screening programme and to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of the disease. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in Northern Ireland with about 1,200 people diagnosed with the disease each year. However, the good news is that the earlier bowel cancer is detected, the more successful the treatment is likely to be.

Dr Tracy Owen, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the PHA said: “Men and women aged between 60 and 74 have the opportunity to take part in the Northern Ireland bowel cancer screening programme. Those eligible for screening receive a free test kit in the post at the home address provided by their GP. The kit is used to detect traces of blood in the bowel motion that are not visible to the naked eye. Most people who are tested will have no blood in their bowel motions and will be invited to repeat the screening test again in two years’ time. If any blood is detected, this indicates that further tests need to be carried out.” Dr Owen is at pains to point out that people shouldn’t be embarrassed about using a home screening kit. “If you receive a screening test kit in the post, take action – it could save your life.” For more information visit:

62 | Countdown to Summer

Belfast Telegraph | 7 April 2017

CRASHServicesenters 21styearofsuccessafter recordyearofgrowth


RASH Services is Northern Ireland’s leading Accident Management firm and will be celebrating its 21st anniversary next month. The locally-owned company, which has handled more than 80,000 motor incidents since it was established in 1996, has increased staff across all divisions by 35% in the last 12 months, bringing the total number employed within its Newry headquarters, Belfast and Dundalk offices to 70. Breaking the mould in the provision of accident management services, CRASH was first established in April 1996 and has grown strongly since then by offering a complete ‘one stop’ service to motorists

involved in collisions. This includes investigation, recovery, repairs and insurance claims management as well as any medical and legal assistance. With motorists and their needs at the fore, there is no cost to those involved in an incident for its professional accident management services – CRASH Services recovers all charges from insurers. Tony McKeown, Sales & Marketing at CRASH Services, said: “We are proud to have reached this significant milestone and it is real testimony to all our customers, staff and partners that our business continues to grow. We’re delighted that our customer survey results show that 95% of

all customers who come to us are highly likely to recommend us to a friend. All our staff share a common goal - to act with care for motorists involved in road traffic incidents. “We have also built up strong relationships with many insurance brokers, vehicle repairers, motor dealerships and recovery operators. Many of these relationships have existed for 20 years and we hope will continue for many years to come.” CRASH Services assists motorists all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It has a head office operation in Newry, with branches in Belfast and Dundalk. In 2016, CRASH won a top award for excellence in customer services at the prestigious NI Fleet Awards. The firm is well known for its deep commitment to the work of several local charities and this year the Southern Area Hospice and Fight on for Annie were chosen as corporate charity partners. CRASH also supports a number of road safety projects including the NI Road Safety Awards and the NI Primary Schools Road Safety Quiz. For more information, you can contact CRASH Services on 02890 660244.



STOP AT THE SCENE You must stop at the scene whether or not the collision was your fault.


CHECK IF ANYONE IS IN NEED OF MEDICAL ATTENTION. If so, call 999. If not, call Northern Ireland’s new non emergency phone number 101.


ARE THERE ANY WITNESSES? Try and get the names, addresses and vehicle registrations of any witnesses before they leave the scene. Witnesses should write down their evidence and keep their original notes.


MAKE A SKETCH OR TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS. Remember to make notes of street names, skid marks, collision points, vehicle locations and directions of travel. It is recommended that you keep a disposable camera in your glove box as it can be very useful for recording images. This should be done before vehicles are moved if possible.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION... Note down any other details you feel are worth recording. For example, if the other driver was using their phone.


CALL CRASH 24 HOURS A DAY ON 028 9066 0244. Why not save our number on your mobile now in case you need us in the future? Everything is taken care of… at no cost to you!

Countdown to Summer  
Countdown to Summer