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4 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Contents 6 Self-confessed show-off Stephen Clements on being a doting dad 8-9 At home with YouTube sensation Lindy Tsang, aka Bubz 10-11 Flaunt your spring style! 12 Accessories go the way of the wild 14 Spring and summer hair and beauty sorted! 16 Cool looks for kids

26 Thoroughly mod cons 28-29 Gardens for outdoor living

30-31 Best of both worlds with Dublin’s coastal villages 32-33 Noel McMeel is championing local food 34-35 Italian idyll; Win a holiday to China! 36-37 Quick and easy recipes for busy families 40-41 Feeling good, looking good for summer

18-19 Men go for caps and Cuban collars

42-44 Avril Patterson: living in a warzone

20-21 Where to go for a fun day out 22-23 Update your living space

46-47 How to secure your family’s financial future

24-25 10 hacks for a better home

48 What’s new in the bookshops? 22

50 Your guide to the entertainments scene 52 How to help your kids without driving them nuts 54-55 Move over Wonder Woman – the Super Mums are here!

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

56 Bridging the Generation Chasm 58-59 Thinking of packing your 58 pooches when you go on holiday?

CONTRIBUTORS Ciara Lawn, Davina Gordon, Rachel McLaughlin, Helen McDowell, Ruaidhri McCarney, Dan Williams and Jack Bradshaw

60 Motoring with Volvo

DESIGN Robert Armstrong INM Design Studio, Belfast

62 How Dan became a Marathon Man


Timetospreada little springfever…


elcome to the April edition of Family Life. We’re aiming to put a spring in your step with lots of emphasis in this issue on getting fit and active and in shape for summer! We also have more stories than ever on local families, including radio genius and dad of two Stephen Clements and YouTube star Lindy Tsang, aka Bubz, whose stories of life in China and her return to Belfast this year with her husband and baby are followed by a whopping 4 million people. With Wonder Woman due to hit the big screen this year, we meet Super Mums Emma O’Neill, who is raising funds to get vital treatment for son Cavan (2), and Linzi Rooney, who juggles running Studio Souk with being mum to Macie (4). Another extraordinary woman is the focus of a special feature. Avril Patterson is the head of the International Red Cross’s health team in Syria. She talks about working in the world’s most frightening war zones and what family life means when you have homes in Northern Ireland, Australia, and wherever you happen to be on mission. It’s not all about the women, however. Dan Williams writes movingly about how his little son Alfie has inspired him to get fit – a journey which has led him to take on a three marathon challenge. If getting off the couch and into shape appeals to you, check out our features on getting body-prepped for summer and

reporter Jack Bradshaw’s affection for the phenomenon that is Parkrun. We have all you need to know to step out in style this season with fashion for men, women and kids as well as accessories and beauty tips for ladies. We’ll help you get your house in shape too, with features on home interior and garden trends as well as the latest mod cons whether fun or functional. No issue of Family Life would be complete without suggestions for places to go and things to do on family days out. We also cover events and entertainments and check out the latest and best book releases for adults, teens and young readers. Our holiday reports include Italy and the coastal villages around Dublin while readers have the chance to win the holiday of a lifetime to China with the Belfast Telegraph Travel Shop! Modern life can be challenging, whatever your age, and we look at the generation gap and offer tips for parents who find themselves walking a tightrope with children who are revising for exams. On top of all that, we have our usual features on managing your finances, our pets’ corner and motoring. See you in September!

For more information on your next edition of Family Life, please contact Family Life Manager, Jackie Reid on 028 9055 4685, email

6 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

‘Iloveshowingoff,butnot beingthecentreofattention’

Radio presenter Stephen Clements (42) lives in Carrickfergus with his wife, Natasha, and the loves of their lives, Poppy (5) and Robbie (11⁄2). Davina Gordon catches up with the cheeky chappy – dubbed the best presenter in Northern Ireland by Stephen Nolan – and talks family, career and zombies... What are you doing right now?

÷ “Putting the kids down, they’re settled… I hope.”

You must get up so early in the morning for your Q Breakfast show, have you got used to it?

÷ “I get up at 4.45am! I don’t think humans are designed to get up at that time but you just move your life in that direction. I’m not much of a social animal; I don’t drink, not because I’m religious, but it just doesn’t suit my lifestyle. I’m a bit boring really!”

What’s the best thing about being on radio?

÷ “I love the immediacy of it. Nothing is

scripted. It’s all off the top of my head. As it’s live, you get a reaction, but of course, there is responsibility, and I’m trusted not to cross the line. It’s very different from TV, as that tends to be polished and rehearsed. “I also like the anonymity to radio. Also, it’s not about the Twitter followers, it’s about the number of people who send you messages. That’s what matters.”

advert but she turned it down when she realised everyone would know who she was. She’s like me, she loves showing off, but not being the centre of attention.”

What’s the best thing about being a father?

I love, and am so proud of, my kids. It is my mission in life to give my kids the confidence, finance and education to do exactly what they want. I don’t want them to be realistic. If they want to be astronauts, why not? Somebody has to do it. I don’t want them to be arrogant though. I love when teachers tell me my daughter is so articulate or that she is kind to her friends. As for Robbie, I’m proud if he can make it through the day without wrecking the house!”

What’s the worst thing?

÷ “Honestly, nothing about radio is bad. I’ve always wanted to do a breakfast show. It’s overwhelming at times, It’s irreverent and cheeky. I don’t hold back on politicians, but it would break my heart if people were hurt. On the contrary though, we’ve got over 100 messages from people who have been through bad times, telling us how we are making their lives a bit better. This morning, a man sent us a private message to say the show was making him smile. That means so much.”

On your Facebook page, it says that if you’re not doing something you love, you’re wasting your time… are you doing what you love?

÷ “Oh yeah, I was born to do it [laughs]. Actually, I took a massive risk that paid off. I left a good job that had a car and all the trimmings. Natasha encouraged me to go for it because she knew it was what I wanted. I hate cliches, but it’s true, ‘If you do a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life’. I’m still waiting for someone to walk into the studio and say, ‘joke’s

How demanding is it juggling fatherhood with your career?

Poppy is well known to listeners of Stephen’s breakfast show up!’ I never take anything for granted. I remember being that person stuck in traffic, listening to the radio on the way into work, so I know what I’m on about.”

You have two gorgeous kids, tell me about them?

÷ “Poppy is the love of our lives, she is a dote. She is kind and so good with her brother. She loves singing, everything from Chaka Khan, and she loves being outside. We love that she loves being out on her bike and is not stuck to an iPad. We got her a BMX for her birthday. It’s a pink, supergirl one; she thinks she’s the bee’s knees! Robbie is gorgeous and so funny. We’re such a close family. I get home early and I have a few hours overlapping with Natasha. We’re both off on Sunday so that is our day just to do family things.”

Poppy does some jingles for your show, do you think she’ll follow in her daddy’s footsteps?

Stephen Clements with his son Robbie

÷ “She’ll be asking for money soon! She says some things in the car and I record it for our listeners. She thought it was quite cool at the start but I think she’s over it! I do have callers asking for the Poppy mix on Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’. I’m not sure she likes it too much though. She was offered a TV

÷ It can be… I’m asked to do more events outside of work hours. It can be difficult to manage, but some people have it a lot tougher than us. I do have to turn things down from time to time as I have to put family first. Most of the time though, I’ll work something out. Recently, I brought Robbie along to a breakfast meeting with Eamonn Holmes! His face was a picture, but by the end, he had completely won Eamonn over.

What are your career highlights?

÷ There have been so many things happen in the last six months: Arlene Foster asked to be on the show, Stephen Nolan said I was the best presenter in Northern Ireland – it’s surreal. Plus, I love the Ulster Rugby stuff, to announce the team at the Kingspan Stadium is so special. “I’ve a lot still to achieve and if the right opportunity came along, I’d like to do TV. Chris Evans is my media hero.”

If you could interview anyone, or be someone for the day who would it be?

÷ Michael Jackson. I reckon if he’d spent six months with a working class family in Belfast, he’d have been fine. They would have told him to wind his neck in. If I could be anyone, I’d be David Beckham, or anyone from Man United!”

Quick fire round! Vampires or Zombies? Vampires (My wife loves zombie shows. They’re so gruesome, I don’t get it). Cat or dog? Coffee Crisps or Chocolate? Crisps. Blur or Oasis? Oasis.

8 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016


indy Tsang welcomes me into her home with open arms, while her tiny dogs Chubbi and Domo yap at my feet and jump up to say hello. We’ve never met before, but I feel as if I’ve known her for years. I’ve seen Lindy live out the biggest moments of her life in Hong Kong and Belfast with her partner Tim. I’ve watched her engagement, wedding and first pregnancy journey. I’ve even seen her in hospital on the day she gave birth to her son Isaac. I’ve also seen Chubbi and Domo as pups and watched them grow up to become pals. I feel like I know all about Lindy’s likes, dislikes, and what she values most in life. I know so much about Lindy because I’ve been subscribed to her YouTube channels for years, watching her videos since she began creating them from her Belfast bedroom back in 2008. For Lindy, these hair and beauty tutorials were an outlet for her creative side as she worked in her parents’ Chinese restaurant. For viewers, they were inspiration for new looks and a place to learn about new products. Now, Lindy shares polished content with a combined subscriber audience of almost four million followers. Each video gains hundreds of thousands of views, with many reaching into the millions. After six years in Hong Kong, Lindy has returned to settle with her family in the city she was born in. As we sit together in her new living room, with Chubbi and Domo nestled by our sides, I notice that she greets me with the same warmth and familiarity as she addresses her audience. New breed Lindy is part of a new breed of creative businesspeople and celebrities, whose influence can be even more powerful than A-list actors and showbiz stars. This new group has grown from YouTube, where they upload video tutorials and ‘vlogs’ depicting their everyday lives. Many have fan clubs, merchandise, sponsorship deals and agents. There are so many ‘YouTubers’, and so many more who aspire to become one, but only a few stand out, and it’s their personality which helps them to do so. Lindy’s personality is purely endearing. She is soft-spoken, sweet and silly, but her wise words make her seem more mature than a young woman of 29. Her BubzBeauty channel is focused on beauty, but she stands for every kind of beauty – inside and out. “Beauty is not about how you look, it’s how you feel. Beauty is knowledge and beauty is kindness,” she explains. Among hair and makeup tips, Lindy shares life

A screen grab from Lindy’s Vlog

BubzVlogz viewers have watched Chubbi and Domo grow up

Lindy, Tim and Isaac enjoying the fresh air at the coast

Athomewith LindyTsang Rachel McLaughlin sits down with YouTube star Lindy Tsang, aka Bubz, to talk about sharing her family life online

advice videos which promote positivity and encourage young girls to worry less, love more and believe in themselves. Together with Tim, she has built a harmonious business unit in their family home – Lindy produces the creative content, while Tim handles the finances. YouTube has provided them with a stepping stone into various ventures, with international opportunities and a merchandise collection including

makeup brushes and clothing. True success to Lindy, she says, is the impact her channel can have in the world. “I think if you’re able to help one person’s life, then your channel is definitely worthwhile.” The couple have certainly helped more than one life, as their fundraising drives have supported children’s charities and relief efforts. In 2015, they sold sweatshirts to fund the building of two schools in Laos. They documented their visit to one school in January this year – The Beauty of Knowledge School – where a plaque above the door reads ‘Thanks to BubzBeauty family who made this possible’. “It’s really great because obviously I’ve never met any of these people around the world, but we have the same goal, and it’s amazing how we can all just do our little thing to make a big difference.” On her second channel, BubzVlogz, Lindy shares clips of her daily life with her husband and one-year-old son. “We love to share the little moments,” she says, “I call it the ‘little doses of happiness’”. The comment section of each video often contains messages from people thanking Bubz for brightening up their day, which is something Lindy loves to see. “If it makes them happy then my silly little vlogs are

worthwhile,” she says. Much of Lindy’s time is spent replying to fans and welcoming them to her ‘Bubz family’. As she shares so much of her life with the public, she is anything but an inaccessible celebrity. “Youtubers have that bridge, that connection which makes it really great that we can chat and bounce back and forth with inspiration.” It seems to us viewers as though Lindy spends her entire life talking to a camera, whether she’s cooking up a meal, changing a nappy or going out to dinner. She’s constantly sharing funny little anecdotes, handy tips or talking through her thoughts and troubles. Lindy’s videos abound with life lessons, and she considers it a blessing to be able to share the things she has learned with others. “I love it, honestly, it doesn’t even feel like work to me.” Lindy is also working on penning her advice in a book, aimed towards helping young girls achieve confidence and happiness. The research process is underway, as Lindy is currently working to find the voice for this “portable friend in need” she plans to create. During the eight years that Lindy has been uploading videos, her viewers have grown up with her and followed her life as they go through their own chapters. Subscribers often share their own advice with Lindy, especially as she documented her journey into motherhood. Not alone “I felt like I wasn’t doing it alone,” she says. Lindy’s fans offered her guidance during her pregnancy and sent her gifts as they awaited the birth of her son. “Even though Isaac wasn’t born yet, I felt like he had these aunties around the world that really loved him,” she says. Born in August 2014, Isaac became an instant star baby. However, Lindy reveals that having a child so widely watched all over the world can be frightening, and she tries to protect him from public scrutiny. “We have to be careful about what type of footage we put up because we don’t want something that would be inappropriate or something when he’s older he’s going to look back on and be really embarrassed.” On the other hand, Lindy maintains that she doesn’t want Isaac to grow up worrying about what other people think. Public comments come hand-in-hand with a life online, and Lindy’s social media profiles are awash with people making observations. While her fanbase appears to be one of the most complimentary and encouraging sectors of the internet, negativity can trickle through. Lindy plainly refuses to acknowledge cruel comments. “You don’t have to deal with it, if someone gives you a poisonous snake, you don’t want it, right?

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 9 with the world, she says. “I want to represent Northern Ireland! Hong kong is brilliant and vibrant but Northern Ireland is home. The people are so friendly, they’re so down to earth and our air is fresh.”

Lindy’s fans joined Isaac’s first birthday celebrations

Setting up a shoot at home in Belfast “What’s most important is what you think of yourself and the people who matter to you.” Lindy’s home videos prove that the life of a beauty blogger is not constantly full of glamour, with household chores and grocery shopping featuring among her everyday activities. “I don’t want to craft something that looks idealistic.” Her vlogs contain unscripted snippets of her life, often filmed over a few days. Her main BubzBeauty channel videos are more structured, with script-writing, filming and editing taking up to two days to complete.

As with other beauty bloggers, viewers seem to engage more with candid vlogs. “YouTube is personality driven,” she says. “You can make videos of makeup, but they want to know the person behind it.” However, viewers do see plenty of moments where Lindy’s stardom is revealed, as she attends events all over the world to meet hundreds of screaming fans, or when she is greeted in airports by groups of giddy devotees. Over the years, it has become natural for Lindy to spend time with her viewers. “It just reminds me why I do what I do,”

she says, recalling a time when she took a group of fans in Singapore out for pizza. “Some days when I’m having a bad day they just keep me going.” The majority of Lindy’s viewers are from the United States, the UK and Australia. We’ve seen fans in Asia crying with excitement in past videos, but Northern Irish people, she says, are more casual about meeting her. “I meet viewers here and they are more laidback. They would just come by and say, ‘Oh, hi Bubz!’” she says. “I love meeting subscribers, but it’s nice to be able to do my own thing with my family at the same time, especially now that I have a little one. “I get more privacy here in Northern Ireland than I do anywhere else.” Since returning to Belfast, some observant viewers have noticed Lindy’s mood lifting and her accent strengthening. She loves to share pieces of her home

Meet and greet Once Lindy has settled into her new home, she plans to get out and say hello to her local audience. “A meet and greet in Belfast would be really really fun.” With a book and a makeup palette in the works, she is hoping to arrange an event to bring her Belfast ‘Bubscribers’ together. She and Tim also plan to continue developing their charity efforts, and have their sights set on building schools in Ghana and Guatemala, as well as working on a clean water project in Cambodia. For now, Lindy’s focus is on her family life. As she goes through the busy transition stage of moving home, producing videos and staying engaged with her subscribers, she maintains that her family is what’s most important. “At the end of the day, I will always prioritise my family. “Isaac is not going to remember that last week I was cleaning the house, he will remember that I played with him,” she says. Lindy’s ‘little doses of happiness’ seem to help her as much as they help others. The young mother has a thirst for learning and inspiring, so it’s easy to see why she shares her so-called ‘Bubbiful life’ online, where she can spread positivity to many people. “Vlogging is the best of both worlds: I get take care of my son but I also do what I love. The best thing about it is it’s been eight years and I’m still learning.”

10 | Family Life

FlauntYour SpringStyle W

Gok Hero Print Blouse £22.99, Sainsbury’s Shirt Dress £22.50, BHS

Jungle Dreams

e’re in the heart of spring now, so as the season brings a feeling of freshness, it’s time to reinvigorate our style. There’s nothing too crazy about this season’s trends, which mostly sway to the more neutral colour spectrum. We have some refreshing new modes on the high street though, as clashing fabrics and new shapes make for interesting outfits. In this country, we may only get a few months per year when we’re not shrouded in coats and layers, so let’s make the most of warmer days and showcase our flair for fashion.

Dare to bare

To have the sun shine on our bodies is a blissful luxury, but it can be tricky to

BY RACHEL MCLAUGHLIN have skin on show while still looking chic. Shoulderless tops are the way to go this spring. The cut is a great alternative to crop tops and short-shorts – we’re baring one of the slimmest parts of the body while avoiding looking too showy. This season’s peasant tops come in a wide range of colours, patterns and fabrics. Poplin and lace are perfectly light for summer, and pastel shades or florals create a pretty and fresh feel.

Cloth Clash

Leather and suede may be more traditionally associated with autumn, but they have endured into spring this year. Suede clothes came with the recent resurgence of seventies style, but we can now modernise it by pairing it with a clashing material. Leather and suede are strong statement fabrics so it’s best to wear one-colour pieces, but feel free to mix up lights and darks on top and bottom. A-line and wrap skirts or dresses are a great way to bring these textures into your work wardrobe. Have some fun with new footwear fabrics too – soft suedes are lovely in lace-up ghillies, while leather loafers are both practical and luxe.

Casual Combatant

Oriental Floral Shift Dress £39.50, Marks and Spencer

Floral Print Top £25, Floral Print Trousers £35, BHS

Aztec Jacquard Scarf £5, Primark

Black leather Animal Print Platforms £50, River Island

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Army style is back, but relax – there’s no need to follow any rigid regimes. This year’s military trend is modern and casual, so it’s ideal for off-duty days. Khaki is the high-street’s top colour, and it’s an adaptable shade for all skin-tones. Khaki shirt dresses encompass this utility look perfectly, or you can throw on a khaki jacket over creams, browns or blacks as an excellent layering piece. You won’t be needing army boots to pull off the look either – but you can slip on chunky-heeled mules to convey the edgy feel.

Khaki Shirt £35, Green leather-look Button Mini Skirt £28, River Island

Casual Combatant

Green Suede Belted Biker Jacket £32, New Look

Gray&Willow Khaki Waterfall Trench Coat £129, House of Fraser

Jungle Dreams

The tropical trend is so enticing for fashion lovers as we begin to dream of summer holidays. Floral prints are loud and exotic, and we’re seeing colours and cuts reminiscent of Tarzan’s Jane Porter. The new season’s accessories have plenty of wild animal patterns with fun feather details on hats and shoes. Tribal style is a routine trend for spring and summer, so it’s worth picking up a few embroidered pieces or a fringed bag: these also work well with khaki to create an intrepid safari look.

Octavia £160, Dune

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 11 Eyelet Detail Fringed Tote Bag £18, F&F Tesco

Butterfly by Matthew Williamson backpack £36, Debenhams

Bryony Saddle Tassel bag £29, Accessorize

Dickins & Jones Seaton Tassel Saddle Crossbody Bag £89, House of Fraser Bag £22.99, New Look



e’ll need to practice packing light as many handbags come in petite and compact styles. Cross-body straps are all the rage, while mirror embellishments and beading add a bohemian vibe. Opt for a bucket bag or backpack if you need more storage room, and make sure it has some on-trend fringing to maintain the free folk feel. Look out for metallic eyelet details to prove you’re well ahead of the fashion pack.

Biba Tan suede tassel bucket bag £135, House of Fraser

Mirror Jewellery Roll £14, Accessorize

Boxy Bag £29, Top Shop

Jenna Powerpink bag, £285, (rrp £450) LK Bennett atThe Outlet


Dare to bare

Wide Fit Black Suedette Pointed Ghillie Heels £24.99, New Look Leather Wrap Skirt £129, Marks and Spencer Blue Denim Bell Sleeve Top £10.50, Sainsbury’s Black faux suede mini skirt £28, River Island Crochet Hem Bardot Top £28, Miss Selfridge

Goosie Loafer £70, Dune

Primrose Block Heel £45, Monsoon

Autograph Cut Out Sandal £55, Marks and Spencer

Retro Bardot Frill Off-The-Shoulder Top £24, Top Shop

12 | Family Life

Stone Bangle Bracelets £6, Accessorize

Filigree Cuff £25, Monsoon



t will be easy to express your exotic side with accessories this spring. The new season’s pieces each seem to tell their own story and look as though you’ve picked them up at a bazaar or made them yourself while on some outlandish adventure. Forget structure, simple styles and functionality, because we’re going to have fun this year with foreign finds. Jewellery is loud and striking this spring. Necklaces are laden with peculiar trinkets – from shells to fringes and feathers. Cuff bracelets and earrings are inspired by souk style and inlaid with gems or delicate filigree detailing. If you’re festival-bound, add a tribal hair piece for an interesting touch. We have an eclectic range of hats available to don on sunnier days – from cowboy pieces to Indiana Jones style fedoras. Feathers and coloured bands can

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016


keep things casual while you keep your head cool. Sunglass styles are going to get an overhaul this year. The stranger the shape, the better. Conventional aviator, wayfarers and oversized frames are out, and funky geometric shapes are all in, as librarian cateyes, pentagon and circular frames take charge. In terms of colour, tortoiseshell and animal prints work well with organic boho looks, or else you can go for bright basics or transparent frames if you’re feeling daring. Keep a laidback approach to this wild accessories trend, and don’t be afraid to clash and contrast. If you’re lucky enough to travel, then it’s the perfect time to stock up on unique market items. Until summer comes, we can bluff the globetrotter look with a high-street accessories haul.

Cowboy Hat £12.99, New Look

Sterling Silver Necklace £160, Links of London

Necklace, £35 (RRP £50), Jaeger atThe Outlet

Jenna Cuff £29, Hobbs Limited Edition Diamante & Bead Collar Necklace £25, Marks and Spencer

Bracelet £24 (rrp £35), Jaeger at The Outlet Zebra Print Scarf £10, Marks and Spencer

Rope Feather Metal Kirby £2.50, Primark

Souk Stamping Teardrop Earring £6, Accessorize

Facet and Tassel Drop Torque Necklace £6.25, Freedom at Top Shop

Indigo Collection Pure Wool Stud Trim Fedora Hat £25, Marks and Spencer

Cateye Sunglasses £16, Top Shop Gold Trapped Glitter Spike Earrings £8.50, Freedom at Top Shop

Round Sunglasses £16, River Island

Miu Miu 10QS Rasoi £185, Sunglasses Shop

14 | Family Life


Tortured with pesky spots? Then this amazing product is for you! Silver Serum from Skin Shop is a facial serum and the first ‘smart’ antibacterial skin treatment that contains a patented form of silver called MicroSilver ™. Unlike chemical anti-bacterial acne and skin treatments, Silver Serum does not kill off good skin bacteria, only the bad bacteria which leads to infection, puss and blackheads. Silver Serum not only avoids good skin bacteria it actually helps preserving it to keep skin healthy and strong. Silver Serum is designed to remain active on the skin for eight hours after application, keeping skin constantly guarded against becoming populated with bad skin bacteria.

Silver Serum is free from perfume, parabens MI and SLS and costs £12.95 (50ml). Available from


Good news! We’ve found a new way to lift your locks for summer. The latest hairwashing trend is perfect if you want to bring the bounce back to tired and heavy hair. It’s simple and fun – all you need to do is break the rules. Conditioner buildup can be one of the worst offenders for weighing your hair down, so try conditioning your hair first, then shampooing the roots to achieve volume and a lasting clean feel. TRESemmé have launched a new BeautyFull Volume range for this very method, and it works a treat. The lightweight prewash conditioner nourishes the ends of the hair, while the intensely lathering shampoo gets right into the roots to deliver an extreme clean. We found that this new concept leaves the hair delightfully soft to touch. Before blowdrying, just apply a little mousse to increase the volume boost, and you’re good to go. Summer hairstyles call for freeflowing waves and voluminous braids, but oily roots can make it tricky to get these laidback styles to stay put. So, if you want workable hair and that fresh feel that lasts for days, try reversing your hairwashing routine to see if it works for you. A little changeup could be all you need for a satisfying summer refresh. TRESemmé Beauty­ Full Volume PreWash Conditioner, 290ml, £4.99

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Getreadytoembraceyour innerbronzegoddess


adies, it’s time to ditch the pale and interesting look. It’s high time you added a little shimmer and shine. We can’t always depend on the weather, but you can certainly inject some colour into your makeup bag to cheer you up on a dull, grey morning. Bobbi Brown have a gorgeous Beach Nudes Collection. Simple and sexy, this collection is inspired by the perfect, sunkissed glow and features three all-new eye palettes, plus gorgeous new shades for cheeks and lips. It’s an effortless way to create a relaxed, bronzy look for warm days at the beach and cool summer nights. Bobbi Brown’s new Bronzing Powder (1) instantly warms up the skin with a natural looking, flattering colour, thanks to the perfect combination of red and brown tones (shades you’d find in a natural tan). Complement your bronzed look with a slick of Sheer Lip Color (2) available in three Limited Edition shades. The super lightweight formula glides on smoothly and evenly and is formulated with Shea


Butter, Murumuru Butter and Apricot Kernel Oils. If you like a pop of colour to your bronze, then MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Range (3) in five limited-edition shades from faintly fabulous to sunny side and perfectly lit, is for you. Each palette features four complimentary shades in a pinwheel design that can be applied alone or swirled for a healthy glow. For super, long-lasting lip colour, MAC’s Versicolour (4) is the ultimate fusion of gloss and stain. The all in one fluid melts onto lips for a full-on glassy shine that lasts and lasts. Bright, lustrous and comfortable, it’s like an energy shot for your lips. Blush is back. From soft and innocent to contoured and sultry, light and natural to dark and chiseled – blush is used to contour, highlight and sculpt. Estée Lauder introduces a curated collection of three easy to use products that take cheeks to the next level.

Pure Color Envy Shimmering Blushlights (5) naturally highlights curves and dimensions to create luminous skin that looks flawless from all angles. For the ultimate skin-softening experience, treat skin to Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Shimmering Body Oil Spray (6). Enriched with emollient oils, this shimmering, golden pearlized body oil helps condition, revitalize and provide skin with a protective and nourishing barrier. Silky and lightweight, with the Bronze Goddess fragrance, spray all over the body, for smooth, soft and conditioned skin.

6 Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess Shimmering Body Oil Spray, £30

2 Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Colour, £20

1 Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder, £28.50

3 MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Range, £24

4 MAC Versicolour Lipstain, £18

5 Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Shimmering Blushlights, £32



ant to encapsulate the summer goddess look but bronze isn’t your thing? No problem! Hippy doll beauty is also a keen trend for summer, as seen on the Louis Vuitton SS16 catwalks. You can play around with lip shades too, berry lipstick isn’t just for winter. Don’t shy off colourful eye shadow! Tropical shades were very popular on the runways. It’s all about luminous skin and a wave of blush for that doll-like, innocent look. If you love eyeliner, you don’t need to forgo it for summer. Black kohl eyeliner is still hot, just team with a nude lipstick or gloss. It’s eyes or lips, not both. Issa sported models with heavy underliner – oh so sexy. The Dolce & Gabbana runways saw

models with luminous skin, soft feline eyes, plump lips and bold, defined brows. You can cheat your way to luminosity with MAC Strobe Cream - the secret weapon to achieving that ethereal glow. Don’t forget your hair! From sprouting topknots, sophisticated chignons to romantic braids, there are a myriad of ways to look on trend by just setting aside a few extra minutes to your beauty regime. If you really are pushed for time, then wet look hair is hot to trot! Make sure to team with a bold eyeshadow for a smouldering look. If you can’t bare to give up your red lipstick for summer, that’s ok too! It’s bang on trend. Icy pink is also ultra stylish as well. You are spoilt for choice this summer, so be daring and express your true character. Oh, faux freckles are all the rage too…

16 | Family Life Chambray jacket, £20, Next

Cool for kids


ids fashion is all about comfort and layering up for our unpredictable spring and summer weather. Boys clothes are strongly influenced by travel and explorer motifs. Choose from bold colours, greys and checks and stripes. For girls there is an emphasis on animal patterns, as well as floral and tropical

Mini boys (0-5) red bomber jacket, £20, River Island

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Sequin Collar Unicorn Shirt, from £14, BHS

motifs. Styles are sporty or feminine with the Bardot neckline which is prevalent among womenswear, also in evidence here. Colours are bright – choose vibrant jewelled shades or hot summer shades. Layer up with cardigans, ponchos or denim jackets or for the boys, bomber jackets are huge, followed by hoodies and denim jackets.

Floral playsuit, £10, Next

Kylie Stripe Bardot Skater Dress, £16, M&Co

Denim shirt, £10, Next

Melvin Map Shirt, £14, Monsoon

Elephant Skirt, from £14, BHS

Martin Mustard Chino Shorts, £12, Monsoon

Kylie Chevron Fringed Crop Top, £16, M&Co

King of The Sea Tee, from £6, BHS

Layer up on cooler days... Denim jacket, £18, Jewel bug cardigan, £18, Next

Christopher Camping Tee, £12, Monsoon

Radley Girls Best Friend watch, £59.99 (rrp £99.95),Chapelle Jewellery at The Outlet

Girls’ brown tassel gladiator sandals, £20, River Island

Mandy Denim Jacket, £24, Monsoon

Honolulu towelling cover up, £20, Monsoon

Metallic silver slider, from £12, BHS

Horses and Mermaid Swimsuit, from £12, BHS

Baby girl Kimball Swim Cover Up, £5, Primark

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph


MUSSELOILWORTH SHELLINGOUTFOR I t’s only four short months since the super strength fish oil Lyprinol became available locally but already scores of Northern Ireland people are seeing the benefits of this tried and tested food supplement which has been improving the quality of life of arthritis and asthma sufferers across the globe for decades. Lyprinol UK representative Bert Jukes said: “The response from the people here has been sensational and the product is already enjoying amazing success. All over Northern Ireland people are getting the full benefits of this entirely natural product and are letting us know how happy they are with Lyprinol.” Available online for some years, Gordons Chemists’ shops began stocking the capsules in January and another independent pharmacy chain, Medicare, is about to follow suit. Olympic gold medal winner Dame Mary Peters (DBE) has been so impressed by the product that she has officially endorsed it and told Family Life, when it was launched here this year, that with taking Lyprinol every day, she enjoys her daily walks in the countryside without any aches or pains. Having enjoyed an illustrious career which saw her win 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, Dame Mary values her mobility and doesn’t lend her support lightly. “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. Inflammation has been found to be reduced within 4-8 weeks of beginning use. Lyprinol capsules are small therefore 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

Family Life | 17 adults tested reported improved quality of life. Professor Jacek Szechinski, of Poland’s Clinic of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine, who led the 12 week study, described the findings as “remarkable”. 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.

“I suffered from Asthma from birth, and after having read about Lyprinol I decided to try the product. After taking Lyprinol I found a great improvement and I continue to use it alongside my medication. I now no longer suffer from my yearly bout of bronchitis. My husband also uses Lyprinol now for his arthritis and has found a great improvement.” Susan Laverick, Southampton

Dame Mary Peters DBE takes Lyprinol every day to maintain joint health shellfish intolerances. Lyprinol’s effectiveness has been backed up by clinical tests and over the past 27 years it has undergone dozens of tests, with outstanding results. In one study, Lyprinol was found to reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis by 89% while 91% of the 50

“Three years ago I had a pain in my hip and I walked with a stick. I went on Lyprinol and for the first four weeks I wasn’t finding any difference. I phoned your staff and they said to stick with it. I’m so glad I listened to them because in the 6th or 7th week the pain went out of my hip. I have never used my stick since! I would recommend it in a heartbeat. It’s fabulous.” Irene Boyce, Belfast Visit for further information.

18 | Family Life

Green bomber £50, shirt £30, trousers £20, Burton

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Green tie £10, Burton

Indigo ripped slim jeans £38, Topman

Green shorts £20, Matalan Levi’s distressed acid wash denim jacket £90, House of Fraser


Green trousers £20, jacket £45, tee £15, Burton

n recent years short-sleeved shirts have lost the ‘substitute maths teacher’ stigma to become a spring/summer staple for the fashion conscious. This season, short-sleeved button-ups are taking on a South American twist with the introduction of the Cuban collar shirt. Straight out of the 1950s, the Cuban collar shirt blends old-school sensibilities with a modern summertime feel. Though you would probably be wise to steer clear of the collar-over-lapels look Tony Montana rocked in Scarface, the shirt is flexible enough to suit a number of styles. Make sure to go for a fitted cut in more breathable fabrics and pair with either a pair of chinos for a modern take on the classic 1950s look. Alternatively, pair the shirt with shorts and sandals or espadrilles for a laid back beach-ready feel.

As cool as a Cubancollar

to bring one along with you wherever you go, a block coloured or patterned waterproof is a must have in every backpack over the coming months. Coming in parkas, half-zip pull-overs and many more shapes, stylish rainwear is easy to come by and fit into your own personal style. Danish brand Rains have caught the eye recently with their functional, stylish and affordable rainwear, while most other high-profile brands and designers are rushing to get out their own anoraks.

Distressed denim

HYMN grey space dye cuban collar shirt £50, Topman

Parka anorak £70, Topman

If you have a pair of battered and torn old jeans waiting to be sent off to the charity shop or thrown up into the attic, hold fire. Distressed and lived-in denim is in demand this spring/summer. Though each will have their own limit on how slashed and patched up they’re willing to go, well-worn looking denim is in high demand. Ideally you’d have your own pair of jeans already well broken in with their own authentic creases, abrasions and rips formed naturally over time, but a predistressed pair will pull off the same look. Lighter washed jeans paired with a tee, white trainers and a bomber jacket will make for an effortlessly cool casual summer look, while a well worn denim jacket is ideal for layering when it’s too hot to bring a coat.

Bomber jackets


Sudden spring showers and summer downpours are a regular part of the weather in Northern Ireland, yet every year without fail we each get caught out without a waterproof at least once. There will be no excuse for heading home soaked through this year though, with the humble anorak having a fashion renaissance this spring/summer. Light enough that it’s never a nuisance

Selected Homme stone suede bomber jacket £170, House of Fraser

Rains blue rain jacket £70, Topman


All that glitters is green for menswear in recent times. Shades of olive and khaki have become commonplace thanks to military styling influences on modern trends. This season though, more adventurous hues of green are being introduced, making green the runaway key colour this spring and summer. While adding a dash of green here and there to your wardrobe will keep you on track with this season’s colour trend, more adventurous outfits can be pulled off by wearing head-to-toe green once spring hits. While all-over neutrals work best with subtle differences in colour and texture, you’ll want to clearly clash shades of green to strike the right balance.

Anorak £28, Matalan

Vintage wash skinny jeans £40, Topman

Cuban Collar Shirt (left) £25, River Island

MA1 bomber jacket £55, Topman

Having started out as military wear for pilots, the bomber jacket has gone from wartime uniform to a modern classic and must-own for any style-conscious gent. Each season in recent years designers find a new way to reinvent the bomber jacket, be it the cut, material or pattern. More recently suede has found a home with the bomber jacket, adding texture to your spring/summer looks while being flexible enough to be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. For those looking to turn heads, a floral print bomber jacket is a good focal point to your casual spring/ summer outfit.

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 19


Most of us will at some point have walked into a shop and spotted a pair of colourful statement trainers that scream ‘buy me’ at you as you try not to look at the price tag. If you succumbed to the temptation and took the plunge, you will probably be fully aware that finding the right time and place to wear them is harder than you imagined. However, on the other end of the scale, the paired-back, minimalist kicks in neutral and tonal colours that you probably looked past are waiting to go with just about any outfit you own. Every brand on the market it seems is releasing a subtler colourway shoe with a low-profile silhouette for the spring and summer season. At the top end of the market Common Projects have pretty much perfected the minimalist trainer, but the price tag will be out of range for all but the rich, insane and insanely rich. Less eye-watering options are in plentiful supply, however. Nike’s Archive 83.Ms and Internationalist trainers along with Adidas’ iconic Stan Smiths collection stand out, but similar options from other noted trainer brands will pull off roughly the same look you’re going for.


Achilles Low Perforated £279, Common Projects

Navy Melton 5 Panel Cap £15, Topman

Baseball cap £15, Topman 5 Panel Camp Cap £49, Ebbets Field Flannels

Nike Internationalist £70, Zalando Ripstop 5 Panel Cap £45, Norse Projects


Stan Smith £70, Adidas

New Balance 996 £90, Zalando

he baseball cap has been back in a big way in recent years and it doesn’t look like going anywhere anytime soon. It’s been through a few designs and scenes over the years too, since it was first worn by Brooklyn baseball team the Excelsiors. This season the baseball cap is ditching snapbacks with logos and stickers for a smarter, sleeker look. Five-or-more panels,

brims with a bit of bend to them and luxury textures like suede, leather and wool make the hat go well with looks more on the smart end of smart-casual. High street shops have a range of good looking and affordable options to chose from, while premium hat makers like Ebbets Field Flannels and Norse Projects offer more luxurious options if you’re willing to spend that bit more.

20 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016



rom the tip of the Giant’s Causeway to the depths of the Marble Arch Caves there are thousands of options for a great family day out in Northern Ireland. Round up the gang, pack a picnic and head for the coast, the Mournes or Sperrin Mountains, a forest park or the Fermanagh Lakelands and enjoy a day’s exploring. Rathlin Island’s West Light Seabird Centre has recently undergone a refurb, courtesy of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and is well worth a visit. You can explore the island by boat, bicycle or on foot. Get the local lowdown by taking a tour with Coastal Walking Tours or rent a bike from Soerneog View Hostel and cycle around the island at your own pace. Rathlin Island Boat Tours leave Portrush harbour and sail along the Causeway Coast, taking in the Skerries, Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway, White Park Bay, Ballintoy, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and then over to Rathlin Island. At this time of year, the forest floors are giving way to enchanting carpets of beautiful native bluebells.

Climb Cavehill and the rewards are spectacular views over Belfast © Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Birdwatching on Rathlin Island. © Northern Ireland Tourist Board

SkyTrek, the high ropes adventure centre. Over at the south of the city, Shaw’s Bridge is perfect for a nature walk or you can take the family kayaking down the

river with Mobile Team Adventure. To the north of the city lie Cave Hill, Slievenacloy and Carnmoney Hill which offer superb views for many miles. Download the excellent checklist of 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¬ from the National Trust ( uk) and get them hunting for wildlife, collecting berries and building dens in the woods. Kids won’t find walking in the countryside boring if you throw a treasure hunt into the mix. Why not join a geocaching event? The Brandy Pad Walking event in the Mournes on Saturday, April 30, involves a 7.5mile trek taking in the Mourne Wall, Slieve Bernagh, Ben Crom, The Annalong Valley, The Castles, Slieve Commedagh and Slieve Donard. Attendees will have the opportunity of finding up to 20 caches and the starting point is Meelmore Lodge at 10am. For details visit This one isn’t really suitable for younger children but you can find out about other geocaching trails across Northern Ireland at

village of Cushendun is hosting a Big Arts Weekend. This is a four day festival of music, drama, poetry, art, walks, workshops and family fun in one of the most beautiful villages in the Glens of Antrim. The programme has something for everyone and many of the events are free, Visit the Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market at Ballycastle Seafront on May 1. This market aims to keep things authentic, providing an opportunity to meet the many food, craft producers and suppliers from the North Coast and Glens area. The nautical festival celebrating maritime heritage, Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival, takes place from May 22-31. With family activities, live entertainment and more in the heart of the Causeway Coast and Glen, the festival celebrates the rich maritime heritage and history of Rathlin Island and Ballycastle. Become a member of the gentry from 1pm on May 28 and have Tea with the affable Lord Dunleath who guides you around his home and joins you for a chat over tea and scones, in Ballywalter House.

Tickets cost £18 per adult and £9 per child. Call Ards Visitor Centre on 028 9182 6846 for bookings. From May 28-30 Titanic Quarter is hosting Titanic Walking Tours at 12 noon and 2pm (tours last approximately one hour). An enthusiastic guide will transport you back in time 100 years to when Harland and Wolff was the busiest shipyard in the world, £5 entrance fee, The Market Place Theatre in Armagh is hosting a range of Craft themed events every Saturday. These include Textual Tapestry Weaving, Fabric Floral Arrangements, Creative Hat Couture and an Introduction to Glass Bead Making. Events must be booked in advance and cost between £22 and £50, visit An Creagán, in Co. Tyrone, is holding Glass Blowing Workshops on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8, cost £50. An Creagán is also holding a Blacksmithing and Creative Metal Workshop on May 21, costing £30. It celebrates the ancient craft of blacksmithing in a creative and inclusive way,

Young Sean Reilly adopts the Superman pose on climbing Topped Mountain outside Enniskillen, a short hike offering a superb lakeland panorama The Woodland Trust is hosting a magical bluebell adventure at Carnmoney Hill, Newtownabbey, on Saturday-Sunday, April 23-24. Two woodland fairies, Blue and Belle, will lead explorers through this beautiful ancient woodland on a mission to stop a clumsy giant from trampling the bluebells. The characters are brought to life via an app. Find out more and download the bluebell app at www. If you live in greater Belfast, you don’t even need to travel too far to enjoy Mother Nature in her spring glory – why not head to Colin Glen Forest and let the little ones follow the Gruffalo Trail, while the older children can work off some steam at

Bluebell season is upon us – make for the woods for an enchanting display



ou’ve done Belfast Zoo, W5, the Titanic Centre, all the museums, Castle Espie and every open farm within driving distance so where next for an events based day out? Here are just a few to whet your appetite. The Frock Around the Clock Midsummer Vintage and Handmade Fair takes place on June 5 at 12 noon at Belfast Castle and will feature around 50 stalls of quality vintage, handcrafted & upcycled fashion, furniture, homewares and collectables, textiles and decor, jewellery, sweet treats, toys, art, craft, gifts, artisan food, children’s/baby wear and much more. Admission is £3 for adults and children go free, Bookworms can make for the Belfast Book Festival on June 9-19. The programme includes readings, workshops, questions and answers and more with a host of international and home-grown writers at Crescent Arts Centre, www. There’s still one event left of Europe’s only photography festival for young people aged 12-17 years, Belfast Photo Festival Youth Edition, which has been running all

You never know what surprises await at Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival. Pic Steven McAuley/ Kevin McAuley Photography month. For the movie-goer the organisers are hosting a screening of the original ‘The Karate Kid’ with Cinemagic at the QFT, Belfast, at 3pm on April 30. From April 29-May 2, the north coast

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph


Join in the fun with ApplegreenM1Lisburn’s GrandOpening


he newest of Applegreen Service stations in Northern Ireland hosts a free family fun day on Saturday, April 23, from 12-5pm. With a range of exciting new food offerings, including Greggs, Chopstix, Subway, Lavazza Café, Burger King and The Bakewell Café, M1 Lisburn opens up its doors for families and friends in the local area on 23rd April – with free face painting, kids play area, balloon modelling, Kids Entertainer and some great food offers on the day. Open since March 11, 2016, the site has seen scores of visitors and customers but now is officially welcoming people to come along to celebrate its official Grand Opening. Speaking about the opening of the M1 Lisburn Motorway Service Area, a spokesperson for Applegreen said the new service station would bring jobs to the area. “I am delighted to announce the opening of our newest Motorway Service Area in Lisburn, which will create 120 new jobs in the area. This is Applegreen’s largest Motorway Service Area in Northern Ireland and we look forward to serving

more customers than ever before. We are excited to continue to develop our business here in Northern Ireland even further over the coming years and today’s opening is such an important step on that journey.” This is one of three Applegreen Motorway Service Areas to open in Northern Ireland after the first store opened on the M2 at Templepatrick in April 2015, bringing with it Northern Ireland’s first Greggs. There are now six Greggs operating in Applegreen stations in Northern Ireland. M1 Lisburn opened on March 11, the fifth site to open in Northern Ireland, its third Motorway site. It is situated on the M1, just outside Lisburn.

Family Life | 21

22 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016



Spring cleaning season is upon us, and it’s time to update your home with a new look. Here are the biggest interiors trends making waves this Spring…

H&B mango candle, £9.90, Harvey Norman

Orange is the new Black

Colour Pop Blinds are made to measure and cost from £139.95,

Orange is the colour of the moment, no question. It’s warm, it’s bright, and it pairs well with neutrals as well as many bolder shades; what’s not to love? A burnt umber cushion or an amber throw is the perfect way to add comfort as well as a splash of colour to your home. With metallics, orange has taken over in the form of copper. From clocks and tableware to lighting and accessories, it’s impossible to escape. But when you see the contemporary elegance it brings to your living space, you’ll agree it’s not a problem!

Copper candle bowl, £24.90, Harvey Norman

It’s a jungle in here!

Far East Vibes

Fashion themes are making their mark in our homes this spring/summer with the jungle trend heading up the style stampede. Go big and bold with a statement wall in a jungle wallpaper or rein those wild animals in a bit with cushions and accessories that will transport you to the nearest rainforest…

Copper clock, £13.50, Harvey Norman

Tropical Palm velvet cushion £24,

Indian rug, £89, Harvey Norman

Moroccan Style Tealight Lantern, £14.95, www. MelodyMaison.

Exotic Eastern influences are big news this season. Think Ottoman style floor cushions with Moroccan inspired patterns, elephant sculptures and prints, floor rugs in a rainbow of colours, and as many lanterns as you can handle. The key to this trend is to layer it all up, but without going overboard. Stick to your usual big furnishings, then pile on cushions in all shapes and sizes. Cluster some lanterns around your fireplace. Create a casual seating corner with ottomans and rugs, then top it off with an aromatic incense burner.

nt Elepha p m la , , £78.90 Harvey n Norma

Tropical Bird kingsize cotton summer bedspread, £95,

Create a stir with this set of four Tropical Teaspoons, £19,

Embroidered cushion, £29.50, Harvey Norman

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 23

Barn wooden lamp, £150, Harvey Norman


With the rising popularity of healthy, home-cooked food, nature is quickly making its way back into the kitchen; but we’re not just talking about your meals. Natural materials like wood and stone as well as plenty of greenery are the biggest kitchen decor trends to

emerge this year. Dot your shelves with potted plants or use them as table centrepieces; serve sharing dishes on wooden platters or, if you’re planning a kitchen revamp, opt for stone tiles. Pipo natural cork stool, £195,

Flea Market Square Dining Table was £825 now £529, Sideboard was £975 now £625, Toby Chair w/ Metal Seat, was £89 now £69 or with Wooden Seat was £99 now £79 (available in Black, Blue, Chrome, Red, White & Yellow), McCully Furnishings

Old Barn Clock, was £199 now £175, McCully Furnishings

Marble candle holders £2.90, Harvey Norman

Hanging flower pot, £3.50, Harvey Norman

24 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

10hacksfor abetterhome


Spring is here and the urge to declutter is irresistible. Don’t fight it! Getting rid of the accumulated detritus of the past year’s living is the number one way to make your home look better. If you think it is simply insurmountable, check out the American housekeeping whizz Flylady (www.flylady. net) and she’ll have you sorted in no time. Her secret is to break housework down into daily 10 minute chunks so you never feel overwhelmed.


Get cleaning! The sun is streaking through the windows, highlighting what else but your streaky windows! Give them a good wash, including the frames and window sills, and brighten up your day. Get into the corners of flooring and behind the furniture and once you’ve got over the shock of how much dirt has accumulated, you’ll be glad to see the back of it.

A ladder would be better but hey, who’s going to turn down any offer of help when it comes to spring cleaning?


Time to reflect… on where that ornamental mirror will be at its best. Use it in a darker room to catch the

light and brighten and enlarge the space.


Lights fantastic... Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas. Use them to highlight mirrors or imitation flower arrangements and you’ll add a bit of sparkly magic to a room.


Out of the shadows… Lamps are invaluable when it comes to enhancing the ambiance of a room. Switch off the overhead lights and switch on to the soft romantic glow of your table lamps.


Stop ‘procaffeinating’! Put that coffee down and get on with planning that major job you never can get around to doing, whether it’s a loft conversion, an extension or putting in a new floor – work out a budget and get some professionals round to give you a quote.


Box clever: One of the most annoying aspects of a house can be one of the easiest to sort out. If you spend your time trying to finding somewhere to put

your books or the kids’ toys, bite the bullet and invest in some proper storage, whether that means large bookshelves or a smaller ornamental box which could become an eye-catching feature in a corner of a room. You’ll be amazed at how much more spacious the house will feel.

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 25 Fresh flowers are both bright and fragrant


Go for green! If your garden is looking on the tired side, give it some attention and you’ll be rewarded with velvety grassy glory and sumptuous colour throughout the summer.


Sink the stink... You might be nose blind, especially if you have pets. Get a friend to come round and give you an honest verdict, then do something about it. If the culprit is an old rug, take it to the dump. Whatever the source of your pong, deal with it at source, then brew up your own DIY room spray using distilled water, a tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of your favourite essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass or cinnamon. And breathe...


Outside chance... Go out and take a cold, hard look at the front of your house. Peeling paint? Blocked drains? A heap of stuff waiting to be brought to the dump? Begin to deal with these problems and you’ll soon find you are delighted to come home every day.


Somethingold, somethingnew

Vintage furniture has stood firm against the onslaught of modern minimalism, shouldering aside the sleek shiny surfaces and plain grey walls that have dominated homes over the past few years. Vintage never went away, because quality will always stand the test of time, and whether your scheme has a 2016 Mexican twist or looks like something from the pages of a 1950s home décor magazine, the chances are you would rather give away any amount of modern paraphernalia than part with a single antique item. Even worn varnish can be viewed with affection, as it bears witness to loving hands which are no longer around. It’s as personal as modern slick is impersonal. Kickstart your vintage journey with a quality sideboard or a beautiful Chesterfield suite and begin creating heirlooms for future generations, or check out the auctions for pre-loved pieces.

Wide Vintage Sideboard, was £899 now £599, McCully Furnishings

Vintage Chair, was £209 now £139, McCully Furnishings

26 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Thoroughly MODCONS


he BBC series Back in Time for Dinner proved a terrific eye opener, driving home what life was like in the pre mod con era. It’s hard to believe that not that long ago, the average family had no fridge, washing

The Fine Life Ideal Tea Infuser and Coffee Brewer, with its patented drain mechanism, releases more flavour than instant coffee or tea bags. Just add loose tea or coffee and hot water for one or two people. For a refreshing beverage, drip straight over ice for instant iced tea or coffee.

machine or TV. These days, it’s difficult to keep pace with the steady stream of gadgets and innovations coming to market – and at prices that are easily within most household’s budgets. Here are a few of our favourites…

DOT, £28.80,

It’s great to be able to download and watch movies directly on our smart phones and now you can enjoy them with your friends, thanks to this clever and compact Smart Phone Projector. It not only projects the images onto the wall but amplifies the sound too, so you get an amazing home cinematic experience, without the use of wires or any big sound system.

The Fine Life Ideal Tea Infuser and Coffee Brewer, £21.95, Amazon

Whether your weekly commute consists of trips to the grocery store or picking up clients from the airport, Garmin Drive has a GPS navigator specific to your needs. To encourage safer driving and increase situational awareness, the entire product lineup features driver alerts. The premium sleek and stylish Garmin DriveLuxe features HD Digital and the fastest traffic avoidance solution, with updates as often as every 30 seconds. The new lineup marks a significant step forward in the evolution of portable navigation devices (PNDs) from Garmin with four intuitively named models: Garmin Drive, Garmin DriveSmart, Garmin DriveAssist and Garmin DriveLuxe.

Sagaform Herb Scissors, £5.95,

✸ Smart Phone Projector, £11.95,

The new Digital Oven Thermometer, or DOT, is aimed at professional kitchens but try to stop any potential amateur Masterchef bagging one. Leave it in the food while cooking. It reads the temperature in just 5 seconds and its large LCD display and loud audible alarm make it ideal for use in noisy kitchens.

The Sagaform Herb Scissors is a nifty pair of stainless steel choppers which makes chopping herbs easier and quicker. The 6 blades at varying angles produce a perfectly smooth snip everytime, ensuring you get the right balance of fresh herbs for your pot.

Garmin Drive, from £99.99,

Snap Remote, £14.95,

The Snap Remote lets you take group photos with everyone in the shot! The little remote works with a free app that is compatible with the iPhone 3,4,5, iPad and Android smartphones. Download the app and all that’s left to do is get everyone in the frame and press the button. Phone stand included.

Packing for a weekend camping or at a festival? Take a Mega Power Bank and you’ll be able to stay connected. With its monstrous 10400 mAh Samsung battery, it could fully charge an iPhone over five times. It can even charge two at one time. Mega Power Bank, £49.95,

Lineman clotheslines make outdoor drying a breeze. They come in three sizes and are mobile so can be moved to the best drying area or under cover if rain comes. Lineman mobile clotheslines are manufactured in Co Tyrone and guaranteed. Lineman, from £195,

28 | Family Life


ay is just around the corner – the month of exams and usually some of the best weather of the year. It’s time to get the garden into shape so that you can make the most of it. As with so many lifestyle trends, our growing love affair with the outdoors – within the perimeter of our own patch – is an import from the States, where they have been enjoying outdoor living for years. Brad Carpenter, whose company Solus specialises in fire pits, says: “One of the most exciting trends in the last number of years in the UK has been to open up the kitchen or reception with extendable bi-fold doors to allow the outdoors in and extend your lifestyle out. “In both continents there has been a trend to live outside whenever possible as long as possible. Incredible advances in outdoor fabrics and furniture have allowed for al fresco dining – it’s not purely the

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

preserve of sunny climes. In Canada and the northern United States, fire simply extends your spring and fall in addition to your summer evenings. It is an ideal way to maximize your time outside and provide a focal point for your family and friends.” You can make your own fire pit by cutting an iron drum in half or build one out of bricks or stone, or create a stylish focal point by buying a cutting edge design. Some of the more dedicated followers of the indoors outdoors brigade have complete kitchens built outside but you don’t have to go the whole hog to enjoy an al fresco lifestyle. All you really need is a level area, whether paved, grass or decking, a barbecue, parasol for keeping the sun/ rain at bay and a table and chairs. However, with so many beautiful and well designed products available, it would be a shame not to leave behind your tired old garden furniture and embrace the new…

The Elevated Halo 36” (900 mm) fire pit is a modern interpretation of the primordial campfire raised to coffee table height, so it can be used to place drinks or canapes on while also providing the warmth and ambience for relaxed conversation. Handcrafted in smooth high-performance concrete, this serene outdoor fire pit cradles its flame in a beautiful sculptured concave and naturally invites reflection and intimate gatherings. The Elevated Halo is powered by a bio-fuel burner 40,000 BTU (12 kwh) and is manually lit with a lighting wand. It will make your outside deck or patio a warm and inviting area from spring through to autumn. All Solus fire pits are shipped complete with lava rock, centre stone rock and all weather cover, £2,950,


The Lighthouse oil lamp from Menu makes a wonderful addition to balmy evenings sitting outside enjoying a nice bottle of wine and drinking in the wonderful atmosphere. Design and style are high on the Menu list of priorities and the Lighthouse, inspired by the lighthouses along the Scandinavian coast, is no exception. Made from porcelain and steel, The Lighthouse has a unique filling system that makes it possible to fill the oil from above so there is no need to take the lamp apart and gives out a bright light. It is 24.5cm tall and its diameter is 14.5cm and it costs £64.95 from


umo is the Japanese word for cloud, which perfectly describes this light and airy outdoor furniture range. But the look and feel of Kumo means that it’s equally at home indoors as much as on the patio. Fabrics are soft-to-the-touch but totally waterproof, UV-ray and mould resistant, and frames include hidden, quick-drain channels, allowing this contemporary, modular range to be left outside whatever the weather. Designed by Lionel Doyen for Belgian specialist design-house Manutti, Kumo also reflects this summer’s trend for colourful outdoor fabrics, with a wide selection of colours on offer. Choose from a sophisticated

variety of greys to playful shades of sunset, aubergine or red berry. Cushions can be mixed-and-matched, with removable covers in a variety of shapes and sizes. Kumo’s armrests and back supports are also adjustable or removable, which means the design can easily be transformed from a plush sofa or stylish lounger to a cool chair or footrest. Manutti is an internationally renowned specialist in luxury, totally weatherproof outdoor furniture. The company’s designs are found all over the world from international hotels and super-yachts to smart London townhouse gardens. Kumo prices start from £500,

Amalfi Grey Parasol is the perfect addition to any outside space. This parasol is free standing and can be easily moved, adjusted and rotated to provide maximum protection from the sun. This parasol comes with a mechanical handle for easy opening and closing, handy tilt mechanism and air vent. Pair with the Amalfi Free Arm Parasol cover 250 x 85cm protective cover, which is water resistant and fits this parasol perfectly, £299,

Cool, contemporary curves are at the heart of Living It Up’s Moon Sofa – a perfect garden piece for urban outdoor living. This straightforward outdoor synthetic rattan sofa is a practical, fuss free product which is robust and easily cleaned. The contemporary half-moon design, available in black or rattan, is made for sundown tête-àtêtes and the sofas work well individually or combined to create a stylish garden seating area. Get a free rattan side table and scatter cushions with the purchase of two Moon Sofas. The dimensions are Height: 78 x Width: 149 x Depth: 79cm, £499, from

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Things to do in the garden this month π Gardeners are stepping up a gear as we move into May when plants can, weather permitting, be planted outside. Bear in mind there is still a danger of late frosts and unseasonally cold or wet weather might mean you need to hold off on some tasks. The lawn begins to come to the fore and it’s time to get it in shape for the summer by applying a lawn fertiliser and weed killer. Make sure you deal with those weeds which are beginning to sprout. May is the perfect time for sowing seeds such as primrose and sweet william as well as bulbs such as dahlia and gladioli. For those who like to grow their own, this is the time to sew cauliflower, broccoli, srouts, kale, peas, lettuce, spinach, swede and radish and to thin out other veg such as beetroot and spinach. By the end of the month, you can have your hanging baskets and containers planted up with petunias, fuchsias, trailing lobelia etc. Go for a single colour theme or a riot of colour and why not add a strawberry plant to the mix? Nothing says summer so deliciously. Help your baskets and containers along by adding a slow release fertiliser. Begin weekly liquid feeds and check for plants which have become rootbound and replant as necessary.

Family Life | 29

Flowers, food and fun

Promising a ‘Festival of flowers, food and fun’, the 2016 Allianz Garden Show Ireland will focus on bringing ‘all things garden’ to as many people as possible. The annual event which takes place at Antrim Castle Gardens from May 6-8 is a true mecca for gardeners and welcomes the return of show patron, Monty Don. But it isn’t all about gardens, there are lots of activities for families of all ages and foodies are in for a real treat with lots of artisan producers involved this year. For the mini adventurers there are stacks of experiences to keep them occupied: the digging and planting pit will allow them to get their hands dirty and learn at the same time while workshops on how to make headbands with feathers and sticks or fresh cut flowers will spark their imagination. The great outdoors theme continues into an exciting adventure area which features a climbing wall as well as an opportunity to have a go at some Robin Hood inspired archery, and even some crazy golf suitable for all the family. Not all the family activities are high octane however, with wood turning, blacksmithing and willow weaving amongst the most popular things to try in the stunning Antrim Castle Grounds. Visitors will be entertained throughout the show, listening to the Martello Jazz Band whist enjoying cream teas and tea dances in the Tea Tent, or by the fabulous musical offering of No Oil Paintings playing a mix

The Iguana Single hammock is perfect for relaxing in the garden. The fabric is made from 100% recycled cotton, so it is gentle on the environment. Being cotton, it is soft and breathable and very comfortable to lay in. It is brightly coloured and machine washable. Iguana Jungle Single Cotton Hammock, £59,

✸ Chunky Boston glasses from Villeroy and Boch at The Outlet will add the finishing touches to your outdoor table

The Teardrop is an egg-shaped hanging chair with an detailed hand-woven basket. Sit comfortably cocooned within the Teardrop’s basket whilst rocking gently, warmed by the summer sun. Failing that, the Teardrop’s galvanized frame is designed to be resistant to the inevitable cold and wet of the British weather, £349,

Pupils from St Colmgalls PS in Antrim get their hands dirty of banjos, mandolins and guitars. For budding greenfingers young and old there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more by visiting one of the many stunning garden visuals or taking time to explore the WOW garden situated in the middle of the Show. There will be talks on how to grow your own veg and floral arrangements for your dinner table and plenty of opportunities to meet the expert exhibitors who are happy to answer any questions. The family-focused event has over the last number of years engaged with schools provincewide ensuring that the Show is eagerly anticipated by all the children who take part in the Allianz supported schools challenges. Primary Schools will be displaying their ‘Edible Container Gardens’. Allianz Scarecrow Avenue meanwhile will come alive with scarecrows created by primary schools in

the integrated sector. The Show will be celebrating the NI Year of Food & Drink 2016 in style with a Food NI Marquee which will be filled to the brim with exceptional and unusual local producers creating tasty dishes for visitors to enjoy. As well as all the fabulous food available to purchase, throughout the weekend, local chef Paula McIntyre will be giving talks and will be joined by celebrity chef Maria Elia as well as food blogger the Rectors Husband. The 2016 Allianz Garden Show Ireland runs from May 6-8 at Antrim Castle Gardens and is open daily from 10am-6pm with parking adjacent. Adults are £10 (concession £8) and the event is FREE for children under 16 accompanied by an adult. There is a reduced rate for online booking and for more information visit

30 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Thebestof bothworlds atDublin’s coastalvillages P lan a break in Dublin and you know you’re getting typical city fare – shops, entertainment and historic sites. However, you can have all that and much more by opting instead to base yourself at one of Dublin’s coastal villages. You can choose an adventure break – rock-climbing in Dalkey, sea-kayaking in Howth, kite-surfing on Dollymount Strand or learning to sail in Malahide – or do what we did and enjoy a thoroughly chilled out weekend taking in the cosmopolitan buzz married with maritime village charm of this fascinating area.

Pristine Portmarnock

Our chosen base, Portmarnock, is on the north side of the city and was therefore easy to reach in two hours from Belfast, with no traffic worries. We stayed at the 4 Star Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links, the luxurious product of clever investment in what had been the family home of the Jameson Whiskey dynasty. Our beautiful room, in a freshly refurbished part of the hotel, overlooked the championship golf course and beyond that, the perfectly named Velvet Strand. On the horizon, but still seeming just a par 3 away, the striking island of Ireland’s Eye rose from the glittering waters of Dublin Bay. To the right was a stunning vista stretching to the Dublin Mountains in the distance. Hunger lured us out and we made for the neighbouring village of Howth with its famous seafood restaurants. We settled on lunch in The Oar House, one of the many award-winning restaurants that line the West Pier. This place is so hip that we had to wait for a second sitting during a Saturday lunchtime – it was the same story the length of the pier. We used the waiting time to explore the weekend market on the main street. A smaller version of Belfast’s Continental Market, it had a variety of


stalls selling foods from all over the world, arts and crafts and was packed with visitors from home and abroad. Tucking into our delicious salmon and scampi lunches at the Oar House later, we were struck by the way Howth’s fishing industry and culinary culture complement each other, with utilitarian function on one side of the pier and stylish, high quality eateries on the other.

Hilly Howth

The plan had been to hike one of the many looped trails on the Hill of Howth, taking in the exquisitely named Bog of the Frogs, but we cheated and drove up through the village to take in the panoramic views from the cliffs overlooking the bay instead. Lots of other people were made of hardier stuff and the viewpoint was busy with walkers admiring the vista in the spring sunshine. We headed back to Portmarnock and enjoyed a much more leisurely stroll along the beautiful Velvet Strand before dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. What a treat that proved to be! The hotel is a huge draw for golfers and the restaurant was busy that night but the food was of a quality we had rarely sampled before. We felt like Greg Wallace and John Torode as each mouthful brought new and surprising combinations of flavours never enjoyed before. The Portmarnock Hotel clearly takes pride in the provenance of its food too and it was good to see the suppliers of quality ingredients named on the menu.

Magical Malahide

Sunday morning saw us up early and off to Malahide, the next village along to the north, after a huge breakfast at the hotel. We had heard Malahide Castle was worth a visit and were delighted to find that was true. Owned by the Talbot family for a

Climb the Hill of Howth for spectacular views

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 31

Take a stroll along one of the Blue Flag beaches remarkable 800 years, it was sold when the last remaining member of the family, Rose, decided she would rather see out her days as a Tasmanian sheep farmer. Thankfully, Fingal County Council bought it and opened it to the public and the guided tours by the fabulous staff are a must for anyone visiting, even if you aren’t normally into history. Visitors get to see the evolution of the castle from its medieval beginnings to the present and it has been beautifully maintained. The National Gallery, which bought the art works, including Jan Wyck’s enormous painting of The Battle of the Boyne, and kindly left them in situ for the rest of us to enjoy. Afterwards, we followed everyone else into Avoca for a browse and coffees which we sipped beside the ruins of the abbey in

Make a splash in Dublin Bay

Malahide Castle and Gardens is popular with visitors and locals the castle grounds, as a family of rabbits hopped around the crumbling gravestones. The castle grounds are a huge draw to the people of the area, with football pitches, ornate gardens and a large children’s playground full of locals and tourists.

Visitors to the castle can choose to arrive or leave in quirky style with Toots, the Malahide road train. Michael, the owner, rescued the carriages from a Llandudno field and set about creating a fun way to link the village with the castle. Over 100,000 passengers have enjoyed the hop on, hop off service which goes between the castle, the village and the Blue Flag Beach in the past three years and have been rewarded, not only with a bell ringing, horn tooting fun ride, but a sticker offering discount in the village shops. Down in Malahide village itself, we were impressed by how pretty and prosperous looking the place was. Each of the coastal villages we visited was positively buzzing with young families out walking and

shopping and people cycling and running. The locals were invariably friendly and helpful with advice and directions and even better, the weather was kind to us and we could enjoy the spectacular scenery in its best light. It would be a pleasure to spend a week or more in this area, with the city within 20 minutes reach, the enormous Pavilion Shopping Centre at Swords up the road, and everything else you need for a great family holiday – pristine beaches, a choice of every possible adventure, stunning scenery and superb restaurants – right at your door. For more information see #lovedublin

34 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016 (Left inset) Venice Canal

Piazza 3 Novembre

View of The Bastion from Riva Del Garda


y first moments in Riva del Garda were spent looking upwards in disbelief. A huge mountain rises behind the town, so dramatically steep and disorientating that it takes time to adjust to its imposing presence. Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is tucked within the Eastern Alps, and I soon came to regard these mountains as the borders of my holiday haven, framing one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. A week spent among the spectacular scenery, with mini-escapades to the nearby cities of Venice and Verona, is the ideal summer holiday for young and old. Lake Garda has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a relaxing break or an action-packed adventure.

Juliet’s balcony, Verona

Lake Garda view from Riva Del Garda

cleanse the palette. Who needs a detox when you’ve got a sun-soaked fruit plantation to delight in?



Bella Bites

The Mediterranean cuisine of the area is fresh and flavoursome, with pizza and pasta adorned with ripe ingredients, as they

Decadent Venice

Sunshine harbour

Riva del Garda is an excellent base for visitors to the resort. The large town bustles with holidaymakers: families whizz by on hired bikes, older couples stroll along the lakeshore, and daredevils paraglide overhead through cloudless blue skies. I couldn’t help joining in on the activity buzz, and decided to hike up the very mountain that stunned me so much when I first arrived. The path led to the ruins of a medieval hilltop fortress, where I could look out on panoramic views of the snow-capped Alpine peaks.

Verona Arena

Sun and succulence

Many little towns are tucked along the shores of Lake Garda. I took the ferry to Limone – and savoured the splashes of sunshine, colours and scents of the town. Lemons grow everywhere here, and I spent the morning wandering up cobbled alleys to the lush orchards. A sip of limoncello – the local liquor – does wonders to

should be. Crisp bruschetta, rich tomatoes and rocket leaf salads made for excellent lunches, washed down with a refreshing Aperol Spritzer. No other ice-cream could compete with the sweet and creamy Italian gelato, and I sampled as many of the unusual flavours as possible.

Statue of Juliet, Casa di Giulietta, Verona

A two hour bus trip and a water taxi brought me to the island city of Venice. The famous city is a picturesque jewel, but I couldn’t help feeling as though its grandeur was spoiled by the thousands of day-trippers. I shouldn’t complain though, being a tourist myself. I stood in the expansive St. Mark’s Square, surrounded by opulent Byzantine architecture, and I tried to imagine Venice’s days of power and decadence. However, this experience was invaded by dozens of peddlers desperately trying to sell me selfie sticks. I took some detours as I headed deeper into the city and travelled through pitch black tunnels and narrow “calli” until I found some crowdless courtyards. These little pockets of serenity where locals live are dotted all over Venice, and I found a simple beauty in their rustic homes and tiny flower-framed windows. If there weren’t so many tourists on bridges scrambling to take selfies, I’d have happily spent the day perched on ledges while gazing

down on the lazy gondoliers that cruised beneath me. Venetian life seems to be all about finery and merchantry, just as it was in the past, and this is symbolised in the extravagant masks and delicate Murano glassware in souvenir shops. The city is reputed to be one of the most romantic places in the world, but it now seems to be just a special site that seeks to profit from couples whose minds are clouded by love. Be warned – it’s certainly not somewhere to visit on a budget.

Verona is for lovers

Real romance is embedded in the image of Verona – the second destination of my excursion trips from Riva. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet may be purely fictional, but the play’s setting is a city for dreamers, and I tried to view it as such. As I strolled by the ramparts of the Castelvecchio fortress and the Roman amphitheatre, the ancient architecture allowed me to feel as though I was stepping back in time. I was enamoured by Casa di Giulietta - the 13th century house once occupied by the Cappello family. The realist in me knew that the property was a tourist trap and was simply chosen because the Cappello name sounds similar to Juliet Capulet. Whether real or not, it was a beautiful place. I paid the fee to enter the museum, and

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 35

Winthetripofalifetimeto Beijing&theGreatWallofChina

B Limone, Lake Garda tried my best to use my imagination when I stepped out onto the balcony. However, rather than a lovestruck Italian youth, all I saw in the idyllic courtyard below was tourists squinting upwards and taking photos. A writing room lies within the house, with a computer station for visitors to compose messages to Juliet. A girl of her time wouldn’t have the slightest idea what an email is, but then again, the great romance story wouldn’t have been half as dramatic if Romeo and Juliet had snapchat. I wandered off past the frescoed renaissance-era Mazzanti Houses of Piazza delle Erbe, and soon stumbled upon The Juliet Club. Here, a community of secretaries answer the pleas of the lovelorn souls who write letters to Juliet. The office was closed on that day, so I peeked in the windows at the empty desks and typewriters inside, and gained an admiration for the people who dedicated their time to keeping the dream of Juliet alive. I look back on my time in Northern Italy with a longing to return again. A summer holiday here can be as relaxing or exciting as you want it to be. However you choose to spend time here, it’s guaranteed you’ll always be surrounded by stunning scenery in this Italian idyll. For all your Italian holidays contact the Belfast Telegraph Travel Shop on 028 9026 4003.

elfast Telegraph Travel is delighted to offer this fantastic prize with its Travel partner Travel Department. You could win the trip of a lifetime to Beijing & the Great Wall of China Travel on an Oriental adventure, an experience worth £2,000. This Occasions Holiday will show you the best of what the incredible Beijing has to offer. On your travels you will discover architecture of imperial dynasties, visit Buddhist temples and experience the city of Beijing and the famous Great Wall of China. In Beijing you will explore a 14th century ancient city of the elite, stand where General Mao rallied his troops and stroll along the impressive Sacred Way, the burial place of Ming Dynasty emperors. You will also visit the Great Wall of China and have an opportunity to walk along a section of this incredible Wonder of the World. Combining ancient traditions, fascinating culture and centuries of history, this is a holiday that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. To be in with a chance to win this trip for

two people, including flights | 9 or 10 nights | 4 or 5 star | Half Board | Fully Escorted – visit The closing date for entries is April 30. Visit Belfast Telegraph Travel for our full holiday range at

36 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Quick and easy familymeals

After a long day at school or work, here are some quick and easy recipes to keep the cooking time short and sweet, but always tasty! For more information check out the Real Food section of the SuperValu website: Chicken and Mango Pitta Breads Tasty and easy to prepare for a light dinner option

2 SuperValu Chicken Breasts 1x Greek Yoghurt 1 tsp SuperValu Cajun Spice 1x SuperValu Fresh Parsley 1 handfull SuperValu Grated Cheddar Cheese 1x SuperValu Green Pepper 1x SuperValu Mango 1 medium SuperValu Onion 1 bag SuperValu Peas 1 cup SuperValu Rice 1 tin SuperValu Sweetcorn 4x SuperValu Wholemeal Pitta Bread

Salmon and Broccoli Pasta Bake

The perfect pasta dish, bulk up with peas or sweetcorn for a further vegetable boost, or a little spinach and blue cheese.

To Cook

÷ Boil rice and peas together in a saucepan. Salt can be added if desired. ÷ Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken. ÷ Add a teaspoon of cajun spice to the chicken. ÷ Add the onion and cook until translucent. ÷ Add the green pepper and cook until soft. A small amount of pepper can be added at this point. ÷ In a bowl, mix 5 tablespoons of the greek yoghurt, 1/2 tablespoon of cajun spice, a small amount of pepper and parsley. This can be adjusted to taste. ÷ Heat the pitta bread under the grill for

÷ ÷ ÷


÷ ÷

a few minutes, until soft and slightly toasted. Peel the mango and cut into small segments. Take the chicken mix off the heat and add the mango segments. The greek yoghurt can be mixed through with the chicken, off the heat, or can be spooned into each pitta bread on top of the chicken mix. Cut the pitta breads open and spoon the chicken and veg mixture into the pockets, and add a sprinkle of cheese. Add 2 tablespoons of sweetcorn to the drained rice and peas. Serve and enjoy.

Serves 4 500 g SuperValu Fusilli Pasta 240 g SuperValu Salmon Darnes cut into large chunks 225 g Broccoli cut into spears 1 SuperValu Onion thinly sliced 100 g SuperValu Grated White Chedda 500 ml SuperValu Fresh Milk 60 g SuperValu Plain Flour 30 g SuperValu Irish Butter 1 tbsp SuperValu Olive Oil Salt and pepper for seasoning To Cook

÷ Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water as per pack instructions, drain

Chicken and Noodle Fusion Salad For the dressing: This easy to prepare salad is a delicious, colourful and healthy recipe to make for all the family.

Serves 4 150g Thai rice noodles 2 medium SuperValu carrots, peeled 1/2 a cucumber sliced 2 Little SuperValu gem lettuces 4-6 sprigs of fresh mint 250g SuperValu shredded cooked chicken pieces 2-3tsp sesame seeds

1 good tbsp finely grated SuperValu fresh ginger 1-2 SuperValu red chillies, deseeded 3tbsp each SuperValu red wine vinegar, soy sauce, vegetable oil and sesame oil To Cook

÷ Seperate the noodles out in a large dish and pour boiling water over them. Leave for 15 mins, stirring occasionally with a fork. ÷ Peel the carrots into long, thin ribbons and place into a large bowl and add the cucumber slices. ÷ To make the dressing: mix the ginger with 1 of the chillies, finely chopped.

then set aside. ÷ Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. ÷ Drizzle the oil in the large pan and add the butter. ÷ When foaming add the onion and cook gently for 1 minute until softened. ÷ Sprinkle over the flour and gradually add the milk, stirring to ensure there are no lumps. ÷ Add the salmon chunks and cook over a low heat for 5-6 minutes. ÷ Meanwhile cook the broccoli in a separate pan of boiling water for 4 minutes then drain. ÷ Tip the pasta into a large ovenproof dish and pour over the salmon with the sauce. ÷ Add the broccoli and grated cheddar and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until warmed through. ÷ Serve immediately.

Add the vinegar, soy sauce and oils and mix. ÷ Drain the noodles, then refresh them under cold water, drain again, then add to the carrot and cucumber with almost half the dressing. Mix well with your hands, then add torn outer leaves of lettuce and quartered hearts, tear in the bigger mint leaves and mix lightly. ÷ Spread the salad out on a platter. Mix the chicken with the rest of the dressing and arrange it on the salad. Garnish with small mint leaves, the rest of the chilli, finely sliced, and the toasted sesame seeds.

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 37


Kids Pitta Pizzas

Kids will love these tasty healthy pizzas, they are quick and easy to make and the kids can get involved and put on their very own toppings!

4 wholewheat SuperValu pitta breads 4 tsp SuperValu tomato purée 3 SuperValu plum tomatoes, diced 1 SuperValu onion, thinly sliced 1 packet Pepperoni 50g mature cheddar, grated

To Cook

÷ Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking sheet inside to heat up. ÷ Spread each pitta with 1 tsp purée. ÷ Top with the tomatoes, onions, pepperoni slices and cheddar. ÷ Place on the hot sheet and bake for 10 mins until the pittas are crisp, the cheese has melted and the chorizo has frazzled edges.

Chicken and Sweet Chilli Wrap

A soft white wrap filled with crunchy lettuce, sweetcorn, chicken and sweet chilli sauce. Lunchtime heaven!

Healthy Fruit and Oat Bars

These bars can be stored in airtight containers for up to 6 weeks and are delightful for breakfast or lunchbox treats. Try adding apricots, cranberries or nuts as alternatives.

1 Packet of SuperValu Cooked Chicken Chunks 1 SuperValu Wrap 1 SuperValu Round Soft Lettuce 1 Tin of SuperValu Sweetcorn 1 Bottle of Sweet Chill Sauce

Serves 4 300 g Porridge Oats 125 g SuperValu Dried Fruit 175 g SuperValu Plain Flour 90 g SuperValu Brown Sugar 60 g SuperValu Caster Sugar 125 g Pot SuperValu Probiotic Low fat Natural Yogurt 2 SuperValu Egg Whites 15 ml SuperValu Vegetable Oil 15 ml SuperValu Milk 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 1 tsp Bread Soda 1 tsp SuperValu Cinnamon 1 dstspn SuperValu Honey To Cook

÷ Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. ÷ In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients – porridge oats, dried fruit, sieved flour, bread soda and the brown and caster sugars. ÷ In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients – milk, yogurt, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, honey and egg whites. ÷ Combine with the dry ingredients to create the dough.

To Cook

÷ In a small bowl, mix together the sweet

chilli sauce and the sweetcorn. ÷ Spread the wrap with the corn and chilli mixture, then top with the chicken chunks and lettuce. ÷ Roll up tightly, then slice the wrap in half on the diagonal. Pack tightly in clingfilm to keep fresh and in shape.

Lunchbox Fillers: 1/2 an apple, washed, sliced and drizzled with lemon juice (to stop browning) 60g carrot, washed and cut into batons 1 x 300ml bottle still water

Banana and Strawberry Smoothie

Smoothies are probably the tastiest possible way for your kids to get one of their five-a-day!

1 banana 1 cup of whole milk 1 cup yogurt 4 large strawberries ÷ Pour the mixture into an ungreased baking tray and flatten to cover the entire tray, right into the corners. ÷ Place in the pre-heated oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm to your touch. ÷ Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. ÷ Cut into squares and place on a wire rack until completely cool. ÷ Store in an airtight container – use at your leisure!

To Cook

÷ Simply blend the banana and strawberries with the milk and yogurt until you get a smooth creamy texture. Its as easy as that!

38 | Family Life


hen a respected nutritionist advocates a product to support people trying to slim down, you can expect it to work. When they become walking proof of its effectiveness, you can’t help thinking, “I’ll have some of that!” Suzanne Chalkley (pictured) became a driving force behind the revolutionary YouSlim approach to weight loss when it was launched in January this year. With over 20 years’ experience in both nutrition and weight loss, Suzanne devised an easy to follow low GI eating plan for slimmers to use in conjunction with YouSlim supplements. She also provides great advice and encouragement to slimmers on the website, A trim size 12, Suzanne didn’t think she needed to lose weight but decided to use YouSlim to gain an insight into how customers would find it – walk the walk as well as talk the talk, as she puts it. “I’ve lost 11/2 stone and gone from a size 12 to an 8,” she told Family Life. “I didn’t look as if I had much weight to lose. I knew I had gone from a 10 to a 12 over the years but I just thought, ‘Well, I’m almost 50 and it’s natural to gain a little’.” She took up yoga and didn’t intentionally alter her naturally healthy eating pattern when she started taking YouSlim. “The supplements stopped me feeling hungry so I was eating less. I follow a healthy eating plan because of my profession but because YouSlim makes you feel fuller, you stop craving crisps or chocolate or even wine and the weight simply fell off. I’m delighted with the results!”

Two components

YouSlim has two elements – YouSlim Feel Full which contains 100% Glucomannan, (a plant extract from the Konjac Root, also known as the Elephant Yam, familiar throughout Asia), and a Thermogenic Fat Burner, made up of a mix of completely natural ingredients which boost the body’s metabolism. “The Thermogenic Fat Burner contains natural ingredients that you would find in a chef’s kitchen – things like Cayenne pepper and Turmeric,” explains Suzanne. “With taking the Thermogenic Fat Burner, my body shape has totally changed. Most of those changes seemed to happen in the third month when suddenly everyone I met remarked that I had lost weight. My waistline, in particular, is much smaller.” Suzanne said she had seen a black dress which she loved in January but it was only available in size 10, not her usual 12. “I thought, ‘I’m just going to buy the 10 because it will give me the motivation to slim down’ and I was delighted when I put it on last week and felt good in it. “I also bought a pair of Next size 8 slim fitting jeans and was delighted to fit into them. It makes you feel good and boosts your self esteem and your confidence. We should all be confident in our own skin as we are, of course, but when you see the results of a little weight loss, you can appreciate just how


Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Nutritionist ‘delighted’with YouSlimresults achieve a healthy weight which can help them stave off serious conditions is paramount. “A friend of mine has diabetes and was morbidly obese and he has lost four stone since January. His doctor is delighted with the improvement in his blood sugar levels and his blood pressure. This man has struggled to lose weight his whole life and it’s wonderful to see him finally succeeding.”

Put to the test

good you can actually feel.

Make the change

“As a nutritionist, I always encourage people to drink lots of water and to exercise when trying to lose weight. Everybody knows what they should be doing but any diet that is based on willpower is destined to failure as you get caught in an ‘eat and crave’ cycle. The supplements do enable people to make the changes that they need to make to become healthier.” Suzanne says she will continue to use YouSlim to maintain her trim figure as it only affects body fat and won’t become harmful or cause her to become too thin. “I will take this forever. The supplements are not addictive or habit forming and they are totally safe but they mean I can control my hunger. I have lost 7% of my body fat. My body fat percentage was 33% which is at the higher end of healthy and it’s now 26%. I’m not doing any other exercises, cardio or running or the things people would do to reduce body fat.”

Healthy eating plan

She said YouSlim was designed to work in conjunction with a healthy eating plan and that it’s still a good idea for people to limit their carbohydrate intake when using the supplements. “For every 5g of carbohydrate, your body converts that to one teaspoon of sugar.” For Suzanne, helping people

She and her daughter decided to put YouSlim to the test with clients at her daughter’s gym. “We had 25 people in to prove it worked. We put 15 of them on the full YouSlim treatment and they followed my diet plan with the supplements; five of them thought they were taking YouSlim but they were taking a placebo and five just did the eating plan and exercises with no supplements. “The first 15 lost 5lb of body fat over the course of two weeks, the second group lost 2ƒlb and the third group lost 1ƒlb, much of which would have been fluid. “I could hardly believe the results for myself, even though I knew what was in the supplements and that the science was there. Nonetheless, 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 are long term. There’s no point in losing a stone and putting it on again.

Low GI

“It is important to regulate blood sugar, because that helps you to stop feeling hungry, and that’s what my diet plan does. The diet is low GI, which means low glycemic,” she explains. “Low GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time instead of foods that make blood sugars spike and then crash.” Low GI foods include the likes of some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats. The YouSlim supplements complement not only Suzanne’s healthy eating plan, but any of the well-known diet plans. Best of all, they enable slimmers to see results more quickly. “You can have the best diet programme in the world, but if you aren’t seeing the results, then you’re not going to stick at it,” said Suzanne. She says YouSlim is all about helping people to feel better about themselves. Suzanne’s Diet Blog on the website, is packed full of information on everything from food types to dressing for your body shape. At the heart of YouSlim is a desire to help people improve their health and their self-esteem. “People just want to feel good about themselves.”

YouSlim is good for you!

YouSlim won’t only do away with hunger pangs, it also helps your body to burn fat. However, unlike many slimming aids, YouSlim is also packed with beneficial ingredients to boost your health in a number of ways, including lowering your cholesterol and improving your intestinal function. You can buy YouSlim from the website or from your local independent pharmacy chains Gordons Chemists and Medicare as well as Bronze Tanning and Beauty Studios across Northern Ireland. YouSlim packs include two bottles of capsules – Feel Full and Thermogenic Fat Burner - which work in tandem to help slimmers achieve their goals. YouSlim doesn’t claim to be a miracle pill – but it is based on sound scientific research by leading food technologists in France and Canada.

YouSlim Feel Full

The main ingredient of YouSlim Feel Full is Glucomannan a 100% plant extract from the Konjac Root, also known as the Elephant Yam, familiar throughout Asia. Konjac fibre helps reduce cholesterol and helps to normalise blood sugar, which is beneficial to diabetics. The Feel Full Glucomannan comes in 1g capsules and slimmers take three per day to accrue the benefits.

YouSlim Thermogenic Fat Burner

The ingredients in the Thermogenic Fat Burner can help counter those elements which slow the body’s ability to burn fat, such as slow metabolism and sluggish thyroid gland. A 20 minute walk, three times a week, is the minimum amount of exercise recommended by YouSlim. Its Thermogenic Fat Burner is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. YouSlim’s Thermogenic ingredients are blended to support the effects of dieting and exercise. They include caffeine, which both helps break down fat and burn calories, black pepper, Turmeric and Cayenne pepper, all known to get the body burning fat. For further information, call 08452 60 80 20; email or visit

40 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

If it’s good enough for CarlFrampton…

Parkrun has become one of the biggest fitness phenomena of our time with thousands of people donning their running shoes on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Runner Jack Bradshaw reports


hy would you go anywhere else? You get a free, timed run with a community of runners – and everybody’s friendly.” These are the words of Jim Clinton, the first person in Ireland to complete 250 parkruns – an effort which took about five years – as he finishes a volunteering job at the Waterworks in north Belfast with some well-earned tea and biscuits. This weekly event at 9.30am every Saturday is becoming more and more popular across Northern Ireland as people turn down a tempting lie-in and enjoy an active start to the day. Belfast has embraced the parkrun phenomenon and boasts five – the Waterworks, Ormeau, Belfast Victoria, Falls and Queens – and all of them attract huge crowds of all ages and abilities, as well as a positive atmosphere. And, as Jim explains, the parkrun has helped transform many areas in Belfast. “I travel around a lot, and I find that a lot of the parks suffering from anti-social behaviour previously, once the parkruns come in, it seems to have an effect. “The Waterworks had a bad reputation, there’s no doubt about that, but it doesn’t have that anymore. “I remember doing the Falls parkrun and we had 30 youths drinking on a Saturday morning, but they have now gone elsewhere and the parkruns bring a community and comradeship which is unbelievable.” Even boxing champion Carl Frampton has occasionally attended the Waterworks parkrun for a weekend cardio workout as it was not far from his Tiger’s Bay residence. With the weather improving and many people training for upcoming races in the spring and summer, this is a popular time

of year to go running – an activity which has become more popular with the public over the last 15 years. As Jim notes: “I think people are a bit concerned about their health now, more so than a number of years ago. I was 16 and a half stone and now I’m down to 13 stone – I did have to diet but the running kept it off. “My view is that if you do a 5k parkrun, generally you go on to do other things, like a 10k, a half-marathon or a marathon.” Getting involved could not be easier. You simply create an account online and print off a barcode which you bring to the run. When you finish, this is matched with your run position tag and the results are logged on the website later in the morning. “I carry around with me approximately 70 bar codes, people I have registered personally,” Jim says. “So when they turn up to a run without their barcode, I have it. That’s family members, work colleagues and friends. Most of them have stuck at it, and a lot of them have gone on to bigger, longer races.” People go jogging for all sorts of reasons, whether it be for weight loss, stress relief or a chance to get some sunshine, and the fact individuals from all backgrounds with different goals unite to complete the same challenge is why we should cherish our parkruns. You only have to witness the strength of feeling which emerged after the run at Little Stoke Park in Bristol was controversially cancelled to realise how passionate people are about the event, which makes it all the more important to enjoy the runs currently held around Belfast. Visit to find a run near you.

Feelgood, lookgood


ummer can creep up on us all of a sudden, and it’s something to celebrate when those first rays of sunshine hit. We want to make the most of warmer days by getting out and about, shedding some layers and hitting the beach. However, for some, the thought of baring skin after a long winter is a nerve racking prospect. It’s a shame if we let our body insecurities stop us from embracing summer. We can get caught up with the notion of achieving a ‘beach body’ and begin striving for some sort of perfection. This year instead, aim for health, happiness and confidence - for that’s the


secret to a true summer glow. If you feel good on the inside, then you’ll shine on the outside. This spring, take some time to treat your body and mind, so by the time the sunshine comes, you’ll be radiant too.


Let brighter days inspire you to get active. Go out for a walk or a jog in the evenings instead of settling on the sofa every night. You don’t need to spend your life slogging it out in the gym with the goal of looking good in swimwear. Enjoy the experience of exercise, and you’ll find your mood lifting

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 41 Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion

Clipper Mint Green Tea

Davines SU Hair Mask

ingredients to help you sleep calmly through the night.


and your body responding. If you want to make fitness your mission for summer, you can find motivation in setting a clear goal. Now is a great time to start a Couch to 5K plan, as you’ll be an able runner within nine weeks. Check out to find a group in your area. Build up your body strength and flexibility with simple stretches and calisthenics. Wake yourself up with the morning sun by doing a quick workout at home – you’ll find plenty of instructive videos on YouTube and mobile fitness apps. Pilates and bodyweight workouts target multiple areas of the body and leave you feeling toned and invigorated. Tried and tested traditional moves such as planks, squats, and lunges work wonders, and there are fun variations to ensure you’re constantly transforming yourself.


Try to avoid the mindset of ‘dieting’ for summer. Instead, choose to enhance your meals with colourful foods and reap the benefits of in-season produce. It’s easy to eat well this season, as fruit, vegetables and salads are so much more appealing. Seafood and green vegetables are at their best in April, so you can lighten your lunch or dinner with nutritious spinach, salmon,

broccoli and asparagus. Detoxing drinks could also help you cleanse your system. Try lemon in water for a vitamin kick in the morning. Alternative teas such as Pukka Detox and Clipper Mint Green Tea contain herbs which promote digestion to help you feel slimmer.


It’s hard to look and feel bright and cheery when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep. Your body will reward you if you rest well at night, so pay attention to your sleep routine if you’re trying to rebalance yourself for the new season. Your bedroom environment could need adjusting for warmer nights. Make sure your sleeping space gets fresh air during the day, and try switching to a lighter duvet for a cool and calm night’s sleep. A digital detox could help quieten a busy mind before bedtime. Wind down as the sun sets with a book and a soothing caffeinefree drink. Pukka Night Time tea and Robert Roberts Sleep offer natural

You’ve put in the effort to feel your best on the inside, now enhance your upgraded self with a few helpful products: If you want to step onto the beach looking like a true sun goddess, then a little tanning lotion will help you fake it with some added benefits. The new HeShi Body Sculpting Gradual Tan (£22.50) creates a natural buildable colour, with added caffeine to smooth the skin surface and break down fats. For ultimate UV protection, the new Vita Liberata Marula Dry Oil Self Tan (£39.95) has SPF50. The hydrating oil also helps you build a lasting tan without having to spend days sprawled beneath the sun. Draw attention to your best features with a highlighter such as Cocoa Brown Golden Goddess Oil, (£9.99). This shimmering oil noticeably illuminates wherever you choose to apply it: down the front of the legs and collar bones are excellent spots to enhance. Soap & Glory have launched a new body firming range to make all those situps even more worthwhile. The zesty scented Ab Fab Tummy Serum (£12) is packed with stimulants to tone the midriff and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Cocoa-Brown-GoldenGoddess-Oil He-Shi Body Sculpting Gradual Tan

Pukka Detox tea

Robert Roberts SleepTea


To look the part as you hit the waves, try the Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion (£22) for tousled texture. This salt spray creates a surfer style, while the oils protect your hair’s moisture from seawater. Once you return from a sunny day out, treat your parched hair with a conditioning mask to restore shine. We recommend the Davines SU Hair Mask (£21.45, which is designed to protect and repair sunexposed hair.

Soap & Glory Ab Fab Tummy Serum Vita Liberata Marula Dry Oil Self Tan

42 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

LivinginaWARZONE Being easily bored, fascinated by people and keen to see the world meant Avril Patterson was always more likely to opt for a field hospital than a house with a picket fence... Fiona Rutherford finds out more


hile hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled Syria, a Bangor woman is playing a major role in saving the lives of those who remain in this most dangerous of countries. Avril Patterson (48) is Health Coordinator for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Syria, a role which brings her face to face with all factions involved in this complex war. Her job involves a tightrope walk of ensuring health services are available to those in need, while avoiding becoming embroiled in any political blame games following the latest attack whether by Russia, the Syrian regime, IS, the Syrian revolutionary opposition forces or any other grouping. “It’s difficult because Syria is a very political war but we are purely humanitarian and keep our focus on the humanitarian needs,” Avril told Family Life on a recent visit to her mum’s in Bangor. “We don’t point the finger at any party. ICRC is the ‘Guardian of the Geneva Conventions’ but if there is a specific incident or violation, we will try to talk to those who may be responsible but in a confidential manner. We work very differently from other organisations; we don’t come out and blame different parties publically but instead work with those concerned and remind them of applicable International Humanitarian Law.

Women and children

“It isn’t always easy to explain to one side or the other but we will always talk to as many sides as we can. For us it’s about trying to reach the people who need us and in this conflict it’s often the women and

Avril on her graduation with a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2010

children that are trapped in the middle of this, the same people in every conflict that need support.” What sort of person chooses to go to the most dangerous parts of the world? Avril’s career has taken her to Afghanistan and South Sudan among other places and over the course of our lunch it was clear that her qualities include a strong streak of independence, a thirst for adventure, the practicality of the professional nurse and a highly intelligent mind. Family and friends would say that Avril was focussed and driven from her days at Glenlola Collegiate which she left to train as a nurse at the City Hospital. With no jobs available when she qualified in 1990, she spent the next few years working and training in Guernsey, Leeds and Aberdeen, soon becoming an intensive care specialist. Restless to see more of the world, she took a job in Singapore and then moved to Perth in Australia which is now one of three places in the world she considers home, alongside Bangor and wherever she happens to be living on mission with ICRC.

Bob Geldof

“I used to get a bit bored which is why I moved countries but then I realised intensive care nursing is the same wherever you go. I always wanted to do humanitarian work. I remembered Bob Geldof and Live Aid and was curious about that end of things. I wanted to go to these places and see for myself. After four years in Perth I applied for the Australian Red Cross and they seconded me to the International Committee of the Red Cross.” Avril explained that the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian network in the world and has three components: “There’s the International Committee (ICRC) which works to assist people in armed conflict; then there are the National Societies, such as the British Red Cross or the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and they are providing services in their own country, for example blood service, or first aid activities. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the International Umbrella organisation made up of the different National Societies. It directs and coordinates the members and is particularly active in disasters and health emergencies.” Avril works for the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) which is focused on assisting victims of armed conflict. The ICRC is active in conflict zones and has the advantage of the reach of the movement with a natural partner, the National Society already in the country. “In Syria we are fortunate to work closely with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, an incredibly brave and dedicated National Society.” Her first mission with the ICRC was in north-west Kenya near the Sudanese


Men in mini-skirts

She describes a surreal scene where the Turkana tribespeople would go about their daily business, the men “in miniskirts with clay feathers on their heads and the women carrying the equivalent of a tree on their head for firewood”, while all around them humanitarian workers assisted people flown in from the conflict

zone. “The locals were very strong, very traditional people and they seemed slightly bemused but not particularly interested in these foreigners that had taken over their village.” Avril recalls the main injuries were gunshot wounds and snake bites: “It was a complicated process getting a plane in to South Sudan. A triage team would be flown in with a very limited time frame to assess the injured and select those who would be brought out for treatment so the more serious head or chest injuries usually didn’t survive to get as far as us.” After that first mission she was hooked. “The people were amazing. We had a physical rehabilitation centre making prosthetics for amputees. You would see double amputees leaping around playing ball games. They were very strong, very real. I came back wanting to do more and see more.” Her next mission was to Liberia where she was based in Monrovia just after the former president Charles Taylor had fled. He is now serving a 50 year sentence for war crimes against Sierra Leone. “I was a teaching nurse in a hospital supported by ICRC and even though it was at the end of the war, we were still getting a lot of wounded,” says Avril. Six months later she moved to the Guinea border. “That was my first taste of a health delegate mission, going to the field and different villages and part of what we did was rehabilitate damaged clinics and

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 43

An Afghan girl – one of the many millions of people displaced by war. AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Avril Patterson with Alexandre Equey, ICRC Deputy Head of Delegation, and volunteers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) at Madaya in rural Damascus as they are about to enter a besieged area with assistance including food and medical supplies in October 2015. @ICRC/Pawel Krzysiek

facilitate the Ministry of Health to bring back the staff, reopen the clinics, and get the health services back on their feet. That was an amazing three months. It was the wet season and I have never seen so much mud. The cars had winches so you could hook them onto a tree and pull the Land Cruiser out of the mud. They were in frequent use.”


She began 2005 with a short, three month mission to Sri Lanka to help with the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami in which an estimated 250,000 people died from several countries. Avril was in the northern part of the country controlled by the Tamil Tigers, supporting two health facilities. “The destruction was very evident,” she recalls. “One thing that was very evident was that this was a disaster in an active conflict zone, albeit the conflict seemed to experience a pause at that point. I remember we used to cross Elephant Pass to go to the clinics and there in the midst of an area of outstanding beauty were signs all along each side of the pass warning of the land mines.” Next came the place which would strike fear into most of us but which is something of a holy grail for aid workers like Avril – Afghanistan. “When you sign up to ICRC, you know it goes to war zones and that going to Afghanistan is a possibility. I had always wanted to go. I was teaching nurses in a

hospital we supported in Jalalabad and it was amazing. A lot of people who work there go back. The people are incredibly hospitable. It was a culture far removed from anything I had seen before. I really like the Afghan people I worked with in my 15 months there too. When I went back a few years later, the field officers were phoning and welcoming me back, they didn’t forget you.

Christmas in Afghanistan

“I remember on Christmas Day, we had just one day off for the holiday. We were sitting having breakfast and the doorbell went. It was one of the staff who had brought us a turkey as he had heard the foreigners liked this for Christmas dinner. When we asked our colleague who had answered the door, what he had done with it, he simply replied “I untied its legs”. We then had the delight of a rather noisy bird wandering around the garden depositing its droppings all over the place much to the horror of the resident dog – 12 year old Max – who had been rescued by a delegate as a puppy. On Boxing Day morning, instructions were given before we went to work and turkey was on the menu for lunch.” Avril says the more dangerous assignments, such as Afghanistan, are called Hardship Missions because people can’t bring their families with them. “I prefer them because it’s all about the work. If you are with good people you become a little family. You make your own fun with movie nights and making pizza. You make wherever you are your home and conversation is usually easy because people think like you.”

Talking about splashbacks

That camaraderie and shared experience could make it hard for Avril to adjust when she is back home here or in Australia but she is adept at switching. “I don’t

talk about work a lot at home. Last time I was in Australia I decided to renovate my kitchen and I felt I had so much in common with my friends suddenly because I could talk about splashbacks and appliances.” One might expect her to become frustrated with people worrying about trivial things but no. “I also get upset by stupid stuff, same as everybody else. It’s important not to compare life here with other places; it’s apples and oranges, but it does make you appreciate what you have. I feel incredibly fortunate.” After her first mission to Afghanistan Avril took a couple of years off to do a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University in Australia, while working part time in the intensive care unit of the local hospital. She says the course helped her switch from the intense focus on an individual which comes with intensive care nursing onto the population as a whole, including the range of problems which could be impacting them, such as water supply. By 2010, course completed, she says: “I was desperate to get back.”


She went to the southern Philippines where there is a long running conflict involving Islamic separatists and Communists and had her first experience of visiting prisoners, or ‘Health in Detention’. “We aim to ensure detainees receive humane treatment and conditions regardless of why they are in prison. We also strive to restore family links for those who may have lost touch with their families. I was visiting prisoners and my role was looking at the conditions that had an impact on their healthcare and would then discuss those issues with the authorities. If we see something that causes concern we discuss it, make

recommendations and aim for repeat visits in the hope that our recommendations will have been implemented. In some cases the authorities have limitations and we may be able to offer practical support.” Asked whether she was shocked at the conditions she came across, Avril replied: “I think when you have never been inside a prison it’s normal to be shocked, regardless of the conditions because you don’t know what to expect, but it’s another aspect we can be useful in and an important part of our work. My first prison visit was in a prison with thousands of detainees. It was like a small town and completely different from what I imagined.

Dancing grandfathers

“I have been serenaded by a band while trying to interview detainees, and invited to watch a troop of “dancing grandfathers” in prisons. You never know what to expect and life is never boring.” When Avril was offered another stint in Afghanistan she jumped at the opportunity, spending three months in Kandahar and 11 months in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province. “I did some more Health in Detention and worked on a programme to support weapon wounded people in districts we couldn’t access for security reasons. I loved it.”

Gut reaction

When she was offered the opportunity to go to Syria in 2013, Avril’s family and friends tried to dissuade her from going. “The conflict started in 2011, by 2013 it was fully fledged. For any mission I have been offered I always go by my initial “gut reaction” and for Syria I did not hesitate. It may not be very scientific but so far it has not steered me wrong.” She went as a Health Programme Continued on page 44.

44 | Family Life Manager but was later offered the position of Health Co-ordinator. Avril has responsibility for the health budget and all ICRC’s health programmes in Syria. Despite the challenges, she loves the work and draws heavily on the professionalism engendered during her nursing training to maintain the impartial stance demanded by ICRC. “I like the Syrian people very much; they have incredible resilience but the needs are so enormous. The important thing for us is that we endeavour to talk to everybody. Our impartiality and neutrality is extremely important and our priority must remain focused on the needs of the people. “When you are trained as a nurse you have to be tolerant with everybody. In the City Hospital during my training, I looked after people who were in the IRA, the police and other organisations as well. That’s your job. What you think is one thing but how you behave and treat people is what counts. When going into a conflict zone we must never take sides, our job is to assist the victims. “In Syria, we like to go to where the needs are greatest for example in besieged and hard to reach areas. When people have been under siege, it is not just that they are in need of food or medicines, but they may not have been able to leave the area for months or even years. To see organisations like the ICRC arrive with long awaited assistance reminds them that somebody out there still cares. If you have lost your home and been under constant bombardment, there is the risk of feeling that the world has abandoned you. Giving people the chance to tell their story, to sit with them as they explain what life has been like and express their needs is very important.” She said it can take quite a bit of negotiation to get access to some areas. “When you do, it often involves long delays and field trips that stretch into the night but you have a great sense of accomplishment that it paid off and you plan to go back again because once is never enough.” The topic of refugees is a divisive one. Avril says: “I would simply say that in light of what most of them are fleeing, I believe they need our compassion and humanity. That said there are more than double the number of displaced inside Syria compared with outside – IDPs or internally displaced people. Many of them have been

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Avril at work in a hospital in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in 2007 You have experts looking at your security on your behalf and keeping you safe and saying where you can and can’t go. Information is power – it’s what makes you feel confident. For me brave people are those who are afraid and do it anyway.”

Father’s death

Avril with her mum Emily displaced several times. As ICRC’s Health Coordinator in Syria my focus is on the humanitarian needs inside Syria and I am not in any way an expert on the refugees.” Asked where she would like to go in the future, unsurprisingly Avril replies: “Iraq would be interesting.” She denies my suggestion that she’s a courageous woman. “I couldn’t work in a context where I felt afraid. I’m not that brave. We have security procedures.

All together: Avril (left) at her brother Rodney and sister-in-law Viv’s wedding with their parents, Herbie and Emily

Obviously, Avril’s career casts her family life in a different light but she is pragmatic to the end. Her father Herbie, who worked for years as a compositor at the Belfast Telegraph, passed away in March 2015, leaving just her mum Emily and brother Rodney and his family. “I got the chance to come home and say my goodbyes. That was more stressful than anything on mission. The loss of people who are close will always affect you more than anything else.” Unfortunately she had just returned to the mission, intending to come back shortly, when her dad passed away. “The hard thing is not being around when you are needed but that’s the same for anyone who is away when anything bad happens. You miss the good times and the bad, but my family have always been incredibly supportive. When I told my Dad I was going to Syria, he simply said, “Well you are certainly getting to see the world”. He had a calm confidence that I would be OK and an optimism about life that I hope I have inherited. I believe he was quite proud of me.” Avril’s lifestyle means relationships can be complicated and jokes that given her life is spread across three countries, she isn’t convinced that she offers much of an enticing prospect. She was engaged in her 20s and maintains that not getting married was the best decision she ever made. “It would have been a disaster because even then I was restless.” She has no idea where the future will take her. “Life is so rich and colourful that I consider myself really fortunate to be able to experience so much of it. If I were to meet the right person, then who knows? I see ‘settling down’ as more of a mind-set than anything else. It is not about a house with a picket fence, so much as what that represents. I can cope with the house per se, as long as the person inside retained

the mind-set that if/when we got bored with it, we would move, whether that was to the next street, or across the world to a new continent. “A similar mind-set and shared values are what matters because lifestyles can change and in my case, regularly do. If you were to meet me between missions I appear to be perfectly normal. “I live in my apartment, work at the hospital, catch up with friends, have people round for dinner and can be found trawling the aisles of my local hardware shop or nursery on my days off, like a normal person. Clearly by many people’s definition, I am not. So could I settle down only with someone with the same lifestyle? Not necessarily, but a similar mind-set that would be pretty important. Someone whose eyes would not glaze over when I started to wax lyrical about the situation in the Middle East or the continued relevance of International Humanitarian Law in today’s conflicts.

No regrets

“Have I sacrificed family life for work? Yes and no. It is not like it was presented to me one day as an either/or and I chose one, sacrificing the other. I just went where the road took me, grabbing opportunities and doing what I felt to be the right thing at the time. I do not look back and say “what if” and therefore, I have no regrets. “If I had had children at some stage I am sure my life would have been very different, but I do not just have a great job, I have a great life and therefore I am truly blessed. To be in a loving relationship is a magical thing, but it is much better to be single than with the wrong person. I have a wonderful family in Ireland, I have a network of close friends in Australia and I meet people on mission that will remain dear to me for the rest of my life. “I meet a lot of people who tell me they wish they could do what I do (and many who don’t!) and I consider myself privileged to do this work. “I may see the tough side of life but I also meet some of the most resilient, inspirational and impressive people. I am truly fortunate.”

46 | Family Life

Apolicythat rewardsyoufor beinghealthy

Being a successful branch manager within the financial industry for many years, Breeda Toner decided to become a fully qualified Independent Financial Adviser so that she could work directly with individuals and their families to offer the best benefits possible to suit their needs. “This role enables me to work in partnership with many companies offering a wide range of products. One of the companies that I work alongside is Vitality. Vitality offer both Life and Health Insurance, helping you to understand how to improve your health, while giving you rewards to keep you motivated. “Active Financial Life is a newly found promotional business in the mid Ulster area of Northern Ireland. My goals are to promote the benefits offered by Vitality to all individuals. Benefits include half price trainers with Sweatshop, free cinema tickets, free Starbucks drink each week plus much more. “On behalf of my promotion of Vitality benefits I am providing all new clients their very own Fitbug.” Active Financial Life does not offer financial advice but can refer you to Bre-Ton Financial Services who can discuss at a free consultation your individual circumstances and requirements. For further information or to arrange an appointment, call Breeda at 078 3313 6964.

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Settingafirmfinancial foundationforyourfamily Financial advisor Breeda Toner gives her top tips for getting your family’s finances in order


hen you’re starting a family you face perhaps the most daunting financial pressures you’ll encounter at any stage of life. Expenses like a new home and young children weigh heavily on your mind, and you’re likely still early in your career. Meanwhile, you need to begin saving for the future: college for the kids, a nest egg for you and your spouse etc. It can be hard to know what is best to suit your needs at that time. The key is to imagine you’re at the beginning of a long-term building process. Financial security is a combination of insurance protection and savings and investments that accumulate over time. Start small and cover all your bases. As your career progresses and your income increases, your financial security will grow as well.


The first step in establishing your financial security is to confront the biggest threats to it by asking yourself some tough questions: What would happen if you or your spouse or partner became sick, injured or died? All of these situations can be devastating to your family’s financial health. That’s where insurance comes in.

Life Cover

This is the most common and

straightforward type of financial protection and pays a lump sum if you die. There are different kinds of life insurance, with some providing cover until you die, while others are for a set period such as the duration of a mortgage, or any term you decide to set. The cost depends on your age, health and the type of policy. The general rule of thumb is that those who own a mortgaged property with a partner, especially if they have children, should get life cover with the aim of clearing their home loan if they die. This means the surviving partner and any children can remain in the house and will not have to worry about paying the mortgage. Life insurance policies can be joint or individual. It is worth comparing costs on both, as separate policies can work out cheaper for a couple - or only a little more expensive - and if something terrible happens and you both die they will both pay out.

Other things to watch out for

Beware ‘low-start’ policies that start with low premiums that then rise over time, these can end up more expensive over the whole life of the policy.

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 47 service benefit, which may be a multiple of your salary. Pension pots built up can also be passed on to your family if you die.


Similar to life cover but instead of a lump sum it pays a regular income should you die. This type of policy is suitable for people with young families who want to ensure their children are covered in the event of the loss of one or both parents before they are financially independent.


One in five of us is likely to suffer a major illness before retirement. Critical illness insurance pays a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a range of illnesses, including cancer. In 2011 the average payout on a policy was £59,000.


Good financial advice can save you money How much do you need?

You will probably want to cover any mortgage, pay for a funeral, and also leave some money to help with living expenses, but the more cover you take out the pricier it will be. If you think you will end up moving home to a more expensive property

as life progresses, it may be worth buying extra cover earlier on, as it tends to be cheaper the younger you are. One key thing to consider when taking out life cover is what arrangements you already have in place. For example, employers can offer some form of death in

Serious Illness covers more illnesses than a typical critical illness policy - a typical critical illness policy only covers you for around 45 conditions. With Primary Serious Illness Cover, you would be covered for more than twice as many conditions. And with Comprehensive Serious Illness Cover, you’d be covered for nearly four times as many. Conditions are covered when they’re less severe, so you can get the help you need, when you need it– typical critical illness policies would pay out if you had a severe condition – for example, if you lost your sight in both eyes. Serious illness would pay out in these circumstances too but not just the most severe form of a condition can affect people’s lives.

You can protect yourself even after you’ve made a claim. Your whole lump sum is not paid out if you don’t need it. So, if you claim for a condition that’s not very severe, a pay out for part of the amount you’re covered for is paid, and the remaining amount keeps you covered.


This type of policy pays out if you can’t work due to illness or injury such as a back injury or stress and will provide a monthly income of up to 80% of your salary until you are healthy enough to return to work or retire. There are a lot of income protection policies around, but they are not all the same. Cheap cover may not deliver when you need it, so it is worth paying for a good policy.

Be Sure to Save

Given all the costs a young family faces, the idea of saving may seem impossible. But it’s crucial to get into the habit early, and important to have a source of cash to fall back on in an emergency. If you have credit card debt, your first priority should be to pay it off. High interest rates on credit card debt can turn into a long-term drag on your family’s financial health.

Invest for the Future

If you haven’t already, you should consider enrolling in your company’s retirement savings plan. This will probably be the primary source of your retirement savings, so start early. Some companies even match employee contributions, so not participating is like turning down free money.

TopTipsforfamilymoney Shop around T for power prices ✸ Worried you’re paying over the odds for your electricity? The Consumer Council is urging more householders to shop around, following Electric Ireland’s decision to reduce prices for domestic customers by 10%. The cut came into effect on March 21. Richard Williams, The Consumer Council’s Head of Energy said: “It is great news for consumers that now four electricity suppliers out of the six domestic suppliers have announced price reductions.” With various new tariffs coming in at the start of April, he added: “Now is a good time for consumers to shop around and consider whether by switching supplier or payment method they could save themselves money. “The Consumer Council has tools to help. Our online price comparison tool will be updated to reflect the new tariffs and we also have a simple, step by step guide to switching energy suppliers. Both are available at www., by contacting us on 0800 121 6022 or via facebook or twitter.”

he Ulster Bank’s MoneySense programme encourages families to set a budget and stick to it. It recommends that you start by gathering up bills, receipts, bank statements and so on. “Lots of people dread this step, but it’s amazing how quickly you can create a clear picture on where your money goes.” Once you’ve worked out how much is going out and how much is coming in, you can see where you stand. “If you’re spending more than you have coming in, it’s time for action.” Go back and see what expenses you can do without and keep going until everything balances. MoneySense advises: “Sticking to your budget is often the tricky part, and you’ll need good old-fashioned willpower to make it work. You’ll be more likely to succeed if the whole family is involved. So get your partner and children to help. Asking them to think about ways to keep costs down will encourage everyone to share responsibility for making your family’s budget work. Giving kids a goal is a great way to get them to buy into the idea. For example: if we save this much every month, we can go on a trip in the summer holidays… Your new Family MoneySense regime starts with these top tips:

÷ Work out your budget to see where your money goes every month

Work out a budget and stick to it ÷ Use the cut-back tool to see where you can save ÷ Keep savings and everyday spending money separate ÷ Revise your budget as your children grow, and plan for your family growing up ÷ Expect the unexpected

÷ Keep a close eye on your biggest expenses ÷ Know exactly what you’re paying for with insurance and energy and avail of all the ‘better offers’ ÷ Don’t ignore debt. Do a budget, contact your lender and take action

48 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016


There are lots of great reads out to tempt bookworms at present, not least Julian Barnes’ first novel in five years. Barnes, who won the Man Booker for his 2011 book, The Sense of an Ending, has published The Noise of Time, set in 1930s Russia where a composer struggles to express himself. It’s a story about the collision of art and power, about human compromise, human cowardice and human courage. Top sellers for Waterstone’s this week (apart from pre-orders of Lee Child’s next Jack Reacher thriller Night School, not out until November) include The Improbability of Love, by Hannah Rothschild, which has been shortlisted

for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016 as well as the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. It’s the story of lovelorn Annie McDee who stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man. It turns out to be a lost 18th century masterpiece called ‘The Improbability of

For 9-12 year olds Jolly Foul Play – A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery 4 by Robin Stevens This is the fantastic new mystery from the author of Murder Most Unladylike. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have returned to Deepdean for a new school term, but nothing is the same. There’s a new Head Girl, Elizabeth Hurst, and a team of Prefects – and these bullying Big Girls are certainly not good

Love’, which most of London’s underworld would like to get its hands on. The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley, with an introduction by Ian Rankin, is getting rave reviews. At the end of a three-week hunt for a runaway bestselling author, hard drinking Private Detective C. W. Sughrue winds up in a ramshackle bar,

with an alcoholic bulldog. The landlady’s daughter vanished a decade ago and now she wants Sughrue to find her. His search takes him to the depths of San Francisco’s underbelly, a place as fascinating, frightening and flawed as he is. Early One Morning by Virginia Baily, is a Sunday Times bestseller and feaures the stories of two women who pass in a Rome street one dawn in 1943. One of the women, Chiara Ravello, is about to flee the occupied city for the safety of her grandparents’ house in the hills. The other has been herded on to a truck with her husband and their young children, and will shortly be driven off into the darkness. In that endless-seeming moment, before she has time to think about what she is doing, Chiara claims the woman’s son as her own nephew and rescues him. The story catches up with Chiara three decades later, revealing suspenseful, heartbreaking and inspiring tale of love, loss and war’s reverberations down the years.

For teens eggs. Then, after the fireworks display on Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found – murdered. Many girls at Deepdean had reason to hate Elizabeth, but who might have committed such foul play? Could the murder be linked to the secrets and scandals, scribbled on scraps of paper, that are suddenly appearing around the school? And with their own friendship falling to pieces, how will Daisy and Hazel solve this mystery?

We Are All Made Of Molecules by Susin Nielsen Meet Stewart. He’s geeky, gifted and sees things a bit differently to most people. His mum has died and he misses her all the more now he and Dad have moved in with Ashley and her mum. Ashley is popular, cool and now she has to live with a freakazoid step-brother. Stewart can’t quite fit in at his new school, and Ashley can’t quite get used

to her totally awkward home, which is now filled with some rather questionable decor. And things are about to get a whole lot more mixed up when these two very different people attract the attention of school hunk Jared.


On stage...

Fantasies,love anddesire fromtheUlster Orchestra’s SpringSeries


he Ulster Orchestra and a host of dazzling guest soloists are hoping to create a soundtrack to the season with the Orchestra’s Spring Concert Series at the Ulster Hall, Belfast. May opens with BBC New Generation artist Annelien van Wauwe joining Jac van Steen to play the Mozart Clarinet Concerto

– quite simply, one of orchestral music’s favourite works. Annelien is a period instrument specialist, so May 6 is your opportunity to hear this glorious work performed on the instrument for which it was originally written. On May 13, Irish soprano Ailish Tynan will take centre stage in an evening of sparkling music, performing arias by Mozart and Stravinsky that are both inspired by devoted passion. This marks a very welcome return to the Ulster Hall for this wonderful singer; definitely a night to remember! The Ulster Orchestra’s 15/16 Concert Season comes to a thrilling conclusion on Friday, May 27, with A Fantastique Payare Finale!, full of fantastical imagery and obsessive desire. A hallucinatory, dreamlike world awaits you in the Symphonie fantastique, as a poisoned poet falls headlong in love with his vision of an ideal woman, love turns first to obsession and

then to despair, before ending in madness. Music that paints pictures of scaffold and guillotine, a witches’ Sabbath… this grand gesture of unique musical expression will be the most dramatic of season finales! With all this, an evening of Your Favourite Opera Arias with Noah Stewart and Friends on April 29 and the conclusion of our Lunchtime Concert Series, you will spoiled for choice with the Ulster Orchestra this Spring. Evening concerts commence at 7.45pm and lunchtime concerts at 1.05pm, all in Belfast’s Ulster Hall. For full programme details, ticket prices and booking, please visit www. or contact the Ulster Hall Box Office on 028 9033 4455. Don’t forget that under-16s go free to Ulster Orchestra concerts, while tickets for 16 - 25 year olds and anyone in full time education are just £5.

R Payare is leading the orchestra in the season finale on May 27

50 | Family Life

Entertainmentetc. Belfast isn’t the only part of Northern Ireland that’s buzzing this spring…


Direct from sell-out shows across the globe, the world’s greatest action sports show – Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus Live – is roaring into Windsor Park in Belfast on Friday, June 10. Nitro’s cast of daredevils, the greatest action sports stars on the planet, will perform the most incredible choreographed riding routines ever in freestyle motocross (FMX), BMX, skate and much more. Tickets from


Belfast’s Festival of Fools takes place across the city from April 29 - May 2. Leading street theatre companies from Europe, North America, the UK and Ireland will bring over 120 shows of comedy, circus, dance, puppetry, magic, live music and visual arts. All events are free, The 17th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival takes place in Belfast from April 28 - May 8. Over 150 events have been organised over the 10 days, with music from Marc Almond, Guy Garvey, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, The Zombies and Ciaran Lavery to name but a few. Many well known stand-up comedians will be performing, as will Manchester’s punk poet, John Cooper Clake. There will also be a full complement of literature, theatre and visual art, including a bespoke programme in a dynamic new theatre space in the Cathedral Quarter, The Barracks. Visit


On April 30, A Night at the Waterfront will see tomorrow’s stars take to the stage to perform everything from Broadway numbers to chart hits. Tickets are £16 from This year’s Belsonic festival runs from June 9-29 at the Titanic Belfast building. The line-up includes Ellie Goulding, David Guetta, Faithless, Foals, Tiesto, Biffy Clyro, Stereophonics, Bring Me The Horizon, Oliver Heldens and Robin Schulz. Tickets are £29.50 plus booking fee from, Ticketmaster outlets and Mary Pat’s Bar in Coleraine is having a Big Marquee Weekend from April 29 May 2. DJ Mallorca Lee will open the event with a dance night. Glasgow-based Stone Roses tribute Resurrection and Belfast’s Oasis copycats Roll With It top Saturday’s bill while on Sunday, singer-songwriter Lee Matthews and his big band will bring the curtain down. Ticket prices are: Friday £10, Saturday £15, Sunday £15 or £25 for a two-day pass. Tel: 028 7034 4659.


It may not be San Quentin but Crumlin Road Gaol hosts the Cash Returns ‘Soul Train’ Prison Concert on April 30. They will be releasing a track ‘Soul Train’ with proceeds going to the children’s ward at Altnagelvin Hospital. To book call: 028 9074 1500 or Cash Returns will also be playing at Clady Hall, Portglenone, on May 1, and the Millennium Forum, Derry/Londonderry, on June 17. The Irish TV Country Music Awards are back on May 19 in the Armagh City Hotel. To vote for your favourites and book your place at the event, call 028 3751 8888. Fintona’s much anticipated Jamboree in the Park takes place from April 30 - May 1 with performances from Mad Ass Mules, Mike Denver, Derek Ryan, Justin McGurk and the boogie men, Ritchie Remo, Lisa McHugh and Nathan Carter. Tickets are available on, or call 02882252800. Country In the Park takes place in the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, on May 28-29, featuring 50 artists on 3 stages. Tickets are £25 per adult per day or £45 weekend ticket and £15 per child per day or £30 weekend ticket, from the ticket hotline on 028 8224 375.

local, national and international DJs and live acts.


The Market Place theatre hosts Mercury Prize nominee, Roots Album of the Year and BBC Folk Awards winner Sam Lee and Friends on May 6. Tickets are £13 from the venue. Belfast folk/bluegrass band, No Oil Paintings, are at The Market Place Theatre, Armagh, on May 7. Tickets cost £8, Three distinct singer-songwriters from Northern Ireland have come together to create Northern Lights. Ben Glover, Malojian and Matt McGinn perform together at Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre on May 4. Tickets cost £12, Watch Ards CCE’s Facebook page for updates about the Ulster Fleadh in July which this year comes to Bangor for the first time.


Big Telly’s smash hit stage production of Spike Milligan’s Puckoon returns to Northern


On June 4, Belfast’s Titanic Quarter welcomes back the Audio Visual Arts festival, a one-day showcase for emerging and established electronic producers, DJs and audio-visual artists. Admission is free, register at Electronic music festival, Celtronic, takes place in Derry/Londonderry from June 29 - July 3 and showcases the best in all forms of electronic music, involving

Ireland on its UK and Ireland 2016 tour. It is Ireland, 1922, and the new border has split the small town of Puckoon, leaving the church separated from its own graveyard and drink now 30% cheaper in one corner of the pub. Catch Puckoon in The Mac, Belfast, until April 30, the Alley Theatre, Strabane, on May 1 and the Market Place Theatre, Armagh, on May 5. A performance of The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter’s first major work, takes place at The Market Place Theatre, Armagh, on May 27. Tickets are £14.50. Director, David Oliver brings his original musical, Gutz, to the Millennium Forum, Derry/Londonderry from May 13-14. An explosive, highly charged exploration of the seductive and deceptive nature of life in a metropolis. Tickets cost £12 and are available at


A gravity-defying stunt from Nitro Circus A whole host of Belfast bands will descend on County Down as part of the newly renamed Holywood Harmony Festival, running from June 3-5. Check out the festival’s Facebook page for details. James Huish and his 10 piece band perform a special concert celebrating Frank Sinatra at the Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey, on May 13. Tickets are £17.50 from

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival takes place from April 28 - May 2. The festival features over 200 live music acts at over 70 venues, On June 9, the wonderful Kaz Hawkins and her band open the Danny Boy Jazz and Blues Festival which continues to June 12 with dozens of superb live music events across Limavady,


The Ulster Orchestra is at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, on April 25, for a concert In Love and Literature featuring music inspired by the plays of William Shakespeare to celebrate his 400th year. Tickets, £15, from the theatre, A live screening of Strauss’s Elektra by the Metropolitan Opera, New York, is taking place at the Theatre At The Mill, Newtownabbey, on April 30. Directed by the late Patrice Chéreau, the opera stars soprano Nina Stemme as Elektra in her quest for vengeance for the murder of her father, Agamemnon. Tickets are £20 & £10 (under 18s and students),


Join PJ Holden, Phil Winslade and more at Enniskillen’s first Comic Fest on May 6-7. The festival, based at the McArthur Hall in Darling Street, celebrates comic art, culture and promotes sequential art and storytelling. From the team that brought you The History Of The Troubles (accordin’ to my Da) comes the comedy sequel, The History Of The Peace (accordin’ to my Ma!). A peaceful tale of street protests, riots, guns, bombings and more riots is currently running at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, where it continues until Saturday, April 30. It then proceeds to the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, on May 17-18, and the Alley Theatre, Strabane, on May 21. Tickets and further information from the venues.


Martin Lynch, Alan McKee and Conor Grimes warm up for The History of the Peace (according to my ma!)

The Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh, is hosting the North West Brew Fest on April 30, showcasing local beer, stout, ale and cider. Advance tickets are £5,

52 | Family Life


he first thing a parent has to remember is that it is not just teenagers that don’t like revising. If somebody tried to force you to make notes on and solve a quadratic equation, you would find that the blank wall in front of you has suddenly become inexplicably interesting. Imagine someone standing over you; telling you that you will spend the rest of your life on the dole if you can’t do quadratic equations, while you, as an adult know that the last time you set eyes on such an equation, you were 16 years old. Scaremongering tactics are not encouraging to teenagers (who incidentally know that much of their exam content is entirely irrelevant to life in general). Telling your child that they’ll be furious with themselves when the results letter comes in August or that they’ll never have a real job can cause children to resign themselves to these hypothetical failures. Here are Family Life’s tips for not driving your children mad in the run up to exams: ÷ Comparing them to other successful children can cause them to feel inadequate; they need to know that they have your support whatever the outcome and that your love does not depend on their exam results. Keep your teenagers disconnected from their grades, relax and keep your attitude positive. Moods are contagious and will hep your child feel a lot more calm about their exams. ÷ Help your child draw up a revision plan. Don’t worry if they don’t stick to the plan, it’s just a rough guide. Breaks are essential to keep concentration at an optimal level – doing the same thing for too long gets unbearably boring! It is important to go over material more than once, but leave a couple of days in between. When talking about his writing, the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Ernest Hemingway said: “…I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything.” And although your teenager may not be writing For Whom the Bell Tolls, allowing their subconscious a few days to process what they have been learning will be very beneficial to future revision sessions. ÷ Include time for fun activities in your child’s revision plan. Perhaps write in their dance lesson, band practice or football training; encourage them to plan a trip to the cinema or bowling at the end of the week and write it on the plan to give them something to look forward to. ÷ Although it may seem obvious, ensure your teenager is eating a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner and getting about eight hours sleep. ÷ Use positive phrases to encourage your

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Encourageteenagerstorevise for exams withoutdrivingthemnuts BY CIARA LAWN child to revise like, “It’s never too late to start revising” and “Just try and do a few minutes and see how it goes” rather than going on the attack. If you spend the day at work, trust them to have revised and do not attack them when you get home. Instead, discuss what they have learned, this will help them organise their thoughts. ÷ If your teenager seems stroppy, angry, lazy or stressed, it is likely they are experiencing difficulty in one area of their work. Instead of nagging them

to revise, try to find out what they are having difficulty with and if possible, help them. Encourage them to seek help from a teacher or a tutor if you are unable to provide them with assistance. ÷ Everyone revises differently; therefore help your child find the method that works best for them. It could be mind maps, note making, or even talking out loud to themselves. Reading and rereading is not particularly effective, however, writing notes in margins, completing every past paper available and going over mark schemes is extremely beneficial.

Another way to help your teenager remain interested is perhaps renting the movie version of the book or play they are studying at school, or finding videos online that explain difficult science and maths theories in an interesting manner. ÷ Remember that children learn best when they are engaged in what they are learning and do not feel under pressure or stressed out. The best thing you can do as a parent is make their environment comfortable, be enthused and interested in their work, allow them to have a life outside of revision and reassure them that grades are not everything.

Whatever you say, don’t say that!

A-Level student Samantha Bayley appeals for a truce on the home front…

It’s a well known fact that all parents share the same vocabulary. Phrases are passed down over generations, apparently purely for the purpose of annoying teenagers. For example, “I was your age once too you know”. Yes mum, I know you were a teenager once but it was completely different in your day. Parents fail to realise that being a teenager in 2016 has so many more complications, with extra pressure coming from technology, social media and more emphasis on exams. Other favourites include “Because I said so” or “Not under my roof” which can be used so often they lose all meaning. When dealing with exam stress, parents can be clueless and often make the mistake of saying something along the lines of “You have no idea what hard work is”, or, “Wait until you get into the real world”. This is above all the worst thing to say to a teenage struggling with exam stress; it implies that because I may face bigger challenges later on, my current struggles are not important. However, of course there’s no-one else we’d rather go to for a hug when things get too stressful. Parents? They’re not all bad you know…

54 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

MoveoverWonderWomanWith the celluloid revival of Wonder Woman, Davina Gordon meets two real life Super Mums, Emma O’Neill, journalist and fundraiser for son Cavan (2) who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy, and Linzi Rooney, mum to Macie (4) and CEO of Studio Souk...

Linzi Rooney balances running her business with being a mum

‘Life is too short to sit with an idea and not do anything about it’

Linzi Rooney in full Super Mum mode with her daughter Macie


oting mum and trailblazer Linzi (30) from Belfast, also happily expecting a sibling for Macie, began her career as a photographer. While this gave her a valuable glimpse into the creative industry, she “grew tired of being stuck to a laptop all day editing images”. Keen to spread her wings, Linzi retrained as a silversmith, working from “a little home studio” - which often spread out onto the kitchen table - much to the chagrin of her partner. However, she had fire in her belly and she instinctively knew there was something else out there for her. In 2013, Linzi had a dream of having a workspace where she could spend time with likeminded individuals for peer support and a sense of community. “Studio Souk was born out of a desire to have a workspace to go to, rather than spend hours at home by myself in my studio. I was feeling the frustrations of being a sole trader, and I hoped others felt the same way.” Later that year, a galvanised Linzi found an empty shop at Spires Mall for herself and a few other creatives. “I thought the 2,000 sq foot shop could never be filled,

Linzi working on a display in the studio but how wrong I was!” In November, 2014, Studio Souk became a registered charity, opening up opportunities for development and growth. Fast forward to 2015, and she opened a second 6,000sq feet city centre store. The gifted crafter now nurtures the creative visions and goals of 90 artists under Studio Souk’s colourful umbrella. Since her brainchild has gained more and more ground, she has put her jewellery-making days behind her. “I didn’t want to feel I was doing each job half right, something had to give. I had so many artists relying on me to make it work so Studio Souk was the natural choice.” From the moment you walk into Linzi’s shop, you are met by the aroma of fresh coffee, beautiful crafts and the hustle and bustle of a thriving community of artists. The entrepreneur hasn’t looked back and has won several awards, crediting

her outstanding vision and business acumen. Recently, she picked up two awards at Belfast Fashion Week for her gorgeous shop in Castle Street for atmosphere, ambience and commitment to the environment. She has also been nominated and shortlisted for Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year and Women in Business for Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2015. Studio Souk is a living, breathing space, which has grown from “a seed in her crazy creative brain” to a flourishing business, now harbouring the dreams of others. It’s not just creatives she nurtures though; Linzi is also committed to helping those who have taken the wrong path in life. “I work with the Department of Justice and help young offenders or people coming to the end of their life sentences, learn transferable creative skills, or simply to build the confidence to look for a job. Reoffending is currently sitting at 76%, and that is mostly due to the fact they have no skills or confidence in themselves. I feel everybody deserves a second chance and everybody I have worked with has truly become part of the Studio Souk family, and a vital part of the team like anybody else.” Juggling a business along with being a mum has its challenges though. “I constantly feel like I’m running around like a headless chicken,” she says. In fact, she’s even thought about getting a “normal job” for less stress, but says: “I came to my senses, and realised I’m exactly where I should be. It’s all about not

battling myself so much,” she laughs. She has an amazing army of loving and supporting people around her, consisting of her partner, family and friends, and of course her loyal staff. “I could never achieve a balance without their support,” she affirms. One of the most important roles anyone can have is being a mum, which Linzi describes as “amazing, rewarding and exhausting”. She is thrilled to be expecting another little one but admits that she is worried about how she is going to run a business and look after two ‘little rascals’. Constantly offering help and advice to her ‘family’ of artists, what advice will Linzi pass down to her children? “I’ll tell her or him to always make sure that you are happy, and if not, change it. There is a solution to every problem.” Linzi is motivated by constantly wanting to improve herself and others. What advice would she give to those wanting to start up on their own? “Just go for it and get stuck in,” she enthuses. “Life is too short to sit with an idea and not do anything about it. “To be honest I would struggle to do a job I don’t love. Forty hours plus per week is too much time to do something that you don’t love. My career is also my passion and love, so to hold on to that and work hard for that is a very worthwhile pursuit. It’s that passion, determination and also stubbornness that keeps my goals on course.” Her mantra is to “stop procrastinating and get a move on,” she laughs. Linzi relaxes with a girly movie and a glass of red wine (or tea while she’s pregnant) and admits that her favourite thing in the world is “having a busy home filled with love and laughter with friends and family always popping in.” Her aspirations for the future are “to keep working hard and grow Studio Souk into a bigger and better arts organisation” and “to hopefully have a healthy and happy family. No more kids though, two are plenty,” she laughs. There’s just time for a quickfire round before Linzi gets back to her superhero ways. Quick fire round! Coffee or tea? Tea. Crisps or chocolate? Chocolate. Craft beer or cocktail? Cocktail. Heels or flats? Heels. Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek. How would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Being surrounded by creative people, we’d easily be able to pass ourselves off as a group of zombies. If you can’t beat them join them!

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 55

n-theSuperMumsareintown The O’Neills with Cavan’s Walk the Walls supporters a holiday to Italy and when you arrive at the airport, you find out you’re in Holland. It’s not what you had planned. It’s not what you wanted but if you spend your life mourning that trip to Italy, you’ll never enjoy the beauty that is Holland. “[My friend] was right. We had a whole new way of life to learn and we still are learning. Cavan is beautiful, he is the best company; funny, tough, cheeky and fiercely determined and he is a chatty little man. “Everything has changed, dramatically. I’ve had to learn a lot - from finding out everything about the condition that I can to taking on different roles; from physio to mummy and most recently, fundraiser. I think what has changed most is the huge circle of friends I’ve generated

Young Cavan O’Neill with his parents Diarmuid and Emma

‘To see him walk will be an incredible feeling’


mma O’Neill (37) lives in Belfast with her husband Diarmuid (36). A former editor and journalist, she works full-time fundraising for her son Cavan, who suffers from Spastic Diplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy. Every waking moment is spent raising the £80,000 needed to take Cavan to Missouri for life-changing spinal surgery known as Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy. The cost will also cover postoperative equipment, therapy and rehabilitation. Emma says: “Cavan has Spastic Diplegia which affects his legs due to tight muscle tone and spasticity. This makes it difficult for him to walk and to even stand. We know he will never be able to run around or bounce up and down, just like other wee boys do, but to see him walk would be the

most incredible feeling for him and for us.” Through her tireless efforts, Cavan’s First Steps has already hit over 50% of its target since October 2015, and it has recently been named the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) NI Charity of the Year 2016. Emma says: “The support from CIPR will be instrumental in getting us to St Louis for this operation.” Cavan was born on May 18, 2013, six weeks early. Emma and Diarmuid were “overwhelmed with love” for their new son. However, as Cavan’s first birthday drew near, Emma says: “His gross motor development was behind in relation to other children his age. He struggled to sit upright unsupported when he was blowing out his first birthday candle; he couldn’t crawl and standing or walking seemed to be impossible.” At around 18 months an MRI scan showed that Cavan had damage on his brain known as Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) which is in keeping with Cerebral Palsy. “We were devastated. We, like all parents, had big dreams for our son. We’d a school in mind and sports we wanted him to participate in – all the things that give a child a full healthy life, but in that moment, we learned that none of that really mattered as we were dealing with a future of uncertainty. I remember just looking at him and thinking that life was hard enough but, for him, the challenges ahead were tenfold. It broke my heart.” As a close friend put it: “It’s like booking

along this journey - people who are going through the same thing to those who are about to embark on the journey I’m on. I feel blessed in a way to be given the opportunity to take on such a role.” Emma is frank about her struggles. “I’ll not lie, I do cry. Sometimes it’s overwhelming.” The family have been bowled over by people’s goodwill. “My brother Ryan organised a two hour fitness challenge where 20 of his clients each raised money. That brought in £2400, while my uncle’s office also raised over £2000 through a sponsored silence and a football match! People are amazingly generous.” The next big events are Cavan’s First Steps Ball on June 4 at Belfast’s Devenish Complex, and Walk the Walls for Cavan, involving youths from both sides of the community walking the peace walls on June 5. This event is being coordinated by Active Communities Network and supported by R City. Active Communities Network ambassador Ulster player Tommy Bowe said: “What these young people are doing, working together to help Cavan walk is truly inspirational.” To donate, visit cavansfirststeps. You can also follow Cavan’s First Steps on Facebook. To book tickets for Cavan’s First Steps Ball, contact the Devenish on 028 9030 1154. Tickets £50 for dinner, band, DJ and auction.

56 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

BridgingtheGenerationChasm Thanks to technology, the generation T gap is in danger of becoming a chasm, Fiona Rutherford suspects… he times, I wish they’d stop a-changing! As a schoolgirl, I would have spent angst-ridden hours debating the meaning of life with my best friend. As soon as I got home, I would have dialled a mere four digits on an enormous phone and we would have continued the conversation – using our voices no less. To our credit, my 40 and 50 something contemporaries have happily embraced the advent of videos, video games, mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops, iPads and the rest. We can do Facebook and Twitter in our sleep and hashtag our way through the day like a #pro. Still, it can take a bit of effort to keep up. A crack has started to appear that is threatening to open a fissure between my generation and the next – okay, the one after that. It’s the ditching of TV by youngsters in favour of Vloggers and YouTubers. For the uninitiated, that’s people who make video blogs and post them on their own website or on YouTube. I don’t even watch much TV but its complete avoidance by anyone under 25 seems deeply suspect to me. When my 10 year old daughter shrieks with mirth it is now inevitably at a clip on her Kindle Fire. Further investigation invariably reveals that she’s tickled pink by someone who looks like a grown up, sounds like a grown up but to my grouchy old mind isn’t functioning in a grown up world. The one delightful exception was when she came across the phrase ‘Ghost Cheeks’ on an urban dictionary clip. Definition: When you sit on the loo or a chair and it’s still warm from the person before – #grossbutfunny! Stampy Longnose is now a household name across the land and while I used to despair at his annoying Midlands accent and wonder why a grown man would

What’s trending on the parenting front… In January, the video-based parenting website, Channel Mum, predicted the top UK parenting trends of 2016 and four months in, there are signs that these fads are gaining traction. Those who love to be first with the latest fad will want to check these out...

The revolutionary 3D ultrasound seems almost infantile now that parents-to-be can obtain a model of their unborn foetus printed from a 3D printer (almost a bigger miracle than childbirth itself ). Doctors began using 3D

bother recording himself playing children’s games such as Minecraft, as time has passed, I’ve come to appreciate the big nosed Brummie’s ‘cleanness’. There’s the gap right there. While I’m happy that my daughter only sees content that’s appropriate for her age, I don’t get why she would rather stand on her head in the hall and watch an adult give an in-depth analysis of My Little Pony (I’m not making

printers to help diagnose and treat birth defects in the unborn; this led to a clinic in Japan offering models of the foetus in the womb as a keepsake for parents. The trend quickly spread with several companies in the US offering this service. Baby:Boo in Lancashire is currently the only company in the UK offering the little foetus figurines but with 27% of parents saying they would love a 3D model of their unborn child, it’s only a matter of time before more companies begin offering this service. Baby:Boo suggests that 3D prints be made from 28 week scans – because of the baby’s size at this point it is only possible to create a model of their head and shoulders. The model costs parents £150 and is available either presented in a box or mounted in a frame.

Baby:Boo offers 3D models of babes in the womb

that up) than snuggle down in front of the TV to watch a movie with the rest of us. Adding insult to injury, my daughter’s other favourites, Dan and Phil, who look like brothers but aren’t, ‘wrote’ a ‘book’. It’s called The Amazing Book is Not on Fire but my face very nearly was when I had to part with £16.99 in Eason’s having foolishly promised to get it for her. We had one of those timeless

showdowns in the shop, she in her skates, me hissing: “I’m not paying £17 for something that’s not a proper book,” while her eyes slowly filled with tears. At least I wasn’t talking to her feet, for once. Of course I gave in. On the plus side, it has kept her reading (and therefore spending less time watching Dan and Phil on Youtube) for weeks. On the negative side, she believes every word of it, including that they were suspected of robbing a casino in Vegas, got chased by security, stole a helicopter and escaped. “But mum, there’s a photo of Phil flying the helicopter!” My 23 year old son patiently explains that we will have to adapt to the new order as his generation will be the one to unplug subscription TV channels such as Sky. “The only reason anyone has subscription TV is because of sports,” he says. “You can get what you want to watch by streaming it online or downloading it. Our generation watch what we want when we want to – there’s no need to stick to a TV schedule.” As a result, I find myself flitting between my daughter’s favourite clips – “Watch this, mum, it’s hilarious” – to series like The Bridge on Netflix with my son in his room. All this I can cope with – although it seems to have become nigh on impossible to get everyone to spend time together apart from mealtimes – but the last straw is when I ask a simple question at work or home and the answer is an email or text with a link to yet another YouTube channel and I’m expected to load it, fish about for headphones and listen to a whole preamble when all I wanted was a straightforward answer, preferably in writing, still my preferred dino style of communication. Meanwhile, on the far side of the chasm, the chatosphere reverberates with the sounds of the future…

Following the release of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens in December last year; parents have been choosing to name their new-borns after characters from the franchise. The name of the force-sensitive scavenger, Rey has risen 82% up the girls’ name charts according to (although it hasn’t yet caught up with Leia – up 64% over the past 10 years). Kylo has shot up the boys’ list by 67% since 2015, which is unusual considering the allegiance and actions of the character. The names associated with more positive male characters, Luke, Finn and Poe, have not increased in popularity, however, we are yet to see a baby named Darth Vader or Jabba the Hutt.

Another predicted parenting trend for 2016 is the heartbeat bear. These teddies come with a recordable sound module that enables parents to record the sound of their baby’s heartbeat during an ultrasound scan. Heartbeat bears come fully stuffed with an opening at the back to place the module. Once the module is sealed in the bear, all expectant parents need to do to hear baby’s heartbeat is give the teddy a hug. Heartbeat bears are available at and cost between £14.99 and £19.99.

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field ‘shared’ their son’s birth with the world

Robbie Williams’ tweeting of graphic videos while his wife was in labour in 2014, the popularity of TV shows like One Born Every Minute and the fact that nearly everyone has a high quality video setting on their phone these days has led to many soon-to-be fathers filming their significant others giving birth. In fact, almost a quarter of parents make their own delivery room videos. Videos allow women to remember the moment and enable them to see the birth from another perspective, although why they would want to relive such a feat continues to mystify those who have seen the videos without actually experiencing the act.

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58 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Timeto unleasha greatbreak Turnyourmisbehaving muttintoaperfectpooch


f your dog’s behaviour makes a walk in the park anything but a relaxing outing, it’s time to take back control. The pet charity PDSA says the longer days bring the perfect opportunity to teach your dog some new tricks or tackle some of those obedience niggles. “Many dog owners will know that feeling all-too well, when your dog won’t come back to you in the park or gets into mischief at home”, says PDSA Vet, Vicki Larkham-Jones. “It’s easy to get frustrated with pets when they don’t do as they’re told, but owners needn’t feel that they have to live with the status quo. Training can be started at any age and will encourage you to establish a closer understanding of your dog, as well as helping to avoid unpleasant or potentially dangerous situations.” Vicki recommends a method which uses rewards for good behaviour as the best way to train your dog. “As well as being effective, ‘reward-based’ training is fun for your dog too and that is the key to success.”

PDSA’s ten golden training rules: π Something worth having! Make sure that the reward you’re offering is an attractive prospect for your dog: some would do anything for a small piece of a treat, others like a cuddle or a game. π Timing is everything It’s important that you reward your dog as it is exhibiting the good behaviour or within a maximum of a couple of seconds afterwards, otherwise it’s unlikely that the dog will connect the two. π Keep it short Keep training sessions ‘little and often’ to maintain the fun of the exercise and to avoid you and your dog becoming frustrated. π One-by-One Focus on teaching your dog one command at a time. π Clear commands To avoid confusing your pet make sure

commands are simple and consistent and are accompanied by a hand signal. For example, don’t use several words for ‘sit’ or different hand signals for one desired response. π Practice, practice, practice! The key to your dog understanding a new command is repetition. Your dog might not understand immediately, but with the right practice and patience your dog will understand in time. π Ignore mistakes Some dogs will make mistakes, it’s not their fault and it doesn’t mean they can’t learn the task, just that it will take more practice. So ignore the mistakes and reward them whenever they do get it right. π Never use punishment Some owners think dogs respond to shouting, intimidation or, worse, smacking them. All they will learn this way is fear and will perform the tasks for this reason, and not because they want to. π Get everyone on board Everyone who comes into contact with your pet should be following your example by praising correct behaviour, using the same commands and ignoring mistakes.

County Down journalist Helen McDowell dips her toe into a new holiday experience, and becomes a convert…


olidays take on a whole new level of fun when you’ve two small dependents in tow. Last summer, my other half and myself embarked on a week-long self-catering holiday on the north Antrim coast with our testy six-year-old and hyper three-year-old. Of course, they bounced about excitedly in the back seat, straining against their seatbelts, trying to get the best views out of the car windows – one of them failing entirely as he’s too short – on what was a glorious sunny day for our drive along the scenic coastal route from North Down to our destination. And, of course, although we ensured several comfort stops along the way, the

littlest one was sick, literally within sight of our destination. Thank goodness for a washable car seat cover and baby wipes. This, my dear readers, was our first holiday, not with children, but with our two Jack Russell dogs: Totty, the younger one, and Bullet, the small in stature but big in spirit one. Both rescue dogs – rehomed with us by the good folks at Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary near Antrim – they seemed as excited as we were by the adventure of our first break together as a family. Being a relative newcomer to dog ownership – two and half years to be exact – this was the first time I’d taken dogs on holiday. How would they travel, I wondered? Would we all cope with being together almost 24/7 for the first time? And would there be anywhere other than the sea wall for the four of us to enjoy a cosy meal out? We were about to find out… Happily, we discovered there is no need to leave our four-legged friends behind on a staycation in Northern Ireland. An increasing number of self-catering establishments and other accommodation, even hotels, welcome guests with dogs. Indeed, at least one hotel I know of believes they can be better behaved than their two-legged companions. Many eateries too are happy to open their doors and beer gardens to man’s best friend. But it pays to do your homework first. When arranging our self-catering bungalow close to Ballycastle town centre,

π A note on nibbles Dog and cat obesity is a big problem, so to avoid creating a well-behaved but overweight pet try using healthy foods as rewards and reducing their main feed in accordance with how many treats they have had. Vicki continues: “If you’d like to go to training classes, contact the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, who can recommend a trainer local to you.” For further information visit www.pdsa. – PDSA’s website includes plenty of information about how to train and socialise puppies or – the Association of Pet Dog Trainers’ website can help you find a trainer in your area.

The sand dunes at Portstewart Strand were a big hit with Totty

22 April 2016 | Belfast Telegraph we turned to the internet in search of petfriendly premises. As ours was a staycation, we first checked out the Discover Northern Ireland website – it includes information about the Dogs Welcome Scheme, an initiative which helps recognise the special efforts made by accommodation owners for visitors with pets, including the provision of feeding/ water bowls, details of local walks suitable for dogs, directions to nearby vets and pet shops, and towels available for pet use. Like us, though, you may want to just bring your own food bowls, pet beds, etc, anyway, as pooches, often like their owners, are creatures of habit and so prefer their own ‘stuff’. We also checked out TripAdvisor, which led us to the cottage we eventually booked. Properties listed on these and other websites usually indicate whether dogs are welcome inside, outside, or both. Having scoured the internet, we set about drawing up a shortlist of suitable accommodation in our preferred area – a key consideration was, for example, did the property have an enclosed rear garden? One of our two mutts is a runner, so knowing we could relax of an evening with a barbecue and a bottle, while our furry friends roamed free but not loose, was imperative. Another invaluable lesson we learnt was the need to double-check directly with a property owner before booking, to ensure details on the internet were up to date. We encountered quite a few red herrings along the way when we contacted properties listed as welcoming dogs only to be met with a cool response that mutts were most definitely not welcome.

Where else would you find a Bullet? Our smallest Jack Russell checks out a mounted machine gun on an Army vehicle at a static display at the Air Waves Portrush Air Show Once we’d our accommodation sorted – a charming little cottage, a half hour walk from Ballycastle town centre – it was time to plan the day trips and the logistics of eating out. Having been to the north coast many times over the years, we were able to relax and go with the flow, without feeling a pressing need to pack in the ubiquitous sights, such as the Giants Causeway, Bushmills Distillery and Barry’s Amusements – although the latter was a

tantalising prospect with two JRs in tow… Happily, with reasonable weather for a Northern Ireland summer, we were spoilt for choice as regards days out. The area is packed with glorious beach walks, stunning countryside and enough eateries which either welcome dogs indoors or have pleasant seated areas outdoors to happily keep the munchies at bay and the mutts at close quarters. Among them, the Marine Hotel on Ballycastle seafront has screened-off tables

where we enjoyed a hearty meal and a civilised afternoon and evening glass or two al fresco, watching the world go by while the pooches snoozed at our feet, grateful for the rest after long walks. Trips to Portstewart and its Strand, Ballintoy Harbour, Dunluce Castle, the Dark Hedges and more were all packed in, with picnics and pub grub the order of the day. And when it came to shopping, myself and the hubby simply took it in turns, one having a cuppa and minding the dastardly duo while the other punished the plastic. Major events weren’t off limits either, just because we’d our furry companions with us – on our final day we ventured to Portrush for the Air Waves Portrush Airshow, enjoying the spectacle in the air and the static displays on land. Given a sunny day and the promise of breathtaking derring-do in the skies above, the town was positively heaving. Our two coped well, given they’re not used to crowded places, and so many people stopped to chat with us about, and because of, the mutts. All in all, our first venture into holidaying with the pets was a success. Now to plan something a little further afield; I believe Scotland is lovely this time of year… Some websites which could help you enjoy your staycation with pets: Also check out Dog Lovers NI on Facebook, where people give recommendations on dog-friendly properties, including hotels, eateries and pubs, across Northern Ireland.

60 | Family Life


Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Giveyourfamilyfirst classcomfort,combined withworld-classsafety Introducing the award-winning the Volvo XC90

Big on luxury


tylish, spacious and packed full of safety features, the XC90 is an exceptional family car that ticks a lot of boxes. So if you’re looking for a family car that looks great, is great fun to drive and also meets your growing family needs, then the Volvo XC90 won’t disappoint. Voted 2015, Auto Express Car Of The Year, this seven seater SUV is Volvo’s most exclusive car to date. Not only does it turn heads from the outside, it’s equally impressive inside. With its clean, crisp, minimalist design, top-notch materials and flawless quality, its cabin feels luxurious, and it’s packed with stunning hi-tech features.

Big on safety

As befitting of a Volvo, the XC90 won’t let you down when it comes to protecting your loved ones. Volvo believes the XC90 is the safest of its type on the market. It’s packed

with the latest safety technology, including two brand new safety features – such as Auto Brakes at Intersection, and Run Off Road Protection. To prevent accidents at busy junctions, the former is able to brake the car automatically if the driver attempts to pull out in front of oncoming traffic – particularly useful at blind junctions, where edging out into the road might be dangerous. The second feature, Run Off-Road Protection, comes into its own on bumpy

journeys. When this happens, the seat belts automatically tighten to hold occupants more firmly in place, and a special energy absorbing material between the seat and the seat frame weakens the forces that may travel through a driver’s spine when the vehicle is subjected to a hard landing. Beyond these two pioneering systems, the XC90 is loaded with many more features to make this one of the safest ways to travel. Lets just say, this family car is BIG on safety.

It’s good to drive, too, in a relaxing and unflustered way. Volvo delivers the best in comfort and refinement, and it benefits from well weighted steering, composed handling and spacious interior. This stylish, spacious seven seater delivers all-round. Every element works in harmony, made from the finest materials – like soft leather, and grainy wood. With unique details like a crystal gearshift lever and ventilated front seats inspired by the human form with massage functions and four-way electric lumbar support. Every tiny detail in the Volvo XC90 is designed to make driving simpler, more enjoyable, and less stressful. This award-winning SUV truly combines style, substance and safety. Discover the All-New Volvo XC90 at your local Volvo dealer.

Book a test drive at: S M W Belfast Volvo Business Centre 028 9068 6000 Greers of Antrim & Coleraine 028 9446 0066

62 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 April 2016

Howfatherhoodmade mehittheroadrunning Becoming a dad has inspired Dan Williams’ marathon ambitions

Dan’s running has the whole family outdoors more


veryone has those moments. A split-second where something seems like a really good idea, no matter what it is, no matter what it entails. Admittedly they’re best suited to a Saturday night, standing outside a kebab shop having consumed half of the known alcohol in the world, when invincibility seems like a real possibility. But sometimes they sneak up and make themselves known in moments of sober clarity. My moment is running related. I say moment, but it actually came in two stages. The first was the result of a steely determination somewhere inside me telling me that – despite what my body shape, general fitness and previous experience would suggest – I could run a marathon. A full, 26.2-mile marathon. I’m not really sure where the notion came from in all honesty. Though I suppose a bit of background here would help explain the situation. I’ve never been an athletic person. While I used to play football a lot as a kid, I’ve been fat since I was about 14. I used to try to avoid going in the showers at school after PE so people wouldn’t laugh at me. I once volunteered to run in the school cross country team as a couple of members had to drop out and can still remember the look on my teacher’s face now. Let’s go with ‘not particularly encouraging’ – and that’s being far more conservative than the reality of the situation.

Sunderland pubs

My university years did me absolutely no favours, as I’m sure many people can relate to, and though my belly may have grown in Sunderland, I also have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the pubs of the city, so I think we can all agree who the winner is in reality. Working in the south of France, with its cheap beer and huge array of spectacular baked goods, pretty much finished me off. The birth of my son was the catalyst for change. I’d become larger than I’d ever been in my life by this stage, had blood pressure that was causing doctors concern and was getting out of breath climbing stairs. The realisation that none of my clothes fitted and that I needed a new, XL wardrobe, inspired me to sort myself out. I didn’t want my little boy to grow up with a dad who couldn’t play with him. Couldn’t chase him around. Couldn’t take a football to the park… Something had to change. In what proved to be an incredible shock to the system, I joined a 6am bootcamp

Little Alfie likes to show off his medals along with mum Rebecca and dad Dan class and worked hard three times a week in an attempt to undo around 15 years of self abuse. I quickly dropped a stone or two, had to shop for my first ever medium-sized wardrobe, and, for the first time since my childhood, felt a bit of pride in my body.

More confident

Attending bootcamp made me feel more confident in my abilities. We did 10k runs together, we ploughed our way around obstacle course races, and we did a half marathon. I can happily admit that my first attempt at that distance was 2 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds of utter misery. My legs were screaming at the seven-mile marker, I got cramp in both thighs and calves by 11 – and almost cried due to the pain on the way home. I swore there and then that I’d never run that distance again.


The thing is though, when you take up exercise or running, especially if you’ve been as inactive as I have in the past, you find yourself regularly overcoming hurdles and breaking boundaries that you never thought possible. You end up constantly raising the bar and setting new goals. I thought the obstacle course races – Mud Madness, Hell & Back, Total Warrior – would be my final bar, until, one Sunday, I saw some marathon coverage on TV and thought, for some reason: “I could do that.” That was moment one. I signed up to the Belfast marathon that afternoon, and I’ll be there in May, dragging myself round the city I call home. If only I’d stopped there. For some reason, having signed up for one marathon, I became slightly obsessed with doing another. Having never run 26.2miles once, I became determined to do it twice. This was moment one point five. I did a bit of research, looked for the flattest run available, and signed up for the Manchester marathon in April, cutting my overall preparation time by a month, and setting myself up for two races merely three weeks apart. Then came moment two (proper). I’ve done charity events for children’s cancer charity Clic Sargent in the past, and thought I could tie this in with them. However, for some borderline insane reason, I decided that three was a nicer, rounder number than two, so I signed up to run the Walled City Marathon in Derry~Londonderry in June. *sigh* Someone should really keep track of what I’m doing and warn me off these things.

Active family

The thing is though, it’s had a positive effect on my whole family. My little boy is as active as he’s ever been as he grows up, and his daddy can now do everything

that he wants him to do. We even did a three-mile charity run together recently, him taking in the sights as I pushed his pushchair, and the smile on his face when he got a medal at the end made all the sweat and muscle pain worthwhile. My partner too, who has never run in her life, was inspired to sign up to a couch-to-5k course, and I went along with our little man to cheer her as she graduated from her 12-week course, crossing the line of a 5k run for the first time in her life. She’s done another since, and we couldn’t be more proud of her. All of our family medals hang proudly on the wall, and our little man delights in showing people what he ‘earned’. And now to the present. The days of swearing off half marathon distance for life are well behind me and running 26.2miles three times in a little over two months has become a reality. My mornings are spent rising way before even the milkman is considering it, and running past some of Belfast’s most recognisable landmarks with not another soul in sight. Tough work doing your long runs before starting work at 8am - though it really is an experience getting up before 4am, strapping on the running shoes and hitting the deserted streets. The time for talking is over. While the preparation for the first marathon was blighted by injury and illness, whatever time I get around the course in will provide me with a personal best which I can go on to smash in the second and third runs.

Proving them wrong

I’ll be doing it to prove all of the people wrong that doubted me over the years. Doing it to show that PE teacher that he was wrong. Doing it to prove that, with a bit of determination, anyone can do anything that they set their mind to. Doing it for my family and friends, who have ensured that the charity I’m running for will be receiving a lot of money once I’m done. Doing it for me. For my transformation. For my wellbeing, both mental and physical. And, more than anything, I’m doing it for my partner and my little boy. I honestly think that approaching the finish lines, after 26.2miles of footstomping, knee-rattling, energy-sapping, heart-pounding running will be the climax of a rollercoaster for the body and the emotions, but know that, as soon as I see my little man’s smiling face, proud of his daddy for what he’s achieved, I’ll find a little more in the tank to see me over that line, and all of the blood (metaphorical), sweat (literal) and tears (probable) will be worth it. See you on the other side.

Belfast Telegraph Family Life MAgazine April 2016  
Belfast Telegraph Family Life MAgazine April 2016