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16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 3

Howdoyoumeasure awonderfulrestaurant? ...bytheMitreattheCulloden! P Advertising feature

aul McKnight, is a Bangor man who has been the Executive Head Chef at the 5 star Culloden Estate and Spa for over 30 years. Paul and his talented brigade of chefs have won many awards over the years and have delighted the palates of thousands of people, including many celebrities, who come to sample the best locally available produce, cooked to perfection. The Culloden’s much-loved Mitre restaurant has an irresistible Tasting Menu, which showcases the extreme talent of Paul McKnight, as a chef at the top of his profession and that of his very creative sous chef, Brian Donaldson. He uses the finest quality produce available in Northern Ireland, including herbs grown on the estate which are carefully selected and picked each day for use in the dishes, to create truly unforgettable food whose tastes are simply exquisite. It isn’t just the food that visitors find captivating at the Mitre, it’s also the unique atmosphere and following a complete redesign, the little touches that tell you, you are dining somewhere very special. The vision for the redesign was to stay true to the heritage and architecture of the

original building while introducing a contemporary luxury with rich upholsteries, mocha woods, flowing gold voile and antique mirrors reflecting the natural light from wall of floor-toceiling windows overlooking the estate gardens and Belfast Lough towards County Antrim. You can watch the cruise ships sail into Belfast, and imagine the Titanic sailing down the Lough over 100 years ago. It’s a hidden treasure and is a divine dining experience. There are other elegant adventures to be enjoyed on a visit to the Culloden Estate and Spa. The award-winning Culloden Spa has undergone a recent refurbishment and upgrade to make it one of the finest spas in Northern Ireland. If you enjoy a more casual dining experience, the Cultra Inn, also situated within the estate and a two minute walk from the hotel itself, offers a selection of homemade dishes created using the finest local produce, with a modern twist. It is the perfect place to have an enjoyable meal with family and friends, offering diners the fresh taste of the season in a relaxed setting. To book dinner at the Mitre or at the Cultra Inn simply call the hotel on 028 9042 1066 or book online at

4 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Contents 6 Life is going swimmingly for water loving babies

24-25 Slim down for the festive season! Annemarie McMahon on how she went from size 20 to size 10

8-9 Get the Luxe look this autumn 10 For the hottest accessories, look to the past 12 Fresh make-up looks for the new season

26 A day in the life of makeup artist Ciara Daly

13 A hint of cinnamon to spice up your hair

28-31 Travel: Rediscovering Dublin; mid term breaks

16-17 Men’s style - it’s all about the sport jacket 18 Living the life organic


19 Get your garden winter ready; how to make compost

34-35 Letting go: How to raise independent kids. The facts about child abduction attempts. Is Stranger Danger letting our children down? 36-37 Mind your health living well and for longer

20-21 Home interiors go opulent for autumn 22 Artist Alison Lowry’s home tales from a schoolhouse



23 Personalise your home with unique crafts Published by Belfast Telegraph 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast, Co. Antrim. BT1 1EB FAMILY LIFE MANAGER Jackie Reid Belfast Telegraph EDITOR Fiona Rutherford Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd

38 How skin cancer battle led Jacquelyn Stewart to business success 40-41 The latest books, games and DVDs

42-45 Flavour your life with these delicious recipes from LMC 46-48 Meet four adults taking the plunge into education 50 Gadgets and gizmos 52-54 What’s on, plus, meet The Fall actress Brenda McNeil 56 Fun family activities

CONTRIBUTORS Davina Gordon, Rachael McLaughlin, Claire McKeever, Valeria Higgins, Ruaidhri McCarney and David Rogerson

58 Getting your life in order

DESIGN Susan McClean INM Design Studio, Belfast

60 The green way to make savings at home


62The best new family cars

Welcomeback! The leaves are turning from green to gold, the sun is setting earlier by the day and rush hour traffic has been swelled with the return to school. It’s time for the autumn issue of Family Life.


or many families the beginning of the school year means fresh appeals from 10-12 year olds to be allowed to walk home alone or with friends or to be allowed to stay out later. It’s hard to know how much freedom to give them and when to begin. We have a special feature on the issue, including the true extent of stranger danger and how to deal with it. With September designated National Organic Month, we look at ways to live greener and how to make savings by adopting a green approach at home. The Fall actress Brenda McNeil talks about her life and hopes while Jacquelyn Stewart reveals how battling cancer led her to launch a successful health business. As the schools and colleges return, we look at adults swapping the world of work to return to the classroom, as well as the pressures facing children sitting the transfer test. Artist Alison Lowry reveals the chal-

lenges of converting an old schoolhouse into a home and studio and Ciara Daly gives an insight into the life of a makeup artist. With the countdown to the festive season on, we check out ways to slim down for Christmas and hear how Annemarie McMahon shed four stone to go from a size 20 to size 10. We also cover the latest fashion, hair and beauty trends to perfect your look. Health focus includes tips on living well and for longer as well as the latest fertility treatment. As ever, the September issue of Family Life is also packed with recipes, holidays, home interior trends, entertainment, things to do, motoring and much more - a winning mix that earned us a Silver Award at this summer’s CIPR NI Media Awards at The MAC. Get in touch if you have a story to share in the next edition of Family Life - out in November.

6 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016 Alexander takes the plunge after completing the Mastery programme

Taketheplunge By Valeria Higgins


lexander, ready, go.... and with these words I submerge my little boy under the water and let go of him for just a few seconds while he kicks his legs and ‘swims’ towards the edge of the pool only a few feet away. Welcome to the world of infant aquatics, where babies from as young as a few weeks old are brought to classes and taught to ‘swim’. No, this isn’t an attempt to create the youngest world champions, though with the Olympic Games in Rio having just finished, Alexander might have been inspired to start training for the 2028 Games while he watched some of the swimming events with me. Alexander (now aged a year and eight months) actually started quite late in the pool; many parents begin formal classes when their babies are only a few months, if not weeks, old. Alexander was almost a year and two months old when we started at Aquababes, though we did earlier attend swimming classes organised by the local Surestart scheme, but they were more about just being comfortable in the water and splashing about. Infant aquatics aims to develop a young baby’s natural reflexes in the water into conscious movements which eventually evolve into independent swimming. A lot of the focus is on teaching children how to enjoy the water and how to be safe in it, instilling self-rescue techniques into babies and toddlers if they ever happen get into difficulties while in the water. But why start so young, you may ask. Ellen Robinson, Alexander’s swimming instructor at Aquababes NI, says: “Our approach to infant aquatics is based on encouraging the development of a newborn baby’s natural reflex in water into conscious movements of the legs and arms by the end of the first year. If these early reflexes are not strengthened by regular stimulation they will disappear in most

babies after five or six months.” Infant aquatics has many benefits - it encourages quality bonding time for baby and parent; helps the baby to see water as an enjoyable and fun activity (and this in turn may help babies who don’t particularly like bathtime to start to love it) and builds water confidence; strengthens the baby on the inside and outside and may even improve their sleep and appetite. For the parents there are also the benefits of meeting up with other parents and babies while enjoying a great workout at the same time - lifting an 11kg baby in and out of the water for half an hour each week does tone those muscles. And for me as a first-time parent it helped give structure to the day with an activity other than eating, sleeping and nappy changing. Ellen says: “Baby swimming consciously strengthens the parent-child relationship and through early contact with other babies of the same age it furthers the child’s development particularly the personality, social and motor skills. As well as this, the child’s positive attitude to water and its familiarity with it lays the foundation for a child’s later interest in learning to swim.” For me personally, the fun factor of

Valeria with Alexander (18 months) in the pool

swimming for you and the baby is the most important. On the whole, Alexander has enjoyed the classes from the very start, he loves bathtime and has loved the swimming. There are occasions when out of the blue he’ll refuse to do certain routines which have previously been a firm favourite, most recently he has protested every time I place him on his back in the water to allow him to float almost unsupported. Ellen is always on hand to support and reassure parents, she says that all children

will go through these phases and the best course of action is just to persevere. After a while baby (and parent) will again be happy to be in the water and partaking in all routines. And, if all of the above wasn’t enough to convince you to take the plunge into the pool, most infant aquatics classes offer opportunities for underwater photoshoots, and that’s not something to be missed to add an ‘out of this world’ print to the baby photo album.

INSTRUCTOR’S VIEWPOINT - Ellen Robinson “There are many well established social, physiological and emotional benefits to teaching your child to swim early if you take a gentle approach. Research has shown that babies who swim are often more alert for their age and have better eating and sleeping patterns. Additionally, just as in adults, swimming improves the cardio-respiratory function of babies and their general health. “Baby swimming develops the mind, allowing babies to investigate new environments and ways of moving in the three dimensional space of water that they may not otherwise be able to. Water offers babies a heightened multi-sensory experience involving touch, hearing, sight and even taste and smell. “The underlying philosophy of our approach to infant aquatics is that swimming comes naturally to babies. Parents can be shown how to help their babies move on their own in the water, offering physical support, steady encouragement and constant praise. “Our emphasis is not on teaching your baby to swim in a formal way but on encouraging free movement in the water. This will lead to swimming as soon as the babies are physically and emotionally ready. Our approach to infant aquatics is based on encouraging the development of a newborn baby’s natural reflex in the water into conscious movements of the legs and arms by the end of the first year. If these early reflexes are not strengthened by regular

stimulation they will disappear in most babies after five or six months. “A good infant aquatics class should be designed to teach parents gentle and effective techniques that will inspire a life-long enjoyment of water and happy family swimming together. “The programme I’ve designed for my Aquababes classes will introduce new parents to many of the techniques they’ll need to effectively teach their child early swimming skills and to be water confident and water safe. The parent-infant bond is established as they learn to support and partner their baby in the water and a baby’s natural swimming reflexes are built on and strengthened. The different activities and exercises practised are designed to aid motor control and physical development in a happy and relaxed environment while allowing parents to assist their babies’ development all the way to independent toddler swimming.” ✱ Ellen Robinson is a swimming instructor at Aquababes NI, she offers classes across mid and east Antrim. To contact Ellen, find AquababesNI on Facebook, call 07517071633 or email Aquababes NI offer classes across Northern Ireland, check out their website www. for more information.

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 7

MLAsfightformorefreechildcare M LAs Claire Hanna and Nichola Mallon are hoping their proposal for an increase in the free pre-school childcare allowance will make it into the programme for government this term. Claire Hanna says the cost of childcare is a huge burden for hard-pressed households, eating 45% of the average weekly income. She adds there are long-lasting social and educational benefits to early education. “Very often skilled workers, women in particular, are unable to return to work due to limited childcare options. In 2016 people shouldn’t have to choose between a fulfilling career and caring for their child - proper provision can allow them to do both. That’s

why we’re proposing an initial increase in the basic allowance of free pre-school childcare from 12.5 hours to 20 hours with a view to further increasing it to 30 hours. This makes sense economically and socially. The government must adopt the plans with tailored legislation as soon as possible,” added the SDLP MLA. Nichola Mallon added: “It is unacceptable that in 2016 so many of our skilled workers, most of them women, are pulled from the workforce because of the overwhelming cost of childcare. When 61% of parents say they have struggled with the cost of childcare and 56% say the costs have placed their family under pressure, it’s critical that

we act to address that situation.” The 2015 NI childcare cost survey by Employers for Childcare found that:

π 61% of families struggled with their childcare bill either throughout the year or at some point during it; π 81% of one parent families struggled to meet their childcare bill throughout the year or some point during it, compared to 59% of two parent families; π 56% of parents said that the cost of childcare put their family under increased financial pressure; π 24% of parents regularly used other means to meet their childcare bill, such as credit cards, loans from family and friends, or payday loans. Claire Hanna added: “The countries who achieve good work-life balance, as well as equality in the workplace, facilitate working parents and generally have fairly universal childcare. “Like many working parents, I rely on private daycare when it comes to childcare, and am very aware of the difference an increase in the amount of free childcare available for pre-school children would make to lots of families - many of whom are paying a huge percentage, even all, of their take home pay on childcare. “England is now providing 30 hours of free childcare cover for children in their pre-school year, and if the Tories are looking after working families better than we are here, we have a serious failing to address.”

Who’s minding your child? With the new school term underway many parents are considering their childcare provision. NICMA the Childminding Association’s Childminding Development Officer, Liz Brown, has been out and about this summer offering support and advice to parents about the benefits of using a registered childminder. Liz explains that: “ All registered childminders will have received training in Health & Safety, Safeguarding & Child Protection and Paediatric First Aid and are regularly inspected by their local Health & Social Care Trust Early Years Team to ensure they are delivering the highest standard of care.” An added benefit for parents using a registered childminder is the opportunity to access financial help with their childcare costs through the tax credit system. Liz can also provide information about becoming a registered childminder yourself - if you are interested in sharing in the care and development of young children by becoming a self-employed day care provider and would like to find out more simply contact NICMA on 028 9181 1015 or visit the website - Alternatively you can contact Liz direct on 0751 747 2271 or by email at

8 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Floral metallic jacquard jacket, £65, Next

Siren top by Giles, £65, Debenhams

Fabrice trouser, £49, Monsoon


Burnt out bomber, £40, Wallis

John Rocha bomber, £59, Debenhams

T Military jacket, £69.99, Zara

Bomber, £75, Miss Selfridge

he change in seasons often comes with a transition period in fashion - colours darken gradually and materials ease into warmer textures. Not this year though. In the blink of an eye, fashion will jump from pastels and folk styles to darkness and decadence. This season’s trends can work to our advantage - we can invest in autumn style without the need to update it come wintertime. Think gothic glam, eccentricity and grandeur - everything we’d associate with Christmas style has come early this year. The one enduring summer piece is the bomber jacket. Autumn will see the bomber maturing into more refined patterns, with dark shades and delicate florals. Bombers can still be your statement outerwear in these days of changeable climes, but thanks to the rich textures we can now add them to our evening wardrobes too. We’ll have to look into the past when styling looks this season. High street influences will be purely vintage. Velvet is the hottest texture - not just reserved for the

festive season this year. Tops, trousers, shoes, skirts, coats - you’ll be able to get anything you dream of in this plush material. Jewel tones add even more to the glamour of velvet pieces. Cuts and textures are reserved and elegant this season. Brocade blends and jacquard prints create an air of opulence. Choose victorian ruffled blouses to pair with brocade cigarette pants for a sophisticated office look. These high-end outfits call for high rise necklines. Sticking to a nude palette and lace detailing keeps everything very demure. In knitwear this year, the only way to go is polo, and these high necks make for excellent layering pieces too. There are elements of fun on the way too. We’ll be getting in touch with our animal instinct as feline prints claw their way to the fore. Leopard detailings can add a little pounce to any all-black look. Whether it’s a full patterned coat or a touch of wildness to your footwear, we won’t be able to outrun the big cats’ style. Occasion wear is taking on a haunting theme. Long black lace

Dress, £190, Karen Millen Victoria Square

Skater dress by John Rocha, £69, Debenhams Butterfly by Matthew Williamson, £250, Debenhams

dresses with ruffles and destructured silhouettes are on the way. Prettier partywear can be found in floral embroidered dresses,

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 9

Limited edition jumper, £35, skirt £45, bag £35, M&S

Star by Julien McDonald, £160, Debenhams

Velvet applique top, £69, Monsoon Lilac lace, £39, Miss Selfridge Velvet shoes, £35, Next

Boots, £120, Dune, Victoria Square

Midi skirt, £55, Miss Selfridge featuring delicate designs and splashes of colour working to offset the dark overlays. Metallic pleated midi skirts add sparkle to this season of style that is free from excessive embellishment. The bardot tops of summer are going to be swapped out for daring one-shoulder pieces, with throwback to outrageous and exaggerated 80s shapes. Military mode marches its way into autumn, as expected. This year however, we’ll be joining the navy instead. Admiral jackets are sailing into style, and we’ll be swapping khakis for navy blues and gold trimmings. You may even find these jackets come with medals and badges, so you can wear the accessories with sartorial pride. Decadent designs and luxurious fabrics mean you will always appear to have made an effort for this season. It’s a time to embrace elegance, cast off cool summer styles and enter this era of antique chic with confidence.

Coat, £299, Ted Baker, Victoria Square

Leopard print collar biker jacket, £65, River Island

Heeled loafers, £75, Biba, House of Fraser

Leopard print coat, £80, River Island

Leopard print heels, £52, Next

Nine by Savannah H Miller, cami £18.50, skirt £45, bag £65, Debenhams

Military shoe, £50, River Island

10 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016 Izzie gloves, £40, Dune

Ring, £12, River Island

Leather and suede bag, £285, Michael Kors

Blue drop earrings, £16, River Island Brave the beret this autumn

Blue and silver velvet choker, £7.99, New Look

Sia faux fur handbag charm, £20, Dune

Rose quartz stone ring, £15, Accessorize

Skinny green watch, £20, Next

Samia bag, £40, Dune




ccessories are wistfully nostalgic this season. As clothing comes unadorned with sequins or embellishments, we’ll be looking to add sparkle anywhere else we can. To complement vintage looks, choose accessories that appear to be freshly borrowed from your grandmother’s dressing table. Timeless heirlooms like brooches, rings and scarves are in high demand, but if you can’t find any true antiques then the highstreet will be your go-to bric-a-brac stall for gems this autumn. Anything goes in terms of jewellery finds. Larger-than-life gemstone rings and chandelier earrings add ornate beauty to a look. Statement necklaces may often be traded out for neckties and collars. Slim silk scarves knotted at the neck add that alluring gothic tone that’s set to haunt the winter fashion scene. Collars have quickly become a stylish alternative to chunky necklaces, and the thin ‘90s-inspired chokers will be upgraded to rich retro pieces more suited to nighttime. Before the winter woolies return,

Tassel brooch, £6.99, New Look

berets are the hat of choice this season. Your street style will seem very much a la mode with the addition of a little French cap. Handbags are downsized to pretty miniature shoulder bags with embroidery and embellishments or classic croc-style box bags. The prevalent leopard print of this season could be easily adopted in handbag form if you’re not especially a feline fan. The furse (yes, a fur purse) is on the way in later months, but we can become accustomed to the idea of furry holdalls now with some faux fur handbag charms. With so many faux jewel embellishments and elaborate jewellery, it may seem tricky to avoid looking as if you’re trying too hard. Don’t worry, try not to be too matchy-matchy and feel free to add several ornamentations to a look. Remember, it’s about adding personality to outfits. With some select pieces, we can appear as though we’ve enriched our vintage collections while toting trinkets from the good old days.

Gold clutch bag, £15.99, New Look

Beret, £16, TopShop

Leopard print bag, £35, M&S Pearl effect and diamante brooch, £15, M&S

Aspinal of London, £695, House of Fraser, Victoria Square


12 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016 7. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Big Bang, £15

1. MAC Amber Times Nine, £25 8. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Naked, £15

2. MAC Blue Nectar Lipstick in Intoxica, £15.50

Newseason, new makeup, newyou

3. MAC Blue Nectar Lipstick in Heroine, £15.50

4. MAC Brant Brothers Fluid Gel Creme, £16

Smoky eyes and pale lips are a sophisticated take on this season’s look

BY DAVINA GORDON New season beauty trends

The change in seasons means we have the perfect excuse to change up our makeup! As always, it’s important to ensure your skin is clear and glowing. On the catwalks, the emphasis was on hyper-radiance, so irridescent products should be a makeup bag staple. Sweep shimmery powder on your cheekbones, eyelids and cupid’s bow for an ethereal look.


6. MAC Instacurl in Black, £19

5. MAC Brant Brothers Eye Kohl in Paragon, £15.50

Next up, the eyes have it. You’ll be glad to know that feline flicks are still in vogue and the braver amongst can even take it a step further with exaggerated semi-circles and sharp flicks. For a wide-eyed look, add white highlighter to the inner corners of the eye. If you’re feeling experimental, why not try... wait for it… quilted eyeshadow. Models on the Chanel runway sported very intricate designs on their lids. This of course is not the easiest look to create, but realistically, all you need is some mesh material to create the effect. Whatever you try for your eyelids, make sure you have a fat black lash. If you’re in a playful mood, you also can work rock ‘n’ roll or seventies disco eyes.


If you love lippy, you can either go pastel,

from turquoise to tangerine, or go for a bold blackcurrant lip. Models were sporting super defined lips that mimicked a heart shape. Even if nature hasn’t bestowed you with a heart-shaped pout, you can always wing it with lip liner. Take it a step further with a glitter lip liner for a look that’s hot right now. This season, there is a big emphasis on gloss, not just on the lips, but eyelids as well.


Don’t forget your locks. ‘Undone’ hair is now a thing… that’s a trend we can definitely get our head around! Also and rather unusually, finger waves are making a comeback. Pair with a casual pony to epitomise cool. A deep parting is also a key trend, and it will revamp your whole look. Chignons were also very fashionable, as seen on the Valentino runways, as well as twin knots, as seen on Dior models while Erdem girls sported brooch adorned twists. If you’re like a magpie, lucky you! It’s very cool to adorn your do with brooches and jewels or if you want to make a statement, get your hands on metal flowers, a la Rodarte. If you have an annoying fringe that’s growing out, no problem! Wave-like fringes are achingly cool. If you’re in a lazy mood, that’s no problem, simply tuck sleek hair into your

9. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Helena, £23

10. Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes, £25

polo neck or tie your hair in a loose bow… effortless chic. It’s always fashionable to be yourself, so don’t forget to embrace your individuality!

Must-have new season picks: 1. MAC Amber Times Nine, £25 2. MAC Blue Nectar Lipstick in Intoxica, £15.50 3. MAC Blue Nectar Lipstick in Heroine, £15.50 4. MAC Brant Brothers Fluid Gel Creme, £16 5. MAC Brant Brothers Eye Kohl in Paragon, £15.50 6. MAC Instacurl in Black, £19 7. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Big Bang, £15 8. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Naked, £15 9. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Helena, £23 10. Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes, £25 Beauty fix

Dry eyelids can be a pain, especially when you have to change your beauty regime to allow time for your eyelids to heal. This powerful little gel could be the answer! Dry Eye Gel from Skin Shop has been developed as an extremely gentle and light formulation suitable for very sensitive, itchy, dry skin around the eye. Thanks to an extract of Cardiospermum vine, a natural phyto steroid, the eye gel delivers anti-inflammatory, anti-itching benefits. It can be applied daily Dry Eye Gel, and is an ideal base for makeup. £6.95 Available from

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 13

Apinchof cinnamonspice…. by Rachel McLaughlin


utumn is here, and with it comes hair tones as warm as the falling leaves and seasonal bakes. I visited Bill Harris Hairdressing in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter recently for a hair update and to discover the trends of the new season. The typical colours of autumn are plum, mahogany and copper, which complement the rich hues we see in the fashion world this time of year. There are some surprising shades too, as icy blues and silvers carry the cool winter feel. The adventurous types are going for bright red, as well as going right back to nature with hints of moss green. As the days begin to darken, our hair colour doesn’t have to follow suit. Many people opt to lighten their hair in order to brighten their complexion, and possibly their mood. As I learned at Bill Harris, it’s all about what suits you best. “Everybody’s hair is right for something,” Bill says, and

we don’t have to follow the trends to find our best look. I was looking to transition my summer blonde highlights into autumn without letting go of the dimension that can be achieved with having different tints. We decided on blonde and copper, with a concentration of highlights around my face. Face contouring has taken over the makeup world, but we can do a lot with


hair contouring too. Colourist Chloe Duffy tells me that we don’t always have to brighten areas around the face, as darkening sections can also enhance your skin tone. Face-framing colour is adapted to a person’s hairline, so we focused on lifting the colour of my ends to add a gradient that swept down from my side fringe. A mix of honey and copper conditioner ensured I had a rich finish - as warm as the coffee and cinnamon swirls that go handin-hand with the season. Kerry Beck took over for my haircut, and we chose to stay on-trend with a long bob (lob). It seems a celebrity a day is going for the chop, and with the weather turning less hair-friendly, I was happy to keep it short and manageable. Mid-length layers bring movement to the hair, while keeping the cut slightly shorter at the back adds extra angles to play with. Autumnal weather and the drying heat of summer can take its toll on our hair. A

After conditioning treatment could do the trick if you’re looking to refresh your locks. The Joico K-PAK Revitaluxe provides a quick fix for distressed hair, while Olaplex helps to rebuild damage. There are many more services on offer at Bill Harris to help specific problems. A humidity block spray and leave-in detangler was all I needed to protect from the September rain and wind, and soon I was ready to embrace the new season with a new look. Check out to see if you can find the autumn hair that works for you.

14 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Volunteerfor aclinicaltrial


Playing your part in helping develop new drugs of the future


ince 1996, BioKinetic Europe has been at the fore of drug development carrying out clinical trials in its Belfast clinic. As a clinical research organisation (CRO), BioKinetic works with a range of study sponsors from Big Pharma to niche biotechs and medical device companies in Europe, the US and Asia. Operating in the early phase clinical research sphere, the drugs tested at BioKinetic are at a very early stage of their development, around 7-10 years away from registration and potentially making a real impact on patients’ lives. Every year, hundreds of volunteers take part in clinical research across a wide ranging demographic, including healthy young men and women and patient groups such as asthma/COPD and various women’s health and chronic pain conditions among others.

4 reasons to volunteer at BioKinetic Assist in development of new treatments - Data

from clinical trials helps prove safety and effectiveness of new treatments and assists regulatory authorities around the world decide whether to approve a drug for use in their country. Help others - Volunteers have the personal satisfaction of contributing towards vital medical research. You get paid for your time - You will be paid for your time and level of commitment. Comfortable facilities - Based on Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BioKinetic’s operations are spread across four floors in a multi-purpose building. There are two modern, comfortable clinical units; a 30-bed clinic and an 8-bed clinic as well as

separate outpatient units. Our friendly staff go to great lengths to ensure that the time our volunteers spend with us is relaxing and enjoyable. To help you enjoy your stay we have wifi, Sky TV, a DVD player and a games console in the clinic. We also provide board games, books and magazines along with daily newspapers.

Is it safe?

While every clinical trial carries an element of risk, BioKinetic works to the highest industry standards, carrying out all research to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines. BioKinetic also hold supplementary accreditation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA),

Givinghopetochildless couples,naturally Fertility Therapist Ruth Ellen Logan has helped almost 650 couples in Northern Ireland conceive since 2009. Davina Gordon reports on one of her many success stories


uth Ellen practises at her care centre Logan Wellbeing, in Belfast city centre, offering Maya massage fertility treatment to both men and women. The Logan Abdominal Massage Method is based on the ancient Mayan understanding of the importance of the positioning of the reproductive and digestive organs for pelvic and abdominal health.

Ruth Ellen Logan (centre) with happy family Emma and Andrew Sneddon and their daughter Blythe

This non-invasive, gentle external massage claims to help improve organ function by relieving congestion, enhancing blood supply, increasing lymphatic drainage and aiding nerve supply to the pelvic and reproductive organs. The technique is best known for the correction of a prolapsed, fallen or tilted uterus and for the relief of common digestive disorders. The Logan Fertility Method is a combination of acupressure, mindfulness and reflexology.

Baby Blythe

One couple to benefit from the Logan Fertility Method is Emma Sneddon (41) and her husband Andrew (48), from Lisburn. Emma and Andrew went through an agonizing 14 fertility treatment attempts before Emma turned to the Logan Fertility Method. The combination of acupressure, mindfulness and reflexology did the trick and Emma gave birth to their beautiful baby Blythe three years ago. “We had IVF at The Royal Victoria Hospital a few years ago but lost the baby, which was devastating,” Emma explained. The couple were told they had ‘unexplained’ fertility problems. “On really dark days we thought there was no chance of having a baby. We’d done the free IVF, provided by the NHS and tried everything available but nothing worked. We thought

the UK regulatory body that reviews and approves every study before any clinical conduct can begin.

What kinds of new medicines are being tested?

BioKinetic’s Clinical Research Professionals are experienced in clinical trials across most therapeutic areas, but have particular specialisms in early phase trials in Diabetes, Women’s Health, Arthritis and Pain Management, Vaccines, and Asthma & COPD.

Where can I find out more?

On the website at www.biokineticeurope. com or by calling the recruitment team on 028 9081 8385.

we’d reached the end of the road until a friend of ours recommended Ruth Ellen. The Logan Fertility Method was our last resort, and for me, my last chance, as we had explored all other avenues.” Emma fell pregnant with twins shortly after receiving treatment from Ruth Ellen but sadly lost one of the babies. “It was heartbreaking and also really frightening as we were so worried that we’d lose the other one too. I did take it easy during my pregnancy, rested as much as possible and thanks to Ruth Ellen’s ongoing treatments and priceless support and advice, our beautiful baby daughter Blythe was born three years ago. Everyone says she looks like Shirley Temple; she’s a wee dote and we feel we’re the luckiest family in the world.”

Helping other women

Ruth Ellen says she and her husband David had their daughter Aiyana (5) and son Tommy (3) thanks to her receiving Maya massage in America. She returned to the States to train in the techniques and within five years had created the Logan Fertility Method and Logan method abdominal massage, which is now accredited by the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists). “I am so proud that I have helped 646 women become mothers and we’re so passionate about spreading the word that there are alternative fertility treatments available. It is not always necessary to receive IVF or ICSI, which is often very intrusive, expensive and emotionally and physically draining. Some women do need IVF and many endure numerous IVF treatments without being successful.” For further information visit

16 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Beige zip up textured coat, £69.99, New Look

Boardwalk Check Shirt, £47.50, White Stuff

Ridley Gilet, £99, Crew Clothing

Jeans, £100, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria Square

Looks tolayeron... Shearling coat, £699, Jaeger

Track the trend One of the big trends in menswear this autumn/winter is the track jacket, which has sprinted off the training pitch and onto the shop floor. Go bright or black and layer it over a polo shirt with a parka on top to look cool and stay warm in winter. Ellesse and Adidas are leading the field, but even Burberry has got on board. For those who don’t want to go to work in sportswear, there’s always the bomber or statement jacket which remains huge this year.

Seasonal palette Autumn tones rule - as well as the green which has been breaking through this year, there’s an earthy brown in play, as well as paler camel colours and burnt orange and burgundy tones. Find them in everything from trousers to chunky knits.

Pick pockets Pockets are a serious ‘thing’ this season. Everything from jackets to gilets and trousers are crammed with them. You don’t need to be into bushcraft to go for this utilitarian trend which also ushers cargo trousers back into the shops.

Up to your neck in it Jumpers are turtle necked so there’s no need to wear a shirt underneath. If you are carrying a bit of weight, it’s best to steer clear of this look unless you’re wearing it under a gilet or jacket. Cardigans are also continuing their comeback, particularly the chunky variety.

Getting warmer The gilet or body warmer is back, many of them with a militaristic or utilitarian feel while the rest tend to be quilted. All have an abundance of pockets, of course. Wear it over a check shirt, for a look that works as well in the city as the country.

Animal magic Sheepskin or shearling has continued its march into men’s wardrobes. Go the whole hog (or sheep) or opt for faux fur or shearling on the collar for a less Seventies look.

Borg collar bomber, £65, Next Roadie boot, £110, Dune

Burnt Orange Collared Jacket with pockets, £29.99, New Look

Walk tall Shoes are anything from suede to a cousin of the hiking boot. Utilitarianism and comfort are key. For suits, go for a stylish brogue or a smart shiny shoe.

Boots, £160, Ted Baker, Victoria Square Men Originals Superstar Track Jacket £ 54.95

Men’s cargo pants, £24.99, H&M

Black and white gilet, £24.99, Blue Inc

Checked shirt, £28, Next

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 17

Scarf, Pretty Green £35, House of Fraser, Victoria Square

Barbour International Men’s Sport Collection - B.Intl Track Jacket GBP 119.00

Leather Jacket, £530, Hugo Boss, Victoria Square

Burgundy rollneck jumper, £25, Jacamo

Shearling trimmed leather jacket, £70, Burton Menswear

Brown rollneck jumper, £24.99, New Look

Waxed rucksack, £40, Next

18 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

by Rachel McLaughlin


here is so much talk about clean eating and free-from diets that it’s hard to know what to eat. We all want to make healthier choices, and sometimes the best way is to go back to basics. The organic lifestyle has been a dependable constant in the crazed-filled world of health and conscious living. This month is Organic September, giving us the perfect chance to discover what living organically really means. The campaign is organised by leading organic food and farming charity Soil Association, and it aims to celebrate all things organic, highlighting ways you can adopt it into your everyday life. It’s a time to be more aware of the food we eat, the items we use and the clothes we wear.

Organic explained What does organic really mean? Food and drinks packaging may dupe us into thinking that ingredients are all-natural, so it’s important to know what to look out for. Organic farming seeks to combine best environmental practices - using a greatly reduced use of chemicals, artificial pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides for growth and production. Organic farms must follow a high animal welfare standard, use natural methods and work to preserve the surrounding environment. Organic clothing uses natural fibres grown in the same way, and is treated without harsh chemicals. You can also find organic household products, which contain natural ingredients that help to achieve a more eco-friendly home environment. For us consumers, organic means eating food and using products that are free from vast amounts of mixed chemicals. The overall health benefits of organic food are often debated, but the one thing that is clear is that it is healthier for the world. Organic food can be more expensive, but there are good reasons for the higher costs. Farming and production methods take more time and effort, while organic toiletries and home cleaning products must contain natural ingredients and follow strict standards.


Taking the Natural Way Depending on how consciously you shop, switching to organic life can mean making big or small changes. For Organic September, why not try taking small steps to sample this more natural lifestyle? π Shop aware - look out for certification. Organic food is awarded these labels only if it adheres to EU and UK government standards. Accreditation groups such as the Soil Association hold high standards of approval for organic farmers and producers. π Boost your five a day - fruit and vegetables are some of the easiest organic foods to find in supermarkets. The big supermarkets all have their own organic ranges, and many stores source produce from the local area. They might be more expensive and smaller in size, but organic fruit and veg can contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, depending on the crop. π Milk it - choosing organic milk has benefits for both you and the farm it comes from. Studies show it contains more

vitamins and nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Organic dairy calves are given organic feed, and they have better living conditions and healthcare. π Moooove to new pastures - Organic meat, poultry and fish are raised in more natural environments, where pesticides are severely restricted. Try some organic beef or other meats this month to see if you can taste the difference. π Shop smart - organic foods may come with a shorter use-by date, so buy in small amounts to avoid waste. You can always freeze food to keep it at its most nutritious.

World-friendly farming Organic living all routes back to the origins of our food and ingredients. Food from organic farms is grown in soil which is free from artificial pesticides, which is safer for wildlife in the wider environment. We can do our bit to reduce pollution by supporting these farmers and making the effort to read labels to find local producers. Markets are the best way to discover more about organic producers in your area, where you have the unique chance to ask about where the fruit, veg or meat comes from. For farmers, raising livestock and growing crops to legal organic standards requires much more research and conscious methods. Careful crop rotation, cultivation and thermal processes are used to grow healthy produce. Ballylagan Organic Farm in South Antrim is one such organic farm, accredited by the Soil Association. Tom Gilbert, who runs the 120-acre enterprise with his wife Patricia, says organic farming is a much more thorough and labour intensive process. Weeding must be done manually, and there is a strict limit on the amount and nature of chemicals allowed. But organic food, Tom says, is all about what’s not in it. “It’s as nature intended it to be,” he says.

Pure style We live and breathe in our clothes everyday, often without thinking about where the material comes from. The textiles used in organic clothing contain no genetically modified organisms and are not treated with toxins or harsh chemicals before going on the rack. Cotton is grown without pesticides or fertilisers, while wool comes from organic sheep living and grazing on organic land. Babies and children with allergies could benefit from wearing such organic materials, which can be softer on sensitive skin and those with eczema. It can be hard to find purely organic clothes on the high street, but H&M’s Conscious range is there for those who want to try the eco-style route, while online stores for kids are aplenty.

Natural Beauty Organic September celebrations include Organic Beauty Week, which runs from September 19-25. The week is dedicated to encouraging people to look out for organic logos on skincare and beauty products. Without synthetic ingredients in conscious brands, you can let your skin soak up all of nature’s goodness. Neal’s Yard Remedies have collaborated with wellness blogger Ella Mills, of Deliciously Ella, to create a new skincare collection, with base ingredients of rose and lime essential oils and cucumber water for a refreshing and natural facial wash (£16) and moisturiser (£25). For a fresh approach to nourishing skin, try Petit Pai’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil (£22). It’s an intensely hydrating oil for nightime and suits both men and women. The little ones are definitely not forgotten when it comes to skin and body care. Baby-friendly certified organic brands to look

out for include Neal’s Yard, Petit Pai and Nom Nom.

Grow your own If you’re tempted to go gung-ho with organic living, why not consider starting your own organic garden? It’s a great way to get the kids involved and to teach them about how the growth of organic food separates it from the pack. Pick up some organic seeds, some healthy soil and you’re good to go. This is a great chance to use your own compost to nurture the plants and reduce waste. Expect to get your hands dirty though, since you won’t be taking any shortcuts with chemical fertilisers and pesticides! Visit for tips and trick to keep your plants pretty and pest-free. Munch time: Opt for organic for your next meal, or whenever you feel like grazing. Organic snacks tend to be whole foods too, so they have fewer additives and refined sugars great for kids! Here are some snack ideas which are easy to find in organic form: π Fruit - fresh from the fruit bowl, or dried, such as apple chips π Popcorn π Yogurt - mix into a smoothie, or frozen for a healthy ice-cream alternative π Nuts π Hummus and carrot sticks π Granola - you can even make your own energy bars Wash it all down with some organic herbal tea. You’ll find countless varieties in supermarkets and health food stores. Pukka, Clipper and Higher Living are some such accredited brands. For more information on Organic September, visit

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

How’sit growing?


he nights may be drawing in but that doesn’t mean you need to beat a retreat indoors just yet. Make or buy a fire pit and an awning or roof for your patio and you can happily relax outside until halloween has passed. While you’re relaxing over a hot toddy of an evening, you can plan your assault on the garden, which will soon need to become winter ready. Roses are still blooming well, and will for some time to come, while many shrubs such as cotoneaster and pyracantha are already laden with berries, ready to keep the birds supplied for the winter. Gardening being the most seasonal of hobbies, the ever changing landscape requires ever varying tasks. Around now, it’s a good idea to cover shrubs before the first frosts arrive while the still warm soil means it’s a good time for digging; plant evergreens and conifers or relocate them if you have decided to shift things around. Now is a good time to plant up spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, allium and of course snowdrops and crocuses

- those early harbingers of spring. You can also plant spring bedding plants now such as stock, wallflower and polyanthus for an early flash of colour. Of course, you don’t need to wait for summer to enjoy colour - cyclamen and pansies are a wonderful addition to the winter garden and look great in a hanging basket or window box too. Mid autumn is also a good time to plant your shrubs, climbers and deciduous trees. If you just want to relocate them, wait until they have lost their leaves. Over the next few weeks it’s a good idea to tidy up perennials such as sedum and phormium once they have finished flowering. Once you have cut them back, give them a good mulching and fertilising. As autumn progresses, it’s important to make sure everything in the garden is secured against winter gales. Brush up fallen leaves and add them to your compost heap. If you haven’t tried composting before, this month being organic month, is the perfect time to start. It’s so simple you will wonder that you never did it before and there’s little as satisfying as shovelling up rich earth that you’ve ‘made’ yourself. Cre-

Family Life | 19

ate a space at the end of the garden for your compost and start dumping your leftovers. You don’t even need to buy or make a bin as even an open heap will give you compost although it will take longer. Make your own compost Late summer to early winter is the peak time for making compost. Follow these tips from the RHS ( 1. Pick a site which is not subjected to extremes of temperature and moisture, preferably in a shady area of the garden. Earth makes the best base, but if you must use a hard surface, add soil to the bottom. 2. Your bin should exclude rain, retain some warmth, allow drainage and let in air. The larger your bin, the better. 3. Aim for between 25% and 50% soft green materials (e.g. grass clippings, annual weeds, vegetable kitchen waste, or manure) to feed the micro-organisms; the rest should be woody brown material (e.g. prunings, wood chippings, paper,

cardboard, straw or dead leaves). The bacteria and micro-organisms that produce the compost function best when the balance of green and brown materials is correct. 4. Turn the heap to add air, about once a month. If the heap is too wet or becomes compacted, then the composting process is slower as less air is available. 5. When is it ready? It can take anything from six months to two years to achieve mature compost which is dark brown, with a crumbly soil-like texture and a smell resembling damp woodland. Problems Wet, slimy and strong-smelling compost: Too little air and too much water are often to blame. Cover the heap to protect against rain and add more brown waste, such as chopped woody material, shredded woodchip, straw or paper. Dry and fibrous with little rotting: Usually caused by too little moisture and too much brown material. Add more green waste, or try a commercial activator or accelerator such as ‘Garotta’. Alternatively, add fresh manure at one bucket for every 15cm (6in) layer of compost, fish, blood and bone fertiliser at 270g (9oz) per 15cm (6in) layer of compost, or sulphate of ammonia fertiliser at 140g (5oz) per 15cm (6in) layer of compost. Flies: Well-run compost bins don’t produce swarms of flies, but if you do see these, then make sure you cover kitchen waste with garden waste after adding it to the heap and check that moisture levels are not too high, causing insufficient air in the heap.

20 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016 Copper hexagonal shelves, £105, Barnaby &Co.

Orange iron storage shelf, £225, Heal’s Bristol pendant light in brass, £35,

Copper effect antler wall décor, £47.99,

Dark blues, crystal and metallic elements make for a stylish, luxurious dining room, Normann Copenhagen - Ace lounge chair in dark blue velour, £450,

Beaded cushion, £22, Debenhams

Broste Copenhagen Jelva side table, Steel/Insignia blue, £130,

Goopulent thisautumn


oodbye bright shiny summer and hello moody autumn and winter. Make your home a sumptuous retreat with the season’s palette of burnt orange, warm copper and creamy latte. For cool neutrals, it’s still grey or white all the way and for dark contrast, midnight blue continues to cast its magic. Luxurious velvet, chunky knits and faux fur will create the perfect vibe for long

Habitat Jerry orange dining chair, £80, Argos

Multi bulb light, £34.99, TK Maxx

winter evenings. Add a check motif or some explorer themed items for a vintage feel or embrace your inner ‘70s child with something quirky or glittering. The rattan comeback is partly due to the revival of ‘70s style, as is the statement chair. Metallics remain an essential element while statement lights and chandeliers will have your bronze and copper pieces at their shimmering best.

Cotton cable knit throw in stone & natural, £50,

Elegant Peacock rattan chair, £645,

Vontreuba marble cushion, £26,

New England Addison Footstool, £445, New England Hartford Sofa, £995, New England Cushion, £35,

Harvey Norman’s hot 5

The top 5 trends for the season at style setting Harvey Norman are: 1.Velvet Showstopper: Every season should bring the one showstopper piece you cannot live without! Ours is a throwback to the time-honoured Chesterfield sofa, with soft velvet upholstery and deep charcoal colouring adding just a hint of drama. Ellie £749

3.Cool Cognac: No matter the season, camel and cognac tones will always look on trend, not to mention super sophisticated. Invest in a high quality dining set like the Stockholm for cool kitchen guaranteed to impress guests! Stockholm Table £629

2.Rattan Returns: Rattan is making its comeback this autumn and what better way to embrace the trend than with the Florence. A beautiful French inspired frame that combines the beauty of weathered oak with an intricate rattan headboard. Florence £599, available from October

4. Floral Fall: The floral trend continues to flourish but takes on a darker mood as we move into Autumn. Bursting from dark navy backgrounds in an explosion of vintage-inspired greens, deep pinks, and creams. Dramatic Floral Double Set £25 5. Sequin Sensations: This trend is all about adding a touch of glamour to your home! Transform your sofa or bed into an other-worldly destination of sequins and stars with these seasonal standouts. Guaranteed to instantly boost your interiors and mood, these cushions are this seasons must have! Voyage Maison ‘Elixir Galaxy’ Cushion £50

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 21



here’s nothing like a fireplace for instilling nostalgia for past times. Who doesn’t remember snuggling around the fire for bedtime stories or lying in front of roaring flames with a good book as a teenager? Having been ignored and maligned for many years as our love of living flame went cold, the fireplace has sparked back to life and is increasingly seen as the focal point in a room once more. In fact, such is the revival in interest in the fireplace that they are beginning to pop up in kitchen designs too - the hearth in the heart of the home. For optimum heat, you can’t beat a blazing coal fire but city dwellers in particular may live in smoke control zones. Wood burning stoves are eco friendly and heat the home efficiently, once you get the hang of lighting them. One useful trick for a cold winter’s day is to put the central heating on and get the radiators hot, then light your wood-burning or multi-fuel stove, turn the heating off and the radiators will remain hot all day. The drawback of a wood-burning stove is you need a place to store wood which needs to be seasoned. For a mild autumn evening when you want to relax by the fire but don’t want it to be too hot, a fire log is a useful and green alternative. For convenience and heating efficiency, check out pellet stoves. The pellets are

made from compressed sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural waste and other organic materials, they produce very little air pollution and are considered the cleanest of the solid fuel-burning residential heating appliances. Don’t think that because you don’t have gas that you can’t have a gas stove. These eco friendly, low maintenance, cheap to run stoves can be installed anywhere and can be vented through an existing chimney or you can make a vent for them. While most stoves tend to have a black or graphite grey finish, you can get a heat resistant spray finish match your colour scheme.

While a wood burning stove can’t have a wooden surround, as far as style goes, anything goes when it comes to fireplaces - vintage, Victorian, art deco, cast iron and even the old tiled surrounds can look well now and don’t need to be replaced unless the tiles are damaged. New fireplaces continue to follow the modern, minimalist trend, being built into walls, freestanding or with a stone surround - marble, its reconstructed cousin micro marble and limestone being most popular. The free standing stove set into an open fireplace is likely to remain the nation’s favourite for some time to come. Limestone can be the textured, UK sourced sort or the smoother Portuguese variety. Wood offers a range of colours and grains with plain rather than carved being the order of the day. The bulky style of the past has given way to more streamlined, Scandi inspired shapes. Gas fires are much more attractive than they used to be and are getting larger with the large built-in gas fire in a stone or marble fireplace most popular. One of the best things about a gas fire is that it can be operated by remote control - the contrast with a labour intensive wood burning stove couldn’t be greater. However, whether we choose to flick a switch or light a match, it’s certain that our fireplaces are going to continue warming the cockles of our hearts, as well as our toes, for many years to come.

Accessorise your fireplace with stylish companion sets and coal buckets or log baskets...

Euroheat 47046 Black Log Holder, £162.73,

Kinton Black and Brass Coal, £57.95,

Woodburner companion set, including gauntlet gloves, £89,

22 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Fromschoolho When Alison Lowry and her family moved into an old schoolhouse in Saintfield two years ago, little did they know what lay ahead of them in terms of renovating the 200 year-old building. Claire McKeever chats to Alison about the move and the work that has been done so far to transform this curious building into a new home and workplace.

T Alison Lowry

here is a Grand Design-esque appeal to Alison and her family’s story that draws me in instantly. A talented glass artist, it was Alison who had decided she needed somewhere bigger to work and for the family - sons Oisin (10), James (8) and Conor (6) to do life in. However, in the end, it was her husband, Adam, who made an unexpected decision for the family. “I grew up in Saintfield but lived in Belfast most of my adult life,” says Alison. “I realised I needed more space for my studio and for the kids but the bigger houses in Belfast were just too expensive. I was trying to persuade my husband to move out of Belfast but he wasn’t taking to the idea of leaving. Then, all of a sudden, the schoolhouse came on the market in Saintfield and he was determined that it would be ours. He was very excited about it. When we viewed it, horrendous surveys come back but we blindly went for it and bought the house anyway.” Challenges A brave decision, some would say and since

moving into the house, Alison and her husband have certainly not been without their challenges. “We have done everything to the house,” Alison tells me, with a big sigh, adding that this has been a long journey for the family. “I mean, as a listed building, we knew it needed a lot of work but maybe not quite to this extent. Initially we worked on the outbuildings and garage so I could turn them into my studio. And even though the house did have a lot of work done to it in the 1970s, there was, and still is, lots to be done. For instance, there were plants growing through the building in places! We are getting there with a lot of the rooms but we are just getting started with the kitchen which is a big project - it will be in next year’s budget! “We restored the windows at the front which were in really bad condition, and this cost us a lot of money. The windows had to be like-for-like so we had to have them handmade and it is difficult getting people for this type of work. The roof wasn’t in bad condition but we still needed to sort out the chimney.”

Running counter to the modernist trend to depersonalise our living spaces is the desire to personalise everything and anything. If you can’t get enough of bespoke pieces or simply want to incorporate something original and reflective of your own style, here are some great options... Fed up with traditional wall tiles? Personalise your kitchen or bathroom with a printed glass splashback. Splashbacks NI is one firm offering digitally

printed splashbacks. Choose a print or how about an image of a mountain range or the Manhattan skyline? If you don’t like the choices, you can provide your own. Cue holiday memories, country views and even family pets! You can even create your own piece of art or pick a favorite phrase or poem and enjoy it anew while you’re cooking the dinner. For further information visit


Cow’s that for a splashback!

Mark (Image

Design Table,

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 23

housetostudio Amidst all the hard work, Alison has been delving into the schoolhouse’s history and the different functions it has fulfilled over the years. “The schoolhouse was built back in 1835 by Nicholas Price Esq. of Saintfield House,” Alison tells me. “The Price family would have owned a lot of land in the Saintfield area at the time - and still do. “Nicholas Price was very into education the previous year he had built the Academy school in Saintfield with the vision of it being a bit of an ‘Eton’. They taught the classics there, including Greek and Latin. “When he built this particular school he called it a ‘Church Education Society’. It was linked to the parish church of the Church of Ireland in Saintfield and also had an infant school attached to it. “There were also outbuildings built but it is still a bit vague over what these were used for specifically. I found out that income for teachers would have been about £20 a year and the pupils paid £5. Plus, there would have been 20 males and 30

females going to school there.”

Inoculations Alison says the house has had many different incarnations over the years and a lot of people coming and going through its doors. “A lot of people I have spoken to in Saintfield have spent time in the building in some way, shape or form. For example, my mum had her inoculations here, my friend had her Sunday school here and it was also an Orange Hall up until the 1950s. The schoolhouse is much-loved and known by locals.” Now that Alison has her studio up and running, she has been enjoying running classes from the building and ran events in celebration with last month’s Craft Month. Alison’s next class is a Beginners Glass Making Class in September, which is already booked out but she mentions running another one in October. Best to keep your eyes peeled on her website. As far as their new home goes, the

The master bedroom before, during and after renovations


Mark Hanvey ‘Forest Tables’. (Image by George Roe)

Adam Frew – Large Rounded Pot

Craft NI is the umbrella organisation for many of Northern Ireland’s artists and craftmakers. Check out their website for a great range of quality, hand made pieces that will add a wow factor to any setting. Here’s a small sample of the many beautiful, functional, quirky and original items available. Pick your favourite designer and you might even find yourself invited along to meet them at work.

Malcolm Murchison, Raku Bowls

Design Onion, Triquetra Table, copyright The Studio

Wendy Ward, Lace Droplet Spiral Chandlier (Image by Glenn Norwood Photography) Rebecca Killen Milk & Sugar Set

Lowry family still have a way to go before the schoolhouse is a proper home for them but judging from the work that has already been done, it will be well worth the wait. “We didn’t realise - nobody ever does how much work and the amount of money it would cost us. You go into these things completely blindly. It has been stressful living in a building site, raising three children and running a business but when it’s completely done it’s going to be amazing and really unique.”

For further information on Alison’s work, visit

24 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

GettrimforChristmas W

ith only 14 weeks left before we need to present our glittering selves to the world, and much less before we begin scouting out potential outfits, the countdown is on to getting in shape for the festive season. Even if you are seriously overweight, a healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2lb per week so you could well shed as much as two stone safely between now and Christmas week. That could mean the difference between a curvy size 16 and a proud size 12. While many slimmers are tempted to crash diet, these tend to cause you to lose water and lean muscle rather than fat at first. Also, the body can quickly go into starvation mode - this happens when the levels of the hormone leptin drop quickly through rapid fat loss. Your body responds by slowing the metabolism, increasing hunger and breaking down muscle for energy. As if that wasn’t demoralising enough, the body then tries not only to regain the fat you have lost, but also a bit extra in case, as it thinks, you run out of food again. This is why so many

crash diets are followed by weight gain. Nutritionists say it’s much better to adopt a healthy lifestyle which will help you lose weight and keep it off. And while slimming down might be your prime motivator, achieving better health will be a welcome byproduct. Many of us are so sedentary that even incorporating more movement into our day will help us shape up. If you are aged 19-64, you can slash your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% by doing at least half an hours’ moderate exercise – fast walking or cycling – five days a week as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles.

A new you - now! There are many advantages to starting a new fitness regime in September, rather than waiting to make a New Year’s resolution - the days are longer and milder and it’s a much more pleasant environment in which to venture out. There are lots of ways to go about meeting your slimline goal but the bottom line ought to be a combination of eating less and exercising more. With orthorexia - an obsession with ‘healthy’ food and exercise now joining the lexicon of eating disorders, it’s important to take the sensible approach and avoid overdoing it.

Set workout goals that suit your fitness level to begin with; dedicating time for exercise in your weekly routine will ensure you stay on track. There are lots of ways to get in shape, depending on your lifestyle and personal preferences: Join a gym - Enlist the support of a personal trainer or join a class. Choose from a gentle water based aerobics class to martial arts, kettlebells, Pilates, steps, weights, steps or spinning, planks, etc. The 5-2 Diet - This involves eating your normal amount five days a week but fasting for two others. The key is not to over indulge on your ‘eating days’. The Aloe Vera diet - Downpatrick woman Leanne Brannigan said: I’ve lost 10lb, it is packed full of vitamins so my hair and skin are great.” Detox - Bangor woman Sheena Black recommends one of the ‘clean’ food programmes, the Beyond Diet. “It takes you off all processed foods... I never felt better than when I did it - need to start again!” Put on your dancing shoes - There are all sorts of adult classes, from zumba and salsa to jiving and Irish dancing. Couch to 5K programme. To find one near you, visit Eat less, move more and before you know it, you’ll be shimmying into the festive season, looking and feeling great!

Nutritionist recommends YouSlim Nutritionist Suzanne Chalkley (pictured) has devised an easy to follow low GI eating plan for slimmers to use in conjunction with the YouSlim Weight Loss System. Suzanne herself has lost over 2 stone and slimmed from size 12 to size 8 using the two Youslim supplements ‘Feel Full’ and ‘Thermogenic’, These two supplements contain completely natural ingredients to help control hunger, sugar and food cravings as well as boosting metabolism and burning stored body fat. “The great thing about Youslim is that it works with any eating plan you wish to follow. Personally, I have found my Low GI eating plan is the most popular and is helping people to get great results. The food plan is delicious and is really easy to stick to and follow.” The YouSlim supplements enable slimmers to see results more quickly and that’s what people want to see when they follow a weight loss programme. “The supplements are amazing - they stopped me craving and feeling hungry so I was eating less. I generally followed a healthy eating plan because of my profession but because YouSlim makes you feel fuller, you stop craving the wrong foods such as crisps, chocolate and even wine and in my case the weight simply fell off. I’m delighted with the results!” What’s in YouSlim YouSlim has two components - YouSlim Feel Full which contains 100% Glucomannan, (a plant extract from the Konjac Root), and a Thermogenic Fat Burner, made up of a mix of completely natural ingredients which boost the metabolism.

“The Thermogenic Fat Burner contains natural ingredients that you would find in a chef’s kitchen – things like Cayenne pepper, green tea and Turmeric,” explains Suzanne. “With taking the Thermogenic Fat Burner, my body shape has totally changed although those changes seemed to happen in the second to third month when suddenly everyone I met remarked how much weight I had lost. My waistline, in particular, is much smaller. “It makes you feel good and boosts both your self-esteem and your confidence when you lose weight and drop a dress size. “Everybody knows what they should be doing, but any diet that is based on willpower is destined to fail as you get caught in an ‘eat and crave’ cycle. YouSlim supplements enable people to make the dietary changes they need to become slim, fit and healthy.” Suzanne says she will continue to use YouSlim to maintain her trim figure. “It’s important that people know there isn’t a magic wand. The changes that you need to make to lose weight and keep it off should be long term. There’s no point in losing a stone and putting it on again. YouSlim helps you to lose weight and keep it off.” For further information, call 08452 60 80 20; email or visit

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Photoshocked Annemarie intoaction

Annemarie McMahon is an inspiration to anyone thinking of getting in shape ahead of the festive season. The mum of three, originally from Scotland but now living in Belfast, has gone from a size 20 to a size 10 over the past year. Here’s how she did it ...

Why did you start trying to lose weight? Had you put on weight gradually or after a life changing event? π The pounds piled on gradually. When you have three children and all the worries that go with them, it’s easy to reach for that biscuit or that packet of crisps. Also there was so much uncertainty about work and moving home a couple of times that you lose track of yourself and just fuel to get through the day, so I would say it was a gradual occurance over the period of a couple of years.

What spurred you on to trying to lose weight? π That photograph! I didn’t recognise myself. It shocked me to my core. You have mirrors but you don’t see yourself that size, but as they say, the camera never lies. That was it! Year zero, day one - the journey had begun. Was it hard to get motivated to start? π The thoughts of changing your entire lifestyle was scary to say the least. I was terrified to stand on the scales and see the full extent of the damage my overindulgence had cost me. I had to build myself up to being upset about what the scales were going to tell me and I had to accept that - move on - and lose that weight. How did you decide on your target weight? π There was no target weight at first. It was grim determination and will power that got me started. Later, I did aim for personal targets - I’ve had three decreasing targets and I’ve hit those targets each time. Slowly does it - but thankfully I’m at my goal weight now and I’m happy with my weight and my life. What way did you decide to go about it and when did you start? π I went to a class every week (Weightwatchers) - which helped me mentally and gave me some good ideas about my diet and exercise - but really, it’s all about how much you want to change the way you live. It’s not a diet - it’s a way of life. How much have you lost? π Over four stones. Have you enjoyed the process or found it hard? π Enjoy is not the word. Rewarding is a

better word. Somedays you just want that packet of crisps again, somedays you want to say what Father Jack says and go ‘feck it I’ll have another bag of crisps or I might feel like a big glass of wine’ but then you remember how hard it has been. And it is hard work. It’s so much easier to put weight on than take it off and it’s so unfair. So you have to be on your guard. You have to prepare your meals and limit the chances of making a bad choice.

Was exercise a big part of it? π I love walking and I exercise a lot. My husband bought me a couple of pedometers and that’s me. I try to get in 15,000 steps a day, I know it sounds a lot, but between work, leisure and exercise, I hit my target most days. How did you celebrate reaching your target weight? π I dived into a bucket of KFC chicken. No I didn’t really celebrate it - it was a milestone that I celebrated in my head. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction and it spurred me on to the next level. The next target. How do you plan to keep it off? π Discipline, determination, exercise and I’m always looking for fresh ideas on the internet. There’s one or two blogs I find really helpful such as The Skinny Doll - this blog is written by a girl I know in Dublin, she really is an inspiration. She’s always updating her blog with fabulous information about products and research and she gives you practical details about the contents of thousands of food products - gives you the value in calories and points. Do you feel better physically and in other ways now? π Physically, I can catch a three-year-old

The picture that spurred Annemarie into action

when he thinks it’s funny to run away in the park. There’s no escape now! Even though I’m exercising a lot - I don’t feel as tired as I did when I was stuck to the couch. How does that work? But physically, I feel stronger, lighter and have a bounce in my step. Do you look forward to social events more? π Definitely, even when you have to think of going to a social event, you have to look at clothes. Before, my choices would have been limited - not by a great deal - but

Family Life | 25

enough to bother you. Now I’m a size ten - I can get what I want - so I feel better before I go out and I’m much happier going out and meeting people. My confidence has returned and I’m glad that it’s back. Have you set yourself new fitness goals now that you’ve reached your target weight? π I’m always looking for things to do, trying different things. I’m going to learn to swim before Christmas and who knows what I’ll do once I’ve conquered my fears and get confident in the pool.

26 | Family Life

ADayin theLifeof…

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

CiaraDaly Ciara Daly chats to Davina Gordon about a hectic day in her Makeup Academy on the stylish Lisburn Road, her must-have makeup product and the celebrity she’d most like to make over

Ciara Daly


he doting mum of two kids and successful businesswoman (37) from West Belfast has always been fascinated by makeup since her early years watching how her beautiful mum, Sharon, looked after her appearance. Following her mum’s tragic death in 2006, Ciara has gone on to set up her own makeup school and nurture the dreams of many young creatives. Ciara set up The Shaz Awards in her mum’s memory in 2010 to recognise the achievement of her students, as well as raise money for charity.

day and I have great family and friends who help me get through it all - that’s how I keep myself going.” What is your favourite thing about your job? π “The satisfaction I get when I do someone’s makeup and see how good it makes them feel or when I see a student that has gone on to achieve great things.” What advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps? π “Grit, determination, consistency and belief in yourself.”

What is your morning routine? π “Up, ready, kids, breakfast, out the door to school, and either come to work or go to my PT or out for a run.”

Do you have a mantra you live by? π “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”

Are you a coffee or tea person? π “That’s an easy one, I never drink tea, only coffee!”

What do you do to unwind? π “When I get time, I like to spend it with friends, go out for nice food and walk the dog.”

What is your must have product to face the world? π “Sunglasses!” How do you psyche yourself up for a day ‘in the office’? π “Just go in, get the coffee on, ask the guys in the office what’s happening. They always have a to-do list for me, I just do what I’m told!” Tell us about a typical day in your studio? π “I really don’t have a typical day, I’m either teaching, doing bridal makeup, doing a photoshoot, managing brush sales, doing something in the office, launches or retail educations. There’s always something going on.” How do you achieve what needs to be done every day? π “I think as a working mum we never actually feel like we get there, but even if we get seven out of 10 things on our to do list done, it’s a good day.”

How does makeup make you feel? π Doing my own makeup, which takes me five or ten minutes, makes me feel good about myself. It helps me to be very mindful as well, which is another bonus.”

What do you consider to be a successful day? π “Because there’s so many different things going on in my life, I live by a saying I’ve read: ‘Wake up determined, go to bed satisfied’ - so if I go to bed satisfied then I know I’ve had a successful day.” How do you juggle your work and personal life? π “Owning your own business is a constant struggle. It’s not like you clock off at 5pm everyday, work life falls into personal life, personal life falls into work life. It’s more a way of life than a job.”

How difficult is it to be a mum and run your own business? π “Extremely hard, I don’t think any working mum doesn’t suffer from guilt. You are constantly trying to obtain the balance of creating a good life for your kids but also being the best possible mum you can be. You’re always struggling to keep achieving and to know what’s the best thing to do.” When things get tough, as they inevitably do, how do you keep yourself going? π “I have great people around me - great people in work who help me through my

What is the one makeup product you can’t live without? π “That’s an easy one, the Hero Brush… it’s the ultimate brush for applying foundation. What’s on the horizon for Ciara Daly? π World domination! Quick fire round: Favourite tipple? At Christmas it would be a calypso coffee, in the summer a glass of Rose. Celebrity Crush? Russell Crowe Which celebrity would you most like to makeover? Victoria Beckham (she always looks shiny – not in a good way). Favourite superhero? Batman.

28 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

RediscoveringDublin Sightseeing in Dublin has taken a surprising turn this year. Rachel McLaughlin visited the city for a two-day break and quickly found herself on a series of unexpected adventures


never expected to be sprinting through St. Stephen’s Green, pretending to dodge bullets on Easter Week 1916 or typesetting copies of revolutionary papers. I never thought I’d be joining the millions of migrating Irish to lands unknown or experiencing the confines of a prison cell. But this is a special year in Dublin city. My journey began with 10 million journeys elsewhere. Passport in hand, I embarked on a trip through EPIC Ireland - the new centre which tells the stories of the Irish who left. The underground vaults are brimming with high-tech displays, atmospheric sounds and creative gadgets. It’s no wonder this place is so sleek, since the project was led by Conal Harvey, who was also behind the Titanic Belfast visitor centre. There are personal stories behind every themed stop of the journey, but this is no stuffy museum with rope barriers or endless archive texts. The rooms of EPIC Ireland are designed to react to visitors. In one vault, I squared up to an animated lineup of notorious Irish criminals and the wall threw back graphics and facts about each character. The room alighted in flames as the story of Kate O’Leary was brought to life - the woman whose cow is said to have started the Great Chicago

1916 bus tour

EPIC Ireland

Dublin Docklands Fire. Lurking in the corner were Burke and Hare - the enterprising killers from Ulster. There are no fortified display cases here - you can pull a library book from the shelf and the room responds with audio quotes from great authors like Belfast-born CS Lewis. Move hockey-like pucks across a table to immerse yourself in the lights and sounds of a sporting event and learn about national and international stars, such as Geraldine Heaney from Armagh, who made waves in the Canadian hockey world. You can even walk through the synapses of a brain and discover great Irish minds, including Co. Down inventor Harry Ferguson. The Irish diaspora are a spirited bunch, and to see how they changed the world is inspiring. The Irish influence spreads far and wide, and I was surprised to discover so many people of power and revolutionaries had Irish blood, including 22 US presidents and Che Guevara. Knowledgeable staff are on-hand throughout the exhibits to point out the hidden elements of each room. The attention to detail in EPIC Ireland is a sight to behold, and you could spend all day absorbing the media and stories within. Beyond Barricades There’s no better year to learn about the passion of the Irish than 2016. Dublin

Notorious Irish in EPIC Ireland

is awash with Easter Rising centenary events and exhibits, and I couldn’t help but get caught up in the drama during The 1916 Tour - Beyond Barricades by Dublin Bus. It’s a play in motion, in which two actors tirelessly flit between real characters from history. They swing through the bus and lead the audience outside to strategic sites, all the while roaring, plotting, shooting, and even dying in front of our eyes. The audience aids and sympathises with people from both sides of the conflict - I was tasked with delivering a heartfelt farewell letter penned by a soldier of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and the group stood in solidarity with Nora Connolly outside Dublin Castle as she recounted her last moments with her father, James. From the war-torn streets to the control room, I discovered another side of the uprising at the GPO Witness History exhibit. The building which served as a focal point of the conflict has been adapted into an interactive experience, where visitors are immersed in battles through a high-action film. The thrilling events are played out on screen, as we watched rebel leaders and British forces across the city debating movements and tactics while gunfire and explosions boomed from all sides. Kids and adults alike can get a handson experience with history at the GPO. You can be part of the rebel movement communicating news of the Rising, whether it is by Morse code or newspaper publications. Videos and artifacts provide a glimpse of life in Dublin at the time, and I learned about the devastating impact of it all on ordinary citizens.

Kilmainham Gaol Many Easter Rising tours and exhibitions are designed to entertain and educate. My final stop of the weekend was a more sobering visit to Kilmainham Gaol. I saw the cells where the rebellion leaders stayed before being executed, and I experienced the chilling atmosphere of the Stonebreakers’ Yard, where the rebels’ battle was finally ended. As we roamed the dark and dank corridors, our animated tour guide shared shocking tales about the conditions of the prison before and after the Rising. He pointed out a sinister inscription on one wall, which added to the haunting air of the building - “Beware of the Risen People”. As my trip to Dublin came to an end, I had gained a new understanding of the city’s past. My adventures took me to so many different decades and events in a short space of time, but I felt as though I had rediscovered the city, its history and the legacies of the Irish both at home and abroad. Stay - The Spencer Hotel, Excise Walk, is a sleek city hotel, set in the modern financial district along the river Liffey, and within walking distance of many attractions. is Dublin’s official tourism information website providing comprehensive information to inspire holidaymakers to visit Ireland’s vibrant capital city, assist with trip planning and offer the most up to date relevant information to you during your stay. For more information, event guides and insider tips check out or @ VisitDublin. EPIC Ireland explores the unique global journey of the Irish people. Open 7 days in The chq Building, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1.

The site of the Easter Rising, the GPO

An inscription in Kilmainham Gaol

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 29

Late,great getaways


here’s nothing like a bleak summer to focus the mind on escaping to the sun. Whether you are looking around for a winter sun break, planning for a super sun break at Easter, or weighing up options for next summer, there’s no shortage of options available. For guaranteed winter sun at great value prices, the most popular destinations are southern Spain and the Canaries, easily accessible from Belfast. And our love of a sneaky dose of sun rays in winter has caught the attention of holiday firms with increasing capacity from Belfast International Airport by 25% for the period October 30-March 25, including more seats to winter beach break destinations such as the Canary Islands and Alicante. Steve Heapy, Chief Executive Officer, and Jet2holidays said: “The number of people in Northern Ireland wanting to jet off for some much-needed winter sunshine means we are seeing spectacular growth, and we have added thousands of winter sun seats to popular holiday hotspots such as Alicante and the Canary Islands.” Lanzarote, Florida and Gran Canaria are amongst the top picks for local winter sun seekers as they offer great value for money and lots of facilities. Belfast Telegraph Travel offers a vast range of escorted tours to winter sun destinations as well as holidays tailormade to those who love the arts and culture or those who like to explore on foot. Holiday options include long established favourites such as Italy, as well as more recent additions such as Dubai.

Halloween in Tenerife For a midterm break in the sun there are a couple of places left at Puerto de la Cruz. The holiday is just £499 per person for seven nights’ full board at the Grand Hotel Turquesa Playa. The hotel is near the seafront and handy for exploring the incredible volcanic Mount Teide and Santa Cruz. Visit www.belfasttelegraphtravel. for details. Midterm in Lanzarote With Jet2 Holidays you can book a family break for seven nights, departing November 2, in the Lanzarote Palm Hotel apartments for £452pp. This self-catering break is handy for the popular resort of Puerto Del Carmen. Families and couples alike will love the large pool and the terrace area provides the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun. Visit Wave goodbye If you feel like pushing the boat out and taking a cruise, you may be in for a pleasant surprise as these waterborne holidays are no longer the preserve of the very wealthy. Belfast Telegraph Travel offers literally thousands of options depending

Be prepared Going on even a short holiday involves a few simple steps if you want to be confident of a trouble-free trip. π Take out comprehensive travel insurance and make sure you are covered for activities such as bike hire or skiing. π If travelling within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to give you free or reduced cost emergency care. You still need full travel insurance though as the EHIC doesn’t cover other costs such as returning you to the UK. You can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country. π Research the health risks of the country you are visiting as soon as possible before travelling, so you can get the right vaccinations and take other preventative measures if required, such as malaria tablets. Visit for more information. π Check your passport is valid for your full trip (some countries require 6 months validity from the end of your visit) and has emergen-

cy contact details filled in. Be sure you have all necessary visas. π Make sure you have enough money with you, and that you have access to emergency funds. Don’t keep all your money in the same place. π Keep passports safe. Make photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take another with you, or store it online using a secure data storage site. π Tell family or friends in the UK where you are going, and leave emergency contact details with them. π If you plan to drive overseas, familiarise yourself with local driving laws and make sure your licence is current and valid where you are going. For more information visit knowbeforeyougo.

on where you want to go and the theme of cruise that appeals. Latest offers include a Celebrity Cruises holiday flying from Dublin on March 9 for three nights in Ford Lauderdale followed by a seven night Caribbean Cruise for just £1399pp. See www. Christmas in Tuscany Crown your year with Christmas in Tuscany. This seven night holiday includes visits to Florence and travel to Lucca, birthplace of Puccini. You will also visit Siena, the small medieval town of San Gimignano and Pisa. Christmas day is spent in Montecatini with a stroll around the beautiful town before lunch and a candlelight dinner followed by music and dancing. Visit All downhill After Christmas, holidays are all about the slippery slopes. Belfast Telegraph Travel

has teamed up with Balkan Ski holidays to offer a range of great value holidays, such as Pamporovo, just £599pp B&B at the 4 star Orlovets Hotel with ski pack included. The hotel has a spa centre, pool and wifi. City breaks Poland is climbing the popularity pole with UK holidaymakers and Belfast firm Oasis Travel includes a trip to Krakow among its city break options. This beautifully preserved medieval city is great in the autumn or when the snow is crunching underfoot in winter. See Disney deals There are good deals to be had for those keen on enjoyable a magical break at Disneyland Paris. Co-operative Travel is one of many companies offering 25% discount off hotel and park tickets this winter, plus under 7s go free. Check out

30 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

East: Kilkenny Castle

East: Clonmacnoise

Choosethestoriesof Ireland’sAncientEast ortheWildAtlanticWay


or years tourists have celebrated the west coast of Ireland, with the Wild Atlantic Way grabbing our attention as it grew to become the longest defined coastal touring route in the world stretching 2,500km from Inishowen in Donegal to Kinsale in West Cork. The route is famed for its breath-taking scenery and rugged, off-the-beaten track touring routes, its lively music and pub scenes and great food and cultural experiences. Meanwhile, the newly dubbed Ancient East boasts 5,000 years of history with its big houses, Victorian gardens, megalithic passage tombs and early Christian round towers. Both regions are full of great treasures just waiting to be discovered anew. Wild Atlantic Islands While many of us are familiar with Donegal, not so many of us have travelled across to Tory Island, just 4km away, where St Columba or Colmcille founded his monastery in the 6th Century. It has been inhabited ever since and tales abound of shipwrecks and poitín-smuggling. Catch

the ferry from Bunbeg or Magheroarty. In fact, the Wild Atlantic Way is peppered with intriguing islands, waiting to be explored. Some are accessed across impressive causeways and bridges. While for Dursey Island you board a swinging cable car, for most it is a matter of hopping on the island ferries. Inishbofin or Inis Bó Finne, translates as ‘Island of the White Cow’, and is a magical place just 8km off the Connemara coast, at Cleggan, with unspoilt beaches and an abundance of seals and corncrakes. There are no cars but there are walking tours, bicycle hire, an equestrian centre, stunning looped walk trails and lots of bars and restaurants to recuperate in. Inisheer is the smallest of the three Aran Islands but has a lively trad music scene and offers excellent views of the Cliffs of Moher on the Clare coastline. Cape Clear is part of the Cork Gaeltacht. Each September the island hosts the International Storytelling Festival. It is a great spot from which to see seals, dolphins and basking sharks. Its East Croha Standing

Advertising feature

Checkintothe MaldronHotelWexford L ocated in the heart of the sunny south east, Maldron Hotel Wexford is a popular location for visitors to Wexford and is a destination in its own right. Given the hotel’s proximity to Wexford town and local attractions along Irelands Ancient East route, it is a perfect location for your next family getaway. The hotel boasts many great facilities including complimentary carparking, wifi, large contemporary designed bedrooms and much more. Club Vitae Leisure Facilites include a 20m swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room as well as our state of the art gym. Guests can get involved in our fitness classes which include aqua aerobics, pi-

lates, dance and spin. Have some relaxation time with our great pamper packages at Body and Soul Treatment rooms. Maldron Hotel Wexford is the ideal base to explore the wonderful sights of Wexford with Johnstown Castle, Irish National Heritage Park, Rosslare Harbour, Hook Lighthouse and Loftus Hall on our doorstep. Take a walk through the winding streets of Wexford and relax with a day of shopping in our famous boutiques. To book your next break away in the Sunny South East, contact Carrie or Irene today on 00353 5391 72000 or email info. Check out our latest news and special offers on www.


16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

West: The Blaskets

t y

Stone is thought to date from 2000BC. For more information visit or follow @wildatlanticway #wildatlanticway. Look East To make the most of the historic wealth of the Ancient East, expert say it’s best to avail of the local guides and storytellers who bring the past to life in the most entertaining and informative way. And there’s no shortage of storytelling trails to whet your appetite… Tall stories - Find out why trees were divided into Nobles, Commoners and the Lesser Divisions of the wood on a guided walk on the Carlow/Wexford border. The Blackstairs Eco Trails Tour will see you never think about trees in the same way again. Big houses, hard times - Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow is one of the country’s grandest Anglo-Irish manors. Its magnificent gardens have been named by National Geographic as the third best garden in the world. For a sense of how the Great Famine of the 1840s shaped the future of Ireland, the Glaslough Village Trail in Co Monaghan includes several kilometres of famine walls. Castles and Conquests - The Norman legacy is seen in great castles, especially those at Kilkenny and Cahir, Co Tipperary, which are closely associated with the powerful Butler family. Local historian Pat Tynan is the perfect guide to take you on a walking tour of the atmospheric heart of Kilkenny. Greenways and family trails - The Waterford Greenway, due to open shortly, goes from the heart of Waterford city to Dungar-

West: Valentia Island, of the Kerry coast van. Further north, the Old Rail Trail in Co Westmeath goes from Athlone to Mullingar. Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly is an ideal way to take in the changing season. High Kings and heroes - The Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth is the site of the epic saga, the Cattle Raid of Cooley, which tells of a battle between Queen Meabh of Connacht and Ulster champion Cú Chulainn. The circular Táin Trail takes two days to complete and showcases a beautiful stretch of Ireland’s Ancient East. Maritime Gateway - Cobh, or Queenstown, as it was known at the time, is where The Titanic set off for America. Local guide Michael Martin runs the Titanic Trail Tour. Due east, Youghal’s heritage centre boasts an absorbing tour run by Clifford Winser, the country’s only town crier. Mystical Waterdays - Follow the Shannon for some great places to discover, like the riverside fortress of Athlone Castle, Co Westmeath, or trek the Slieve Bloom mountain range with local guides on hand to point out its notable features. Sacred Ireland - Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly, is one of the spiritual jewels of the region with its round tower. Walk the pilgrim route between Clonmacnoise and Ballycumber, some 24km away. Near Thurles, Co Tipperary, the Kilcommon Pilgrim Route takes you along the venerable Mass path. Vikings - Don’t miss Waterford’s Viking exhibition in Reginald’s Tower and the Epic Tour which brings the Viking story to life. For more great ideas on the regions trails and storytellers, see

Family Life | 31

32 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

LittleBigShot-anew healthydrinkforallthefamily

Xylitol Dental Benefits ✸

Studies using xylitol as either a sugar substitute or a small dietary addition have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in new tooth decay, along with arrest and even some reversal of existing dental caries. This xylitol benefit is longlasting and possibly permanent. Low decay rates persist even years after the trials have been completed. It’s 100% natural. Xylitol is not an artificial substance, but a normal part of everyday metabolism. Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts. It’s safe. In the amounts needed to prevent tooth decay (less than 15 grams per day), xylitol benefits and is safe for everyone. The World Health Organization has given xylitol its safest rating for food additives. It’s convenient to use. Xylitol can be conveniently delivered to your teeth via chewing gum, tablets, or even candy. You don’t need to change your normal routine to make room for Xylitol. It tastes great! One of the best xylitol benefits is its great taste! Xylitol is a health regimen that doesn’t require iron willpower or discipline. Xylitol tastes so good, using it becomes automatic, for both adults and children.

Bert Jukes is the man behind Little Big Shot

IT’S A REALLY HEALTHY ENERGY WHICH IS WHY IT’S GOOD FOR EVERYONE BIG e l t t i L WHAT USTOMERS C SHOT THINK trace elements. In nutritional terms, the Power Minerals are like golddust. “It took 2000 years to come from Greenland to Taiwan and we have the privilege of drawing that from the ocean,” says Bert, who signed an exclusive deal with a Taiwanese company for the minerals. “The Power Minerals contain 72 trace elements - the same number as the human body. It has the same DNA as the minerals in the body and is anti-fatigue or ergogenic. It’s a really healthy energy which is why it’s good for everyone, including pregnant

Blood Sugar Level

es. r shelv Tesco ve this on ou tential!” to ha sive po chance ct with mas at the u d d o e r p m ep “We ju ot is a uniqu ks Shot tic igSh B le t Asda rs! Little Big ork with.” it L u o w e 3 flav company to t with th ghted oducts, grea li e d e “We’r eat pr hard r G . s e ith tremely box WH Sm hot works ex s love!” all our igS mer r custo Little B oduct. nd which ou r p ic t s a “Fanta orting the br in supp

women and kids.” With Power Minerals scientifically proven to support and improve athletic performance and general wellbeing, Little Big Shot is fast becoming a firm favourite with athletes and those with an active lifestyle. “We combine the healthiest, freshest, natural ingredients and incorporate them in our complex formulations to make them uniquely special,” said Bert. The unique juice with the natural boost comes in a funky can and has won


(Table Sugar)

mg / 100ml


ittle Big Shot Super Fruit Juice is proving a huge hit for those looking for a healthy and delicious drink to re-energise and revitalise the whole family. It’s the brainchild of Bert Jukes, who was working for a health organisation in the USA, supporting diabetics, when he first came up with the idea for a low glycemic sugar, Power Minerals and mega vitamin drink. “I began working with some professors at the Caledonian University in Glasgow and decided we needed to get the right sugars into a drink that would provide energy without a sugar spike.” The finished product, Little Big Shot Super Fruit Juice only contains natural fructose rather than cane sugar so it’s safe for everyone from a young child to a diabetic. It also contains Power Minerals (otherwise known as deep ocean minerals), a highly sought after natural source of carbon-free energy, packed with ionic minerals and


(Fruit Sugar)






admirers across the industry. Little Big Shot won ‘Best New Drink of the Year’ at the Natural and Organic Awards 2013 in London and was named among the Top 5 Most Interesting Products from more than 80,000 products on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last year. Far from a one man band, Little Big Shot Super Fruit Juice has grown until today a team of food scientists, entrepreneurs, business developers and customer service staff strive to make this the most dynamic healthy drinks brand in the world with satisfied customers from Canada to the UAE. “Our purpose is to produce a new generation of highly innovative premium products for healthy, vibrant lives, all over the world, by combining a little idea with a big vision,” said Bert. Already available in mouth-watering Apple and Berry flavours, the new Orange and Mango Little Big Shot is coming soon.

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 33

Bertie’sBigPops H

aving brought the world Little Big Shot Super Fruit Juice, Bert Jukes set his sights on tackling what chef Jamie Oliver has branded the biggest evil facing our children - sugar. Bertie’s Big Pops are now a firm favourite with families in Northern Ireland and tick all the boxes for children who want a tasty treat, and their parents who want to keep their teeth healthy. “Big Pops are sugar free and good for teeth,” Bert told Family Life. “They taste good - kids love them. I know because I tested them on my own grandchildren,” he says. They come in natural fruit flavours and are made from the only finest ingredients, including 100% Finnish Xylitol from Birch. Most importantly, they contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Bert says they made Big Pops the right size for kids at 6 grammes, but that adults love the taste too. “They are good for teeth because the pH in children’s mouths, which we would be concerned about, remains neutral so

no erosion of the teeth takes place.” The benefits of Xylitol have been well documented and this natural sweetener is proven to help prevent cavities. Derived from the fibrous parts of plants, it does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth, therefore protecting the teeth from decay. With the dental benefits of Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped. Bertie is working along with dentists and hopes to win approval for the lollipops from the British Dental Association. He has been very encouraged by gaining the backing of Gordon’s Chemists in Northern Ireland, who were only too happy to stock the healthy lollies, as are retailers such as Spar and Centra. Bertie’s Big Pops go further than promising not to damage your teeth - as the only lollipops containing Deep Ocean Minerals, they are actually good for you. “It’s a delicious combination and it’s healthy too.” Bertie’s Big Pops come in packs of five indivually wrapped assorted flavour pops.

34 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

by Fiona Rutherford


hose first awe-filled moments when you hold your baby for the first time, gazing into those unseeing eyes and feeling your heart make the leap into a love dimension you didn’t know existed are precious moments. Before long, that little one has begun the struggle towards independence, wanting to feed themselves, walk by themselves, and choose their own clothes, even when that means wearing wellies to a family wedding. While these little steps can be filled with tears, laughter and sometimes both, parents welcome them as healthy signs that their beloved baby is growing up to become a fully formed individual. The first days at school can be a traumatic separation for parent and/or child, the first school trip can be an anxious wait for parents. However, before the primary school years are over, parents will usually face the first unchartered challenge which can send the stress levels off the Richter scale. “Can I walk home from school by myself?” are usually the first words signalling the next stage in the struggle to break free of parental control. Helicopter or Free Range? It’s at that point that many of us discover what everyone else already knows about us - that we’re either a helicopter parent, constantly hovering ready to intervene at the first sign of danger, or a Free Range parent, named after Lenore Skenazy, who had her 9 year old son do a solo run on the New York subway. Most of us probably think we’re around the middle of the spectrum but then find that when our child wants to go to the park or the shop by themselves, it’s all we can do to stop ourselves spying on them like a regular Mr Bean. Mum of four Pauline Lawn recalls how the murder in Soham of 10 year olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, by former school caretaker Ian Huntley in 2002 haunted her mind for years afterwards. “I remember my eldest daughter saying to me, very calmly, ‘You are ruining my childhood and making me afraid all the time’.” Experts say it’s important for parents to support their children in becoming independent. You know when your confident,

Rules for phone use

Some parents are keen to let their child have their own phone from an early age, others hold off as long as possible, only allowing them to have one when the time comes for them to be out alone. Whatever age your child is, it’s a good idea to have some rules in place such as no screentime before bedtime and a limit to the number of hours they can spend looking at a screen each day. Remind them they should never try to text while riding a bicycle or on a skateboard and to take care if trying to text while walking.

Letting go independent 10 year old is comfortable running an errand to the corner shop for you, or whether they’re secretly quaking at the thought and need to be allowed to wait another year or so before they will be ready for that degree of independence. The gift of independence According to Dr Tim Taylor, writing in Psychology Today: “Independence is not something that your children can gain on their own. They have neither the perspective,

experience, nor skills to develop independence separately from you. Rather, it is a gift you give your children that they will cherish and benefit from their entire lives.” Essential ingredients: π Give your children love and respect. π Show confidence in your children’s capabilities. π Teach them that they have control over their lives. π Provide guidance and then give them the freedom to make their own decisions.

Lenore Skenazy has been celebrated and reviled for allowing her 9 year old son to ride the New York subway unaccompanied

Support for parents While fearing the worst is quite natural, it’s important to remind yourself that serious incidents are rare. Anxious parents can get support from Parenting NI - in fact any parent can, whether they are competent or lacking confidence, had an idyllic upbringing themselves or sadly never felt safe in their own home. The charity’s Director for Family Support Services, Muriel Bailey, says they support parents with any issue, including “helping parents to help their children to have a go at living rather than being holed in”.

Why not get your child to sign up to the following: Never write or forward a photo, or anything in a text, that you wouldn’t want forwarded to everyone in your school, your principal and your parents. Everything you send can become public. Ask before you forward a photo. How would you feel if it was an unflattering photo of you? Always ask before you take a photo or video and ask permission before you post it. If someone asks you to send a sexy photo, remember that even with Snapchat the picture can be copied and forwarded to others. Anyone could see it - every kid in the school, your teachers, your parents. Don’t send it but tell your parents. If you receive a sexy photo, tell your parents, delete it and block the number. Never post your phone number on Facebook, or broadcast it beyond your friends.


2 3 4 5 6

7 8 9 10 11 12

Never broadcast your location except in a direct text to friends (like 6, it leaves you open to stalking.) Don’t use apps that post your location. Never respond to numbers you don’t recognise. Instead, tell your parents so they can report the problem and have the caller blocked. Don’t download apps without your parents’ permission. Set up your charging station in the kitchen so your phone is not in your room at night. Have a life. Put your phone away at homework time, during dinner or family time. Consider software like Apple’s free ‘Find my iPhone’ and’s free security app for Android which can wipe the phone’s data if it’s lost or stolen and can show you where the phone is as long as it is on. Because these apps can locate the phone, they can also locate the family member.

Muriel explained: “It’s about allowing children the opportunity and encouraging them to make choices and do things that promote independence.” It starts at home, with encouraging children to do things for themselves. At age 8-11 they should be tidying their room and helping to care for the family pets. “Depending on their ability, encourage them to help make dinner and to make and serve tea and coffee. A lot of children can make breakfast for parents on birthdays etc. At 11 they could help with the shopping and might pop to the shop for you if it isn’t too far away.” She says parents need to give a bit too. “It’s like having them on a rubber rope. You have to give a wee bit out. “It’s very much about the child. Some children could do those things at 11 and some might not be so confident. I don’t think you should ever push them beyond what they’re comfortable doing. “Scaremongering isn’t helpful because they can end up being scared of everybody. It’s good that children know that not everyone is as friendly and trustworthy as family and people they know well but that the majority of people are okay.” Keep them talking Muriel says for children who have a safe and secure home, the most important aspect is having good communication so that whatever happens, your child knows they can talk to you about it. If your child is playing at the park, remind them to be mindful of where their friends are at all times and not to be alone where they would be vulnerable. If they need to go to the loo to go with a friend - in other words, stay together and look after each other. She acknowledged that parents can feel anxious about letting go and added that if you don’t want them going somewhere, explain why rather than simply lay down the law. “It’s better that they know you are saying it for the right reason. If they are angry at you, they’re not paying attention to what you’re saying.” Children must be reminded to keep within the boundaries parents set down, for instance, coming home at the agreed time. Parenting NI has a freephone, confidential helpline funded by the Health and Social Care Board, which parents can call at any time - anonymously if they wish. Or if they prefer to communicate with other parents they can take part in a course such as Positive Parenting which includes a workshop, Putting Parents First. “It allows parents to look at how they can have more effective parenting that will allow children to be a bit more independent at different ages and stages. “It’s always changing. You might be worried about your 11 year old being at the park in her roller skates and in two years time you’ll be worried about her being at Aviici drinking cider and you’ll be thinking, ‘I wish she was down the park in her roller skates now’.” For advice or information, call the Parents’ Helpline on 0808 8010 722 or visit

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 35

‘Strangerdanger’ isn’tworking:charity W

hile parents might want to help their children become independent, the headline grabbing horror stories of youngsters disappearing or worse, are a chilling presence in the subconscious mind. It’s hard to tell whether ‘stranger danger’ is prevalent or not. Just how safe are our kids on the street? In 2015 the UK based charity Action Against Abduction sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to each police force in the UK, asking them for the statistics on parental child abductions, non-parental child abductions and child kidnappings recorded in 2014/15 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their report indicates that while reported incidents of attempted child abductions are up in England, in Northern Ireland they have not increased. According to the PSNI, there were 43 incidents of child abduction in 2012-13, nine involving parents; 40 incidents in 2013/14, five involving parents and 43 in 2014/15, six involving parents. While that amounts to just under 10 cases per 100,000 of the

Children need to develop skills in recognising potentially dangerous situations and how to avoid them

population, to any parent, the bottom line is that there were 34 cases of abduction or attempted abduction here in 2012 by someone other than a parent, 35 in 2014 and 37 in 2015. Action Against Abduction’s previous research indicates that the majority of nonparental child abductions are perpetrated by strangers or by offenders who are known but not related to the child. A spokesperson for the PSNI confirmed the figures for Northern Ireland. “Although the stats refer to actual incidents of child abduction, not the “someone pulling up beside a child in a car” scenario, they do include what I would refer to as child abduction in a domestic setting also.” Geoff Newiss, Chief Executive of Action Against Abduction, said while the police don’t record whether an abduction is attempted or completed, research carried out by the charity in 2013 showed that three quarters of incidents where the perpetrator was not known to the child were unsuccessful attempts. “The PSNI spokesperson is right that ‘child abduction’ includes quite a range of offences, including domestic-related incidents, grooming, revenge and financial gain motives. However, our research suggests that the majority of those non-parental offences will be committed by strangers,” said Geoff. “That said, I would expect the majority of those to be attempted rather than completed abductions. “Again, our UK research suggests in roughly half the cases there is physical contact between the victim and offender and in some of these cases the victim will have to fight to get away. Thankfully, the vast majority are physically uninjured, though the mental and emotional harm is doubtless more difficult to determine. “Second - and almost the opposite of the first point - there is a tendency to think of completed abductions by a stranger in the most severe, tragic form (we can all recall the very famous cases). However, the reality is again more complicated. Some will be taken a short distance and/or duration and then released or manage to escape.

✸Shocked at stats Bangor mum Pauline Carson was shocked to hear the statistics for incidents of abduction and attempted abduction here. “Those figures are higher than I expected as there’s not that many reported in the local media and I would expect abductions or attempted ones to make the local news. “I am very cautious about allowing my kids out

alone - much more than my parents would have been towards me. “I think the amount of independence you give depends entirely on the child and how mature, streetwise and confident they are. “A basic mobile phone from about age 10 or 11 is a good idea for reassurance on both parts.”

Some will unfortunately suffer a sexual assault, although the most common forms are indecent touching and exposure rather than, for example, rape. Of course, this isn’t to trivialise what happens to these children. However, it is just to point out that very serious sexual assaults and indeed homicides are certainly rare. “As a charity we take the view that - like many other threats to children’s safety the risk needs to be managed rather than avoided. Children who don’t learn to cross the road through practising doing so, end up lacking basic life skills which in the longer-run makes them more vulnerable. Likewise, children - as they get older - need to develop confidence in dealing with people when outside the home or school environment and to develop the skills in recognising potentially dangerous situations and how to avoid them. “One strategy we are absolutely convinced isn’t working is ‘stranger danger’. This just teaches children that all people

‘Stranger danger’ is creating a generation of frightened children, according to Action against Abduction are potentially dangerous, which creates a climate of fear. Fear does not keep children safe. Confidence and assertiveness are much better tools to give your child for confronting the outside world. Replacing ‘stranger danger’ - offering parents and teachers an alternative fit for the modern world - is Action Against Abduction’s top priority,” he added. For further information visit

Whatkidsthink Aine (11) has just made the transition to grammar school. She is mindful of a number of incidents in her local Fermanagh area where children have been approached by strangers. Aine likes to know there are firm limits to the amount of freedom she has. “Last year I was allowed to walk to the library after school one day a week with my friend and on the last day of primary school my friend and I went to the shopping centre - it’s a tradition for the last day of school. We had our phones with us and we knew what to do and our parents had set a time that we were to meet them.” Asked whether she would like greater freedom, she said: “No. If you are trusted to go out you have to know how far you can go and how long you can go out for. It’s a treat to be allowed out but you have to be responsible enough not to do anything stupid like stay out too late or go

anywhere you shouldn’t go or talk to anyone you shouldn’t talk to.” Asked whether she’s very conscious of ‘stranger danger’ when she is out with her friend and whether she worried about it, she said: “I’m not really stressed but would be a bit aware of it in the background. You are enjoying the moment. When you are having fun, you get lost in it all and you don’t have time for that sort of stuff.” Grace (11) has this year started P7. Unlike Aine, she is keen for more freedom: “I feel like I should have been allowed out on my own for a long time.” She is allowed to walk to the corner shop with her friend but added: “I would like to be allowed to walk into town with my friend and go round the shops and walk home again.” She is aware of ‘stranger danger’ but is confident that she would know what to do if approached.

36 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Howtostay healthyand livelonger


y the time most of us have blown out the candles on our 50th birthday cake, something which we might have taken for granted our whole life suddenly begins to assume importance. We look at older people battling infirmity and vow that from this point on, we’re going to look after our health! No matter what our age, however, it’s never too early or too late to make changes that will improve our quality of life not only now but for the years and decades to come. University of Zurich researchers, who looked at the lifestyles of more than 16,700 pensioners, found that four factors have a major influence on life expectancy. A person who does not smoke, drinks little or no alcohol, takes exercise and eats fruit is likely to live up to 10 years longer than someone with the opposite habits.


Get moving. Spending much of our time sitting or lying is as bad for our health as smoking! Sitting for more than 8 hours per day increases the risk of everything from cancer to osteoporosis. The government recommends that adults

should be exercising (fast walking or cycling) for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. It also advises strength exercises such as weight training, push ups and sit ups twice a week to work the major muscles in the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. It would be worth it to see your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes slashed by up to 50%.


Drink more water – being dehydrated affects how we think, our mood, our energy levels and our ability to absorb nutrients. Keeping our body hydrated also helps reduce the risk of some cancers, can help with weight loss and keeps the joints supple and the skin glowing. Aim to drink about eight glasses of water a day although, mercifully, tea and coffee count towards the total.


Get more sleep – it will help protect you against serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity and it is vital for your brain and memory function. Investing in a good mattress might seem like an indulgence but in fact,

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

if it improves the quality of your sleep it could add years to your life.


Eat well – If you are the sort of person who puts salt on your Chinese takeaway or sugar in your hot chocolate, you need to mend your ways. Reducing the amount of salt, sugar and fat in our diet will make us less likely to end up obese or with serious illnesses. Health experts recommend that we eat at least five portions of fruit or veg a day to make sure we are getting the vitamins and minerals we need, basing one third of our meals on starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice or pasta and adding in some dairy or dairy substitute, and a source of protein, such as beans, meat or fish.


Give up those guilty pleasures. It’s never too late to stop smoking or if you are drinking too much alcohol, to cut back. A few glasses of red wine a week might be beneficial but excessive drinking, smoking and especially doing both together are not only bad for your body but, according to the latest research, your brain as well.


Look after your teeth. Regular visits to the dentist are essential and health experts are increasingly finding links between oral and general health. Flossing daily has also been found to add more than six years to the average lifespan - it not only combats gum disease but also heart disease.


Keep an eye open. Regular visits to the optician will keep you sharp but can also be a life saver with eye tests offering a window into other workings of the body.


Listen out. If family or friends are complaining at the volume you have the TV at, you might be experiencing some hearing loss. It can happen so gradually you don’t even notice it. Talk to your GP if you think it might be a problem. Lots of people resist getting their hearing checked but not doing anything about it can leave you feeling isolated as it gets harder to communicate with others.


Ask for help. As people - and especially men - grow older, they can put up with all sorts of aches and ailments and put off going to the doctor. As a result, minor issues which could have been sorted out can turn into major issues. If your mobility is beginning to suffer, there are all sorts of aids which can have a huge impact on your quality of life.


Seek advice. Money worries can impact on everything from emotional to physical health. If you are worried about making ends meet or face the grim heat or eat dilemma this winter, contact Advice NI on 028 9064 5919, or Citizens Advice Bureaux on 028 9023 1120 and they will put you in touch with someone locally.


Stay alert. Eating and exercising can help keep your brain sharp. Other ways to keep on top of things include reading the paper and staying engaged in what’s going on around you. Cod liver oil is thought to be good for the brain too.


Keep smiling. Have a good belly laugh every chance you get. Research has shown that laughter relieves pain and stress and can help boost the immune system. A laugh last thing at night can help you have a good night’s sleep.

38 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

HowJacquelynhas madeabusinessof battlingskincancer Life can be challenging enough when you are diagnosed with a serious form of skin cancer, but entrepreneur Jacquelyn Stewart tells Claire McKeever how she turned a personal trial into a business triumph


rior to launching into the entrepreneurial world, Jacquelyn worked with the Halifax bank in Belfast, then in Dublin. It was whilst working at the bank that Jacquelyn discovered a blister, which unbeknownst to her, would very much change the course of her life. “I did have a blister which only bothered me from a vanity point of view,” Jacquelyn recalls. “I decided to use my work health cover to get it checked out by a consultant. I wasn’t too concerned at the time but it did turn out to be a cancerous tumour and they asked me to come and have it removed. “When it turned out to be cancer, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I thought, ‘I’m not really ready for this’. The real wake-up call was when I went for a check up after surgery and the doctor said ‘You can’t be in the sun any longer’. That was a bit traumatising as I had always felt solar-powered and re-energised by the sun, especially whilst on holiday. “I had been working very hard and probably not leading a healthy lifestyle. I knew I had to make some changes to my diet so I started to look into juicing – and wheatgrass kept popping up. “I started to look for where I could find fresh wheatgrass but I couldn’t find any

Jacquelyn at the Good Choice Awards

Jacquelyn with her daughter Victoria and granddaughter Hailey at the Grow, Make, Eat, Drink Awards at the Ramada Shaw’s Bridge this summer

– it was all powdered. I personally didn’t want the powdered version as I wouldn’t know how many nutrients would be left in it and so I started growing it myself along the kitchen windowsills. I started having more energy as a result of the wheatgrass and there were girls at work asking me if I could bring some shots of it into the office. “In 2010, when the whole financial crisis hit, Halifax was bought out by Lloyds and everyone, including myself, was made redundant. “When the redundancy hit, I decided I was going to open up a juice bar because I was really into juicing at that stage. So, I opened one in Lisburn and, at that time, we were the only juice outlet in Northern Ireland growing wheatgrass across the counter.”

Growing demand

Soon enough, Jacquelyn was running a busy juice bar, where customers came far and wide came to sample her wheatgrass shots. “The problem was people wanted wheatgrass on a daily basis but they couldn’t travel to the juice bar everyday, so I started to deliver,” she says. The short shelf life of the wheatgrass was hampering Jacquelyn’s business so with the help of Invest NI she was put in touch with Margaret Patterson from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) who helped her extend the product from two hours to three weeks shelf-life. “At that point, I decided to close up the juice bar and focus on the wheatgrass. I put up a small polytunnel in my back garden and

started to grow it from there.” Before long, Squeeze Wheatgrass was selling online and once she had managed to extend the shelf life to three months, Jacquelyn knew she was onto a winner. “It was terrific,” she says. Over the course of five years, Jacquelyn has won several awards, including the Leading Light Award for transforming her bricks and mortar business to an online commerce; a Great Taste Award this year; Ulster Tatler 2014 Business Woman of the Year; and a Highly Commended SME at the 2014 Business Eye Awards.

Further tumours

In the early years, Jacquelyn was very much flying solo: cutting the wheatgrass, as well as distributing, packaging and marketing it all - all amid check-ups and removal of further tumours across her body. In 2013, there were concerns about five lesions on her face and for this she received topical chemotherapy, which resulted in side effects she describes as “horrendous”. “It was a tough time and I don’t know if I could do it now but when you’re in the moment and it’s your business, you just get on with it,” says Jacquelyn. In the last few years Jacquelyn has expanded the business and now grows the wheatgrass in an old coach house in Warrenpoint and supplies major firms such as Arcadia Deli and Nature Intended.

She is also building on the interest that has recently been shown in countries such as Spain, Holland and Norway. Her customers are aged 20-80 years and 70% of them re-order. They tell Jacquelyn that they have seen their cholesterol levels improve dramatically and have been sleeping better as a result of taking wheatgrass. She says 52% of her customers have had some form of cancer and, like herself, have found wheatgrass to be beneficial when it comes to improving energy levels. What’s next? Jacquelyn is planning to rebrand the company and see the products continue to evolve. “We brought out flavours to tie in with Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland this year which are doing very well,” says Jacquelyn. “We also did a project recently with University of Ulster students where they were set with the task of using wheatgrass to make a product not containing juice. We haven’t announced the winner yet so I can’t say what was involved but all I can say is that I’m really excited by the results! “In a few years I would like to be developing even more products, to be known for being innovative within the food industry and with wheatgrass, and to introduce wheatgrass to people who wouldn’t necessarily try it. The health benefits of it are amazing.” As far as Jacquelyn’s health is concerned, she is still battling with skin cancer but is adamant that wheatgrass plays a vital part in keeping her going. She shares: “I had some cancer show up recently which was thankfully easily treated. I was a bit gutted to have it back but I wouldn’t be without the wheatgrass to keep me going. I have it twice a day; the original shots in the morning then the juice versions in pouch in my bag for the office, or when I’m travelling. I’m just living for today and that is the best I can do right now.” For further information visit

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 39 Advertising feature



yprinol, the super strength fish oil, had its Northern Ireland launch in Family Life magazine in January this year. Since then thousands of Northern Ireland people have enjoyed the benefits of this tried and tested food supplement which has been linked to improved quality of life of arthritis and asthma sufferers across the globe for decades. Lyprinol UK representative Bert Jukes said: “Many thousands of people all over the world have been experiencing the benefits of using Lyprinol for many years so it’s no surprise that the product is proving such a hit in Northern Ireland as well. The feedback from customers here has been great – they love the fact that Lyprinol is an entirely natural product and they tell us their quality of life has been improved by using it.” Officially endorsed by Olympic gold medal winner Dame Mary Peters (DBE), Lyprinol is now available in Northern Ireland’s two leading independent pharmacy chains, Gordons Chemists and Medicare. Dame Mary, who won gold in the women’s pentathlon for Great Britain and Ireland in the Munich Olympics in 1972, as well as three Commonwealth Games golds and a silver, says: “I take Lyprinol every day. Because it’s Omega 3 and it’s a lubricant it’s good for your joints. They’re not hard to take because they’re small and easy to swallow.” The vital ingredient in this super supplement is a natural, highly purified extract

from the Green-Shelled Museel, harvested in New Zealand. The extract contains a rare combination of lipid groups and unique Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and is 100 times more potent than the fish oil EPA Max. While Omega-3 fatty acids are known to support the heart and healthy cholesterol levels, the Omega-3s 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. Inflamma-

tion has been found to be reduced within 4-8 weeks of beginning use. Lyprinol capsules are small and easy to swallow and have no known side effects; they are safe to use with other drugs and don’t leave an aftertaste. They can be digested by people suffering from shellfish intolerances. Lyprinol’s effectiveness has been backed up by many clinical tests over the past 27 years, often with outstanding results. In one study, at Poland’s Clinic of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, Lyprinol was

found to reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis by 89% while 91% of the 50 adults tested reported improved quality of life. Meanwhile, clinical trials involving asthma sufferers at Indiana University in 2013 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%. Satisfied customers all over Northern Ireland are now adding their voices to the many testimonials to Lyprinol’s effectiveness. Visit for details.

Dame Mary Peters visited Gordon’s Chemist and Medicare stores recently, to celebrate Lyprinol’s arrival in both Northern Ireland’s leading independent pharmacy chains

40 | Family Life


Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

There are more books than days to read them. Here are Family Life’s top picks of the latest releases... FOR GIRLS:

Time After Time by Judi Curtin, age 10+

Judi Curtin has been dubbed Ireland’s answer to Jacqueline Wilson and she certainly launches the young reader on an emotional roller-coaster with this tale of best friends Molly and Beth. The girls are barely adjusting to their strange new domestic arrangements when they find themselves time travelling back to 1984 with in turns hilarious and poignant results. Beth realises her mum, who died when she was a baby, will be alive now and they set out to find her. Curtin handles some complex emotional issues with great dexterity and while the final parting of Beth and her mum could be devastating, she moves lightly through it. Expect lots of laughs and lots of tears from both adult and youngsters.

Hannah in the Spotlight by Natasha Mac a’Bhaird

This is a light, easy read, hitting the mark for anyone who has to look after younger

siblings as well as anyone who dreams of being a writer, actor or ballerina. Hannah hits it off with the new girl next door, Meg, and together with Hannah’s friends Ruby and Laura, they decide to form the Star Club to pass the summer holidays and give Hannah a break from helping at home. As the weeks go by, it becomes clear that Meg is hiding something and just as the girls are ready to perform at Hannah’s little sister’s birthday party, disaster strikes, threatening the whole show.


Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

The new novel from the bestselling author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has produced another penetrating, moving story. Set over four weeks in present-day Washington, DC, Here I Am is the story of Jacob and Julia Bloch and their three sons who are forced to confront their own realities in the wake of a huge earthquake and an escalating crisis in the Middle East. Intense, urgent, hard-hitting and sometimes hilarious, Fo-

Moviesto takehome

From big screen blockbusters to kids’ favourites, there are plenty of new releases on DVD and Blu-ray to get the popcorn in for this month.

er’s first novel in 11 years confirms a great talent at the height of his powers.

Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame By Mara Wilson The cute little girl in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, Mara Wilson has won warm praise for this insightful, moving and hilarious expose of what life is like for a child star who always feels a little out of place. Covering everything from what she learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to discovering she was no longer ‘cute’ as well as the struggles everyone goes through in life, Where Am I Now? establishes Wilson in a promising new career as a talented writer with an authentic voice.


Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Silence is Goldfish is the story of Tessa whose normal, comfortable world is shaken when she finds out her father is not her real father. Tessa’s decision to suddenly stop speaking begins as a kind of protest but her

Captain America: Civil War (12) Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson star in this action adventure sequel based on the Marvel Comics series. In this instalment, set after Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), an incident resulting in a law to regulate the activity of the Avengers causes a divide between the group of superheroes. The Avengers become split into two opposing factions, headed by Captain America (Evans) and Iron Man (Downey Jr),

silence becomes the catalyst for a journey of self-discovery that is by turns hilarious and deeply moving. Cyber-bullying, unpredictable adults, newly acquired self-awareness and further unexpected revelations are all met with silence, Tessa only confiding in a goldfish torch she names Mr. Goldfish. Pitcher’s first book, My Sister Lives on The Mantelpiece, was listed for thirty awards including the CILIP Carnegie Medal and The Dylan Thomas Prize.


The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

This is the first in a new series, The Trials of Apollo, by the author of the smash hit Percy Jackson series. It’s been out for a few months but if you are working your way through the Percy Jacksons, it’s good to know where to go next. After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the 4,000 year old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour. But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp HalfBlood.

while a new villain threatens the safety of the world. Will the superheroes be able to defeat their common enemy and repair the schism? The film also stars Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie and Jeremy Renner. Captain America: 3-movie Collection (12) An obvious Christmas present for Marvel fans, this box set includes Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 41

Goodiesfor gamers The holiday season is fast approaching which means new video games and consoles to play them on are on the horizon.


ecently Sony, makers of the PlayStation 4, held an event in New York unveiling two new variants on their flagship console. The PlayStation 4 Pro, set to launch on November 10 for £349, made the biggest waves. Offering a sizeable performance boost on the standard PlayStation 4, the PS4 Pro boasts 4K support for games and streaming services, along with better support for Sony’s upcoming virtual reality platform. Sony also announced the PlayStation 4 Slim, which is a smaller more energy efficient system with a 500 GB hard drive that will become the standard PS4 going forward. It is set for release on September 15 for £259. 2016 has already been a standout year for video games, with more promising titles looking to make their own mark towards the end of the year. XCOM 2, Hitman, Dark Souls 3, Uncahrted 4, Doom, Overwatch and many more have set the benchmark that these big releases are aiming for to stand out.


Pro Evolution Soccer 2017, (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – September 13 Forza Horizon 3 (PC, Xbox One) – September 27 FIFA 17 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – September 27 Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) – October 11 Battlefield 1 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – October 21 Titanfall 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – October 28 The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – October 28 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – November 4 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – November 4 Football Manager 17 (PC) – November 4 Dishonored 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – November 11 Watch Dogs 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – November 15 Pokemon Sun and Moon (3DS) – November 18 Final Fantasy 15 (PS4, Xbox One) – November 29 South Park: The Fractured But Whole (PC, PS4, Xbox One) – December 6

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 3 Complete All 26 episodes from the third season of the children’s CGI-animated cartoon tracing the origins of the sewer-dwelling, superhero foursome Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. The Jungle Book (2016) (PG) Starring Neel Sethi, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken, 2016’s The Jungle Book is a modern retelling of the Disney classic, featuring updated computer animation and stunning new effects.

The coming of age story centres on a young boy named Mowgli who has been raised in the jungle by various jungle animals, including a bear, panther, and wolves. X-Men: Apocalypse (PG) DVD and Blu-ray release date October 4 but available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes since September 9. James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender star. After absorbing the power of other mutants, Apocalypse

becomes invincible and immortal. After awaking from thousands of years at rest, Apocalypse recruits other mutants to create a new world order by cleansing humanity. Professor X and Raven come together to lead a team of X-Men to stop Apocalypse’s destruction of the earth. Central Intelligence (PG) DVD and Blu-ray release date September 27 and available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on September 13. This action comedy stars Kevin Hart as an accountant who reconnects with his old school friend (Dwayne Johnson) and they meet up. It is not long before the accountant finds out that his friend is actually an international spy, and that maybe it would have been best to just exchange a few emails instead of getting together again.

Me Before You (PG) Me Before You follows Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) as she begins a new job that involves caring for a quadriplegic, Will Trainer (Sam Claflin), with whom she forms a bond. Once she discovers that Will is planning on committing assisted suicide in six months, she begins to create a schedule of activities and trips that they can take together in hopes of changing his mind on what he’s capable of. As she works hard to reintroduce him to the world again, he also shows her a new side of life by pushing her to dream and enjoy a life that’s bigger than their small town.

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Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Flavouryourlife The Livestock and Meat Commission are delighted to present some great recipes to Flavour Your Life - all using Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Beef and Lamb. The Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme is one of the world’s longest running assurance schemes and was officially launched in 1992 to give consumers assurances about the farm end of the production chain with three key pillars: food safety, animal welfare and care for the environment. When you see the logo you can be sure the meat is of premium quality and of the highest standards. Please visit our website for these recipes and many others – and share your favourites with friends and family. And don’t forget to look out for Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Beef and Lamb when you buy red meat.

Mini lamb and sweet potato pies

Enjoy a little taste of lamb heaven with these warm and hearty mini pies. The quality, texture and unique flavour of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean lamb mince, mixed with an array of mouth-watering ingredients, makes a mini feast the whole family will love. Serves 6 Prep Time 15 mins Cooking Time 15-20 mins Oven temperature Pre-heat grill, you will need a large ovenproof dish or 6 small ramekins

Mozzarella Meatballs with tomato and bacon A good old family favourite just got even tastier! These mozzarella filled meatballs, made with Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean minced beef and cooked in a rich tomato sauce, are just oozing with Italian flavour. Serves 4

π 1 small pinch dried chilli flakes π 60g (2oz) freshly grated parmesan π 30g (1oz) tomato puree π 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce π 1 egg π 120g (4oz) Mozzarella, cut into twelve 10g pieces

Ingredients: π 750g (1½ lb) Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean minced beef π 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Sauce: π 1 onion or 2 shallots finely chopped π 100g (4 oz.) smoked streaky bacon, finely sliced π 1 garlic clove, crushed π 1 tin of chopped tomatoes π 200ml vegetable stock π 20g (¾ oz.) fresh basil leaves, chopped. (½ a small basil pot) π 30g (1 oz.) freshly grated parmesan

Method: π Thoroughly mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a bowl. Using clean hands roll about 12 x 60g (2 oz.) mince balls and place them into a large earthenware dish. Clingfilm and refrigerate until the sauce is ready. π For the sauce fry the onion and bacon over a medium heat until the onion is soft and the bacon is golden brown. Add

the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then the chopped tomatoes. Finally stir in the basil and remove from the heat. π Pour over the meatballs and sprinkle the grated parmesan on top. Cover with tin foil and bake in the hot oven for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes. π Serve with freshly cooked spaghetti.

Prep Time 25 mins Cooking Time 1 hour Oven temperature Pre-heat oven to 170oC/ 325oF/ gas 3

Ingredients: π 2 teaspoons olive oil π 1 medium onion, finely chopped π 1 garlic clove, crushed π 500g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean lamb mince π 1 teaspoon of tomato puree π 400g can chopped tomatoes π lamb stock cube π 100ml water π 1 tsp cinnamon π 1 small handful chopped fresh basil π 1 small tin of sweet corn π 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into inch pieces π 50g Parmesan, finely grated π 150g grated mozzarella Method: π Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion until soft, then add the garlic and minced lamb and thoroughly brown. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, water, stock cube, cinnamon and basil. Bring to the boil, then reduce to the lowest setting and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet corn and simmer for a further 5 minutes. π Meanwhile cook the sweet potato in boiling water. When the lamb mixture is cooked spoon it into a serving dish, top with the sweet potato pieces and sprinkle with the parmesan and mozzarella, place under a hot grill for a few minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

Creamy peppered beef For a sensational and satisfying meal, this beefy indulgence is the cream of the crop. One mouthful of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured chump steak tenderly cooked in a rich and spicy creamy sauce and it’ll be love at first bite!

Prep time 20 minutes Cooking time 40 minutes

π 500g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured chump steak, thinly sliced π 1 red onion, finely sliced π 2 cloves of garlic, crushed π 1 red pepper, finely sliced π 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced π 250g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced π 1 tsp of chilli powder π 30ml cognac (optional) π 250ml beef stock π 150ml double cream

ing pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the chump steak and thoroughly brown then add the peppers and fry for 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and fry until golden then add the garlic, chilli powder and cognac. Let the cognac evaporate then quickly add the beef stock and cream. Reduce the temperature and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the beef is tender. Spoon into warm bowls and serve with wild rice.

Ingredients: π 1 tbsp. of olive oil

Method: π Heat the olive oil in a large non stick fry-

To serve: Wild rice, cooked in vegetable stock

Serves 4

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 43

Asian beef and noodle broth

Spice up your soup with this economical meal that’s warm, hearty and full of oriental flavour. For an extra kick add some more chilli – you’ll be bowled over by every tasty spoonful. Serves 4 Prep Time 20 mins Cooking Time 2-2.5 hours Stage One Ingredients: π 700g (1½ lb) Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef shin π 1½ litres water π 1 large onion π 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half π 45g peeled and chopped fresh ginger π 3 celery sticks, washed and roughly chopped π 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped Method: π Place all of the ingredients into a large saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for two hours. Using a large spoon, lift the beef out of the pan and place onto a plate, remove the bone and any fat and using a knife and

fork shred the meat into little pieces. Sieve the remaining stock to remove and discard the vegetables. You should be left with about 1 litre of delicious stock. Stage Two Ingredients: π 1 clove of garlic, crushed π 30g ginger, peeled and grated π ½ tsp of shrimp paste π 1 tsp of brown sugar π 1 Thai red chilli, finely chopped π A dash of fish sauce π 4 spring onions π 150g Pak choi or baby spinach leaves π 250g cooked noodles π Shredded beef shin π A few coriander leaves Method: π Pour the stock back into the saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the garlic, ginger, shrimp paste, sugar, chilli and fish sauce. Then add the spring onions, Pak choi, noodles, cooked shin and coriander and simmer for another few minutes. Ladle into warm bowls and serve.

Grilled Lamb chops with mint and fruity couscous Go on, let your exotic side out and try this classic with a twist. With Farm Quality Assured Lamb Chops, this fresh dish is a sure way of whetting your appetite on the barbecue/grill and for dinner parties. Serves 4 Prep Time 15 mins Cooking Time 35 mins Oven temperature Pre heat a grill Ingredients Couscous: π 8 Farm Quality Assured Lamb chops or Lamb leg steaks π 4 tablespoons of olive oil π 1 clove of garlic, crushed π 2 level teaspoons of shop bought mint sauce π 1 large pinch of chilli flakes π Salt and pepper π 250mls chicken stock π 1 tablespoon of olive oil π 1 red onion, halved and finely sliced π 1 clove of garlic, crushed π A small pinch of chilli flakes π 80g dried cranberries π 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional) π 15g of fresh coriander, finely chopped π 15g of fresh mint, finely chopped

π 100g wild rocket leaves π Salt and pepper For the dressing π 2 tablespoons of honey π 2 tablespoons of light olive oil π 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar π A small pinch of chilli flakes Method: π Mix olive oil, mint sauce, garlic and chilli in a shallow bowl. Coat each Lamb chop in the marinade and allow to rest for 10 minutes before grilling the chops for 4 – 5 minutes on both sides, cover with tinfoil and rest for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, tip the couscous into a bowl with boiling chicken stock. Stir and allow to stand for 10 minutes while you grill the Lamb chops and prepare the remaining salad ingredients. Heat a little oil in a non stick pan and fry the onions until soft and golden, add the garlic, chilli, cranberries and cook for a further 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and tip into a serving bowl along with couscous, pomegranate seeds, chopped coriander, mint and rocket. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the couscous salad and serve with the grilled chops.

Meaty carbonara After a hard day in the office come home and get your teeth into this hearty meal. Bursting with fresh flavour and quality Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef you can be assured there won’t be anything left over! Serves 4 Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes Ingredients: π 450g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured rump or sirloin steak π 2 cloves garlic π 1 small onion π 1 orange pepper π 100g mushrooms π 50g sundried tomatoes π 5-6 cherry tomatoes π 1 tsp olive oil π 150g fresh egg tagliatelle π 500ml passata π 2 tsp green pesto π 2 tbsp of half fat crème fraiche π 5-6 basil leaves Method: π Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add thinly sliced beef and crushed garlic. Stir

well and let this cook for 3 minutes. Pop in finely sliced onions with the beef and garlic and cook for a further two minutes until the onions have softened. Then add in the diced pepper, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Cook the pasta in boiling water and drain once ready. Now add the passata and pesto into the mix and stir well before adding the drained pasta, cherry tomatoes and crème fraiche. Give this a good stir before tearing the basil leaves into the sauce. Cook for a further minute. To serve: Serve with crusty bread and vegetables.

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Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Lamb korma

Beefy wraps

You will want every night to be curry night after devouring this family favourite. Korma that packs a flavour punch with Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb. Serve with fluffy turmeric rice for the ultimate chef brownie points.

Out of ideas for dinner? Make these full of flavour, tasty Mexican wraps in a flash. Crammed with Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured tender beef, tasty veg and a sprinkle of cheese - the only words at the table will be ‘one more, por favor.’

Serves 2

Serves 4

Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes

Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 25 minutes

Ingredients: π 2 Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb leg steaks π 2 spring onions π 2 garlic cloves π 3 plum tomatoes π 2 tbsp of fresh coriander π 1 tsp of chilli powder π 1 tsp of coriander seeds π 1 tsp cumin seeds π 1 tsp ground mixed spice π 1 tsp curry powder π 1 tsp paprika π 2 tbsp tomato puree π 55g Greek yoghurt

Ingredients: π 450g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean minced beef π 2 cloves garlic π 1 onion π 1 red pepper π 150g mushrooms π 1 courgette π 75g sweetcorn π 1 tsp dried herbs π 1 x 500g jar passata π 75g cheddar cheese π 1 pack of flour tortillas

Turmeric rice: π 255g long grain rice π 2 tsp turmeric π 2 tbsp coriander Method: π Begin by boiling a saucepan of water and adding the rice and turmeric. Allow this to cook for 12 minutes to infuse the flavour. While the rice is cooking you can get on with preparing and chopping the vegetables. π Dry fry the chopped lamb and garlic for four minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the special ingredients, chilli powder, coriander seeds, cumin, mixed spice powder, curry powder and paprika and stir. π Next add the tomato puree and stir. Leave the korma to simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. π Toss in the yoghurt, spring onions and tomatoes, stir and leave to simmer for a further 3 minutes allowing the flavours to deepen. π Then add the coriander, stir and remove the korma from the heat. To serve: Serve the mouth-watering korma on top of the rice.

Oriental lamb stir fry Get that wok hot because it’s time to cook up a storm! Tossing up spices, vegetables, herbs and succulent Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lamb you’ll be the star of your very own cooking show. Put this on the dinner table and experience a whole new world of taste sensation. Enjoy! Serves 2 Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes Ingredients: π 225g (8 oz) lean Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean lamb leg steaks π 1.5cm piece root ginger π 2 cloves of garlic π 2 heads of pak choi π 3 radishes π 1 red pepper π 1 tsp sunflower oil π 2 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce π 150g pre-cooked white flat noodles π 100g sugar snap peas π Handful of spinach π 50g beansprouts

Dressing: π 2 tbsp of fresh coriander π 2 tbsp of fresh basil π 1 red chilli π 1 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce π 1 tsp of soy sauce Method: π Begin by prepping the veg and herbs – slice the peeled ginger, radishes and pepper, crush the garlic, and roughly chop the pak choi, coriander and basil. π Get the dressing ready by deseeding the chilli and adding into a bowl with the chopped herbs, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and give it a good mix. π Slice the lamb steaks into thin strips and fry in sunflower oil for 3-4 minutes until browned. Add the ginger, garlic and soy sauce and stir fry for 2 minutes. π Then add the noodles, radishes, pepper, pak choi, sugar snap peas, spinach and beansprouts, stir well and fry for a further 2 minutes. π Remove the wok from the heat and pour the dressing over the stir fry – ready to serve.

Method: π Dry fry the mince, sliced onion and crushed garlic until browned. Toss in the diced peppers, mushroom, courgette, sweetcorn, dried herbs and passata. π Stir thoroughly and let this simmer for 15-20 minutes. π Heat the tortillas in a microwave for 30 seconds. To serve: Serve the delicious mince in folded tortillas sprinkled with grated cheese.

Quick Italian beef stew Quick, easy and mouth-wateringly tasty, this hearty Italian beef stew is the perfect dish to throw together in a hurry. Made with Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured rump steak and dished up with fresh vegetables, it’s sure to be a hit at the dinner table.

π 1 tablespoon sugar π 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar π 1 x 400g tin of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed π Handful of flat leaf parsley

Serves 4

Method: π For the best result, cook the beef in two batches. Heat half of the oil in a non-stick wok or frying pan until very hot then add half the beef, stir fry for 2 -3 minutes until brown, remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining beef. π Return to the wok or frying pan and heat the remaining oil. Fry the onion until it begins to soften, then add the red pepper and courgette, cook for a minute stirring continuously. π Pour chopped tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, dissolved stock cube in water, garlic, sugar and balsamic vinegar into the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer for 5 minutes. π Return the cooked beef to the pan along with Cannellini beans and chopped parsley, cook for about 3 minutes.

Prep time 10 minutes Cooking time 15 minutes Ingredients: π 600g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured rump steak, trimmed and cut into thin strips π 2 tablespoons olive oil π 1 medium red onion, sliced π 1 red pepper π 1 courgette π 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes π 200g cherry tomatoes π 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 100ml of hot water π 1 clove garlic, crushed

To serve: Crusty bread

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 45

Mini Lamb burgers with tomato relish and mint yoghurt Not just your average burger! Paired with a mild and minty sauce, you will relish every mouthful of these delicious spicy mini burgers made with Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean minced lamb. Serves 6 Prep time 25 minutes Cooking time 15 minutes Ingredients: π 3 small crusty rolls, cut in half and lightly toasted π Rocket leaves π 6 teaspoons of good quality tomato chutney π 6 teaspoons natural yoghurt π 2 teaspoons mint sauce π 500g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean minced lamb π ½ small onion finely chopped π 1 clove garlic, crushed

π 1 small pinch of chilli flakes π 1 level teaspoon of cinnamon π 1 teaspoon tomato puree π A small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped π A small handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped π 1 egg, lightly beaten Method: π Combine all of the ingredients together and form into six meatballs, flatten out slightly to make burgers. Fry over a medium heat in a little oil, for 6 minutes on each side until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Set aside to rest and keep warm. Meanwhile mix the yogurt and mint sauce together. To serve: Lay some rocket leaves on top of each half toasted roll, set a warm burger on top, and add a spoonful of tomato chutney and a little yogurt and mint sauce.

Sticky apricot lamb kebabs with passion fruit, rocket and pomegranate Fresh lamb loves nothing more than the tangy taste of apricots - and this recipe is packed full of fruity flavours. With their deliciously sticky glaze these tender skewers of happiness will go down a treat whether they’re grilled or barbecued. Serves 4 Prep time 15 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes Ingredients: π 2 Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured large lamb leg steaks π 12 wooden skewers (pre-soaked in cold water) π A little olive oil π 120g apricot jam π 50ml water π 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce π 2 teaspoons light soy sauce π 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger π 1 teaspoon of tomato puree π 1 clove garlic (optional) For the salad: π 2 passion fruit π 1 small bag of wild rocket π 100g pomegranate seeds π 1 red onion, finely sliced π 1 teaspoon of honey

Method: π Cut each Lamb steak into 6 long slices and rub with a little olive oil. Thread onto the wooden skewers. π Place the apricot jam, water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ginger, tomato puree and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for a few minutes until the glaze has thickened. π Barbecue or grill the lamb kebabs for 2 minutes on either side, then brush with the glaze and return to the grill or barbecue for a minute on each side until the lamb is cooked and the glaze has caramelised. Cut the passion fruit in half and remove the seeds with a spoon, place into a bowl and mix with the remaining salad ingredients. Serve with the sticky apricot kebabs.

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Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Testingtimes forP7s-and theirfamilies


he old adage that your schooldays are the best days of your life may be under challenge for lots of P7 children preparing for their transfer tests in November. Education Minister Peter Weir has removed the rule against schools prepping pupils for the test, creating a level field for next year’s P7 intake. However, for this year’s P7s, there can be a huge variation in the amount of support they are getting. Some pupils are both prepped in school and tutored outside of school, some are reliant on the school’s preparations and some get no support at all. The children sit two multiple choice GL tests for a place in grammar schools in the Catholic maintained sector and three AQE papers for grammars in the state sector. While children sitting the GL get a

straightforward grading, pupils taking the AQE have their best two results out of the three papers counted. They are given a mark out of 128, each paper having a maximum of 64 marks. Generally speaking, they need to score at least 100 to win a grammar school place. With children starting to do practice papers in P6 and many having continued to revise and practise over the summer holidays, the start of P7 can see tensions begin to rise. Children can feel under pressure while for parents, trying to persuade an unwilling child to do schoolwork when they would rather be out playing can be hard going. It can help to limit practice or revision papers to the same time and place each week so that your child knows what’s coming and every session doesn’t start with a battle.

Here are Family Life’s top tips for getting through it... Keep it in perspective. It’s not a life or death situation. The worst that can happen is that your child will study exactly the same subjects at a school that wasn’t your first choice. They might even be much happier there! Don’t criticise them. It’s too easy to focus on the silly mistakes they make in practice papers but children, like most other types of humans, get demoralised by negative reactions. Instead, praise them for what they are doing well. Let them play. Don’t pull them out of their normal routine of after school and weekend activities. Life needs to contin-

ue as normally as possible through the process. Do give them an incentive to try their best. Set a target and reward them with a special treat if they’ve worked hard. Make sure you give it to them whatever their test results. Look after the basics. Make sure they are eating and sleeping well as that will ensure they are mentally in tip top condition. Don’t compare them with other children. It’s wrong in most situations. Keep them calm. If they are getting stressed, give them a break from study and do something fun. Laughter is a great stress reliever.






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16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 47

Thinkingofjoiningthe ranksofadultlearners? By Rachel McLaughlin


he children should all be settling into their new school year by now, and as the little whizzkids talk of lessons and discoveries, it can be a great time for adults to be inspired and consider joining the world of learning too. Whether it’s taking up a new skill, brushing up on a language, or beginning a course in Higher Education, there are so many options for keeping your mind active.

Returning to learning can help you get the foot in the door of a new career, or help you move up the ladder in your workplace. For the self-starters, picking up some new skills could be all you need to set up a new business. Gaining a new qualification can be a big step which requires much planning. Finance and the amount of time you have needs to be carefully considered before you commit to a course. Think realistically about your current working hours or family

life. How much time you can spare will determine what you do - whether it’s a day course, an evening class, an Honours degree, or study at a Postgraduate level - there are plenty of part-time and open learning options to suit busy lives. Education can be costly, but there are many varieties of bursaries, grants and support to apply for, depending on your own circumstances. It’s worth contacting the student finance department of different institutions to see what you can avail of.


πREBECCAFINLAY: Rebecca Finlay is a 21 year-old, self-proclaimed ‘Maverick Mum’. Rebecca’s life plans suddenly took a different path when she fell pregnant at the age of 18. Rather than taking a gap year of travelling after school, she spent two years repeating A levels, raising her son Reuben and working part-time - all with the aim of making it to university to study teaching. Rebecca’s hard work paid off, and she is now a full-time student at Queen’s University. However, her life path often seemed to deviate from original plans, and her education was no exception. “I didn’t get into teaching. After the interview, I couldn’t figure out why, but then I got the offer for Theology. I became a Christian after that, and then it seemed like theology was what I was meant to do all along,” she says. Rebecca documents her life as a mother and a student in a light-hearted and thoughtful blog: Maverick Mum. Her faith and experiences have led her to consider a future career in ministry to inspire and help other women. “Through my blog I’ve met all sorts of women, and they all wonder how I managed to keep a child alive and go to uni.” The young mum took a big step in her pursuit of education. She left her parents’ home in Magherafelt and moved to Belfast with Reuben before starting first year. “It was testing for the first few weeks trying to find my feet. But it was good, it seemed like the right decision,” she says. Rebecca merged her roles as a mother and student and made Reuben a part of her university life. The Queen’s University creche opposite her school building allows her to see him as much as she can, all the while knowing he is never too far away when she is attending classes or going to the library. Reuben loves life at Queen’s, Rebecca says, and loves meeting up with her friends and going to events. “All summer, he’s been asking, ‘when am I going back to uni?’, and I reply, ‘Son, you don’t go to uni, you go to creche!’” “Living with just me and him - it seemed like our relationship has flourished. It’s been me and Reuben against the world,” Rebecca says. Being a parent requires a different approach to study, Rebecca says. “With assignments, I just have to accept that I have to do them in advance, unlike other people. So if something comes up around the deadline, I already have

Consider the costs as an investment in your future, and one that should be very carefully chosen. It can be daunting to jump into something new, but many universities offer foundation years to introduce you to a subject area. Adults in education can have an advantage too, as they can apply their own experiences and bring alternative perspectives to a subject. Find out how these bright sparks made learning work for them:

Jade Bogle, from Ballyclare, graduated from the University of Ulster in June with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Jade had her son Lee-Andre at the age of 17, just after leaving school. She began her course four years later, with the intention of learning how to help young people. Growing up in an area with a high level of anti-social behaviour inspired Jade. “I wanted to prevent children from going down a bad route,” she says. Being a young mother was also a big motivator for Jade. “Having my son young made me realise that I wanted to go back to university to provide a better life for him and for myself,” she says. Beginning student life, she recalls, was a nerve-wracking experience. “I can remember my first day. I felt sick. I felt so nervous.” Jade’s family were a vital help as she settled into the world of study, she says. “I found that being organised was quite difficult. My family have been a great support

Rebecca with Reuben it done.” “Generally, there were a lot of really late nights and very early mornings. You just have to grab time when you can get it.” Rebecca found support was never too far away if she needed it. On her first day, the principal of her school sat down with her and explained all the resources available to her, such as babysitting and deadline extensions. She found that staff and friends were always interested in her situation and caring. “By June I had made some really close friends that were able to sit with Reuben the night before an exam and I would go to the library.”

Rebecca has met many mothers through her blog, and is passionate about encouraging them to pursue education if it’s part of their goals. “I try to tell them that the services are amazing at Queen’s and at any other universities. I think it’s just not widely known, and that’s why a lot of mums don’t go for it.” People had advised Rebecca to wait until Reuben was older before returning to education, but she has no regrets about her decision. “I’ve brought him along for the ride, and it has worked out perfectly.” After a summer of adventures and recharging, Rebecca is ready to go back to the books, with little Reuben eagerly in tow.

Having my son young made me realise that I wanted to go back to university to provide a better life for him and for myself Continued on page 48

48 | Family Life Continued from page 47

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

πJULIEANNELYNCH: Novelist Julieanne Lynch is a firm believer in not letting anything hold her back. She began studying at the Open University as a young mum of two. After an introductory course in humanities, she tailor-made a degree to suit her interests in literature and creative writing. The long-distance format of the Open University allowed Julieanne to raise her family over the course of six years while pursuing her learning goals. “I always wanted to go to university,” she says. “I settled down at 19, and I didn’t really fulfil my obligation to myself - my goals of wanting to go to university.” Julieanne’s reading and essay writing was done between school runs and nap times. “Once my little boy went to school and my little girl was at nursery or having a nap, I’d sit down and I’d work,” she says. She found fulfillment in her studies, and enjoyed attending the residential day courses. While the majority of learning with the Open University is done at home, Julieanne found that her tutors were always accessible.

“At the beginning of a module, the tutor would contact you, introduce themselves to you and give encouragement at the beginning of the

course,” she says. Her tutors could be contacted by phone and email thereafter. Julieanne asserts that home learning takes discipline and determination to make the most of a personal investment. “You really have to discipline yourself to sit down and do the work. You really have to invest your time and your energy into it, and try to make the best of the material that you have purchased. “As an adult learning, you are more inclined to value the time and effort that goes into your education.” The skills she attained in time management, analysis and organisation proved vital to her career as a novelist. “Having deadlines at university has prepared me for the pressures and stress that comes with demands in the workforce.” She had her fourth child by the time she had finished her degree. Seven years later, she has completed 17 novels, one of which is in development for film. Ash, a contemporary romance story, is set to be released at the end of this month.

Scott Skelton on stage

Jade Bogle regarding Lee-Andre and his childcare.” Lee-Andre was an inspirational force too, Jade says. “He celebrated every exam with me.” Jade’s journey through education was far from smooth sailing. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the end of her first year - a condition characterised by pain and exhaustion. “It was difficult to manage university life, having a child and being ill,” she says. She found support in her studies advisor, who helped her discover what services were available. The university helped Jade through a personal tragedy too, when her father passed away in her second year. Staff arranged for Jade to have time off, avail of counselling and to reschedule her exams. “At some points I didn’t feel like I was going to see the finish line,” Jade says. However, staff and friends helped her make it through testing times. For a young mother, financing the degree was an important issue. While working part-time throughout the three years, Jade was also able to avail of a student grant and loans, all with the advice of the student support services. “If that support wasn’t available I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to university,” she says. She received a welcome boost in her third year with a Gateway Scholarship from the Ulster University Student Fund. Jade ranks her graduation day as one of her finest. “To actually get there was the most amazing feeling in the world,” she says. She has since started a new post as a support worker for the Simon Community. As well as a degree, Jade gained lifelong skills and friends. “I’m a far more confident person now, I feel like I really grew as a person.” Despite setbacks and hardships, Jade looks back on her experience with positivity, and would advise any adults considering university to pursue their goals. “It’s so worth it, even for your own self, your own confidence and your own skills. The whole experience is amazing.”

πSCOTTSKELTON: Scott Skelton (24) is returning to education in pursuit of a career in the arts. Having just moved from Dromore to Cardiff, he will begin his dream degree at the end of this month - a Masters in Arts Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Scott has always been passionate about drama, and had always intended to further develop his undergraduate degree in English Literature and History. He has had two years of full-time employment in Belfast and a year of travelling in between. All the while, Scott was building on his experiences to improve his chances of being accepted to a postgraduate course. He worked for the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia, and, closer to home this year, he was moonlighting with the Banbridge

Musical Society in a production of The Addams Family. “I’ve always been involved with a musical organisation near home, and I got involved again because I plan to go into the business side of theatre. I helped out on the committee and the promotional side, and I also ended up back onstage,” he says. The highly-ranked Royal Welsh College was Scott’s dream school, and he thanks his lucky stars he got in. “I hadn’t initially planned to apply there, because I thought it was out of my league. But I thought I may as well try, and I was even shocked to get the interview.” Scott found that his extra-curricular experiences, participation in drama and travels were important elements of his interview. After successfully gaining a place on the course, his months before moving to Wales were spent in anticipation and

excitement about joining a drama-focused community. “I’m looking forward to being immersed in the arts world. The college is a microcosm of the industry, where there are great venues and I will be studying alongside people who are into performance and other related courses,” he says. The enjoyment of working in the arts was a major draw for Scott to return to education. “If I wasn’t doing something I was really into then I don’t think I could bring myself to go back to start studying again,” he says. Scott is looking forward to a year of learning and placements now that he has had a taste of life backstage and under the spotlight. He is hoping to combine his love of travel and theatre to enter his ideal career, whether it’s the bright lights of London’s West End, or the world stage.

50 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Gadgetstogogiddyfor Ruaidhri McCarney scouts out the latest gizmos for the tech conscious consumer Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System

SoundMagic E10C earphones

At only £40, SoundMagic’s E10 earphones have established themselves at the top of the bang for your buck list since 2011. While it would be tempting then to follow the ‘don’t fix what’s not broken’ line of thought, SoundMagic have instead improved their stand-out product by adding a new universal remote without losing any of the audio quality. Now in its third iteration following the E10 and E10S, the E10C (‘C’ standing for compatible) not only keeps the same vibrant sound quality while adding new peripherals, but keeps the same price too. SoundMagic claims that they’re the only company to have an out of the box remote compatible with both Android and iOS devices, and so far none of their competitors have come forward to say otherwise. After five years as one of the best go-to options for great performing budget earphones, SoundMagic’s latest iteration on their E10’s signal their intent to stick around a while longer.

Many 30 and 40 somethings are in for a trip down memory lane with the Nintendo Classic Mini – a modern take on the landmark ‘80s games console the Nintendo Entertainment System. Smaller than most hand-held gaming devices, the tiny Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System comes pre-installed with 30 games, including some of gaming’s historical greats. The first three Super Mario Bros. games, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, MEGA MAN 2, PAC-MAN and many more all come pre-installed and ready to be played on modern TVs via HDMI. Though the 30 games installed will be the only games available for the system, there’s more than enough enjoyment to be had for all ages to justify dropping £50 on an updated piece of gaming history.

Virtual Reality

Sky Q

The way we view media has changed a lot since the Sky +HD box was released, but Sky aren’t willing to let streaming services and other competitors take over the living room just yet. Sky Q signals Sky’s attempt at reinventing how they provide television entertainment to homes, with a sleek new interface, a new take on their multi-room support and headline catching 4K/UHD support. The new Sky Q Mini boxes are a change from Sky’s previous multi-room solutions, now streaming wirelessly from the main Sky Q Silver box instead of needing to be wired up to the main dish, while still functioning as full Sky boxes. Sky’s new approach is clearly aimed at matching online competition like Netflix by allowing you the same levels of viewing flexibility, while also taking on rival network providers. Priced at roughly £90 a month, many will either pass or make do with what they’ve got, but for those that can afford it will find that Sky Q is the most premium TV service on the market right now.

Virtual Reality is in an unusual spot, seemingly struggling to find its footing as it takes its first few steps onto the market. Although budget versions like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard are available, the flagship devices like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are prohibitively expensive for 99% of the population – and that’s not even taking into account the PCs you’ll need to run them. Marketed mainly at the gaming market, they’ve struggled to find a defining game or torch bearer to follow, like Mario for Nintendo, Crash Bandicoot for the early PlayStation consoles or Master Chief for Xbox. Yet nearly every person who has strapped a virtual reality device to their head and been whirled away to a new world will emphatically tell you that it is the future of entertainment. If you were to look back at previous launches of innovative consumer technology, you would probably find remarkably similar sentiments. Substitute the words ‘virtual reality’ for DVD Player, PlayStation 3, iPod, laptop or digital camera and somebody was writing the same story years ago. That there are such fervent believers in VR already, in spite of the lack of quality content available, bodes extremely well for its future. That positive word of mouth could be the spark that eventually sets fire to the general public’s imagination for VR. And with PlayStation VR launching in October and Microsoft rumoured to be developing their own device, it could very well be this holiday season or next that VR becomes a mainstream reality.

Active watches for active lifestyles Beat yesterday, win today with Garmin For families September spells the end of summer but also new beginnings. Whether a new job, a new sport or a new school, everyone in the family is sure to be starting a fresh adventure. Whatever the challenge, the Garmin vivo range is sure to help you beat yesterday and win today. The range of watches are designed for active lifestyles are tailored for practicality and comfort whilst also featuring sleek, stylish designs. Every wearable throughout the range calculates your steps, calories, distance, sleep, and of course time. Each watch may be similar in features but is as unique as the individual wearing it. You can set up a daily personalised goal based on your preferred target, be it weight loss, general fitness, or training for an event. The standout feature of Garmin’s wearable range is the Connect IQ app which enables you to connect your device to your smartphone, tablet and desktop. Get digital insights tailored to your personal statistics and habits, such as

tips on how to improve and cues to get up and move, all at your wrist. Whilst it also gives you access to Garmin’s online free community where you can compete, compare, share and plan your activities with other users. The Garmin vivoactive HR GPS smartwatch provides the user with all they require to juggle an active lifestyle. Designed for the modern man and woman, this device puts detailed stats at your touch, whether it be; cycling, golf, running or swimming every angle is covered to optimise your performance. The new vivoactive HR smartwatch also measures heart rate with Garmin Elevate™ wrist bases heart rate technology , so you can ditch the chest strap and measure heart rate from the wrist. Using heart rate data, vívoactive HR provides calories burned information and quantifies the intensity of your fitness activities, providing better credit for your

efforts.. And it’s not just your performance in sport that’s covered, you can make sure to stay in touch whilst looking after the other parts of life with gentle vibrations alerting you to calls, texts, emails and calendar reminders. Those looking for some more intense training with the new sports seasons starting will be interested in the slim vivosmart HR edition which also tracks your heart rate 24/7 and gives real time feedback. It measures activity intensity so

users can monitor their progress against weekly goals. If it’s a more casual, stylish health monitor you’re looking for, Garmin vivomove comes with all the daily health tracking capabilities of the vivoactive but is wrapped in a high street style design. Meanwhile the vivofit 3 comes in a range of vibrant different designs and colours which you can choose from and vary accordingly. You can see the full range at

52 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016


Between festivals, moonlight boat trips and Star Wars screenings under the night sky, we’re spoilt for choice of things to do over the coming weeks

Sophie Houston is all geared up for Tesco Taste Festival

One of the biggest events on the calendar, Culture Night is taking place in Belfast, Derry~Londonderry, Armagh and Downpatrick this evening Friday, September 16. This celebration of culture, creativity and the arts spills into shop fronts and onto the streets and includes tasters, tours, talks, trails, demonstrations, activities and gigs. The Belfast event includes over 250 happenings at 100 venues across the Cathedral Quarter and beyond and the fun kicks off at 1pm running through until 10pm. For details check out www.culturenightbelfast. com and for information about the other locations, download the Culture Night app or visit

Culture Night Belfast

Mount Stewart Conversations is an unmissable festival weekend of debate, ideas, storytelling, art and music on Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18 at the National Trust property on the Ards Peninsula. The line-up for this inspiring, mind-expanding, one of a kind weekend includes everything from Jonathan Powell, Fintan O’Toole and Prof Alvin Jackson debating ‘Can the Kingdom Stay United after Brexit? to David Aaronovitch discussing ‘Voodoo Histories – How the Conspiracy Theory has Shaped Modern History’ to Ugandan Dance, a Didgeridoo workshop and music from Iain Archer and Ursula Burns. Find out more at


Invasion Derry at the Millennium Forum, on September 17–18 will see Ireland’s premier Star Wars costuming club, The Emerald Garrison,

alongside a line-up of talks, and fun interactive activities. Details from

Full Moon & Penumbral Eclipse Boat Trip at Castle Ward,on September 17 offers the chance to enjoy the tranquillity of Strangford Lough at twilight, a full moon rising over the water to set off the beautiful scenery of the area. Visit the SeaGen, Angus Rocks Lighthouse, Seal colonies at Cloughey Rocks Nature Reserve and much more. Suitable for ages 3+. Booking Essential: Contact Strangford Sea Safari on 028 4372 3933.

Country Comes To Town in Portadown, on September 17. This cross-community festival with a rural ethos includes vintage vehicles, country music, walkabout performance, traditional crafts such as blacksmithing and wood-turning, performing arts, food traders and demonstrations. Visit

Crafters will be in attendance at Country Comes to Town

Foodies will be flocking to the Tesco Taste Festival 2016 which opens at Custom House Square today and

runs until Sunday, September 18. Organised each year by Tesco NI, the admission free annual Festival features over 60 exhibitors, a special FoodNI cookery theatre and entertainment for all the family with Ark Open Farm’s petting zoo, a climbing wall, mascots Mr Tayto and Mr Morelli and live music. The Festival opening times are 2-8pm on Friday, 16th, 10am-6pm on Saturday, 17th, and 10am-5pm on Sunday, 18th. Check or use #TescoTasteFestival for updates.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens brings outdoor cinema to Solitude Park, Banbridge, on September 16. Bring a picnic hamper, rugs and jackets for what is set to be an engrossing evening under the stars. Visit

Discover the majesty of the Sperrins at Derry and Strabane District Council’s Sperrins and Killeter Walking Festival. Run in conjunction with adventure firm Far and Wild, the festival, on September 17-18, includes six hikes through majestic landscape including the new 15k ‘Origins of the Ulster Appalachian Way’ walk on the Saturday. The 8km ‘Up the Moat’ charity challenge walk will leave from Plumbridge earlier that day. There’s a 3km Bat and Moth Twilight Walk on Saturday evening while on Sunday, Killeter is the starting point for the Killeter Camino, a 15km multi-terrain experience, the 8km south Tyrone section of the Ulster Appalachian Way and the 5km Killeter Community Ramble led by the newly formed Killeter Rambling Group. See

Festival Lough Erne runs from September 24-25 and will showcase the newly refurbished Enniskillen Castle Museum as well as Fermanagh’s stunning scenery. As this is NI Year of Food and Drink, local producers and chefs will be taking over the food hall and food court along the lough shore. There are canoeing and rowing taster sessions, music acts, street entertainers and face painters, talks and demos. Most of the action is centred on the area around Enniskillen Castle, however, there are also activities at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. See or www. for updates.

Aspects Festival returns to Bangor on September 18-25. Highlights of what began life as celebration of Irish literature 25 years ago, include an evening of music and conversation with Van Morrison at the Culloden Hotel, comedian Owen O’Neill in the festival yurt in Bangor Castle walled garden, workshops and discussions on writing, Lady Dufferin in conversation and theatrical performances. Visit for details.

Following its sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, The Lyric Theatre and New York, Two Sore Legs arrives at the Roe Valley, Limavady, on September 23. Set in 1950s/’60s Belfast, the play tells the true story of Bridget, a young Butlin’s Redcoat, who had six children by a married man. The play explores the scandal, the pain, the joy and the fall-out from this extraordinary family arrangement. See for details.

dmakeforafunpackedautumn Enjoy the spectacular sights of the Sperrins Hillwalking Festival

Get a free taster session at Festival Lough Erne

Ballynahinch Harvest and Country Living Festival

Ballynahinch Harvest and Country Living Festival is expected to draw over 15,000 people to the stunning Montalto Estate on September 24-25. The weekend includes a re-enactment of the famous Battle of Ballynahinch ‘Pigs, Potatoes and Pageantry’ in town. See www.bally for details.

Thousands of chocoholics and enthusiastic foodies from Northern Ireland and beyond are set to descend again this year on Killyleagh town centre to celebrate the 2016 Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival, on September 23–25.

✸ Born in Killyleagh, Sir Hans Sloane was a renowned scientist the King’s physician and he came up with the recipe for milk chocolate. Over 15 chocolatiers and nearly 40 local artisan food producers will set up camp for the weekend-long festival. See for details.

Celebrity chefs Paul Hollywood, The Hairy Bikers, James Martin and Paul Rankin are on the menu for the BBC Good Food Show, which is coming to Belfast Waterfront on October 14-16. Tickets are now on sale from www.theticketfactory. com or telephone 0800 358 0058.

Taste chocolate heaven at the Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Festival

For lots more events over the coming months, visit www.

54 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Local actress and assistant producer at the BBC Brenda McNeil has acting in The Fall with Jamie Dornan amongst her credits. The rising star chats to Davina Gordon about her career to date, writingherfirstcomedy drama pilot and rubbing shoulders with a certain smouldering hunk…

Brenda McNeill

Brenda with creator of The Fall, Allan Cubitt


uccess for flaxen-haired Brenda was written in the stars. At the tender age of eight, she attended Speech and Drama school where her creativity was nurtured and her flair for performance and poetry was realised. “Acting was a natural progression for me,” she affirms. Brenda took the next step in forging her career when she joined Youth Lyric aged 11. “I felt very at home on stage, taking direction and making characters come to life. “I felt very blessed to find something that made me so happy and gave me such an amazing sense of accomplishment at such a young age. I’m still friends with some of my former cast members from this time, who have done amazingly well. One even went on to win an Emmy award!” The budding actress’s first acting job came when she was studying drama at St Louise’s College, Belfast. “I was cast in Marie Jones’ first production of Christmas Eve Could Kill You back in the early ‘90s alongside Dan Gordon and Tim Loane. I played the role of a young carol singer who got the door slammed in her face every night. The role certainly prepared me for becoming an actor!” she laughs. On a serious note, Brenda says that the role, though small, helped her to “raise her game” and “put her on the right path”. After graduating, Brenda had fire in her belly and made the brave decision to cross the Atlantic Ocean for the brilliant bright lights of New York in 2002. “It was nerve-wrecking arriving in such a big city and starting from the bottom but I felt I had nothing to lose. I was extremely lucky to have been offered a runner position as part of a well established radio programme in the city and things went from strength to strength. Within six months, I was producing the show and presenting news and entertainment segments. I’m very proud that I trusted my gut and booked the ticket… it’s one of my proudest achievements.” Brenda has appeared on The Fall, the popular BBCNI series starring Jamie Dornan and has been recast in the next series in her recurring role as a BBC newsreader.

Jamie Dornan

FallGirl The

“I wasn’t expecting the call as most of the principle shooting was done. It’s been great playing the role in every series, even stranger is that I’m now working at the BBC. A case of life imitating art!” And has she been able to rub shoulders with doe-eyed Dornan? “Unfortunately not! My scenes were shot in the studio with just me and my trusty co-star – the autocue! I was delighted to mix among the cast during the series wrap parties though. Plenty of craic and plenty of stories, none which are suitable for print!” Busy bee Brenda juggles her on-screen roles with her producer role at the BBC. “I’m currently working on Sunday Morning Live as assistant producer of social media and interactive content. The programme goes out live every Sunday at 10am on BBC One and features ethical debates on topical issues while sharing viewer comments on the pulse. I really enjoy the live aspect of the programme and how the format gives the audience a voice, although it can be tough getting up early on a Sunday morning! But I love it and working with a great team makes all the difference.” Brenda is also working on her third series of the British institution that is Points of View. “There is never a dull moment

working on the programme. The online audience are razor sharp and extremely quick-witted when it comes to spotting background gaffes. We wouldn’t have a programme without them.” Speaking of her career to date, Brenda is refreshingly grounded. “I’m very grateful for what I have. I’ll never take my current work opportunities for granted as I’ve worked so hard to achieve them. Who knows what is around the corner, but one thing’s for sure I always end up surprised. What’s for me won’t go by me!” Brenda manages her work/life balance by “giving equal time to the things that matter”. “I don’t think sitting at a desk for twelve hours a day will do anyone any good! Yes, work hard. but get down to the gym, go for a run, do some yoga and just look after yourself. You will end up being more productive and inspiring. I don’t think it’s healthy to prioritise just one element of your life. I like to mix things up, spend time with different people, visit new places in my downtime and socialise as much as possible. Sometimes doing new things and meeting new people can lead to the next big chapter in life.” Unsurprisingly, the fresh-faced actress

has some exciting projects lined up. “I’ll stay quiet so I don’t scud myself,” she giggles, “but I’ve recently completed writing my first TV comedy drama pilot which I’m chuffed with. If all fails I’ve entertained myself writing it. I just hope it finds a home, fingers crossed.” Brenda has some sage advice for those wanting to follow their own acting dream. “If it’s a passion that won’t go away then it’s worth pursuing. It’s a tough industry, so be prepared! Do the courses, make contacts, knock doors and don’t stop learning. If you want to act, then act! If you want to make a film, do it! Use YouTube as a platform to showcase your work. It can be a very frustrating industry but by doing your own thing you’re learning and you’ll connect with like-minded people who can support you. Build your own network and trust that if the work is good, it won’t go unnoticed. Cream always rises to the top.” Quick fire round Sweet or Savoury? Sweet. Cat or dog? Dog Comedy, romance or horror? Comedy. How would you survive a zombie apocalypse? By blending in. I certainly wouldn’t look out of place first thing in the morning. Wonder woman or Supergirl? Wonder woman. Any woman who makes Spanx look good deserves my respect! Also who’d choose a girl when you can have a woman! Book or film? Film If wishes came true, what would you ask for? An end to war and poverty. The world is a scary place right now. Dream date? Gleb Savchenko - I’m still cooling down after that Cell Block Tango on Strictly! The man’s got moves. The third and final series of The Fall returns to BBC Two this autumn. Photography credit: Khara Pringle

56 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

Explorewaysto havefunoutside


here’s still enough light in the evening to get out for some family fun before bedtime. Get out the roller skates, bikes or scooters and go exploring or head for the nearest playground to run off all that left over energy. Have a dance off using hula hoops or keep it traditional with a game of hopscotch or rounders. Involve the neighbours

Lough Shore’s unique World of Wonder play centre opening in October

if you need to make up numbers. If you’re fortunate enough to live by the coast or a river, you can teach the next generation how to skim stones or just do a bit of nature spotting by the water or in the countryside. There’s plenty of fun to be had in the great outdoors but any sort of free play is good for your child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing...

Timetoenjoynaturalplay This autumn as the temperature drops and the light fades, enjoy magical experiences at National Trust places. Autumn colour Any woodland in late autumn will have trees showing autumn colours but the beech woodlands at Minnowburn and Castle Coole can be especially spectacular with leaves turning yellow, gold and orange before they fall. Fantastic Fungi Have fun discovering the rather strange and mysterious world of fungi at Downhill Demesne, Mount Stewart, Rowallane Garden and The Argory. Take care on your fungi foray as some species can be poisonous. Reflections in a lake Take in the stunning golds, bronzes and russet reds and see reflections in the lake at Mount Stewart, Castle Ward and Castle Coole.

of wildfowl arrive from colder climates to feed and rest. Enjoy the spectacle from the Bann Estuary bird hide and around Strangford Lough.

Spectacular sunsets and dawn landscapes With wide skies and uninterrupted views, Portstewart Strand and the Giant’s Causeway are perfect places to watch the sun rise and set on an early morning walk or evening stroll.

Wildlife watch Look out for red squirrels at Mount Stewart and Florence Court and the secretive pine marten at Castle Ward and Crom. Spot a seal on the rocks at Strangford Lough, or otters in Dundrum Bay or a fallow deer at Crom.

Birds in flocks There’s nothing quite like the cacophony of sound as thousands

For more things to see and do visit https://www.nationaltrust.

The Lough Shore Hotel, Carrickfergus, located just 20 minutes from Belfast City will soon become home to one of Northern Ireland’s largest and most innovative children’s play centres – World of Wonder. Sprawling over 12,000 square feet World of Wonder is Northern Ireland’s newest investment in creative play. The adventurous centre is built with a noble purpose at heart – to encourage the most active, imaginative and stimulative play amongst Northern Ireland’s young. The World of Wonder experience is an adventure that children up to 12 will never forget. As well as keeping kids fit, World of Wonder gives little ones the opportunity to learn about different cultures and countries at every turn. Kids will feel the adrenaline rush as they race down the massive four lane Mount Everest themed slide. Kids can have a snowball fight in the North Pole, with impressive air cannons. Some of the greatest sights on earth such as the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum and our very own Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge are waiting to be explored. Toddlers are well catered for too with a Fairy-castle area available exclusively for knights and princesses under 4. World of Wonder is also the perfect place to host a memorable and entertaining birthday or celebration, with four party rooms to choose from including Animal Party, Beach Party, Super Hero and Princess Party. Packages start at just £9.95 per child including an hour of play, choice of food and drink, access to VIP party room and every birthday boy or girl gets a free return pass. With further development planned for an indoor mini-golf course, laser tag and simulators World of Wonder promises to be Northern Irelands most dynamic and exciting Family Entertainment Centre. General admission to World of Wonder is £4.95 (off peak) and £5.95 (peak) per child for a 90 minute round the world adventure. For more information, competitions and to keep up to date with World of Wonder visit worldofwonderni or

Advertising feature

NewGarmintechtoappealtopeopleonthemove GARMIN FORERUNNER 35

The Forerunner 35 is Garmin’s newest GPS-enabled running watch with built-in Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology that allows runners to monitor their heart rate 24/7 without a chest strap. The easy-to-use Forerunner 35 tracks essential data like distance, pace and personal records, and thanks to its built-in GPS, runners can track how far, how fast and where they’re running all without worrying about carrying a phone too. In between runs, the stylish Forerunner 35 doubles as an all-day activity tracker as it counts steps, calories and intensity minutes, so users can still record progress and activities even when they’re not running. The Forerunner 35 also includes smartwatch functionality including smart notifications and music controls right from the device. Andrew Silver, Senior Product Manager Fitness, EMEA, said: “With a host of built-in fea-


tures including wrist-based heart rate and smart connectivity, the Forerunner 35 is the perfect tool for runners who want to stay fit, stay connected, and share their progress.” In addition to running, the Forerunner 35 features multiple sport profiles including indoor running, walking, cycling and cardio activities to help users meet their fitness goals on and off the pavement. Stylish and lightweight, it seamlessly transitions from a run to an everyday smartwatch. Its battery life is up to nine days in watch/activity tracking mode, and up to 13 hours in training mode. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at or follow us at, garminuk, or

This best-in-class waterproof action camera comes with exclusive features and the power to shoot stunning Ultra HD footage at 4K/30fps. Conveniently small and lightweight, the VIRB Ultra 30 is rugged and ready for adventure with purpose-built features for users to tailor and relive their action-packed VIRB footage. Thanks to its high precision sensors and GPS, the action camera automatically gathers meaningful G-Metrix data to show how far, how high, and how fast users live their adventures. The versatile VIRB Ultra 30 introduces a suite of exclusive features unmatched by any other action camera on the market. This includes voice control, an intuitive LCD colour touchscreen, one-touch live streaming, 3-axis image stabilisation, and more. The free Garmin VIRB app

allows users to easily share high-definition VIRB Ultra 30 videos in real-time by streaming live to YouTube, and upload video adventures on social media sites such as Facebook and Garmin Connect Share. Additionally, the VIRB app transforms smartphones or tablets into Wi-Fi remote controls for the action camera. The feature-rich Garmin VIRB Edit is a desktop editing software that can auto-create videos automatically highlighting the best moments captured by the VIRB Ultra 30. Users can add preloaded music and animated G-Metrix data gauges to show off their own thrilling experience during an activity. The VIRB Ultra 30 ships with a complimentary waterproof case and is now available with a suggested retail price of £449.99/€529.99. For more information, visit

58 | Family Life

Order! Order!

Fail to prepare It’s not wise to jump head first into a new action plan. You might be creating a study schedule, organising family activities or working towards a life goal, which means each day, week, or month will take a little planning ahead. Sundays could be the key days for recouping and resetting yourself. Take some time to think about your goals for the week, while it’s important to remember that your perfect week will not happen. We often set unrealistic targets for ourselves, but emergencies, delays and last-minute appointments can all too easily throw us off. Scott Dinsmore, the motivational speaker behind the Live Your Legend movement, had attuned this weekly planning method so people never have an excuse to say “I don’t have enough time”. Whether it’s a Sunday night or Monday morning, Dinsmore advised us to look back on the week gone by, celebrate what you did and what you learned, then redefine your goals before scheduling your upcoming week. Being realistic and focusing on a handful of important tasks means you’ll have enough time for the things that matter and won’t be left disappointed with over-eager planning. Manage your mornings Many people are at their most disciplined in the morning. Lazy weekend lie-ins may be a different story, but we are often most productive when a new day dawns. It’s all

about our approach and outlook. Designing a good morning routine takes practice - give yourself a gentle head start by setting the alarm a little earlier than usual. Take your extra time to tackle tasks you know you’ll be too tired for in the evening - do some exercise, a household chore, or just something that makes you happy. Easing into the morning on your own terms means you’ll be more relaxed, and feel a little sense of accomplishment before the day even begins. Organising the clan Family life calls for careful planning in order to keep track of school runs, activities, appointments and playtimes. Mother of eight Cheryl Butler writes as “Mighty Mommy” at QuickandDirtyTips. com. Good daily routines keep children grounded and help them to become independent for later life, she says. Manic mornings could be a thing of the past this September if kids are encouraged to help out with chores, prepare for school or take on responsibilities such as looking after pets. Butler also says that a smooth-running home in the morning requires effort the day before. Sorting uniforms and lunches before bedtime eliminates some decisions that could cause stress for sleepyheads. Good evening routines are the best way to ensure homework is done. Depending on children’s ages, Butler suggests using dinner time as a focal point - plan for homework to be completed beforehand or set aside until afterwards.

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

The adventures of summer are a fond and distant memory, but September is a great time to settle down and get back into a routine. A little order in our day to day lives can do wonders to reduce stress and make sure we’re at our most productive. Whether it’s for work, family or health, taking time to establish good routines could set you on a perfectly organised path to success. Rachel McLaughlin has collected advice from the experts to find out what it takes.

Smart solutions Daily life can never be an hourly regimented experience, but we can make the most of our hours with some clever tricks. Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty, advocates having “certainty anchors” in our daily rituals to stay focused. Single-tasking is a rare thing in today’s world, where we’re always trying to do a few things at once amidst constant distractions. Focusing on one task at a time means you’ll be fully dedicated to accomplishing it in the best time. Your day to day routine should be tailored to your personal energy levels. Do the most difficult or demanding task when you are at your most energetic. If an afternoon slump interrupts your workflow after lunch time, take this as an opportunity to review the day, recharge and tackle the evening with a renewed plan. Winding down wisely Evening times are an excellent point to plan for success the next day. Winding down shouldn’t be about mindlessly watching television. Psychological studies show that the best ways to de-stress in the evenings include light exercising, spending time with friends or family, doing

creative hobbies, meditating or listening to music. Once it’s time for bed, finding the right routine for you takes trial and error. Try some of these tips from Harvard Medical School to to bring order to your zzz’s: π Maintain a regular sleep schedule by not deviating too much from bedtime and waking hours at the weekends. π Avoid exercising late, as high impact physical activity releases the stress hormone cortisol, which raises the body’s alertness - the opposite of relaxation. π Wait until you are actually sleepy to go to bed - there’s no point in staring at the clock all night worrying about how many hours you’ll get. π Establish a pre-bed ritual - avoid getting the restless blues caused by the blue light from electronics. Try reading a book, taking a bath or listening to music instead. π Make your bedroom a tranquil haven - avoid having a television or work materials in your room. Ensure the room is quiet, cool and uncluttered. Make the most of natural light in the mornings, but have low lighting in the room at night to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.

16 September 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Pets Corner

Howtohelp yourdogdeal withloneliness


he summer holidays usually mean lots of family time for pets, with children at home and more visitors. With children now back to school, and parents back to work, some dogs can become lonely with some even suffering from separation anxiety, a condition that you might more commonly associate with toddlers. Across the UK, 2.3 million dogs are routinely left alone for five hours or more. PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said: “After spending the summer in a bustling home, our pets can feel a little left out when life gets back to normal. But there are steps we can take to help keep our pets happy.” Popping home at lunchtime can help break up the time alone for a dog. If that’s not possible, ask a friend or neighbour to


call round instead. There are also professional dog walking and pet sitting services to keep your dog company and give them a much-needed break from the house. Preventing boredom can also help to reduce loneliness, so make sure they have plenty of toys to play with, including interactive feeding toys that will give them plenty of mental stimulation. A dog flap will allow them to go outside for a sniff around and take a toilet break, just make sure your garden is safe and secure for them to wander in unattended – they shouldn’t be able to get out, and no-one should be able to get in. Giving a dog plenty of exercise, such as a long walk or energetic game of fetch, before leaving them alone can also help them to feel more relaxed and sleepy while you’re out. Signs of loneliness to watch out for include chewing or destructive behaviour, getting anxious when you leave, prolonged periods of barking, over or under grooming, lack of appetite, and inappropriate toileting in the house. Rebecca adds: “It’s not always easy to tell if your dog is lonely because they don’t show their feelings in the same way we would. But it’s important to speak to your vet if you do spot any possible signs of loneliness or a general change in behaviour, so they can check for other possible problems. For example, dental disease can also cause dogs to go off their food.” PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

60 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016




t seems a lifetime ago that anyone defending the environment was viewed as a quack or a hippy. These days we think nothing of taking our bottles to a glass bank, or separating our waste into recyclables and that destined for landfill. Choosing roll-on rather than spray deoderant might seem trivial and yet the effect of millions of people making such minute changes to their habits appears to be helping to save the planet. Scientists announced at the end of June that the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk by 4 million km2, an area larger than India. While natural phenomena such as the weather and volcanic eruptions have a major impact on the earth’s insulating ozone layer, so too does the industrial production of CFCs, chlorine containing chemicals, which have been undergoing a process of being phased out since the Montreal Protocol was agreed in 1987. Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that declining levels of chlorine and bromine were responsible for the healing trend. While they don’t expect the hole to have completely disappeared until about 2050, Solomon said: “The fact that we’ve made a global choice to do something dif-

ferent and the planet has responded to our choice can’t help but be uplifting.” Such a surprising turn around will encourage everyone to step up their efforts. There are lots of ways in which being environmentally friendly is not only good for the planet, but also our pockets. Start a carpool. Sharing lifts to work or doing the school run can save you lots of money on fuel and parking and reduce congestion on the roads. We all know the mantra Reduce, reuse and recycle and by and large, we’ve got the hang of reducing waste and recycling but what about reusing? You can reuse jars and bottles for candle holders, toothbrush holders, take away food containers for storing food in, old clothes for cleaning rags,old toothbrushes are great for cleaning hard to reach places, such as the base of taps or grouting and broken crockery is great for putting at the bottom of planters to help drainage. Grow your own veg. It’s not as hard or time consuming as you might think. Many summer veg such as lettuces can grow easily in a window box while home grown herbs are not only useful and economical, they look great on your kitchen windowsill. Check out for lots of useful




Growing your own fruit and veg and making your own compost are great ways to save money and help the environment

information, including where to join a grow it yourself group in your area. Next time you’re changing your car, go for a fuel efficient model. There is now a range of electric cars if you fancy going the extra mile. Even better, diesel and ‘green’ cars cost little or nothing to tax. Increase your home’s insulation. Make sure you aren’t losing heat through drafty windows. Make your own cleaning products. You’ll be amazed what you can achieve with cheap and natural ingredients such as white vinegar, baking soda and lemon.


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Cash in your old phones or keep them for longer. Stop leaving electrical devices on standby. The average family wastes £86 per year simply by not switching off the TV and similar devices, Power NI estimates. Opt for paperless billing and save yourself hours of decluttering Make your own compost. You’re already separating out waste. Why not let your local council have your meat, dairy and cooked waste but keep tea bags, fruit and veg leftovers for your own garden and save on paying for compost.

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he schools are back and many parents are resigned to a lean month as they count the cost of school books, uniforms and shoes. The organisation Advice NI and its members, who last year dealt with 262,854 advice enquiries, say the costs really add up for working low income families. Those returning to work in September after the summer break or returning to work from maternity leave, will also feel the pinch with average full time childcare costs mounting to £8,528 per year per child, an increase of 1.2% since 2014. Arfawn Yasin, Tax & Benefit Project Manager says that this can be a very difficult time for many parents, some of whom may be eligible for benefits which they are unaware of. “Those most vulnerable or working low income families find this a very stressful time as children go back to school, the added cost of school uniforms leading to further financial strain. According to an American Express report the average school uniform cost in

Northern Ireland is £202 per child and is £25 higher than the UK average of £177.30. It’s no wonder families struggle to make ends meet.” Arfawn urged families struggling to cope with additional childcare and school uniform costs to get in touch. “We find many working families think they are not entitled to any help as they are in work. We can offer a free and confidential benefit entitlement check to include advice on Tax credits, child benefit, and childcare costs. “We can advise on eligibility of grants for certain categories of pupils through the Clothing Allowance Scheme, eligibility for free school meals, and provide details of your local Education Authority who administer the grants. “Although, there may be grants available to those who meet certain criteria, families are still feeling the pinch as those with post primary children still need to find, on average an additional £129 per child.” If you are struggling, get in touch with Advice NI’s Tax and Benefits FREEPHONE 0800 988 2377 or email

62 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 16 September 2016

to drive not bad e adults

Volvo XC90








s our families and the amount of gear we all cart about for our children continue to grow, so do our demands on space and transport. In fact, many modern families would struggle to get about these days in the cars their parents ran about in quite happily just 20 years ago. As a result, the 4x4/SUV market has grown substantially. Not just because of their excellent all-terrain ability, but for their space and practicality and their solid reliability for getting the school run done in the British winter. Whatever the reason – we all watch the bottom line now more than ever and any family will save a good few pounds buying second hand as compared to new. So, looking at all the popular family SUVbuyer’s needs – from luxury to the school run – we reveal a countdown of the top 6 used 4x4s compiled by motoring magazine WhatCar?

1. Volvo XC90

The old model was on the market for 13 years before this one, The previous generation car had been on sale since 2002 making a great used buy because there are so many to choose from on the market and it offers great value for money. If you need genuine seven-seat capacity, with the added bonus of being able to put three child seats in the middle row, this could well be the car for you. Plus you have standard four-wheel drive, a towing ability of 2250kg and loads of

Toyota RAV4

Honda CR-V otherwise, the Santa Fe seems a reliable choice.

Our choice: Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium

4. Honda CR-V

practical kit. Check the electric mirrors work as they should and if the diesel engine has trouble starting, walk away; it could indicate an expensive issue with the injectors.

Honda has been voted the most reliable used-car manufacturer for nine years in a row. Which is fantastic news if you are thinking of buying a CR-V. The CR-V has loads of space for people and gear, although the current model has moved much more towards on-road comfort and handling, It’s as comfortable and easy to drive as a family hatchback, but to the detriment of its off-road ability. Not a problem for many family owners, who just want a safe school run.

2. Toyota RAV4

5. Land Rover Discovery


Our choice: Volvo XC90 2.4 D5 SE Lux

If you pick up a Mark 3 RAV4 then you are buying peace of mind. Reliability is really good. The RAV4 is very much aimed at the on-road driver and handles like a road car with a comfortable ride which is free from the body roll, although naturally, this limits its abilities on the rough stuff. What do you need to look out for? On higher-mileage cars, check the gear change is smooth – if it’s notchy it could be a sign that a hefty repair bill is coming your way.

Our choice: 2.2 i-DTEC SE

This old favorite ticks most of the boxes,

Our choice: Toyota RAV4 2.2 D-4D XT-R

3. Hyundai Santa Fe

With its highly transferable five-year warranty and lots of vehicles coming onto the market, this is one to consider. You get standard 4x4, and tons of space, the two third-row seats will fold into the floor – and are best for smaller adults or children anyway. The Santa Fe is classy and well equipped, and it comes with four-wheel drive as standard. The infotainment system has been known to cause a few problems but

Hyundai Santa Fe

Land Rover Discovery

Nissan X-trail

particularly if you’re looking for genuine seven-seater comfort as well as serious offroad capability. So if you need four-wheel drive and seven seats, the Discovery is a good way to go. The air suspension can be costly to repair, so watch out for warning lights. The discovery will be a more costly proposition to run than many others on our list.

Our choice: Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 GS

6. Nissan X-trail

Another 4x4 with a good range of diesel options, but make sure the engine is running right. There can be problems with the filters. Also, check out the electrics. If these are good the X-Trail is rugged and dependable, the second-generation X-trail is worth considering if you’re looking for something that’s practical, refined and decent value.

Our choice: 2.0dCi 148 Sport

Belfast Telegraph Family Life Magazine September 2016  
Belfast Telegraph Family Life Magazine September 2016