Family Life at Christmas

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F MILYLife at Christmas atChristmas

✱ FESTIVE FEASTS: Chef Jayne Quigg’s fab dishes inspired by overseas favourites ✱ Glamorous you! Beauty and fashion looks

✱ The stars are out: What the celebs are doing for the holiday

✱ CURTAIN RAISERS Pantos, shows and days out with the children PLUS: Finishing touches for your home, top toys this year, gift ideas, winter breaks & more!


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Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

4-5 See how the stars are planning to spend the holiday 6 Get creative and hang that stress plus our annual Christmas message

8-9 Bringing the season home, room by room 10 Add the finishing touches to your yuletide decor

It’sthemost wonderfultime... and we’re here to help you make the most of it


he festive season is in full swing! It’s a fun time if you possess the skills of a military commander but can be a little overwhelming when the extra demands of getting the house ready, meal planning and gift buying all hit you at once. We’re all for Santa’s favourite thing – a list. Probably more than one in fact. Keeping track of what you need, what you’ve bought and how much money you’ve got left for the new year makes all the difference between 2020 starting off naughty or nice. By now, most of us are putting the final touches to the house and beginning to shop for those festive feasts. Before you go full tilt with your old favourites, check out the amazing recipes private chef Jayne Quigg has put together, drawing on Christmas taste traditions all over the world. We’ve added a handy guide to setting the table correctly, so you can host your dinner parties with confidence. It’s not just our homes and dining rooms that are under pressure to look their best over the festive season. Nights out, parties and family gatherings are all opportunities to get glammed up and look and feel great. Check out the style on our fashion and beauty pages – there are lots of ideas for gift sets for your nearest and dearest too. There’s events galore to help your festive season sparkle – from pantos to major shows and we’ve rounded those up for you. We’ve

also tracked down some of the most magical Christmas themed days out, from steam train rides to stately homes. Santa and Mrs Claus certainly get about! The stars of the shows are also especially busy at this time of year. We catch up with a host of celebrities to find out how they’re planning to spend the holiday and whether they’ve got those new year’s resolutions sorted. There’s much more to the festive season than pantos, parties and presents though. We meet craft maker Mandy Bell-Watson, who is using craft workshops to draw people together, as well as schoolboys Ethan Pollock and Oliver Dickey, whose swim challenge has helped send other children with disabilities to meet Santa in Lapland. In Donegal, Laura Doherty is spreading goodwill with her workshops to help teenage girls overcome low self-esteem and that modern scourge, anxiety. It’s not the most wonderful time of year for the many of us who are struggling with major issues unfortunately. Debt, illness, loneliness are all heightened at this time of year. We hear from Cruse on what people dealing with bereavement can do to get through the season. Caring for those who are struggling is at the core of the Christmas spirit, as former Presbyterian moderator Very Rev Dr Charles McMullen reminds us. We hope that, whatever your circumstances, you have a blessed and peaceful Christmas this year.

12 Top 10 tips for hosting dinners with style

Step out in style 32

14-20 FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD: Chef Jayne Quigg delivers her take on delicious dishes from around the world

30 Tried and tested: The latest skincare powerhouse, TriBella

21 Gift ideas for cooks and foodies

31 Get the luxe look with your make-up 32-33 12 dreamy coats and boots for winter 10

22 Skincare and beauty sets she’ll love

36 Swim pals Ethan and Oliver in amazing charity challenge

24 Gifts for her 26-27 Gizmos, gadgets and things for guys plus grooming tips 28 Crimbo classic looks for men

34-35 Shimmy and shine in gorgeous festive fashion

37 Family fun and festive days out 38-39 Present ideas for tots to teens 26

42-45 Everyone deserves a relaxing winter break 46 Laura’s life lessons for teenage girls 48 Community spirit takes centre stage at New Lodge Arts 50 How to get through Christmas when you’re grieving

The stars are out 6

52-54 Holiday season shows and spectaculars

Published by Belfast Telegraph, Clarendon House, Clarendon Dock, Belfast, BT1 3BH FAMILY LIFE MANAGER Jackie Reid, Belfast Telegraph, EDITOR Fiona Rutherford, Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd, CONTRIBUTORS Ruaidhri McCarney, Rebecca Petticrew, Andrea McKernon, Maureen Coleman, Maeve Richardson, Davina Gordon DESIGN Susan McClean, INM Design Studio, Belfast PRINTING INM, Newry

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Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

✱AlexBest Reality TV star and ex wife of football legend George Best

How/where are you planning to spend Christmas this year?

I’m going to stay overnight on Christmas eve at my parents’ house after going to midnight mass and hope Santa arrives on Christmas day, like the good old days. I’ll help my mum prep the dinner and I’ll be on duty to make my special bread sauce. All my family are going to be there, so it’ll be a fun day with the traditional board games and feet up watching TV in my pyjamas. On Boxing Day I’m going to a party at my friend Rachel’s house so it’ll be a chance to catch up with all my old friends.

What’s the best thing about Christmas?

Getting together with family. I also prefer giving presents rather than receiving them. I always put a lot of thought into what I buy my family and friends.

New year’s resolutions – love or loathe?

I do like new year’s resolutions, as it’s a chance to have a new start. I’m not always good at keeping them though and have yet to decide what my 2020 resolution is going to be.

Thestarsare in for Christmas There’s no place like home and there’s no time like Christmas for being there. We asked some of the country’s busiest celebrities how they’re planning to spend the festive season and what they’ll be resolving to do differently in 2020.

✱BrianKennedy The Belfast singer, songwriter and author is celebrating life with his new album, Recovery.

Where are you planning to spend Christmas this year?

I’m a bit of a last fella, but it looks like I’ll be with some of my oldest friends in deepest Donegal with roaring fires, long walks and even longer dinners.

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

I have to say the music. I love it when suddenly Ella Fitzgerald starts to serenade me from the most unexpected places.

New year’s resolutions – love or loathe?

I love a resolution because I start off the year reflecting on how I can be better and what I might have learned from the previous year. I also am reminded how lucky I am to have survived the last three years of my cancer journey and to remember those who sadly didn’t make it. ✱Brian Kennedy will be performing two Christmas concerts in The Ballygally Castle on December 19 – 20. Tickets available from

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 5

✱Jean-Christophe Novelli The chef patron of Novelli at City Quay’s in Belfast was triumphant in Celebrity Hunted on C4. He and Michelle (pictured) have three sons Jean (11), Jacques (7) and Valentino (3), one of the youngest survivors of the cancer neuroblastoma. His daughter Christina (32) from his first marriage, is a well known DJ.

How are you spending this Christmas?

I’m hoping to be at my restaurant until December 23 and then that’s it and I become the dad full-time. I’ll be at home with my family and sisters and in-laws. I’m not going to be working, that’s for sure. Christmas is very romantic and authentic and is a special day. It’s the same with Easter – it’s important to keep the origin of it.

What do you enjoy about Christmas?

✱ClionaHagan The award-winning Country singer and Dancing With The Stars runner up is from Co Tyrone.

an excitement in the air. I love it when everyone is opening their presents.

Where are you planning to spend Christmas this year?

Any new year’s resolutions?

I’m planning to spend Christmas at home with my family and three little nephews. We usually play board games and watch movies.

What’s the best thing about Christmas?

My favourite thing about Christmas is the hustle and bustle and that Christmas feeling you get when everyone is buying presents and there is

My new year’s resolution would be to write more songs of my own. I’ve written two already and I am loving the creativity that writing songs brings. ✱Cliona will be headlining the Country Comes to City Festival in Ebrington Square, Derry~Londonderry, on June 27, with Mike Denver. Tickets available from or phone 028 7126 4455.

✱RoseMarie The singer, actress and radio presenter has sold 17 million records and has recently moved home after five years in Vegas.

How are you planning to spend Christmas?

I will be spending Christmas at home in Newry this year with my mammy. We will go to church together and I will make sure she is well pampered. We are also planning a party for family and friends who will be flying over for Christmas.

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

Spending time with my mammy is the best part as most of our family are living abroad. Also, having her in good health is the best present to have this Christmas.

New year’s resolutions – love or loathe?

I don’t like new year’s eve, I think it’s a sad time. I don’t really go out for new year’s eve but over the years I have sung at a lot of new year events. I don’t make any resolutions because I wouldn’t stick to them. ✱Rose-Marie is appearing as The Genie in Aladdin at Belfast’s Crescent Arts Centre from December 20-22.

I love a very traditional Christmas and even the Christmas songs. We decorate the whole place at the start of December and I put the fire on. I like the fact that there isn’t too much difference between my time as a kid and the time for my kids. I love the smells of Christmas as well – citrus, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.

And what about a new year’s resolution?

Out of anything, most probably, another child!

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eeling your festive stress levels rising? Take some time out to recharge at a craft workshop. These creative havens are popping up all over the place as talented individuals show us the way to more sustainable living, a return to some of the old ways and how to fulfil our desire for beautiful things. One such artisan is Mandy Bell-Watson who runs Mandy Makes out of her ‘beach hut’ – a converted garage at the end of a light-bedecked garden, on Ballyholme Bay, Bangor. She’s been running Christmas wreath-making workshops this month but the former nurse is on a mission to do more than facilitate the creatively curious. “The ethos of Mandy Makes is for connecting community with a focus on classic and contemporary crafts, but the final product of the craft isn’t the most important thing. It’s the process, bringing people together. It’s the sharing or just being in the space, or it could be just being quiet,” she explains. Having run after-school classes in a local primary school since September, she’s honed her skills and is enjoying working with all ages. “I’m hoping to draw in all kinds of people in the community. I’m working with a learning disability group for the Health Trust and that involves adapting the crafts to be more sensory and holistic.” A look around the workshop attests to Mandy’s creativity, with appliquéd and

There’s a festive atmosphere at the workshops


Squelching through the mud on a foraging mission

Mandy Bell-Watson in her workshop


embroidered decorations, craft materials and foliage adorning the bare stone walls. She has no shortage of ideas for combining arts and community well-being. Macramé, needle felting, paper cutting and embroidery workshops are all on the cards. “I want to do a community craft project because I know there are lots of people who knit or crochet and they’re maybe sitting at home alone. We could make the likes of syringe driver bags for Hospice or blankets or clothes for SureStart. I’m also thinking of doing a social and craft event – maybe calligraphy or flower pressing – for Valentine’s called ‘Galentines’,” she adds. She chats about different ideas as a group of us have a go at making wreaths using ivy stems as our frames. Mandy has foraged lots of greenery and gathered driftwood from the beach for us to work with, as well as faux flowers and colourful baubles. As we work, our group, who arrive as mostly strangers, relax and chat while music plays quietly in

One of Mandy’s commissions

the background. I discover Emily and Claire live on my street, while Patricia has recently moved in down the road from Mandy and my friend Wendy. For Emily, it is a surreal evening, taking place in the garage of her childhood home. Conversation flows easily, covering everything from work to parenting, schools and shows we’ve seen. Having demonstrated


Childlike wonder in a world of pain


’ve just come home from watching the Church pre-school play group nativity play. A generation has grown up since I attended my first one over twenty years ago, but I’ve never grown tired. It’s the delightful innocence and star-struck excitement of children receiving rapturous applause from doting parents and grandparents. And always those unexpected moments when angels lose their halos, shepherds miss their entrance, wise men fluff their lines and a reluctant Joseph looks increasingly uncomfortable as he sits beside his Mary. Perhaps I have a deep yearning to escape the

complexities of frenetic adult life and re-enter that secure childlike world of wonder and amazement. Nativity plays do not tend to touch on the darker side of what happened two thousand years ago. Then, a huge population was displaced and forced to return to native villages for an imperial census. The babe born as an outcast soon became a refugee as his family fled to the safety of Egypt. The paranoid King Herod had ordered the slaughter of all new born baby boys when he discovered that a rival king had been born in Bethlehem. Pain and brokenness are also endemic in

contemporary life. Recent referendums and general elections have exposed deep divisions throughout the land which could take years to heal. The schmaltziness and sentimentality of much Christmas music can deepen the sense of personal loss and loneliness encountered by so many, while traditional expectations of happy families gathering around laden tables are far removed from the reality of family tension and breakdown with countless millions on the breadline working desperately hard simply to make ends meet. Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ entered

how to make the wreaths, from the frame to the foundation greenery and finally the embellishments, Mandy keeps an eye on us as we’re sitting or standing at various tables, dispensing mulled wine, mince pies and chocolates. Every now and again she makes a suggestion or helps secure pieces with wire, hunkering down with one of our wreaths on the floor for a clearer view. Quitting her full-time career was a big step for Mandy but once the decision was made, she and husband Paul stripped out the garage, installing a stove and furniture and stocking up on materials. Craftmaking enables her to use her Art degree while maintaining her connection to healthcare. It also means more time with sons Mark (16), Euan (14) and Jacob (5). “Having your own business means adaptability for family life,” she adds. As we finally put the finishing touches to our wreaths, we discover two hours has flown by. True to the positive, supportive and encouraging atmosphere throughout, we all admire each other’s handiwork, amazed at how different they all are, before saying our goodbyes. As I walk home with my newly met neighbours, wreaths bumping off each other, I realise we’ve all had a brush with that elusive festive spirit it’s so easy to rush through the season and miss. All it takes is the space and time to slow down, enjoy the company of others and, thanks to Mandy, take home a special souvenir. ✱For further information, updates or commissions, follow Mandy Makes Craft Experience on Facebook and Instagram.

into the depths of the human condition in order to lift us to the highest heights. His journey on earth began with a ‘No Room in the Inn’ sign in Bethlehem and ended with the scoffing and scourging of the cross in Jerusalem. But it didn’t end there as Easter meets Christmas and we celebrate His triumph over death, His light shining in the darkness and His everlasting hope over endless despair. For those who are on the outside, there is an invitation to come and experience the life of faith, hope and love in Christ. To be changed from the inside out and to live that life of sacrificial love, because He first loved us. For those of us on the inside who have been attending nativity plays for just a while, the encouragement to meet the Lord in new and fresh and wonderful ways this Christmas. In a dark world of pain that we might have that childlike wonder. In the words of a timeless carol: “Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace, Hail the Sun of Righteousness; Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings: Mild, He lays His glory by, Born that we no more may die; Born to raise us from the earth, Born to give us second birth.” ✱Very Rev Dr Charles McMullen, Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and Minister of Bangor West.

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Bringing Christmas home...

With just under a fortnight to go, it’s time to focus on putting the finishing touches to our homes in time for Christmas. For most of us, the emphasis is on making sure it’s looking its pristine best with enough space for friends and family to enjoy a festive welcome. If you haven’t got round to hanging up pictures or haven’t rearranged the furniture in a while, it’s a creative way to refresh a room and doesn’t cost a thing. Giving soft furnishings and rugs a good clean also brightens everything up. Place mirrors where they can maximise the light in dark spaces and reflect those sparkling fairy lights.

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019 Shop a Nordic look at the new Sofology store, opening at Boucher Road, Belfast, this weekend. Missouri sofa, £1,199, Sofology, www.

Luxe living

If you are shopping around for extras, look for fleecy throws, woollen blankets, sheepskin rugs and table lamps to create a cosy and welcoming living room. If you’re planning on doing lots of entertaining, make sure you have side tables positioned where your guests can easily reach them.

Amsterdam Light nest of two tables, £199, Next,

WARM GLOW: Hammered gold table lamp with burgundy shade, £44, Audenza,

Dine in style

In the dining area, declutter those hot spots where things can pile up and add some candles and soft lighting. If you’re in the market for a new dining suite, consider an extending table and bench seating to maximise the space. A hostess trolley is a smart and stylish addition if you need to have extra glasses and dishes on hand.

Round black retro drinks trolley, £68.95, Melody Maison,

Dawn large extending dining table, £499, Harvey Norman,

Sleep easy ✸

The bedrooms can be in demand as a sanctuary over the busy Christmas holidays – clearing out clutter and having fresh bedlinen ready for people coming home now will free you up to enjoy their company when they arrive. Add layers here too to make the room look and feel more embracing.

COSY TOES: Asiatic Adorn soft faux sheepskin floor rug, from £39, Cult Furniture, www.

SNUGGLE DOWN: Faux fur duvet cover and pillowcase set in grey or pink, £35–£65, Next,

SLEEP TIGHT: Ponoma cotton bedspread with pom poms in indigo, £75, MADE.COM,

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 9

Bath blitz

New towels, a bath mat, a plentiful supply of toiletries and a lush green plant are the perfect touches for a beautiful bathroom. Add tealights and book yourself in for a long soak while you’re at it.

Orange geometric towels, £11–£32, J by Jasper Conran, Debenhams, BRIGHT SIDE: Add a splash of colour with bathroom accessories, MW by Matthew Williamson, Debenhams, www.

AND RELAX: TruGlow realistic flame battery LED candles, £29.99, Lights4fun, www.

Rose gold wreath, £75, Jasmine & Lily Floral Wreaths,

Perfect porch

Don’t forget the entrance to your house – the front porch is the first thing everyone sees so make it as attractive and welcoming as you can. A new door mat, clean paintwork and brushed steps, a couple of planters and a beautiful wreath are just the ticket. And finally, make sure there’s somewhere for coats and boots to hang in the hallway so they don’t detract from your beautiful Christmas decorations.

STAIRWAY HEAVEN: Stylish storage and lighting set this staircase up for Christmas, Next, Hurricane lanterns, Harvey Norman,

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Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Mixed metallic features from Lights4Fun, www. Go all out with colour with this vibrant range, from £4.50, Paper Dreams, www. paper-dreams. and various stockists

Outdoor Christmas blue, multicolour & white string lights on trees, £20, Lights4fun,

A tree train set with lights and a 1.5m Nutcracker are among the stars of the Harvey Norman Christmas collection

Pack of 12 Nordic Christmas napkins, £1.95, Rex London,

Tall rustic metal Christmas tree, £36.95, Melody Maison, www.

Baby’s 1st Christmas bauble, £10.50, Annabel James

Polaris tree topper star in silver, bronze or gold, £12, Habitat Christmas crackers, £15.50, Annabel James

Home for Christmas sack, £18, Sophie Allport


By now the inflatable Santas and light shows dominating gardens are a good indicator of who’s feeling the festive spirit and who’s waiting to be persuaded. If your home is yet to be festooned or you are down to the finishing touches here are some suggestions for your shopping list. Wood Christmas wall plaque, £2.66, Melody Maison

Emma Bridgewater Christmas brights half pint mug, £19.50, Daisy Park and various stockists

Set of 3 red striped boxes for gifts or Christmas eve boxes, £11.99, Sue Ryder, Pure hurricane lantern, £60, Harvey Norman,

Christmas fragranced raffia wreath decorated with dried oranges, mini pumpkins, bay leaves, orange and Velvet Joy to the World cushion, apple slices and cinnamon sticks, £12.99, HomeSense, £17.99, Historic Royal Palaces,

The nativity collection from Willow Tree is a timeless classic, various stockists

Be creative with foliage and berries, whether real or faux, such as this selection from Next,

Christmas woodland filled cushion, £12, Harry Corry, www. Metal merry Christmas, £8, B&Q

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Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019



Check that you Having a have enough of everything: dinner party over cutlery, Christmas or new glassware, year or looking forward plates, bowls, to feeding the family on serving dishes Christmas Day? Here are and utensils, sauce boats, our tips for creating a place mats beautiful dining and coasters. If experience... you’re missing one or two pieces from your favourite dinner set, check out www. They have a vast range of items from dozens of manufacturers.


How to set the table, image LuxDeco,

Table centrepieces are a key part of creating a stunning Christmas table – but large ones are impractical. If you’re getting new candlesticks, opt for rimmed versions to catch any wax. Or if you have young children, go for faux candles. A string of fairy lights running through some freshly picked foliage, pine cones and berries is simple, stylish and fragrant. Fresh flowers look beautiful but keep them low so that everyone can see past them.



Whatever age group you’re catering for, spills are a possibility. Rather than risking your good table being damaged by hot fluids, put a table protector on first. You can buy them in a range of sizes or have one cut to measure.


If you’ve upgraded your dining suite this year, make sure your ‘good’ table cloth still fits. If you’re in the market for a new table cloth, aim for something classic and neutral that you can use at any time of year like a crisp white linen. The festive elements can be added through the place settings. A runner going down the centre is stylish as well as protecting your table cloth from spills of food or candle wax.


Your table will look more stunning if it fits with the decor in your dining room so have a browse around what’s available before you start shopping. A mix of different types or colour of plate works well in an eclectic scheme while fine china is lovely in a classical room.


Cutlery, glasses and silverware can be cleaned and polished in advance of Christmas day.

Letthemeat... instyle!

Golden leopard print crackers, £45, Cox & Cox,

Charger plates in red, silver or gold, £2, Primark


Placemats, coasters and napkins can work for you or let you down if they don’t go with everything else so keep the finished look you’re aiming for in mind before you shop.


When you’re setting the table, you can use a placemat or a charger plate or both – a round placemat looks best under a charger. Soup bowls go in the centre of the charger. Follow the diagram for placements. You’re welcome.

Place card holders can help keep the peace or make the occasion more special, including for children. These are by Ginger Ray but you can easily make your own. Silver tree place card holders, £4.99, Kraft Reindeer Shaped Place Cards, set of 10, £3.49, both

The Cosmic LED gold glass Christmas tree has a speckled, metallic paint finish and 10 low-energy bulbs, £20, Habitat, www.habitat.

Don’t worry about wax with these non drip Christmas Table taper candles in a range runner in festive design of of colours which burn Christmas red and white stars for 8 hours. Set of 8, and red tassels. Matching £25, Rebecca Udall, napkins and table cloths available. £16, Ragged Rose,

COLOUR PARTY: Old meets new in this whimsical, informal setting from HomeSense at TK Maxx

Set of 4 Luiza wine glasses, £32, Oliver Bonas

Judge Balmoral cutlery set, 44 pieces, £39.99 (rrp £80), Smyth Patterson

Empty the dishwasher before you start the dinner, so that tidying up is quicker and easier – don’t forget to check whether your best china and cutlery is dishwasher proof though. Don’t automatically reject any offers of help with the dishes – tidying up can involve sharing much more than the chores and can be the perfect opportunity to have a private word with someone.


If you have a large party, have everyone shift seats between courses so that people can catch up with each other. Keep toddlers and babies in high chairs and next to a parent or older sibling who won’t mind getting splattered in gravy. And if all that sitting at the table is making you stiff, take the after dinner drinks and coffees into the living room where the conversations can be carried on in comfort.

Gold script Merry Christmas confetti, £2.99, Ginger Ray,

Pure linen napkins in a range of muted shades – Dove Grey, Rosewood, Charcoal, Pure White or Natural Linen. Matching placemats available. Set of 4 napkins, £28, Tolly McRae,

Realistic flickering battery operated tea lights, £5.99, Lights4fun,

CLEAN AND CRISP: Santino 8-10 Seater extending dining table solid oak £699, Contour bone china dinner plate white £12, Linen napkin (set of 2) white £14, Connoisseur white wine glasses (set of 4) £45, Skultuna Nattlight candlestick medium £110, Tom Dixon form brass bowls set of 5 £80, Tom Dixon swirl dumbbell candleholder £130, all John Lewis

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Afeast offestive flavours from around theworld

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Jayne Quigg’s s a Christms recipe

For my first inspiration we are travelling to Columbia and this recipe is based on Ajaco, normally a hearty soup of chicken potatoes and corn on the cob, I have tried to refine it but capture the flavours and have finished the soup with roasted corn and chicken skin. This, like most soups, can be made a day or two in advance.

Chef Jayne Quigg has drawn on food traditions from across the globe for a new twist on festive favourites.


any countries traditionally eat their main meal on Christmas eve, with several of these in eastern Europe being a signpost to the end of their fasting which lasts through advent. For this they traditionally have 12 dishes made up of fish and vegetables. Other Orthodox countries have a similar feast on January 6, with their main indulgent feast on January 7, to mark the celebration of the three kings. Starters often feature soup of one variety or another and in Scandinavian cultures, smorgasbords or sharing boards are very common. In the Philippines, they traditionally serve a wheel of cheese with their main course to symbolise unity, a sense of coming together, belonging, which is what we all crave. Whether it is with family or friends, sharing food together creates a sense of community. I hope this year some of these recipes can be shared with your loved ones. Whether you make a meal together or buy it in, take time to appreciate your community, it is where you belong. For a starter may I suggest a small bowl or even an espresso cup full of flavourful soup inspired by my culinary travels around the world.

Columbian Chicken and Potato Soup

Ingredients 2 chicken thighs, skin on 4 scallions 8 baby potatoes, quartered 1 corn on the cob cut in half Small bunch of fresh coriander Dried thyme Water Salt and pepper Oil Knob of butter π Take the skin off one of the chicken thighs, scrape it well to remove excess fat, place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little salt, top with baking parchment and another tray, bake for 20 minutes at 180 or until nice and crispy. π Place the butter and oil in a pan; once bubbling,

Italian inspired Leg of Lamb

Turkey alternatives Many cultures like ours have a traditional bird for Christmas – goose, turkey (in Peru they serve it with apple sauce) and the like, however in Denmark and Estonia, duck with crackling is more popular. Parts of Italy favour lamb, with Norway eating mutton chops and pork belly. Many parts of the US prefer goose or beef wellington as they have already had turkey for Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, in many cultures the most common protein is pork, a meat that has fallen out of favour with many of us, despite it being a fairly lean piece of meat and very high in protein. This year I decided to take a couple of days to prepare and cook all the dishes, then get the family round to taste test. The duck was devoured, and declared the best duck ever by my children, my harshest critics.

add the seasoned chicken and cook on a relatively high heat for 10 minutes. Add the quatered potatoes and thyme. Lower the heat, cook for a further five minutes. π Add the corn, scallions and coriander, cover with water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked. π Remove the chicken, coriander, scallions and corn. Blend the potatoes and stock, taste and check for seasoning. π Shred the cooked chicken, butter roast the corn, remove from the cob, finely chop the remainder of the spring onions and coriander, break up crispy chicken skin. Either top the soup with fixings, or place soup in the centre of table and allow guests to serve themselves with soup and choice of toppings smorgasbord style.

Ingredients Leg of lamb Rosemary sprigs Garlic cloves halved Olive oil Salt

Festive Duck

This is number one in my alternatives to Christmas and super easy too. Ingredients 1 duck 1 bottle of mulled wine Carrot Half an onion Stick of celery Salt and pepper

Method π Find a casserole dish or pot that neatly fits your duck, place the duck in and cover with mulled wine. Leave overnight. π Next day lift the duck out of the marinade and allow to dry, place in a roasting tin with the vegetables, season well with salt and pepper. π Place on the bottom shelf of a 180 oven for three hours. π Meanwhile bring the marinade to the boil and reduce by two thirds. Once the duck is cooked remove from tin, add the stock from the duck to the marinade and reduce to the desired thickness for your gravy, season to taste.

Glass red/ white wine Carrot Celery Onion

Method π Spear holes in the lamb, chop the anchovies and mix with salt and pepper, rub over the lamb and leave overnight. π Next day fill the holes in the lamb with a sprig of rosemary and half clove of garlic. Once all the holes are filled, place in a baking tray with vegetables and cook for three hours at 180C. π Remove lamb from tray and place on a rack, cover with tinfoil with the shiny side against the lamb. π Add the wine to the pan and boil until reduced by two thirds. Add juices from the roasting pan, bring to the boil and simmer until the desired consistency.

16 | Family Life

Parmesan Hake with Chickpea Casserole and Courgetti

Pork Loin with Crackling From Mexico to Macedonia, Honduras, Germany, the Philippines and many more, people favour pork for Christmas day. Some have suckling pig, others pork belly or ham, this year I have done loin of pork with the perfect crackling.. Ingredients Pork loin Boiling water Salt Sage Pepper Carrot Onion Celery 450 ml cider Method π Pour boiling water over the skin of the loin; once cool enough to handle score the skin. π Cut the sage very fine (feel free to use dried), mix with the salt and pepper and rub all over the skin. π Place in a baking tray with the vegetables, add the cider, cook at 180C for 30 minutes per kg. π Once cooked, remove from tin to drain, add the stock to a pan, bring to the boil and reduce until you get the required consistency for your gravy. Season to taste.

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

For the health conscious low carb eaters, this is inspired by many of the fish dishes eaten through Europe with a beautiful sunshine sauce. Ingredients Turbot/hake/monkfish steaks Fresh grated Parmesan Onion Mixed peppers Spinach Tin Pinto beans/chickpeas Capers Courgetti Butter Oil Cherry tomatoes, halved Garlic puree Basil Tomato puree Oil Butter Salt and pepper

Method π Quarter the onion and slice thinly, cut the peppers the same size, chop the spinach and basil really finely. π Put on first pan, add butter, oil, garlic and peppers, cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes or until soft. π Add the tomato and garlic puree; cook for a couple of minutes then add the chickpeas or beans along with their water, season. Cook gently for 10 minutes. π Add the chopped basil, spinach and tomatoes, simmer gently for 5 minutes. π Chop and add capers. Taste and season as required. π Meanwhile put on another pan with butter and a little oil so it doesn’t burn. Turn the grill on. Once the butter has gone slightly golden add the fish, season and cook without turning for 3-4 minutes. Baste with the pan juices. Top with grated Parmesan then place under the grill for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has formed a crust. π Heat the courgetti, and serve.

Truffle Wellington My daughter Gina suggested this Truffle Wellington. It is expensive but simply divine and easier to make than you might think. My general guide is 200g of beef per person. You can use whatever mushrooms you like – I used white, chestnut and chanterelles. You can make this a little cheaper by using topside or silverside, and only using the truffle oil rather than fresh truffles. You can also do the browning of the beef and cooking of the mushrooms the day before. Ingredients All butter puff pastry Beef fillet (250g per person) Salt and pepper Shallot 4 sprigs of thyme Mushrooms Truffle Truffle oil 100g butter 4 slices of wholemeal bread Half glass white wine Method π Leave the beef out of the fridge for an hour to reach room temperature, season well all over with salt and pepper, heat the butter and 1 teaspoon of the truffle oil in a frying pan until the butter goes slightly golden, add the beef and brown it the whole way round – don’t forget to do both ends. Baste the beef with the butter.

Jayne Quigg’s s a Christms recipe

π If, like me, you have a thicker piece (see picture) or prefer your meat a little more well done, place in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes with a couple of sprigs of thyme. If you get the thinner end of the fillet omit the beef in the oven stage. Once cooked sufficiently, leave to cool, keeping the juices to make a gravy with later. π Meanwhile add 1 tbsp truffle oil to a pan. Once it is heated add the shallot and mushrooms, salt and pepper, cook down on a medium heat until the shallot is starting to get tender, add the glass of wine and cook down until all the liquid has evaporated; add some fresh grated truffle, taste and season accordingly. Allow to cool completely. π Roll out or cut the pastry to allow enough to wrap around the beef completely with a little overlay. π Cut the crusts off the bread and roll it out so it covers the pastry completely, slightly overlapping the pastry all except for a 2cm border around the end of the pastry. Brush the pastry borders with truffle oil then spread the bread with the mushroom and truffle mixture, place the beef in the centre and overlap with the pastry. Place the join at the bottom of the baking tray, make a steam hole in the top, and brush the entire wellington with truffle oil. π Place in a 200C oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked the whole way through. Once cooked, lift it out of the oven and allow to rest for 20- 30 minutes before serving.

Vegan Terrine

I have found that some of my vegan friends are not fans of mushroom. This vegan offering combines hot water crust pastry with French puy lentils and Mediterranean vegetables and not a mushroom in sight. Like many of the recipes for Christmas the prep can be done the day before so you just assemble it on the day. Ingredients FOR THE PASTRY 300g plain flour 70g vegetable shortening, diced 170ml water 1tsp salt FOR THE FILLING 3 lengthways sliced courgette Remainder of courgette diced small 2 lengthways sliced aubergine Remainder of aubergine diced small 5 slices of pepper roasted Remainder of pepper diced small 250g puy lentils 1 onion 1 tbsp dried sage 1 tbsp garlic puree 1 tbsp tomato puree Glass white wine Salt and pepper Olive oil Pint vegetable stock Method π Place the lentils in a pot, cover with 700ml cold water, bring to boil and simmer for five minutes. Set aside to cool, once cooled strain from water. π For the pastry, melt the shortening in the water over a medium heat; once melted add the sieved flour and salt and beat until it comes together. Place on cling film and put in the fridge to rest for an hour. π Heat some oil in a pot, finely chop the onion and cook over a medium heat until caramelised, seasoning with salt, pepper and sage. π Add the diced veg, tomato and garlic puree, cook over gentle heat for 10 minutes, add the lentils and glass of wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add the vegetable stock and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. π Season the veg slices and roast in an oven drizzled with oil for 15 minutes at 200C. Place on kitchen roll to drain off excess oil. π Once the lentils have cooked, ensure all of the sauce has cooked down into a thick paste – if it is too watery the pastry will be soggy. π Remove pastry from the fridge and cut off a quarter. π Oil (I use spray oil) the loaf tin, roll the large piece of pastry out and line the tin with pastry. π Place a quarter of the lentils on the bottom of the pie in an even layer, followed by a layer of roasted aubergine, then add another quarter of lentils, a layer of roast peppers, a layer of lentils, a layer of roasted courgette, and finish with a layer of lentils. π Roll out the remaining pastry and place on the top, crimp the lid and sides together, put a ventilation hole in the top, brush with choice of milk and cook for 45 minutes at 180C. π Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


Family Life | 17

MashDirect’sChristmas Boxsavingyoutimeand hasslethisChristmas


Order online today for a wonderful, stress free Christmas

he award winning brand Mash Direct presents its Christmas Box filled with a festive selection of ‘field to fork’ vegetable side dishes. Order your festive feast by December 17 for it to arrive in time for Christmas!

Carrot and Parsnip

Serving the Mash Direct range can save hours in the kitchen prepping vegetables, allowing more time to appreciate the festivities with loved ones. Ranging from traditional favourites such as Mashed Potato, Carrot & Parsnip and Roast Potatoes to contemporary dishes including Red Cabbage & Beetroot, Honey Glazed Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, as well as their new Stuffing Bites, Mash Direct’s Christmas Box has all the veg you will need for a fuss free festive spread. A family business through six generations, Mash Direct uses high-quality natural ingredients to produce innovative, top quality side dishes for easy home entertaining and effortless Christmas dining. The vegetables are gently steam cooked immediately after harvesting, guaranteeing an unrivalled freshness of flavour with no compromise on either the nutritional benefits or natural texture of the vegetable. Their impressive farm fresh range is 100% gluten free and provides the

Honey Glazed Parsnips

inspiration, choice and variety for home cooked meals and family celebrations this Christmas. Sales Director at Mash Direct, Lance Hamilton, said: “It is important to maintain the wonderful Christmas traditions of spending time with family and friends as well as sparking our festive taste buds. Our whole range offers the convenience of little preparation, quick cooking times, nutritional value and maximum flavours to bring our customers the best of the season.” Visit to discover Mash Direct’s entire range of Mash Boxes. Alternatively, the Mash Direct range can be found in multiple retailers and independents across Northern Ireland.

Stuffing Bites

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Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019


Sidesfor Christmas

As so many countries cook 12 sides, this year I thought I would do the same. Some dishes were vegan, others low carb, some were both and none of them were traditional roast potatoes. Some we had to adapt, but all of them I enjoyed experimenting with. I have made all of the side dishes vegetarian, however, it is possible to add bacon to several or substitute dairy/eggs to make the dishes vegan.

Potato Pie

Jayne Quigg’s s a Christms recipe

1Potato & Turnip Cake

This originates from a French dish of individual patties. For celebrations I prefer to make it in a frying pan so that it can be shared. Ingredients 400g mash potato 400g cooked and mashed turnip Fresh nutmeg 30g garlic butter 1 tsp olive oil Salt and pepper

π Mix together the potato and turnip, season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. π Heat half of the garlic butter and the oil in a thick frying pan on medium high heat, press the potato mixture down so it fills the pan. Cook on a medium heat to form a caramelised crust. Flip it onto a plate, add the remainder of the butter to the pan; slip the pie back into the pan, white side down and cook as before. π This works well with the pork or lamb. Personally, I happily eat this dish on its own, I generally steam my turnip above my potatoes, however, you could use store bought cooked mash and turnip.

2Potato Bake

Inspired by the Swedish dish Jansson’s Frestelse, often served at celebrations, traditionally it has fish added to it. Feel free to add anchovies or substitute the mushroom ketchup with Worcestershire sauce. This dish works particularly well with the lamb or fish. Ingredients 4 large floury potatoes cut into matchsticks 300ml double cream 200ml water Dill Salt and pepper Butter 3 plashes of mushroom ketchup Method π Grease the casserole dish with the butter. Mix the ingredients together, pour into casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and crunchy on top.

3Warm Potato & Fig Salad

A great dish with few ingredients – perfect with the new Comber potatoes in the summer, or here as a celebration. Works well with both waxy and floury potatoes – the key is to dry them well once they have cooked. Ingredients 3-4 baby potatoes per person 1 fig per 4 potatoes Fig balsamic Olive oil 1 tsp Ras el hanout (spice mix) Salt and pepper

Method π Add the spices and salt to a pot of boiling water, add the potatoes, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Drain and allow to steam dry in colander, cut in half and set out on an ovenproof serving dish. π Cut the figs into eight lengthways, put between the potatoes. In a small jar or bottle place 1 part balsamic to 3 parts olive oil or melted butter, salt and pepper; shake and pour over the potatoes and fig, place under the grill for 4-5 minutes or until the potatoes have formed a crisp layer on top – serve as is or on top of salad leaves.

4Celeriac Dauphinoise Scandinavian countries love to use turnip and celeriac over the festive period. This is loosely based on a dauphinoise and would work well with the pork dish.

Ingredients 1 celeriac peeled and sliced 300ml double cream Milk Garlic Butter/walnut oil 1 tsp cider vinegar Salt and pepper Method π Use a mandolin or potato peeler to cut the celeriac as thin as possible. Rub garlic around the casserole dish, then cover in butter or walnut oil. π Place the cream on a low heat, add the garlic clove, salt and pepper, and heat gently for 5 minutes. Add the celeriac and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until soft, season with cider vinegar. π Place mixture in prepared casserole dish and dot with butter, bake for 15 minutes at 180C, or under a medium grill for 5 minutes.

5Leek, Feta and Filo Pie

Based on the Macedonian dish Zeinik, the original uses yeasted dough which we found heavy so we are using the Greek version, filo pastry. The filling is super tasty.

Ingredients 150g butter Filo pastry 3 large leeks Pepper 150g Feta cheese 150g Cottage cheese Method π Place 100g of the butter in a large frying pan, chop and add the leeks. Cook gently until fully cooked (30 – 40 minutes), making sure not to colour the leeks. Crumble in the feta and cottage cheese, mix well, season to taste. π Brush a 20cm flan dish well with 50g of melted butter, place a layer of the filo pastry, brush with butter and add on another layer. Do this four times, finishing with a pastry layer. Top with the filling, pressing down well. Top with a layer of pastry and a brush of melted butter until there are four layers of pastry in the lid, finish with a layer of butter. Trim the excess pastry and bake at 180C for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden. This dish can be served hot or cold and is great as a lunch with some salad.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

6Stuffed Cabbage

Traditionally a Romanian dish where they stuff the cabbage with meat and offal, this is my Christmassy veggie version using all the flavours of Christmas, and is a great way of using up traditional leftovers.

Ingredients Cabbage leaves, steamed for 5 min Grated heart of cabbage/sprouts Half a finely chopped onion Carrot, grated Chestnuts 1tsp sage 1tsp parsley 100g bread crumbs 200ml veg stock Cranberry sauce (optional) 1tbsp olive oil Method π Cut the stocks from the leaves, I use one leaf per person (this should make six). π Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the vegetables and herbs, cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts, and heat for 5 minutes, add the stock, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs, season to taste, add cranberry sauce if desired. Divide the filling and place in the centre of each leaf, wrap the leaves and steam for a further 5 minutes. This is an excellent stuffing in its own right, you can make it into stuffing balls, or place in a loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes, then serve in slices.


Cheeseboard Cauli & Broccoli Gratin

This is something I serve throughout the year and is great for using up leftover bits of cheese. The sauce can be used for pasta, mixed through mash or to top vegetables or a chicken breast or pork chop. It is a truly versatile sauce and even freezes. If you are feeling nostalgic, use the sauce as a fondue. Ingredients Steamed cauliflower and broccoli 150g cream cheese 100ml double cream 100ml milk 200g assorted cheese Salt and pepper Mustard powder (optional)

Method π Use whatever cheeses you have – brie, smoked, herby soft cheese, Stilton. Place the milk, cream, soft cheese and milk in a pan over a medium heat, warm until bubbling, whisking continuously. π Grate the hard cheeses and add half to the sauce, taste and season accordingly. Pour sauce over cauliflower and broccoli, top with remaining cheese, place under the grill until bubbling on top and golden. For a crunchier topping add panko breadcrumbs.

8Spicy Apple & Red Cabbage

The Germans love their cabbage whether it is fermented, pickled or cooked with spices and apple as it is here. This is so good it should not be reserved just for Christmas. Ingredients 1 red onion, sliced Half red cabbage, shredded 2 peeled, sliced apples 75ml cider vinegar Black pepper 25g butter Mulled spices (optional)

Method π I love the festive mulled version here but if you prefer use it without. Place 75ml of water

Family Life | 19 Sweet Potato Pie

Jayne Quigg’s s a Christms recipe

and 75ml vinegar in a pot, add mulled spices and heat gently for 20 minutes without boiling. Leave to cool and strain. π Melt butter in a pan, add the carrot and onion, cook on a gentle heat until soft, add the cabbage vinegar and water, cover and cook on a gentle heat for 1-2 hours. Season to taste.

9Chickpea Casserole

For this recipe see the Hake recipe above, this can be a stand alone dish, is great simply with some sourdough bread, or as a side. I like to always keep some of it in the freezer – it is super tasty and versatile.

10Butter Bean Casserole

This was inspired by a dish I had at a breakfast buffet in Finland and works great at any time of day. Ingredients Tin butter beans drained 1 chopped onion Tin tomatoes 1 tbsp oil 2 sprigs thyme Sprig rosemary 1 tbsp tomato puree 1 tsp mushroom ketchup (vegetarian option) or Worcestershire sauce Method π Heat oil in pan, add the onion and cook until soft, add tomato puree, cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, simmer gently for 20 minutes, remove the thyme and rosemary. Season to taste.

11Sweet Potato Pie

A low carb side dish for slimmers, this is also really tasty and gluten free.

Ingredients Half cauliflower, riced 50g grated Parmesan 1 egg, whisked 800g sweet potatoes (or squash) Half tsp chilli powder Half onion 5 cloves 1 tbsp oil 2 dried chillies or 1 tsp chilli flakes Salt and pepper 100g cream cheese Method π Boil the sweet potatoes, above them steam the cauliflower for 5-10 minutes or until soft along with the cloves and dried chillies. Drain the cauliflower and squeeze out any excess water. Continue cooking the sweet potatoes until tender, steam dry. π For the pastry mix the cauliflower, Parmesan and half the egg into a paste, press this into a pie dish to form a crust, bake at 160C for 25 minutes or until set and golden. π Gently fry the onion with the chilli powder until golden and crispy. Remove the onions from

the oil onto kitchen roll to drain, keep the pan on. π Mash the sweet potato, add to the onion pan with the cream cheese and blend together. Add the remainder of the egg and place in the pie crust. Turn the oven up to 180C and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. π Put the crispy onions on the top, you can also add crispy bacon and feta cheese.

12Asian Tender Stem Broccoli

Inspired by a trip this year, the Asian flavours are a taste explosion. This works great with the vegetarian or duck dish. Just make sure no one is allergic to sesame or soya – if so, replace the soy with mushroom ketchup and the sesame with another seed.

Ingredients Tender stem broccoli 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tsp honey 1 pinch 5 spice 1 tsp sesame seeds 1 tsp soy sauce Pinch chilli flakes Method π Steam broccoli for 5 minutes. In a dry frying pan heat the sesame seeds and chilli flakes for 2 – 3 minutes, add the broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes. π Add the rest of the ingredients and warm through. Serve immediately.

20 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019


Red Velvet Cake

The most popular Christmas pud remains rice pudding, and these versions belong firmly in the ‘love it’ camp. I have done an Indian inspired version, with sweet carrots, and a Scandinavian version with morello cherries and amoretto, in homage to the Scandinavian tradition of hiding an almond in the rice pudding. Whoever gets it might expect marriage or money in the coming year. For a lighter dessert we go to Mexico for Crème Caramel Christmas style, and for our alternatives to Christmas cake we have an Austrian Sachertorte, an almond based gluten free chocolate cake, and jump over the pond to USA for a Red Velvet Cake with marshmallow icing – so festive in red and white. Sachertorte

Jayne Quigg’s s a Christms recipe

Crème Caramel Christmas style Makes 4 – 6 depending on the size of ramekins. I work on 750 ml of liquid, the only downside to this is if you try to make a sharing one it tends to split slightly down the middle. Ingredients Cinnamon stick Cloves All spice berries Star anise 200g sugar 70ml pure orange 500ml milk 3 large eggs 2 egg yokes Vanilla extract or paste Orange liqueur (optional) 4-6 ramekins Method π Divide the sugar in half, bruise the spices slightly and add to half the sugar and leave for 24 – 48 hours. Sieve to remove spices, place in a small saucepan with orange juice and cook, stirring with a metal spoon until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil without stirring until a caramel is formed. π Butter your ramekins, divide the caramel between the ramekins. π Whisk the egg and sugar until combined, heat the milk gently with the vanilla and liqueur if using, bring to a gentle simmer. π Pour the milk slowly into the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Put back onto the heat and gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Divide between the ramekins, place them in a roasting tin and cover the ramekins half way up with boiling water. Put into the oven and bake at 160C for 15-20 minutes or until just set. π Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least four hours before serving.


Named after chef Franz Sacher in 1832, traditionally this contains flour and ground almonds. I love my gluten free version – it’s rich, decadent, and really satisfying. Be warned – a small slice is enough to give you your chocolate hit. If you love brownies, you will love this. (For nut allergies the almonds can be replaced by coconut meal, or a mixture of coconut and cornmeal.) Ingredients 150g dark chocolate (min 70%) 150g softened butter 120g caster sugar 5 free range eggs, separated 150g ground almonds, sifted Icing 150 ml double cream 1tbsp apricot jam 1tbsp glycerine (optional) 150g dark chocolate.

Red Velvet Cake Method π Melt half the chocolate. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the egg yokes. Whisk the egg whites. π Fold the almonds and melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Once incorporated, fold in one third of the egg white being careful not to knock out all the air. Add the remainder of the egg whites. π Place in a greased and lined 20cm cake tin and bake at 150C for 1 hour. Wait 15 minutes before turning out onto the cooling rack. π Chop remainder of the chocolate finely, heat the double cream gently and add the jam and glycerine. Once simmering but not boiling add to the finely chopped chocolate, don’t worry it looks wrong to start with, just keep stirring until it comes together. Leave for 5 minutes before pouring over the now cooled cake.

Perfect Rice Pudding Ingredients 50g butter Sugar 100g pudding rice 1L full cream milk 150ml double cream Method π Preheat oven to 140C, place the butter in a casserole dish and place on the hob. Add the sugar, cook gently for 5 minutes, tip in the rice and coat with the mixture. Cook for a further 5 minutes, add the milk and stir well, making sure there are no lumps. Add chosen spices and zest. Simmer for 5 minutes, add the cream, bring back to a simmer add a pinch of salt, remove the bay leaf, cover and bake for 2 hours.

Option 1, Indian π Extra pudding ingredients: Half tsp ground cardamom, Zest of 1 orange, bay leaf π Sauce ingredients: 10g butter, 50g sugar, orange segments, 15ml orange juice/liqueur Method: Melt the sugar into a caramel, add the orange liqueur or pure orange juice, 2 knobs of butter and orange segments, pith removed. Place at the bottom of the rice pudding or pour over the top. Option 2, Scandi π Extra pudding ingredients: quarter tsp grated nutmeg, quarter tsp cinnamon, bay leaf, vanilla extract, zest of half a lemon π Sauce ingredients: 50g sugar, 400g morello cherries, 50ml amoretto/50ml water and almond extract Method: Heat the morello cherries and sugar in a pot, add the amoretto or almond essence and water, boil until it forms a syrup, serve dotted over the pudding.

The colours here sing Christmas. Cheat and buy a jar of marshmallow fluff from the supermarket or farm shop. I prefer butter cream in the middle. Go super festive and make the middle icing green. Ingredients 150g Vegetable shortening softened 150g self raising flour 50g cocoa powder 1 tsp vanilla extract 75l butter milk/ natural yogurt 3 eggs, beaten Red food colouring gel For marshmallow fluff 2 egg whites 120g granulated sugar 60ml water 90ml glycerine Half tsp cream of tartar 1 tsp vanilla extract Pinch of salt Method π Beat together shortening and sugar with vanilla until light and fluffy, sieve together the flour and cocoa powder. Add a third of the egg followed by a third of dry ingredients, mixing gently. Repeat until all mixed, π Add some red food colouring to the buttermilk, mix well adding enough to make a deep red colour, add to the cake mixture. π Divide between 2 greased and lined 20cm sandwich tins. Bake at 180C for 25 – 30 minutes or until cooked. Allow to cool before turning out onto cooling racks. For the marshmallow fluff π Place the sugar, water and glycerine into a pot and heat gently until sugar has dissolved, simmer for 5 minutes, ensuring it does not start to colour. π Place egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in bowl and whisk until light and fluffy, but don’t over-whip. Put mixer on low speed and while whisking slowly drizzle in the sugar syrup, until it’s incorporated and the mix is light and fluffy. Add vanilla if desired, cover your cake. π If you have some fluff left over simply put it in a jar and use it for smores or to top off your hot chocolate.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph Galway Crystal Clarity gin & tonic party glasses, £9.95, Smyth Patterson,

Family Life | 21

Giftsforcooks andfoodies

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Buying for a foodie or someone who loves to cook or host dinner? These gifts will help get their creative juices flowing... Cast iron Le Creuset 24cm Balti dish or Karahi, in range of colours, suitable for all hob types, £130, various stockists Handmade Moroccan tagine in Tunisian rainbow colours, £44.99, Amazon, www.

These four fish shaped measuring spoons include 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon and are gift packaged, £16.50, At Home In The Country, www.

Set of three gold sieves, designed by Danish brand, Bloomingville, £42.50, Audenza,

If they have their own chef’s knives, they can carry them in style with a Boldric leather knife bag with 8 slots, £99,

Dual purpose carving fork, that tests the inner cooking temperatures of meat and poultry, Kitchen Craft electronic deluxe thermometer fork, £14.99, various stockists

The Ballyhackamore All-in-one Aeropress Coffee Maker makes a smooth Americano style coffee. The set includes 125g Colombian Supremo coffee, SD Bell’s GreatTaste Award-Winning coffee and 125g GreatTaste Award-Winning Barista 1887, £40, SD Bells in Belfast,

Set of truffle oils made with the highest quality European Black Truffles (Tuber Aestivum) and European White Truffles (Tuber Borchii) in extra virgin olive oil, £20.95, Truffle Hunter,

Their own apron – get it personalised with a logo embroidered, from about £12,

A hamper full of locally made goodies from Belfast institution Sawers, College Street Hamper Box, £46,

22 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Nogames,justsets andmatches BY MAUREEN COLEMAN IF you’re stuck for inspiration for presents for your family this Christmas, skincare and make-up gift sets are a perfect idea. The great thing about gift sets is that they cater for all budgets. If you’ve plenty of cash to splash, there are sets of pure indulgence but if you’re counting the pennies, stocking filler sets make lovely presents too. Many of the big brand companies have launched an entire range of gift sets this Christmas, and not just for the ladies. Men too like to look their best over the festive season.

12 Days of Christmas Calendar, £60, Clarins


There are some fabulous ✸

Hydrate and Glow gift set, £50, Bobbi Brown the metallic trend and Bobbi Brown’s Smoke and Metals Eye Shadow Palette, at £36.50, has beautiful shades to choose from. Specially curated sets on offer include Hydrate and Glow Skincare Essentials collection. Go for Gold with this illuminating skincare trio.

Go Go Ginseng, £30, Origins

For the ultimate in luxury for the leading lady in your life, Clarins’ 12 Days of Christmas Calendar is ideal. Starting on Christmas Day, open each window to discover iconic Clarins products as well as some new favourites to help your skin look flawless this festive season. There’s everything from soothing and comforting skincare to make-up perfect to create New Year’s look.

Men’s Essentials Collection, £40, Clarins

Origins’ magical must-haves include the Go Go Ginzing set which works around the clock to perk up tired complexions and the amazing Glow As You Go kit (£30). Origins Grooming Essentials For Men contains facial wash, soothing treatment lotion, moisturiser and energising shaving cream.

Bright Magic Skin Glow Set, £40, Charlotte Tilbury Packaged in a limited edition, dreamy, starshaped, golden-trimmed box, Bright Magic Skin Glow features the award-winning Charlotte’s Magic Cream and the globally-loved Brightening Youth Glow primer, which has silver pearl reflector pigments for lit-fromwithin radiance. (Worth £64) Renewing Vibes, £75, Murad Fast-acting Retinol Tri-Active Technology

Men’s set, £35, Origins

Men’sCorner Ultimate Grooming Collection, £45 ESPA

Be Radiant Gift Set, £78, Dermalogica

Make-up lovers, look no further than Bobbi Brown’s gorgeous gift sets. Top of many women’s Santa wish-list this year will be the Luxe Gem Eye Shadow Palette, containing shadows in rich jewel tones and luxurious textures – perfect for the party season. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without

The Optimal Collection, £80, ESPA ESPA work with skincare specialists such as dermatologists, biochemists and aromatherapists to create the most innovative, natural and effective products and treatments. This collection features a cleanser, moisturiser and serum which work in harmony with your skin to nourish, balance and restore radiance. ESPA is hands down one of my favourite skincare brands on the planet and everyone I’ve recommended it to has become a fan too. (Worth £131)

Turn your home into a mini spa or treat her to some relaxing down time, with the Clarins Spa at Home Collection (£42), or if you’re looking for a Secret Santa gift or a cute stocking filler, the Prime & Pout Cracker, containing Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer and Lip Comfort Oil, is a snip at £10. And not forgetting the guys, Clarins’ Men Essentials Collection contains products such as Super Moisture Balm, Active Face Wash and Shave Ease Oil.

skincare gift sets this Christmas so whether you are looking to stock up on your favourite brand or try something new, there are plenty of options. The best part about treating yourself (or someone else) to a gift set is that generally it’s much better value for money than buying the products individually. Here is my pick of the bunch.

Luxe Gem Eye Shadow Palette, £59, Bobbi Brown

Skincare, wrapped

Christmas is about connecting with other people and this year, Dermalogica has teamed up with street artist Kelsey Montague for its holiday collection. With five kits priced from £13 to £80, each features unique packaging artwork based on Kelsey’s murals. Gift sets include Be Radiant, a brightening, firming duo delivering glowing skin, the Ultimate Cleanse and Glow Trio (£128), a trio of bestsellers, including Dermalogica favourite Daily Microfoliant, Bright and Defend (£52), a best selling duo of serum and moisturiser, Phyto-Replenish Body Oil Holiday Edition (£47) and Be Bright, this year’s holiday ornament, at £13.

If you’re planning to treat one of the men in your life to some top notch skincare saviours then look no further than ESPA’s Ultimate Grooming Collection. This soothing set of products revitalises and replenishes to reveal an enlivened complexion. The set contains Triple-Action Grooming Oil, Invigorating Face Wash, Energising Shower Gel and The Hydrator (moisturiser) and makes daily grooming feel more like a trip to the spa.

Ultimate Grooming Collection, £45 ESPA

Dividends Shave Cream, £19.10, Dividends Aftershave Balm, £26.75, Nu Skin

Dividends Shave Cream, £19.10, Dividends Aftershave Balm, £26.75, Nu Skin

This duo can be bought individually or as a set and is the perfect skin treat for men on the go. The shave cream cleanses, exfoliates and conditions as you shave for a comfortable, smooth after-feel, while the balm makes facial hair softer and finer ensuring your shave lasts longer.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 23

Stockingfillers ✸

Glowy Vibes, £10, Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, 15ml, is a luxurious and best-selling moisturiser that provides 24-hour hydration to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic Acid Technology enhances the skin’s ability to attract and retain water for intense, long-lasting hydration and a healthy glow.

unites with a dual-phase daily peel to help visibly reduce fine lines, deliver intense nourishment and leave you with a radiant, youthful glow. The set features Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel, 10ml, Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, 30ml Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum, 5ml and Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream, 7ml.

Pro-Collagen Rose Glow, £85, Elemis Elemis’s iconic nourishing Rose cleansing balm is a real treat for dull or sensitive skin, while the hydrating mist is a useful addition to any handbag - especially as our skin combats harsh winter weather and stuffy indoor heating. The soothing candle with the comforting aroma of English Roses is a beautiful addition to any living space. The set is worth a whopping £119 and also includes a Luxury Cleansing Cloth.

Nutricentials Collection, £164.99, Nu Skin If you want the ultimate collection of skincare treats, Nu Skin’s Nutricentials set features a cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, day cream and night cream. The Nutricentials line is specially formulated to fit all skin types – from normal to dry and oily to combination skin and works to navigate the effects of late nights, pollution and UV rays, keeping skin balanced and healthy.

Glow On The Go Box, £60, Emma Hardie I’m a massive fan of Emma Hardie and obsessed with the brand’s cult Moringa cleansing balm, I’ve insisted that friends and family of all ages and skin types try it and every single one of them LOVED it. This set is packed with products that will help to achieve glowing, healthy-looking skin all year round:

Moringa Cleansing Balm (50ml), Moisture Boost Vit C Cream (20ml), Brilliance Facial Oil (30ml) and Dual Action Cleansing Cloth. The individual products are worth £98.68, so this is an absolute steal.

Secrets of Algae Kit, £90, Algenist This luxury skincare collection includes three best-sellers formulated with patented Alguronic Acid. Genius Liquid Collagen (30ml) boasts a breakthrough collagen-based vegan formulation of plant Collagen and Microalgae Oil beads to help restore skin’s bounce and resilience in just 10 days. The Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream (30ml) helps visibly restore the skin resiliency and elasticity. Complete Eye Renewal Balm (7ml) The formula combines Alguronic Acid, Vitamin C, and Caffeine, as well as Cucumber, Aloe and Green Tea Extracts to help minimise visible signs of ageing and hydrate the eye area for a recharged and rejuvenated appearance.

Body Oil Collection, £32, ESPA A combination of plant actives, marine actives and essential oils deeply nourish the skin and soothe the senses. The collection features six different body oils to suit your needs. (Fitness/Resistance/Restorative/Soothing/ Energising/Detoxifying - 15ml each).

Eau Dynamisante Collection, £36, Clarins If you’re interested in a classic scent, then look no further than Clarins Eau Dynamisante. The iconic scent from Clarins, contains lemon, rosemary, ginger and aloe vera in a refreshing citrus fragrance that uplifts and revitalise the senses. The set includes Eau Dynamisante Spray 100ml Eau Dynamisante Body Lotion 100ml and Exfoliating Body Scrub 30ml.

Daily Essentials Collection, £20, Emma Hardie If you have not been won over by Emma Hardie yet the Daily Essentials Collection is the perfect way to trial the range without breaking the bank. It includes the fabulous Moringa Cleansing Balm, a Cleansing Cloth, Protect & Prime SPF 30 (15ml) and Midas Touch Revitalising Cream (15ml). This mini set is also perfect for on the go use, weekends away or mini-breaks!

Christmas Cracker, £32, Jo Malone If you’re really trying to impress, Jo Malone’s Christmas Cracker is the perfect fragrant flourish for your festive dining table and is available in two designs. Filled with a trio of scented surprises, it features English Pear & Freesia Cologne (9ml), Blackberry & Bay Body & Hand Wash (15ml) and Basil & Neroli Body Crème (15ml).

Mini Hot Lips Charms, £25, Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte Tilbury has a fabulous range of trinkets for under £30. One of my favourites has to be this dinky trio of lipsticks. This year Charlotte launched 11 Hot Lips shades in homage to 11 icons; rule breakers, record makers and history shakers, including Amal Clooney and JK Rowling. The collection was released in support of Women for Women International, which helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives, and includes a magical £1 million pledge to the charity.

24 | Family Life

Giftsforher ✸

Lolita Por Vida, £38, Kat Von D This stunning vegan eyeshadow palette includes 18 romantic shades in matte, shimmer, foil and super-glitter finishes. With everyday warm, neutral, and mauve tones you can add dimension, glitz it up or indulge with creamy metallics, it’s the perfect set to take you from day to night and everything in between.

Mascara and eyelash/brow treatment, £58.50, Nu Skin If your lashes are in need of a little TLC, Nu Colour Nutriol Eyelash Treatment, £30.99, is a conditioning treatment featuring Tricalgoxyl (a seaweed derivative rich in polysaccharides) which strengthens and lengthens delicate lashes from roots to tips. This clear gel can be used alone or under mascara. Nu Colour Curling Mascara Black, £27.55, features an easy-to-use, lightly curved brush and is formulated to separate lashes, giving them that long-lasting curling power without clumping.

Starry Eyed Kit, £49, MAC MAC’s eye kit comes in smoky or neutral shades and includes in extreme dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara, Liquidlast 24-hour waterproof liner and two star-embossed Extra Dimension eye shadows. It’s beautifully contained in a black bag with rose gold glitter lattice.

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

5 Of A Kind Pure Colour Envy Lipstick Collection, £54, Estée Lauder This eye-catching collection is worth £135 and features five (full sized) shades to capture every mood: Insatiable Ivory, Powerful, Carnal, Insolent Plum and Emotional. Highly pigmented but intensely moisturising, lips are left with a beautifully soft, velvety texture that’s hard to resist.

Hot Buttered Rum Mini Eyeshadow Palette, £22, Too Faced This rum-scented eyeshadow palette of rich, coppery neutrals will keep you feeling warm and fuzzy all year long. Particularly stunning on blue eyes, this set is a real eye-opener and the pigments last really well too.

Mini Magic Brush Set, £35, Charlotte Tilbury A travel-friendly sized set of four essential make-up brushes beautifully contained in a luxe midnight blue velvet case, perfect to pop in the handbag if you’re out and about!

Restore Gift Set, £27, Living Proof Perfect and protect hair with this conditioning detangler with heat and UV protection. It gives dry, damaged hair an instant boost of hydration, and leaves hair looking and feeling healthier, restoring natural softness and smoothness. Includes full size and travel size.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 25

Gloves, £18, Dorothy Perkins, www. Stylish and warm, she’ll love these leather gloves with faux fur trim.

Beauty Kitchen Rainbow Bath Bombs, £10, Boots, Stir your senses and turn your bath into a skin-loving soak. With five rainbow colours and natural fragrances to choose from, these baby bombs are packed full of essential oils to relax the mind and boost your mood.

TicWatch C2 Smartwatch, £125.99, Harvey Norman and other stockists Stylish and functional with leather straps and a stainless steel watch case, the winner of the iF Design Award 2019 and Red Dot Design Award 2019 is smart inside and out. It’s loaded with features to track your health and power you throughout the day.

Leopard Print Scarf, £12.99, New Look, A cosy, warm and comfortable scarf is the perfect cold weather accessory for winter. This stylish and affordable scarf from New Look is a gift that will get plenty of use all the way through to spring.

NutriBullet Smoothie Maker, £57.99, Get the new year off to the healthiest start with this go-to smoothie maker, complete with recipe book.

GHD Glide Hot Brush, £139, various stockists Tame and smooth dry hair quickly and effortlessly with the first professional hot brush from ghd. Perfect for second day hair, the brush eliminates frizz so hair is transformed in just a few quick strokes and leaves salon smooth natural movement.

Versace Crystal Noir Eau de Parfum, £64, various stockists Makes scents: A bottle of her favourite perfume is always a hit, like the effortlessly bold and daring Versace Crystal Noir.

26 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019


Men can be tricky enough to buy for at the best of times. To save you that headache, here’s a few ideas to help you figure what to get the men in your life for Christmas...

Google Nest Mini, £49,

Tom Ford Noir Eau de Parfum 50ml, £70, various stockists A distinct and wintry fragrance, Tom Ford Noir will have those closeby leaning in for a second whiff.


Bleu de Chanel by Chanel Eau de Parfum 50ml, £68, various stockists A timeless scent and a timeless deep blue bottle. Bleu De Chanel is a fragrance you will want all year round that will find a place in any man’s collection.

Harry’s Christmas Winston Gift Set, £25, various stockists Harry’s Christmas Winston Gift Set comes packed with all the trimmings for a close, comfortable shave: durable blades, aloeinfused shave gel, cooling post-shave balm and a handy travel blade cover.

Google Nest Mini, £49, various stockists

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, £120,

JBL Charge 4, £129.95, various stockists The JBL Charge 4 speaker will last all day, sounds great, can put up with all kinds of abuse (including water) and even charges your phone up.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, £255, various stockists Perfect for flights and daily commutes, the Sony WH-1000XM3s are a comfortable fit with stellar noise-cancelling performance and excellent sound quality.

Dents Casual Suede Gloves, £26,

M&S Suede Slipon Slippers, £27.50, A great value pair of slippers that are lined with faux fur to be supremely warm and cosy, perfect for unwinding after a long day.

Fred Perry Winter Tartan Scarf, £50, www.fredperry. com

Anonymous Ism 5 Colour Mix Crew Socks, £15, www. Japanese brand Anonymous Ism are known for eye-catching socks that are as cosy as they are colourful.

M&S Suede Slip-on Slippers, £27.50,

Dents Casual Suede Gloves, £26, various stockists The perfect casual glove for winter. Made from soft pigsuede and with a warm checked fleece lining, these make for a perfect stocking filler.

Harris Tweed Herringbone Wash Bag, £20, www.johnlewis. com Crafted from genuine Harris wool tweed in a signature herringbone weave, this wash bag will transport your grooming essentials in classically refined fashion.

Fred Perry Winter Tartan Scarf, £50, various stockists This Fred Perry scarf uses a classic tartan pattern and is knitted in Scotland from pure lambswool, meaning it’s as warm as it is stylish.

Tall Tales and Wee Stories by Billy Connelly, £9.99, various stockists Sure to be a popular stocking filler, Tall

Tales and Wee Stories is the latest book by Billy Connelly that will have its reader in stitches.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, £120, Perfect for any keen reader, the Kindle Paperwhite is easy on the eyes and is akin

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 27

Lookyourfestive bestthiswinter

C AeroPress Coffee Maker, £28, various stockists

Tall Tales and Wee Stories by Billy Connelly, £9.99 (hardback), various stockists

GoPro HERO8, £379,

hristmas is the most wonderful time of the year — except for when it comes to protecting yourself against the winter freeze. Don’t let dried out skin and cracked lips get in the way of your festive cheer. The cold weather makes our skin drier which causes chapping, redness, sensitivity, irritation and more unpleasantness. So start your morning routine with a more hydrating face wash, rather than your year-round staple, to help retain your skin’s moisture. A good facial scrub can also give your face a healthy glow as it clears the skin of dead cells that clog up pores, cause blackheads and make your complexion appear dull and uneven. Since the cold is already harsh on your skin, use a lighter face scrub and limit yourself to using it only once or twice a week. You can go a step further in perking up your appearance by applying a toner. Toners with salicylic acid essentially penetrate deeper into the skin and deliver extra hydration and antioxidant protection which helps to balance oiliness and shine , keeping your complexion clear. Though sunscreen is usually thought of as a summer essential, the UV rays that age and damage your skin are still present, irrespective of the weather. Go

for a lighter feeling SPF moisturiser over your gloopy poolside sunscreen. More prone to damage than almost anywhere else on the body, your lips get chapped almost immediately in the cold winter air so a good lip balm with SPF is essential. Just be sure to avoid anything that has the word ‘glossy’ on it. Finally, you’re going to want a moisturiser that delivers. Keep your frozen face hydrated and ditch your lightweight summer solutions for a heavy duty cream that you know will deliver. Products with natural ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol and hyaluronic acid perform best.

Apple iPad 2019, £349, Bulldog Original Face Scrub, £5,

men-ü Healthy Facial Wash 100ml, £9.95, www.

men-ü Matt Skin Refresh Gel, £15.95, www.

to carrying your own personal library with you wherever you go.

AeroPress Coffee Maker, £28, various stockists A lightweight and quality coffee maker that will keep any caffeine enthusiast happy.

GoPro HERO8, £379, GoPro are the standard bearers when it comes to making durable action cameras that are perfect for catching the most memorable moments of any adventure.

Google Nest Mini, £49, various stockits Turn a home into a smart home with the Google Nest Mini, a smart speaker that will stream your music, tell you the news, the weather forecast, keep alarms and much more.

Apple iPad 2019, £349, various stockists The newest iteration of tablet from Apple comes with a crystal clear display, rapid performance and all the other perks you’d expect from the Apple ecosystem.

Lab Series Invigorating Face Scrub, £24,

Baxter Of California Daily Face Wash 300ml, £18, various stores

Aesop Protective Lip Balm SPF 30, £13,

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25, £7.25, Boots

Baxter Of California Herbal Mint Toner, £18,

28 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019 Oliver Top Chelsea Boots, £115, Clarks, Tuxedo Blazer, £90, Zara,

Jumper, £24.99, H&M,

Selected Homme Knitted Polo, £45, various outlets

Oxford shoes, £160, Meermin, www.

already have one) and go for a well fitting jacket with a shawl lapel paired with black merino roll neck jumper. Not only does this avoid the whole bow tie issue, but it gives you a bit of flair while staying sophisticated. A pair of plain black wool trousers will do too, along with a pair of black Oxfords so well polished they can double as a mirror. Festive themed There’s only one thing that matters at the festive themed party: the jumper. The tacky Christmas themed jumpers are all well and good but you may as well invest in something that you can wear more than once or twice a year. The Fair Isle jumper passes as a Christmas jumper but doesn’t look out of place in November or January when it’s still freezing either.



he festive calendar throws up plenty of occasions for going out. Dinners with family, nights out with mates, Christmas parties, corporate events, a trip to the Christmas market, dates and many more will have you rummaging through your wardrobe to piece together the

right outfit. To help you find the balance of landing somewhere in between trying too hard and not trying hard enough this Christmas, here’s a few tidbits to keep in mind.

The Formal Event You would need to be mingling in some particularly fussy circles for anyone to call you out for going slightly off script at a formal event. Save yourself the hassle of renting a tuxedo (assuming you don’t

Work night out Depending on where you work, the office party is usually a smart/ casual affair so you don’t have to change too much from your usual Monday-Friday uniform. Shake things up a bit by opting for a roll-neck jumper instead of a shirt and tie. A knitted polo would work too. An unstructured blazer with soft shoulders will also work as a comfortable alternative to your usual sharp 9-5 jacket. You can ditch your day-to-day office shoes too for a pair of Chelsea boots, brogue boots or a smart pair of loafers — if your ankles can bear the cold. The friends or family reunion The easiest one to get right since it will be with friends/family who know your style already. But there’s no harm in dressing to impress a little – it is Christmas after all. Ultimately go with what you’re comfortable with here, but layer up to make sure you will be warm enough for the journey from the restaurant to the bar/club and any ill-advised late night treks to the kebab shop. A decent jacket or overcoat, a flannel shirt (with the option of a tee underneath for extra warmth), your thickest jumper, jeans that aren’t full of holes and a pair of boots will set you up and keep you on the right side of respectability.

Wool Cashmere Blend Blazer, £285, Reiss,

Fair Isle Jumper, £49, Mango,

Checked Shirt, £49.99, H&M

Merino Wool Jumper, £34.99, H&M

Classic Overcoat, £75, Topman,

30 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Triedandtested: Thenewskincare powerhouse,TriBella


After years spent battling with her skin, Rebecca Petticrew thinks she might finally have found the solution in the cutting-edge Venus Versa TriBella treatment

’ve never known the joy of a truly clear enhance tone, tightness and texture. Unlike complexion. I moved from teenage some other skin resurfacing options, TriBella acne to hormonal acne, gathering some has minimal downtime – you can resume wrinkles, enlarged pores and sensitive your usual skincare and makeup regimes skin along the way, probably due, at after only 24 hours, which is very useful when least in part, to the topical treatments I was you have to carry on with daily life, especially applying to try and combat the dreaded spots. one involving two kids who wouldn’t miss I’ve always been interested in skincare but an opportunity to laugh at a ‘tomato face’. never in a position to spend a lot of money on products or treatments. Rapidly approaching Skincare powerhouse my 40th birthday, my skin was dull, dehydrat- Clinic manager Lesley McGarrity is delighted, wrinkly, spotty and red, with large pores. ed with the results TriBella gives patients: Throw in some additional signs of ageing, like “This treatment is a skincare powerhouse, red spider veins at the sides of my nose and perfect for anyone who is looking to prevent slight hyper-pigmentation from sun exposure or combat ageing but is not quite ready for over the years, and I really wasn’t feeling injectables,” she explained. “We recommend good about the way I looked. I found myself three sessions, four to six weeks apart, and consulting Dr Google, consuming YouTube most people see visible results after the first like a teenager and trying to glean advice session.” from bloggers, vloggers and ‘influencers’ as Lesley suggests planning ahead when to how I could sort out my problem it comes to timing your treatment: skin. Several purchases later, I “Illuminating radiance creeps in came to the conclusion that one week after your first visit, without getting specific but three months after advice, the money I was your third treatment is spending trying to conwhen you’ll start to see coct my own regime a more evenly toned was money wasted. you. So, my advice When I was given would be to start your the opportunity to Younique TriBella exsample TriBella facial perience at least six therapy at Younique months before a big Aesthetics, a state-ofevent.” the-art private clinic I went to the clinspecialising in non-suric for a patch test the gical cosmetic treatments, day before I was due to Rebecca Petticrew I jumped at the chance. The have the treatment. Senior newly opened Belfast city centre skin therapist Aileen guided me salon is part of the multi-award winning through a medical questionnaire and Younique Group, established more than 15 possible side effects, then tested the IPL and years ago in Newry. With over 21,000 treat- NanoFractional Radio Frequency elements of ments under its belt, Younique Aesthetics the treatment. Having suffered no ill effects offers a range of services to revitalise tired from the patch test, I set off for Younique skin and treat common skin complaints and Aesthetics the next afternoon excited and a is the only aesthetic practice in Northern little nervous about the treatment. I needn’t Ireland to provide TriBella treatments. have worried. From start to finish my therTriBella has won global recognition as apist Siobhan put me at ease, not least with the ultimate non-surgical treatment, using her impressively in-depth knowledge of the three types of technology to simultaneously science behind the technology.

There is an evident improvement in this woman’s skin after one TriBella treatment

The reception at the new Younique salon in Chichester Street, Belfast The first element of the treatment used precise bursts of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to improve the appearance of uneven skin tone and sun damage. The light targets and reduces the haemoglobin pigment inside visible blood vessels and dark pigmented spots, resulting in glowing, younger-looking skin. With my hair and eyes protected, Siobhan cleansed my face and applied a glycerin cream then worked quickly, photo-zapping my face in a grid formation to ensure even coverage. My research suggested this could be painful but it was merely uncomfortable – there was a quick bright flash of light and a momentary sensation of heat, not unlike being snapped with an elastic band. Siobhan went over my face twice with the IPL and then used a cooling setting on the machine to get rid of any residual heat and re-cleansed my face.

Smoothing treatment

The anti-ageing treatment to lift and sculpt came next. A combination of energy types is used to produce a comfortable heat under the skin, helping to promote healthy blood flow and increase the production of collagen and elastin fibres. This smoothing treatment, which feels similar to a hot stone massage, leaves skin looking tighter and younger, with fewer lines and wrinkles. Siobhan applied another thick layer of glycerin, turned down the lighting in the treatment room and let me relax as she went to work. This definitely felt like more of a spa treatment than a ‘procedure’. The final treatment promotes resurfacing, improving texture by delivering energy deep into the skin. Tiny electrode pins create micro-dermal channels with minimal impact on the epidermis. As the skin heals, collagen and elastin production is naturally boosted. In order to reduce any discomfort, Siobhan applied a numbing cream to my face and left me to relax with a cup of tea for 20 minutes whilst it took effect. I don’t know whether it was the cream or the zen-like state of relaxation the smoothing treatment had created, but I didn’t find it particularly uncomfortable. There was some discomfort when Siobhan was working on the more delicate skin around my eyes and my top lip, but it was easily tolerable.

I was advised to care for my face as I would a wound for the first 24 hours: keeping it clean but not cleansing or applying any products until the following morning to assist the healing process. I was also advised to use SPF50 daily, change my pillow case and avoid hot showers, saunas and steam rooms for 24 hours.

Beyond expectation

Overall the treatment took around 90 minutes. There’s no denying I left the salon quite red in the face, feeling as if I had a mild sunburn and with slight swelling under my eyes, but I felt comfortable enough with my appearance to walk through town to the car park. By the next morning the redness had significantly reduced and I could already see a difference in the overall tone of my skin – my cheeks looked plumper and the fine lines around my eyes were less obvious. I used a tinted SPF but no foundation and I honestly don’t think anyone would have noticed any redness. I’m now two days post-treatment and the results are genuinely beyond my wildest expectations. I was warned that my skin might not look good for 3-5 days but the improvements I’m already seeing are dramatic. The areas of hyper-pigmentation which initially went darker are starting to disappear, the redness is almost gone, my face is plumped out and smoother looking, the spider veins have vanished and my crows’ feet are disappearing. The deeper wrinkles on my forehead aren’t reducing as quickly, but it can take up to three months for new collagen to build in the skin. Issues which weren’t even on my radar are resolving – my skin had a slight orange peel texture but some areas have already disappeared leaving the smoothest, most even-toned skin I’ve had since I was a child. If the results are this astonishing two days post-treatment, I can’t wait to see the end result. This isn’t a budget skincare option but the results it delivers definitely give maximum bang for your buck. ✱For further information visit

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 31

TheLOOK ofLUXE ‘T is the season to sparkle and glow and we’re not just talking about your party frock and heels! Shimmer and shine this Christmas with luxe make-up that will make you feel and look beautiful. It’s important to invest in good tools and we love the Heavenly Luxe Travel Brush Set from IT Cosmetics – perfect for on the go. Always use a luminous primer and choose a foundation that’s close to your skin shade. Your eyebrows frame your face – choose a shade slightly darker than your hair colour and carefully fill out any sparse areas before using a brow brush for a groomed look. There’s a wide array of sumptuous eyeshadow palettes around but we love The Highest Realm Liquid Eye Shadow Set by Stila – it just slides on with no fuss. Set off your gorgeous peepers with a volumising mascara. Give your cheeks a fresh, youthful glow with Baby Cheeks in Poppet by Westman Atelier. Your look isn’t complete without a bold lipstick and we adore Kiss of Stars Lipstick in Starstruck by MAC. Complete your look with an iridescent powder. Now all that’s left to do is party!

Eyebrow Pencil in Cold Brunette, £21, Le Sourcil

Heavenly Luxe Travel Brush Set, £60, IT Cosmetics

Vital Skin Foundation Stick, £62, Westman Atelier


Super Loaded Tinted Highlight in Peau de Soleil, £68, Westman Atelier

The Highest Realm Liquid Eye Shadow Set, £29, Stila

Baby Cheeks in Poppet, £45, Westman Atelier

Eye Love You Mascara, £58, Westman Atelier

Starring You Opalescent Powder in Shooting Star, £26.50, MAC

Kiss of Stars Lipstick in Starstruck, £19, MAC

IT Girl Beauty Book Vol. 3, £48, IT Cosmetics

32 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019


dreamy coatsof Christmas

Petrol Blue Hooded Coat, £100, Joe Brown’s,

If you haven’t yet invested in a fabulous, cosy coat to take you through the bitter winter, there’s still time before the big day! Here are 12 terrific coats that will keep you snug and stylish this winter. From check to faux fur, double-breasted to hooded, the only problem you’ll have is choosing one!

Abbey Clancy x Lipsy Teddy Fur Coat, £95, Lipsy and Next,

Leopard Faux Fur Coat, £85, Dorothy Perkins,

Red Double Breasted Tailored Coat, £65, Wallis,

Pink Long Coat, £32, George at ASDA,

Michelle Keegan Premium Faux Fur Coat, £75, Very,

Teddy Coat, £30, Primark,

Coat with Faux Fur Collar, £75, Evans,

Blue Wrap Coat, £99, M&S Collection, www.

Belted Wrap Coat, £59, Principles,

Brown Check Print Brushed Overcoat, £79, Miss Selfridge,

Star by Julien Macdonald Croc Coat, £110, Debenhams,

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 33 Faith Pony Point Boot, £75, Debenhams

Faith Studded Buckle Boot, £79, Debenhams

Black Ruched Boots, £49, Dorothy Perkins

Lola Skye Knee High Snake Boots, £55, Dorothy Perkins

5th Avenue Brown Heel Ankle Boots, £54.99, Deichmann

Bestfoot FORWARD


tep out in style this festive season with our pick of the best boots from the high street. Step out of your comfort zone and make a splash with a bold shade or nod to your fun-loving personality with mock croc or animal print. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a black studded boot. Whether you go for ankle or knee boots, be sure to make a statement wherever you tread.

Pointed Shoe Boots, £22, Matalan

Burgundy Leather Knee High Heeled Boots, £69, Wallis

M&S Collection Boots, £35, Marks & Spencer Stiletto Snake Print Ankle Boots, £29.99, New Look M&S Collection Boots, £35, Marks & Spencer

Buckle Boot, £29.99, BonPrix

Eliza Cuban Heel Ankle Boots, £75, White Stuff

34 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Black plunge glitter knit maxi dress, £49, JD Williams

Metallic spot hanky hem dress, £55, Sonder studio at M&Co

Rose gold sequin midi dress, £32.99, New Look


Foil wrap dress, £59, Sonder studio at M&Co

and shine

Look and feel a million dollars in one of this season’s dazzling dresses. From elegant velvet gowns to sparkling frocks and from figure hugging bodycon styles to designs that aim to flatter and conceal, there is something to suit every shape and taste. Here are a few of our favourites to see you through to that big new year’s eve party and beyond. Strappy scallop sparkle pleated midi dress, £69.50, Oliver Bonas

Roman navy overlay dress, £50, Roman Originals

Grey sparkly ruffled sleeve dress, £45, Evans Deep magenta wrap up velvet party dress, £45, Joe Browns

Red leopard print satin midi dress, £27.99, New Look

Black dress with shoulder tie, £25.99, New Look

Gold sequin fluted hem bodycon dress, £69, JD Williams

Knot twist sequin black gold dress, £40, F&F, Tesco

Black open back fit & flare dress, £49, Sosandar

Black long sleeve velvet dress, £65, M&Co

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Good togo

Accessories maketh the outfit and by switching them up, you can wear your favourite dress on a few occasions. They’re also an easy way to upscale a smart casual outfit to take you from the office to a night out. For the festive season, sequins and sparkle are vying with rich velvet for top spot along with the hot favourite, snakeskin. Here are some of our top picks from the High Street...

Family Life | 35 Nude barely there heeled sandal, £49, Lipsy London

Gold two part block heeled sandal, £40, River Island

Feather shawl, £29.99, TK Maxx

Animal print fringed shawl, £35, River Island

STEFFI green snake print two part block heeled sandal, £29, Miss Selfridge

Black heart clutch, £35, Oasis

Beige heeled sandal, £32, Miss Selfridge

Rose gold sequin clutch, £22, JD Williams

Wide fit black suedette strappy heel sandals, £23.99, New Look

Black croc clutch bag, £15, F&F at Tesco

Glitter envelope clutch, £30, Lipsy London

36 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

SwimpalsEthanandOlivertakethe SPIRITOFCHRISTMAStonewlengths Boys raise £3K for Children to Lapland Trust

Ethan and Oliver finish their Channel Challenge swim in aid of the Children To Lapland Trust



wo ‘inspirational’ Coleraine schoolboys are riding the crest of a wave after completing a major feat in swimming the equivalent of the English Channel. Ethan Pollock and Oliver Dickey, both 10, have been diligently taking the plunge at Coleraine Grammar school pool every week for the past seven months to raise money for the Northern Ireland Children To Lapland Trust. But the boys’ 21-mile feat is more poignant because they each have limited mobility below the waist. Oliver has cerebral palsy and Ethan has spina bifida. As the youngsters finished their final length on November 27, a wave of emotion swept through the pool as mums, dads, grandparents, siblings, swim coaches, teachers and supporters erupted in cheers, tears of joy and applause. In completing their swimathon, Ethan and Oliver have brought the spirit of Christmas to children from all over Northern Ireland. Oliver, a pupil at the Irish Society in

Coleraine, was the focus of the ‘Help Oliver Walk’ a few years ago when his family raised money for an operation to give him greater mobility. He walks with the aid of a walking frame. Ballytober Primary School pupil Ethan, described as the ‘cheeky chappy’ of the dynamic duo, uses a wheelchair. After kicking off their hydro endeavour in March, the pair smashed their timetable, finishing up two weeks ahead of schedule. They have raised more than £3,000 with a businessman vowing to double donations. The Children to Lapland Trust treats children with lifelong illness or life-limiting conditions to a fun-filled day in Lapland in the run up to Christmas. Trustees from the charity trav-

Ethan and Oliver with their families elled to Castlerock on the final night with the charity’s president, TV and radio presenter Gerry Kelly going along to mark the end of the endurance swim.

‘Strong and brave’

Proud mums Charlene Dickey and Denise Thompson say they are overwhelmed with the response to their sons’ challenge which has already raised enough to bring several children on the trip of a lifetime to meet Santa this month. Oliver’s mum Charlene Dickey praised her ‘strong and brave son’. “I’m so proud Oliver is able to give that little bit back. We’ve been so emotional and crying our eyes out seeing the boys getting to near the end of their challenge.” Charlene and husband Neil live at Mountsandel in Coleraine with Oliver, Max (9) and Emily (3). She said the friendship and the boys’ shared love of swimming was a special thing – as well as their connection to Lapland. “Oliver and Ethan went to Lapland when they were younger and always remembered their trip, so raising money for children taking the trip has always been close to their hearts,” she said. “Oliver loves the pool and always loved the hydrotherapy he started as a water baby. I can see how well the water helps him. On our summer holidays we combine a week of hydrotherapy in Lanzarote and a week of a family holiday. Swimming keeps the two boys focussed. We’d love to see them move on and compete, but swimming in the Special Olympics is not for children who have no special needs and just a physical disability. There isn’t a category for Oliver, Ethan and children like them. “The boys have grown up together. Oliver and his brother Max started swimming and then Ethan came along. Throughout their Channel Challenge the boys have never moaned or complained once. Oliver’s brother and sister are so proud of him. Max is older and understands what Oliver is doing the challenge for but Emily just always wants to be with her big brother. They have their good and bad moments together – just the same as all kids.” Ethan’s parents Graeme and Denise and his brothers Dylan (12) and Brandon (5) are just as proud of him. Denise says the swim challenge will be something the whole family,

who live in Portballintrae, can look back on in the years to come and be proud of. “They have done so well.” She said: “Ethan is always smiling; he never complains or moans. He’s easy-going and laid back. He never lets anything stop him.”

Celebrating transition

Apart from their families, the boys’ swimming coach Sindy Stewart is their top fan. Sindy, owner of Signature Swimming, said the boys taking on the Channel Challenge has brought a feelgood factor inside and outside the pool. She said the idea came from the boys deciding they would not do the transfer test into post-primary education. “We wanted to mark the end of their P7 year to give them a confidence boost and give them something to achieve,” said Sindy. “We’ve had the fire brigade, police, players from Coleraine Football Club, MPs and Bertie Peacock Youths Football Club counting lengths for the boys and donating money. Jim Burke, from Hagan Homes, has said the company will double what the boys raise. Everyone has been wonderful.” A mum herself, she has been filled with ‘wonder and enormous pride’ in the way Ethan and Oliver have conducted themselves. “They have never once complained. They rocked up here every Wednesday night and did their lengths. We are all so proud of them,” she said. “They have done so well that they are finishing two weeks ahead of the time we allotted to this.” Mrs Stewart said the benefits to Ethan and Oliver were immense – not just physically but socially. “As well as building their upper body strength and keeping them healthy, the boys are equal to their peers in the pool – especially for Ethan. They rake about and play with other children and they are on the water polo team and play just as hard as their teammates and opponents.” The character of the boys is also compelling and endearing. “They are the loveliest kids,” she added. “They have really given us so much joy and happiness. They are the true spirit of Christmas and will bring so much joy to the children going to Lapland this Christmas.” ✱ To donate, Google Crowdfunding Signature Swimming or look up Signature Swimming Facebook page.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 37

Takethefamilyfor afestivedayout

help the elves, then meet Santa by the fireside in his living room. Weekends and Friday-Monday, December 20 – 23, tickets £14.50 per child, adult £8.

Enjoy Story Time with Santa at Castle Ward, near Downpatrick, on December 18 – 22. The big man will be in the main hall dispensing gifts. You can take your own pictures. Children £12, adults £6.

There are special seasonal happenings all over the country, perfect for a day out that will live long in young memories.

The Belfast Christmas Market, open until December 22, is a festive season must-visit. Santa is in residence in his grotto and proceeds of a meet and greet go to charity. Children can have a ride on the carousel, slide down the helter skelter and toast marshmallows while the adults browse the exciting range of stalls.

Full steam ahead with Santa’s train which offers a two hour round trip between Lanyon Place Station (formerly Central) in Belfast and Whitehead. It runs twice daily on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas, as well as Sunday, December 22. On Saturday, December 15, Santa’s Steam Train is running between Portadown and Lisburn. As well as the thrill of riding on a steam train, children can get their photo taken and receive a gift from Santa, tickets £15.

The Enchanted Winter Gardens at Antrim Castle

W5 is always a place of wonder and this year you can take the kids to Snowtown for a magical stroll down Santa Street. Watch St Nick and his elves get ready for the big night and continue on to the last door which leads on to the Snowtown rooftops. There you can watch Santa set off on his epic journey – it’s always the night before Christmas on Santa Street. You can meet Santa and have a selfie with him in a separate W5 experience. Both free on paying admission to W5.

Over at Titanic Belfast, the Magical Christmas Experience continues until December 23. This popular event is set in the Old Curiosity Shop and the Magical Workshop, where children can chat to the elves and Mrs Claus before heading through the forest to meet Santa. The visit includes snacks and arts and crafts, children £16, adults £5.

Penguins are a common sight at Dundonald International Ice Bowl but on Saturday afternoons until Christmas, Santa will be getting his skates on too! There’s a fun festive atmosphere and the normal admission prices apply.

Santa’s Steam Train

At Castle Espie WWT near Comber, children can make their own Christmas decorations,


Experthelpwithkeeping childrensafeontheroad

In Car Safety Centre is an independent company. We offer the widest range children’s car seats and accessories in the UK and Ireland. We advise, explain and demonstrate our products, our aim being to guide you to a seat that is suitable for your child and your vehicle(s). Our staff do not have ‘sales targets’ to meet, so we will never suggest moving your child to the next seat if the one they have is still perfectly suitable for their height or weight. The law requires children to travel rearward facing until they are 15 months old. Research shows that travelling rearward facing would be

the safest way for all of us to travel, but of course it is not practical. Children, on the other hand, are not little adults. They are vulnerable in so may ways – the weight of their head is disproportionately heavy to the rest of their bodies, the rib cage is soft and unable to protect their heart and some of their organs are in a different place to an adult’s and are vulnerable to seat belt pressures. This is why we use different seats for different heights, and why rear facing should be used until your child is 105cms tall. For further details see

Santa is also at The Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum right up until Christmas Eve. Find him in his Victorian grotto and post your Christmas letters in the special postbox before December 16.

The Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle, until December 22, includes illuminations, fairground rides and the Santa Express. Hop aboard and travel through the Forest of Fire and candy cane trees to meet Santa in his workshop for a selfie and a gift. Children £2, adults £1.

The Argory is hosting the Claus family this weekend (until December 15) with entertainment in the courtyard. Pop into the tearoom for mince pieces, hot chocolate and festive treats. Children £16, adults £8.

For outdoor fun try The Jungle, Moneymore, where the attractions include a petting farm, arts and crafts and of course, Father Christmas. Children £18.50, babies £8, adults £10, selected dates until December 23.

Todd’s Leap Activity Centre, Ballygawley, is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with a magical tunnel, elves’ workshop, and Santa and Mrs Claus. There’s also an off-road road sleigh ride, animal village, reindeer, arts and crafts and hot drinks. Children £16, adults £14, until December 23.

Storiesandcrafts atthelibrary ✱

Libraries NI is hosting a long list of festive events in libraries across Northern Ireland in the run up to Christmas. Go along to your local library and join in the fun with activities for all ages. Children can listen to festive tales and make their own decorations with Christmas Storytime and Crafts sessions, build a winter wonderland with Lego and enjoy a special visit from Santa and the wonders of rhymes, songs and stories at one of the many festive themed Rhythm and Rhyme sessions. Adults can enjoy Christmas crafts, tea and buns as well as a wide range of festive reads freely available to borrow online or in branch to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. For more information please visit

6 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


Family Life | 39


We talked to Claire Magee, MD of Nannycare, to find out more about their goat milk based Follow on formula for babies. Why choose goat milk-based Follow on formula?

Goat milk based Follow on formula can be used exactly the same way as its cow’s milk equivalent and is just as safe and suitable for your baby. We chose goat milk over cow’s milk as a base for our Follow on formula because of its reputation as a soft and gentle milk, and at Nannycare we know how to handle it carefully to ensure there is no aroma, and a delicate, mild and creamy taste that babies love. There are similarities between goat milk and cow’s milk, but also some differences in the protein and fat. We believe goat milk to be particularly suitable as a high quality protein base in our Follow on formula, providing essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and minimising unnecessary ingredients that could place a burden on the baby’s metabolism. In the event of minor feeding issues or baby not settling on cow’s milk formula, it may be worth trying goat milk Follow on formula as an alternative* *Always refer to a healthcare professional before switching. Goat milk formula should not be given to babies with cow’s milk protein allergy unless directed by a healthcare professional.

Is goat milk-based Follow on formula safe and approved?

Following an extensive clinical trial with the Nannycare formulation and submissions to the European Food Safety Authority, we are proud to say that, since March 2014, goat milk formula is recognised under EU and

“Nutritionally, both cow’s milk and goat’s milk based Follow on formulas are equal, and parents can choose between either milk if they wish to move on from, or complement, breast-feeding.”

Where can I buy Nannycare Follow on formula?

Nannycare is now available for home delivery from or by order from your local pharmacist. UK legislation as a nutritionally equivalent alternative to cow’s milk-based formula**. This means that Nannycare Follow on formula can be used in the same way as its cow’s milk equivalent and is just as safe and suitable for your baby. It is simply made, retaining as far as possible the natural goodness and qualities in our goat milk and supplemented only as needed to meet regulatory requirements.

Careline UK: 0800 328 5826 ROI: 1800 937 375 E: Important notice: Breastfeeding is best for your baby and should continue for as long as possible. Nannycare Follow on milk is for babies over 6 months, as part of a varied weaning diet. It should not be used as a breastmilk substitute before this age and should be used on the advice of a healthcare professional. **Directive 2006/141 (EC) and equivalent UK legislation

40 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019


Movie hits are driving the must-have toy wish lists this Christmas — with Disney’s Frozen and Toy Story making the Top 12 Toys list, alongside perennial favourites like Barbie, Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol. The Top 12 Toys list, issued by the Toy Retailers Association, is selected by an independent panel of retailers and industry experts and is considered the most authoritative predictive list of what will be hot this Christmas. Gary Grant, chair of the DreamToys selection committee, said: “These toys will top the Christmas wish lists and with two-thirds of the toys on the list priced under £50, it’s also a list suitable to a range of family budgets.”

TOP 12 TOYS FOR 2019 (with rrps):

Barbie Dreamplane Playset, £79.99 The Barbie Dreamplane doubles as a vehicle and a playset with more than 15 pieces, including a puppy travel companion. Push it on its rolling wheels to taxi on the runway. Open the top and side to reveal the inside and create a play space to play out the flight.

Frozen 2 ‘Into the Unknown’ Elsa Doll, £39.99 Immerse yourself in mystery and wonder with Disney Frozen 2 Purple Nightgown Elsa Doll. Relive the beautiful, pivotal moment in the film when Elsa sings her powerful new song. See Elsa’s dress light up in the gorgeous pattern inspired by this impactful scene while she sings and says film-inspired phrases.

Peppa Pig Peppa’s Stage Playset, £39.99 Create your own Peppa Pig stories. This interactive playset includes props, Peppa and George figures, as well as theatre seating. Three double sided backdrop cards create six different scenes. Slide in a tablet (not included) and put on your favourite movie or show for an instant cinema experience.

Toy Story 4 True Talkers, £17.99 Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story fans get exciting, authentic play with talking character figures. Each beloved movie friend comes to life with iconic designs, a unique talking expression and over 15 phrases. Each delightful figure is highly posable, in movie-inspired relative scale and ready for exciting action play.

Nerf Elite Fortnite SP-L, £19.99 Play Fortnite in real life with this Nerf Elite blaster with detachable barrel. Attach the barrel for distance targeting; remove the barrel when you need a more compact look for smaller play areas or when you need to move fast and stay mobile.

Rizmo, £59.99 Rizmo has travelled here from the far reaches of the universe in search of love, music, and dance and needs your help to evolve. Rizmo can mimic your voice and sing songs back to you and the more you play together the faster Rizmo grows. Rizmo plays seven fun games with changing eye colours to show which game you’re playing. There are six different Rizmo in three colours.

L.O.L. Surprise! 2-in-1 Glamper, £99.99 The first ever vehicle for your L.O.L. Surprise! The 2-in-1 Glamper includes over 55 surprises to unbox, more than 10 hangout areas and an exclusive doll. Ryan’s World Super Surprise Safe, £44.99 Unlock the fun with the Ryan’s World Super Surprise Safe. This large surprise-filled safe brings new fun to unboxing. Kids can use the key to open the safe and discover cool Ryan’s World inspired surprises inside, such as articulated figures, mix and match build a characters, treasure, and so much more. Each safe has over 30 fun surprises inside.

Blume Dolls, £9.99 A little bit of water reveals a whole lot of magic with Blume dolls waiting to be discovered inside flower pots. Each Blume doll features unique, over-the-top hairstyles and outfits that can be interchanged with other dolls.

LEGO Harry Potter Knight Bus, £34.99 When kids catch the purple tripledecker bus, they know they’re in for a wild ride. With a hinged side panel for easy access to the interior, and a removable roof to reveal the upper deck, this magical toy bus playset is bursting with play potential.

Owleez, £49.99 This adorable baby owl can’t learn to fly indoors without your help and practising together is so much fun. Place her in the included nest and watch as she spreads her wings and magically takes flight right out of the nest. Every Owleez flight is different — you can watch her soar, help her fly or comfort her after a crash. PAW Patrol Mighty Pups Super PAWs Mighty Jet Command Centre, £59.99 This 2-in-1 deluxe team vehicle transforms from jet into a mobile command centre for the PAW Patrol. Transforming from a mobile command headquarters on land to a Mighty Jet when it’s time for a rescue mission, the PAW Patrol’s Mighty Jet is ready for anything!

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Don’tbe ‘that’gift giver

Teens can be a tough audience to please. Most of us will remember that one gift from a relative in our formative years that had us thinking ‘what is this’ and putting on our best fake smiles. To help you avoid becoming that relative, here are some ideas that the young adult in your life won’t turn their nose up at...

Family Life | 41 The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has always been a classic staple for rebellious youths, £55, various stores

The Wayfair Bean Bag is perfect to plop into and avoid doing homework in, £52,

For the coolest water bottle in school, wide mouth 32oz Hydroflask, in range of colours, £37.95, various stockists

A handy Charging Dock Station is perfect for decluttering their desk, £19.99,

If you can’t keep up with their taste in music, get them Ticketmaster Gift Card so they can see their favourite artists in person, £50,

A young, energetic unisex scent that won’t have teens worried they smell like their parents, Calvin Klein CK One Eau de Toilette, £40, various stores

You can’t walk 10 paces through town these days without spotting a pair of the popular Nike Air Force 1’s on a teen’s feet, £80, various stores

The latest streaming device from Amazon plays your young adult’s favourite content in crispy 4k, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, £49.99,

For the lazy bones or the light sleepers, look no further than a Gravity Blanket, £79,


42 | Family Life

Enjoya Christmas breakin Donegal


he Redcastle Oceanfront Golf & Spa Hotel, situated on the shores of Lough Foyle, on the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal, offers a relaxing atmosphere that promises to deliver you an unforgettable Yuletide. A visit from Santa, live choirs, Christmas movies in the hotel’s cinema, mince pies and hot drinks receptions, live entertainment and family magic shows ensure there’s festive fun for everyone. On Christmas Day guests can enjoy a delicious buffet lunch in the Ocean Suite, and later on evening there will be a Christmas night buffet supper, followed by brilliant live entertainment in the Captain’s Bar. For those wishing to unwind, the Redcastle Hotel has a fabulous spa, and keen golfers can have a round on the hotel’s golf course. On New Year’s Eve, head chef Gordon Smyth has designed a sumptuous six-course meal in The Edge, the hotel’s AA Rosette restaurant.

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Many of the bedrooms have sea views

The Redcastle Hotel on the shores of Lough Foyle

The Railway Tavern is steeped in history as a station on the old ‘Swilly Line’ This will be followed by a spectacular fireworks display overlooking Lough Foyle as the clock strikes midnight. If you’re touring the beautiful Inishowen Peninsula or have time to dine out in the area, don’t miss The Railway Tavern, Fahan, on the shores of Lough Swilly. This unique

restaurant, bar and music venue is famed for its hospitality and great food. It’s recently been acquired by Harcourt Developments, of Titanic Belfast and Lough Eske Castle fame and you can feel the buzz in the air. Housed in the former Station House of the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company (L&LSR), or ‘Swilly Line’ where steam trains ran until 1953, The Railway Tavern is filled with character. Its cosy, traditional interior has retained much of its original charm and is perfect for intimate gatherings, a quiet pint or a meal for all the family, young and old. Regular traditional music sessions and live music nights are held. At the centre of the Railway Tavern’s restaurant is the open grill fire where patrons can see their steak or the renowned ‘Stationmaster Burger’ being grilled. Fresh, local produce makes for an exciting menu with head chef Chris Fitzpatrick living up to his reputation for imagination, flair and passion for good food.

Sizzling steaks are prepared in front of guests at the Railway Tavern The Redcastle Oceanfront Golf & Spa Hotel has teamed up with the Railway Tavern for a midweek special offer from only €169 per couple. The offer includes:  1 night’s bed and breakfast  3 course evening meal in The Railway Tavern  Transfer to and from the Railway Tavern  €10pps Spa credit  Hot chocolates and cookies on arrival For further details visit and

Experience the magic of Christmas with Oakfield Park’s Santa Express in Donegal

A magical Yuletide experience

Amidst the twinkling of Christmas lights and joyful singing of happy elves, The Santa Express Train at Oakfield Park, outside Letterkenny, awaits to take you through glittering forests to visit Father Christmas. Running from now until December 23, and with new and exciting features this year, The Santa Express at Oakfield Park is open for booking and tickets are selling fast. Children and families of all ages will enjoy a festive train ride under thousands of lights before meeting Father Christmas in his cosy grotto. Receive your Elf School Diploma from Mrs. Claus by completing the Christmas challenges as you go. Enjoy decoration making in the new elf craft workshop, play the Reindeer Games championships in the igloo and find

hidden clues the elves have laid out along the way. Described as one of Donegal’s hidden gems, Oakfield Park is home to a 4.5km narrow gauge railway and has over 100 acres of manicured parkland, making it the ideal venue for a truly magical Christmas event to share with family and friends. Booking in advance is strongly advised, as in the past, The Santa Express has sold out quickly. For Christmas party bookings or group discounts (for 28+) or for carriages with wheelchair access, please call 00353 74917 3068 or email Book now at

44 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019 New Year Festival is a two day extravaganza in Dublin each December 31 – January 1, See www. for details

Giveitortakeit,everyone deservesabreak


he festive season is in full swing and by now, a couple of days away can sound most appealing! Whether you want to escape now, or prefer to have something to look forward to, there are deals, offers and experiences galore to tempt you. Go now or give yourself and your loved ones a special treat in the new year or later. Gift vouchers make a wonderful Christmas present and you can choose a range of options from a short break to a dinner, afternoon tea, a spa treatment or the whole luxurious lot! The beauty of gift vouchers is the freedom they give the recipient to choose exactly when they want to go. Make it an opportunity to beat the blues in January or February or a wonderful weekend to take in the early spring sights. If you haven’t had time to give it a thought, here are some pointers for you...

How about a pre-Christmas jaunt to the Fermanagh Lakelands. Enjoy shopping in the vibrant heart of Enniskillen,

Ireland’s only island town. The main street is remarkable for changing name six times along its length but more worthy of note is its fine mix of high street and independent retailers, excellent restaurants and lively bars. Outside the town there is stunning scenery in all directions, perfect for a drive or a walk. You can take to the water or enjoy a round of golf or a relaxing spa treatment and return with your batteries charged, ready to get back in the action.

Why not ring in the new year with an overnight stay at an hotel nearby or on the other side of the country? Many hotels put on spectacular events for December 31, followed by a special meal on new year’s day. Part of the attraction is being able to party into the small hours without having to worry about getting a taxi home. Kick off your dancing shoes at the end of the night and relax into a luxurious hotel bed and have breakfast in your room in the morning. It’s the perfect start to 2020.

Relax in a luxury spa

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 45

Sit down to afternoon tea

Shop for Christmas or hit the January sales

Sunset at White Island and Castle Archdale Forest Park, Co Fermanagh

Enjoy fine dining

spree into a special occasion. Plus, the sales don’t simply apply to shops as there are excellent discounts to be had at hotels across the country, making a shopping trip as affordable as it is enjoyable.

Once the Christmas holidays are over and life has returned to normal, a few days away can shorten the time before spring arrives. Banish the blues by heading off to a luxury rural retreat where you’ll be pampered to your heart’s content with spa treatments, relaxing swims, cocktails and fine dining. Take a stroll through the countryside, visit the local attractions and leave the humdrum world behind for a bit.

The January sales are just around the corner. If you haven’t had enough of shopping, organise an excursion to Belfast or Dublin and do the shops at your leisure. How many times have you gone shopping and thought you’d love to stay on and go out for dinner or for some entertainment but you need to get all those bags home? Staying overnight transforms a shopping

If you prefer the sea breeze whipping through your hair, the Causeway Coast and Wild Atlantic Way are beckoning. Watch the huge Atlantic rollers crash ashore, walk miles of perfectly pristine strands and warm up by a pub fire with a hot toddy to the sounds of live music. Dine out on freshly caught fish, explore the local attractions and allow yourself to savour those first signs of spring.

If you’re thinking of a family break, many hotels run their own, or link up with special festive season events and attractions. The children can have great fun while you put your feet up and let someone look after you for a change.

46 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019 Laura Doherty


Girls taking part in a workshop

Feeling the pressure to ‘live your best life’ while documenting every ‘grammable moment of it?

Maeve Richardson talks to Laura Doherty about her self-esteem boosting workshops. Tell me about the workshop. Confidently Me with Laura D is a group for teenage girls aged 13-17. It’s a space for young girls to work on their self esteem and build up their confidence in a creative way along with their friends. Why did you decide to set up this workshop? I think young girls are struggling with so many pressures these days and there’s nothing out there that teaches them about confidence: what it is, what it looks like, and how you build it. There’s so much out there to build confidence performance wise but not a lot about building internal confidence. I lived in Canada for four years and they worked a lot on young people’s self esteem and taught them how to build each other up too. My goal was to set up a safe space in Ireland for young girls to work on their confidence and self esteem with their peers. What pressures do teenage girls face? Social media presence has become so critical in girls’ lives over the last five years. From Facebook profiles to Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, they are living their lives through an app. It becomes competitive and they feel under pressure to create this perfect image of their life. No vulnerability is shown in their social media, it’s all about perfection. And to take it even further, young girls are almost always on their phone. They are receiving messages from Insta, Facebook, Snapchat, texts, whatever, so the pressure to be always available is there. Appearance and having the ‘right’ brand of make up and clothes has become more important than ever. The level of skill shown in applying flawless make up is impressive but also concerning if these girls are feeling it is an essential part of their daily lives. Peer pressure is always present in any teenager’s life, it’s a constant. The pressure in terms of relationships has intensified though. There is pressure to share every detail and compare notes about being up to speed on everything. The pressure to fit into the norm is intense. And if anyone dares step out of that then they are labelled ‘weird’. Teenagers feel like they have to have their lives figured out, at the age of 14, which is insane, including what they are doing after school, with their career, everything. They are looking at bloggers with their perfect lives on Instagram and feeling the need to achieve the same. These profiles are tweaked and altered and only show what they want you to see so




it’s a completely unrealistic thing to aim for. Teenage girls are looking for validation from the amount of likes they get on Facebook, fitting in, compliments about their appearance and their relationships. They are not looking inwards for their sense of self-esteem and happiness, that’s the problem. What do your workshops involve? It’s a summit for the girls to come together and meet other people. The aim is to boost confidence and self esteem in a creative and fun way. Group discussions cover topical issues, such as what they think is affecting their confidence these days. They get relief even from speaking about it and discovering that the things that affect them are impacting others too, so they are not alone. One exercise I do is to ask them to write one thing they like about themselves. They don’t know how to like themselves or what to say. Some of them have never been asked before. It’s not cocky, it’s recognising what you are good at. If you do it you’ll feel a little happier in yourself. It’s not validation from elsewhere, it’s not a ‘like’ or a follow, it’s something that you like about yourself. We also incorporate drama, dance, and lessons with a make up artist and hair stylist.

everyone will react the same way as you to certain situations. Take your friends’ problems seriously. And always ask for help from a trusted adult if you feel like you can’t help them, whether it’s a teacher, guidance counsellor or your parents. Would you consider workshops for boys? I’d love to do this. Teen boys face just as much pressure as girls and are often expected to mask it and not show their emotions and vulnerabilities. I’d love to work up to this. The main thing would be to help them open up and show their emotions more, show them it’s okay to feel sad.

What can parents do to ease the pressure? Ask your daughter how her day has been and how she is. Give them that ear and take them seriously – don’t brush off their concerns. Just give them your time so they know that they can come to you. Recognise when you see your daughter out of sorts and allow them to get things off their chest.

What are your top tips to boost confidence? 1. Find something that you enjoy doing and continue it. For example, if you love to dance, dance on your own in your bedroom or find a class. Make time in your day to do something for you. Do it every day. It will make you feel good. 2. Find what you like about yourself, acknowledge your good qualities and write them down every day. Eventually when you look back over your list you will feel good about yourself. Concentrate positively on yourself. It feels awkward at first but the more you do it the better you will feel. 3. Stop looking for validation from other people and other things in your life. Realise that you are unique, nobody is you and that is your power. It’s easy to read in a magazine and not apply it to yourself but there is such power in embracing yourself for who you are. Once you start being happy with yourself, everything else falls into place.

What can friends do to help? Be able to recognise if your friend is not themselves. If they are being quieter than normal, or avoiding social situations. Just let them know you are there for them. Not

✱For more information on Laura’s workshops, based in Donegal, check out her Instagram @confidently_me_with_laura_d_ or Facebook page Confidently Me with Laura D.

The rise in social media over the last 10 years has been a double-edged sword. At its best, it allows you to connect with people all over the world and gain an insight into lifestyles you might have never seen. The dark side of social media is extreme though. People of my age (early-30s) remember life before Instagram and Facebook and are aware that what we see online is not the whole picture. I can’t imagine what it’s like for young people who have grown up with Instagram models, bloggers and YouTubers who give the impression that what they are putting out there represents their real life. Although people of my age may be slightly less vulnerable to this constant projection of perfection, I’d be lying if I said it does not affect me at all. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more aware of my inner critic. That little voice in my head that is constantly judging and making cruel observations about myself. Having discussed this with my friends and family, I realised that I’m not the only one who has this judgemental inner voice. At first I thought it was a good thing, a voice to keep me grounded and give me perspective, to make sure I don’t behave badly or become conceited. A friend admitted she has that voice too. She said that if anyone else said the things to her that that voice was whispering, she would slap them. This voice often starts as criticisms that you may have heard from people over the years that you quietly internalise, maybe a teacher at school that called you lazy or made you feel stupid, or a family member that commented on your weight. Gradually this inner critic develops a life of its own, and is fed by your surroundings, including images of supposed perfection that we see on social media. This perfection is a lie. If some of the world’s greatest beauties from Angelina Jolie to Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum still have their images airbrushed and filtered into perfection what hope is there for the rest of us? Now things have gone a step further, and people use filters to remove flaws sometimes to comical effect (check out www. A bizarre new trend has celebrities suspected of airbrushing their knuckles – seriously, where does it end? Having spoken to Laura, I’m sorry there was no group like this when I was growing up. Challenging girls’ inner critic early on may stop a whisper becoming a roar, and ensure that their inner voice is a little kinder. As Beyoncé said: “Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” To be happy and confident we need to look within ourselves and not rely on validation from external sources, because despite hearing that ‘self-praise is no praise’, it turns out self praise really matters after all.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


Family Life | 47

Irwinmakesashockreturn forBelfastArenacross


ormer British Motocross Champion turned road racer Graeme Irwin is making a shock return to the dirt for a one-off indoor race at the Belfast round of the Arenacross Tour at the SSE Arena on January 17-18. “The timing of the Belfast Arenacross suited me with it being in the off-season of my superbike campaign,” told Irwin. “I’ve won every championship in the UK but Arenacross — that’s motivation.” With a decorated Motocross career, Irwin will be looking to add another title to his bursting trophy cabinet. “My superbike will be better out the gate or I might blow the cobwebs off my Honda 450cc British Motocross Championship winning bike” joked Irwin. Tour promoter Matt Bates admits he chanced his arm when inviting Irwin to make a return for the competition and was surprised by the Carrick rider’s reply. “I jokingly sent Graeme a message to think about coming out of retirement for a couple of nights in the winter, but what I didn’t expect was for him to message me straight back saying that he thought it was a great idea,” said Bates. “Graeme, like all of the Irwin family, are racers through and through and I believe this sends a message to the current crop of top-class professional British Motocross Championship riders that don’t currently

compete in Arenacross as it either interferes with pre-season testing or doesn’t quite fit with their outdoor plans. “Graeme is a racer, he races bikes, he’s a champion and is a role model to every young rider in the sport.” Joining Irwin him will be MX veteran Martin Barr, who enjoyed a successful season having represented his country for the 15th consecutive time at the Motocross of Nations as well as taking the MX Nationals MX2 title. Last year was his first time returning to the Arenacross Tour since 2013 and the Ballyclare rider will be keen to make his AX bid one the fans can get behind. “As always there will be tough competition at Arenacross, with plenty of riders that are full-time SX riders who have already started their season. It’s going to be tough, but a challenge I can’t wait for,” commented Barr, who will be riding in the AX Pro Lite 250 Championship. Amongst the AX Pro line up will be wellknown rider, Stuart Edmonds, who will be looking to make his mark on Arenacross following some unfortunate injuries in his previous seasons. “I have been interested in the Arenacross since my last outing a few years ago in Belfast. It’s something I have been trying to organise each year but due to injury and other things I wasn’t able to. Thanks to my sponsors we were able to sort a really good package so I couldn’t

Launching Arenacross (from left): Jordan Keogh, Stuart Edmonds, Martin Barr, Graeme Irwin, Lewis Spratt, Charley Irwin and Jordan Kinsella turn the opportunity down,” said Edmonds. Irish racers will feature heavily in the youth ranks too. In the Supermini Cup both Charley Irwin and Lewis Spratt will go head to head. Charley will be making a comeback to Arenacross having raced the series since he was seven-years-old with numerous podium finishes under his belt. “This will be my first-time racing in the Big Wheel 85 class at AX. The competition will be tough but I’m hoping to get in the top three,” said Irwin. Spratt is also no stranger to the lights and lasers of Arenacross having debuted last year in the 65cc class. “I’ve been to AX with my family since I was three and always said I would love to do it. This year is my first year on the 85cc so it is a big learning year for me but I’m up for the

challenge,” commented Spratt. In the 65cc Cup, newcomer Jordan Kinsella will be debuting at the Arenacross Tour following his first season at the British 65cc Championship. Now in its second year, the All Ireland Cup will feature at the opening two rounds in Belfast. The all Irish class will feature 12 riders, pitting wheel-against-wheel in an anticipated no-holds-barred fight to the chequered flag. An overall champion will be crowned on Saturday night. Amongst them will be Jordan Keogh, who will be the first rider to take on the All Ireland class and the AX Pro Lite 250 class. “I don’t have any expectations, I just want to get out there and give it my best on a tighter course, with spectators closer to the action,” said Keogh.

48 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

The cast in a previous performance of The Wizard of Oz

Hair-raising fun on stage

Young stars

Communityspirittakes centrestageatartsgroup BY MAUREEN COLEMAN


hen trouble flared at the site of an anti-internment bonfire in the New Lodge back in the summer, the north Belfast community found itself making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Some local youths got caught up in the unrest as they attempted to push through police lines around the bonfire, with fireworks, bottles and wood thrown. But just round the corner, and flying under the media’s radar, a street festival was in full swing, complete with circus performers, amusement rides, face painting and superheroes. The event was organised by New Lodge Arts and according to Sean Mullan, artistic director, showed the real community and family spirit of the area. “Every year New Lodge Arts stages two shows, a summer one and a Christmas panto, but we also organise a street party in the summer months, designed to deflect away from the bonfire and any political negativity,” Sean says. “While the media was focused on the trouble at the bonfire, just five minutes in the opposite direction, the real community spirit of the New Lodge was being celebrated. “It was a free fun day for all the family and everyone there had a great time.” ARTS VACUUM New Lodge Arts, part of Ashton Community Trust, was set up 17 years ago to provide opportunities for people to engage with a

wide range of art forms that they would not otherwise be exposed to. At the time it was established, there was nothing of a creative or artistic nature in the area so when New Lodge Arts came about, it provided local children and young people with the chance to express themselves through new outlets such as drama, dance and visual arts. To begin with, it was envisaged the project would run for a year but it proved so popular, it’s been going ever since and growing year on year. The cross-community organisation has expanded to accommodate young people from other parts of north Belfast and holds at least 15 drama and dance classes in the New Lodge and greater New Lodge areas as well as delivering over 800 workshops a year.

PETER PAN This Christmas, the organisation is staging Peter Pan as its panto at Girdwood Community Hub in north Belfast on December 10 and 11. Auditions were held in different venues including the Hammer Centre in the Shankill area, Hazelwood Integrated School and Boys’ Model and around 30 people chosen to appear in the show. Rehearsals are currently underway. “The cross-community aspect is very important to us,” Sean says. “Last summer we put on Legally Blonde and the lead girl came from the Shankill area. “Over the years we’ve staged A Christmas Carol, Snow White, Cinderella, Buddy the Elf. We give the audience the same all singing, all dancing pantos that they’d see

Some of the young performers from New Lodge Arts

Action from Aladdin

somewhere like the Grand Opera House. To begin with they were fairly amateurish, but they’ve got so much better and really professional as time’s gone on. “Not only are the productions getting bigger and better but the audiences are too. We get great support from the community.” BABY BALLET That support was evident in October when New Lodge Arts held its North Belfast Lantern Parade, which was attended by several thousand people. The parade was cross-community too and involved up to 37 schools and organisations in north Belfast. Sean says: “The wonderful thing about the arts is that they bring people together and can break down so many barriers. “There is such a huge interest in this area in the arts, from baby ballet to drama workshops to DJing skills. We also have nine visual artists who go around the various community groups. “And there is so much unbelievable talent too. One of our young girls, Maeve O’Neill, was invited to sing at Croke Park in Dublin in front of 80,000 people. That’s the level of talent we’re producing here at New Lodge Arts.”

50 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Staysafe andhave amerry Christmas

Howtoget throughit whenyou’re F grieving BY REBECCA PETTICREW


hristmas comes with a set of expectations unlike any other celebration. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, we’re told. A time to gather with family and friends. We’re bombarded with images of smiling, happy faces, jovial gatherings and memories of Christmases past. So how do you survive this yuletide onslaught when you’ve suffered a bereavement? Paul Finnegan, director for Cruse Bereavement Care NI, offers some advice:

Make a plan:

“Christmas can become a source of pain for people after a loss, bringing back memories of the person who has died. Planning the day well in advance can help people cope. Talk to your family, get people involved and in agreement about what’s going to happen. The actual act of sitting down and working out the plan can be therapeutic in itself, figuring out what suits everyone’s needs. It also makes sure there are no unexpected surprises, which can be very hard to deal with on the day.”

Find ways to remember the person who died:

“It could be visiting the grave, or a place that your loved one liked or was special to them. Some people cover graves with Christmas decorations, others choose to light a candle, read a poem or say a prayer in memory of the person -- it can be quite cathartic. Some people choose to place a chair for their loved one at the Christmas dinner table or a picture at their place, everyone’s different. Others find writing a letter to the person who’s died helpful, or keeping a journal over the Christmas period.

Making a playlist of music that the person liked can bring back happy memories and help the grieving person feel closer to the person who died.”

be in contact with others who can identify with how they’re feeling. Often people who attend the groups stay in contact by text and phone between the monthly meet ups.”

Look after yourself:

Keep yourself busy:

“The Christmas period takes you out of your normal routine so trying to keep regular patterns of eating and drinking can make a difference. Regular physical exercise, getting your heart rate up and getting out into the fresh air can be helpful. Remember to be gentle with yourself, try to be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend or family member. Try to do what makes you feel comfortable, whether that’s watching the TV, playing a game, having a massage -- whatever makes you feel good. That said, be careful with your alcohol intake. We can all drink to excess on occasions, but sometimes people use alcohol in ways which aren’t healthy to numb the pain of their feelings.”

Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself:

“It’s important not to feel guilty if you feel happy and enjoy yourself. Those moments of joy and laughter can be your best friend and help to lift you when you’re hit by feelings of loss and sadness again.”

Support is important:

“One of the best ways to make Christmas easier is to be around people or have someone to talk to. The Cruse helpline is open throughout the holiday period and could be a particularly good resource for people who are on their own. We also have friendship groups which meet up once a month across Northern Ireland -- people can contact Cruse to find their local group. Peer support is so important and gives people a way to

“Give yourself a sense of purpose. If you have spare time, you could consider volunteering. The Simon Community and The Welcome Organisation connect volunteers with those experiencing homelessness and sometimes it offers people the most comfort to be able to help someone else in a difficult situation.”

Look out for other people in your community:

“It’s a particularly difficult time of year for people who are on their own. I would urge people to reach out to anyone who may be on their own this Christmas, especially if you know they’ve suffered a loss.”

Believe it will get easier:

“People ask, ‘Is Christmas always going to be as bad as this?’, but honestly, often it’s not as bad as people think. For most people the pain becomes more manageable over time. ✱Cruse Bereavement Care offer support, advice and information to anyone bereaved to help them understand their grief, cope with their loss and promote their well-being. They have seven centres across Northern Ireland providing: individual face-to-face bereavement support from a trained bereavement volunteer; bereavement support groups and a confidential freephone helpline staffed by trained volunteers on: 0808 808 1677. Visit: or call: 028 9043 4600 for more information.

or many, Christmas is the time of year to celebrate and kick back with friends and family. However, it is easy to get carried away and get too ‘merry’ and overindulge. Most of the time, your worst worry will be a hangover and an embarrassing story or two, but more serious consequences can just as easily occur. So with Christmas party season now in full swing, here are a few straightforward suggestions to help you avoid any alcohol-induced disasters and make it home safely after a night out: ✱ Try to limit the total amount of alcohol you drink on any single occasion. One way to do this is to avoid drinking in rounds or using a kitty, as you may drink more than you plan or want to. ✱ Drinking more slowly will also help, as will drinking with food and alternating with water between drinks. Drinking water throughout the evening not only slows down your alcohol intake, but it also helps prevent dehydration, one of the major causes of hangover symptoms, so you’ll feel better the next day. Drinking slowly can also help — take sips, not gulps. Know your limits and stick to them. If you’re drinking at home, keep track of how many units you’re drinking and use measures for spirits. ✱ Do not drink and look after children — organise to send your young ones to a sitter’s to mind if you are having a party at home. ✱ When heading out to celebrate, be sure also to plan ahead to avoid problems and to make sure you get home safely. Book your taxi home well in advance of going out and let everyone you’re going home with know too. Taxis are virtually impossible to get at this time of year unless you have one sorted beforehand. ✱ Alternatively, arrange a designated driver and make sure it is someone you trust. It is important to remember that while there is a legal limit for the amount of alcohol a person can have in their bloodstream and still drive, there is no safe limit for drinking and driving. Even one drink affects your judgement and reaction times. Someone who drinks a lot in the evening will still have alcohol in their bloodstream the next morning. By keeping these tips in mind, hopefully you will have a safe Christmas that is hangover — and incident — free.

52 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019 The Frozen Princess Pantomime, Waterfront Hall

Holidayseason spectaculars

There’s only 12 sleeps until Christmas – what better way to pass the time than a night’s entertainment at a festive show. Here are some of the events you will want to catch...

The Baltic Princess Pantomime From now to Sunday, December 29 Waterfront Hall, Belfast £20 For the first time ever at the Waterfront Hall, the team behind the annual outing for many families are turning panto on its head, bringing Belfast a late-night — and adult-only — Panto experience like no other. Expect filth, inappropriate innuendos and adult content in this re-telling of the tale of The Frozen Princess and the story of the two sisters. The Baltic Princess features glittering sets, sparkling costumes and audience participation with plenty of laughter along the way. The Frozen Princess Pantomime From now to Tuesday, December 31 Waterfront Hall, Belfast £16.50 - £66 Don’t miss the icy children’s tale of adventure The Frozen Princess

Pantomime at the Waterfront Hall this Christmas. A story of adventure, friendship and bravery, with enchanting characters, original music and filled with breathtaking costumes and set, The Frozen Princess is a traditional Christmas adventure for all the family. A Christmas Carol From now to Sunday, January 5 The MAC £16 - £25 This Christmas, be sure to catch The MAC’s fun-filled family version of the classic festive fable, A Christmas Carol. Visit Christmases past, conjure up Christmas yet to come and see if our friend Scrooge can learn from previous mistakes. Expect toe-tapping tunes, laugh-out-loud capers and of course the special, memorable experience you’ve come to expect from the MAC Christmas shows.

A Christmas Carol, The MAC

Beauty and the Beast From now to Sunday, January 12 Grand Opera House, Belfast £21.75 - £36.25 Christmas would not be Christmas without panto, so secure your family their seats for this beauty of a family show. May McFettridge celebrates her 30th season as the Queen of Belfast Pantomime and is joined by star of stage and screen Ben Richards (Footballers Wives, Holby City, Hollyoaks, The Bodyguard in London’s West-End) as well as Comedy magician and Britain’s Got Talent favourite Mandy Muden. Don’t miss this magical adventure

packed full of comedy, colour and amazing song and dance routines. Deck the Falls From now - Saturday, December 21 The MAC, Belfast £16 - £20 This Christmas, comic duo Ciaran Nolan and Gerard Jordan are back with plans, scams and skulduggery to Deck the Falls at the MAC. Two doormen have a cunning plan, two doggy men have a dilemma, two auld dolls have an epiphany and two greyhounds go on the run — and that’s just in act 1! Don’t miss this hilarious festive comedy by Vincent Higgins.

13 December 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Beauty and the Beast, Grand Opera House

Xmas for Dummies From now to Sunday, December 22 Grand Opera House, Belfast £16.75 Following the success of last year’s sell-out hit On The Shelf, Tara Lynne O’Neill from Derry Girls and Counsel’s Chris Robinson are back with another darkly comic antidote to all the usual Christmas schmaltz. Xmas for Dummies is the ‘80s movie Mannequin set in Castle Street…with cheaper actors! So, don’t be a dummy, book your tickets now and go along for this fastpaced, laugh-out-loud new comedy. PM Big Band Christmas Concert Friday, December 13 Belvoir Studio Theatre £12 Join David Hamilton, Ceara Gallagher and the amazing PM Big Band for an evening of Swing, Big Band and

jazz music from all the greats such as Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong. Step Into Narnia Saturday, December 14 Belvoir Studio Theatre £12 Stormont School of Singing is inviting all comers to Step Into Narnia. Their Annual Christmas Charity Concert in aid of NI Chest Heart and Stroke features music for the season performed by students and professionals alongside dramatic readings taken from CS Lewis’ Narnia. Tickets include non-alcoholic mulled wine and mince pies at the interval. Christmas at Belfast Cathedral December 20 & 21, 7.30pm-10.15pm Belfast Cathedral £24.84 – £31.31 Get into the festive mood in the atmospheric surroundings of St

Family Life | 53

Roll up, roll up! T

umble Circus is back in Writer’s Square, Belfast, for its fourth year with The Winter Circus Show. The shows will run between December 13 – January 2 in a fully heated big top tent. The Winter Circus Show is an all human, all thrill event. Expect modern, highly skilled acts, including acrobats, aerialists and jugglers in this one hour of hammer-smashing Belfast inspired circus. The Winter Circus Shows are spectacular with an inspiring modern soundtrack, international circus artists and comedy characters that both young and old can enjoy. Forget what you think about circus and experience world-class acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and the unique humour that has made Tumble Circus an international award winning modern circus company. Winter Circus is kindly supported by Depart-

ment for Communities, Arts Council of N Ireland, Belfast City Council and Cathedral Quarter BID. Doors open 15 minutes before the show starts and there are almost 30 performances over the three weeks of the circus, including relaxed shows on Tuesday, December 17. Tickets cost £8.50 for children (12 and under), £12 full price, family of four £35. (Children 2 and under go free) Tickets for the preview performance on Friday, December 13, £6, plus booking fee. Group bookings (10 or more) available from bookings@ To book your ticket, visit event/485590. For more information, visit www.

54 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 13 December 2019

Xmas for Dummies, Grand Opera House

atmospheric surroundings of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, with singers Peter Corry, Barbara Dickson, Strictly Come Dancing’s Patrick Smyth and the BSPA Voices. The shows promise to be an enchanting seasonal celebration in the most stunning of settings. With Blood Brothers, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Elton John and the Greatest Showman in their combined repertoires, plus some seasonal favourites, Christmas at the Cathedral is a must see.

Nobody Puts Bernie in the Corner Saturday, December 21 Ulster Hall, Belfast £20 ‘Tis the season to be jolly and you’ll find all the laughter you can handle at Nobody Puts Bernie In The Corne with the hilarious Bernie Jones. So put on your Christmas jumper, grab your mates, your work colleagues or treat your granny and have the perfect Christmas party. This high energy, hilariously funny comedy show features ‘90s disco classics and some iconic songs from Dirty Dancing. If you’re crazy for Swayze and fancy a bit of salsa in your

Aladdin the Pantomime, Belvoir Studio Theatre

Aladdin, at the Belvoir Studio Theatre. It is brought to you by the finest panto company in South Belfast and beyond, the Belvoir Players Amateur Dramatic Society, which has been Aladdin the Pantomime Wednesday, December 22 - Saturday, entertaining audiences for more than half a century. January 4 Jam-packed with colour, songs, Belvoir Studio Theatre slapstick and audience participation, £12 the pantomime offers a great night It’s time to get into the Christmas out for all the family this Christmas. mood with the pantomime classic, Karaoke, then join Bernie Jones for a wild night of fun and laughter and let’s get this Christmas party started!

JOLLYGOODSHOWS E nd your year with a bang and start the new year on the right note by seeing your favourite artists at a venue near you.

Saturday, December 14

Hannah Williams and the Affirmations – Limelight, Belfast IDLES vs ASIWYFA DJ sets – Voodoo, Dinosaur Pile Up, Fangclub – Voodoo, Belfast

Daithi, Voodoo Warehouse Music – The Telegraph Building, Belfast Space Dimension Controller, Phil Kieran – Voodoo, Belfast Terri Hooley’s... Last Ever Hooley’s Hootenanny – Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast Suited & Booted: The Vibes, Amy Montgomery, The Skallions, Jordan Adentunji – Empire Music Hall, Belfast

Monday, December 16

Scouting For Girls – Limelight, Belfast

Tuesday, December 17

Sam Fender – Ulster Hall Phil Taggart’s Slacker Podcast feat. Ryan McMullan – Limelight, Belfast

Wednesday, December 18

Friday, January 3

Mark Lanegan – Empire Music Hall, Belfast

Thursday, December 19

All Folk’d Up – Empire Music Hall, Belfast Beoga, Travis is a Tourist – Ulster Hall Brame & Hamo – Ulster Sports Club, Belfast More Than Conquerors – Limelight, Belfast

Friday, December 20

Hermitage Green – Limelight, Belfast

Saturday, December 21

2manydjs, The 2 Bears – District 8@Jam Park, Swords Sugarwolf, Cherym, Fast Thursday – Nerve Centre, Derry Hermitage Green – Skylite Room, Warrenpoint

Hannah Williams and the Affirmations, Limelight Waylander – Voodoo, Belfast The Outcasts – Black Box, Belfast

Friday, December 27

Sunday, December 22

Saturday, December 28

Junior Brother, The Mad Dalton, Ethan Hanna, Joel Harkin – The Palm House, Belfast Brand New Friend, Felonies – Katy’s Bar, Belfast Maria Somerville – Black Box, Belfast

Thursday, December 26

AVA Boxing Day Ball – Ulster Hall Hannah Wants, Ejeca – Lush, Portrush

Conor Scott – The Sunflower, Belfast Joshua Burnside, Jarlath Henderson – Duncairn Arts Centre, Belfast Daithi – Voodoo, Belfast

Tuesday, December 31

And So I Watch You From Afar – Whelan’s, Dublin The Bonnevilles, Swall Monkey, The Peculiar, The Scuntz – Errigle Inn, Belfast Shine NYE 2019: Mella Dee pres.

DJ Yoda: Tarantino AV Show – Black Box, Belfast

Saturday, January 4

Cerys Matthews – Where the Wild Cooks Go (2pm) – Black Box, Belfast Nine Below Zero – Black Box, Belfast Mark Lanegan, Empire Music Hall

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