2 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
arvey Norman, a byword for great design at affordable prices, has opened a new superstore on Belfast’s Boucher Road. The Harvey Norman Home Centre at Boucher Road, Belfast, is the company’s flagship store in Ireland. With over 60,000 square feet of stunning furniture, bedding, curtains, accessories, paint and flooring looks, the Harvey Norman Home Centre is a one stop shop for creating or renovating your perfect home. This store, which opened just before Christmas, takes retail design to the next level for Harvey Norman. The local design team have designed every aspect of the shop from the ground up. Their vision was to take the vibrancy that customers love from the latest furniture collections to another level by bringing together materials in a way that is new and exciting to Harvey Norman. The result is an inspirational space where customers can browse and explore a vast showroom of interiors and design. The store design is a trend setting, bright airy space, “modern rustic”. Customers can find on-trend cool finds from around the world – all great quality at amazing value.
Concessions addtothemix H arvey Norman Boucher Road is a new concept Home Centre for the group. Alongside the vast range of own brand products are concession retailers Colortrend, Matt Britton Flooring, Signature Curtains and Blinds and a Synge & Byrne restaurant. By adding these concession stores Harvey Norman has created a one-stop Home Centre for all home furnishing needs.
Take a break from shopping or relax with friends in the Synge & Byrne Restaurant
Store manager Eamon McFadden
THE STORE DESIGN IS A TREND SETTING, BRIGHT AIRY SPACE, “MODERN RUSTIC”.
Stepinto thenew PICKA COLOUR
Update your home’s interior using a fresh coat of paint to decorate. If you really want to set a mood in a room, then use different paint hues to create an energetic or relaxed atmosphere or to warm up or cool down a space. Colortrend has a wide range of interior and exterior paint colours, wood trim and wallpapers to choose from.
The Matt Britton flooring department
our flooring choice can add a lot to your room. Carpet colour and style can help personalise your space as well as add comfort and warmth. Carpet can either provide a neutral palette background, or become a focal point for a room.
Harvey Norman Home Centre, Balmoral Plaza, Boucher Road, Belfast, BT12 6HR Visit www.harvey-norman.co.uk
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Dine instyle T
Family Life | 3
Areyousitting comfortably? C ome home to comfort with a stylish sofa, sourced by the Harvey Norman design team who travel the world, sourcing the best seats for your home. The 102 display models include the
finest Italian leather sofas, fabric sofas, recliner sofas, corner sofas and more. With a vast range of colours and combinations, you can personalise yours to suit your style and space. Better yet, each one comes with a 10 year structural guarantee.
he dining room is often the hub of the home for entertaining and evening meals, and here you can find dining room ideas, inspiration and practical advice for making it a wonderful space to enjoy. Harvey Norman have everything from glass to stone, marble, ceramic and solid oak, all on display in store.
Finishwith aflourish W
ell placed mirrors, lanterns, table lamps and candles will create a space that feels cosier and instantly
more homely. Nothing provides instant warmth and cosiness better than a soft throw or plump, feather-filled cushion. Bright or patterned cushions are also amazing for adding a pop of personality. Finish off the textured effect with a pure wool rug and luxuriate in your roomâ€™s new warmth. Seal the style (and the scent) of any room with calming candles â€“ an easy, inexpensive way to fill your home with beautiful fragrances, add mood lighting and create a cosy, warm glow.
4 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Contents 6 Natasha and Gordon Adger are ﬁnding life thrice as nice with triplets 8 Top looks for tiny tots 9 Autism campaign takes off 10-11 Earn your stripes. This season’s key looks
12 Accessories go big and bold 14 Give your makeup a spring makeover
34 Top tips for cooking with kids 12
16 Teen style goes retro 18 Menswear layers up
38-39 Events, entertainment and family fun
19 How a trim can transform your look
40 New book and DVD releases
20-21 If it’s blue or shiny, it has a place in your home
42 Carrie’s leap year proposal adds sparkle to romance
22 Time to tackle that tricky multi-function room
43 Going the distance... one dad’s commute to Australia 46-47 Focus on exams and the changing face of careers
23 How Betty’s Lounge grew out of passion for old furniture
48 Inspirational young Dempsey vows to beat cancer
24-25 Get your dream garden on time for summer
50-51 What’s new on the household tech scene
26 Children joining parents for Tanzania challenge
52 The latest toys to tantalise the kids
28-29 A for Amsterdam, B for Brussels 30-31 Action packed holidays close to home
53 Easy does it when it comes to blending two families
54-55 Get healthy, grow closer and help others! Published by Belfast Telegraph 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast, Co. Antrim. BT1 1EB
56 New releases to get gamers’ ﬁngers twitching
FAMILY LIFE MANAGER Jackie Reid Belfast Telegraph firstname.lastname@example.org
58-59 Pets’ corner and how bereavement led dog lover down new career path
EDITOR Fiona Rutherford Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd email@example.com
60-62 Motoring news
CONTRIBUTORS Ruaidhri McCarney, Ciara Lawn, Davina Gordon, Maureen Coleman, Rachel McLaughlin, Joanne McAuley, Samantha Bayley, Patricia McNaughton DESIGN Robert Armstrong INM Design Studio, Belfast PRINTING INM, Newry
35-37 Recipes to celebrate NI Year of Food and Drink 2016
There’s snow on the hills, snowdrops in the grass and we’re collectively on the countdown to spring, with its new life and longer days
oth are already here in abundance for Ards couple Natasha and Gordon Adger who have swiftly proved to be poster parents for their little triplets, born last month. With this being a leap year, women everywhere are weighing up their options on popping the question on February 29. Rock photographer Carrie Davenport jumped the gun with a New Year proposal to Dee McAdams and was mightily relieved when he said yes. Elsewhere in this issue of Family Life we meet the McNaughtons who, like many families, are forced to spend time apart through work. Unlike most couples, Stewart’s commute takes him to Australia every second month! While some families are separated, others are thrown together when people find love for the second time. Bringing stepchildren together in a so-called ‘blended’ family can be fraught with difficulties and, as we report, requires lots of empathy and often patience. We also meet the Campbells and McFerrans who are off to Tanzania this summer to help build toilets - and bringing their six children for an adventure free from wifi or all the props of everyday life in the developed world. Tough challenges are a way of life for Lynn McInally and her beautiful daughter Dempsey (7) who is fighting cancer. Despite a poor prognosis, Lynn refuses to give up hope for a healthy future for her inspirational little girl. We have stories of people who have ended up starting businesses from unlikely beginnings – it was the loss of her mum which led Lisa McBratney eventually to start her dog-sitting business, Waggy Tails, while Zara-Jane and John Orr found themselves setting up Betty’s Lounge after they simply ran out of space for all the mid 20th century furniture they had collected and had to begin selling it. Of course, that created space for more and the couple haven’t looked back. We also have all the regular features
you’ve come to expect from Family Life – fashion for women, men, teens and tots and the season’s trends for your home. We have tips on dealing with a room which has to adapt to a number of uses and advice on getting your garden ready for summer. One exam season seems to run into the next for the class of 2016 and A level student Samantha Bayley shares her tips for getting through it while careers expert Tina McKenzie suggests parents take a new perspective on their offsprings’ future paths. This is Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 which is shining a light on the excellent produce generated by our farmers, fishermen and fruit growers. This is then turned into the finest fare by an award winning mix of artisan and large scale food and drink producers and restaurateurs. We have lots of mouthwatering recipes using local produce for you to try at home while Pauline Carson, of The Little Bake Shop, shares her tips for cooking with kids. We scout out the devices and gadgets which are soon to have a place in our homes and perhaps our hearts and we also look at new releases in every area from toys to games and DVDs to books. Fancy getting out and about? We have the lowdown on what’s on for family fun, at the theatre and on the music scene as well as the spectacular Nitrocircus motorbike stunt show, coming to Belfast for the first time this summer. Last but not least, you can have fun while getting fit and we have lots of suggestions for quality time together which involves healthy activities and perhaps the opportunity to give a charity a well deserved boost too! Enjoy the snowdrops and we’ll see you in April!
For more information on our next edition of Family Life, please contact Family Life Manager Jackie Reid on 028 9055 4685, email j.reid@ belfasttelegraph.co.uk
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 5
Forthebest night’ssleep... A
s one of Ireland’s largest bedding retailers, Harvey Norman stocks a huge range of mattresses for the whole family. Their sleep specialists will help you find the perfect mattress to suit your needs. Harvey Norman mattresses offer everything from the latest in sleep technology which offers temperature regulation as you sleep, to pocket springs to guarantee unrivalled support and damask layers for incredible comfort. The company offers a 40 night comfort guarantee – for peace of mind, try your new mattress at home for 40 nights to ensure it’s the right one for you! The store also stocks a range of stylish bedding to help you to slip off to the land of nod in exactly the surroundings you have always dreamt of....
Forthebestshopping experiencevisittheHarvey NormanHomeCentre
T Left to Right: Karen Reilly, Andrew Gilliland, Yasmin Craig, Chris Cassidy, Sarah Ashley Thompson & Paul McGahey
he Harvey Norman Home Centre at Boucher Road, Belfast, consists of two expansive floors filled with thousands of products. Their friendly, specialist staff can help you find or create the perfect sofa or dining set to suit your space and style, your dream bed/mattress to help you get the best night’s sleep, offer paint and curtain/ blind consultations and help you pick out the right accessories to complement your home. And when you’ve finished shopping,
take a break at the in-store restaurant. You won’t find a better shopping experience or a greater selection of products elsewhere.
Opening Hours Monday: 9.30am - 7pm Tuesday: 9.30am - 7pm Wednesday: 9.30am - 7pm Thursday: 9.30am - 9pm Friday: 9.30am - 9pm Saturday: 9.30am - 6pm Sunday: 1pm - 6pm
Harvey Norman Home Centre, Balmoral Plaza, Boucher Road, Belfast, BT12 6HR Visit www.harvey-norman.co.uk
6 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Natasha and Gordon Adger with Freya, Brynn and Remy and (below) the girls in their Ulster Rugby shirts
ost people would baulk at the prospect of having triplets but for Natasha and Gordon Adger, the entire experience has been one of undiluted joy. Natasha (33) and Gordon (43) had been hoping to start a family after they got married three years ago following his romantic proposal via the big screen at Belfast City Hall. They were delighted when she fell pregnant. “I always thought there was a chance there would be twins as there are twins and triplets on Gordon’s side,” says Natasha, a classroom assistant at a special needs school. Her first check up revealed there was more than one heartbeat. “They said it was twins – I was a bit shocked but over the moon. We were planning a family so it was great to be told. Then at the 12 week scan they said there were three. I cried – I’m still crying over it I’m so overjoyed,” says Natasha. “I wasn’t frightened, I just took every day as it came. The whole pregnancy was very healthy; I had no problems whatsoever and reached 34.6 weeks. The gestation is 35 weeks for triplets. The
BY FIONA RUTHERFORD
Ulster Hospital staff were very good. I had check ups every two weeks the whole way through it.” Gordon says: “You wouldn’t have even thought she was pregnant from the back – she just had a bit of a bump.” A highlight was the 20 week scan when they got a clear view of the girls. “It was great to be able to see their wee faces taking shape.” They knew at that stage that all three babies were girls but told only their own mothers. As Gordon says: “There’s only so much neutral clothing you can buy.” Delivery was planned for Monday, January 18, but on the Sunday they were told there weren’t enough cots in SCBU, the special care baby unit at the Ulster Hospital. Natasha was attending for a scan on the Monday anyway but as had happened for much of the pregnancy, she passed out when she had to lie on her back because of the pressure of the babies. On this occasion, Brynn’s heart rate slowed as her blood supply was hindered. “I was whisked away and the babies
were delivered by emergency section.” Two were identical and one was a fraternal triplet, meaning that two of the girls, Brynn and Freya, were in the same sack whereas Remy was in a separate sack. Gordon said: “At first because it was an emergency section I was a wreck. Then the doctor came in and said, ‘We’re going to give her an epidural now so you are allowed in’. I came in as Brynn came out. She was the lowest and they lifted out the bottom sack first so Brynn and Freya were born at 11.56am. Brynn was 4lb 2oz and Freya was 4lb 1. Remy was 3lb 11 and was born at 11.58.”
“Brynn needed oxygen,” recalls Natasha. ”They were brought to us to get a quick kiss then taken to SCBU.” They didn’t get to hold the girls for several hours although Gordon was able to look in on them while Natasha was in recovery. “It was awful having to wait for the epidural to wear off,” says Natasha. The couple are delighted with the care they and their babies received at the Ulster Hospital. “We couldn’t give the staff and consultants in the maternity and neonatal unit enough praise. I was looked after so well. The work they do is second to none.” That appreciation appears to be reciprocated as Natasha has turned out to be every bit the natural mum, breastfeeding the babies, to the delight of the medics. Proud Gordon says: “One of the doctors at the Ulster Hospital was looking to use Natasha as a case study to put forward to Stormont for an ad campaign for breast feeding awareness.” The family made their way home in fits and starts with Natasha getting home the Friday after the birth, followed by Brynn on the Tuesday, Freya on the Wednesday and Remy on the Saturday. However, they have all settled into a contented routine. “We go to bed about 1am and Natasha gets up at 3.30am to express milk. I get up at 4am and we are both feeding from 4-5am, then the alarm goes off at 7.30am for the feed at 8am. I drink a lot of coffee,” quips Gordon. While there isn’t any particular aid from statutory agencies for couples in their position, they said the charity Tiny Life had offered support but they hadn’t needed to take them up on that, thanks to family members calling in every day to help out. There was a surprising and distinct air of serenity when Family Life met the Adgers two weeks after they had all returned home. The girls lay side by side in a big cot in the living room, sleeping soundly after a feed. Their doting parents don’t appear to have any trouble telling them apart and said their personalities are already emerging. “Remy is the boss – she’s the loud one and Brynn is the most chilled out. Freya follows Remy’s lead, crying if she cries,” says Gordon. With three healthy, thriving girls, the priorities for the family are now sorting out a car which can accommodate the children and all their equipment and a pram as there are no Northern Ireland stockists for triplet’s prams. Oh, and finding time to eat. “It’s hard to get a chance to eat a full sit down meal,” says Gordon. The family are also the toast of the Ulster Rugby team. The girls are already shaping up to follow their parents as keen supporters and the tiny replica shirts which fans buy to hang in their cars turned out to be a perfect fit and proved a bit hit on the Ulster Rugby website. The couple kicked any suggestion of more children into touch. “That is definitely us finished,” beamed Natasha.
8 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Nautical Breton Stripe Top, £16, Twill Clamdiggers, £16, www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk
Duck Appliqué Sleepsuit, £16, www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk
Thebest dressed toddlers intown
hen it comes to dressing tots, there are three basic requirements – safety, comfort and functionality. You don’t want buttons that are falling off and presenting a choking hazard, you want clothes that enable them to move freely and if they are still in nappies, the easier it is to do a change, the better. Elasticated waists are better than zips and buttons and breathable fabrics are better than synthetics for regulating their body temperature. Once those boxes are ticked, the fun can begin and there is no shortage of super cute outfits to choose from. With pink and blue being ‘in’ this season
Elephant Appliqué Pinafore Dress, £20, Cornflower Twill Pinafore Dress, £19, www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk
Animal Appliqué T-Shirts, £15, Jersey Cargo Shorts, £12, www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk, tel 0871 423 56 56
Little ones can travel in style with this Ballers Bunny backpack, £15, Accessorize
Make sure you have your children’s feet measured before buying shoes it’s going to be harder than ever to flaunt the pink for girls and blue for boys rule. Thankfully there are so many shades and styles featuring those shades, your little one will still be able to stand out from the crowd. This season the toddler trends are mirroring those of older kids, with stripey Ts, animal motifs and pinafore dresses abounding.
With the weather still yo-yoing between winter and spring, layers are essential pick colours and patterns that will easily go with everything else. Shoes, of course, are one item which demands particular attention. Make sure you have your child’s feet measured by a professional and accept that you need to pay more for good quality shoes – anything else and you are risking untold damage to your little one’s feet.
Layer up for chilly days with sweaters or gilets like this reversible one, £22, Next
Keep your little one snug and safe in this Bubbaroo Joey Swag Sleep Bag, £30, Harvey Norman
F&F Floral Tunic & Legging Set, £8, Tesco
Baby Amybug playsuit and cardigan set, £28, Monsoon
Cute meets funny with this bib, £3.99, from www.babymoos.com
Frank flocked animal T-shirt, £8, Monsoon
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 9
Hugeresponse toKellie’scallfor actiononautism
er experience growing up with a brother with autism is what prompted Ards councillor Kellie Armstrong to launch a petition calling for better care and support for children with the condition. The petition calls for a commitment to the Autism Act and for the needs of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to be met within the next Assembly period. Over 8,000 people signed the petition which was brought to Stormont on February 15, despite Health Minister Simon Hamilton pledging an extra £2m per year to improve access to services. Whilst welcoming the pledge, Cllr Armstrong said: “There is nothing in the Minister’s announcement about creating a more joined-up approach to working with the Department of Education to enable earlier intervention and an appropriate multi-agency approach.” During the early ‘80s, Kellie’s family raised money to send her brother Michael, now 43, to a brain development facility in the US. According to Kellie, this treatment “really helped him to reach his full
BY CIARA LAWN
potential.” However, she observes that “36 years on, the situation in Northern Ireland hasn’t really changed.” Despite the Autism Act (2011) which set out how the needs of persons with autism are to be addressed with regards to health care, education and social needs, many of those affected by autism feel that not enough has been done to give people with ASD the opportunity to reach their full potential and to make the most of life. “As it stands children could be waiting more than 20 months for an assessment, with little follow up and limited care provided within the school system. This has to change. I want to see children waiting no more than 12 weeks, with a clear follow up action plan in place,” says Kellie, an Alliance councillor on Ards and North Down Borough Council. Over 2000 children are waiting for an autism diagnosis in Northern Ireland; many have to wait up to 20 months to confirm that they have ASD. Parents cannot access statutory services until their
Councillor Kellie Armstrong
child is diagnosed and Cllr Armstrong points out early diagnosis is vital: “A year in the development of a child with ASD is crucial. Early assessment benefits the children throughout school and into adulthood. Many children are getting to P5, P6, P7, without a diagnosis and are said to be disruptive or badly behaved. Some children have had to be home schooled because they are not able to be in class with other children. They are too anxious or suffer from self-esteem issues. This could all be solved with a diagnosis and a care plan.” The Paddy Wallace Foundation has helped somewhat with the introduction of “buddy seats” in playgrounds which allow for children with ASD to sit with a friend or a classroom assistant and adjust to the noise around them. Many people with ASD suffer from sensory disorders and have difficulty with certain noises or textures.
However, there are calls for more to be done with regards to the diagnosis and assistance given to those with ASD. “School is supposed to enable children to reach their full potential; children with ASD are not at all stupid. Many of them are very high functioning and intellectual – they just have a different way of learning but the resources to enable this are not there,” said Cllr Armstrong. “A lot of teachers have signed the petition. Due to class sizes, lack of resources and lack of training, teachers are unable to help children with ASD. Hopefully with the budget for the new assembly, HSSPS (Health, Social Services and Public Safety) and the education department will work together to ensure the investment is available. They say there are not enough people to deal with the amount of children waiting for a diagnosis, it’s time to sort out the backlog.”
10 | Family Life
BY RACHEL McLAUGHLIN
pring is the time of rejuvenation and the perfect chance to breathe new life into your wardrobe. Brighter days are on the way, so it’s time to pack up those dark tones, woolly jumpers and boots. This year is all about casual-cool, with simple structures and natural colours. In order to master the trends, you can either relax the rules for an effortless look or build on a statement stripe to stand out. Some key pieces could be all you need to revive your style and have you stepping fashionably into the new season.
High Street stores are continuing to embrace the free folk trend into the new year, but the ’70s hippy style of 2015 has been toned down into more cleancut pieces. Bold bohemian patterns are stepping aside for paisley prints, while loose, woven fabrics will keep things light. Opting for earthy colours, embroidery and just a hint of fringing will make this loud vintage style more wearable. It’s easy to adopt the folksy feel with the addition of tasseled accessories.
Line it up
Stripes are racing back into fashion this spring. They are a great way to add movement to your look and you can choose whichever direction suits you best. Vertical striped trousers can make your legs seem
endless, diagonal prints create interest, and horizontal stripes define your shape. Stand out from the crowd in vibrant colours, or keep things minimal with monochrome and thin lines.
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
✸ Folk tales
Dressed up Denim
Jeans aren’t the only denim on offer this spring. Dresses, dungarees and pinafores have been influenced by the laid-back decade of the ’90s. These lightweight pieces mean you may have to layer up to stay warm until summer arrives. Try double denim on your off-duty days, but make sure to play with light and dark shades to ensure you stay casual.
Blue embroidered tunic, £22.99, New Look
Rose Quartz is set to become one of this year’s favourite colours. The delicate pink is best worn in classic clothing and the look will be easy to achieve if you stick to a nude palette. Choose flowing fabrics, and slip on demure block heels for some subtle sophistication. A hint of Victorian ruffling adds flirty fun, while also ensuring you’re on top of the trend.
The sequins of Christmas past are no more, but metallics shine on this season. The lustrous materials will be out this year in a futuristic form in deep greys and shimmering silvers. Muted metallics transition well from day to night. If you dare to bare on a night out, then put on a satin slip – a ’90s throwback that is now modern and edgy.
The folk trend for spring/ summer from BHS
✸ Line it up Grey embroidered folk top, £38, Next
Striped dress, £65 (rrp £99), Jaeger at The Outlet
Striped navy jacket, £60, River Island
Striped cropped trousers, £38, River Island
Oasis diagonal striped dress, £46, House of Fraser
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 11
✸ Dressed up Denim
Blue patchwork Tote bag, £42, River Island
Guess Ladies watch with a blue denim strap, denim dial and crystal details, £159, Debenhams
Blue denim pinafore dress, £19.99, New Look
✸ Shine on
✸ Soft shading Mary Jane shoes, £69, Top Shop
Get this shimmering look at Armani Collections at The Designer Studio at The Outlet
Biba Short sleeve metallic turtle neck, £30, House of Fraser Karol glitter silver shoe, £50 (rrp £225), LK Bennet at The Outlet
Culotte jumpsuit, £48, River Island
Sofia Metallic midi skirt £59.50 due June 2016, oliverbonas.com
Tote bag, £59, Dune
Pam belt, £20 (rrp £75), LK Bennett at The Outlet
Trenchcoat, £199 (rrp £299), Jaeger at The Outlet
12 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Forget minimalist, this season accessories are taken to the max with outsized jewellery - the bigger, brighter and bolder the better!
arrings dangle the length of the neck and can be pretty or bold, modern or traditional, as long as they’re long anything goes! If you don’t fancy garish, think elegant. Handbags have bold graphic patterns and lots of colour or are completely white. Many designers are also going for chunky chain straps. Footwear can be chunky – sandals with thick straps and wedge soles, or ultra ornate shoes decorated with lace or sequins. Both shoes and sandals feature ties at the back of the ankle or up the leg. Ankle boots are still in vogue and come with a square toe this season. Tiaras are still there but you will also find pretty, metallic alice bands, combs and clips that flatter the hair and which can be worn at any age. The choker is making a big comeback, as delicate or over the top as you like. Suffice to say, if you have a short neck, best stick to a thinner design. Clear plastic is a feature of lots of accessories, from shoes to bags to hats.
Moulin Rouge emerald earrings, £129, www.cadenzza.co.uk
Cadenzza powder pink 14k gold plated earrings, £79, www.cadenzza.co.uk
Chain detail shopping bag £45, Lookagain.co.uk
Red patchwork tote handbag, £47, River Island
Canary kunzite sterling silver 10.90cts, £96, gemporia.com
Semi-precious triple drop, £30, Monsoon
Crystal Phoeby Pearly & Crystal Alice £15, Accessorize
Morley Rose Gold White watch, £109.99, www.stormlondon.com
The Ønsker Blanco platform is pretty in rose gold but comfy enough to see you through the day, out this summer, £44.99, Footasylum.com
Alan Hannah Devoted Designer pearl flower and crystal leaf hair comb, £35, Debenhams
Chokers are bold and dramatic, like this rope weave large jewel choker, £18, Very.co.uk
Romina wedges with the on trend chunky straps, £69.95, www.modainpelle.com
Cheap and cheeful Kimball canvas and pu mix duffle, £7, Primark
... Or fine and even transparent like this elegant frosted clear choker by EABurns, £85, at Boticca.com
Darrla bag, £69, Dune
14 | Family Life
Get glowing this spring
pring is in the air! Well, we might not be able to ditch the gloves and scarves just yet but we can prepare for feeling the sun on our faces once again, yes, remember that yellow thing in the sky? Just as we would spring clean our home, now is a good time to spring clean our makeup bags. Ditch the brushes that have seen better 1 days, (they’re a breeding ground for bacteria) and banish the mascara and eyeliner that are drying out. You’ll not only do your peepers a favour but you can feel good when you open your bag and see nice, shiny new makeup. You certainly don’t need to break the bank though; a few good staples, such as
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016 BY DAVINA GORDON a luminous foundation, liquid liner and a volumising mascara can last at least six months. So now you’ve shaken up your makeup bag, what are the coolest trends for Spring 2016? For those that love a red lip, the good news is that you can still rock a bold pout as seen on the New York runways for Victoria Beckham and Oscar de la Renta. Matte reigns supreme when it comes to red lipstick and MAC do a fantastic range of incredible colours. I’d recommend Feels So Good (1), a robust saturated shade of red that will stay in place even if you are snacking or (lucky thing) smooching. If you’re more team nude, then all you want is Mariah Carey’s All I Want lipstick in shimmering champagne (2). One luminous swipe will make your lips as fierce and timeless as the icon herself. For the brave amongst us, gold lips – as seen on the Prada runway – were the talk of beauty editors. Not sure I’d be brave enough myself but if you’re in the mood for
Oscar de la Renta brought stand out pouts to the SS16 catwalk making a statement, go gold. If you’re not a lipstick girl then MAC’s Velvetease Lip Pencil (3) delivers the impact of a lipstick with the ease of a mechanical pencil and even better, no sharpener is required! You can choose from a huge range including blackened plum to buttery nudes.
Good foundation 6
The most important part of your makeup regime should be getting your foundation right. Visit a makeup counter and ask for a professional’s help in picking the right shade. There is nothing worse than
a foundation that is too light or too dark. When you get that right, everything else will fall into place. A wonderful quick fix for skin is MAC’s Strobe Cream, which is super powered with potent botanicals to boost the look of dull, tired skin. To get that sought after youthful glow, then try MAC’s Iridescent Pressed Powder in Sparkling Rose (4) which will keep your foundation in place and give you a gorgeous glow. To accentuate your windows to the soul, try Foiled Eyeshadow (6) in Joy Toy, a pink copper, or Fairy Land, a warm champagne. If you love a splash of colour, then electric blue eyeliner is hot right now. Be as individual as you like: glittery neon colours were seen on eyes on the Giambattista Valli runway. If you can’t leave the house without your trademark liner, smudge it up a bit to channel ’90s grunge aka Kate Moss. Don’t forget your cheeks, a pop of colour on the apples of your cheeks will enhance your eyes too and make you look more youthful. I recommend MAC’s cheek pollen (5) in warm nude. Glowing and gorgeous, now get out there and shine!
1 MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Feels So Grand, £21 2 MAC Mariah Carey All I Want Lipstick, £15.50 3 MAC Velvetease Lip Pencil in Oh Honey, £17.50 4 MAC Iridescent Pressed Powder, £20.50 5 MAC Cheek Pollen, £17.50 6 MAC Foiled Eyeshadow, £15
n a muddle what to do with your tresses? Is your crowning glory a little dull after overdoing the tongs over the party season or parched from all the central heating? If you’re craving a dramatic change, this is the season. From boyish crops to pixie cuts, be as brave as you can and channel glamour from an erstwhile era. Just think of the time you will save on blow drying it! If you’re not quite ready to see your locks on the salon floor, then tough girl braids are definitely a thing. Forget pretty halo braids and wear your braids like spears down your back. You can do this by securing your hair at the nape of your neck and then plaiting in the normal way before securing again with a cool metallic grip. Don’t be afraid to use bold accessories to toughen your look. This spring it’s all about bold over boho. If you love dressing up, then go Game of Thrones style with loose waves and messy/ peek-a-boo plaits. You can pretty it up with gorgeous ornate brooches or sparkling hair grips. Multiple metal headbands are a must-have too and allow you to look
Kendall Jenner was one of the Chanel models with a ‘Croissant’, pictures c/o Vogue.co.uk
effortlessly stylish with minimal effort! If you’re more laid back, then you couldn’t go any simpler than leaving your mane loose and wrapping a piece of tulle loosely around your neck and hair. If you find that too restrictive, just secure a satin ribbon around a low pony and you can still rock uber cool hair. Centre-parted up-dos and loose waves are also very in vogue, so if you’re always wearing your hair in a side shade, now is the time to shake it up and express your
individuality. If you have long thick hair that takes too long to style, then messy chignons are the way to go. Perfect for the office and edgy enough to wear on a night out with a bold lip. If you prefer big hair then foam croissants (you heard right) are a must-have! Seen on Kendall Jenner for Chanel, this crazy trend will be big if you’re brassy enough to carry it off. If you’re mad about accessorizing, have you ever thought about fake bangs? Perfect if you’re thinking about a fringe but not sure if it will suit you or you have to go through the dreaded growing out phase. Curls are still cool as well, think loose finger waves or big lacquered curls. There really is something for everyone this
season, so be unique and make some waves.
TOP BEAUTY BUY
Mashooq Deep Penetrating Oil, £7.99 for 100ml
Winter weather with wind, rain and cold combined with the drying effects of central heating spells trouble for hair leaving it dry, brittle and out of condition. With spring on the way, now is the time to condition and protect hair with Mashooq’s Deep Penetrating Oil ensuring shiny, healthy locks to greet the warmer, sunnier days. Oh, and less is more - you only need the size of a 10p piece per application!
16 | Family Life
Retro revival! T
here’s a retro grungy theme running through kids’ and teen fashion this spring/summer with torn jeans and badges making a big comeback. Jeans move away from the skinny line and lean towards roll up bottoms, as high as you like. Roll them all the way up to make shorts for the summer. Badges are on jeans, jackets and the new girlswear staple – the pinafore. These are easy to wear and adapt to the changeable weather. Stick a roll neck under it on cold days, a short sleeved T when the sun’s out, a stripey long-sleeved Breton top for those in-between days. Gilets are everywhere, for both boys and girls, often in vibrant shades, and are great for spring days when it’s too warm for a coat but too chilly to go without any warm outer layer. Apart from stripes, the other big trends in cotton tops are surf inspired shades with tie dye and wave dye patterns to the fore – and slogans everywhere! Girly girls need not despair – floaty dresses abound with lace and dipped or hanky hems being a key feature.
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Some of the new season clothing from Next at The Outlet
Wave dye top, £7-£10, Next
Teens Pink Lace 2 in 1 Dip Hem Dress, £19.99, New Look Zip Front Bomber Jacket £34.99, New Look
Teens Pink Tie Dye Don’t Forget Your Unicorn Print £9.99, New Look
Mid blue badge jeans, £20-£25, Next
Gilet, £18, LA long sleeve tshirt – £7, Next
Clear pug print iPhone 5 phone case, £10, River Island
Khaki badge pinafore, £22-£27, Next
Teens Black Denmin Pinafore Dress £19.99, New Look
Slip on sneakers, ¤30, Hollister
Glitter high tops, £20-£26, Next
18 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
LADS and layers A
few key trends are set to emerge in menswear this spring. The sporty aesthetic which has been taking hold over the course of last year becomes bedded in – look out for clothes in performance fabrics such as light cotton and GoreTex. It shows in many different looks, from very casual trousers to the teaming of a suit with sneakers or a training jacket over a shirt and tie. In fact, jackets are being worn over other jackets this spring with the layering style of last year bedding in. Opt for light, breathable fabrics if you don’t want to get too hot.
Short sleeved shirts are in, either buttoned up to the neck or increasingly, with a 1950s style turned down collar. Military/khaki/safari style shapes and colours are to the fore, as well as the usual blue and less common but of the moment, green. Trousers are definitely looser and while the skinny jean hasn’t been completely dispatched with yet, baggy will soon be better. Slip on shoes are making inroads, combine them with that staple, the sneaker, for style and comfort.
Layering is a key look this spring, as this campaign shot from Next illustrates. Mix and match fabrics such as a wool coat over a denim jacket. Jeans are looser than in recent years and sneakers go with just about anything
Coat £135 Linea, Polo shirt £25 Selected Homme, Shorts £45 Linea, Bag £120 Tommy Hilfiger, House of Fraser
Stripe Denim Shirt £22, White Crew £8, Smoke Relaxed Chino £20, BHS
Berry short sleeve shirt with that on-trend collar, £25, River Island
Khaki trousers, £40, River Island
Jacket £159 Barbour, Denim jacket £85 Label Lab, T-Shirt £15 Linea, Shorts £45 Linea, House of Fraser
Jeans, £65, Next
KG Heygate Slip On Shoe, £29, House of Fraser
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Sharpen upyour lookthe easyway
verhauling your style can be a big investment both in terms of time and finances. Gym memberships and new wardrobes aren’t cheap and easy after all. The cheapest way to quick start your style revamp is a grooming overhaul. The first place to start is with a haircut. Not only can a smart cut instantly transform your look, making you look younger and slimmer, it’s a lot cheaper than a year’s gym subscription. This year’s hair trends are similar to last, but with a few tweaks emphasising a messier, laidback look.
Showing no signs of going anywhere, a quiff is both simple to pull off and easy to maintain. The more recent take on this
Family Life | 19
men’s hair mainstay is to scale back on volume and focus on a textured, less polished version. Some volumising spray such as Fudge Big Hair Push It Up Blow Dry Spray and some styling clay are all you need to pull off an eyecatching textured quiff.
The fuss-free fringe affords you a little more flexibility when it comes to styling. This style suits the majority of faces with just a few tweaks. To style, start by applying sea salt spray to damp hair and then either blow-dry or leave to dry naturally for a more unkempt appearance. Try L’Oreal Professionnel Tecni Art Pli Shaper for strong hold that feels natural.
Fudge Big Hair Push It Up Blow Dry Spray (200ml), £12.45, www.mankind.co.uk
Baxter of California Clay Pomade, £20, nivenandjoshua.com
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler Shave, £15.75, Boots
Big bushy beards are on their way out in place of shorter styles and stubbles. If you are already rocking a look a Tolkien dwarf would be proud of, a simple trim to a short beard gives a versatile look that works with most hairstyles. This beard should be kept close to
Remington MB320 Barba Beard Trimmer, £28.99, Boots
Super Stubble, £90, www.babyliss.co.uk the cheeks, with the chin being left slightly longer to give a more masculine shape. It’s worth investing in a Remington Barba Beard Trimmer or Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler Shave. For those facially follicly challenged, or
Professionnel Tecni Art Pli Shaper (190ml), £14.99, lookfantastic.com just lacking patience, stubble is the way to go. Stubble stops a fuller face from looking as round and is versatile enough that it will match the vast majority of hairstyles better than a beard would. Help it along with Babyliss for men Super Stubble.
20 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Your home, if the trends sweeping the nation continue to find a place in our hearts. It is easy to incorporate the current styles without having to give your living space a complete makeover. To give your home a 2016 twist, look no further than these key interior decorating trends... PRETTY PINKS
For a polished look, Osborne dressing table £625 Westcott stool £110 Black round mirror £115 Copper effect glass vase £28 Viscose rich rug from £95, Next.co.uk
Blues and pinks can be soft or strong, as in this Laura Oakes collection at Debenhams
Make a style statement with this Litecraft 7 light cluster ceiling pendant with hammered shades in copper, £99, Debenhams
HEAVILY INTO METALS
Modern Metallics Collection from £10 -£38, www.oliverbonas.com For a cool take on metals, how about this Casa Couture Taj Beaten Metal Furniture range, side tables £190 each, coffee table £370, House of Fraser
Shining through this year are metals and metallic colours, and – given their ability to instantly bring a sophisticated and glamorous touch to any space — it’s not hard to see why. Whether adding a sleek touch with silver or chrome or warming a room with gold, rose gold or copper, every school of design can benefit from this trend. One key difference that sets this year’s take apart from previous metallic trends is the flexibility to mix and match. Don’t hesitate to use one type of metal as the focal point of the space while working in a different type for a smaller accent role. Warm copper and bronze colour shades look chic and beautiful, combined with red wine inspired interior colours and neutral beige tones. Trendy in 2015, Marsala red colour can be combined with luxurious copper and bronze hues creating expensive interiors spiced up with terracotta reddish and orange colour shades. Mixed together with natural materials such as cork, marble, wood, stone and raw concrete, it’s an easy way to make for a timeless presence in your home.
The colour palette for this year is filled with shades of pink, red ‘meat’ and peach, with the advantage of such colours easily being used in any room of the house in multiple combinations. Modern interior decorating colour schemes created with pink pastels and grey colour tones can look mysterious, soft and romantic, bringing feminine charm and elegance into your home. Contrasting black and white decorating ideas and pink colour creates harmonious and beautiful interior decorating, Pink Glisten which is relaxing and cushion, £20, Next interesting.
This year blue is set to dominate. Bold blues such as cobalt, navy and royal blue are the hues to use for the upcoming year. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to incorporate this shade into your interiors. It all depends on how impactful you want the colour to be. Consider giving your walls a new coat of blue paint or bringing some brightness to your kitchen cabinets to create a relaxing atmosphere. Adding a pop of blue through a statement piece of furniture or accent piece is a great way to stay current without making a major commitment. Accessories and objects marked and singled out by shades of green oil, navy, and deep blue convey calm and coolness into your home.
Numa Mini Vase £58.10 (rrp £83), The Outlet. Also comes in white, juicy lime and raspberry
Who wouldn’t love this midnight blue Birley Velvet Chesterfield 3 Seater, McCully Furnishings Rich blue, light blue and white decorating colours, combined with grey colour tones and brown colours are one of the modern interior colour trends which is inspired by gorgeous oceans. These room colours can be combined with sea inspired ideas and coastal decor, driftwood crafts and nautical decor accessories for increasing the beautiful effect of soothing interior decorating in white and blue colours.
Bubble knit duck egg blue throw, £25, Harvey Norman
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
ne of the biggest trends in 2016 is to bring the outdoors indoors, particularly in the bathroom. The bathroom now has the air of a spa as it transforms into a relaxation area. It is common now to see benches and seats inside as people increasingly see the bathroom as both an intimate and functional setting – an ideal space to listen to music, read and relax in. Vegetation has sprouted throughout the household too, with designers focusing increasingly on green plants and transforming homes into environmentally friendly spaces. Urban gardens are becoming more common both outside of buildings and inside, as architects and designers prioritise the welfare of the residents and the healthiest and most naturally suited house arrangement. The outdoors is inspiring designs indoors too, as prints and patterns found in nature Large Gregor stag make their way into cushion, £54.95, the living space. Harvey Norman The coming year
Debenhams demonstrates how to bring the outdoors into your bathroom is poised for a comeback of plant-inspired decor, florals and animal prints. As with any print, a little goes a long way. Rather than decking out an entire room in a big or heavy pattern, use it on one or two pieces that will be the focal point of the space. To ensure that your take on these wild looks stays modern and controlled, consider incorporating prints that fall outside of their natural colour scheme.
Family Life | 21
errariums are set to be a big interiors trend for spring / summer 2016. These miniature gardens are fun to create and make it easy to bring a little of the outdoors into any room in the home. Decorator’s Notebook’s terrariums are beautifully handcrafted from panels of glass and strips of either brass or zinc. Styles range from small gemstone shapes to larger hanging designs. Terrariums are quick and easy to style with a range of plants, particularly succulents and cacti, which thrive in an indoor climate. Decorator’s Notebook specialises in ethically-made homeware and gifts. Their terrariums are handcrafted by members of a fair trade project in India, harnessing traditional skills to provide employment.
Hanging terrarium, £26.95, www.decoratorsnotebook.co.uk
DO IT YOURSELF!
Don’t overlook your local art gallery or art students’ exhibitions for an original and unique take on these trends. Or why not go the whole hog and enrol for a weekend art course? Centres like Belfast Print Workshop (bpw.org.uk) run courses all the time and there’s nothing so satisfying as creating your own work of art.
Sign up for a course at Belfast Print Workshop
22 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
T Add flexibility to your space with China White Carnival panel blind. Made from treated fabric, it comes in a range of colours, £90, www.directblinds.co.uk
he bright, February light is most unforgiving when viewed through a dirty window and while spring hasn’t quite sprung, it’s never too early to get cleaning. Nine times out of 10 a good decluttering and a scrub down will have you viewing your home with satisfaction but if you have dealt with the dust and still aren’t happy, it’s time to a. sit down and figure out what to do about it or b. call in the professionals. While the January sales are over, there are still great deals to be had on everything from kitchens to bathrooms, furniture to flooring and you may well feel that the time has come for a major refurb. In many cases, however, the bugbear is one room which simply isn’t working – the dining room/home office/music/playroom conundrum. Often it’s simply the case that you’re expecting too much from a limited space. It tends to be the repository for everything from the ugly old desk you studied at to
Create a quiet space to relax in this wing wrap chair, Brown Ingrassato with Skye Burnt Orange, £859, McCully Furnishings
antique pieces, toys and assorted things which don’t have a home anywhere else. Perhaps it doesn’t know whether it’s a guest room, home office or simply the place where you do your ironing. The best way to tackle it is to start by clearing everything out and grouping it according to its function. Once you can see the actual space you have to work with, you can start planning. If the room is mainly used for one purpose, allocate most of the space in it for that. You might find you need to dump some of what you had thought of as staples or buy more storage basics, whether a trunk or a bookcase which can house a variety of items. You may find that you can’t bear to put the same mismatched furniture back into the room and are finally reconciled to finding some old familiars a new home. In contrast, you may find that an item you’d stopped seeing deserves centre stage in your new space. If the room is large enough, a decorative divider might give it that air of knowing what it’s about. Break up the space between an open plan dining room and sitting room with an open bookcase which you can put pictures and plants in as well as books. If a desk is required, there are many excellent multi functional models available which will help you create the image you want.
Urban living modular shelves work whether they’re filled to the brim or dressed with a single accent accessory. Prop against the wall or leave free-standing and use as a clever room divider, £139, Harvey Norman As you begin to create the room and fill it up again, beware of letting clutter creep in - the chances are that was half the problem in the first place. Brighten up boring walls with floating shelves, lush plants or customised stickers and enjoy having a room that puts a spring in your step at last.
Tenstickers has launched a new collection of vinyl sticker messages to decorate empty spaces. Among the 5,000 designs are quotes, words and lyrics to express feelings, moods, thoughts or intentions. Select from a range of fonts, sizes and colours, www.tenstickers.co.uk
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 23
Somethingold… BY CIARA LAWN
t seems our love for antiques, collectibles and statement pieces to complete a look continues to burn bright and if one Co. Antrim couple have anything to do with it, this love affair will go the distance. John and Zara-Jane Orr’s penchant for purchasing such items saw their collection outgrow their Ballyclare home and they found themselves launching an online business as a means of letting some items go so that they could fit more in. Betty’s Lounge specialises in midcentury modern Danish furniture. “Our home is an eclectic mix of items that we have bought over the years,” John says. “We always want to keep everything but it’s impossible, so we started to share pictures of our collection online and everybody loved it. “What we can’t keep, we make available to our customers. It’s been a lot of fun.” Zara-Jane is a housewife and John
The Charlotte Perriand chairs that the Orrs could never part with
We’re Doomed – The Dad’s Army Story works full time as a sales executive who saves his passion for mid-century homewares for the weekend. The company supplies, sources and sells vintage furniture from all over Europe, America, and the island of Ireland. Although not technically restorers, they often fix up furniture that looks somewhat tired, or worn out. Zara-Jane’s grandmother is the company’s namesake as she inspired her interest in the mid-century style – which John believes is all about “quality, history, uniqueness, style, simplicity and craftsmanship.” When the company started four years ago, purchasing items locally was difficult. “We’ve always travelled,” says John. “We’ve been going to LA twice a year for years. Southern California is great for sourcing stock. With the furniture, it’s hard not to see the Danish influence, but the style was born in America.” He goes on to describe Palm Springs, California as a “mid-century Mecca.” Although business is thriving, there are some items that the couple could never
sell. John and Zara-Jane recently acquired a 1960s Les Arcs dining set designed by Charlotte Perriand – one of the movement’s most influential designers: “We couldn’t part with it,” says John, “unless of course we stumbled upon another set, which if sold could retail for around £6,000.” Although money is not the driver, according to John, the proceeds of the business allow the couple to continue to facilitate their passion for mid-century furniture. For a company that sells antiques, they are the epitome of modern – their business is almost entirely social media based. “We
have no website, we don’t advertise, we have no shop,” says John. “We do a pop up shop on the first Sunday of every month in Belfast at Blue Hairdressing on Clarence Street. We get to show our furniture in great lighting and there is music and coffee. It’s a great way for us to meet our audience.” Betty’s Lounge is seeing success beyond these shores too – they were invited to provide the furniture for the Christmas BBC drama series We’re Doomed – The Dad’s Army Story. Regarding the future of Betty’s Lounge, John and Zara-Jane’s main goal is first and foremost to keep having fun. They will also continue to source and buy unique items that can be enjoyed in their home until they inevitably run out of space and have to find another home for them. John informs us that they also intend to “keep travelling the world and enjoy everything life has to offer.”
24 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Plannowfora greatsummer inthegarden
f your garden is looking a tad dated, tired, neglected or plain boring, you can only spend so much time bemoaning its failings before the time comes to spring into action. Whether it’s your rectangle of patchy grass with a not exactly straight path leading to a sort of wilderness at the end of the garden or beds that are bare in winter and packed with formless flowers in summer, raised beds which aren’t quite as raised as they used to be or a vegetable patch which is appealing only to lovers of nettle or dandelion soup, it’s not too late to start again! You don’t even need many tools - a decent spade, a fork and a pair of shears and you’re ready for most eventualities. To achieve a garden you want to spend time in, start with a cool appraisal of the lie of the land. Does all or part of the garden get a lot of sun during the day? Is your soil heavy clay, beloved of acid loving plants, or is it great draining sandy soil? What do you want to use it for? Perhaps in the past the garden’s primary use was as a children’s football area but now they’re older and any plants are going to be spared the sort of abuse that only a low flying ball coming in several times a day can inflict. If you still need part of the garden for your young Messi’s practice times, there might be an area that you can set aside for your own relaxation.
While you can build your own patio, unless you are a builder, it’s best to leave it to the professionals if you want a flat, level, beautiful area which is able to withstand a determined onslaught by weeds. The desire to live as much of our lives as possible outdoors, despite the weather, has also generated a boom in demand for garden rooms which are often used as home offices but are more perfectly suited to serving as a retreat with a glass of wine and a good book after a hard day’s slog. Once you have decided upon the shape of your dream garden, where the patio is going and how much space to allocate it, where the beds will be, a location for a fruit and or vegetable patch if you want one and whether or not you can accommodate some trees, it’s time to have a look at what’s possible. Most people who are starting a garden will take to wandering the streets in the locality, checking out other people’s gardens. This is the most cost-effective way of seeing what thrives in your area.
Are you the sort of person who loves to potter about in the garden, pruning and weeding in your spare time or are you lucky if you get to hurtle around it with the mower when the grass is shin length? Decide what you need to use the garden for and whether you have time to maintain it and you will have taken an important first step. The most noticeable trend in gardens in recent years has been householders’ desire to entertain and dine there and that tendency is set to grow. Fire pits, barbecues and patios are now de rigueur in any garden. If you are planning to create a patio, try to pick a spot which will be flooded with evening sun, perfect for relaxing with friends and family. While most people site their patios adjoining the house, location is key and you are less likely to use it if it never gets the sun.
There’s nothing quite like growing your own fruit and veg
Create focal points and secret places to relax A plethora of rhododendrons, camellias and heathers and you are looking at acid loving soil. You can either go with it and plan your garden around these and other gorgeous ericaceous plants such as lillies, magnolia and irises, lupins and Japanese maple, or fight it by adding lime.
If your soil is chalky or lime, it’s pH is alkaline and ericaceous plants will fail to thrive. The chances are your neighbours’ gardens will be full of cherry trees, buddleja, cotoneaster with its bright red berries, Philadelphus or mock orange, which is wonderfully fragrant, and flower laden clematis. Of course you can always incorporate your favourite plants in pots and window boxes but it is worth finding out what sort of plants are thriving locally before you blow your budget at the garden centre. Make sure you read the label on your plants so that you are putting them in the best possible spot, whether they like shade or sun, well drained soil or can tolerate damp conditions. You don’t have to build up a vegetable patch to enjoy the fruit of your labours as some vegetables like lettuce can be grown very easily in a window box and growing tomatoes is a cinch with a big pot. If you like the idea of a proper fruit and vegetable patch, you’re just on time to get started. Bare root fruit trees are best planted before the end of February or March, if the new season’s leaf buds have yet to emerge. You can plant out containergrown trees any time until early May. Landscape gardener and founder of gardenplansireland.com, James Kilkelly, recommends: “Try to locate your vegetable garden in the sunniest area of your site. Of
A paved patio with dining area, firepit and barbecue make this garden perfect for entertaining course, use your own discretion on this; avoid robbing Peter to pay Paul, giving over your sites only sunny spot to the veg garden, whilst your patio or seating area is left to languish in damp shade. “Seek out a position preferably southfacing that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. Good light from the sun on leaves will help them grow abundantly, while their roots will benefit greatly from the sun’s warming effect on the soil.
“Examples of vegetables grown in Ireland that require lots of sun include aubergines and cucumbers. Whereas veg which copes with less sunny situations includes the leafy specimens of lettuce and spinach. If you find you have to remove a branch or two from nearby shading trees to allow sunlight through, so be it. Shelter is almost as important as sunlight when it comes to locating your vegetable garden. Ideally, you will require not only shelter, but good air circulation as well.”
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 25
Top10Summer Fed up with your fence? FloweringBulbs D
Begin to plant summer flowering bulbs, corms and tubers in borders and containers in spring, just as the weather starts to warm up. As a rule of thumb, most bulbs should be planted at 3 times their depth. Horticulturalist Sue Sanderson, of Morgan Thompson, has selected her top 10 bulbs that flower in summer.
1. Allium Airy spheres of purple blooms are followed by extraordinary architectural seedheads – if you can resist cutting them for a flower arrangement! Use large groups of Allium ‘Big Impact Mixed’ to bridge the gap between late summer and high summer. Their upright stems will add plenty of structure to sunny, well drained borders. Let lower growing perennials cover the old foliage when it becomes unsightly and dies back later in the season. 2. Oriental Lily Flamboyant blooms and a sensational fragrance make the oriental lily instantly recognisable. From tall tree lilies to short ground cover lilies, there’s one to suit every garden. The large exotic blooms are surprisingly easy to grow. To avoid pollen stains try doubleflowered Lily ‘China Girl’ which is completely pollen free. These stars of the summer border are best grown in containers, waiting in the wings until their big moment. Move them to centre stage as their blooms begin to open and then return them backstage as they fade. 3. Begonia Tuberous begonias are the most glamorous bulbs for adding a bright colour accent to shady patios. They produce beautiful flowers over an incredibly long period, from summer all the way through to the first frosts in November. These are perfect candidates for a window box or hanging basket – choose a fragrant variety such as Begonia ‘Fragrant Falls Improved’ to hang close to doorways where you can appreciate them at their best. 4. Freesia A fabulous cut flower, Freesias produce beautifully fragrant blooms on strong arching stems. Freesias are half-hardy and best grown in the greenhouse or conservatory in most parts of the UK, but in very mild areas it’s worth the risk of growing them outside to enjoy these beauties in the garden. 5. Gladiolus These flamboyant summer bulbs were considered a bit old fashioned, but modern hybrids have brought the gladiolus bang up to date. Take a look at the bright colours and ruffled blooms of Gladiolus ‘Tango’. Their majestic flower stems look fabulous at the back of a border – even better in a vase indoors! If elegant simplicity is more your style, try
growing the exquisite species Gladiolus murielae.
6. Polianthes tuberosa One of the most fragrant summer bulbs you’ll find! Polianthes tuberosa is highly prized as a cut flower for its beautiful stems of waxy blooms. It requires a minimum temperature of 15°C (59°F) so it’s best grown in a heated greenhouse or conservatory. This unusual bulb is not the easiest to grow but it’s well worth the effort once you get a sniff of its extraordinary perfume. 7. Crocosmia No need to fuss over these fast growing corms – they will quickly multiply and wander through your borders all on their own. The upright, strap-like foliage, and arching stems tipped with starry flowers in red, orange or yellow, makes crocosmia an exotic-looking addition to summer borders. The vibrant blooms also make lovely cut flowers for a fiery coloured flower arrangement. 8. Scadoxus It’s easy to see why scadoxus is commonly called the ‘fireball lily’. The large spherical flower heads make spectacular cut flowers that will last for up to two weeks in a vase. This unusual summer bulb is definitely one for a greenhouse, conservatory or temporary patio container, as its South African origins make it frost tender. But if you can keep it warm in winter then it’s well worth growing! 9. Bearded Iris These classic cottage garden tubers are deservedly popular for their beautiful ruffled blooms and sturdy strap-like foliage. Many have a lovely light fragrance too which makes them perfect for adding to summery flower arrangements. With so many colours available, it’s hard to choose just one bearded iris – never mind, they look best planted in groups anyway! To get the best from your bearded iris, choose a sunny, open spot where the tubers can bake in the sun without being shaded by other plants. 10. Nectaroscordum This unusual relation to the allium family produces bellshaped flowers suspended on arching stems from the main flowerhead, which creates a beautiful candelabra effect. As the flowers set seed they stand upright on their stems, forming an interesting shuttlecock appearance that looks fabulous in dried flower arrangements. Nectaroscordum siculum makes an interesting feature dotted among rockeries and adds a useful vertical accent to the back of borders. Let it seed about to increase your display each year. For further information visit www.thompson-morgan.com
oes your husband have a bad back? Are you fed up with painting your fence year in year out with expensive treatments? Well now you do not have to, as this amazing Colourfence is virtually maintenance free and never needs painting. Stuart Fullerton has the only firm which offers Colourfence in Northern Ireland. Colourfence is the smart choice for long-lasting, low-maintenance fencing which comes with a 25-year guarantee and the built-in strength to withstand harsh climates including wind gusts of up to 130 miles per hour. Over the past 12 years, Colourfence has altered the way in which gardens can be fenced, and it is now available locally. Just imagine, for the price of a comparable quality timber fence, you could have a fence that’s professionally installed, will stay in place no matter what, and requires no more work than the occasional hose down with water to keep it looking as good as new. Creosote, fence paint, wood stain – all things of the past with Colourfence, so it’s time for the fence brush to be consigned to the bin. All surveys and installations are handled by Stuart, who promises an honest and friendly evaluation of your fences, and a no-obligation, no-strings attached quote. Not only will a Colourfence product provide the perfect backdrop to your
garden all year round and perfect privacy from prying eyes, it will also give the peace of mind of having a most secure boundary to your property. With 80% of burglaries taking place after access through garden fences, Stuart says this added bonus can’t be ignored. Combined with the cost and guarantees, this means that Colourfence is much better value than timber in the long term. Timber fences need annual upkeep and painting, and yet they will age, spoil and need replacing within a matter of years. Colourfence is made of a strong Colorbond steel, with a special anticorrosion layer that won’t rust, topped with a special coating, primer and a beautiful finish coat in four colours to choose from. Colourfence built its business model on ethical trading, and does not use hardsell methods. For more information, visit colourfencenorthdown.co.uk, or contact Stuart Fullerton 02891 310200 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
26 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Tanzania,herewecome! Many parents bemoan the amount of time their kids spend on digital devices; we wish they didn’t take material possessions for granted. Few of us do anything about it…
he Campbell family from Bangor and the McFerrans from Belfast are looking forward to the trip of a lifetime this summer. They’ve been saving for three years to get the money together and finally have their tickets, jetting off on July 6 for three and a half weeks. Far from taking a luxury 5 star cruise around the world or spending a month in the Caribbean, they are heading for rural Africa to build toilets for some of the most deprived people on the planet. It’s not that unusual for couples to undertake this sort of trip but Peter and Lisa Campbell are taking their children, Kate (16), Tom (14) and Ben (11) while Jonathan and Susan McFerran’s children Jack (15), Patrick (13) and young Harry (5) are also going along. The driving force behind the plan is Lisa who teaches along with Susan at Ballyholme Primary School, Bangor. “I have always had a sense of adventure and love going places that are challenging,” says Lisa, who has visited Nepal, trekked in the Himalayas and explored Thailand. “I was in Africa as a student in 1992 with Tearfund and spent the summer in the Rift Valley, Kenya. It was a brilliant experience but also really tough because our living conditions were very basic. We were sleeping on a concrete floored classroom and were only allowed to wash under a tap every three or four days as water was scarce. We were building every day so were covered in cement and dirt – and then you were faced with the poverty around you. I found it very humbling.” To most people that sort of experience would now be safely filed under the ‘Once in a lifetime’ aka ‘Never to be repeated’ column, however, this is one primary school teacher who likes to be tested.
Last year she got through to the last round of the selection for ‘Bear Grylls – The Island’ from over 400,000 applicants and was disappointed not to make the final cut. “Watching the series made me constantly think about what I might have done in the situations the girls found themselves in – but I guess you never know what you would actually do until you’re starving, sleep-deprived, soaking wet, lost and surrounded by people that are really bugging you! “We all like to think we’d cope and do the sensible thing but we don’t really know how we’d react. I guess I regret not having the chance to find out as I’ve often imagined myself shipwrecked on a desert island since I’ve been a little girl. My friends and family always tease me about my never-ending quest to find a deserted
beach or island when we’re out for the day or on holiday.” Her trip to Tanzania with her family and the McFerrans ticks the boxes for not only the physical challenges involved but also a desire to help others, something which is always to the fore in the church the Campbells belong to which has a strong missionary focus. “Ultimately it comes from that sense that we are called to right the things that are wrong in the world and to actually do something for those who are living without clean water and basic sanitation. We can’t just talk about our faith – it has to be outworked in our lives. That’s why we’re going through Tearfund because they really seek to get alongside marginalised people and help them to help themselves. “I decided three years ago to look into it and discovered that Tearfund offers a programme that enables families to get involved in short-term projects. We usually holiday with the McFerrans and I wondered if they’d also be keen – so I talked to them and said here’s something we could do. I’m often the one who comes up with the mad ideas and then has to convince everyone to tag along but they’d had Africa on their minds for a while too. Peter (and Jonathan) actually visited me in Kenya when I was 21, before we’d even started going out, and Susan visited Zimbabwe on a school team so the adults have some idea of what to expect.
Bringing the kids
“This time however we’re bringing our kids because they’ve grown up surrounded by technology and take what they have for granted. They can see poverty on TV but to go and experience people who have nothing offering you their last scraps of food from a saucepan under their bed – well, that’s something you don’t forget. I want my children to see things like that and to be pushed beyond their comfort zone. I know it won’t be easy for them,” says Lisa. She says the cost of the trip was ‘huge’. “We decided we were going to have to save up and the kids, when they have been
The trainee primary school teacher loved meeting the local children in Kenya
The McFerrans (front) and the Campbells are looking forward to their working holiday in Africa this summer given money, have been putting small amounts aside. We have the money for the trip now and any fundraising that we’re doing is only for the project that we are going out to – to build toilets and hopefully a water tank. We also wanted to wait until Harry was a little older. “We’ll be about seven hours drive away from where I was before, in Musoma in the Mara region of Tanzania. The area is extremely poor and virtually ignored by the government. There is very little access to clean water, adequate sanitation, health care or education. Women and girls are often badly treated too.”
difficult to keep going all day. “At home I make them eat most things but they’re not looking forward to the food – beans, cabbage and rice mostly – and no wifi – that will be a massive deal for them. I’m not sure how they’ll cope with a long drop toilet either, just a hole in the ground with poo all around it,” mused Lisa. She says Musoma is right on the Equator and that July is a slightly cooler time of year so the temperatures will be in the high 20s, not too uncomfortable. “The sun goes down very quickly at about 6pm all year round and then it gets colder at night.”
The families have begun their course of 10 vaccinations which will protect them from major diseases but Lisa expects they will have some sickness to deal with. Her biggest concern is probably the travel itself. “We have a very long journey to get there. We’re flying from Dublin to Abu Dhabi and have a few hours wait before our next flight to Nairobi in Kenya – and then an eight hour bus journey. Everyone will be wrecked and very grumpy by the time we get there.” She says the carrot at the end of the stick is a rest after their labours. “Before we fly home we’re having four days holiday in Zanzibar. That’s part of the incentive, to experience the other side of Africa as well. We’re staying in a small eco-friendly hotel built by an Irish-Ugandan family from Northern Ireland who are keen to develop responsible tourism on the island. “I’m very excited about it. I suppose you do think what will happen if somebody gets really ill but there’s medical attention within 24 hours if you need it. My worry is that the kids will really struggle and that we’re expecting too much of them. But my hope is that they’ll make the most of the opportunity whenever they’re there and that it will be life-changing for us all.”
The Tearfund partner project they are going to is called Go Make a Difference (Go MAD), founded by Graham McClure, originally from Belfast. “He’s a builder/ architect and has done an incredible amount of work in developing a community and in bringing out volunteers to help with various projects. “Building toilets is a key thing, especially for women and girls. There are no toilets in the schools – there’s one bush for boys and another for girls. When girls get to a certain age they don’t want to be going to the bush so they drop out of school and no one really cares. “Susan and I are hopefully going to be involved in working with some of these school ‘drop-outs’ helping them with basic reading and writing skills.” It hasn’t been easy persuading the children that the trip will be worthwhile. Having to work all day in the sun, in the females’ case, well covered up, and deprived, not only of wifi but basics like a flushing toilet, it’s easy to see why. “Kate and Tom are now feeling up for it as they know it will be a really significant experience for them. Initially they took a lot of convincing and even now I think they think it’s going to be more glamorous than it will be. Ben still doesn’t really like the thought of it at all, but will hopefully come round to the idea,” says Lisa. “Building in the heat will be a challenge. Graham McClure says the kids will find it very
Eight hour bus trip
For further information about Tearfund or Go MAD, visit www.tearfund.org and gomakeadifference.co.uk. To support the families’ fundraising for the project, visit justgiving.com/teamtanzania.
28 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Bustling downtown Amsterdam
ummer holidays seem like a distant dream at this point in the year. If you’re craving a little getaway, why not consider taking a weekend break to soak up a new scene? There’s so much choice when it comes to minibreaks that it can be difficult to choose a destination. Amsterdam and Brussels are two ideal short-stay cities within easy reach of Belfast or Dublin, both with flight times of a little more than 90 minutes. Both cities have their own style, yet they both appeal to the traveller who wants to try new things, relax in beautiful surroundings and enjoy a bit of luxury. But which to choose? It’s as easy as selecting A or B…
A IS FOR… AMSTERDAM
The Netherlands capital has a reputation for being the wild child of Europe. In reality, everything about the city is incredibly chilled out. Anything goes here, so if you look past the scruffy coffee shops and brash window displays it’s very easy to breathe in the true culture of Amsterdam without inhaling any questionable substances at all.
Amsterdam is best explored by boat, meandering through the waterways and admiring the canal houses perched on each side. Every building emanates its own character and hints towards the prosperity and wealth of its previous
BY RACHEL McLAUGHLIN inhabitants. Instead of the 17th century merchant owners of the past, today’s canal houses host modern art galleries, hotels and museums. The compact layout of Amsterdam means that most attractions are within walking distance - but watch out for the brigade of cyclists who have rule over the streets.
It can take some time to understand Amsterdam’s lax attitude towards drugs and sex. A guided walking tour of the city will tell you how the red light district and cannabis cafes came to be, but to simply sit and observe is the best way to see how locals really live. City dwellers ignore the tourist traps and spend warmer days lounging at independent outdoor cafes, sipping beer and munching bitterballen snacks, while others glide by, reclining in their private boats. In wintertime, traditional brown cafes provide inviting places where you can enjoy gluhwein and warm apple strudel. Do as the locals do, and allow yourself to let loose embracing this casual lifestyle. Amsterdam life wasn’t always so carefree, and a trip to the Anne Frank House will remind you of the city’s troubled past. Climbing into the annex that sheltered the young girl and her family during World War II is a sobering
experience, but the museum also celebrates the legacy of this inspiring young girl. A myriad of museums also exist for those who want to get up close to artworks by the greats such as Rembrandt or Van Gogh. If the weather is kind, head down to the Bloemenmarkt to delight in the vibrant floating flower markets or go for a cycle around the lakes of the Vondelpark.
The Jordaan district offers a peaceful retreat from the showy city centre, but is close enough that you’ll not miss out on the fun. Stay in the elegant Hotel Estherea, a converted residence on the Singel, where you will feel like royalty on your mini-escape in rooms adorned with pretty vintage decor.
The city is famous for its bikes and boats
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 29
h AforAmsterdam,BforBrussels B IS FOR… BRUSSELS
If you feel like you’ve earned a weekend treat, then head for Brussels. The capital of Belgium is the place for ultimate indulgence and class, with a touch of contemporary cool.
Mannekin Pis is a famous Brussels landmark
Grand Place will be the focal point for your visit – a stunning medieval square enclosed by ornate buildings and goldtrimmed guild houses. As you walk down each adjoining street, it’s difficult to avoid becoming intoxicated by the aromas wafting from chocolateries, patisseries and chip shops. Be sure to keep an eye out for splashes of comic book art on the sides of buildings which celebrate the area’s modern artists. The city of Bruges can be reached by train within an hour, and it’s well worth taking a day to stroll through the charming lanes that seem to be plucked straight from a fairytale.
The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel
The serious trade and EU institutions of Brussels are placed outside the city centre, but at Mini-Europe, the gathering of so many different cultures is celebrated in a family-friendly way. The park contains miniature models of popular European landmarks, so you can snap a picture with the Eiffel Tower, marvel at Big Ben, and say you’ve seen it all.
Enjoying a break at the Galeries Royales St Hubert
Belgian waffles aren’t famous all over the world for nothing
The grand guild houses Another photo-worthy feature of Brussels is the Manneken Pis – a comical sculpture of a little lad doing his business. He’s dressed according to the seasons, and tourists flock to see the cheeky chap proudly displaying all sorts of get-ups. In order to really enjoy Brussels, let go and indulge in the finest food offerings all around. Savour the mouth-watering chocolates and decadent waffles or sample the wide range of quality Belgian beers. The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a must-visit shopping strip in Brussels,
filled with boutique stores for all things luxurious. Here, Belgian chocolate is displayed like jewellery behind glass cabinets and you can watch confectioners at work with the precision of sculptors.
The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is situated near Grand Place and combines business class efficiency with competitive rates. The impressive indoor atrium lobby provides guests with their own mini-resort within this deluxe city.
30 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Banishwinter withanaction packedholiday T he days are getting noticeably warmer and brighter and the gloominess of winter is beginning to fade, giving way to longer days, snowdrops, primroses and most importantly – spring breaks! With mid-term and Easter on the horizon, spring is the perfect time to organise a few days change of scenery. Hotels on both sides of the border are offering great deals on spring breaks. Whether you’d like to head off for a week or are looking for a shorter break, the island of Ireland has a location to suit you. Take a retreat to the countryside, or make the most of a city you have not had the chance to experience.
Get on your bikes
Generate some pedal power with an electric bike ride along a section of the Wild Atlantic Way. Check out the Electric Escapes Ireland website to find providers all along the west coast – including the traffic free Greenway in Mayo. E-bikes are perfect for ensuring all members of the family can participate on the same trip, because each can choose as much or as little assistance as they need from their electric battery.
Find yourself a forest
Forestry company Coillte has 10 great forest parks, perfect for roaming and rambling. Pack a picnic, some rain gear and good shoes to head out along its amazing trail network for hiking, fishing and bird watching. From Ards in Donegal to Avondale in Wicklow, make a forest park the basis of a great family break. Stay in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, to make the most of Lough Key Forest Park or stay in Dublin to try the new 42km Dublin mountains route between Shankill and Tallaght, with spectacular city views along the way.
Bring nature class to life
Discover the secret life of bugs and birds with an eco-trial from Blackstairs Eco Trails in the Blackstairs Mountains of Co. Carlow. Take a nature trail at Sonairte, an interactive visitor centre promoting ecological awareness in Co. Meath. Delve deeper with a guided walk through the lunar landscape of the Burren in Co. Clare with Adventure Burren or take part in a treasure hunt trail in Duckett’s Grove, Co. Carlow, with Wild Ways Adventures.
Learn to love your sea greens!
Show them not all food comes from a shop with Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours. Based in Killala, in Co. Mayo, it runs wild food foraging along the shorelines, followed by outdoor feasting - weather permitting! If conditions are good, take a seaweed foraging trip with Atlantic Sea Kayaking
Try the activities at Kilbeggan lakes Ireland in Cork to learn how to find and identify seaweed. Or head to The Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, for classes in foraging everything from wild herbs and plants to sea veg.
Get back to basics with bushcraft
So they can’t tidy their room but maybe they can build a shelter? Or start a campfire without matches and track foxes and deer. All these skills and more are available from Bushcraft Ireland in Louth, Pioneer Bushcraft in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and The Living Wilderness Bushcraft School in Navan, Co. Meath.
Get mucky with mountain bikes
Take a spin around the country’s biggest
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 31
Diving at Salthill, near Galway Go exploring in Co. Wicklow
Have a day’s fun at Curracloe Beach
Stop and take in the beauty of Glendalough, Co Wicklow anglers. Book a fly fishing course for beginners at Spiddal Angling School in Co. Galway or try your hand at trout fishing at Courtlough, Ireland’s newest rainbow trout fishing centre, in Balbriggan, north Co. Dublin.
Don’t go postal, go coastal!
If you’ve been cooped up indoors all winter, be blown away by long walks on deserted beaches, hikes along dramatic cliff paths and gentle seaside trails. For a great outdoor city break in Galway, walk the causeway to Mutton Island and down along the prom at Salthill. Put an outdoor twist on a city break in Dublin too with spectacular walks around Howth Head, or the cliff path from Bray to Greystones in Co. Wicklow, both easily accessed by DART.
mountain biking centre at Ballyhoura, Co, Limerick. With 92km of dedicated bike track, it’s the perfect outdoor playground, with bike hire available from Trailriders. Or head to Fairymount Farm near Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, home of the new Bike Park Ireland, a purpose built course with an ingenious Uplift Service – ex army trucks to haul you and your bike back to the top of the trail, repeatedly! Stay over in one of the self catering cottages on site.
Be the ones that got away this Mid Term
Be gone fishing for a day or two, with a family fishing ticket from Rathbeggan Lakes in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, a lakeside playground with rods for hire and Learn to Fish programmes for new
Climb every mountain!
Give yours a sense of achievement this mid-term with a holiday that lets them scale new heights. Stay in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow to tackle Djouce Mountain, with views over Ireland’s highest waterfall. Bag yourself a great value hotel deal in Killarney, Co. Kerry, to take on Strickeen, a very ‘doable’ hill amid the mighty McGillycuddy Reeks. Stay in Leenane, Co. Galway, to polish off Diamond Hill in the Connemara National Park or find a great self-catering option in Carlingford, Co.Louth, the perfect base camp for Slieve Foy. For lots of Mid Term inspiration check out www.discoverireland.ie or find Discover Ireland on Facebook #thisisLIVING.
32 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
One of the driving forces behind the revolutionary YouSlim approach to weight loss is highly respected nutritionist Suzanne Chalkley. The 48 year old Co. Tyrone woman has over 20 years’ experience in both nutrition and weight loss and will be offering advice and guidance to everyone signing up to the YouSlim online community. She has devised an easy to follow low GI diet for slimmers to use in conjunction with YouSlim supplements. “It is important to regulate blood sugar, because that helps you to stop feeling hungry, and that’s what my diet plan does. The diet is low GI, which means low glycemic,” she explains. With the white bread alone in your lunchtime sandwich breaking down to convert to a whopping eight teaspoons of sugar, Suzanne’s plan aims to satisfy the appetite for longer, while avoiding sugars. “Low GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time instead of foods that make blood sugars spike and then crash,” she explains. Low GI foods include the likes of some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats. The YouSlim supplements complement not only Suzanne’s healthy eating plan, but any of the well-known diet plans. Best of all, they enable slimmers to see results more quickly. “You can have the best diet programme in the world, but if you aren’t seeing the results, then you’re not going to stick at it,” said Suzanne. “We have developed supplements that are completely natural, in that anything you find in our supplements, you can find in your kitchen. I wanted to look at helping people in a natural way. “They help to burn fat and help people lose weight quicker, helping them to stay on their diet and continue to see results.” Suzanne adds: “I am passionate about helping others feel better about themselves. That’s what YouSlim is all about. We aren’t like traditional weight loss clubs because we are an online club. That means there is a place to go for support at any time of the day.” Suzanne’s Diet Blog on the website, www.youslimweightloss.com is packed full of information on everything from foods to dressing for your body shape. Suzanne says at the heart of YouSlim is a desire to help people improve their health and their self-esteem. “People just want to feel good about themselves.” See www.youslimweightloss.com
rying to lose weight can be a dispiriting and frustrating experience. You can cut down on calories and see little movement on the scales for a few weeks. The optimism and enthusiasm of the first few days begins to wane and you give into the craving for something sweet and open the door to guilty self-reproach. It doesn’t have to be like that and a brand new product, YouSlim, aims to make sure that is no longer the experience of dieters in Northern Ireland. YouSlim won’t only do away with hunger pangs, it also helps your body to burn fat. However, unlike many slimming aids, YouSlim is also packed with beneficial ingredients to boost your health in a number of ways, including lowering your cholesterol and improving your intestinal function. Each box of YouSlim, which is being stocked by Gordon’s Chemists shops across Northern Ireland, includes two bottles of capsules – Feel Full and Thermogenic Fat Burner, which work in tandem to help slimmers achieve their goals. YouSlim doesn’t claim to be a miracle pill – but it is based on sound scientific research which the public can trust. It has been created through the combined expertise of company founder Bert Jukes, who spent many years working with diabetics, nutritionist Suzanne Chalkey, and leading food technologists in France and Canada. Bert said: “We wanted to develop a product that would deal with the two things that hold weight loss back – people feeling hungry and failing to burn fat. Our product had to give you the sensation of feeling full in your stomach and needed to accelerate or instigate fat burning or thermogenesis.” The main ingredient of YouSlim Feel Full is
Glucomannan a 100% plant extract from the Konjac Root, also known as the Elephant Yam, familiar throughout Asia. “Glucomannan is an appetite suppressor – it gives this feeling of fullness. You take a tablet with a glass of water half an hour before your meal and you are full for a good four to five hours.” Bert said the beauty of using high grade, natural ingredients in YouSlim is the added benefits. “Not only do you get a diet aid, you are also getting a health product. Glucomannan comes in cheaper variations but we have gone for the top of the range product as we know it won’t let you down. We know that we have the best.” He explained that the Konjac fibre helps reduce cholesterol and helps to normalise blood sugar, which is beneficial to diabetics. “Once you have taken it, the residue acts as a prebiotic which goes into the intestinal tract leaving good flora that will attack bad bacteria,” said Bert. The Feel Full Glucomannan comes in 1g capsules and slimmers take three per day to accrue the benefits. Bert, who began the New Year by deciding on his own healthy action plan,
said his starting point had to be exercise. The ingredients in the Thermogenic Fat Burner can help counter those elements which slow the body’s ability to burn fat, such as slow metabolism and sluggish thyroid gland. Bert adds: “People in their 40s and beyond who have a sedentary lifestyle may have trouble burning fat – you have got to do some movement to help it along.” A 20 minute walk, three times a week, is the minimum amount of exercise recommended by YouSlim. Its Thermogenic Fat Burner is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. YouSlim’s Thermogenic ingredients are blended to support the effects of dieting and exercise. They include caffeine, which both helps break down fat and burn calories, black pepper, Turmeric and Cayenne pepper, all known to get the body burning fat. “It isn’t just about losing weight –
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
caffeine may also augment weight loss efforts if consumed daily.
Cayenne Capsicum Powder – has been
the bottom line is it’s full of good stuff, including Niacin, green tea and Cayenne pepper… all these ingredients are there for a purpose – they are there to work together in harmony in the body,” says Bert. Far from merely creating the product and leaving customers to get on with it, the YouSlim team are there to support dieters. Suzanne’s blog on the website youslimweightloss.com is full of information, guidance and encouragement to help you maintain momentum once you start your weight loss journey. And as she updates it every three or four days, there is always new information available. Bert is delighted with the results of his own New Year health challenge and is already looking slimmer and feeling fitter, thanks to cutting down on calories, increasing his exercise levels and using YouSlim. “I’ve lost 13lb in four weeks and feel completely over the moon,” he told Family Life. For further information, call 08452 60 80 20; email email@example.com or visit www.youslimweightloss.com
YouSlimFactFile YouSlim is the ultimate weight management system which includes everything you need to lose weight, body fat and inches easily and effectively.
THERMOGENIC FAT BURNER
YouSlim’s natural thermogenic fat burners enhance and speed up the fat burning effect of your chosen weight loss programme. Its ingredients have been selected and blended together to accelerate inch loss and fat loss, helping you to regain the body shape you have always wanted but struggled to achieve with just dieting and exercise alone.
Burns fat Boosts metabolism Helps to balance blood sugar levels Burns more calories Rich in antioxidants
Caffeine – increases both lipolysis (the
breakdown of fat) and thermogenesis (calorie burning) after ingestion. New studies indicate that products containing
proven to curb your appetite, speed up your metabolism and burn calories. Cayenne pepper can increase the metabolic rate by 25%. Curcumin (turmeric) – is arguably one of the most potent and effective herbs known to man. Research has shown it causes you to burn more calories for a short period of time after. It has also been seen to help prevent the re-growth of fat after weight loss and to help balance blood sugar levels and even to reverse insulin resistance Green Tea – is one of the most effective ingredients to help increase weight and body fat loss, and has been used in this capacity for centuries. Rich in both antioxidants and catechin polyphenols (natural chemicals which increase fat oxidation and thermogenesis, Green Tea also helps to regulate blood sugar levels by changing the speed with which your body releases sugar from carbohydrates. Guarana Seed Powder – boosts metabolism and also has a mild diuretic effect. It also has the ability to increase energy and physical performance. Guarana helps reduce hunger levels therefore contributing to the overall effectiveness of fat burning and increasing satiety. Niacin B3 – helps to convert the food you eat into energy. It increase metabolism and energy by helping specifically to metabolise carbohydrates and assists with the production of L-Carnitine, which is an amino acid that encourages fat burning. N Acetyl L-Carnitine – helps to transport free fatty acids into the mitochondria within the cells of the body where they are burned off and used as energy. Black pepper – increases the metabolic rate in the body which causes the body to use more energy. This means that from the same exercise regime you may get added benefits. Chromium Picolinate – helps to normalise your blood-glucose levels. It helps your body to utilise insulin better and appears to regulate the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood. As a weight-loss supplement, chromium picolinate helps to build muscle tissues and burn fat. Chromiun has also been seen to help reduce hunger levels helping people to increase satiety. Microcrystalline cellulose – provides dietary bulk and can improve digestive transit.
Feel Full is the result of years of research to discover a naturally sourced product that has been scientifically proven to reduce hunger levels and food cravings allowing you to take control of your eating habits without the need for strong willpower or battling against feeling hungry all the time! Feel Full is 100% natural plant extract Glucomannan (Konjac Root). Glucomannon is totally natural watersoluble dietary fibre obtained from the root of the Konjac plant found throughout Asia. Although it’s nearly calorie-free, this ancient fibre has been consumed as a food (in noodles, tofu, etc.) for over 1000 years. Studies have shown that the health benefits of Glucomannan include:
Weight loss / appetite suppression Cholesterol reduction Blood sugar regulation Constipation relief Improved blood pressure
Family Life | 33
Download your Free Quick Start Guide today, www.youslimweightloss.com
34 | Family Life
Letthekids COOKUPATREAT It can be difficult to come up with creative ways to keep children occupied, particularly to find activities which aren’t expensive and work on rainy days. But how’s this for an idea: get cooking with your kids and they’ll not only enjoy creating their own food, they’re also saving you a job! Pauline Carson from The Little Bake Shop – cakes & catering, gives her top tips for quick and easy cooking with children
Even toddlers love helping in the kitchen
hen it comes to cooking with kids most of us will take the sweet and easy option. Fairy cakes, rocky roads, cornflake buns – melted chocolate and marshmallows are always a hit. I bake cakes for a living, but when it comes to cooking with my kids, I tend to go for something savoury instead. Cakes and buns are lots of fun to make, but they are a treat and for special occasions. I want my kids to enjoy cooking everyday and to have a greater understanding of where their food comes from, what’s good for them and how easy and enjoyable it can be to make. When kids help to make their meals they are more likely to eat them and try new things. There’s no doubt that getting children
Quesadillas with guacamole to eat a wide range of fresh vegetables can be one of the most challenging things at dinner time. There are lots of recipes that use ‘hidden veg’ where you can sneak extra veg into sauces without them realising. This is a great idea to help them get their 5-a-day, but if you want them to actually enjoy vegetables and eat them willingly, you need to let them see what they are eating and learn to enjoy the taste. There are lots of recipes out there that can easily help you make a filling lunch or dinner, they are cheap and quick to prepare, and best of all, are packed full of healthy veg. Children are never too young to start helping in the kitchen. Toddlers can begin by popping the chopped ingredients into a pot and even pouring in cold water or stock. Pre-schoolers can chop soft vegetables such as mushrooms or cooked carrots with a table knife, or you can help them chop firmer veg by holding your hand on top of theirs and demonstrating how to keep fingers out of the way. Older children can easily chop vegetables and stir in ingredients as long as it is always under supervision. Remember that a blunt knife can be as dangerous as a sharp one as it is more likely to slip when chopping. The best way to ensure your children stay safe in the kitchen is to teach them how to use utensils properly and safely and always supervise them whilst cooking.
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Quesadillas are basically a slight more exciting toasted sandwich! They are perfect for lunch, but we sometimes have them for dinner along with some baked sweet potato wedges and some sour cream or yoghurt dip. They’re a great dish for getting the whole family involved as, rather like making a pizza, they can top the tortillas with their favourite ingredients. I pile a chopping board up with different toppings and let them loose!
Ingredients: 8 soft flour or corn tortillas Your choice of fillings. My favourites include: Shredded chicken (dusted with some smoked paprika or cajun seasoning is delicious) Sliced roast ham Diced red and green peppers Finely sliced spring onions Sweetcorn Chopped deseed tomatoes Olives Grated cheddar cheese Method: n Lay one of the tortillas down on a plate. I like to add a sprinkle of the cheese first, then choice of toppings and then another sprinkle of cheese. Top with another tortilla. n Heat a wide frying pan on a medium heat, with no oil. Lift the plate and very carefully slide the filled flat tortillas onto the frying pan. Cook for around 90 seconds until the bottom is just beginning to brown. Place the plate on top of the quesadilla and then carefully flip the frying pan over before sliding it back into the pan to cook the other side for a further minute-90 seconds. n Serve cut into quarters (I find a pizza wheel is best to do this) with a side of guacamole or creamy dip.
Quick homemade guacamole n Make this in a food processor in a matter
of minutes. You can also do this by hand or with a hand blender. n Finely chop a small red onion, and deseed and chop 2 tomatoes. Add them to a food processor along with 2 skinned and stoned avocados, juice of half a lime, a sprinkle of smoked paprika (optional but delicious) and a generous grind of salt and pepper. Whizz until your desired consistency. Delicious and healthy.
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 35
There’s no better time to celebrate our world class farms, food producers, brewers, distillers and restaurants than this year, designated Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016. With monthly themes ranging from this month’s Love Local to December’s Christmas and Premium Foods, no-one will be left in any doubt about Northern Ireland’s world class fare by the end of the year. Organised by Tourism NI and Food NI, the year will see lots of culinary events. Find out more at www.discovernorthernireland. com or www.nigoodfood.com. Join the celebrations by cooking up some of these delicious recipes, take a picture and tag @Food_NI and @NITouristBoard Grilled Chicken Pizza Sandwich with Home Made Pesto
To make meal times a little bit easier – and even tastier – the Moy Park chefs have developed a range of simple and delicious chicken dishes. You might even have seen them demonstrated on the Tesco Cookery Theatre in the Food NI Pavilion at The Balmoral Show 2015. Each dish is bursting with flavour – guaranteed to make your mouth water! For more delicious Moy Park chicken recipes visit www.moyparkchicken. com and follow @MoyParkChicken on Facebook and Twitter.
Ingredients 4 Moy Park Chicken Breast Fillets 1 chicken stock cube / 500ml boiling water 8 slices of plain or olive ciabatta, diagonally sliced 100g pesto (shop bought) 100g roasted red peppers, sliced (from a jar or deli)
125g ball of mozzarella, torn 1 handful black olives Basil leaves Method n In a pan of boiling water, with the chicken stock cube, poach the chicken fillets for approx. 20 minutes. n Slice the ciabatta and toast, and then spread each toasted slice with pesto. Scatter the roasted red peppers and mozzarella pieces on top of each slice. Season with salt and pepper. Pre-heat the grill to a high temperature. n Lay the ciabatta slices onto a large baking sheet. Place the slices under the hot grill for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt. n Thickly slice the cooked chicken breast and lay the slices over the roasted peppers and cheese. Season with black pepper and scatter with black olives and basil leaves, and then drizzle with olive oil.
James Street South Baked Rice with Chorizo and Chicken
Top Belfast restaurant James Street South is backing the NI Year of Food and Drink 2016 by sharing some of the chefs’ mouthwatering recipes with Family Life readers…
Ingredients 300g paella rice, rinsed 400g uncooked chorizo sausage 2 x red peppers, chopped 2 x med onions, chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 4 x skinned chicken thighs, sliced 1 x tin tomatoes 250ml chicken stock Method n Start by preheating the oven to 180°C. n Slice up the chicken breasts and in a frying pan, cook off in a little rapeseed oil until cooked, remove from pan. Next cut the sausages into 1 inch slices and cook in a large frying pan until brown. You now want to cook off the onions and the peppers until translucent. It is ok to use the same pan. You can use these juices from the pan in the casserole and it is always a good idea to de-glaze the pan this means adding a little of the chicken stock to the pan to remove all the flavours. n Place the ingredients in a large casserole pot with the rice pouring over the tinned
tomatoes and stirring thoroughly and then adding the chicken stock. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid on. Season to taste. n To make the herb oil which is drizzled on top fine chop 50g parsley, 25g spinach, 25g mint, 3 anchovies, 2 teaspoons of capers in brine, 1 clove garlic chopped, 25ml of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in blender, this can be saved for 1 day, but you need to store in air tight container. You need to wrap in tinfoil as it discolours in the light.
36 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Whether to warm you up on a chilly day or as a delicious starter, make your own soup using fresh, locally produced ingredients for optimum nutritional value.
Carrot and Lentil soup James Street South SERVES: 4 Ingredients 3 tbsp butter 1 red onion 1 garlic clove 2 tbsp tomato puree 500g carrots 250g red lentils 1.5l chicken stock 125ml crème fraiche Fresh coriander leaves
Method n Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan on high heat. Chop the garlic and red onion finely and add to butter once bubbling. Cook for 5 minutes. Grate the carrots and rinse and drain the red lentils, place in pot with chicken stock and bring to the boil. n Simmer for 40 minutes until lentils are soft and remove from heat and blend until smooth. Once smooth return to low heat and serve with dollop of crème fraiche. Sprinkle with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Fillingfishdish Comber Early Potato Risotto with Ewing’s Pale Smoked Haddock Jay Eisenstadt, The Stormont Hotel Preparation time 10-15 minutes Cooking time 30-40 minutes SERVES: 6 Ingredients 1 pound Comber early potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1/4” dice 1 Tbsp Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil 2 oz. finely diced shallots 2 cloves crushed garlic 1 oz. Hannons Dry Cured Bacon finely diced 1/4 white wine 1 cup vegetable bouillon/stock 3 oz. chopped wild mushrooms 1 cup heavy cream 1 Tbsp each Parmesan and Romano cheese grated 1 oz. butter
Crab Omelette Sea Fish
Preparation time: 2 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes SERVES: 1 Ingredients 170g can crab meat in brine, drained 3 eggs, beaten 2 tsp sunflower oil 30g sundried tomatoes, chopped 1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional) Chopped fresh herbs, to garnish
Method n Season the eggs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. n Heat the oil in an omelette pan or nonstick frying pan. Pour in the eggs and cook for a few seconds, until the bottom of the omelette is lightly set. Push the set parts of the omelette into the uncooked centre of the omelette. Continue like this until the egg has just set but the omelette is still soft in the centre. n Remove the pan from the heat, top with the crab meat, sundried tomatoes and chillies (if using). n Place under a pre-heated grill until the omelette is fully cooked and serve garnished with the herbs.
Method n Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium flame, add rapeseed oil, add the bacon, sauté until just browned then add shallots and garlic, sauté over low heat without colouring. n Add the diced potatoes and cook over low heat for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped mushrooms, continue to cook for a few more minutes. n Add the white wine and simmer for a couple of minutes, pour in the vegetable stock and simmer the potatoes uncovered to allow the stock to reduce, stir continuously. n When the potatoes have fully absorbed the stock, begin adding the cream a little at a time, stirring constantly. n When all the cream is added, mix in the cheese and butter. Season to taste. n For the haddock: Heat a heavy skillet,
reduce flame to medium add the butter, place the fillets in service side down, cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook another 3-4 minutes until just translucent. n To Serve: In a nice bowl/serving dish place a single portion of the risotto, lay a cooked piece of haddock on top, garnish with micro herbs.
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 37
Meatfeasts Hannan’s Sweet Cured Bacon Ribs The Europa Hotel
HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT STEAK
Ingredients 2 ribs 2 potatoes 1 tbsp butter pinch of salt pinch of white pepper 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard 1 tbsp apple puree 1/2 cup of white Wine 1 bay leaf 1 star anise 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon 1 cup single cream 2 tbsp cornflour pinch tarragon pinch parsley pinch of chives pinch of dill Watercress to garnish Method n Cook the bacon ribs at 140°C for 2.5 hours, then chill until needed. n Boil potatoes till tender, mash & season. n Whip in butter, apple puree & wholegrain mustard. n Heat ribs in the oven at 190°C for 15 minutes. n Reduce wine by half, add bay leaf, star anise, single cream & vegetable boullion. n Bring to the boil and whisk in watered
The key to cooking a great steak starts before you even enter the kitchen according to Niall McKenna, of James Street South...
down corn flour to thicken.
n Cook out cornflour and add chopped parsley.
n Plate dish, add watercress to garnish.
Buy the best bit of meat you can and always go for at least 1 inch thick. Once you are ready to cook, the best place is the barbecue but if it is not barbecue weather, a griddle pan will give you the char marks across the meat. Your meat should be at room temperature and well-seasoned with salt and pepper. Place your pan on high heat with extraction on in order not to smoke anyone out of the kitchen. Place steak in the pan and leave on one side for a couple of minutes then turn over. Carry on turning over until it is cooked the way you like it and never overcrowd your pan as you will lose too much heat and won’t get a good char on the outside. For an average size rib eye 300g cook for 6-8 minutes rare, 8-10 minutes medium and well done 10-12. For a fillet of 350g, cook it 10-12 minute for rare, 12-14 medium
and 14-16 for well done. Leave the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes before eating.
The Josper grill at the Bar + Grill cooks steaks to perfection as it is a charcoal grill with a constant temperature of 350400deg and always gives you that tasty charred crust. Our special steak is a 600g rib eye on the bone, delicious!
Almond Butter Chicken Satay with Courgette Noodles Jane McClenaghan
Armagh Bramley Apple & Blackberry Crumble Balloo House
Ingredients FOR THE SAUCE: 1 tbsp Keen almond butter 1 lime – zest and juice 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1 inch root ginger, grated Dash of tamari or soya sauce 1 dsp nam pla (fish sauce) 1 tblsp natural yoghurt 1 red chilli, chopped A handful of fresh coriander leaves FOR THE NOODLES: 1 courgette FOR THE STIR-FRY: 1 tsp coconut oil 2 chicken breasts, cubed 1 red pepper, sliced 1/2 leek, sliced Handful of cabbage, spinach or broccoli
Method n Blitz the sauce ingredients in your blender or food processor, adding a little water to thin the sauce to your preferred consistency. You can add more water at the cooking stage if necessary. n If you have a spiraliser, spiralise the
courgette into noodles, or use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons. Leave to one side. n Heat the coconut oil in a wok or heavy based pan and add the chicken. Stirfry until cooked, add the vegetables, stir in the sauce and cook over a high heat. Add more water at this stage if you need to. You want the veg to remain nice and crunchy, so just a few minutes in your wok will do. Once cooked, stir in the courgette noodles to heat though. Serve and enjoy!
Ingredients FOR THE FILLING: 3 large Bramley apples 30g butter 150g caster sugar Juice of 1/2 lemon pinch of cinnamon 80g fresh blackberries FOR THE TOPPING: 50g unsalted butter, diced 110g plain flour 55g caster sugar 30g brown sugar zest of 1/2 lemon 50g chopped roasted hazelnuts Method n Preheat oven to 180°C. n Peel, core and cut apples into 5mm size slices and sauté in butter. Add sugar and cinnamon. Continue stirring until apples are just cooked. Add blackberries and the lemon juice to the apples and stir very gently. n Lightly rub the butter into the flour, sugar
and lemon zest until crumbly. Add the hazelnuts. n Spoon apples and blackberries into a shallow oval dish. Sprinkle crumble mixture over top until fruit is just covered. n Place in oven for 20 minutes or until light golden brown.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT NORTHERN IRELAND YEAR OF FOOD AND DRINK 2016, VISIT WWW.DISCOVERNORTHERNIRELAND.COM OR WWW.NIGOODFOOD.COM
38 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Daysaway,nightsout With winter departing, it’s time to come out of hibernation and have some fun! Here are a few of the events coming your way...
FAMILY FUN Centre, Comber, Co. Down, until February 21. Children of all ages are being encouraged to get out into the fresh air and have fun jumping in puddles this February half term. At the Northern Ireland Puddle Jumping Championships kids will be able
NI Science Festival 2016, various
locations, Northern Ireland, February 18-28. Let your mind wonder over 11 days at the NI Science Festival with over 100 events and infinite ideas. Events are happening across 25 venues throughout Northern Ireland and will focus on the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics with some of the best scientists from Northern Ireland and beyond discussing their work, cuttingedge research and what the future might hold.
Northern Ireland Puddle Jumping Championships, Castle Espie Wetland
to compete against each other to see who can produce the biggest splash from their puddle jump. Marks will be awarded for creativity, enthusiasm and jumping style, with fantastic prizes on offer!
Goldilocks and the Three Bears Singalong Show, Alley Theatre, Strabane,
Co. Tyrone, February 20. Watch the much-loved fairytale come to life on an unforgettable live stage production of song and laughter. Featuring fantastic costumes, an amazing stage and colourful lighting, it will be an experience for all the family to remember with interactive moments that both children and parents can enjoy. Show begins at 2pm.
Destination Space, W5, SSE Arena, Belfast, every Tuesday until March 29. Backed by the UK Space Agency, W5 have joined forces with the European Space Agency’s first British astronaut, Tim Peake, to provide visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about human space flight and follow life on the International Space Station! Packed with experiments, investigations and problem-solving
activities, linked back to human space flight, young crew members will leave inspired. Visitors can expect to learn about roles in space crew, rocket launches, daily life for astronauts on the International Space Station. Check show times upon arrival.
Chinese New Year celebrations will take
place on February 21 at the Ulster Hall. The event showcases the finest of traditional and modern dance, folk songs, acrobatics, face changer and much more, by the highly acclaimed international ‘Cultures of China Festival of Spring’ performing troupe.
MUSIC The Jazzabelles, Market Place Theatre,
Armagh, Co. Armagh, February 20. Set in 1950s Belfast, this original musical tells the story of three girls who long for a better life, and form a jazz trio after a chance meeting. However the road to stardom is far from smooth, and the Jazzabelles must overcome bullying, blackmail and bigotry along the way. The Jazzabelles is a high energy tale of triumph over adversity performed by top local talent. Show begins at 8pm. Critically acclaimed UK Singer-songwriter, Gabrielle Aplin returns to Belfast on February 19 at Mandela Hall. Gabrielle rose to stardom when her cover version of the popular song ‘The Power of love’ was chosen for the Christmas John Lewis TV advert. Her debut album English Rain has since been certified Gold in the UK for selling over 100,000 copies and her second album Light Up the Dark was released last September. Iconic band Wet Wet Wet are performing at the SSE Arena, Belfast on Februay 24. The legendary group have sold over 15 million records whilst notching up over 30 UK chart hits including 3 number 1’s. Alongside this incredible success, performing amazing live shows has always been at the heart of what they do.
BMS International Festival of Chamber Music is taking place from February
19-21. This is an annual event bringing world-class artists and ensembles to the
gorgeous surroundings of the Great Hall at Queen’s University. Artists include the Dante Quartet, pianist Janina Fialkowska (all-Chopin recital), outstanding Northern Ireland musicians Ioana Petcu-Colan (violin) and Michael McHale (piano), and tenor Robin Tritschler who will sing Schubert’s Lieder alongside the world première of Philip Hammond’s Lament for an Irish Rebel.
The Illegals with Niamh Kavanagh
perform in the MAC on February 27. The band perform a classic-rock tribute to the music of Eagles and Fleetwood Mac for their 20th anniversary celebrations. They promise an entertaining evening of vocal harmony, superb musicianship, unforgettable songs and great fun.
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 39
NitroCircusLivecomingtoBelfast! Global action sports phenomenon brings spectacular new show to Windsor Park, Belfast, Friday, June 10
irect from sell out shows across the globe, the world’s greatest action sports show – Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus Live – returns for its first ever UK outdoor stadium tour this summer. Tickets are on sale now from www.nitrocircus.live Fans from across the UK will be given the opportunity to see the most explosive event in extreme sports and witness death-defying stunts, amazing tricks and unbelievable world firsts that have yet to be seen (even in competition). Michael Porra, Nitro Circus CEO and creative director, said: “We are so excited to bring the biggest, most
daring action sports production ever staged to the UK. Our insane group of athletes perform stunts that you literally cannot see anywhere else on the planet. We’re constantly pushing each other to break records and do things that people previously thought was physically impossible.” Nitro’s cast of daredevils, the greatest action sports stars on the planet, will perform the most incredible choreographed riding routines ever in freestyle motocross (FMX), BMX, skate and much more. Highlights include the explosive “Nitro Bomb” featuring all riders flipping simultaneously. Plus, during FMX trains, riders will slice through the air wheel-to-wheel, mere inches apart. Nitro Circus athletes will also brave the (in) famous 40-foot Giganta ramp, which will launch a host of ridiculous contraptions like trikes, a penny farthing, a lounge chair, a bathtub and much more. All of this mayhem in one show, requiring more than 15 trucks and 50 crew members to transport and set up, adds up to a theatrical spectacular area fans have never experienced before. This will be one of the biggest, if not the most massive, entertainment production ever to come to venues across the UK. Nitro Circus Live has sold out legendary arenas such as the O2 in London and Madison Square Garden in New York. More than 35,000 people packed Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, site of the 2010 soccer World Cup final, for a massive 2014 show; 45,000 filled Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, the
second highest attendance of any touring act at that venue. Now, fans from across the UK do not want to miss their chance to see Nitro Circus Live. Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson said: “We are delighted to welcome Nitro Circus to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. It will be the first large scale non-football sporting event to be staged at the redeveloped stadium and is in keeping with our plans to make it more than just a football stadium. We want it to be a venue for concerts and entertainment, large scale community activities and other sports events, so Nitro Circus is a great first step in that direction.” Check out the Nitro Club Experience: These exclusive passes include the best
seats in the house as well as a chance to get up close and personal with the stars of Nitro Circus during an exclusive Q & A session where they will talk about life on the road and answer an array of very personal questions that fans would not normally hear at a show or in the media. Nitro Club pass holders will also receive a souvenir lanyard and electronically signed Nitro poster, as well as a chance to win cool Nitro swag. For Nitro Circus news, tour updates, full rider lineup, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and more, go to www.nitrocircus. com. Follow Nitro Circus on Twitter: @nitrocircus and Facebook: www. facebook.com/NitroCircus. Athletes subject to change.
THEATRE Educating Rita is being performed at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, until February 28. Willy Russell’s award-winning comedy, Educating Rita stars the superb Kerri Quinn (Cabaret, Shibboleth), and is directed by critically-acclaimed Emma Jordan (God of Carnage, Scorch). The Field, Ardhowen Theatre,
Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, February 1920. Enniskillen Amateur Dramatic Society returns with ‘The Field’, John B Keane’s fierce and tender study of the love a man can have for land and the lengths he will go to hold on to it. This classic piece of Irish theatre was first presented to the Irish stage in 1965. Show begins at 8pm. Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change, As You Like It will be performed by National Theatre for the first time in over 30 years on February 25. You can watch the live performance on the big screen at the Omniplex, Dundonald. C21 Theatre Company presents Love or Money in the Lyric Theatre from February
23-27, a comedy about banks, bras and going bust by Rosemary Jenkinson. It is a biting comedy concerning the underside of the recession. Finance and fidelity entangle in a tug-of-love to keep business afloat. Every year, ShortsTV puts together all the Oscar nominated short films into two feature-length packages (approx. 90mins each). Come along and enjoy one or both on February 21 at the Strand Arts Centre. Northern Ireland’s favourite dysfunctional family returns for another sell-out run in its second home the Grand Opera House. The story you can expect from Give My Head Peace this Februay 29 - March 5 concerns Da’s commemoration of the Easter Rising, and Uncle Andy’s discovery that his great-great-Uncle Andy was known as the Coward of the Kneebreaker’s who spent the entire First World War hiding in the attic of Ulster’s dodgiest drinking den. Expect a laugh out loud show with topical humour, up to the minute satire, and stand-up from Tim McGarry.
Leo Wringer (centre), plus the company of As You Like It. Image by Johan Persson
40 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
BigscreenmoviesoutonDVD Whether you have seen them in the cinema and want a copy to keep, or missed them first time round, these are the DVD & Blu-ray releases out now and coming soon
James “Whitey” Bulger, leader of the IrishAmerican Winter Hill Gang, as he menaces South Boston. Based on the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, we see how he became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Brooklyn – February 23
Based on Colm Tóibín’s novel of the same name, Saoirse Ronan stars as Eilis Lacey who leaves Ireland for 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
that bound them together, and charts their gruesome career as two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organised crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s.
Room – March 1
The Good Dinosaur – February 23
The latest release from the stellar animation studio Pixar, The Good Dinosaur is set in an alternate timeline where the asteroid that would have caused the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago passes safely over Earth. Millions of years later, we see how an an Apatosaurus farmer named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.
Creed – March 1
Steve Jobs – February 16
Michael Fassbender’s excellent portrayal of technology pioneer Steve Jobs explores the man behind the scenes during the launches of some of Apple’s historically key products.
Black Mass – February 16
Johnny Depp stars as ruthless gangster
Spotlight – February 23
An all-star cast follows the true story of how the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Forty years after the first Rocky film, much has changed for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa. The former World Heavyweight Champion serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed, as he pursue his dream of becoming a professional boxer.
Legend – March 1
British crime thriller Legend follows the rise and fall of identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray; the relationship
Author Emma Donoghue adapts her award winning novel ‘Room’ along with director Lenny Abrahamson to tell the story of how five-year-old Jack and his mother Joy escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life.
The Big Short – March 15
Having stumbled upon information that the US housing market is bound to collapse, a few denizens in the world of high-finance decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – March 22
Concluding the hit Hunger Games series, Katniss Everdeen returns with closest friends, including Peeta, Gale and Finnick as they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow.
NEWTOTHEBOOKSHOPS Lost for a place to start when it comes to the latest book releases? These are the page turners recommended by goodreads.com
A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic no.2) by V.E. Schwab – February 23
A Gathering of Shadows follows the adventures of Kell, one of the last Travelers – rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit – as he travels between multiple Londons to deliver messages between monarchs.
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury – February 23
Acclaimed author Jessica Khoury retells the story of Arabian Nights in The Forbidden Wish. After Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back
into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years. While waiting for her new master to select his three wishes, she is offered the chance to be free of her lamp forever by the king. However saving herself means betraying Aladdin.
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices no. 1) by Cassandra Clare – March 8
The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.
Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson no. 9) by Patricia Briggs – March 8
Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.” Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer.
Worth waiting for? Releases hitting the shelves later this spring include:
One with You (Crossfire no.5) by Sylvia Day – April 5
Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – April 5 A dazzling, romantic fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds from Richelle Mead, internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy.
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle no. 4) by Maggie Stiefvater – April 26
The final instalment in the spellbinding series from New York Times bestselling author. All her life, Blue has been warned that she will
cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses no.2) by Sarah J. Maas – May 3
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.
The Crown (The Selection no. 5) by Kiera Cass – May 3 Kiera Cass’s New York Times bestselling Selection series has captured the hearts of readers and now the end of the journey is here. Prepare to be swept off your feet by The Crown – the eagerly awaited, romantic final series finale.
42 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
HowCarrie poppedthe question, LeapYearstyle A
few teasing remarks about Leap Year proposals helped prompt Belfast photographer Carrie Davenport to break with tradition and pop the question to her boyfriend of three years, Dee McAdams. In the months leading up to the start of 2016, it had become something of a running joke among family members that Carrie should take advantage of the Leap Year and propose to Derry man Dee on February 29. So Carrie, well-known on the local music scene for her stunning photography of live bands, decided to catch everyone off-guard with a New Year’s Eve proposal, despite slight reservations that her nonconventional approach might raise a few eyebrows. Following a romantic dinner at Ox restaurant in Belfast, the couple, who met through a mutual love of music, returned home to quietly welcome in the New Year together. But unbeknown to Dee, a freelance events co-ordinator, Carrie had other plans. “I do a lot of work with Smalltown America (independent record label) and had got them to do a one-off seven inch vinyl recording of the Damian Rice track, The Blower’s Daughter, which is a song that I associate with me and Dee. Then on the B-side, I’d recorded my proposal; basically just me chatting about our relationship and how everyone had been joking about it being a Leap Year in 2016,
BY MAUREEN COLEMAN
so I’d decided to get in early and pop the question.” Carrie explains. “I told Dee that one of his Christmas presents had arrived late and asked him to put the record on. I couldn’t do it myself because I was shaking so much. To be honest, even as Dee was listening to it, I don’t really think he knew what was going on. I was convinced he’d suspected something beforehand because his mum had made a few jokes about New Year’s Eve. But he hadn’t a clue. “Dee never wears jewellery and I knew he wouldn’t go for a ring, so I bought him record-shaped cufflinks instead, which tied in nicely with the music theme. He listened to the proposal, then after a stunned silence, said ‘Yes’. “I wasn’t really nervous about his
Carrie Davenport popped the question to Dee McAdams answer. Like most couples, we’d talked about marriage before so he wasn’t completely blind-sided. But I was nervous about other people’s reactions to the fact that I’d been the one who’d done the proposing.” Before asking her man if he’d like to get married, Carrie, who also works as a commercial and wedding photographer, did some research into Leap Year proposals and found many articles warning women off proposing to their partners. “They said men felt emasculated and that women who proposed were stealing their thunder or were simply crazy! Some of the articles were really old-fashioned and frankly, bordering on the misogynistic. But I did find a few nice stories. “Since we’ve told everyone, a few of Dee’s friends have said that they wished their girlfriends had done it and saved them the pressure. They think it’s great. “And what’s really surprised me is that a few people I know, who’ve been married for ages, told me that that’s how it happened with them too. Because I’ve done it now, they feel they can tell people that they did it too. I find that pretty cool. I
just wish I’d known beforehand, I mightn’t have been so nervous about what other people would say.” So far, everyone they’ve told has been genuinely delighted for the couple. “I keep getting comments like ‘good on ya girl’ or ‘fair play’,” she says. “At the end of the day, this worked for us. It felt the right thing to do. “Funny enough, Dee told me he’d been planning to take me to New York in April, to propose to me then. Well, I’ve saved him the pressure and we have a lovely holiday to look forward to. “Our engagement was just perfect. Dee wanted to get me a ring so we did that together, a ruby one to match my hair and then we celebrated with Prosecco. And who knows, maybe some of my friends might feel that they can pop the question too? It is a Leap Year, after all.” As yet, no wedding date has been set, as both freelancers work long and irregular hours. Carrie says: “I’d say the earliest we’ll get married is autumn this year. Mind you, we’re only going to do this once, so we might as well do it right. There’s no point in rushing things.”
HOW LEAP YEAR TRADITIONS BEGAN The day of “The Ladies’ Privilege” Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; February has twenty-eight alone, All the rest have thirty-one, Excepting leap year, that’s the time When February’s days are twenty-nine. Or so one of the many versions of the old rhyme goes. But why does the shortest month have an extra day every four years? Once upon a time, there was a 355 day calendar with an extra 22 day month every two years. This meant that months did not match with seasons from year to year and feast days began to be celebrated in entirely the wrong weather. When Julius Caesar came to power, he gave his astronomer, Sosigenes, the difficult task of restoring balance to the
seasons and the feast days. Sosigenes cleverly solved the problem having ascertained that it takes just under 365 and a quarter days for the earth to orbit the sun. Hence the number of days in each month was changed and extra day was added to February every four years. Pope Gregory XIII noticed, however, that eventually the seasons would be out of sync again, therefore with the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar, we lose a leap year every 400 years to account for the fraction of a quarter of a day lost annually. For a year to be a leap year, it must be divisible by four, however, for a century to be a leap year, it must be divisible by 400. New traditions gradually arose from the leap day; the most notable being that on a leap day, a woman can propose to her suitor. This supposedly originated in 5th century Ireland when legend has
it St. Brigid complained to St. Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose to them. St. Patrick’s solution was to give women the opportunity to propose on February 29. Another story says that Queen Margaret of Scotland passed a law stating that any man refusing a woman’s leap year proposal must pay a fine. This fine could be a kiss, a new dress, or a pair of gloves - to hide the woman’s unwedded finger. There is probably little truth to either tale. Queen Margaret was five years old the year this law is supposed to have been implemented, and leap-year proposals rarely occur before the 19th century. According to other folklore, in England, February 29 was not lawfully recognised, therefore normal laws did not apply and so a woman could propose to a man and defy convention.
The tradition of women proposing on a leap year has spawned numerous superstitions to guarantee success. Wearing a red petticoat is supposed to bring luck, or in some versions, warn the suitor to expect a proposal. If a man turns down a woman in a red petticoat, he will suffer bad luck for the rest of the year. If she forgets to wear a red petticoat, he will be spared the bad luck. The Greeks take the opposite stance and believe that a leap year is an unlucky year to get married, and if you marry on a leap day, your marriage is doomed to fail. In most countries, babies born on a leap day are called ‘leaplings’ and are considered lucky, despite only having a birthday every four years. It used to be believed that leaplings had special powers and unique talents. In Scotland, however, it is considered unlucky to be a leapling.
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
If there was a reality TV show called Extreme Commute Stewart and Patricia McNaughton and their children Holly and Finn would be its stars...
Stewart, Trish, Holly and Finn McNaughton in Australia, before they returned to live in Northern Ireland
he advantages are all financial, the disadvantages are all emotional. That sums up our life and my husband Stewart’s unconventional month on, month off job. It is not for everyone, this existence, but as my elderly mum sagely points out, he only works six months of the year. Stewart has always worked at sea. He joined the New Zealand navy at 17, left two years later and since then has worked all around the world as an engineer. His boats have transported cement, caught fish, and supplied rigs. We met in the Azores; I was studying and he was working on a fishing trawler. For nine years, he worked on a dredge and got to come home every night. Thankfully, these were the first nine years of our children’s lives. Before that, and since then, he has always worked away for long stretches at a time. Month on, my month is manageable. After two weeks, we are halfway through his absence and the last two weeks fly. Six weeks is too long and any longer almost inconceivable. I’ve just done two consecutive Christmases alone and have firmly banned anymore. This life is not too unusual in the UK; think Scottish oilfields, merchant navy, cruise ships and ferries. However, Stewart’s
commute is slightly longer than most. His boat is based off the coast of Western Australia meaning flights lasting almost a day every month. Ironically, when we all lived in Australia it could take him longer to get home across the country to rural Victoria, where we lived, than it does now; we do love that hourly express Skybus that services Dublin airport. He could possibly work here but he’d still have to work away and wages here are poor compared to Australia (where, by the way, he pays tax – this life isn’t about tax avoidance!) So aside from the financial pros, there are other advantages. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Usually, he has good access to internet and I sometimes suspect we talk more when he’s away with hour-long skype chats during which he can listen to our son read or our daughter play the flute. However, for the last few months contact has been restricted to emails and the occasional, and brief, phone call; haven’t enjoyed that. Also when he is home, he is home. He does school pick-ups, battles with Mount Washmore, keeps the veggie patch ticking over and squeezes in as many episodes of Homeland while I’m at work as is humanly possible. It’s admirable. Being a practical soul, he does love a project so I do sometimes come home from
work to a ceiling down or new heating system installed but no dinner. This can cause the brownie point index to crash, given that he has all his meals cooked and laundry done on the boat. The house seems to know when he’s gone. It saves up those little glitches that he so loves to fix. Heating and hot water? At the same time? Don’t think so. It forces me to tackle things I know I’d just handball to him if he was here even if it means standing in the garage with him on the phone 12,000 miles away giving instructions. He gave us a skype tutorial one day on how to clean out the new boiler and was mightily amused when we disappeared behind a cloud of ash as my daughter turned the vacuum to blow by accident. It can be lonely too. For him and for me. I worry. Even though safety is paramount, mortality amongst seafarers can be 20 times that of shore-based workers. I miss him. Sometimes a whole weekend goes by and I haven’t spoken to another adult. There is a high divorce rate amongst married couples where one partner works away a lot, and I can see why. It can be tricksome. It helps that he makes us all laugh, a lot. I love it when he comes home, and, sometimes, I love it when he goes too! I reckon he feels the same.
Family Life | 43
When work keeps you away from home...
Business trips take many parents away from home, sometimes for lengthy periods and the guilt at leaving a crying child and the amount you can miss them and your spouse can be a drain on the emotional reserves. Lesley Carlin, of TripAdvisor, recommends bringing home swag. “The cheesier and less useful to you, the more your kids will love it. We have mini Frisbees, boarding-pass holders galore, a couple of those fans that mist water on you. Swag that actually is a toy, of course, is a must-take.” She also recommends playing a game remotely against your kid. “Draw Something is fantastic.” Meanwhile the website Mining Family Matters’ survival guide for families is rich in great advice.
1. Don’t assume your life is tougher than the person who’s away/at home. It’s natural to feel this way… but getting into a competition about it all won’t help your relationship. 2. Show a little enthusiasm when you’re reunited. Yes, this takes an effort sometimes, especially when you’ve had a bad day or been flying for hours to get back home – but the rewards can be big. 3. To help your children cope, never talk about mum/dad ‘going away’ or ‘leaving’. It should always be mum/dad is ‘going to work’. They’re just words, but children take things very literally. 4. When you are home with the kids, work together to make a special bracelet, card, book or other object to act as a reminder of your bond. Something pocket-sized is great because it can be carried around and treasured every day. 5. Start out with a team plan. What do want to achieve personally and professionally? If you’re part of a united team with very clear goals, this can be your focus when times get tough. 6. Agree on a realistic list of jobs that need doing around the house on the days you’re together – and then write them down. Cuts out the need for nagging and arguments about being nagged. 7. Don’t organise a massive amount of social activities for the time you’re together. Some couples have a rule of just one catch-up with friends or family over the break at home. 8. Talk about any problems that arise as a symptom of the lifestyle, rather than as a relationship problem. This will help you tackle issues together as a team, rather than thinking there is ‘something wrong’ with your relationship or either one of you. 9. Differing libidos challenge most longterm relationships. For couples who often live and work apart, there’s the added pressure of separation. It’s important to talk openly and honestly about your satisfaction with your sex life. 10. If phone contact isn’t possible, get clever about staying connected: hide little love notes in the suitcase/around the house; read the same book or watch the same DVD as your partner; write a special note to each other for every day you’re apart – to be opened at the same time each day.
44 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Ifit’sgood enoughforDame MaryPeters…
lympic Gold medal winners are not inclined to support commercial products but Dame Mary Peters DBE CH has been so impressed by the food supplement Lyprinol that she has happily stepped forward as one of many satisfied customers. Dame Mary’s athletics career was long and illustrious. As well as winning gold in the women’s pentathlon for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, she represented Northern Ireland at every Commonwealth Games between 1958 and 1974, winning two gold medals for the pentathlon, plus a gold and silver medal for the shot put. She was awarded the MBE and CBE
before being made Dame Commander (DBE) in the 2000 Birthday Honours and Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2015 New Year Honours, all for services to sport and the community in Northern Ireland where she is a much-loved inspiration to many. She is currently campaigning for ‘Mary’s Race to a Million’ which aims to raise £1,000,000 over the next three years to secure the work of her charity The Mary Peters Trust. The Trust helps young sports men and women, including those with a disability, to achieve their sporting dreams. As an active retiree, she wants to be able to continue her daily walks in the countryside near her home in comfort and ease. She agrees that competing in the
The Green-Shelled Mussel is harvested from the Marlborough Sound, New Zealand
Over the past 27 years, Lyprinol has undergone more than 30 clinical trials to test the product’s safety and effectiveness in comparison to other products and the results have been outstanding Lyprinol reduced arthritis pain by 89% In one study, which was reported in the press in the UK and Australia, Lyprinol was found to reduce pain in people with the degenerative condition osteoarthritis by 89% – great news for the UK’s 8.5 million sufferers. The study, published in the Marine Drugs journal, was carried out by researchers at Poland’s Clinic of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine and tested 50 adults with osteoarthritis in the knee or hip. For 12 weeks, half the group was given Lyprinol (1,200 mg daily) and half a traditional fish oil supplement. The pain assessment scores for those on mussel oil showed a significant improvement within four weeks and 91% reported an improved quality of life. Those on fish oil showed no such reduction in pain or improved mobility. Professor Jacek Szechinski, who led the study, said: “These are remarkable findings, which show that the mussel oil PCSO-524
is significantly more effective than traditional fish oils in treating the pain associated with osteoarthritis. As there are no side effects due to the lower dosages than are needed compared to traditional fish oils, Lyprinol could offer an effective alternative treatment to those people whose life is blighted by the pain of osteoarthritis. “With the results of this study, and previous work which has shown the benefits of PCSO-524, it’s starting to look like we’ve only scratched the surface of what this oil has to offer to those suffering from not just osteoarthritis but a range of conditions. It’s a very exciting time.” The study is published in the Special Issue ‘Marine Compounds and Inflammation’ of the Marine Drugs Journal, visit www.mdpi.com.
Dame Mary Peters DBE CH takes Lyprinol every day pentathlon was hard on the joints. “It was very punishing because it was a variety of events. Luckily I have come through it relatively unscathed.” Dame Mary, who turns 77 this year, says she had keyhole surgery on her knees some years ago and doesn’t have an ache anywhere now. She says she decided to represent Lyprinol after watching a film about its benefits. “I was very impressed by the film. I take Lyprinol every day and that may be why I don’t have any problems. Because it’s Omega 3 and it’s a lubricant it’s good for your joints. The capsules are not hard to take because they’re small and easy to swallow.” For Dame Mary, taking Lyprinol is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “I still walk for an hour every day. I do some hills because it works the heart and lungs
Sigh of relief for asthma sufferers Asthma sufferers taking part in a study of Lyprinol reported astonishing improvements. Professor Timothy D. Mickleborough, of Indiana University, led the study, reported in the peer-reviewed British journal Respiratory Medicine in May 2013. He found that use of Lyprinol reduced dependence on inhalers by 83% and improved the lung function of asthmatics who suffer from exercise-induced attacks by 59%. Professor Mickleborough said: “These findings are a real breakthrough, and offer new hope for asthma sufferers all over the world. Reducing the dependence on inhalers will offer those who suffer from asthma a new freedom, while the ability to lower the risk of exercise-induced asthma attacks will allow sufferers to increase their health and pursue their athletic ambitions more freely. “We already know the benefits of Lyprinol in joint health and inflammation, but this new study indicates that this supplement- and the mussel oil PCSO-524 offers more healthgiving potential than we previously thought. It’s a hugely exciting time.” Prof Mickleborough’s study can be seen at www.resmedjournal.com.
better. I enjoy being out in the country and walking past cattle, sheep and horses and meeting people out walking their dogs.” The vital ingredient in this super supplement is a natural, highly purified extract from the Green-Shelled Mussel. One of the largest mussel species in the world, growing to 24cm, the Green-Shelled Mussel is harvested from the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sound in New Zealand. The mussel extract contains a rare combination of lipid groups and unique Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. While Omega-3 fatty acids are known to support the heart and healthy cholesterol levels, the particular kinds of Omega-3 in Lyprinol are believed to provide nutritional support against excess inflammation of the joints and airways which can lead to stiffness, less flexibility or inflamed airways. Inflammation has been found to be reduced within 4-8 weeks of beginning use. Lyprinol capsules are much smaller than other fish oil capsules, making them easier to swallow and they have no known side effects. They are safe to use with other drugs and they don’t thin the blood, nor do they create an unpleasant aftertaste. As the oils are removed by a gentle extraction process, leaving behind the rest of the mussel flesh, they are free of mussel protein and carbohydrates and are therefore suitable for people suffering from shellfish intolerances. As the stabilisation process used in preparation of Lyprinol protects the rare mix of lipids and Omega-3 fatty acids present in the live mussel you don’t need to take large quantities to see the benefits. Studies recommend fish oil intake of 18g per day, although few people actually manage this amount. Lyprinol has been shown to be effective at an intake of 1 to 2 capsules per day. This is equivalent to just 100mg of Lyprinol oil and 300mg of olive oil. Independent studies have compared Lyprinol to several foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Using an accepted animal model, Lyprinol has been shown to be:
100 times more potent than EPA Max (fish oil) 125 times more potent than original freeze dried mussel powder 175 times more potent than evening primrose oil 175 times more potent than Salmon Oil 200 times more potent than Flax Oil.
46 | Family Life
nce upon a time boys dreamed of being a train or digger driver, girls of being a nurse or air hostess, then through the shifting sands of time boys were more likely to want to be a professional footballer, girls a model, singer or celebrity. Their parents, meanwhile, hoped they’d be a lawyer, doctor, teacher or accountant. And while parents’ aspirations for their children don’t sway too far from that horizon, for youngsters, the rise of technology and Northern Ireland’s surprising new addition, its film industry, appear to be influencing their plans. Ask anyone over 25 what the most popular A level subject here is and the
chances are they’ll say History or English and they’ll be wrong. Maths became the number one subject in 2015, due to an increase in girls taking the subject. In fact, girls are clearly getting the message that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects are the way to go, with a whopping increase of 24.5% in girls taking A level Design and Technology, a 10.6% rise in girls taking Maths and 5.7% more taking A level Biology. Among the total of 171,325 pupils sitting GCSEs here in 2015, the proportion of entries in STEM subjects grew by 3%, driven by Mathematics (up 3.3%) and ICT (up 6.3%) as well as rises in the numbers
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics, according to the exams body CCEA. The top STEM subjects for boys and girls during the period 2011-15 at GCSE level were Maths and ICT with boys favouring Design and Technology for their third place and Biology coming in third for girls.
A further interesting phenomenon is the spotlight falling on Media and Film studies in recent years. Numbers here were up 11.2% last year while England and Wales saw a 1.6% fall in entries for these subjects. The development of Creative Learning Centres in Armagh, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in recent years which train teachers to deliver programmes in the use of creative and digital technology is thought to be a factor, as well as the increase in film and television productions developed in Northern Ireland. Languages and Art and Design subjects have lost favour with pupils over the past five years and while French remains the most popular language, the numbers sitting it have declined. Only Spanish, the second favourite, is holding its own with Irish coming third and fourth placed German seeing a 10% reduction here and across the UK.
No more jobs for life
According to Tina McKenzie, Managing Director of PeoplePlus NI and Regional Director for the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, the industry body for the recruitment sector, parents need to forget the notion of a job for life and alter their perceptions about traditional professions. “For Millennials in particular, the path to a successful career will be more varied than ours, and in some ways more challenging. The concept of a ‘job for life’ is virtually extinct for them, with many predicting young people can expect to have nine jobs over the course of their workinglife and at least one major career change,” she warns. “Even so, our young people continue to invest significant amounts of time and money gaining highly specialised qualifications often chosen based on recommendations from family members based on what jobs were most lucrative in
their time – not necessarily which jobs are most in-demand. “As a society, we have to reconsider if this is the best thing for our young people and for our economy.”
Fewer teachers, more nurses
Tina points out that there is a glut of teachers but a serious shortage of nurses in Northern Ireland and suggests we should be training fewer teachers and more nurses. She points out there is also a severe shortage of butchers and lorry drivers in Northern Ireland. “The almost crisis-level shortage in LGV drivers has also seen local employers panic last October that there would be a slowdown in online deliveries.” She suggests that young people gain skills that can be transferred from one job to another. “We know that skills in computer programming are in demand across sectors – whether that be finance, medicine, or the creative sector. For our young people, they do not necessarily need to gain a computer science qualification in order to learn how to code – for many it’s a hobby they have picked up. So, for example, a jobseeker with a qualification in theatre combined with a computer programming hobby will set themselves apart in our burgeoning film industry if competing for a digital media role.” Finally, she advises young people never to underestimate the benefit of having gained work experience through a part time job while at school. While many parents may worry this is valuable time away from study, it can in fact be the deciding factor when it comes to landing a job.
“An employer is more likely to take a chance on someone who has proven themselves before. Previous work experience shows a young person can fit in a work environment, listen to direction, and grow with an organisation,” says Tina. She adds that last June the UK Commission on Employment and Skills (UKCES) issued a report on ‘The death of the Saturday job’ which highlighted a drop from 42% of 16-17 year old students both studying and working in 1997 to just 18% in 2014. “With figures like these, can we be surprised that employers often cite a lack of work experience as a problem among candidates?”
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 47
Bayley is in her final year at Little Samantha’s Samantha Flower Girls’ School, Belfast, and knows all guide about exam pressures! to getting through testing times
ith less than four months left of my secondary school education, I am beginning to reflect on my time spent at school. Whether school days really are the best days of your life, I don’t know, but I’ve certainly loved the last seven years and will be sad to leave in June. As I get ready to leave, I am thinking about all of the amazing times I had throughout school and the things I’ll miss; seeing my friends every day, the support from teachers and overall, the familiar and homely atmosphere of my school. However, another thing that stands out to me is the immense pressure I have felt in the last few years to achieve good grades. Despite support from teachers and comfort from my family, I have felt very stressed, to say the least, in particular throughout my A Levels. This is common for everyone undergoing any important exams. Here are my tips for dealing with exam pressure.
1. Revise – the first tip is very obvious but necessary. There’s no use feeling stressed but not helping yourself by doing the work. I find buying new, pretty stationary at the start of exam season helps me to stay motivated. 2. Don’t overwork yourself – Take breaks for every 45 minutes you spend studying or else you won’t take anything in. Get
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away from your books for 15 minutes and have a cup of tea or a walk so that you’re refreshed for more learning. Making a revision timetable is useful to make sure you accomplish what you need to without overburdening yourself.
3. Talk to your peers or family – Your
fellow students understand exactly what you’re going through and it can be very helpful to confide in them about the pressure you feel. Family members can also provide comfort by reassuring you that not getting what you want isn’t the end of the world.
4. Group study – If you are having a
difficult time studying at home, you may benefit from meeting up with your friends and going to the library. It is the perfect environment for revision because you are surrounded by people also taking exams and there are fewer distractions than at home. I found this particularly beneficial during my AS exams.
5. Remember you come first – As students, pressure comes from everywhere to do well in exams, especially from teachers and sometimes family as well. However, if the pressure is getting to you it’s important to remember that the results you get in August are not any reflection of your worth and your wellbeing comes first. Repeats aren’t the worst thing in the world!
48 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
‘Inspirational’Dempsey determinedto‘beat cancer’sbutt’
BY MAUREEN COLEMAN
here are days when mum-of-three Lynn McInally feels like pulling the duvet up over her head and staying in bed so she doesn’t have to face the trials of everyday life. Then she looks at her seven-year-old daughter Dempsey, still smiling despite battling a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer, and she forgets her own woes. Dempsey, says Lynn, is a ‘true inspiration’, who refuses to be beaten by the disease which has seen her undergo surgery, countless rounds of chemotherapy and proton therapy. Dempsey’s last two birthdays have been spent in hospital yet the little girl remains upbeat and determined to get better. “Of course there are days when I feel like throwing myself a pity party,” says Lynn. “But then I remember that it’s Dempsey who’s actually going through all this and she’s not giving up, so I’m not giving up either. “Everyone who meets her says that she’s an amazing character. When people tell her how brave she is, she says she’s just getting on with it. She doesn’t complain, she just soldiers on. She really is incredible.” Dempsey was just five years old when she was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma Cancer in February 2014. As the tumour was pressing on her spinal cord, causing paralysis, she had to undergo immediate surgery. Eight rounds of intense chemo followed, then more surgery. Lynn, who was born in Scotland but has lived in Belfast for 10 years, then took Dempsey to the US where she stayed for three months, having proton therapy. At the time, family, friends and members of her local community and church helped fund-raise for the trip. Lynn and her former partner Robert, Dempsey’s father, had both left their jobs so they could look after the ill little girl. Dempsey received 30 blasts of proton therapy and more chemo, which she continued to have when she returned to Belfast. At the beginning of 2015 Lynn and Robert were given the news they’d been longing to hear, the MRI results showed that there was no evidence of the disease in Dempsey’s young body. Her parents and siblings were delighted. But just a few months later their worlds came crashing down again when they were told that not only had the cancer returned, but it had spread to her legs, pelvis and shoulders as well as returning to the primary site. The devastating prognosis was that the cancer was terminal.
Lynn McInally with her beautiful and brave daughter Dempsey However Dempsey’s grief-stricken parents refused to throw in the towel and began looking into alternative methods of treatment, while still taking the medical advice of the doctors. They discovered that several clinics in Europe had helped other children beat cancer and were spurred on by positive stories and testimonials that they’d read. Because Dempsey was too sick to travel, her parents began researching new ways of boosting her immune system – switching her water to alkaline-based, introducing a raw and organic food diet and giving her special supplements. “We’ve very grateful for the help from the NHS and we still take the medical advice on board, but this is our daughter
and we’re prepared to do anything to keep her alive,” says Lynn. “If we can boost her immune system so she can travel, then we can bring her to one of these clinics in Germany or Switzerland, where they offer revolutionary treatments to try and cure cancer. “All the doctors here can do now is keep giving her chemo to stablise her and we’ve been told her condition is terminal but Dempsey’s not prepared to give up just yet. So neither are we. “She’s a real fighter and we’ll try anything to help her. Rather than choose to accept that she’s going to die we believe that there’s something else that can be done to cure her.”
Stuart Knight, a firefighter and children’s entertainer, was so touched by Dempsey’s courage, he set up a Facebook page to raise money to help fund the alternative treatments that aren’t available in the UK. Monies raised will go towards travel, expenses and insurance. Stuart, who has two daughters himself, says this is the ‘last route’ that can be taken to try and beat this ‘awful disease’. The Facebook page is called ‘‘Dempsey’s battle to kick cancer’s butt’ and anyone can go on to donate or suggest new ways of fund-raising. As Lynn says: “Yes, it’s been a rollercoaster and Dempsey has been through so much in her short life but anyone who meets her understands why we have to keep fighting. “If she can keep going, then so can we. We’re not giving up until we get our daughter better.” To donate or help fund-raise go onto https://www.facebook.com/ Dempseysbattle.co.uk/
50 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
iClever Foldable Bluetooth Mini Wireless Keyboard
GIZMOS to go daft for
SMART Master Bullet Kitchen Blender Set
Automatic Grill Cleaning Grillbot
This year inventors across the world are putting the final touches on the gadgets and gizmos that they hope will change the world. Whether it’s making your everyday life more entertaining or that little bit easier, Ruaidhri McCarney spots a few of the more interesting gadgets coming in 2016
Cooke & Lewis CLBM1SS-C Built In 800W Microwave with Grill
Sage Tea Maker Kettle by Heston Blumenthal, £139.99 @ Amazon Notorious kitchen visionary Heston Blumenthal has set his sights on your brew with his Sage Tea Maker, promising to ‘revolutionise the way you drink tea’. The tea maker features five pre-set tea settings to get the best from your chosen tea and a tea basket that automatically lowers at the precise temperature and automatically raises after the optimal steeping time.
iClever Foldable Bluetooth Mini Wireless Keyboard, £21.99 @ Amazon For fat fingered folk and everyone fed up with fiddly and frustrating mobile phone and tablet keyboards, iClever’s wireless keyboard is the fix for you. Compatible with Windows, Android and iOS devices, the foldable Bluetooth Living keyboard allows users Nostalgia to enjoy creating and Vintage Blue communicating across Heavy Duty multiple platforms on Juicer Bluetooth enabled devices wirelessly. With a compact and portable design, this wireless Bluetooth keyboard makes the perfect keyboard for travel.
Automatic Grill Cleaning Grillbot, £99.99 @ Amazon If your grill is a grime magnet or the one week of good weather a year fills you with dread that you will have to clean the
Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Tea Maker Kettle
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 51
The Virtual revolution is upon us
ZUtA Pocket Printer barbecue to finally get using it, Grillbot aims to save you peace of mind along with some elbow grease. The love child of Mary Poppins and R2D2, the Grillbot scrubs filth away with the press of a single button, leaving you to season those steaks and crack open a cold one.
ZUtA Pocket Printer, preorder from $199.99 @ zutalabs.com Now that seemingly every tech gadget in the world can fit in your pocket, ZUtA Labs decided it was time the printer jumped on the miniature bandwagon. The easy to use small mobile printer connects via Wi-Fi and works with any computer, tablet or smartphone, and is set to be released in September this year.
URB-E Scooter, from $1499.99 @ urb-e.com Ever thought that the latest hoverboard craze looks like fun but it’s missing handlebars? Me neither, but URB-E have us covered anyway with their line of nifty portable electric scooters. The foldable URB-E scooter can carry an adult up to 20 miles at a top speed of around 15mph and includes a removable lithium-ion battery that is fully chargeable within four hours.
Smarter Coffee, £179.95 @ www.red5.co.uk The Smarter Coffee comes with built in wi-fi meaning you can use your smartphone to order coffee made to your taste requirements from anywhere in your home. A ‘wake me up’ mode will have your coffee ready for the morning rush and a ‘welcome home’ mode means there will always be a cup of coffee to comfort you after a hard day at work.
Water Dancing Speakers
SMART Master Bullet Kitchen Blender Set, £79.99 @ www.design55online.co.uk The Master Bullet can do any job in just 10 seconds or less – with no mess! Whether you need to chop, dice, grate grind or blend, with its compact and versatile design, this is the tool for you. Quickly whip up a smoothie for your morning commute, some soup for your lunch or just to prepare the vegetables for your evening meal. The Master Bullet blender is a fantastic addition to your kitchen.
Living Nostalgia Vintage Blue Heavy Duty Juicer, £29.95 @ www.kitchencraft.co.uk Nothing beats the taste of freshly squeezed, homemade juice and it couldn’t be easier to do than with the new Living Nostalgia juicer. This vintage blue leverarm juicer is perfect for extracting orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit juice with just one easy squeeze. Complete with steel strainers to easily remove pulp and seeds, a collector cup is also included for capturing the juice.
Cooke & Lewis CLBM1SS-C built in 800W Microwave with Grill, £124 @ www.diy.com/ cooke-and-lewis Quickly and conveniently cook your food with this new Cooke & Lewis single fixed grill Microwave. It has 7 automatic cooking programmes that are shown on an LED display and the automatic defrost function is ideal for thawing out food from frozen.
Water Dancing Speakers, £39.95 @ www.red5.co.uk When music plays the speakers spurt four jets of water, contained in a transparent casing and illuminated by bright multicoloured LEDs. This creates a truly unique water show. The water actually bounces to the music. Powered by USB or mains supply, they make the perfect laptop accessories.
irtual reality, though by no means a new idea, is undoubtedly the technological innovation to watch out for in 2016. For the first time, technology has advanced enough to allow the dreams of so many science-fiction books and films to become a reality. At its simplest, you strap a TV to your head, stick on a pair of surround sound headphones and you are instantly transported to a whole new world. Whether it’s in video games, movies, music, live events, science, medicine, engineering or more, VR is set to start a tidal wave of innovation in more fields than any other technological advancement in years. Not looking to miss out on the buzz, big businesses are doubling down on VR before consumers have even got their hands on devices.
Sony Playstation VR
HTC Vive Social media giants Facebook believe in its potential so much so that they bought over VR developers Oculus for over $2billion in 2014. The Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, leaders of the VR revolution, are both set for mass consumer release in 2016, with many other companies such as Microsoft, Sony and Samsung not too far behind with their own devices.
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Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016 Nerf N-Strike Elite Sonic Fire Blazefire, £19.99, Toys R Us Get ready to take down the competition and be the ultimate warrior! With real crossbow action, the Blazefire can fire darts up to 90 ft.
Original Stomp Rocket, £9.65, RRP £10.99, amazon.co.uk This air-powered rocket launching set is amazing fun. Jump on the pressure pad to send the rocket up to 400ft in the air.
Waterwheel Play Table, £39.99, step2uk.com With canals, moats, lake, boats and a wheel tower, it’s a fantastic addition to any garden, providing your kids with hours of waterbased fun. Step 2 Up and Down Roller Coaster, £129.99, Toys R Us This fantastic Up and Down Rollercoaster is perfect for thrill-seeking toddlers! Brightly coloured, and duarable, this little rollercoaster will provide hours of fun!
Lego Star Wars 75117 Kylo Ren Lego Star Wars, £19.99, shop.lego.com Enter Star Wars battles with Kylo Ren. Buildable and highly pose-able the figure features a real cloth cape and robe, Ren’s special Lightsaber and arm-swinging battle function.
Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsabe, £44.99, Toys R Us Master the force and create your own custom Lightsaber. Provides the parts to create hundreds of lightaber combinations.
Letthefunbegin... Kids will have hours of fun with these new toys on the market covering everything from outdoor fun to fantasy games Wiggle Car Blue, £29.99, Smyth’s Toys Self-powered wiggle cars require no batteries. Just hop on and start wiggling! Wiggle cars use gravity and centrifugal force to move forward when the rider twists back and forth.
Chad Valley Castle with Slide, £149.99, RRP 199.99, Argos This fantastic slide toy fills up in two minutes, providing endless hours of fun for your child.
Viewmaster Virtual Reality Starter Pack (MultiColour), £22.99, amazon.co.uk Enter the world of virtual reality. This is your portal to immersive adventures that will transport you around the world and beyond.
Disney Descendants Villain Kids Signature Mal Doll, £20.95, The Disney Store This pose-able character doll comes with a stylish outfit and accessories. Also included is a locket for you with a sticker inside!
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 53
Small stepskey tomaking ablended family work
n 2016, the traditional ‘nuclear family’ of a husband and wife and two or three children, is making way for a whole range of set ups with family combinations of single parents, stepparents, LGBT parents, step-siblings, halfsiblings, adopted and fostered children. ‘Blended families’, where people who already have children set up home together can be fraught with difficulties but can also be very beneficial to the children growing up, providing them with a healthy and diverse environment. Forming a blended family is a longterm process. Often children feel a lack of control over their parent’s choice to marry or set up home with someone new. Empathy is key to forming a successful blended family. One must empathise with the child having to get used to a new parental figure and new step siblings. Recognise this and try to see it from their point of view. As well as this, listen to your spouse and try to make them feel included – often they can feel like an outsider. If your marriage makes you a stepparent, you need to spend time working out your relationship with your stepchildren. Do not think of your step-child as ‘his/her’ child but rather regard them as an individual. You need to kind, generous, attentive, respectful, interested and fun to be around. When step-family relationships work, it’s because the people involved are working on them. You need to sit down with your partner to discuss money, discipline, childcare and any other issues that you haven’t mutually agreed upon yet. Also, each parent should be responsible for managing his or her children’s schedules, providing discipline, and communicating with the ex-partner about any parenting issues. To keep everything running smoothly, perhaps it would be an idea to come up with some rules, for example: we must always eat meals together as a family, do not touch step-siblings things without their permission, no disrespectful communication, discussions about issues are vital. “Stepfamilies need clear and enforced rules and routines.” says counsellor Robert Taibbi writing in Psychology Today. “Knowing when and how chores or homework are to be done, having a consistent and age-appropriate bedtime routines, understanding that hitting will not be tolerated and has
consequences – helps children and teens feel safe and able to settle. “In their absence – when rules seem arbitrary, when enforcement is inconsistent or non-existent – children are prone to not only test the limits and act out more, but being essentially leaderless and anxious, argue and fight among themselves. Unable to relax and trust, they can’t develop positive relationships with each other across family lines.” Make time and space in this new relationship for romance. Try to schedule your child-free time so it overlaps. Having time together – just the two of you is so important. Regular ‘date-nights’ are essential. “Resist the urge to stay glued to the TV or computer. Instead take the time to talk about your day, talk about yourselves,” Robert Taibbi advises. “Periodically take stock of what is working well, decide on what needs to changed or fine-tuned. Take the time to remember why it is that you came together in the first place. This is what will help you both weather the normal ups and downs that come with change.” Talk about what you need from each other, how much attention and how much time. Are you feeling nurtured? If not, what would the other one need to do to create that? If that emotional commitment, romance, daily attention, affection, and appreciation are missing, then the foundation crumbles. If the couple relationship isn’t working well, then the family will fall apart. It is not always difficult, and sometimes one can find that their children are fully supportive of their new blended family. Local woman Alex McDonnell’s mother recently got engaged to a man who has two children from a previous relationship and she is looking foward to the union: “I’m happy as long as my mum is happy. He’s a really nice man and as long as he looks after my mum, I’m glad,” she says. With regards to the size of her family increasing, her opinion remains positive: “I come from a small family so it will be
really nice and exciting to have more people around at events like Christmas.” Successfully blending a family is not something that can just happen overnight. It takes time, effort, hard work and a lot of empathy and understanding. Everyone is
adjusting to an unfamiliar, new situation and there will be times where things don’t wrk out. That’s why continuing to put the effort in is crucial. One day, you will all look back and see that putting the effort into your blended family was worth it.
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Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Off road cycling is safe and great fun
Gainmorethanfitness withfamilyactivities C hristmas may be well behind us now but that unwanted festive weight might not be. Whether it’s down to those second servings of ham and turkey or that second (or third) dip into the selection box, most of us will be carrying around a little more stuffing than we’d like at this time of year. Losing it, though, doesn’t have to be a chore. And it doesn’t even need to involve the neglected New Year’s resolution you stuck to for a week. One of the most positive aspects of getting fit as a family is that it is a great chance to spend more quality time together, whilst having some fun in the process. Going as a family on long walks or working on the garden together is a great chance for everyone to talk about what’s on their mind as well as listen to each other without the distractions you find in the house. It is widely recommended that children and adolescents should do at least one hour or more of physical activity each day. That should include moderate-intensity activities, where your child is working hard enough to raise their heart rate and break a sweat, and vigorous-intensity activities,
BY RUAIDHRI McCARNEY
which mean they’re breathing hard and fast, and their heart rate has gone up quite a bit. As part of your child’s 60 or more minutes, they should also do activities that strengthen their muscles and bones, such as gymnastics, climbing, tennis and team
sports like rugby, football and basketball. If your kids are Minecraft mad, they will be much more open to building and creating in real life. Whether it’s building, sculpting, woodcarving or painting, get kids applying stuff they’re interested in into physical activity. It doesn’t need to be just Minecraft either, put an active spin
on what they are interested in and it’s far more likely to stick. Not everyone in the family will enjoy the same activities so mix it up. Include competitive and non-competitive activities so that it’s neither too serious nor lackadaisical. If everyone in the house has a pedometer, a competitive spirit will no doubt start to kick in. Offering up a reward at the end of the week or month for the highest total will no doubt get a few in the family walking that bit more everyday. Alternatively, to chill things out a bit, take the family out for a walk in the countryside or at the beach. Fresh air has been proven to help your blood pressure and heart rate, strengthen your immune system, improve digestion, reduce stress and generally make you feel better. Getting the family involved around the house is an excellent way to get everyone on their feet. Gardening involves plenty of different types of activity, suitable for all ages. Whether it’s planting a new shrubbery, getting rid of the weeds, cutting the grass, making a vegetable patch or even landscaping, there’s a mucky job suitable for everyone in the garden. Find out about your local sponsored walks, runs and cycles for a great opportunity to get the family motivated to exercise and train for a cause that’s greater than themselves. Getting fit for a good cause can help the uninspired with that extra motivational push to get out the door and get a sweat going. Getting into the routine of exercising together regularly will also pass on very beneficial life habits for the younger generation(s) in the house for years to come. Making exercise fun and the norm massively increases the chances that younger ones will stay active in later life. No matter how you chose to get your family active, it is vital to know the difference between encouragement and pressure. Forcing children to go to a practice they don’t want to go to, or making them go on that hike in the countryside when they don’t feel up to it is a surefire way to make them resentful of both you and whatever the activity is. It is up to you to make the activity as appealing as possible. For example, comment sporadically throughout the week about how they’re progressing at practice, whether it’s learning new dance moves or copying what Ronaldo did in a recent match. Letting them know they are improving is a key part to keeping kids motivated in sports and hobbies. Some ideas for activities that the family can do together:
n n n n
n n n n n n n It’s an unwritten rule that the littlest one gets to win at beach racing
Walk the dog Go to the park Cycle/roller skate/skateboard together Join a sport/dance class together (all ages classes – martial arts, gymnastics, swimming etc) Get active toys that are fun to use – and take part yourself (hoola hoops, skipping rope, Frisbee, pogo etc) Pick your own fruit and veg at a farm or plant your own fruit and veg patch Active holiday ie skiing, cycling, hiking Go exploring – see new places, parks, areas near you Walk to school in the mornings and when picking them up again Ask what the kids want to do – playground, crazy golf, laser tag, ice skating etc and do it When out, collect wood for fires, go conker hunting, collect sea shells to decorate with etc – don’t come back empty-handed
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
Family Life | 55
Making a splash at last year’s Mud Madness, pic Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
Everyone gets involved in the warm up before a previous Belfast RunHer event. This year’s big day out is at Delamont Park, Downpatrick
ost of us would like to be fitter than we are and the first signs of spring remind us that it won’t be long until we’ll have to shed some layers and show a bit of flesh. Why not look at taking part in a charity event that will not only help you achieve your fitness goals but do other people good too! Running a marathon might be beyond you, but running, walking or cycling a shorter distance is a great way to combine getting healthy with fundraising, or do a relay and even younger and older members of the family may be able to take part. Also, as you have both a time and financial target, it’s easy to stay motivated. For the daredevil, there is always something to catch the eye. The charity MACs which supports young people who are homeless or facing that situation, is teaming up with Moonjumper International for a tandem skydive. You leave the plane, attached to an instructor, at 13,000 feet and have a 7,000 foot freefall before the instructor opens the canopy. Not one for the faint-hearted! The social aspect of a charity fundraiser is one of its strengths. At sponsored walks, rides and runs there’s great camaraderie and the sense of being united in a common goal makes people’s normal reserve fall away even if they are only watching rather than participating. Everyone is familiar with the major events, like Sport Relief, which is coming up on March 18-20 and sees people come up with lots of hare-brained schemes for raising funds, or the Belfast Telegraph RunHer which takes place every year in association with Pure Running – last year saw a record 1,600 women taking part with the most senior runner being 86 years old. This year there’s a brand new event – The Belfast Telegraph RunHer Delamont 5k and 10k. It takes place at Delamont Country Park, near Downpatrick, on Sunday, April 3. Girls aged 11 and over can
The kids will love taking part in Mini Mud Madness, in aid of Marie Curie. It’s happening at Foymore Lodge, Portadown, on Saturday, April 16, from 5-7pm and will see kids aged 6-16 run, crawl and climb over and through obstacles and lots of mud. The adult version takes place the following day. Early booking is recommended, email firstname.lastname@example.org One of the biggest events of the year will be the 2016 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon which, as usual, takes place on the May Bank Holiday which this year falls on May 2 and includes a three mile fun run. The official nominated charity this year is Mencap although other charities, such as Action on Hearing Loss, is also appealing for support. The closing date for entries is April 15. To find out about registering, visit www. belfastcitymarathon.com. For a family of adventurers, Cystic Fibrosis is looking for thrill seekers to take part in the Lagan Zip Slide - it’s not until August 28 so there’s plenty of time to get your courage up, email events@ cysticfibrosis.org.uk Newry City Marathon is on May 29 and again, you can opt for the 10K or walk. For further information visit www. newrycitymarathon.com If you prefer to take your exercise on two wheels, the mental health charity Aware is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a Malin to Mizen cycle. The week long event, from May 28-June 4, is sure to be full of cameraderie and while out of the question for young children, it might appeal to older teens and their parents. The charity is looking after all meals, accommodation and support services. Visit www.aware-ni.org/events to find out more. Finally, some charities enable you to take part in a challenge which also brings with it the opportunity to visit exciting and exotic places. For instance, the sight loss charity RNIB is running an Iceland Trek on October 6-10 this year, with the prospect of seeing the stunning Northern Lights. Find out more at rnib. org.uk while Southern Area Hospice Services is running its Trek Iceland event on July 30-August 5. It also encourages fundraisers to look at all sorts of challenges such as the increasingly popular Camino de Santiago pilgimmage which featured in the movie The Way. See www. southernareahospiceservices.org
✸ Local mum Natalie Davis and daughters Anaia (aged 7) and Arielle (5) get ready for the Action Cancer Mothers’ Day Walk with their dog Louis, on March 5 in Hillsborough Forest Park. To take part contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3379, email email@example.com or register online at www.actioncancer.org enter the 5k race while the lower age limit for the 10k is 15 years. Organiser Ed Smith said: “We’re doing four events this year and Delamont is the first. There is lots for all the family to do. Generally dads bring the kids along to cheer on their mums. At Delamont there’s a miniature railway they can go on. “At our Coastal event, on May 20, there is lots of entertainment and a barbecue laid on for all the family at the finishing point at Crawfordsburn. It’s very popular.” For further details visit www.runher. co.uk. Action Cancer’s 2016 Mothers’ Day Sponsored Walk will take place on
Saturday, March 5, within the beautiful grounds of Hillsborough Forest Park, Co Down. After walking the 1.5 mile route, all participants will be given a well-deserved goody bag sponsored by SuperValu, and treated to mid-morning tea/coffee, scones and delicious shortbread. The walk is suitable for all, including buggies and takes in a beautiful tree lined lake, which attracts a lot of wildfowl including ducks and swans. There will be free car parking facilities at the forest park and directions will be in place for all walkers with an Action Cancer guide leading the way. Visit www.actioncancer. org for details.
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Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
What’swhatin thegamingworld XCOM 2 (PC)
Firewatch (PS4, PC, Mac, Linux)
The Division (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Here’s our pick of the new releases for gamers…
Street Fighter V (PS4, PC)
Far Cry Primal (Xbox One, PS4)
Hitman (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Quantum Break (Xbox One)
Dark Souls III (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
XCOM 2 (PC)
The Division (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – March 8
Quantum Break (Xbox One) – April 5
Dark Souls III (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – April 12
Taking place twenty years after you failed to defend earth from an alien invasion in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 has you lead a resistance force against earth’s conquerors.
Set in a post-apocalyptic New York after a smallpox pandemic collapses the United States government and descends the country into chaos, you are tasked with helping “The Division” hold what little remains together and find out the truth behind the collapse.
Time-bending Xbox One exclusive Quantum Break, first revealed back in 2013, looks set to finally release this spring. Along with the game, an accompanying TV series will tell the story of how main protagonists Jack Joyce and Paul Serene use their abilities to target crime after a time travel experiment goes wrong.
According to Hidetaka Miyazaki, the visionary behind the Souls series and now president of From Software, Dark Souls 3 will be the last time adventurers will kindle bonfires in the mysterious medieval fantasy setting. The series gained cult status through its unrelenting challenges which leave players savouring every hard-fought victory and dreading each unexplored new area, and the latest instalment doesn’t look likely to be pulling any punches either.
Firewatch (PS4, PC, Mac, Linux) The first release from newly formed studio Campo Santo, Firewatch follows fire lookout volunteer Henry as he ventures through the Wyoming wilderness.
Street Fighter V (PS4, PC) Video gaming’s most iconic fighting series returns looking sharper than ever for the new console generation. Featuring crossplatform play for the first time, beginners and experts alike will have both familiar and fresh mechanics to explore controlling Ryu and co.
Far Cry Primal (Xbox One, PS4) – February 23 Ditching shotguns and helicopters for spears and eagles, Far Cry Primal ditches the series’ modern setting for a trip back to the Stone Age. Using Doctor Dolittle like animal whispering, you use whatever wild beasts you can tame to help you make your tribe thrive.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4)
Hitman (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – March 11 The lethal Agent 47 returns in the latest Hitman instalment to take on a new assassination contracts throughout the world. Hitman promises to build on the series’ trademark creative freedom when it comes to taking out targets.
TROUBLE AND NATHAN DRAKE HAVE GOT ON SO WELL TOGETHER THAT IT’S NO SURPRISE THEY’VE DECIDED TO CROSS PATHS AGAIN
Ratchet & Clank (PS4) – April 12 Alongside upcoming movie by the same name, Ratchet & Clank is set to reboot the long running Playstation franchise for a new generation. Retelling the events of the series first game, we see how Ratchet and Clank met each other as they attempt to save the Solana Galaxy from being destroyed by Chairman Drek and the Blarg.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (PS4) – April 26 Trouble and Nathan Drake have got on so well together that it’s no surprise they’ve decided to cross paths again for Uncharted 4. Ominously titled A Thief ’s End, Nathan’s older brother Sam, long believed to be dead, suddenly reappears seeking Drake’s help for one more adventure.
58 | Family Life
Howmum’sdeath unleasheddoglover’s newdirection Lisa McBratney, who lives in Newtownards, tells Family Life how she found a new lease of life doing what she loves after a family bereavement
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Lisa McBratney with Foxy, one of her furbabies
minded kids most of my life but I gave up my job in a creche to take care of my elderly mum who had developed vascular dementia. When mum passed away a couple of years ago it left a huge hole in my life and I was left feeling completely lost and full of anxiety. I always had a love of dogs and had run a voluntary rescue operation for a few years with another girl, saving dogs and stray kittens/cats from the pound and finding them homes. Mum also shared my love of kids and animals and she accompanied me on many of my rescue missions, so in those first few months after her death I spent lots of time out walking with my own five furbabies. The hours of thinking time helped me decide to start up my own dogwalking/ petsitting business. At first I was apprehensive and unsure – being out of work as a carer had left me with low self confidence, but my friends and family gave me the encouragement and support I needed to believe I could actually do it. One friend in particular, went a step further and said she would love to be my first client and asked me to walk her boxer/ lab, Hendrix. Her faith in me gave me the final push and I went home and set up my Facebook page and Waggy Tails was born. One of my own wee rescue dogs passed away not long after and one day when I arrived to pick up Hendrix for his walk Cathy surprised me with a picture she had drawn to cheer me up – and that’s how my logo was born. The pleasure I have from seeing how happy all my waggy tails are makes every day worthwhile – dogs expect so little yet give so much. They helped balance out my life again and brought back my smile. It’s not just the four-legged clients who brighten my day, I’ve made some wonderful friends with their human mums and dads. It’s nice to meet kindred spirits who share my passion for animals and after the horror of neglect I saw through rescue it’s an amazing feeling to see how many owners treat their animals with the respect they deserve. It’s a privilege to be entrusted with their
A friend’s sketch of Lisa became her logo
The loss of her mum Florence hit Lisa hard
Lisa with Mr Waggy Tails, husband Noel furbabies, whether it’s just for walking them or looking after them while their owners are on holiday. The clients are all so brilliant to me and are a constant source of support and love seeing all the Facebook pictures and videos I put up so they can see how their babies are enjoying their walks and even holidays as much as they are. Waggy Tails offers lots of home comforts and activities for its guests to enjoy on their holidays, including sofas to lounge around on, their own bedroom in case they would like some quiet time, two separate enclosed outside play areas, toys, plenty of cuddles,companionship and a private field I rent for some of our walks which I have named The Haven. We also have trips to
the local forests and beaches, so all in all we like to aim for a five-star experience! Of course petsitting isn’t all just a ‘walk in the park’. Traffic some days can be as impossible as the weather, dogs roll in the smelliest things, find the muddiest places to plunge into, chew through leads, lose balls and I’ve gone through numerous mobiles phones – it’s an occupational hazard I’m always dropping them as a dog jumps up and knocks me over. But the pros always outweigh the cons. I’ve had a lot of really memorable moments from starting Waggy Tails. When I had only started a few weeks Judy the Springer’s mum fell and was refusing to get in the ambulance as her pup was going to be left behind. Thankfully one of her carers rang me and I ended up taking care of Judy for seven weeks – the tears of joy rolling down her owner’s face when they were reunited was something I’ll never forget. I even receive Mother’s Day cards and birthday cards etc from my furry friend Judy which is extra special to me as I can’t have children, so it’s the only Mother’s Day card I will ever receive. As the business started growing Mr Waggy Tails (as he is now recognised by my clients) and I, along with our five dogs and two cats needed a bigger house to accommodate my ever-growing client list, so we all moved nine months ago to our
new Waggy Tails ‘mansion’. Sadly just before Christmas our wee pensioner Foxy passed away but I feel blessed he got to enjoy eight months of the new house and its spacious garden as he hadn’t been up to walks for a long time. Our own wee crew consists of Taz, the Scooby Doo Staffie; Hooch, the Victor Meldrew of dogs; Jack, the gentleman; Mac, the king of the castle and Facebook celebrity in his own right and our two kitties, Muzby and Freckle. I have continued the dog theme decor from our old house – my husband nearly drew the line at sleeping under a duvet cover with pugs on deckchairs all over it, but I talked him round. The cats have their own separate area and enclosed run and I mind cats on a word of mouth basis to keep them company. Dogs are so full of energy and life that their joy is infectious.They make me laugh every day. It’s great to watch timid or nervous dogs build confidence and make new friends. I love dogs’ carefree spirits and how they relish muddy puddles, swimming in the sea and being outdoors no matter the weather. Looking after dogs in a home from home is fast replacing people using kennels and I’m excited to be part of this new evergrowing venture. The day in the life of a petsitter can sometimes involve mud, sweat and tears but it’s never boring and the trust, companionship, laughs and love from my four-legged pals make it one of the best jobs in the world.
19 February 2016 | Belfast Telegraph
SCRIBBLES has drawn us in
don’t think I’ve ever really considered myself a ‘cat person’. While I pretty much like anything furry, I’ve always found it hard to win their affection. They’re fiercely independent and as long as you feed, water and stroke them (when they feel like it) humans are pretty redundant. But now as I write, Scribbles (as we’ve christened our feisty two-year-old) is busy grooming herself on my husband’s knee, purring softly and I’m smitten. More smitten about her than she is about me mind. She eyes me cautiously, bright green eyes like saucers, blinking intermittently (I think that’s a good thing). However, she is quite taken by Mr Gordon, something to do with male pheromones or so I’m told. She takes her place in his lap, curled up, looking achingly cute, asserting her place in the Gordon household. I swear if she could talk, she’d tell me to move out. My hands are covered in scratches, I’m not sure if she’s just playing a bit vigorously or she hasn’t quite let me into her circle of trust yet. Like every relationship, I know it will take time. I think I’m just a bit needy if I’m being honest. It’s not that we haven’t bonded at all, she occasionally snuggles up beside me when I’m not seeking her attention and doing my own thing. I’ve so much love to give that wee rascal but it will be on her terms. With each day you can see more of her personality coming through. She’s a lot more boisterous than I thought she’d be. I think I had an idea of cats constantly being curled up, snoozing. But our Scribbles is quite the madam, tossing up her toys, bouncing off the wall (literally) and trying to stealthily steal up the stairs and into our bedroom, which we’ve decided is a human
BY DAVINA GORDON
only zone. It’s been quite an eventful few weeks getting used to the new addition, there’s the constant sweeping up around the litter tray and cleaning up after her mealtimes (she quite the messy eater). She also went through a bizarre period where she was constantly meowing, howling and making what sounded like bird noises. At the time we thought she was just settling in but it transpired that, yep, she was in heat. Whilst we understood she had been spayed, the vet decided that another operation was necessary. Thankfully she is back to her normal self and the wailing has stopped to be replaced with meowing when she wants something. She has taken her first tentative steps into the big bad world (that’s outside) and although her eyes widen in wonderment at the sound of birdsong or the faint drone of cars, she is pretty petrified by it all. But baby steps, for now she is pretty content monopolizing our (her) home. We couldn’t imagine our world without her. So I guess that makes me a cat person, I’ve joined the club. It might be a while before Scribbles drops her guard with me, but it will be worth it when she does. They’re not too dissimilar to people really, and having a little furry person in the house is very rewarding. Just knowing you’re making a difference to her life (she’s a rescue cat) is fulfilling. We’re definitely looking forward to getting to know her better. We wonder what Scribbles thinks of her new humans/ slaves, then again it’s probably better that we don’t… If you’re interested in adopting a pet visit www.assisi-ni.org/
60 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
Giveyourfamily ﬁrstclasscomfort, combinedwith world-classsafety make this one of the safest ways to travel. Lets just say, this family car is BIG on safety.
Big on luxury
Introducing the awardwinning the Volvo XC90
tylish, spacious and packed full of safety features, the XC90 is an exceptional family car that ticks a lot of boxes. So if you’re looking for a family car that looks great, is great fun to drive and also meets your growing family needs, then the Volvo XC90 won’t disappoint. Voted 2015, Auto Express Car Of The Year, this seven seater SUV is Volvo’s most exclusive car to date. Not only does it turn heads from the outside, it’s equally impressive inside. With its clean, crisp, minimalist design, top-notch materials and flawless quality, its cabin feels luxurious, and it’s packed with stunning hi-tech features.
Big on safety
As befitting of a Volvo, the XC90 won’t let you down when it comes to protecting your loved ones. Volvo believes the XC90 is the
safest of its type on the market. It’s packed with the latest safety technology, including two brand new safety features – such as Auto Brakes at Intersection, and Run Off Road Protection. To prevent accidents at busy junctions, the former is able to brake the car automatically if the driver attempts to pull out in front of oncoming traffic – particularly useful at blind junctions, where edging out into the road might be dangerous.
The second feature, Run Off-Road Protection, comes into its own on bumpy journeys. When this happens, the seat belts automatically tighten to hold occupants more firmly in place, and a special energy absorbing material between the seat and the seat frame weakens the forces that may travel through a driver’s spine when the vehicle is subjected to a hard landing. Beyond these two pioneering systems, the XC90 is loaded with many more features to
It’s good to drive, too, in a relaxing and unflustered way. Volvo delivers the best in comfort and refinement, and it benefits from well weighted steering, composed handling and spacious interior. This stylish, spacious seven seater delivers allround. Every element works in harmony, made from the finest materials—like soft leather, and grainy wood. With unique details like a crystal gearshift lever and ventilated front seats inspired by the human form with massage functions and four-way electric lumbar support. Every tiny detail in the Volvo XC90 is designed to make driving simpler, more enjoyable, and less stressful. This award-winning SUV truly combines style, substance and safety. Discover the All-New Volvo XC90 at your local Volvo dealer.
Book a test drive at: S M W Belfast Volvo Business Centre 028 9068 6000 www.volvocarsbelfast.co.uk Greers of Antrim & Coleraine 028 9446 0066 www.volvocarsantrim.co.uk
62 | Family Life
Belfast Telegraph | 19 February 2016
BMW 5 Series
Thinkingof doingadealfor newwheels? W
hether you’re on the market for your first car, a much needed upgrade or something to get you from A to B during retirement, searching for a new set of wheels can be a daunting task. Here are some of the latest and greatest motors on the market to help give you an idea of what to look for.
Buying your first car is always a big moment and it’s the motor you’ll never forget, so it’s important to get the most bang for your buck. With insurance always sky high for the first few years for new drivers, something small and affordable is what you should be looking at. The Hyundai i10 has made a name for itself as the premiere city car in recent years. The i10’s main strengths are its cost to run and its practicality, but it boasts decent performance for such a small car.
package, offering a great drive that is comfortable over long distances along with a quality and spacious interior.
Alternative: Audi A4 Sunday drivers
In later age, comfort and accessibility often takes precedence over other factors when it comes to picking out a new car. Whether it’s for visiting family and friends or trips to the countryside, the Mazda2 will get you there quickly and comfortably. Feeling spacious on the inside, the Mazda’s interior has a quality feel to it, but its main selling point is its comfortable and enjoyable drive.
Alternative: Skoda Fabia
Alternative: Volkswagen Up
If you’re looking for something bigger and more under the bonnet, the Ford Fiesta offers the best driving experience over all its rivals. Often available at excellent discounts as well, it’s no surprise it sells so well.
Alternative: Volkswagen Polo Big upgrade
For those with disposable income looking for something to feel good driving in for the next few years, the BMW 5 Series is the best mid-sized executive car on the market. Even with stiff competition from Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes, the BMW is the whole