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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 3

Contents 34-35


4 Spring fever 6-8 Make this Mother’s Day special - gift ideas galore!

40 Making the most of the Golden Years

10 How 10 year old Eva is recovering after stroke

42-43 Life after serious illness... overcomers share their stories 44 Lessons worth learning in the digital era

12 Top tips for tackling a spring clean

46-47 Get into gear! Answering the spring call to get fit plus cool gear to keep you going

14-15 Life through a lens with Blue Planet’s Doug Allan


16-19 Update your home for 2018

Allthingsnew T

20-23 Laying the foundations for a great summer in the garden

ing, decorating and updating our decor for the brighter days. Our home style feature includes lots of trends to look out for. We also bring you the latest in fashion, beauty, make-up and hair styles, all guaranteed to put a spring in your step. There’s more to March than the advent of spring. The month is packed with dates for the diary, from World Book Day on March 1 to St Patrick’s Day on March 17 and lest you forget Mother’s Day, on Sunday, March 11, we bring you lots of tips for making this a special day for your mum as well as gift ideas. Chef Jayne Quigg has also put together a tempting Mother’s Day menu that dads and kids can tackle together. Our events listings should have many of the other big dates you need to know covered and with the Northern Ireland Science Festival in full swing, we caught up with one of the key speakers, Doug Allan, the cameraman behind some of the most spectacular sequences on David Attenburgh’s series, such as Planet Earth and Blue Planet. We also bring you an interview with Eimhear O’Donnell, whose daughter Eva (10) has survived a series of strokes — a terrifying prospect for any family but she is recovering well and has been selected to officially start the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run this weekend. Elsewhere in the magazine we have features on Helen Riordan, who refuses to give into crippling rheumatoid arthritis and Colleen McIlroy, whose recovery from cancer has taken a musical turn. We hope you enjoy...

50 Cook up delicious dishes for mum this Mother’s Day 24-27 Get ready for wedding season

Get ready to welcome the spring!

he last dregs of winter are giving way to bright, longer days and there’s no doubt about it — spring is in the air! Spring fever is having a moment at Family Life and we are happily anticipating watching nature bursting into life. It’s a wonderful time for getting out and about and we have put together lots of suggestions for days out and short breaks. The lure of the great outdoors also brings a wealth of opportunities to get active, whether you are open to being smitten by the running bug or prefer to play sports with the bonus of becoming fit. Check out our guide to great gear to run or work out with. Gardeners, like greyhounds getting out of the traps, are primed and ready for action and with March 20 heralding the official start of spring, pruning shears will be flashing in the sunlight. Yes, excessive optimism is a symptom of spring fever and while it might be misplaced when it comes to the weather, it’s not when it comes to lots of other topics we’ve covered in this edition. How better to celebrate all things being made new than with the ultimate in exciting arrivals... Yes, our babies’ feature covers everything from the lowdown on what other mums can’t live without, to mum-to-be beauty products, while new dad Jamie Roberts writes about the new love of his life, baby Fallyn. Parents to be aren’t the only ones yielding to the nesting instinct as spring brings an irrestistible urge to get our homes in order. In fact any residual reminders of winter are in danger of being cast out as we get clean-

48 Help your family fight the obesity epidemic with healthy meal choices

28-31 Holiday fun for spring, Easter and beyond

52-55 Have a spring fling with our fashion edit for women and children 56-58 Hair, makeup and beauty for the new season 59-62 Arts, parts and events

34-35 Great days out for all the family Published by Belfast Telegraph Clarendon House, Clarendon Dock, Belfast, BT1 3BH

36-37 Mums’ jury gives verdict on essential kit for baby and nursery

FAMILY LIFE MANAGER Jackie Reid Belfast Telegraph

38-39 Cute buys for mums and babies plus, new dad Jamie is loving life as a family man

EDITOR Fiona Rutherford Realtime Editing & Design NI Ltd CONTRIBUTORS Davina Gordon, Maeve Richardson, Megan Kavanagh, Ruaidhri McCarney, Jayne Quigg, Maureen Coleman, Jamie Roberts DESIGN Susan McClean INM Design Studio, Belfast



4 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

There’s nofighting



pring officially begins on March 20 this year, but already you can sniff it in the wind. That sense of anticipation and the build up of energy and optimism are contagious. Perhaps that’s why it’s called Spring Fever. But while many of us can’t wait to burst into action, people with depression can feel even more under the cosh than usual. Here are our tips for making the most of springtime, whether it fills you with joy or simply stresses you out...


Only about a third of people keep to their New Year resolutions to get fit or lose weight. However, the physical and psychological renewal that goes on as spring starts make it a perfect season for returning to those fitness goals.


Fed up with not being able to find a home for half your stuff or being confronted with piles of paper when you’re trying to find a document? Getting rid of clutter is key to good mental health with spring cleaning being associated with improved mood, decreased stress, and heightened creativity. Psychologist Jonathan Fader writes: “Clutter can increase stress by distracting us and overwhelming our senses with extraneous stimuli – toppling piles and unsightly messes as well as associated smells and noises. Piles of papers can indicate that work is endless and that even when we finish what we are working on there is more to be done.” Clear your desk or counter top thoroughly once and you are more likely to keep it tidy.


Decluttering can lead to beginning a full on spring clean. It’s tempting to try to do everything at once but in the same way that you feel a surge of well-being after an illness, you can be tempted to take on

You can make your life better and all it takes is a decision and the willpower to follow through

‘Flylady’ Marla Cilley too much and end up feeling tired and overwhelmed. Check out housekeeping guru Marla Cilley’s Flylady system of short daily routines and by the end of a month, every part of your home will be in better shape and you’ll feel more in control. “Doing a little every day is the key to never having to spring clean again,” writes Marla (


People with depression can find Spring Fever hard to bear. Everyone else seems to emerge from the collective gloom of winter, ready to embrace the new, leaving

people with depression feeling even more isolated than ever. Apart from that, an estimated 10% of people with Seasonal Affective Disorder may suffer from reverse SAD, where their symptoms are worsened by heat and light. For people suffering from depression and their loved ones, rec-

ognising what is happening is important. There are various avenues to dealing with depression, from having anti-depressants prescribed to being referred for counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy. Eating a healthy diet is not only good for the body but for the brain as well. Don’t forget alcohol can make people feel down. Relaxation techniques can help release tension while exercise is a great stress buster and helpful for mental health. If you are worried about someone close or indeed yourself, make an appointment with the doctor. For urgent advice, call 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans, 9066 4422.


Spring is the perfect season to reboot your life, thanks to the sense of newness and possibility in the air, Be inspired by focusing on new opportunities, changes and challenges instead of what you may feel you have lost. Therapist Barton Goldsmith writes: “Starting again is hard, and we need all the help we can get, so if you are inspired by the season and the new life around you, then use it... Hope is so much more powerful than despair. You can make your life better, and all it takes is a decision and the willpower to follow through.” Sources from

6 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Makethis Mother’sDay special


um’s the word on March 11 when the focus is on getting multi-tasking mothers to take a well-earned day off, put their feet up and let their offspring spoil them for once. That’s if the offspring are teens or adults of course. For younger kids, the onus is on dad to make this day special, particularly if mum’s normal role involves minding young children full time. Even the simplest gesture, like letting her have a lie in – a proper one, without the kids climbing all over her – will be appreciated, as will breakfast in bed. A brave or foolish man will think he doesn’t need to acknowledge the occasion at all. This is tantamount to telling her that you don’t appreciate her and is likely to be received as such. A ‘thoughtful’ gift – not anti-ageing cream (unless she’d love it), lacy undies, anything to do with housework or sad garage flowers – a trip to somewhere special and lunch or dinner out are all options. If eating out isn’t possible and mum normally does the bulk of the cooking, let dad or the kids cook for that day and if that’s not possible, get a takeaway. Make sure mum doesn’t have to spend most of the day cleaning up the mess made by everyone else cooking! For the children, often a card – handmade if you like – and a heartfelt hug is enough to let your mum know you


Don’t buy  Pongy hand cream  Lacy undies  Tea towels  Wilting ‘say you don’t care’ flowers

appreciate her. Don’t leave it until Sunday morning to buy a card, as you’re likely to end up with one that only your great-granny would appreciate. For those who live too far from their

mums for a visit, flowers in the post or a card with a gift voucher are also great, but a phone call to wish her a happy Mother’s Day and to tell her you love her are the best gifts of all.

Do buy  Vouchers for a spa  Wine and chocolates  Jewellery  Perfume  A beautiful bouquet


The phrase ‘killing two birds with one stone’ might seem inappropriate, especially when it involves a place known for its ornithology, but you could get Mother’s Day off to an early start with a free visit to one of the National Trust properties on Saturday, March 10. Mountstewart House and Gardens is always worth a visit and you can tour the house for free between 10am–3pm. Mums at Mount Stewart on Mother’s Day, March 11, involves afternoon tea, a glass of Prosecco and live music but will set you back £25 per adult, £12.50 per child. Get in a spot of bird-watching with the monthly tour of the gardens with twitcher Gemma Sandford on March 7 or April 4.


Jewellery designer Melanie Bond will be putting her styling talents to good use at a Twilight Fashion Tea Party in aid of Macmillan and Weaver’s Cancer Support, Waringstown, in Edenmore Country Club, Magheralin on March 8. “We’re having a pop-up shop of preloved items, local crafters and designers serving a high tea and there’s entertainment from the Zephaniah dancers, Waringstown Community Choir and Katie Weir.” It’s a chance to check out the beautiful leather products by new Moira business Tahlia too. Tickets, £25, from Melanie, 0787 1053 515.

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Even the most health conscious mum can have a treat on Mother’s Day. Buy her hand-made chocolates from one of Northern Ireland’s finest chocolatiers like Co Couture or Neary Nogs, or pop down to the shop for a box of Roses, as generations of kids have done over the years. Neary Nogs gift boxes, £5 ea, Cadbury’s Roses, £3 Don’t leave it too late if you’re getting mum flowers this year. Large Mother’s Day bouquet with free chocolates (Pre-order available from March 6), £35, Digital photo frames are great for an ever changing display of your favourite photos. The latest models have Bluetooth and wifi capability so you can upload photos directly from your phone and play music and videos through them too. The size refers to the diamater from one corner to another. Most, like this one from the specialist firm Digital Frames Direct, include a clock and calendar. 8” Slimline, 4GB internal memory, £64.96 (was £112.55),

A memory box will help her keep those all important mementos safe. This one has a slide off lid with compartments and contents including an acrylic vial for baby’s first curl, identifier tags to remember where each memento came from and a notebook to jot down letters and diary entries. Wooden memory box, Dimensions: H22.5 x W31.5 x D5cm, £24.99,

If you want to buy your mum perfume but your pocket money doesn’t extend to one of the designer brands, don’t worry as you can pick up a beautiful fragrance for less than a tenner. See for lots of bargain scents that smell very like much more expensive fragrances.

Gifts worth


Estée Lauder Sensuous Nude, 30ml, £39, The Perfume Shop

Can’t think what to give your mum or the mother of your children this year? Check out our gift guide for some tips and inspiration... Make or buy a luxury hamper and include some of her favourites. Simply buy or reuse a pretty basket, line it with tissue paper or straw and fill it with treats you know your mum will love.

Organise a family photo session with a local photographer. Some, like Nicola Ross in Bangor, specialise in informal family photos which capture the most fun, intimate moments. The Rankin family by Nicola Ross,

Mother’s Day Gift Luxury Hamper from Virginia Hayward, contains Hardy’s ‘You Are The Best Mum In The World’ Milk Chocolate Bar, English Breakfast Tea in Tea Party Tin, Sass & Belle ‘I’m a Mum’ mug, Simply Cornish Strawberries & Cream Shortbread, The Original Cake Company 4” Round Chocolate Cake,£38.50,

This travel size perfume from Next smells just like the more expensive Estée Lauder. Both have a luxury, musky base. Cashmere eau de parfum 30ml, £8, Next

Ted Baker Rose Gold & Black ‘Kaysa’ Flower Bracelet, £49, Shannon’s of Lisburn, www. shannonsjewellers.

Luxury scented candles. Go with one of the big brands, or opt for something really special like a hand-made candle from one of the local artisanal makers like TulipMoon which launched at Christmas. Tulip Moon’s range of reed diffusers and candles use pure soya wax and essential oils to calm and uplift. Choose from fusions such as soothing Lavender and Bergamot or spicy Cinnamon and Orange. Prices from £8, search Tulip Moon Colette Crossan on Facebook

Jewellery is great for Mother’s Day, from the child or dad, functional or expensive. Charm bracelets are great for a special gift that can be added to. Or how about a bespoke piece made just for her? Wirework silver and crystal necklace tied with ribbon, £25, Melanie Bond,

8 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Spoilyourmum Don’t be stuck for ideas when it come to buying a thoughtful gift for the most important woman in your life. Perfume, candles and handbags are all good options. Encourage your mum to relax with a Rose and Bergamot Candle from Self Care Co. This natural soy candle is blended with a mix of essential oils and has a burn time of 60-80 hours — plenty of time for mum to relax in a hot bath. Women can never have enough perfume so whether she prefers classic and elegant or fruity and floral, we have some fab choices for you. For the fashionista mum, a handbag is a wise and practical choice. You’re certain to find something she’ll love from our top picks.

Relax Himalayan Bath Salts, £4.75, Absolute Aromas

Bluebell and Wood Anemone Scented Votive, £7.95,

Floral Saddle Bag, £30, Next

Ragdale Hall Spa Time to Sleep Restful Sleep Bath Infusion, £12.50, M&S

Autograph Luxury Leather Wash Bag, £30, M&S

Pretty EDP, 100ml, £50, Elizabeth Arden Linea Gold Trinket Box, £8, House of Fraser

See by Chloe, 50ml, £50, Debenhams

Red Herring Bag, £30, Debenhams English Rose Candle, £25,

Red Door EDP, £48, Elizabeth Arden

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

Viva La Juicy Soiree EDP, 100ml, £70, Juicy Couture Rose and Bergamot Candle, £20, Self Care Co.

Hedgerow Berries Diffuser, £25,

White Tea Candle, £20, Elizabeth Arden

10 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Eva O’Donnell is making a good recovery

Eva with her mum Eimhear



he Stroke Association’s Resolution Run on February 25, has a very special official race starter — 10 year old Eva O’Donnell, who has survived a series of strokes. In October 2017, Eva, was rushed to hospital when she collapsed to the ground. Eva’s mother Eimhear recalls: “I was getting Eva ready for her Halloween school disco when I noticed her eyes and face dropping. Soon after, she collapsed to the floor and was completely unresponsive. I rushed Eva to the hospital where we were told that she had had a fainting episode. These episodes carried on for six weeks, each time we were being sent home with no answers. It was a very distressing time and I had a gut feeling that Eva was seriously unwell. “After a lot badgering, I was able to get Eva a MRI scan in November 2017, which confirmed that Eva had, in fact, had several mini-strokes which had caused a

ruptured aneurysm. Eva then went on to have a massive stroke during an operation to repair the damage in her brain.” Eva is now making a good recovery and has regained her speech; however, she has also been left with learning difficulties and right-sided weakness as a result of the strokes. Her family have decided to take part in the run to highlight the cause.


Eimhear said: “I never could have imagined that our daughter would have a stroke. We’re hoping that by teaming up to take part in the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run, we can raise vital awareness that children can have strokes too, as well as help the charity support other families affected by stroke.” Sam Evans, Community and Events Fundraiser at the Stroke Association, said: “A Resolution Run is exactly that – a resolution for the new year that counts. It’s

the ideal event for people in Belfast who want to do something fun together, while getting more active in 2018. “Every five minutes in the UK, someone’s life is turned upside down by stroke. By signing up to a Resolution Run, each runner will help us do so much more to support stroke survivors and their families as they rebuild their lives. We’re thrilled Eimhear and her family are taking part and we have asked that Eva be the Resolution Run’s official race starter.”


At least half of strokes could be prevented if people made simple lifestyle changes, such as keeping blood pressure under control, eating healthily and taking

regular exercise. The money raised through the event at Queen’s Sport in Belfast will help the charity to fund vital research and support people affected by stroke in Northern Ireland. If you would like to show your support Eimhear has a just giving site eimhear-odonnell1. Alternatively if you would like to take part in this 5k and 10k run, the charity is taking entries on the day for just £20. Follow Resolution Run Belfast 2018 on Facebook for details. The Stroke Helpline (0303 303 3100) provides information and support on stroke. More information can be found at


A new campaign #NotSorryMums is urging mums to be proud of breastfeeding. With Northern Ireland having the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the UK, this Public Health Agency (PHA) campaign highlights the health benefits of breastfeeding and supports mums to feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public. “This campaign, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, shows mums and women who may become mums in future, that breastfeeding their baby, no matter where they are, is normal and nothing to say sorry for,” says Mary Black, of the PHA. “It also acts as a reminder for all of us to be supportive of women who choose to breastfeed. We all have a part to play.” Breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of serious stomach and chest infections and reduces mum’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

The campaign website – – has lots of information on breastfeeding, not only for mums but also for partners and families to help them support mothers. Information especially for dads is also available, highlighting what they need to know about breastfeeding and offering practical advice and tips on how they can help their partner. More than 530 businesses, council facilities and popular tourist attractions have already signed up to the PHA’s Breastfeeding Welcome Here scheme. A list of members of the scheme can be found on The site features an interactive map so you can find your nearest Breastfeeding Welcome Here venue as well as the nearest Breastfeeding Support Group. Share your support on social media using #NotSorryMums.

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 11

Workingparentssetto loseifChildcareVouchers closetonewentrants ✸

Pickanumber W

ould you know where to turn for help if you needed support, advice or information? Helplines Network NI is a partnership made up of 30 local helplines. At a recent event to raise awareness of the support that’s available to the public, Sonya McMullan, Chair of the Helplines Network NI and Helpline Manager at the 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline, said: “Last year in Northern Ireland, our helplines responded to over half a million calls and web-based contacts. The helpline members provide a variety of vital support services including information, advice, counselling, a listening ear and befriending, covering a wide range of

issues from health, to housing, benefits, employment, family, child protection and debt.” Mary Black, Assistant Director of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement at the PHA, which helped establish the network, said: “The Helplines Network NI website provides a central information point to find support for various issues, signposting people to the telephone numbers and services they need. We would encourage anyone who feels like they need help to find out more about the services that are available.” For further information visit

Employers For Childcare is calling on the Government to halt its proposed closure of the Childcare Voucher scheme to new entrants. Presently, no new entrants will be able to join the scheme from April 2018. All current Childcare Voucher users however will be able to continue using this valuable support towards their childcare costs. Parents wishing to join the scheme need to do this by making a salary sacrifice no later than March 2018. Parents who have temporarily opted out of Childcare Vouchers, but want the option of using them in the future, need to have made at least one salary sacrifice in the 52 weeks before it closes to new entrants. If you are not currently paying for registered childcare, but think you might in the future, you should consider joining the scheme. Even if you only salary sacrifice £1 you can remain in the scheme for as long as you remain eligible. New parents can join Childcare Vouchers from when their child is born. Parents cannot salary sacrifice below the equivalent of the national living / minimum wage, or if they are in receipt of statutory maternity pay only. They could however use a Keeping in Touch (KIT) day, where they receive full pay, to sala-

ry sacrifice a small amount to join the scheme and ensure they have options on returning to work. Some families will be better off using TaxFree Childcare, while others will benefit from Childcare Vouchers, Tax Credits or Universal Credit, or a combination of these. Contact Employers For Childcare for free, confidential and impartial advice on what is best for your family: 0800 028 3008, hello@ or visit www.

12 | Family Life


he unforgiving sun streaming through the windows highlights not only the bits the window cleaner has missed over the winter but also the general grime that can build up on walls and floors – especially if you have kids and/or pets. Spring cleaning is all about getting into those nooks and crannies that the normal routine skims blithely by. Don’t try to do a full spring clean in one day though, especially if you work full time. You’ll end up overwhelmed, exhausted and probably with a bigger mess than you started with. Break it down into bitesized chunks over the course of a month and you’ll get there. Here are our top tips for a successful spring clean.

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018 Get the kids involved in drying the floors


Divide your home into zones - the kitchen and utility room, the living room and dining room, the hall stairs and landing, bathroom/s and each bedroom is its own zone. Focus on getting one done before you move onto the next. Also, start with the one that you most want to succeed with — just in case you don’t get the whole house done.


Get your most comfy old clothes on and start with a good decluttering. Be ruthless with binning or giving away items that are simply taking up space and try to find a home for those things that don’t have one. Perhaps you have a cupboard full of videos — remember those? The chances are, you’ll never watch them again so why not bin them and use the space for something useful. Keep the ones that have family weddings or films of the children when they were little and have them converted to digital DVDs which take up a lot less space — there are lots of businesses offering the service, a Google search will help you find one near you. The same goes for books... do you really need to hang on to all those text books the children no longer need?


Enlist help. Kids of all ages can be resistant to mucking in when it comes to cleaning. Encourage them by letting them choose the music and having a dance off while you clean. If you have tiled or stone floors, throw down a couple of towels after you’ve washed them and let the kids slide about on them. They’ll have the floor dried in no time. Likewise, if animal hair is an issue on your carpets, get the kids to drag their trainers or any rubber soled shoes across the surface and the hair will lift off easily when you come to vacuum.


Do all the windows and mirrors in one session. Pick a cloudy day so that you don’t end up with streaks and after drying, a final polish with scrunched up newspaper will make them sparkle.


Don’t forget to look up. Dust or vaccuum away all those spiders webs and take down lampshades and give them a good wash. If your shower head is removable, put it in a bowl with some warm white vinegar and the mineral deposits will wipe off easily — if yours has a designer finish, test a small area with a rag first. If it’s not detachable, you can soak it in a bag of vinegar which you can secure with a rubber band.


When it comes to tackling the bedrooms, have a box or bag for items that you want to bin, those you can

Slowandsteadywins thespringcleaningrace pass on to a friend or family member, one for charity and one for the winter woollies to go into. While our crazy climate means we tend to need some warm layers all year round, some things like heavy coats and knitwear — especially the Christmas jumpers — can safely go into storage now.


Follow the path of least resistance when it comes to heavy cleaning. A grimy microwave will be spotless after a quick wipe if you cut a lemon, squeeze the juice into a bowl of water and drop the lemon halves in too. Microwave it on high for about three minutes then leave it to cool

Listen to your favourite tunes or a podcast and cleaning becomes much less of a chore

for about five minutes. Grease and dirt will come away easily. Baking soda is also excellent for cleaning out fridges, toilets etc, but don’t believe the hype about combining it with vinegar for cleaning. The two chemicals involved cancel out each other’s useful properties and are no more useful than water. If you have a ceramic sink, you can restore it to its original glory with a brilliant, rhubarb based product, Bar Keeper’s Friend. Just a tiny sprinkling of this magic dust and a wipe with a damp cloth gets rid of all those marks and stains.


Keep note of what works and what doesn’t. If you are fighting a losing battle against grubby fingerprints on your walls, resolve to pay the bit extra for washable paint next time you’re redecorating. Clean out and wash the filter on your vacuum cleaner regularly and you’ll find it is much more efficient — in fact, you might even feel encouraged to use it on your furniture and curtains as you’re going about.


Do your homework before using cleaning products you aren’t used to and don’t mix bleach with any other cleaner. For natural finishes such as stone, marble or travertine, never use bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids or abrasives. Mild soapy water or a product made specifically for those surfaces is the only way to go.


Factor in breaks. Have a bottle of water on you or stop for a cuppa after an hour so you can admire your handiwork and avoid getting dehydrated.

Finally, don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up if you don’t get the whole house done — it’s not important in the grand scheme of things. If all you have achieved is a bit of decluttering and a basic clean up, that’s still an achievement. Working mums have enough to do without trying to keep the house perfect too!

14 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Doug at work in the Arctic


BluePlanet cameraman W ith over 30 years of experitypes among mammals, whether you’re ence in photography and a in with a group of dolphins, elephants or degree in marine biology, the gorillas or a family of polar bears. Scotsman is set to discuss his “You get the ones who are full of mislove for science, what it’s like chief, normally the younger ones, and if diving and filming in the poles and how you spend long enough with them, you can climate change is affecting these regions begin to guess what they’ll do.” of Earth when he appears at QUB’s Whitla Hall on Sunday. THE THRILL OF NEW DISCOVERIES He oozes passion for his work and And with the help of scientists, it’s the surroundings whenever he talks, even after thrill of discovering new, never-beenspending so long in the industry and it’s known-before traits that the eight-time definitely an event not to miss. Emmy award winner thrives on. He may have gained a degree In one of the most iconic scenes in marine biology, but after ever filmed, Doug was part of meeting Attenborough the team which captured while working in the a pod of Orca whales Antarctic in 1981, producing waves Doug’s career path to wash seals off became clear and ice floes as they a life behind the hunted for their lens has since next meal. blossomed. However, From playful what happolar bears in pened next the Antarctic had Doug extra to mischievous excited. After chimpanzees the scientists in Uganda, he on board their has travelled the boat succeeded in world looking for fitting trackers on the the perfect shots. “The whales, they made an attraction of filming wild amazing discovery – the mammals is they’re like us – pod swam for nine days over Surrounded we’re mammals,” says Doug. 2,500 miles north and spent a by ice “There are various personality month off the coast of Brazil,

An award-winning cameraman who has provided the public with some of the most memorable scenes ever to be shown on the small screen will be in Belfast for what is sure to be an interesting discussion at the NI Science Festival. Wildlife cameramen don’t come much more special than Doug Allan, according to Sir David Attenborough, who the 66-year-old has worked with on blue-chip projects, including Blue Planet, Planet Earth, and Frozen Planet. “There’s just no one else who knows the frozen worlds as he does,” Attenborough enthuses. Jamie Roberts caught up with him... feeding in warmer waters, before travelling back to do it all again. “Before the tracking, no one knew whales in the Antarctic did these migrations,” he explains. “It’s really interesting to patch this into the ecology of the animals, but it’s also important for conservation reasons. “It’s no use protecting them in the Antarctic and then finding that they run the gauntlet of pollution on their way to Brazil. So because this discovery was made, it has big repercussions on the management of killer whales stocks around the Antarctic.”

BEWARE OF THE WALRUS However, for every extreme high that the

role may have – Blue Planet being his favourite project to date – come clear dangers. One animal which makes Doug break out in a cold sweat is the walrus, an animal with an ‘edginess you don’t find anywhere else’, after an altercation which could have quite easily cost him his life. After being confused by the beast for a sleeping seal while filming off the ice edge of Canada, the cameraman felt what could only be described as a sudden sensation of someone wrapping their arms powerfully around his thighs and squeezing his legs. “I looked down and could see a walrus’s head almost tucked underneath my arms,” he shudders. “Instinctively I lashed out with the camera and hit it and luckily it

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Filming under the ice at Greenland you’d better keep your wits about you, but it is exciting and satisfying to go through challenging situations knowing you have the experience to cope with them.”

Swimming alongside a Humpback whale and her calf at Tonga, South Pacific disappeared back to the depths and I made it back to the ice edge. It was the hairiest single moment that’s ever happened to me and was one of these things that could have gone one way or the other and luckily it went the way which left me alive.” That said, his respect for wildlife is evident and he jokes that you can never show your fear but must always keep your cool. He claims that there will always be another chance to get the perfect shot a different day if you heed the warning the animal gives you when it doesn’t want you around.

POLAR BEARS TOPS Out of all the mammals that he’s been privileged to follow, the polar bear would be his pick of the bunch. “They’re great animals – big, sexy, charismatic top-level carnivores which are very, very intelligent. Watching two polar bear cubs is so cute. It’s just like watching two Labrador puppies together. You cannot help but smile when you watch them together. “The polar bear does represent a great danger, though. If you’re out on the ice,

PRIVILEGE AT A COST Like any job, though, it’s often difficult to get the perfect work/life balance. To make such fantastic memories behind the camera, he has had to spend months on end away from his family and he is aware of how difficult this can be for both him and his loved ones. “Shoots are always being stretched and cancelled, so it’s very difficult to be around in the UK for anniversaries and birthdays,” says the dad of one. “You need a lot of mental resilience, both yourself and members of your family to make it work. That’s the thing you have to live with. If you can’t do a job, someone else will jump in and do it. We’re all living under the whip of the self-employed. But, it’s fine. I wouldn’t complain as what we do gets us lots of privileged access to some wonderful places and wonderful animals and there is nothing else quite like it. It’s a privileged position to be in.” Because of this, he doesn’t have any thoughts of hanging up his camera stand just yet, so what’s left for the man who has already ticked so much from even the best of bucket lists? “I’d love to see more of the Pacific Islands.” NOT JUST FOR GEEKS First, though, is his Belfast appearance and he’s excited to dismiss the stigma that ‘science is for geeks’. “I really do believe in communicating science. A knowledge of science is really useful and I believe in it in a big way. I think science should be all about understanding where you are in the planet’s ecosystem and understanding better where you fit in so you grow up appreciating that you’re a part of it and how you behave can have a bearing on everything else. “You should also be aware of the amount that you depend on a good, clean environment simply for the quality of your life, so you grow up automatically treating the planet better. I like making science interesting and exciting.”

Doug with a husky in Greenland

Catch Doug Allan - An Eye Below Zero at the Whitla Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast, on Sunday, February 25, from 4.30–5.30pm. Suitable for all ages, tickets £14/£10 concession, and further details from

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018






Luxury is king when it comes to textures this season and those in the know are going to be mixing it up. Leather and velvet will feature prominently when it comes to soft furnishings – if you’ve ever wanted a velvet sofa, now is the time to go for it. Accessorize with some leather cushions and you’ll be showcasing your style maven credentials to the max. When it comes to bedrooms, think leather upholstered headboards; layer leather and velvet cushions and add a velvet throw for the ultimate luxe look. Inject style as well as comfort under foot with a leather and fabric rug. Proving you don’t need to break the bank to add a stylish update, look no further than this bargain from Sostrene Grene.

Was giving your home interior an overhaul on your list of new year’s resolutions? With a wealth of inspiration to draw on from the world of interior design, there’s no better time to get stuck into some home improvement. Whether it’s adding accents with ‘ontrend’ accessories, or giving a room a complete makeover, there’s something to capture every imagination among this year’s must-haves...

Graham and Brown Julien Macdonald, Honoloulu Palm Green Foliage Glitter Effect Wallpaper, £22 per roll, B&Q

Monstera, swiss cheese plant £15 Ikea

Rattlesnake plant, £27, www.


Leather and fabric rug L70xW140 cm, £20.48, Sostrene Grene,

House plants surged in popularity over the last few years, with the trend for succulents providing a low-maintenance first foray into the world of botany for many. The green-fingered theme is set to continue this year with vibrant, patterned foliage being top of the wish list. Visual social network site Pinterest reported that

Make a subtle statement with the Ettore Table Lamp, £40, Oliver Bonas


The composite flooring material, synonymous with the ‘70s, is back. But this time it’s not confined to floors. Its durability, water resistance and eye-catching nature make it a sensible, yet stylish choice for everything from wall tiles to table tops,

work surfaces, splashbacks and serving platters – terrazzo works everywhere. Originally created in 16th-century Italy as a method of using up left over stone off-cuts by setting the chippings in cement, terrazzo can be poured in-situ by hand or pre-cast into blocks which can be cut to size. It’s also available as ready-made tiles, making it straightforward to apply to

Jade Bloomingville plate £6,

searches for ‘patterned plants’ are up 500% this year. Plants are a cheap way to add interest to your home whilst also boosting your health – removing airbourne contaminants and producing oxygen – and as far as styling goes, it’s a case of the more the merrier. Mix in palms, cheese plants and the smaller Calathea lancifolia, better known as the rattlesnake plant, to add a tropical element with its rich purple-backed leaves. The plant theme is continued across all

Tropical leaf print set of four £18.95, www.

elements of home decor, with large-scale leaf prints featuring on everything from wallpaper to tableware to cushions. You can decide how fully to embrace the trend, giving a subtle nod with prints like the tropical leaf print set of four from Not On The High Street, or going full jungle with a bold, botanical wallpaper like the Graham and Brown Julien Macdonald Honoloulu Palm Green Foliage Glitter Effect Wallpaper.

Protect your work surfaces or showcase your food in style with the Confetti Terrazzo small tray, £21.36, from www. walls and floors. As it’s made of stone offcuts it’s classed as a sustainable product, meaning you can stylishly appease your inner ecophile. For a contemporary take on the terrazzo trend, try Ferm Living Terrazzo wallpaper. Not only stylish, this wallpaper is also super easy to apply — you paste the wall, not the paper.

Ferm Living Terrazzo wallpaper, £65 per roll,

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018 This Swedish home showcases the beauty of Sage walls and bleached wood. Photo by alvhem,

Antoinetta throw, £15, IKEA,


The grey hues which have dominated palettes for several years are moving towards slightly warmer, earthier tones this year. Sage, a muted green with grey undertones, paired with natural wood and cream hues, will bring a relaxed and modern Scandi chic vibe to a home. Other colours to look out for are soft mustards, jades and olives — use them on walls or floors or choose accessories in these colours to add accents to neutral coloured rooms.

LSA International Flower Colour Bud Vase in Olive, £15, John Lewis,

Focus Grey & Mustard Triangles rug, 120x170, £100 with £5 to Shelter NI, Harvey Norman Seville Sideboard, £649, Swoon Editions,


Scandinavian style bleached wood will always have its place, but this year is seeing the return of darker wood. Oak, mahogany and walnut all add an air of luxury, which in combination with velvet, rich dark paint pigments and the addition of metallic and marble elements, whisper sophistication.

West Elm Cube Marble Base Side Table, £199, John Lewis,

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018



It’s still all about metallics, but moving on from last year’s rose and yellow gold, metallic must-haves are now less shiny, industrial shades like nickel and brass. Mirrors and accessories such as lamps, taps, tables and door handles add a touch of glamour, but remember, less is more when it comes to this trend... think boutique hotel rather than Trump Towers.

Aula side table in brushed brass and glass, £169, Made, Aura Brass Mirror, £225, Cox & Cox, www.

Elephant Junior Bean Bag, Ultra Violet, £75, Harvey Norman

Lemotiv Z Style Metal Table Lamp in Brass, £29, Cult Furniture, www.

Large grey metal Polygon Lantern, £80, Harvey Norman

Tick all the on-trend boxes with this ultra violet, velvet sofa. Saturday Two Seater Sofa, from £1,940,


There’s never a one–size–fits–all approach when it comes to home decor choices, so if neutrals aren’t your thing then you’re in luck as bright is back. From tropical prints to bright pops of colour, you can be as bold as you like with this trend. For a relaxed, eclectic feel, keep walls light in colour and use textures to layer, teaming patterns and stripes. Alternatively you can go for bold, pigment rich paint colours on walls or add a burst of colour with accessories.

Bohemian Cushion in Fuchsia, £24.95, Sweetpea and Willow,

Think Rugs Sunrise, from £79.99,

The colour experts at Pantone have chosen Ultra Violet as their shade of the year. Described as a ‘dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade’, the leaders in colour add: “PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future”. Purple has long been associated with royalty and mysticism, the colour is said to energise meditative spaces and bring inventiveness and imagination, taking our awareness to a higher level, according to Leatrice Eisman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute. Whether you subscribe to the ethereal connotations Pantone are attributing to the shade, there’s no doubt the purple hue is eye catching and it’s bright jewel tone will lend itself to both minimalist or opulent decor.

Chartreuse Parrot Vase, £15, The Contemporary Home,

Grady armchair, purple, £119 with £5 going to Shelter NI, Harvey Norman

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

20 | Family Life

Laythefoundationsnowfor agreatsummerinthegarden


Do some ground work now and summer gardening is more fun

ebruary/March is the most tantalising time for the amateur gardener. All those snowdrops followed by daffodils, crocuses and emerging tulips lure you outside and yet it’s too early in the year to really get stuck in. Some days are sunny and calm, others freezing with a harsh wind and still those night frosts to contend with. However, spring makes its official appearance on March 20 and there are important jobs to be done if you’re to have a garden to enjoy rather than endure this summer.

A riot of colour with spring bulbs


The first thing is to mount a pre-emptive strike against those soul-destroying weeds by removing them from your borders and applying a good layer of mulch to keep them at bay. Use leaf mould, compost, well-rotted manure or bark chippings and don’t forget to leave a gap around the stem of plants to prevent them being damaged.


Once you’ve tackled the weeds, it’s time to repair any damage caused over the winter to supports, before your plants begin scrambling all over them again. If you are going to need new trellis, this is a good time to put it in, as it’s a straightforward

One of the most striking spring flowering shrubs, camellia loves an acidic soil and dislikes the early morning sun

We love this weird and wonderful Allium ‘Hair’, 20 bulbs £7.99, www.

job before the growing season takes off properly. Perhaps you have an ugly wall that would benefit from disappearing under a cloud of clematis or honeysuckle flowers.... Make sure, if you are growing a vigorous climber, that your trellis or fence is strong enough.


While many gardeners here abide by the mantra that St Patrick’s Day is the first day on which you should prune roses, others suggest that that’s a job that can be done any time around now, before everything surges into life with spring. Now is also a good time for pruning those late flowering shrubs such as fuchsia and hydrangea as well as clematis, jasmine, wisteria and other summer flowering climbers. Remove dead and damaged branches to prevent diseases from getting a hold on your shrubs.


Rake in some granular fertiliser around the base of the plants after pruning or

mulch the soil with leaf mould and wood chippings to boost the nutrients and help the ground retain water.


Save money by ordering bare root shrubs and trees and plant them now, so long as the ground isn’t frozen or water-logged. If you can’t plant them out straight away, plant them into pots until the conditions are better, or if you only have a short delay, cover the bare roots with damp cloths. Before planting, soak them in water for around 20 minutes. Add plenty of good compost and a handful of bone meal to the planting hole. Once planted, water them in well and keep them well watered to help the plant get established. This is also a good time to lift and divide herbaceous perennials and to treat yourself to some new ones.


Decide where you want to introduce colour and plant summer flowering bulbs. Last summer ended with the most

amazing displays of Crocosmia all over the country. If you missed out, plant the corms now - they are great not only for their vivid red or orange spikes but they are very easy to grow and add height to a border without the need for staking. Crocosmia Severn Sunrise won RHS medal of merit last year and brings a pink tinge to the vibrant orange palette.


Lawns can look pretty shabby after a long winter with poor light and drainage leaving them bare, patchy or covered with moss and weeds. Give them some tlc with a good raking and then cut the grass with the mower at a high setting. Pick a good dry day towards the end of March and feed lawns with an even sprinkling of grass fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen.


On a wet day, use the time to lay plans for how you’d like your garden to look. While away a few hours at your local nursery or garden centre where, if you’re lucky, you can also pick up great tips for what thrives in the local area. While there’s a wealth of sources to peruse online, on a truly dire day, you can’t beat snuggling down with a good gardening book and a cuppa. Any guilt at not being out and at it can be batted away in the name of research!



hile spring flowering bulbs are planted in the autumn and winter, early spring is ideal for planting summer-flowering bulbs. These add a splash of colour to a border or container and are so easy to grow, it’s no wonder they’re an essential part of most gardens. Check the packet for the depth and spacing — it’s usually three times their own depth — and arrange them, pointy side up, in groups, preferably odd numbered, for an eye-catching swathe of colour. Here are some of the most popular. They’re easy to grow, come in a huge range of colours and will last you for years.

Gladiolus ‘Brown Sugar’ is an amazing burnt orange, 10 corms £9.99, www.

Crocosmia Mixed Colours, 30 corms £10.99, www.

✸ Allium — If you’ve ever tried to grow leeks and they bolted, you can end up with a pretty round flower. But it’s better to invest in these beautiful, architectural plants which will look their best in a sunny spot which is well drained. ✸ Gladiolus — These tall, elegrant ruffled blooms add sophistication and height to

Begonia Picotee Pink Halo, 3 Tubers £8.95, Mr Fothergills at range of outlets or www.

borders and they are enjoying a renaissance of late. ✸ Crocosmia — Plant the corms now and watch these gorgeous fiery spikes spread in the summer. ✸ Lily — Lilies of all shapes and sizes, from the huge white Arum to small ground covering lilies are wonderfully fragrant and super easy

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Star of countless gardening programmes, from Gardeners’ World to Gardeners’ Question Time, Pippa Greenwood is in demand with those wanting to grow the tastiest vegetables and herbs. Gardeners can order a range of good-sized garden-ready plants directly

from her and at a perfect time for planting (approx early to mid-May) and receive a weekly email from Pippa with advice for getting the best results and even the occasional recipe! As she is growing the entire range herself, the email covers the immediate tasks and concerns of growers. “My ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ concept was born out of my determination to help people to have fun growing their own vegetables and herbs, and get the luscious, tasty crops they deserve. This all makes veg growing easy, fun and more productive and many customers sign up year after year as it is very good value too!” Pippa removed her gloves long enough to answer a few questions for Family Life...


Do you have to create raised beds for veg or can you grow them in pots and borders? Absolutely not! There is no reason why you cannot grow veg in open ground. Having said that, raised beds are really useful if your soil isn’t great. I garden on heavy clay and so the only decent carrots or parsnips I produce are either grown in pots or raised beds. As for pots and planters, yes, definitely useful, especially

Fragrant Freesia collection, 60 corms (20 of each variety), £19.98, www.

Tree lilies can grow up to 2.5m (8ft) in two years with one bulb producing up to 30 trumpet blooms, 9 top size bulbs (3 each of Yellow Rocket, Starburst and Pink Explosion) £12.99,

if your open ground space is limited. When I first started my GYO with Pippa Greenwood idea I tried it out on some friends. One grew the entire range, bar the sweetcorn, in pots in her back yard garden.


What is the secret to getting a good crop? Good varieties, moisture when needed, plenty of food and of course, a sizeable helping of luck... and some good, regular advice helps too!


When is the best time for planting veg and fruit? Most fruit — ie trees and bushes — is best purchased from a specialist nursery and planted bare root whilst the plants are dormant, so late autumn to late winter, as long as the soil is not too wet or frozen; but you can get a good (but not so good) selection of fruit in many garden centres and if this has been pot grown it can be planted over a much wider period, but autumn is best. Most summer cropping vegetable plants need to go into the garden as soon as the danger of frost is past, so early to mid May in most places, but once you’re hooked you’ll want to make some later sowings of some crops

Iris of Sissingham is an iris specialist with a terrific range of plants such as the beautiful Barbe Noir, £11,

to grow in an acidic soil. ✸ Versatile begonias are great for their range of bright colours which add a wow factor to anywhere from a window box to a border or a hanging basket. Leave room for the air to circulate around them to reduce the risk of mildew. ✸ Freesias are a favourite with those who

too and then maybe get into some autumn planting is addictive.


What is your favourite grow your own veg and why? I love it all but if I had to choose I’d say sweetcorn. It tastes much better than the shop bought version. But then home grown tomatoes are so delicious too, especially when picked straight off the plant on a sunny day...


What’s the best bit of advice you can give the amateur gardener? Enjoy it; gardening is meant to be fun. There will be ups and downs but some great crops to be had. If something doesn’t work as you’d hoped first time around, please, please don’t give up, some crops are easier than others AND it may well be the weather that’s to blame, not you. Try again, you won’t regret it!

Pippa is offering Family Life readers 10% discount when ordering from her website,, Click on the carrots picture to get to the Grow Your Own page, enter the discount code 12489-BFJ6F in the appropriate box to get 10% off the pack price. The Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood veggie system is also available as a gift card.

Dahlia Tahiti Sunrise, €2.95, www.

want lots of fragrant cut flowers. ✸ Bearded iris come in dozens of colours and love a sunny spot. ✸ Don’t diss dahlias simply because they have been around for so long. There are so many new varieties out, there’s sure to be at least one you will love, such as Dahlia Tahiti Sunrise.

Ismene × deflexa, 2 bulbs £4.99,

✸ Off the beaten track... Ismene × deflexa, or Peruvian daffodil is an evergreen perennial with small clusters of white, scented blooms for an exotic addition to the garden. NB All of the above are available at a range of stockists, including nurseries and garden centres across Northern Ireland. Photos courtesy of the named retailer.

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Coming up



hether you favour a cottage garden look or something more formal, most people will include a few roses for their beautiful colour, form and often fragrance too. Get the basics right for healthy and happy looking roses which will add beauty to your garden for many years. Buy your rose in a pot or go for the bare root option for a cheaper alternative that gives equally good results.


The first thing to consider is the site. Roses tend to thrive in sunny spots, sheltered from the wind but not under a tree and with damp but well drained soil. Moisten the soil before planting by filling the hole with water and allowing it to drain away. The magic ingredient used

While roses thrive in the ground, some varieties, especially miniature roses, do all right in containers. Make sure the pot is at least 18” deep and prepare to give it lots of food and water, making sure the soil is moist but not sodden. Once a fortnight, use a general purpose liquid fertiliser until the flower buds have formed and then switch to a high potassium feed, such as tomato feed. by professional rose growers, the RHS, the National Trust and countless councils for the best roses is Rootgrow - simply

sprinkle the granules into the planting hole, making sure the roots are touching them, before adding good qualilty compost

Rosa Golden Celebration ‘Ausgold’ is a fragrant, compact shrub rose which grows to 1.2m. It can be grown in a container or the ground and is continuously-flowering in summer and autumn. It has the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (RHS AGM) and goes well with aster and geranium. Available from £5.99 from RHS partner garden Ballyrobert Gardens in Ballyclare, www. to the hole. Using Rootgrow also does away with the need to avoid planting a rose where one previously grew. Alternatively, a granular fertiliser or BFB (blood, fish and bone meal) are excellent too. Back fill the hole and firm the soil down. After planting, water again, to get moisture to the root system.


Begin feeding roses when they start grow-

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 23

FORTHE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART Gardening is one hobby which once discovered, lasts a lifetime. It’s a wonderful excuse for older members of the family to get alongside the younger members and very often, working side by side allows for an easy flow of conversation and the exchange of advice — and not just of the gardening variety. For many seasoned gardeners, however, the strain on the joints can become a bit much as the years advance and many are forced to give up some of the tasks they have long performed. There is a wealth of equipment available to help seniors carry on enjoying their garden work, however, as well as options for small hands or for those who want to join in but aren’t quite ready for handling sharper tools.

✸ Not all roses require a sunny spot. This beautiful climbing rose, James Galway, from top rose breeder David Austin, is disease resistant and will add a fragrant beauty to a shady wall, from £17, ing in spring and continue every two or three weeks until autumn. There are many products on the market, from granules that are sprinkled onto the ground and then gradually absorbed with watering, to liquid sprays for the leaves. The experts at Country Garden Roses recommend spraying the leaves with solutions of Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic or Plant Magic. For a granule feed they recommend After Plant Rose Food.


the old blooms to the first leaf, throughout the summer. According to The Rose Society UK (formerly the Royal National Rose Society) you should prune shrub roses back in springtime to half their height and remove any dead wood. Large bloomed shrub roses should have minimum pruning for a few years until their stems are strong. Prune climbing roses, which flower on this year’s new growth and which repeatedly flower all summer, to the height you require in springtime, plus remove any dead wood. Ramblers only flower once in the summer and on the previous year’s growth. Prune ramblers after they have finished flowering and they start to produce new wood for Rootgrow 150g pouch the next year’s blooms.

Spring also brings weeds and a good mulch around your roses - and other shrubs - will not only help suppress those, but also protect against dreaded rose diseases such as black spot and rust. As rose roots come close to the surface, it’s best to remove weeds,by hand or carefully with a fork will treat 8x2 Litre pots to avoid damaging them. or a 50L pot, £4.99, DEALING WITH PROBLEMS Give your roses a good feed The most common diseases and clear the surrounding include black spot, mildrew ground of old leaves before spreading a and rust. If you must use systemic sprays layer of mulch, preferably well rotted masuch as RoseClear, use them early in the nure, about two inches deep. This should morning or late evening to reduce the be done in the spring, making sure the impact on bees. Get rid of greenfly by mulch isn’t directly touching the stems – squishing them between your fingers or the RHS recommends a four inch gap. spray with a solution of washing up liquid. The best defence against disease is to DON’T BE AFRAID OF PRUNING grow strong, healthy plants by following Many gardeners are intimidated by the the above guidance for planting and prunprospect of pruning roses but they are ing and keeping them well watered, even much tougher than you’d think and when it’s raining. Pick off and destroy any unlikely to suffer much damage if you get infected leaves in spring and make sure it wrong. You usually only need to prune when you water your roses that you are roses once a year and then keep them look- watering the soil, not the leaves. ing well and continuing to produce new Take care of the basics and you can enflowers by dead-heading them, removing joy your roses at their best all summer.

This foldaway garden kneeler with handles by NRS Healthcare provides a soft spot to kneel down during gardening tasks. The arms are positioned at just the right height to assist with getting up and down from a kneeling position and it can also be used as a kneeling step or a seat. It folds down for easy storage in between use, £16.99, Argos and other stockists

The long handled Easi-Grip® Garden Fork and trowel help you to garden without having to bend as much and are suitable for wheelchair users. The nonslip handles keep the hand and wrist comfortable in a natural position while the heads are made of stainless steel for strength and easy cleaning, £29.94 each,, tel 0345 121 8111

This Garden Stool on Wheels is exceptionally useful for an almost limitless number of tasks outdoors. Robust and versatile, it can be used while weeding a border, planting new blooms or pruning bushes and shrubs. By enabling the user to get close to the ground without all the effort of repeated standing and kneeling, the Garden Stools on Wheels helps to make gardening more comfortable and efficient. Designed and manufactured in the UK for assured quality,

the strong frame supports a comfortable seat, under which is a handy storage tray, and the whole unit moves along easily on large, sturdy wheels, £29.94, www.completecareshop., tel 03330 160 000

Easy Grip Lightweight Garden Fork is an all-purpose digging fork, with its square shaped “English-style” tines ideal for turning and cultivating soil as well as moving mulch, sod and garden debris. This unique gardening aid is extremely lightweight and features an O-shaped handle which makes it easy to grip. The forward kick is also wider than normal to help the user push down with their foot onto the spade when digging, this allows for better balance and reduces strain, £26.34,

The Natural Radius Grip Tools Trowel is one of a range of gardening tools specially designed to minimise strain on the hand and wrist. The curved handle helps to keep the wrist in its natural orientation rather than being forced into positions that require strain. Consequently, it is more suitable for prolonged use and helps to prevent tiredness and pain. The handle is ergonomically designed and has a non-slip surface that makes it safe and easy to use, even by those who have restricted arm movement. The Trowel end is strong and resistant to corrosion, £10.14,

Forget heavy, unwieldy wheelbarrows. The lightweight design of this caddy provides easy manoeuvrability and its 65L capacity makes it extremely versatile and suitable for a variety of tasks in the garden, rrp £24.90, from a range of stockists or www.drapertools. com

Kids will love this Children’s Garden Kit which contains a watering can, hand fork and hand trowel with wooden handles. A pair of rigger style cotton gloves completes the kit which is contained in a tool bag with handy pockets. Available in pink too, £15.99, www.

24 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Help is at hand with HEALTHCARE2000SLIMMINGCLINIC ✸

In 1988 the name Healthcare 2000 was registered with an eye on the 21st century. Everyone knows how difficult it is to lose weight and we have all seen hundreds of diets, meal replacements, pills and potions. The best way to lose weight safely is to change your eating habits, eat fewer calories than you burn and get more exercise. If you cannot achieve this by yourself then Healthcare 2000 can help you. The Doctors at Healthcare 2000 will help you to lose weight quickly at low cost with a

proven method of appetite control. As well as weight loss, Dermal Fillers are also available, administered by qualified Doctors. Healthcare 2000 want to help you to look and feel your best, especially as spring approaches. Contact 028 9045 5556 for a friendly chat. Registered with the RQIA in Northern Ireland.

Howto survivea weddingin thefamily


s soon as a child or sibling announces they’re getting married, you know you’re in for a roller coaster ride. There’s months of planning during which the excitement builds and then the festivities of the big day. The warm glow lingers long after the flowers have faded. These days weddings are bigger than ever with growing numbers of luvved up couples heading off to special locations just to get engaged. New York is the most popu-

lar getaway for popping the question with Northern Ireland couples, and particularly Central Park and the top of the Empire State Building. Then there’s the hen and stag do to organise and the honeymoon to plan for. No wonder getting married is akin to a military operation these days. For the wider family, there are all sorts of roles, from camp medic, ready to dispense tlc when required, to the quartermaster, with supplies at the ready. The one role parents of the couple should avoid is

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 25

to help out financially with any other aspect of the day, such as the honeymoon, or helping them set up home afterwards.


Being related to the couple means you get to be involved in the fun bits! Clear your diary and be available for everything from attending wedding fairs to checking out hotels. Making sure you don’t have any appointments that clash with the excursion to choose a wedding dress is a given. Don’t forget to bring tissues — seeing your daughter in her wedding gown for the first time is an emotional moment.

4 Sergeant Major. It’s the bride and groom’s wedding and their ideas won’t necessarily chime with yours for how everything should proceed. Yes, give your opinions when invited to but be aware of when you might be overstepping the line. Remember too that the weight of the responsibility for planning the wedding of their dreams while keeping everyone else on board can be quite a strain on young couples. Here are our tips for steering your way through a family wedding:


Make it clear that you are there for them from the start and that you will be as involved as they need you to be, whether they are your child or your sibling. Give them permission to tell you to back off if they need to.


If you are the parents of the bride and are planning to pay for the reception, have a chat about the budget early on so that the couple know how much they have to play with. Similarly, if you are planning

Parents of the couple have their own roles to play in making sure the day is a success. Quite often the parents have only met once or twice, if at all. Whatever you think of your child’s future in-laws, say only positive things. Make sure the mother of the bride and groom have some idea of what the other is wearing. You don’t want to either clash terribly with the bridesmaids or worse, turn up in the same outfit! Only a decade ago, the mother of the bride and groom outfits tended to be a bit stuffy but all that has changed now, with the mums now being quite entitled to look every bit as beautiful as the rest of the bridal party.


The guest list can be one of the greatest minefields around a family wedding. Do try to be sensitive. Pick your battles when it comes to everything from certain relatives being excluded to the seating arrangements. Do help out with getting family members’ addresses for the invitations to be posted out.


The days immediately preceding the wedding are hectic and the onus is on close family to be a supportive and calming influence. If you can help with collecting flowers or ferrying people about, make sure they know that.


The morning of the wedding is as emotional as the day they were born. The air can be charged with nerves, excitement, joy and even a sense of loss. It’s a momentous occasion for everyone. Try to anticipate any last minute hitches and be ready to play peacemaker should things get a little fraught before everyone is ready.


Make sure, if you are the weepy sort, to have an ample supply of tissues for yourself as well as everyone else. You never know who is going to crack under the weight of romantic expectation and it’s as well to be prepared.


Don’t be so caught up in looking after everyone else that you don’t take the time to savour every wonderful moment in this huge day in your young darling’s life. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed at watching your ‘baby’ or sibling take this momentous step — part of it will be pride in seeing them move into the next phase of their life.


Have a big family get together the day after the wedding. It’s great fun having a debrief — even better if the couple haven’t left for their honeymoon yet and should happen to drop in.

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Maeve and Scott

magic of getting married...

A wedding is one of the biggest events in any family’s calendar. Between settling on a budget, picking a date, finding a venue and navigating the many dozens of major and minor elements that make up the perfect wedding day, it can all become a little overwhelming. Bride-to-be Maeve Richardson is keeping her focus on the heart of the matter as she gets ready for the most romantic day of her, and fiance Scott Longmate’s, lives...

Maeve (right) with her sisters Bríga and Aislinn



ur families were thrilled when we told them our news, and as we travelled back to Belfast from India, I kept waiting for the spell to break. Instead, it kept building. It felt like everything was in our favour, a mix-up with our flights (which should have been stressful) ended with us being bumped up to business class. A flight attendant overheard our news and plied us with copious amounts of champagne. It was all playing out like a scene from a film, picture perfect. We landed in Belfast and despite not having slept in two days, started to plan our wedding. The first thing to decide was the date. We settled on August 17, 2018, it would give us a little over a year to get things planned.


Next, location. We live in Belfast, but I’m from Galway and he’s a Yorkshire lad. I suggested we do it in his hometown. Having spent Christmas and other holidays there it already felt like a home from home

to me, and it would help keep the whole affair intimate. I was already dreading the thoughts of a big shindig with a load of guests neither of us were close to. Having settled on the location almost immediately, we got serious and started a provisional guest list. I mean, there were spreadsheets and everything. We got this figured out fairly easily, and decided to aim to keep numbers at less than 100. The next step was the venue; we started googling frantically and chose about three places we’d like to view, making plans to fly within a month. We arrived in Doncaster, and Scott’s family were thrilled to see us. They spoiled us rotten, and I felt lucky to be inheriting not one but two sets of in-laws. After lots of dinners and bubbles and excitement, we went to see our first venue, the West Retford Hotel. The grounds were spectacular, and despite the dismal weather, I couldn’t help but imagine an outdoor ceremony. I soon saw a stunning pagoda designed just for this. We met a lovely wedding coordinator who gave us a tour and a breakdown


I was caught completely off guard when my boyfriend popped the question while we were on a trip to India. It was the most romantic moment of my life when he grabbed my hand and put his heart on the line. He didn’t have a ring, and I thought the proposal was a spur of the moment impulse brought about by our magical surroundings, little did I know… I was relieved when Scott told me that although the proposal itself was spontaneous, he had spent months searching for engagement rings. His mother, a wise woman, had always warned him that a gentleman does not propose to a lady without a ring, and he was determined to get it right. So for months, he was frantically googling jewellers in Belfast and trying to wipe his history before I noticed the targeted ads for rings that kept popping up, luckily for him, I was oblivious! He told me he had given up hope of finding the ring as the clock ticked down to our Indian adventure, and he decided to put it on the back burner until another opportunity arose. As it turns out, India had its own plans and as we found ourselves watching the sun set over the Arabian Sea, I felt a serenity I had never known possible. I admitted later, the moment was so intense that I would have proposed myself given half a chance.

THE HUNT BEGINS We had two days left in India and I was quite keen on finding a ring in Mangalore. To me, it felt like it wouldn’t be real until I had a ring on my finger, something concrete to look at, proof that I hadn’t just dreamed it all. I also loved the idea of the ring having a connection to India, the place that had given us so much. And so the search began. Initially I thought I wanted a blue sapphire, not too traditional, colourful, and my birthstone. Sapphires were abundant, as were rubies and diamonds and just about another other gem you can think of. Gold is more popular by far than silver or platinum, and finding a sapphire with a platinum band was close to impossible. An eager sales assistant offered to have one designed especially for us, but with time a ticking and less than two days left in Mangalore, it was not to be. HOMEWARD BOUND We resolved to pick up the search in Belfast, the city where we met (and live). We planned it like a military operation. We carefully calculated the of the packages, and decided then and there to make a deposit.


A combination of nostalgic and thrifty motives led me to make the most of my super talented family and put them to use on the big day. My mother is an avid gardener and a bit of an artist to boot so she has agreed to do all the flower arrangements and bouquets, a quick trip to the market the morning before the wedding and she can choose what catches her eye and put it together. I’ll offer very loose guidelines but I almost like the idea of it being a surprise on the day. I also have my siblings lined up to be hairdresser, beautician and even photographer. Poor old Dad will have enough on his hands with the speech and getting the groom’s name right.


Dress shopping was another whirlwind affair. I wanted my first outing to be in

best route, choosing five jewellers to visit, and making sure the last stop was located near the Sunflower, for what would be a well-earned pint. Our first stop was to Murray & Co. on Talbot Street. We started there because it was right next to our first apartment together, and we took its placement adjacent to Mumbai 27 as a good omen. The woman who helped us was lovely, down to earth and helpful without being pushy and giving us enough time alone to speak frankly. She laid out tray after tray of stunning sapphire bands in various styles, but nothing seemed to look quite right on my hand. She suggested I try some more traditional diamond rings for comparison, and I began with the solitaires but I was still unsure. It wasn’t until she brought in some wildcards that I realised shopping for a ring is like shopping for a dress – it might look great (or not so great) on the hanger but you really need to try it on to see if it works for you. SPARKLE I ended up falling for a delicate white gold band, with a trio of diamonds, surrounded by yet more diamonds. It’s not as ostentatious as it sounds but it sparkles like nothing I’ve ever seen. When she told us it could be resized and picked up two hours later, any thoughts of continuing the search ended. I knew it was the one for me. Scott was massively relieved he hadn’t gone ahead and chosen the ring himself, as he said, he would have got what I thought I wanted. The reality is I would have loved whatever he had chosen for me, but there is something so special about going on the journey to find it together. We decided to reward ourselves for our efficiency with a trip to the Sunflower while we waited. We had the place virtually to ourselves on that blustery Wednesday afternoon, but after a while a woman and her dog joined us outside. We got chatting and discovered that she used to source gem stones from India for jewellers in Belfast. I loved the synchronicity of it all and I really felt like we came full circle. Galway with my mother, my bridesmaid and as many of my four sisters as I could sneak in. It was definitely the thing I had been most looking forward to and was most apprehensive of in equal measures. I had watched countless episodes of Say Yes to the Dress in a bid to learn the difference between a dozen shades of white and find out helpful tips like ‘Princess style’ is just code for ‘massive meringue’. Halfway into the shopping extravaganza, I realised the main stumbling block was finding a dress that felt good. So many of these stunning gowns felt scratchy, constrictive or just really heavy. And then I found it. Beautifully detailed but light as a feather, I could imagine wearing this and floating around in a bubble of bliss on the day I was marrying the man of my dreams. And so even though I keep waiting for the bubble to pop and the credits to roll on our dreamy magical engagement, everything continues to fall into place, and as we continue to plan not just our wedding but our future together, the sparks don’t fade, they intensify.

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 27

Don’tget inaBIND beforetying theKNOT

brides are opting to have the ceremony in their husband’s homestead. Unless you are planning to get married abroad, choosing a venue close to where you and your partner live is a sensible option. The morning of the wedding is frantic enough without having to travel to the venue - and it will cut out having to book accommodation the night before. It will also be less hassle for your guests. We’re lucky to have so many beauty spots on our doorstep in this country, and we’re never too far from a dramatic coastline or magical woodland, which of course is ideal when planning wedding photography. Be sure to allow for inclement weather and have options for indoor and outdoor locations for your first pictures as a married couple and of course, don’t stray too far from your venue as you don’t want to keep your guests waiting too long.


lanning a wedding can be a stressful time, but with careful organisation, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the run up to your big day. There will be a lot of plate spinning, but don’t lose sight of the fact that the day is about you and the person you are spending the rest of your life with. Don’t set out to impress others, make sure your day stays true to who you are as a couple. One of the biggest stressors is the budget. Remember to spend within your means and avoid taking out loans or increasing overdrafts. You don’t want to be starting married life with a huge debt. Agree on a budget and stick to it. A spread-


sheet is a good place to start, it will show you, in black and white, exactly what you are spending. Avoid buying anything on impulse and be meticulous about accounting for every penny.


Among the fun things to plan is a hen or stag, these are usually held about four weeks before the big day. Many brides-tobe are opting for two hens, an afternoon

tea or spa treatment and brunch and a night out on the tiles. If you want to make a weekend of it, a venue that offers a little luxury, and that is close to bars and clubs is a great idea. For stags, plan a weekend full of activities like zorbing, a music festival and bar hopping.


It’s traditional for a bride to get married in the place she is from but more and more

If it’s not possible for head off on a lavish honeymoon straight after the wedding, consider a ‘mini moon’ at home. It’s likely you’ll want to kick back and enjoy your first few days of married life, so why not choose a homely hotel in lush surroundings? If you’re blessed with balmy weather, you can enjoy a few glasses of bubbly in an outdoor jacuzzi and alfresco dining. If it’s dreary, there’s no need to let the weather dampen your spirits. A country retreat with a welcoming log fire is both blissful and romantic. It’s worth noting that many couples set up a honeymoon fund, which will help you fund a dream trip to an exotic location.

28 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018 Visit National Trust Fermanagh – Florence Court for free

Discover Fermanagh for free

With the promise of pleasant sun and blue skies, thoughts will be turning to things you can do outside. Fermanagh offers families a wide range of activities this spring — there’s no excuse not to visit the island town of Enniskillen or the beautiful lakelands. If you have yet to visit this stunning county, there’s no better time as Discover Fermanagh Open Day takes place from Friday to Sunday, March 2–4. Over the weekend, visitors will have the opportunity to visit a selection of stately homes, museums, ancient sites and cruise Lough Erne. On Friday, Belleek Pottery lovers can enjoy guided tours and see the skill that goes into making every piece produced. Bring the kids to Share Discovery Village on Saturday for free one-hour activity sessions including orienteering, archery and climbing. Also on Saturday, adults can enjoy a spiritual tour of Enniskillen, beginning at Enniskillen Castle. St Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest events in March, so why not celebrate in style in Fermanagh? The fun starts at Broadmeadow, Enniskillen, with a family fun day and a host of live entertainment acts starting at 1.30pm. There

will be a range of free activities including bouncy castles, face painting and wandering mascots. Enjoy tasty treats with chocolate fountains, green candy floss and Lilley’s famous themed gelato. This year’s spectacular parade is not one to be missed and kicks off at 3.30pm. The next big family date is Easter and Fermanagh has it covered. Cadbury’s will be coming once again to Fermanagh’s National Trust properties, Florence Court, Crom Estate and Castle Coole. Children can have a go at their Nature Trails and win chocolate prizes. Seafaring families are invited to the Ultimate Teddy Bear’s Picnic on board the Inishcruiser at Share Discover Village on March 31 and April 1. For an Easter to remember, have a stroll down Ulster Street at the Ulster American Folk Park and be immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of a busy market day. You can also pet spring lambs, taste seasonal treats and have a go and the egg & spoon races. With so much on offer, you’d be foolish not to visit Fermanagh this spring.

Hittingthehighsamid breathtakingbeauty A s the famous saying goes, “To find a man’s true character, play golf with him”. And if it’s character you’re after, a golfing break is just the way to give yourself a very special experience. The island of Ireland can arguably boast some of the finest golf courses in the world, with names such as Royal Portrush (venue for The 2019 Open), Royal County Down, The K Club and Ballyliffin all having earned their place in the canon of players’ top picks. Like any great courses, these and many others have built up a strong reputation for the quality of their greens and the challenging nature of their holes over many years of visits from discerning golfers from around the world. They are designed and developed with a mind to keeping visitors happily engaged while simultaneously allowing them to sample the very best that Ireland has to offer. And it’s that famously warm Irish welcome that really makes a golfing break stand out from its competitors elsewhere. The Irish hospitality industry has enjoyed a huge boom in recent years, with luxury resorts and hotels cementing their reputation as among the envy of the world. You can expect everything from luxuriously-appointed hotel

suites to delightfully decorated rooms, with lovely finishing touches in soft furnishings. The rise of the spa hotel has also been a big feature of many hotels and resorts in recent years, with guests able to avail of gorgeous pools, jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas, as well as teams of expert beauticians and bespoke massages. After a challenging day on the golf course, you’ll also want to replenish your reserves with top-class food and drink, and with access to top quality fresh produce and wonderful whiskeys and beers, Ireland is just the place for those with a discerning palate. Practicality and convenience are also watchwords for many golfing visitors, and with many of the resorts here offering all these facilities on one site, it makes the experience as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. For those wishing to venture a little further afield, the location of many courses and resorts in areas of natural beauty means they’ll never be short of things to do once the golfing action has finished. Whether it’s the breathtaking North Coast – where hit TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ is filmed – the sweeping Mountains of Mourne, or the rugged beauty of Donegal or the West coast, you are guaranteed a backdrop like nowhere else in the world.

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 29

Holidayfunclosetohome Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

Take a break from the hectic schedule of early mornings, homework and housework and get away this spring and summer. Explore the beautiful north, head west and ‘do’ the Wild Atlantic Way, delve into history with a holiday in Ireland’s Ancient East or have the best of city and coastal fun in Dublin. Here are some ideas to help you plan...


Dunbrody Famine Ship and Irish Emigrant Experience

Brigit’s Garden is a horticultural wonderland and will appeal to gardening aficionados of all hues, but it’s a magical place for the kids too with all manner of activities tailored for them including a children’s discovery trail and a natural playground that will help them feel at one with nature.

The Wild Atlantic Way is the 2,500km stretch of coastline all the way from Inishowen in Donegal to Kinsale in West Cork, taking in rugged, off-the-beaten MAKE A BEELINE FOR THE BURREN track touring routes from the wild Donegal Few visitors to the stunning karst landheadlands in the North, right down to scape of the Burren fail to be captivated the picturesque peninsulas of Kerry and by their surrounds and the Burren Nature Cork. Start at the top with Fanad Head Sanctuary near Kinvara in Galway is a Lighthouse on the northerly Fanad mini paradise for kids. There’s a chance Head of Donegal, voted one of the to see the remarkable plant and most beautiful lighthouses in animal life of the area - and the world. Give yourself plenty to witness the phenomenon of time here to take in the of turloughs, the so-called amazing scenery and explore ‘disappearing lakes’. Younger the wild and wonderful children will adore exploring natural world around you: the magical fairy trail routes the area is regularly visited by in the surrounding woods. whales, porpoises and dolphins. The kids can learn more about WILLY WONKA FOR A DAY Fanad Head lighthouse’s fascinating The Burren With spellbinding scenery at every nautical history in the small Visitor Sanctuary turn and a seemingly endless choice Centre at the lighthouse. of things to see and do, the idea of spending time indoors on the Wild AtlanA CHILDREN’S GARDEN tic Way might seem odd. But throw chocLocated close to Oughterard, Co Galway, olate into the equation and it’s a different

The Skyrope Walk at Kells House and Gardens, Co. Kerry

story. Lorge Chocolatiers, near Kenmare, Co. Kerry, is run by French chocolate maker Benoit Lorge and he loves to help children learn how to make their own delicacies. The grown-ups can get to sample their creations too.

SLEEPOVER IN A FORT Five thousand years of Irish history is showcased at the Irish National Heritage Park in Ferrycarrig, Wexford. With 16 separate sites dotted through 35 acres of woodland and wetland, try a family sleepover in a replica 1,500 year old ring fort. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that the kids are bound to love and there are lots of craft/nature and traditional courses in 2018.

WATERFORD AND WEXFORD Thought to be the oldest WALKING IN THE AIR operating lighthouse in the Skywalkers is a brand new facilworld, the magnificent beaity at Kells Bay House, Co. Kerry. con of Hook Head Lighthouse Ireland’s longest rope bridge takes has been guiding ships entering families with a head for heights 11 At the Irish Waterford Harbour for almost metres above the River Delligeenagh 800 years. The nearby Dunbrody National and runs for 34 metres. It restores Heritage Park Famine Ship and Irish Emigrant access to a section of this garden Experience is another unmissable that had been cut off for several years. The attraction in the area; costumed characlittle ones will love both it and the magnifi- ters and interactive tours will capture the cent waterfall to be found nearby. imagination of children of all ages.


Ireland’s Ancient East is all about experiencing living, breathing Ireland. It’s for fun-lovers, history buffs, adventure seekers and children of all ages. No matter what your interest, there’s plenty to stir passions. Through formal guided tours or meetings with locals you will unearth the weird and wonderful stories of the past and through numerous festivals and events, the region’s culture and traditions will become alive. From ancient high kings to modern day poets, saints and scholars to ramblers and fishermen, Ireland’s Ancient East pulsates with legendary tales.

Brigit’s Garden, Co. Galway

HIGH JINX Brave enough to tackle the longest zip-line in Ireland? Head to Loughcrew Adventure Centre near Oldcastle, for zip-lining, archery, climbing trees and a chance to explore the Forest Crystal Maze. Loughcrew Gardens and coffee shop are waiting nearby for some post-adventure rest and relaxation.

Glenariff Waterfall, Co. Antrim © NI Tourist Board

30 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018 Kite surfing in Dublin

HAUNTED HAPPENINGS The once infamous Wicklow Gaol operated between 1702 and 1922 and played an important role in our history. Today, a brilliant, interactive tour led by energetic guides helps accentuate the spooky eerie atmosphere of hardship and despair; visitors of all ages will feel the chill as they listen to the daily punishment regimes and the strange tales of haunted happenings.


For a sheer variety and the buzz of city living in a beautiful setting, between mountains and sea, Dublin is perfect for families.

ZIPPIT Thrill seekers take note! You can have a heart stopping experience with your family just a stone’s throw from Dublin city centre. Head for in Balbriggan and get high on aerial trekking and zip wiring. Fun at Great for thrills and making family Wakedock memories.

FLY A KITE WITH A DIFFERENCE There’s nothing like learning something new together to bond a family. With kitesurfing you’ll feel the force of the wind together and the power of the sea below as you ride the waves. Check out Pure Magic who offer expert tuition, catching both wind and waves, you’ll soon plying water at high speeds relying only on your skill, strength and pursuit of adventure to guide you.

Kayaking at Collimore Harbour

WIDE A-WAKEBOARDING Just like snowboarder’s ride snow, wakeboarder’s ride water. Suitable for all ages and abilities this a great exercise for some family fun. With cable wakeboarding, you’re pulled at speed between two towers. Get down to Wakedock in Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock, to learn the ropes — or rather cables. You’ll soon be doing tricks and obstacles like a pro! Pop in to EPIC Irish Emigration Museum just on the other side of the Liffey for an interactive experience that will keep all the family engaged.

SET SAIL IN DALKEY Whether it’s kayaking under the expert tuition of Jenny Kilbride from kayaking. ie in the Irish Sea, or getting a boat from

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 31

Take the ferry to Rathlin Photos on this page © NI Tourist Board

Coliemore Harbour to the uninhabited Dalkey Island, a former monastic settlement, the outdoors feels especially great in this picturesque part of south Co Dublin. Or take a family stroll along the paths of Killiney Hill with magnificent views to Dun Laoghaire and the city beyond from one side, while the sweep of bay towards Bray on the other.

Garden boasts the biggest collection of sundials in Ireland, including a human sun dial. The kids will have plenty to talk about on the drive on to Glenariff, the ‘Queen of the Glens’ with its beautiful Forest Park and waterfalls. Call into Hot Milk Forge blacksmithing school to see blacksmithing with an artistic twist.

NO WOBBLING Adventure loving families THE NOBLE NORTH have thrills galore to choose No need to hop on a plane to from further along the Causeway find the ‘hottest’ place on the plan- Newcastle’s Coast, from surfing at Portrush et this year! The Causeway Coast stunning to crossing the 100 feet high Carand Belfast together are well and location rick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Clamber truly in the globetrotter’s sights for around Dunluce Castle, being careful 2018. Beat the crowds by exploring not to follow its kitchens and take them – and the rest of Northern Ireland – the ferry from Ballycastle across to Rathlin with short breaks this spring. Island and hire bikes to go exploring.

TAKE YOUR TIME Begin your tour of the amazing Causeway Coastal Route by taking the kids to Carnfunnock Country Park, whose Time

EXPLORE THE DEPTHS Visit fab Fermanagh for a lakeland paradise. Hire a cruiser or hop on board the Erne Water Taxi and explore some of Lough Erne’s historic islands, including Devenish with its round tower, White Island with its ancient figures and beautiful Boa Island. Or for a boat trip with a difference, head for the Marble Arch Caves Global Geo park where a subterranean boat ferries you to ancient caves. UP TO DOWN Between the North Down Coast, Strangford Lough and the Mournes, there’s much to admire in Co. Down. Base yourself in Newcastle and you can climb Slieve Donard, explore Tollymore Forest Park with its great trails and stepping stones across the Shimna River and create majestic sandcastles on Murlough Beach. Just down the road is Castlewellan Forest Park with its gorgeous gardens, peace maze, Nature Play area and grand castle.

Marble Arch Caves Board

34 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018



on’t let the last chills of winter put you off getting out and about with the family. With wetsuits, you can have a splashing good time all year round, whether that’s surfing at Portrush or kayaking around Enniskillen, while decent waterproofs open up the possibility of hours spent rock pooling or hunting treasures in a forest. Join a water polo team for indoor pool fun at your local leisure centre, go trampolining or climbing or sign everyone up for a days’ arts and crafts. Head out on the bikes or skates, scooters or skateboards for some wheely good fun. The next few months are packed with big dates, such as World Book Day on March 1, Mother’s Day on March 10, St Patrick’s Day on March 17 and Easter on April 1 so there is no shortage of fun events on the horizon. We’ve put together some venues and events to get your young ones moving... Belfast Zoo is open all year round, with winter opening hours 10am to 4pm daily

If it’s good enough for Peppa Pig...

and you can make sure you are in the right place at feeding times by checking the zoo website, Meet some of the stars of The Gruffalo story which have been recreated by sculptor Andrew McIntyre at Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast. Enter through the Gruffalo Archway and go through the forest park to a beautiful Gruffalo themed seating area next to the cascading Colin river. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the Gruffalo and on your return, you can relax over a cuppa. Swim on down to Exploris for fun fish-tivities... go on World Wildlife Day, on March 3, for lots of aquatic animal magic. Exploris is also running a series of workshops and talks to coincide with the Northern Ireland Science Festival over this weekend, February 24–25. Topics include The Rise Of The Humboldt Squid, Ocean Currents, a Rock pooling Masterclass and Ocean Pollution. There are also extended talks, arts and crafts. Relax with your little ones at the MAC on the first Sunday of each month. Sit back and listen to some tales, fables and yarns all told by a professional storyteller in the family room. Stay on for lunch afterwards

for a perfect family day out. Make for Omagh, Co. Tyrone and immerse yourself in the story of the brave emigrants who made the journey across the Atlantic to America hundreds of years ago. Wander through the thatched cottages and log cabins and meet costumed characters who will show you traditional crafts, tell you a few stories and maybe even share a bit of their good food. Board a full-scale emigrant ship to experience the conditions faced by many as they set sail for a new life in America. With 30 buildings and exhibits to explore, masses of things for the kids to do, the Ulster American Folk Park is a wonderfully unique experience. The museum is closed on Mondays. Titanic Belfast, the Ulster Museum and W5 are top destinations for days out for families in Belfast and there’s always something new to discover, such as the temporary exhibition, Museum of the Moon and SpaceBase, the latest zone for intergalactic fun, both at W5. Leprechauns have escaped from their home in Downhill Forest and hidden themselves around Hezlett House. Help the staff of this National Trust property find them on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, between 12-4pm. Mussenden will be turning green for the occasion too. Easter is on April 1 this year but the celebrations start early at Rowallane Gardens, near Saintfield. Kids can hop along for some Fun in the Garden on Saturday, March 24. Get competitive and challenge your loved ones to an egg and spoon race at the front of the house. Get involved in fun Easter crafting in the Barn. Pick up a nature wristband and head off on an exploration around the garden and spot nature bursting into life.

Visit the venue websites, or for further ideas and events.

Museum of the Moon at W5

BIGBIRTHDAY FORBELFAST CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL The 2018 Belfast Children’s Festival, from March 9–14, is a six day birthday party as the festival turns 20 this year. The theme is Family and the packed programme includes theatre, visual art, music, dance, literature, workshops and talks for young people aged 0–17 years. One of the highlights will be the free Big Botanic Birthday Bash at Botanic Gardens on the weekend of March 10–11 from 1–4pm which will include lots of arts and music for all ages as well as the chance to explore the Miracoco Luminarium (£3), a monumental walk-in sculpture that invites visitors to explore the dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes for an unforgettable sensory experience of light, sound and colour! See the festival programme at

The Assistant’s Revenge is a Cahoots NI production at The MAC on March 9–11 for the Belfast Children’s Festival

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 35


Astronomy, a wildlife cameraman and a prehistoric feast with Professor Alice Roberts top the bill for the fourth annual NI Science Festival, which ends on Sunday. With a few more days left of the festival, there’s still time to catch some mindboggling and entertaining events. NI Science Festival Director Chris McCreery, said: “You can dine in prehistoric Ireland with Professor Alice Roberts; listen to wildlife cameraman, Doug Allen – who has worked on hugely popular series including Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet – as he delivers a fascinating talk on marine biology, diving and filming at the poles; and even join Great British Bake Off stars Andrew Smyth and Tom Gillford for Bakineering in Space as they facilitate an interactive session exploring the astonishing connections between everyday bakes and the extraordinary engineering that helps keep astronauts alive in space.” Life as an Astronaut at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium on Saturday, February 24, ponders whether there is life on Mars and lots of other space related questions besides. Space is a topic that captures the imagination of both young and old so this workshop is perfect for all the family. This event will also address what it takes to become an astronaut and how life has changed from the early Apollo missions to

The NI Science Festival continues at Exploris, Portaferry, this weekend


current missions to the International Space Station. The practicality of living in space will also be looked at, such as keeping clean and eating space food. It will be fuel for your little one’s mind and maybe, you’ll have an astronaut in the making. Best of all, it’s free and doors open at 11.15am. If you’ve ever wondered why you are repelled by someone else’s food choices, The Multisensory Science of Food & Eating on Saturday, February 24, at Ulster Univer-

sity is for you. Also, can you be persuaded towards healthier food choices simply by incorporating a few psychological illusions and neuroscience insights into your cooking and eating? This event is suitable for all ages and admission is £2. For more information visit www. and keep up to date with the festival on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

It’s World Book Day on March 1 when primary school children get to ditch their uniforms for the day and dress up as their favourite book characters. Pre-schoolers get involved as well, at nurseries and playgroups while Libraries NI is running events up and down the country on this year’s theme, Share a Story. There will be lots of story telling and crafts too – booking is recommended at www. Storyteller Liz Weir will be helping kids get into the world of make believe at The Burnavon in Cookstown with sessions at 2.30pm for 3-6 years and 4pm for 7-10 years. Prebook via the Burnavon’s Box Office, 028 8676 9949. The celebrations continue on March 3–4, at Mount Stewart House, near Newtownards. Bookworms are welcome to dress up as their favourite characters and go along for some story telling sessions between 11am–5pm. Boost your bookcases with World Book Day tokens from the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life. You only need to take three tokens along to your local Easons store to pick up one of 10 great titles between March 1-8. Collect more tokens for more books.

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Trying to figure out how much equipmentyou actually needfor anew baby?We askedmumsto reveal their most useful pieces ofkit ... URSULA CARBERRY, BELFAST

“I absolutely loved the next2me bed. It was so comforting to be able to look over and see Louie sleeping right beside me safe and secure and it’s also great for breastfeeding mums as you can just reach over and pick up baby during the night for feeds without having to get out of bed every two hours. It has all the benefits of co-sleeping and none of the dangers. I have recommended it to several people and will definitely be using it again. I found the breastfeeding pillow invaluable and also used it as a place for Louie on the sofa. It’s probably one of my most used items and he still uses it. The ultimate must-have is Ewan the Dream Sheep. I used it from the night Louie came home and he has always been a great sleeper.”


“I was about to give up on breastfeeding until I tried Fenugreek capsules. They kicked everything into action and make you smell like maple syrup and then crave pancakes! The Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-on Highchair was hands down one of our best buys. Toby can escape from most but not this one and it is space saving and portable.”



“Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep is a must for non breastfeeding mums and the first thing I’d recommend for mums-to-be. It makes bottles in two minutes which is a life-saver, especially during the night feeds. They’re always on sale at baby events and you can normally get them for £50/£60.”


“I loved the Mothercare Travel System that has a carrycot, so you don’t need to carry your Moses basket up and down the stairs.”

Having a little person that depends  totally on you can be overwhelming and stressful. Here, we address some of the main

worries experienced by new parents in a bid to put frayed minds to rest.


“Muslins! Muslins and even more muslins, you can never have too many. Nappy bins are a waste of time.”

MYTH: Bouncing baby will cause him/her to be bow-legged. TRUTH: This is definitely an old wives’ tale. Your baby needs normal stretching and movement to straighten out what are bowed legs at birth. Furthermore, bowed legs are less common now that babies sleep on their backs.


“For me, it would be nipple guards, nipple cream and the whatsapp number of a good friend who has gone through it all before. The breastfeeding pillow was a waste of money, but my husband loves to curl up in it!”

MYTH: Non-stop crying means something is wrong. TRUTH: A crying baby doesn’t necessarily mean they are sick or in pain. In fact, it takes a healthy baby to cry loudly. Sick babies tend to be limp, breathing fast and are more passive. If a baby has no temperature, is not breathing fast, and is moving arms and legs, he or she is most likely not sick. Keep in mind, babies pick up on parental stress so stay calm and comfort baby through their distress.


MYTH: Swaddling a baby can be dangerous. TRUTH: This age-old technique has been used by generations of parents. It can help baby feel more secure and less disturbed by movements in sleep. Swaddling creates a slight pressure around your baby’s body which mirrors the pressure felt in the womb. Some babies don’t enjoy the sensation of being swaddled, and they’ll let you know! If you do choose to adopt the technique, use a thin blanket or muslin. The idea is to make your baby feel secure, not necessarily warm. Don’t cover baby’s face and make sure its hips and legs have plenty of movement.

It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your newborn and it’s something they will have for the rest of their lives, so you want to get it right. Unless you’ve chosen not to know the gender, you’ll likely have a long list of male and female options. Whittling them down to ‘the one’ is not easy though. So, here’s a list of things to consider: Test out your chosen name with your surname. Steer clear from names that rhyme or sound too similar. You want a name that flows easily. Something you probably haven’t even considered is what your baby’s initials will spell out. You don’t want them to spell an unfortunate word. So, write the name down before committing. If you and your partner are from different backgrounds, whether cultural or religious, make sure you choose a name that is acceptable to both sides. No matter how much you love a name,

MYTH: Babies will get confused if you switch between breastfeeding and bottles. TRUTH: It’s true that some babies prefer the faster flow of bottle nipples, and if the bottle is too easy, they might have trouble going back and forth. It depends on how fussy the baby is. Just ensure your little one doesn’t gulp down the bottles and that it’s not too full. You can also opt for a bottle with a slower flow.

consider the shortened version. Do you mind Isabel being shortened to Izzy or William to Willie? If you hate it, it may be time to ditch it. You should avoid high-profile celebrity names unless you don’t mind being asked constantly what influenced your name choice. Also, if you share a surname with someone famous, don’t copy their first name. It might sound obvious but don’t choose a name that reminds you of an old flame

or someone you might have had negative dealings with. Can you imagine your child grown up with the name? Names that are cute for a little baby may not translate to the adult world. You can get all the advice in the world and still not know what name to choose until you see your beautiful little baby in the flesh. Even then, you have up to six weeks to decide the perfect moniker for your bundle of joy.

MYTH: Sleeping babies on their front is dangerous. TRUTH: In general, midwives will instruct new mums to place babies on their back to sleep. NHS guidelines also stipulate that the practice can reduce the risk of SIDS. Plus, infants who sleep on their back suffer from fewer ear infections, fevers, and stuffy noses than babies who sleep in other positions. Once your baby is strong enough to roll from back to front and front to back by himself, you don’t need to worry about him rolling onto his or her stomach during sleep. However, if baby is continually flipping over, seek professional guidance.

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 37

Unicorn Night Light, £22.99,

Unicorn Lights, £4, Primark

Kenna Plastic Moulded Rocking Chair, £129,

Chevron Elephant Paper Lampshade, £32, Koko Kids 3 Sprouts Giraffe Wall Organiser, £21.99,

Dolls House Shelving Unit, £85, Mothercare

Pebbles Baby Playpen in Pine, £349,

Dream Big Little One Wall Sticker, £20, Koko Kids

Hello Sunshine Wooden Wall Clock, £34.95, dotcomgiftshop Sleepy Savannah Storage Basket, £20, Mothercare

Baby Safari Lights and Sounds Playmat, £65,

Dino Lamp, £38.99,

Cloud Lights, £3, Primark Linea Changing Table in Oak, £300,

Edvin Rocking Fox, £118,


Your little one is on the way and you have a room picked out to transform into a haven for him or her. If you’re like many people, said room will probably be a ‘spare room’ or disused office, or maybe it’s where you keep the laundry and clothes horse. Before you can even think of decorating, strip down the room to a bare canvas. Be brutal, donate the clothes you never wear to charity and old furniture can be removed by your local council. Storage is key and mirrored sliderobes are a great option for opening up a small room and disguising the clutter behind them. Built in is better than free-standing furniture, which an energetic toddler could topple on top of themselves.

If you’re choosing not to know the sex, go for neutral shades or soft mossy greens, warm lemons or duck egg blues. A good idea is to paint three walls leaving one as a feature wall. This way, you’ll only need to repaper one wall as your little one grows up. Wall stickers are another fantastic option if you want to add your own artistic flair. We’ve ideas for storage, cots, lighting and changing tables. Let your imagination run wild! Keep in mind though, most babies won’t sleep in their own room until they’re at least six months, so don’t worry if you don’t have everything done by the time baby arrives. So, take your time and look out for the best deals in the shops.

Gro-Clock Children’s Alarm Clock, £24.99, Argos

Pebbles Kids Wardrobe in Seagreen, £545, Cuckooland

Kids Tipi Wooden Wall Shelf, £40, Deer & Fawn Wall Sticker, £78, Koko Kids

Winnie the Pooh Moses Basket, £40, Mothercare

Scandi Wall Shelf in White, £99,

Children’s Toy Box in Country Flowers Design, £108.95, Bear Play Mat, £49.50,

Rainbow In My Room, £21.99,

38 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Romper by J by Jasper Conran, £16-18, Debenhams

Rainbow Cardigan, £14, Next

Autograph Pure cotton Woven Baby Dress With Knickers, £20, M&S




Let’s face it, your bundle of joy is going to have a better wardrobe than you. No colours or styles are off limits for your babe, unless you’re a traditionalist and are dying to dress them in pink or blue. Dungarees look adorable on both boys and girls and fun cardigans are a great way to add layers and keep baby cosy on chilly spring days. As babies grow fast, don’t splurge on clothing for the 0-3 month category. A better idea is to buy clothing that your baby will grow into.

Baby Grey Jumper, £15, M&Co Newborn Soft Jacket, £8, Primark Baby Boy Dinosaur One Piece, £16, M&Co

Newborn Slogan Outfit, £8, Primark

Simon Sail Boat Dungaree Set, £28, Monsoon

Udderly Gorgeous Leg & Foot Treatment, £19, Cowshed



Mother’s Massage Oil, £19.50, Neal’s Yard

Udderly Gorgeous Stretch Mark Balm, £22, Cowshed

Mother’s Bath Oil, £15, Neal’s Yard

With all the excitement of a new arrival, it’s easy for mum to put herself second. Take time to focus on keeping healthy and give yourself regular pamper days where you can sink back into a warm bath, meditate and indulge your skin. Furthermore, evidence suggests that positive thinking can shape the body, heal internally and even nurture a healthier child during pregnancy. It’s hard not to get carried away buying bits and pieces for baby, but be sure to treat yourself too. Here are some lovely luxurious products that will bring you to your happy place - and remember, happy mum, happy baby.

Body Butter, £11, Sanctuary

Expecting Massage Oil, £8.26, Absolute Aromas

Nourishing Body Oil, £34, ESPA

Eau Roma Water, £9.50, Lush

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 39 Fallyn’s arrival put paid to Jamie and Kelly’s plans to travel to Austrlia

Top and pinafore set, £14, Next

Newborn Check Dress, £8, Primark J by Jasper Conran Dress, £24-26, Debenhams

Homeiswherethe heartisfornewdad



Udderly Gorgeous Mother-To-Be Gift Set, £30, Cowshed

Sleepy Body Lotion, £13.95, Lush

hat a wonderful city Belfast is. Never in a million years did I think I’d be saying that when I was told I’d be leaving my life in the south of France to reside in Norn Iron back in 2013. Leaving the sunshine and wine behind for the coldness of Belfast was never part of my life plan, but I was surprised at how quickly the ‘wee’ country won a place in my heart. Being a Geordie lad, I’d have to thank the drinking culture for the part it played in helping me settle in, with regular jaunts to the likes of McCracken’s, McHugh’s and The Hudson Bar filling in the majority of my spare time during my three and a bit years there. The people aren’t half bad either. The craic was mighty and I lived for the weekends, and often week nights, as residing near the Lagan, I was within a stone’s throw of all my favourite haunts. Now, however, my life has changed dramatically. Not only did I leave Belfast for pastures new, ending up back in the ‘Toon’ via Australia, but I also have a beautiful baby girl with my Northern Irish fiancée. I can no longer knock the pints back on a whim – I still try every now and then – but I wouldn’t change fatherhood for the world. The beers have changed to bottles, pints to prams, and drunken nights out to sleepless nights in, but becoming a dad is certainly a moment that has changed my life for the better. I find myself more focused on achieving my goals in order to better myself and

Happy family: Kelly, Fallyn and Jamie

provide my daughter, Fallyn, with a father to be proud of, and my partner, Kelly, with the other half she deserves. However, the dad bod is well on its way now. Finding out Kelly was pregnant certainly threw a spanner in the works – travelling far and wide is no longer on the agenda – but what it has done is provided us with a newfound meaning. My focus has suddenly changed from short-term thinking to a longer timescale. Fatherhood is certainly hard work, but for every full nappy or whinge comes a smile which can send even the most hard-

ened among us to a gushing mess. Trips back to Northern Ireland may now involve nursery rhymes at Granny’s instead of football chants at Lavery’s, but to hear our daughter’s tiny giggle makes it all worthwhile. I may now miss out on all-day ‘sessions’ or trips away with the lads, but it’s time to step up – and step up I will. I’ll also be proud for Fallyn to call both Newcastle and Northern Ireland home. With the Campbell clan all based in Lurgan, County Armagh, it gives me the perfect opportunity to return to the place I’d happily call home again one day. Oh, and it also gives me a pass to come back for the boxing nights that have Belfast so often bouncing. The saying ‘life begins at 30’ certainly rings true in my case. Life before our daughter is a distant memory and the future is bright. Thank you, Belfast. It may have been a short stay, but without you my life would not now be complete.

40 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Advertising Feature

New Showroom is Now Open! Stairlift Solutions, a local family run business, was set up in 2000.

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For more information or questions on their new mobility products, simply call in and meet the team, or phone 028 9188 2249 where you can also arrange a FREE, no obligation survey of your staircase. Plus you can visit their excellent website at

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problem and with an aging populaFrom humble beginnings, the father tion, it's important for us to not just and son team of Ken and Michael promote independent living, but also Wallace started working from the to enhance it. So along with walking garage of their Donaghadee home and aids, we have also started selling now they are delighted to announce bathroom and toilet equipment, as the opening of a brand new mobility well as riser recliner chairs and showroom in Bangor. more.” Based at Unit 21, Innotec Drive Quality and confidence in their (beside The Signal Centre) on Banproducts, as well as customer satisgor's Balloo Road, the new showfaction, are essential aspects for all room is the ideal location for them to the team at Stairlift Solutions. They display a new line of mobility aids pride themselves on their after sales that are now available. care and looking after their customers Michael said “Stairlifts, from both new and old alike. straight or curved, new or reconditioned, even indoor or outdoor, will remain at the core of our company. Here is what just some of their many satisfied However, our team here at Stairlift customers had to say: Solutions have listened to what our 2,000+ customers have had to say • “I am delighted with the stairlift you supplied. It is marvellous, it enables me to get to the bathroom and bedroom and it saved me a lot of and we’ve responded by adding expense by not having to get a toilet downstairs. equipment such as scooters, rollators It is a great invention!” Mrs McClean - Belfast and wheelchairs to our ever-expanding list of mobility products.” • “It was installed so quickly which was exactly what we needed at the He added “We are aware of just time.” Mr Johnston - Bangor how important independent living is • “Local and personal touch, made us feel at ease and confident in the to those with a disability or mobility product and service.’ Mr Hayes – Newtownards



oo R






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GOING for GOLD W ith people living longer and (hopefully) enjoying greater health well beyond their 70s, there has never been a better time to enjoy the fruits of a life well-lived. Whether it’s cookery or coach tours, more and more activities are available now to cater for those who want to kick back a little and discover new passions and skills they may not have had time to indulge while busy with work and raising a family. Organisations such as U3A (the University of the Third Age) have branches all over Northern Ireland where like minded over 50s meet up for everything from art to Nordic walking or website building. If there isn’t a group near you, email and they’ll help you set one up. Of course, the people at U3A know all too well that keeping both mind and body active is vital for maintaining health through the passing years. Very often, the only thing that marks the transition from 40s to 50s and on into the 60s is the growing awareness of the importance of good health – something most of us take for granted for the first few decades of life. Keep in top condition by looking after the basics and your body is less likely to let you down. That means quitting smoking, making sure you’re not pickling your liver and staving off middle-aged spread but also paying attention to niggling concerns. Don’t ignore that mole or lump – going to your doctor early can make a huge difference if you find

yourself facing a major illness. Look after your teeth, eyesight and hearing and take care of your mental health by staying active and involved and getting lots of restorative sleep. Medical advances and the wealth of organisations available to offer help mean that physical limitations don’t need to stymie one’s enjoyment of life in the way they used to in former years. Retirement also allows couples to spend more quality time together, reconnecting as a twosome after so many years of putting others before themselves. Steve Douglas and wife Sally are selling up their business and looking forward to spending plenty of time in their VW campervan. “Our three kids are away now so after years of building up a business and working hard, we’re ready to enjoy life. We’re only in our 50s so we hope we’ll have many years to travel and have adventures together,” he says. And when it comes to travel and holidays, the Baby Boomer generation are all about exploring the world with long haul holidays, cruises and increasingly river cruises and as many short breaks, home or away, as they can fit in. Being able to spend more quality time with younger family members too is an added boost for grandparents and great-grandparents, whether it’s helping out with some family childcare, or indulging the little ones with days out or breaks away and fun new experiences. These aren’t called the Golden Years for nothing.


The charity Age NI is inviting the public to walk 10,000 steps every day in March. Walkers can raise funds either for the charity’s general work or for its No one should have no one campaign, which aims to combat loneliness in the older population. “Here in Age NI we believe that everyone should Love Later Life, and no better way than to grab your walking trainers, get out and feel the fresh air on your skin as you bask in the knowledge you’re stepping up and raising money to help us make many older

people live life fuller for longer,” says the charity. “Whether you walk to work, or with friends, perhaps you wish to take up jogging, or join a local walking club, the money you raise will fund Age NI to continue to support older people in Northern Ireland. “Sign up now and we will be with you every step of the way!” Sign up at

42 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Ill health can bring many changes, not just for the person affected, but their whole family...

“Iwanttoteach mysonthatyou can’tgiveup” Working mum Helen Riordan (35), talks to Davina Gordon about her refusal to allow severe rheumatoid arthritis to control her life.


elen lives with her husband Simon and their son Paul (7) in Newtownards. She developed rheumatoid arthritis in 2012 when Paul was just 18 months old and now uses crutches to get around. Everyday tasks require meticulous planning, however, far from giving in to her debilitating condition, she works as Principal Trainer for Peninsula Care Services, a domiciliary care and nursing recruitment company. Still a young woman at the time of her diagnosis, Helen was in shock. “It happened completely out of the blue. Symptoms first presented as stiff legs. I had a series of blood tests and doctors confirmed it with sombre faces. I remember being told, ‘It’s bad news’. Sadly, the condition I suffer from is autoimmune and very aggressive, I’m on lots of medication and painkillers.” Helen, who also suffers from fibromy-

of his brave wife. “He’s brilliant. He knows what needs to be done and more importantly, knows when to step back. It’s the perfect balance rather than him taking over.” Helen works as a Principal Trainer in the Training Academy at Peninsula Care. She began as a Health Care Assistant and worked her way up to a Senior HCA role before being promoted to her current role. “I train existing and new staff. It’s great when people come to you and say ‘I didn’t know that.’ when you identify something that isn’t working, it’s a lovely feeling.” Helen helps to organise staff training through working with employees and clients. She also teaches a wide variety of courses and enjoys setting the standards for patient care through training and assessment of workers’ skills.


algia, explains: “The condition affects my upper limbs but it will move on to my organs; it can also affect eyesight. People think arthritis just affects old people, but it can affect children too. It’s in your blood.” Unfortunately, Helen’s condition is expected to deteriorate, largely due to the failure of biological therapy or biological response modifiers. “The treatment should have stopped my condition from getting worse for a while and prevented joint and tissue damage. The hope was that it would have gone into remission but unfortunately, the drugs didn’t work which means it’s about managing it now.”

when I did.” While she tries to not let her condition affect her role as a mother, she admits that things aren’t the same as they were before. “My life is lovely but it’s very different to the way it was. I can’t go down slides with Paul in the park any more. I take him swimming and to the cinema. If we’re going for a round of golf, I need to make sure I’m able to sit down or I’ll just be in bad form, which I don’t want either. We also go to the park and sit and play. Paul still has to live. I’m fortunate to have a very good little boy. He is very helpful and a joy to be around. He has a dirty sense of humour,” she laughs, “but is also sensitive”.



Not surprisingly, rheumatoid arthritis has affected her life dramatically. “Prior to diagnosis, I loved being a busy mummy. I was working constantly and had a great life,” says Helen, who even participated in bungee jumps for charity. “I was very outdoorsy and loved visiting National Trust parks, but it’s too painful and stressful to be as active now.” She is philosophical about her lot. “At a former workplace, two women around the same age as me died and left children around my son’s age. Things are bad, but they could be worse.” Helen is “so grateful” for her “fab little son Paul”, adding: “I’m so glad I had him

Helen believes in openness and honesty when it comes to her son knowing about her condition. “I don’t want to lie to him and he takes it in his stride. He has a school counsellor who helps him with his feelings. I’m proud of that, there is no sense putting it off until he is in his 20s and struggling with his emotions.” Helen says the best thing about being a mother is seeing how your actions affect someone else. “So many people comment on how he is such a well mannered boy, which is what I’m raising him to be. “There is no better feeling that tucking him into bed with a full belly,” she grins. Her partner Simon (37) is very supportive

Helen admits to missing her previous work as a Health Care Assistant. “I really miss hands-on care and working with people and leaving them happier. It’s something I struggle with from time to time.” While her career is important to her, she wouldn’t say she is particularly ambitious. “I enjoy my job and the social aspect of it. I also want to teach my son that you can’t give up and you must work for a living.”


Helen was the recipient of Outstanding Achievement Award and Overall Heart of Peninsula Award at The Heart of Peninsula Care Awards held recently at the Marine Court Hotel in Bangor, hosted by UTV’s Pamela Ballantine. “I felt incredibly proud. When my name was called I didn’t realise it was me. It’s nice to be recognised. You can still achieve if you work hard despite your circumstances.” Helen is full of praise for Peninsula Care Services, and especially the support of Director Jonny Cook and Registered Manager Doreen Bingham. “When I developed my disability, there were openings for me and without them, I wouldn’t have been able to continue. Jonny and Doreen are so supportive.” Helen is currently studying Health & Social Care Level 5 and dreams of managing a small learning difficulties unit. “I think people with learning difficulties are not given enough support and they’re underestimated. I’d love to help sufferers reach their full potential and live their best life. I feel it’s an area that needs represented more.”

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

When Glengormley mum-of-four Colleen McIlroy was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, she discovered not long after just how therapeutic singing as part of a choir can be. Maureen Coleman finds out more...


till reeling from the shock diagnosis, which came out of the blue following a routine mammogram, Colleen turned to music to help her through her treatment, joining Cancer Focus NI’s Sing for Life choir, which is a partnership with the Crescent Arts Centre. But what started out as a distraction to take her mind off her illness soon became a lifeline for Colleen. And it’s not just the 56-year-old who has benefited from the healing power of Sing for Life as it’s become something of a family affair too. For the past six years or so, Colleen has been joined in Sing for Life by her sister Michelle, who came along initially to lend her support. Both women soon realised, however, that they shared a love for choral singing and encouraged Colleen’s daughter Fiona, to come along too. Fiona (20), a music student at Queen’s University, is a Sing for Life soloist, while her mum and aunt both sing soprano. Brother Damian also lends a hand from time to time, tinkling the ivories when the choir’s resident pianist is unavailable.


According to Colleen, who has been through all her treatment and has recovered well, the choir has been her saving grace and kept her going through the hardest of times. “I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in November 2012,” said Colleen. “I had just turned 50 at the time and had received a letter, inviting me along for a screening. To be honest I only went along that day because the children happened to be off school. If that hadn’t been the case, I probably wouldn’t have gone. “I had no symptoms at all and no history of breast cancer in my family, so I wasn’t worried at all. When I was called back a second time, there was a little niggle at the back of my mind but I still wasn’t too worried. “I had another mammogram done and a

Family Life | 43

Sing for Life choir

Altogethernow Family selfie on way to Wales biopsy as well and was told that same day that I had breast cancer. It was like a bolt from the blue. I was completely shocked. I had never been sick a day in my life or had to stay in hospital. “I remember being at the cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital, where I was given lots of literature about the way forward and there was a Cancer Focus NI leaflet there in the pack. My sister Michelle suggested we should go along, as the choir isn’t just for cancer patients but those affected by it too, so I thought ‘Why not? It might take my mind off things.’ “But six years on, I can honestly say, it’s been the most positive thing to come out of a bad situation. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it.” With four children to look after, ranging at the time from eight to 21, Colleen was naturally concerned about the future but kept her worries from her family. Joining Sing for Life was one way of keeping a degree of normality to family life, particularly with Michelle, Fiona and Damian involved too.


“That first night we went along, we weren’t sure where to sit so we just went and joined the soprano section,” said Colleen. “My kids are musical but I’d never really sung much before.

“To begin with, we hadn’t a clue about reading music but everyone was so helpful and I really started to enjoy going every week. “I was in the middle of my treatment when I first joined and I was wearing a wig. But I didn’t feel at all self-conscious. Everyone there had a story to tell; everyone had been impacted by cancer in some way. “I think that’s one of the reasons why Sing for Life helped me so much. There is so much camaraderie and we all look out for each other. If someone is coming to the end of treatment, someone else might bring them in a wee gift. “After a while I started to really love it and looked forward every week to going to the choir. There’s definitely something very uplifting about singing in a choir, the togetherness of it all. Everyone there has an association with cancer and we all support and understand each other.” Following the diagnosis that November, treatment was started within a month. In December, Colleen underwent a lumpectomy and shortly afterwards, had to have a second one done to get rid of remaining precancerous cells around the tissue. Then came the chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The treatments were gruelling but again Colleen kept the worst of it from her children.


The support she received through her treatment was vital, too, in helping her recovery. Everyone from the staff at the City Hospital, to her own doctor and dentist rallied round. She also availed of the support services offered by Cancer Focus NI, going along to the charity’s Eglantine Avenue offices in south Belfast for a pampering session. “I had my make-up done there and that really lifted me too,” Colleen said. “I know that might sound silly or vain, but my hair and eyebrows had fallen out so it was lovely to have that done.”

With Fiona now on board Sing for Life as well, the choir continued to play a pivotal role in Colleen’s well-being. She joined the rest of the singers on the road as they toured Wales and put on performances across Northern Ireland. Colleen, who says she is feeling good now and has ‘come out the other side’, said: “Fiona is the youngest in the choir and is a fantastic singer. I’m so very proud of her when she’s doing her solo parts. “My husband makes guitars for a living and although he hasn’t joined the choir, he has donated one of his guitars to raise funds for Cancer Focus NI, so for us, it really is a family affair.” Fiona, a classically trained singer, said she believed Sing for Life had been instrumental in helping speed up her mum’s recovery. “I think it’s really helped mum to know she isn’t alone and that there are so many other people going through their own cancer journeys,” she said. “I’m not saying the choir normalised things for us all at the time but it definitely helped it all seem a lot less scary. “I love singing and I love being part of Sing for Life. There are other choirs out there, but what I enjoy most about this one is that it focuses on fun and camaraderie. “I’ve been singing with the choir now for three years and I can’t see myself leaving. It’s helped mum too, having us all there. Being part of Sing for Life has made such a big difference to all of our family.” Cancer Focus NI’s Sing for Life choir, a partnership with the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, has a membership of around 100 people. Joining the choir gives you the chance to meet others living with cancer and to share your stories. Family and friends are welcome too and you don’t need musical experience. For further information visit patient-support/groups-activities-cancerfocus-ni/

Captio Sing McIlro Michel son


44 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

n o s Les learnt! Methodist College pupil Megan Kavanagh (14) finds life without Snapchat is nothing to write home about


eing a teenager, I am very experienced in the social media field, lunging at my phone any time there is a slight pause in conversation and snapchatting my every meal. I suspect that many of us are a little bit addicted to the constant need to communicate. I realised this during recent exams, when I decided to delete all social media off my phone, to ensure maximum concentration. Convinced this was for the greater good, I bade adieu to my online friends and greeted an overwhelming amount of work.

Sadly after months of doing homework with Snapchat lighting up my phone and with the distant sound of Netflix, this task seemed somewhat daunting. I had wired my brain to focus on so many screens at once I forgot how to do the basics. I struggled to concentrate, my brain constantly curious about what was happening in the online world, wondering who had posted what or what I was missing out on.

I was confused by what social media had done to me. I’d previously been able to lose myself in a book for hours, travelling with imaginary friends into foreign lands, freeing princesses or fighting pirates. But now, all I did was sit there, with square eyes, wondering when the next text or funny photo was going to arrive. With a little research I found that recent studies have shown that the more time spent on social media the greater the risk of depression, anxiety and cyberbullying — over 34% of people online have been cyberbullied. The problem of online bullying is extremely new and people are at risk wherever they go. Bullies are no longer standing outside school, fists clenched, waiting for someone small to pick on. Their game is a lot more sophisticated now. They can hide behind a mask of anonymity, ready to throw blows through a screen from the comfort of their own home. Although I may seem pessimistic about online networking, I don’t think it’s all that bad. Yes, there negatives but there are so many positives too. The world has become a much smaller place since the rise of smart phones. Anyone can learn anything with the swift swipe of a finger or a click of a key. Families and friends across the world can feel close together, despite the distance and people’s voices and ideas which are never usually heard are broadcast to millions of others. So, whoever you are, child, teenager or adult, please take the social media world with a pinch of salt and recognise when you need to put the phone down.


Concerned about trying to catch up with the runaway train that is social media? Many parents worry about their own inability to switch off, never mind their kids’. Check out the website for excellent, up to date info on safeguarding your kids from the worst excesses of the digital era and much more. Caroline Knorr writes: “Resisting the urge to check your phone or shut down Netflix after another cliffhanger Stranger Things episode should be a simple matter of self-control. But according to so-called whistleblowers such as Tristan Harris, a computer scientist who founded the Time Well Spent movement, and Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, we humans are totally overpowered. Features such as app notifications, autoplay – even “likes” and messages that self-destruct – are scientifically proven to compel us to watch/check in/respond right now or feel that we’re missing something really important.” She recommends turning off Autoplay, the feature that makes videos continue to stream on Netflix and Facebook even after they’re over. It’s usually on by default so you need to go into the app’s account settings and deliberately turn it off. You should also turn off notifications which studies have shown are habit-forming. Caroline Knorr explains: “They align an external trigger (the

ping) with an internal trigger (a feeling of boredom, uncertainty, insecurity, etc.). Every app uses them, but some, such as and YouTube, have discovered that when notifications tells us to do something, such as “Watch Sally’s new video!” or “See who liked your post!” we respond immediately. These calls to action not only interrupt us, they cause stress.” She points out that the random or irregular nature of notifications on apps such as Instagram keeps people endlessly coming back for more. Knorr also deals with Snapchat’s Snapstreaks, which begin after two users send snaps (pictures) to each other for three days straight. She advises: “Help kids understand how companies like Snapchat are using their (positive) desire to be nice to their friends to get them to use their product more. If your kid’s streaks are getting out of control, try allowing one time per day that your kid can send snaps, for example, after they take out the garbage, clean their room, and finish their homework. Finally, if your kids’ streaks are merely annoying and not harmful, you may need to ride out this phase until your kids go on to something new.” For further details, visit www. You can sign up for emails – the type that are worth reading there as well.

46 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

RUNTOTHERHYTHM Action stations...

When getting fitter, nobody seems to mention that those long road runs and lonely trips to the gym can be as monotonous as they are gruelling. Yet by plugging in a pair of earphones and listening to your favourite music, those workouts can feel like they’ve flown by in fast-forward. More often than not, running tops and legwear don’t come with pockets – and those that do, do a terrible job of keeping your phone Tune Belt from flying about. Armband, The best solution is to get your- rrp £20 self a phone-holding armband. Tune Belt offer a wide range of sweat-resistant and comfortable armbands that will keep your phone securely strapped to your arm without damaging your bank balance. Just make sure that you select a model that fits your phone. The Griffin LightRunner Armband will also serve Griffin you well, especially night runners LightRunner who will appreciate the built-in Armband, flashing LEDs to help you stand rrp £29.99 out to cars in the dark. Be sure to check for deals too as it is regularly on sale for over 50% off.

Put a spring in your step and add years to your life by getting fit this season. Take up a sport or a hobby that involves moving – anything from skating to dancing – or join the legions who have caught the running bug. For newbies, the easiest way to begin running is to sign up for a Couch 2 5K programme. Over the course of nine weeks these programmes, which are run by volunteers, will gradually build you up from running for one minute stretches to 30 minutes. You do three runs a week, two of them with lots of other newbies and one in your own time. The social aspect of the runs – everyone from children to pensioners can take part – along with the encouragement given by the volunteers, has helped them become an incredibly successful phenomenon. After nine weeks, you ‘graduate’ by joining your local Parkrun for their weekly 5K. These usually take place on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Find your nearest Parkrun at and EARPHONES follow ActiveNI on Facebook for updates about the Now, with mobile phone securely strapped in next series of C25K programmes. You could be one place and meticulously curated training playlist of the millions discovering that running is fun.

raring to go, it’s time to get a pair of earphones that are able to keep up with you as you blitz through your workout. There are two important features to look out for when searching for a pair of earphones to use when working out: are they durable; and do they stay out of the way. The Jaybird X3s ticks both boxes along with a whole lot more. The wireless Bluetooth earphones are sturdily built, come with an inline remote and microphone, and offer a sound quality few can match at the price-point. Though they will fit most users comfortably out of the box, the X3s come with a handful of alternative fittings so that you will be able to find the right fit for you. A hydrophobic nano coat means they are safeguarded against sweat damage and rain showers. The X3s deliver excellent quality of sound, giving an energetic performance to go along with your workout. The Jaybird MySound app the earphones come with allows for plenty of customisation too, so you should have no trouble finding a sound profile that suits you. Jaybird say the X3’s battery will last 8 hours of use when fully charged, Jaybird X3s, with only 15 minutes of rrp £109.99 charging equalling to around an hour of playback if you forget to charge them before your workout. All in all, you will be hard pressed to find better bang for your buck with the Jaybird X3s.


Alternatively, if the sight of any wires at all offends you, Jabra have your unusual needs covered with their entirely wireless Elite Sport earbuds. Jabra Elite Sports, Jabra justify the Elite rrp £229.99 Sport’s steep price by delivering great sound, a host of fitness focused features and supreme build quality. The buds themselves, while fairly large, fit securely and comfortably in your ear so that they won’t fall out on your first box jump. A variety of tips and wings are also included with each pair of buds to make sure they fit every ear shape. The Elite Sports have been engineered to be dust and water-proof up to one metre and are jam-packed full of all the technology you could want to provide information on your workout. The clinical grade heart rate monitor and TrackFit motion counting sensor work in tandem with the Jabra Sport app and Jabra Coach to give you a variety of real-time data and feedback. That includes speed, distance, calories burnt, heart rate, VO2 max information and much more. The Elite Sports include multi-function controls for music and calls, along with external microphones that can be used for hands-free phone calls and a handy Hear Through feature that enables you to hear what’s going on around you without taking an earbud out. Overall, if you are looking for a pair of high quality and feature packed earphones – and have the budget to afford them – the Jabra Elite Sports are as good as you can get.

Megan’s team at Phoenix Basketball Club

BY MEGAN KAVANAGH It’s mid-February and everyone huffing and puffing as if I was running is starting to realise how truly a marathon, my face was as red and dreadful new year’s resolutions a tomato and I was by far the worst are. From buying an expensive one there. However, I stuck it out gym membership, then only goand gradually, training session after ing three times a year due to guilt, training session I got slightly better. I the promise of getting ‘fit’ at new was making more shots, was getting hit year is one rarely ever achieved. Megan (left) at in the face less and would sometimes However I’ve never experienced PeacePlayers even try to dribble. Although I’m not this as ever since I was young, I’ve quite NBA worthy yet, my gradual been on a team, whether it was swimming, improvement taught me a few lessons. It fencing, horse-riding, rowing or basketball. taught me that practice does actually make you For the past four years I have been playing better and that if you stick with something long basketball both in school and in a club and enough, eventually you will improve, no matter yet I underestimated how much of an impact how bad you are. sport could have on my life. Although I still fumble the ball and miss most shots, I love it. PEACEPLAYERS The opportunities I have had playing basketThroughout this time, I got more of my ball are much greater than I could have ever friends to join basketball and was introduced thought, from meeting people I would never to an organisation called PeacePlayers. have usually met, to being able to travel all over PeacePlayers is a non-profit organisation which the country. It’s taught me that a team sport is uses basketball to help bridge divides within better than any gym membership. communities. PeacePlayers greeted me with I remember my first training session with open arms and taught me many life lessons my basketball club. It was dreadful! I was I use every day, from being respectful and

confident, to breaking stereotypes and speaking up about my opinions. Nowadays I attend regular meetings in which we discuss how to bring communities together through sport and often go on residentials around the country to learn about different cultures and bond with other teenagers at PeacePlayers.

IN THE SAME BOAT I recently started rowing — the ultimate ‘trust’

sport. Turns out sitting in a skinny boat, in the middle of a freezing river, with seven other beginners is quite the experience. I had to learn to trust and be in sync with everyone in my boat. It quickly went from bad to brilliant as we whizzed

up and down the river, singing High School Musical songs, going from strangers to friends in the space of an hour. Sports are what get me through life. Without them, I wouldn’t have learned how to deal with pressure, I wouldn’t have found anywhere where I can vent my frustrations, and I wouldn’t have met with so many amazing people who have given me opportunities I could only have dreamed of. So on December 31, 2018, instead of getting that gym membership, consider a team sport so you too can push yourself further than you thought you could, while being surrounded by people who will all want the same.

Family Life | 47

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018



hether you have taken up running as a new year’s resolution or you are a veteran of countless marathons, finding the right pair of running shoes is essential. Picking shoes that suit your needs can reduce your risk of injury, improve your times and make your running experience far more enjoyable on the whole. When choosing runners, there are a few factors you should consider first. The surface you are running on will determine the traction and support you should look for in a shoe. If you only plan to use your gym’s treadmill then the bulky traction and support of a trail shoe will likely be overkill. On the other hand, if you plan on going off road over parks and trails it is important to find a shoe that will stand up to the weather and uneven surfaces. If you are running competitively or far distances a lighter shoe will help you shed seconds off your time and make those last few miles feel a little easier. Alternatively, a thicker upper and more cushioning sole can help make leisurely jogs or runs with friends far more comfortable. Your running style and how your foot lands when you run is also important to know as footwear manufacturers develop shoes to suit a range of running forms. Many sports shops have experts that offer free gait analysis, helping you to make an informed choice when deciding the type of shoe you need.


Asics are onto a winner in the DynaFlyte series. The latest model, the DynaFlyte 2, builds on the success of the original model with its FlyteFoam mid-sole offering excellent cushioning without adding bulk or weight. Asics have made the DynaFlyte 2 slightly lighter than the original and have improved the ventilation on the upper. This first-class running shoe will serve both beginners taking their first steps on a treadmill and those who want to push the pace over distance.


Back in 2016, Nike created quite a stir with their ‘Breaking 2’ project, a proclamation that they were going to help elite athletes break the 2-hour marathon barrier. What was even more shocking was how close they came as Eliud Kipchoge, wearing the company’s newly unveiled Zoom Va-

porfly Elite, ran an incredible 2:00:25 – a full 2 minutes and 32 seconds faster than the current world record. Since then Nike have released consumer versions of the flagship runner, with the Zoom Fly being the most readily available and affordable model. Though not as headline grabbing as the flagship model, the Zoom Fly is designed for long distance runners looking for any advantage they can get to improve their times. Its light and breathable upper offers comfort along with surprising durability while the sole of the shoe is designed towards propelling you forward without feeling uncomfortable. While targeted at runners looking for a performance boost, the Zoom Fly’s durability means it can also double as a regular training shoe for many.


Brooks’ Ghost series has been a popular shoe among runners for years now, building a reputation for delivering one of the smoothest rides possible for neutral runners. The latest model, the Ghost 10, sticks to the formula of its predecessors with minor upgrades to deliver another great performing shoe that is versatile enough to be an everyday shoe for a range of runners. The Ghost 10 offers a breathable and flexible upper, creating a comfortable fit while running. While thin, the materials feel premium while remaining durable enough to take a beating off-road. The midsole offers plenty of soft cushioning underfoot without feeling unstable. The soles of the Ghost 10 will also give runners enough traction to feel safe venturing away from treadmills and roads and onto forest paths and other cross-country routes.

48 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Babystepsto healthieroptions forfamilymeals

Recent research published by University College London (UCL) shows that Northern Ireland has a greater proportion of overweight or obese teenagers than anywhere else in the UK. Across the UK, 35% of 14 year olds are obese or overweight - but in NI, the figure is 40%. The study used data from more than 10,000 teenagers taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study, which is tracking the lives of those born at the turn of the century. Professor Emla Fitzsimons, who co-authored the study, said: “Children who are overweight or obese face an increased risk of many health


Snacking throughout the day is many people’s greatest downfall, however, if you choose healthier options you can eat much more without the guilt, and fruit and vegetables are no dearer than your average chocolate bar. Quick, healthy and nutritious treats such as apple slices and peanut butter are loved by the whole family, and can fill you up in between meals.


As a parent, it’s extremely easy and


tempting to send your child to the canteen everyday. Because who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen every morning making dozens of sandwiches, when there’s barely enough time to put your shoes on before running out of the house? Sadly, school lunches may offer healthy options but it’s the pizza and chips that are making the cut onto our kids’ plates most often. That is why meal-prepping throughout the week is the Holy Grail to leading a healthy lifestyle. Even something as simple as making a double batch of a dinner and using the second half as lunch the next day, or even cutting up vegetables for the day ahead, can make taking the first step to a healthy life more obtainable.


Dinner has always been one of the most loved meals of the day. It’s a time to sit with family and reflect upon the day. However, with football practices, late shifts and bellowing babies, home-made dinners are sometimes put on the back burner. Ready meals foods are dug out of the freezer for a quick and easy way to satisfy the hungry mouths after a long day. Nonetheless, heating up a meal already prepared and frozen during the week is just as easy as buying pre-frozen foods. The advantages in doing this is knowing what went into your food, being able to add extra vegetables or other essential nutrients into your dinner easily and being able to adjust your meals to the way your family likes them. So next time you are considering buying a chocolate bar or frozen meal, remember how easy it is to actually take the first baby steps to live a healthier life, no matter how busy you are.


t makes sense to have teenagers prepare their own packed lunch — not least because they are more likely to make something they’ll want to eat. Make sure you include healthy options to tempt and help them along when you’re doing your grocery shop and suggest different ideas.


ith the hustle and bustle of early morning starts, the time pressure and reluctant kids refusing to get out of bed, it’s easy to forget or run out of time to have breakfast. While organising breakfast may seem like a lot of work for something that’s not that necessary, in fact, skipping it can have a detrimental effect on the mental and physical wellbeing of your family. Breakfast is widely known as the most important meal of the day for a good reason — it kick starts your metabolism, gets your body ready for the day, and helps with concentration. Who knew a bowl of Weetabix could finally help your kid get straight As? However, the sad reality of skipping breakfast is an increased chance of obesity and tiredness. With 1 in 4 children in Northern Ireland overweight or obese and 16% of women considered obese, according to, the question of healthy eating is becoming a very serious one. Even a simple bowl of low sugar cereal, with yoghurt and a fruit could make a major difference.

problems later in life, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. “Overweight and obesity are also associated with psychological problems such as low self-esteem and depression, and with lower educational attainment. “As members of the millennium generation reach early adolescence, rates of obesity and overweight remain a public health concern. “These findings show that although rates of excess weight have stabilised since age 11, there is still a worryingly high proportion of young people in this generation who are an unhealthy weight.”

Safefood has come up with 7 steps to creating healthy, varied and interesting lunchboxes: 1. Include a wide variety of foods starchy foods, protein, dairy, and fruit and vegetables 2. Try to offer different foods every day - no one wants to be eating a ham sandwich five days a week! 3. Vary the types of bread e.g. pitta bread, bagels, wholemeal rolls - keep a stock in the freezer 4. Cook extra rice/pasta in the evening these can make interesting salads 5. Theme your lunchbox on a different country, e.g. Italian - try a pasta salad, Mexican filled flour tortillas

A delicious pasta salad 6. Home-made soup (in a Thermos flask) is great for cold days, while salads are light and refreshing for warmer weather. Both are packed with essential vitamins and minerals 7. Fluids are important for children - up to 6 cups of fluid should be encouraged daily. Milk and water are the best options. Straws and brightly coloured drinks bottles can make rehydrating more interesting! Visit for more advice and recipes.

50 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Wondering what to make for Mother’s Day? Chef Jayne Quigg has just the menu for a delicious dinner that the rest of the family can rustle up while mum takes it easy...


Many TV programmes and recipe books assume that households have a plethora of ingredients and utensils. I have come up with recipes that don’t have too many ingredients and which use the majority of what you purchase, are not too difficult and finally, that do not cost the earth. You should be able to make all three courses plus a cake and get change from £20 if you are feeding an average sized family (and that includes using a free-range chicken). The only utensils you will need are pots, pans, knife, oven tray, casserole dish, round baking tin, steamer basket, table spoon, measuring jug, hand blender or food processor and grater. If you feel making a cake is a tad

slice the rest of the potatoes. Dissolve a stock cube in half pint of water and add 4 tablespoons of double cream. Butter the casserole dish, then cover it in a layer of sliced potatoes, season with salt and pepper and add a couple of small knobs of butter. Add another layer of potato, place a layer of fried onion on top, and continue to layer until the potatoes and onions are finished, remembering to season every other layer, and to finish with a potato layer. Now pour over the stock and cream mixture, and stick it in the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

÷ Shopping List 1 stalk of Celery 2 large Onion 300g smallish carrots Tender stem /sprouting broccoli 1½ kg of potatoes 1 free range chicken (1.5-1.8kg) 2 lemons 1 bunch of thyme 3 Veg or chicken stock cubes 75 g butter 360ml double cream Stale bread/breadcrumbs 1 tbspoon flour/ gravy granules

Celery Soup Roast Chicken Lemon & Thyme Stuffing Potato Gratin Carrot & Broccoli Gravy Lemon Posset Mother’s Day Cake

over-ambitious, leave it out. If you are feeling ambitious and own a set of scales, make the cake first. You could even make it the day before as it will need time to cool. If you are baking the cake, start with it. Turn your oven on at 180˚ and let’s begin...

For the cake 180g self-raising flour 150g caster sugar 3 eggs 175g butter 150ml double cream 250g icing sugar 100g dark chocolate milk


Ingredients 150g butter (Make sure it’s soft) 150g caster sugar 3 medium eggs (whisked) 180g self-raising flour Juice of 1 lemon (zest the lemon first on the fine setting of the grater and set aside for later) Method 1. First of all, butter and flour the baking tin (17–20 cm diameter) 2. Cream together the butter and the sugar, add half the whisked eggs, sieve or add in the flour. 3. Add the lemon juice, then gently fold in the remainder of the egg. 4. Pour into the baking tin and push the filling back to the sides, leaving a hole in the middle, (this helps you get a more even rise) and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, on the middle shelf. Press down on it gently with your finger – if it bounces back it is ready. Butter cream 1. Mix the remaining butter with 2 tablespoons of milk and add icing sugar. Beat until smooth, adding a little more milk if needed. 2. Once the cake has cooled, cut it in half and fill with the butter cream.


For the main menu, this is the first item to make. Heat 300ml of double cream in a saucepan with 5 tablespoons of caster sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat, zest the lemon and add to the heated cream. Finally, add the juice of the lemon, now whisk like crazy, and divide between four small glasses. Put it in the fridge and forget about it until after dinner.


Turn the oven up to 200. Finely chop half the large onion, with a knob of butter, add to a frying pan and fry gently without colour until it is soft. Zest the lemon into the onion, remove the leaves of the thyme and add to the onion, crumble in a stock cube and a little water, Stir in the breadcrumbs, and set aside to cool.


3. Now heat the remainder of the cream gently with the chocolate, broken up, stir until the chocolate has melted. 4. Allow to cool until roughly room temperature, (when you stick your finger in it, it is neither hot or cold) then pour over the top of the cake. Yummy!

Now for the fun part, put your hand inside the chicken, just under the skin, and make a channel between the skin and the chicken breast and put the stuffing inside. Don’t worry if you can’t face this bit, you can just make the stuffing into balls and cook in the oven for 20 minutes later, when the chicken is out resting. Put two celery stalks. a quarter of the onion and a carrot on the bottom of a roasting tin and place the chicken on top. Put it in the oven and after 20 minutes turn the oven down to 180, then cook for a further hour.


Cut the other large onion in half, and slice thinly. Fry on a low heat with some butter, until soft. Wash and peel the potatoes, cut off the end and set aside for the soup, then finely


Slice 2/3 of the remaining celery and place in a pot with a little oil and a knob of butter. Add the ends of potatoes and sauté, (a fancy word for heat gently until you see the potato go translucent.) Add 2 stock cubes and 500ml of water, plus a pinch of pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, then blend and it is ready to serve. with a swirl of cream if you fancy it.


Scrub the carrots and place in a small pot, with 4 tablespoons of water, a sprig of thyme and a knob of butter, I put them on a low heat, with the steamer basket on top. Once the water has come to the boil I put the broccoli in the basket and turn the heat down to a simmer for 15 minutes. You want the water to evaporate and the butter to coat the carrots, but you don’t want it to burn.


Take the chicken out of the tray or roasting dish and leave to the side to rest for 20 minutes. If you are doing the stuffing in balls stick them in the oven at this stage. Now lift the veg out and stir the flour into the roasting dish. If you have some spare wine, heat it up in a saucepan at this stage with some salt and pepper, bring it to the boil and reduce by half. Add the flour and any remaining juices from the roasting tin, and whisk. Add water gradually until the gravy is the desired thickness, season to taste. Cut the chicken up and serve. I know it’s not much fun but try to clean as you go, you will be thankful you did later.

52 | Family Life

Silk Front Kaftan, £109, Hibiscus Print Trousers, £99, both EAST

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


e may not be blessed with balmy weather in Northern Ireland but at least we can inject our wardrobes with a glorious fusion of tactile fabrics and eye-popping colour. SS18 is all about feelgood fashion and nothing is off limits. So, if you love sparkles, feathers and tassels, seen more on winter clothing, you can still indulge every whim. If you’re a fan of customising, this is your season as the trend is to pimp what you already own. If the trench coat you dig out every spring is a little tired, add embellishments and colour to really stand out from the crowd. Of course, there are some amazing high street options

– we love Studio by Preen’s trench with stripes and ties at the cuffs. Pencil skirts are not just for the office... wear with spiky kitten heels (and ankle socks) for a super cute, super chic look. While pretty pastels are everywhere, you can also play with prints, think punchy polka dots, floaty florals and bold stripes. Denim fans are in for a treat and can opt for tailored looks. Jeans needn’t be boring any more – bold seams and bows as belts add edge. For the more adventurous, sheer fabrics over bare skin ooze cool, the more risque the better. Whatever your style, there is something for everyone this season. Embrace your individuality and shine!

Mustard Spot Top, £10, Primark



Embellished Top, £28, River Island

Pink Floral Pyjama Style Shirt, £28, Dorothy Perkins Lemon Blouse, £55, River Island Ruffle Sleeve Blouse, £55, River Island

Trench, £130, Studio by Preen at Debenhams



Coat, £85, River Island

Pink Embroidered Longline Jacket, £49, Dorothy Perkins

Pink Coat, £89, Topshop

Coat, £149, M&S

Family Life | 53

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Dresses Simone Broderie Dress, £109, Monsoon

St Barts Stripe Skirt, £119, EAST


Red Tie Front Shirt Dress, £35, Dorothy Perkins


Teal Midi Chiffon Dress, £15, Primark

White Embroidered Tassel Wrap Dress, £55, Dorothy Perkins

SLINKY Striped Kitten Heel Court Shoe, £35, Miss Selfridge Court, £35, M&S

Printed Shirt Dress, £45, Next


Floral Kitten Heel Boot, £40, Next

Floral Court Heel with Laser Cuts, £27, Dorothy Perkins

Pink Ombre Court Shoe, £30, Dorothy Perkins Polkadot Skirt, £36, Topshop

Rosie Cut About Stripe Maxi Skirt, £59, Monsoon

Tassle Skirt, £38, River Island Florette Maxi Skirt, £79, Monsoon



Floral Culottes, £13, Primark

Ochre Floral Print Joggers, £32, Miss Selfridge

Floral Jeans, £55, Topshop

Belted Mid Blue Denim Culotte Jeans, £45, River Island

Lori Printed Trouser, £69, Monsoon

54 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018 Jumper, £8, Skirt £8, F&F

Power Slogan Top, £12, River Island

Floral Gilet, £14, Next

Mac, £25, River Island Floral Print Dress, £22, M&Co

Tassel Cardigan, £35, River Island

Puff Me Up Coat, £35, White Stuff

Gold Glitter Flower Ballet Pumps, £15, M&Co

Bright young things

Floral Boots, £36, Next

Anorak, £28, Next

Floral Jumpsuit, £14, Next

Denim Shirt Dress, £12, Next

Glitter Shoes, £15, Next

Magnifique Dark Pink Jumper, £4, Primark

With spring almost in the air, your little ones can really show off their individuality with eye-popping colours, fun slogan tops and of course, lots of denim! For girls, florals, tassels and cute macs are what to be seen in and for boys, slogan hoodies in bright primary colours, puff coats and anoraks are the order of the day. Add braces to jeans for a look that is fun and bang on trend. Here is our pick of the high street, offering great value for money too.

From a selection at Next

Ace Hoodie, £25, White Stuff

Explorer Sweat, £22.50, White Stuff

Dude Long Sleeve Jumper, £10, M&Co

as, anv land C s nim r I De , Rive 2 1 £

Orange Coat, £23, Primark

Puff Me Up Coat, £35, White Stuff Khaki High Top, £10, Primark

Boots, £20, Next

Faded Jeans, £13, Primark

Oasis Stretch Chino, £22.50, White Stuff

Jake Jeans, £20, Monsoon

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 55

EarCandy Embellished Bag, £35, River Island

Tassel Earrings, £8.50, Next Pink Earrings, £9.50, M&S

Chandelier Earrings, £10, River Island Tassel Earrings, £15, M&S

Chandelier Earrings, £12, Accessorize

Express yourself

ShadyLady Zoe Sunglasses, £64, Hobbs

Sunglasses, £14, River Island

Nude sunglasses, £6, M&S

Tortoise Shell Sunglasses, £8, Matalan

FLATS Bow Detail Flats, £32, Next

Pumps, £25, M&S

Beret, £12, Accessorize Bucket Hat, £16, Topshop

Baseball Hat, £16, Topshop


Glitter Sandals, £49, Faith at Debenhams

Silver Lace Up Canvas, £9.99, Shoe Zone

Nude Floppy Hat, £4, Primark

Denim Peak Hat, £18, River Island

Bags of Charm

The right accessories add polish and pizzazz to your outfit. Even if you’re wearing a plain tee and a pair of well-fitting jeans, a splash of colour on your ears or across your arm will get you noticed. With SS18 well underway, there are a few key pieces you need in your arsenal. Tiny sunglasses aren’t just for protecting your peepers from that golden ball in the sky. Make a statement with sleek, skinny shades, as seen on the runways at Miu Miu and Louis Vuitton. If micro frames aren’t for you, try a pair with a sportier edge. Floppy hats aren’t just for the beach. Turns heads by teaming with a beautifully tailored nude trench coat. It’s not just wide-brimmed hats that are covetable though — rain bonnets and even bucket hats were spotted in the four fashion cities. When it comes to having all your beloved belongings in one place, bags can come in all shapes and sizes. From spheres, to squares, make a statement with a funky shape. Those who love comfort when it comes to footwear can rejoice as low-heeled boots and shoes are having a bit of a moment. Choose styles with bows, and with a punchy print like crocodile skin (fake, obviously) or a chic fabric like tweed. Finally, ear bling is back, opt for elegant, shiny chandeliers to add a touch of sophistication.


Red Round Sunglasses, £3, Primark

Silver Cross Over Bag, £59, M&S

Croc Slide Ons, £45, M&S

Tan Bag, £39.50, M&S

Green Disc Bag, £20, Red Herring at Debenhams

Multi-Coloured Bag, £35, Faith at Debenhams

H! By Henry Holland Dress, £40, Jeans, £35, Red Herring Bag, £30, Faith Shoes, £29, Debenhams

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018


Havea Colour Crush


s the seasons turn and we gingerly peel off our protective layers of winter coats, woolly jumpers and thermals, the new make-up trends are focussing SOS Primer, on fresh-faced natural beauty, with strategic £26.50, Clarins pops of brilliant colour to remind us the sun is coming back and it’s not all doom and gloom. Starting from the base up, dewy skin is a must. Ditch heavy foundations that don’t allow your skin to breathe and try these lightweight beauties instead... Clarins SOS Primer is a combination of pearls and soft-focus powders which preps, corrects, and illuminates skin tone for beautiful make-up. Organic sea lily provides 24-hour hydration and allows the skin to Youth Glow, breathe, while anti-pollution complex £38.50, protects the skin from environmental Charlotte aggressors. Tilbury Charlotte Tilbury Brightening Youth Glow is a colour-correcting, moisturising ADD COLOUR adorable packaging. Our fave is Peachy primer with pearlescent pigments which even Drama Eyeliner Once you’ve achieved a flawless, freshNew Year, a soft peach with gold pearl skin tone and blur blemishes. Anti-ageing and makes a bold faced base, add splashes of colour to for an irresistible shimmer. anti-redness ingredients, including chlorella impact. It is also eyes, lips, cheeks or lashes. This season Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Paintand Vitamin B3, make this the perfect make-up waterproof and isn’t just about delicate pastels — an On Liquid Lip Colour comes in a variety base, but it also provides enough coverage to budge proof. array of rich, jewel tones is also on of finishes suited to the shade. Matte ditch the foundation and wear it on its own. With such an offer to add that extra dash of luxe for long-wearing drama, vinyl to paint Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF array of colour 50+ is a breakthrough colour-correcting cream to your look. Lancome’s Eye Sugar and texture to Lipstick in on shine or metallic if you’re daring Double Wear Custom Pastel Eyeshadow Palette has 10 that never creases or cracks and camouflages choose from, Peachy New enough. Coverage Correcting pretty-as-a-picture shades ranging Year, £17.50, Don’t forget your lovely lashes. imperfections. It’s infused with an anti-ageing now is the time Duo, £24 each, Estee from matte to sparkly finishes. CliniqueFIT Workout 24-Hour Grand Illusion to have fun serum that enhances brightness, minimizes MAC Lauder Their Macaroon Blush & Blenders Mascara promises to stay put no Liquid pores and gives a radiant, supple and flawwith makeCollection is a creamy blusher, with a whipped matter how hectic or energetic your Lipcolour in up again. Catwalk trends less-looking complexion. texture that blends easily onto the skin to give day. For a glam evening look, Elizabeth Space Bubble, encapsulate everything If you do need a little extra coverage in you a pretty flush and healthy glow. Arden Standing Ovation Mascara is £18, MAC places, MAC Studio Waterweight Concealer from graphic lines to blurred For the perfect pout, the MAC Lipstick a must. The supersized brush amis an ultra-fluid formula offering medium-full edges but above all promote Lunar New Year Limited Ediplifies, builds and curls lashes for a bold, an effortless breezy attitude. Leave buildable coverage and a natural finish that tion range is available fanned out look. To make your eyes provides weightless hydration. winter behind and embrace a new in five heavenly really stand out, Elizabeth Arden High For the woman who loves to work out, Cliniqcolourful outlook on life to put that hues and three ueFIT Post-Workout Neutralizing spring back in your step. Lancome’s textures with Face Powder is a high-perforMacaroon Blush & mance skin care and Tendertalk Blenders Collection, make-up essential for highLip Balm £50, Lancome Teddy Pink, ly-active lifestyles. The £16.50, colour-correcting powHigh Drama CliniqueFIT MAC der instantly neutralizes Eyeliner, £17, Workout Stroke of and conceals redness Elizabeth 24-Hour Perfection and it blends easily. Pure Color Envy Arden Mascara, Concealer, £20, £21, Elizabeth Paint-On Liquid Le Vernis Pastel Clinique Arden Lip Colour, £25, Nail Polish, Crispy Estee Lauder Lavender, £16, Lancome Studio Standing Ovation Waterweight Mascara, £22, Your Skin But Concealer, Elizabeth Arden Better CC+ Cream £27, MAC with SPF 50+, £30, IT Cosmetics CliniqueFIT Post-Workout Pink Glow Extra Ombre Hypnose Mini Limited Edition Eye Shadow Hollywood Lips High Performance Loose Neutralizing Face Powder, Illuminating Moisture Chubby in Yellow, Trio in Matinee, £18, Screen Siren, £24, Powder Translucent, £30, £27, Clinique Balm, £44.50, Bobbi Brown £18, Lancome Elizabeth Arden Charlotte Tilbury Elizabeth Arden

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 57

NOneedles, NOtoxin, NOdowntime Achieve a natural, younger looking you with Ultherapy


ULTHERAPY is an exciting, non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure, which uses ultrasound and your body’s own healing processes to improve your appearance. It lifts, tones and tightens loose skin, of the upper and lower face, brow, neck and décolletage. Finally, there is a non-surgical treatment for the neck!


One of the many advantages with Ultherapy is that there’s no downtime, and no radical or drastic changes to facial

appearance, just a more natural, youthful you. Ultherapy treats deep layers of the skin and muscle with ultrasound, creating collagen production and the desired skin tightening.


“I just take care of my skin, eat well, exercise and I love Ultherapy.” Jennifer Aniston “ULTHERAPY was my favourite of all the treatments I tried. I definitely would have it done again and I do think it’s worth the money,” says Anna Richardson, Channel 4’s ‘How Not to Get Old’.


After 70 Days

two to three months and some patients have reported continued improvement for up to six months. These include lifting and tightening of the skin on the neck, along the jawline, and the entire face and brow areas. While ultrasound does not achieve the results of face lift surgery, Ultherapy is an excellent alternative for people who are simply not yet ready for major surgery. Typical results should last anywhere from 18 months to three years



After 90 days

With Ultherapy, your daily routine is not interrupted. It requires a 60 to 90 minute procedure. You may notice an immediate improvement in your appearance, but the natural process of creating new collagen occurs over time and is well worth the wait. Beautiful results will unfold over


After 90 days

– with maintenance once every other year thereafter.


MEDI-COSMETIC, leading aesthetic Clinic in Ireland has recently introduced Ultherapy, the most up-to-date nonsurgical anti-ageing treatment. Used and trusted by Aesthetic plastic surgeons worldwide with over 800,000 treatments performed, Ultherapy is the only FDA approved facial and neck lifting treatment that targets the area previously only reached via surgery. Medi-Cosmetic is one of the only clinics in Ireland to provide this revolutionary treatment. CONTACT Medi-Cosmetic today for a complimentary, confidential consultation with one of their highly experienced aesthetic team.

58 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Springclean T yourskinfor that‘freshas adaisy’look

here’s still a bite in the air drops of this superblend but milder weather is on used morning and night the way and if you’ve been maximizes skin’s radiance kind to your skin with luxby helping to boost cell urious products over winter, now is turnover to reveal brighter, the time to start looking at skincare clearer, more even-toned that will not only nourish, but also skin. allow your skin to breathe. Chances IT Cosmetics Confidence are harsh weather, constant air con Superfood in a Cream is packed full of Fitness Shower and the lack of sun has left your skin Facial Wash, collagen and hyaluronic acid, Oil, £32, ESPA in much need of a beauty boost. £25, this quick-absorbing formula With that in mind, here are the Elemis transforms tired skin by best new products to brighten, clarify boosting a natural regeneraand nourish. tive cycle for a supple, healthier, Elemis Superfood Facial Wash is younger-looking appearance. just the ticket if you’ve given up on No7 Restore and Renew a New Year’s resolution to eat more Multiaction Eye Cream is created greens. Why not cheat and put it specifically for the delicate skin on your face instead? This crafty around the eyes to provide day cleanser includes wheatgrass exlong hydration, soothe tired tract, broccoli seed, kale extract, peepers, and smooth fine lines. nettle extract, avocado oil and Mac Mineralize Volorganic pumpkin seed to leave canic Ash Exfoliator is a Mineralize skin looking radiant, with an dual-purpose cleansing Volcanic Ash outdoor-fresh glow. And it’s also and exfoliating scrub that Exfoliator, £22, available in an oil! blends natural volcanic ash Mac Estee Lauder PerPerfectionist with fine sugar crystals to fectionist Pro is a gravPro, £59, unclog pores and add instant moisity-fighting, high-speed Estee Lauder ture to dull, tired skin. formula which promises Last but not least, ageLOC to visibly improve multiple facial LumiSpa is a dual-action skin care system zones for an overall natural, more that simultaneously delivers great skin lifted and youthful look. smoothing benefits and profound cleansOr try Bobbi Brown Remedies ing. It leaves skin feeling brighter and Skin Brightener. Just 2-3 softer after the first use.

Confidence in a Cream, £38, IT Cosmetics

Overnight Hydration Therapy, £37, ESPA

Remedies Skin Brightener, Restore and Renew Multiaction £30, Bobbi Eye Cream, £18, No7 Brown

Restore and Renew Face and Neck, £17, No7

Biotec Skin Energising Cleanser, £40, Elemis Muscle Rescue Balm, £30, ESPA

ageLoc LumiSpa, £183, Nu Skin

Cooling Shower drench, £7, Sanctuary SPA

Superfood Day Cream, £42, Elemis


Sadly, we’re all too familiar with bad hair days and the angst they produce. Luckily, with hair accessories such a massive trend for SS18, we can cheat our way to an eye-catching do. Sparkles aren’t just for Christmas, so don’t be afraid to bling up your ponytail or bun with a fetching, statement piece. Barrettes are particularly chic, just position it level with the top of your ear and voila! If you really need a cover up, no problem. Just reach for a silk head scarf and tie flat around the head with a low chignon — extra points if it has an antique pattern — and you’re Riviera ready. If you just want to keep flyaway hair out of your face and still look cool, invest in some pretty thick hair bands for a preppy, good girl look. Hair bands also look great with fringes and/or a low ponytail. If you love having your locks flowing, glossy, glamorous and healthy hair is bang on trend. Think big and bouncy blow drys. Thinking of going lighter for the warmer months? Opt for golden shades with warm tones. Dark roots perfect this look. If you’re blessed with curly hair (yes, I said blessed), this is definitely your year. Don’t sweat unruly hair, rather, embrace your kinks. The bigger the do, the better. Thinking of a complete restyle? Take the plunge and get a fringe, avoiding anything too blocky. An undone full fringe or side fringe is

what you should be asking for. Of course, it’s not spring without a braid or two. This time around, it’s not so much boxer braids but soft, undone and romantic plaits. Use simple hair elastics to secure, you’ll kill your cool girl vibes using an unsightly bobble. Finally, if you’re always late for your morning commute, wet look hair screams effortless cool. Don’t scrape back though, just sweep into an imperfect low pony for serious style credentials.


Adorn your crowning glory with our pick of sweet accessories. 1 Marble Snap Clips, £9.50, Oliver Bonas 2 Flower Hair Band, £10, Accessorize 3 Stripe and Floral Satin Band, £2.50, Primark 4 Golden Bouquet Hair Clip, £32,

5 Radiant Ribbons Concord Clip, £20, 6 Shimmer of Rose Gold Hair Pins, £15, 7 Scarf, £18, River Island 5


÷ Blake Lively A-lister Blake is rocking a few key trends here, golden hair? Check. Glossy? Check. Glamorous? Check. We’re not jealous at all. ÷ Bella Hadid If you have a short style, copy model Bella and have your bob sleek and sexy. Her imperfect fringe adds sex appeal. ÷ Kirsten Dunst A gorgeous messy, loose plait worn over one shoulder will turn heads. Copy Hollywood star Kirsten, and enjoy envious looks.

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

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Artsandparts... andotherevents  Glaswegian star Lisa McHugh is performing at Belfast Waterfront on February 23. The 28 year old has won 14 awards in under three years, including ‘Female Vocalist of The Year’ three years running and ‘Outstanding Achievement on the World Stage’ in 2012 when she appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, the home of country music as a guest of the legendary Gene Watson. To book your tickets, please visit  The Ulster Orchestra accompanies rising star Venezuelan trumpeter Pacho Flores at the Ulster Hall on February 23 in a concert which will include the world première of Venezuelan composer Giancarlo Castro’s Trumpet Concerto. Pacho, of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Simón Bolívar Brass Quintet, has been achieving worldwide recognition as a soloist, captivating audiences with his energy and the bell-like beauty of his tone. His playing integrates jazz and Latin American influences with his classical training. The concert concludes with Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra; considered one of his finest works. Free pre-concert talk at 7pm with Music Director Rafael Payare and soloist Pacho Flores, visit  Local blues rock band Hardchargers have just released their first album Scarecrow and are on the road over the next few weeks. Catch them on February 23 at Ards Arts Centre, Doors at 7.30, £7 (BYO - no spirits), February 24 at the Ardhowen Theatre Gallery Bar, Enniskillen at 9pm, £10 entry; March 4 at Horatio Todd’s, Belfast 8pm, free; March 10 at Clayton Hotel, Ormeau Road, Belfast with the Belfast Nashville Singer Songwriters Festival, 9pm, £6 Tickets and March 31 at the Dirty Duck, Holywood, free entry.  Peace Proms is an outstanding production, suitable for all the family both young and old. The critically acclaimed Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland will perform with the Belfast Children’s Peace Choir which is made up of 3500 Primary School children from all over Northern Ireland in the Peace Proms at 3pm on February 25 at the SSE Arena, tickets from  Legally Blonde The Musical is coming to Belfast’s Grand Opera House on February 27 – March 3. Starring Rita Simons (EastEnders) as Paulette Bonafonte, Lucie Jones (Eurovision, Les Mis, Ghost, We Will Rock You) as Elle Woods, and Bill Ward (Emmerdale, Coronation Street) as Professor Callahan. The smash hit Broadway and West End Musical based on the best loved movie follows pampered, pink loving Elle Woods’ journey through law school. This all singing, all dancing romantic comedy is totally what you want, so ‘bend and snap’ up your tickets today,  Check out Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube, then get your tickets for the gig at the Ulster Hall on March 1. What started out as the bedroom project of Jazz

‘Keepers of the Port’, is screening at The LAB Gallery, Dublin pianist Bradlee has grown until the US group’s vintage-pop mash ups have racked up over 811 million YouTube views. Everyone from Miley Cyrus to Radiohead is covered.  There are still a few standing room tickets available for legends The Stranglers at the Ulster Hall on March 3. The band, one of the most successful bands to have emerged from the UK punk rock scene, are best known for hits like Golden Brown, No More Heroes, Peaches and Always the Sun and will appear with very special guests Therapy?  Indie folk band Runabay will perform at the beautiful Chamber room in Bangor Castle on Friday, March 9. Tickets, £10, include refreshments. You can also catch them at the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, on March 24 and the Sunflower Bar, Belfast on April 26. Follow the band on Facebook for tour dates.

heading back to Belfast to headline a show at The Limelight on Tuesday, March 13. The trio are touring in support of their newly released album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. For ticketing information visit  Having gained a reputation over the years as one of the best live acts around, Stereophonics will be showcasing their rock credentials at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday, March 15. The show comes as part of their UK arena tour supporting the release of their tenth album ‘Scream Above The Sounds’. The album commemorates the twentieth anniversary of their debut Word Gets Around and charted as high as number 2 in the UK. To book your tickets, visit

 A few tickets are still available to see Niall Horan perform at the SSE Arena on March 13. The One Direction star is performing gigs across the globe to promote the release of his chart-topping debut solo album Flicker. The Irish singer has thrived as a solo artist with singles from his new album ‘This Town’, ‘Slow Hands’ and ‘Too Much to Ask’ charting across the world. The talented Julia Michaels will also be supporting Niall on all his European shows. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.

 Energetic Irish duo All Tvvins return to Limelight on March 21 to put on what is sure to be another must-see performance. Dubliners Conor Adams and Lar Kaye came together to form All Tvvins after making waves as members of fan favourite math-rock bands Adebisi Shank and The Cast of Cheers. The pair have created a layered, energetic and radio-friendly sound that has made them an act to follow. Their debut album ‘IIVV’ charted at number 2 in the Irish charts and has gained plenty of traction on music streaming services, with songs from the album also being featured in the soundtracks for popular video games FIFA 16 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2017. For tickets, visit

 English indie-rockers The Wombats are

 With 21 years of infectious rock singalongs

in their back catalogue, Feeder are touring the release of their career-spanning compilation titled ‘The Best Of Feeder’ – including a headline show at Limelight on Thursday, March 22. The compilation – which also features new album Arrow – is filled with all the hits you’ve heard over the years, including ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’, ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘Feeling a Moment’, ‘Just A Day’ and many more. To book your tickets, please visit  Eccentric singer-songwriter Paloma Faith is scheduled to play the SSE Arena Belfast on Friday, March 23. After four years without releasing new material, Paloma released her fourth album ‘The Architect’ at the end of 2017. The album is Faith’s first UK chart-topping album and features a host of high profile collaborators, including John Legend, Sia and actor Samuel L. Jackson. Paloma will be supported by singer-songwriter XamVolo’s appealing dark jazz grooves. Tickets are on sale at ticketmaster.  Fast rising pop star MØ has rescheduled her performance at Mandela Hall to this March 27. The Danish star first made a name for herself collaborating with Iggy Azalea, Major Lazer and DJ Snake before releasing her debut studio album No Mythologies to Follow. Since then, MØ has gradually released a handful of singles ahead of her upcoming second album, including ‘Don’t Leave’ and ‘Nights With You’. Tickets are available from All previously purchased tickets remain valid for the rescheduled show.

Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

Family Life | 61

The Stranglers February 28, Millennium Forum, Derry; March 3, Strule Arts Centre, Omagh; March 9, Riverside Theatre, Coleraine; April 27, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen; April 28, The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena. Details from  Stand up comic Katherine Ryan brings her new show, Glitter Room, to the Ulster Hall on February 25. Canadian Katherine wrote and presented Channel 4’s critically acclaimed prime time series, How Did You Get So Rich? and also regularly appears on QI, Have I Got News For You, Taskmaster and 8 Out of 10 Cats. Visit


 Enniskillen born film maker Moira Sweeney’s award winning documentary ‘Keepers of the Port’, is screening at The LAB Gallery, Dublin, from now until March 4. This portrait of working life on Dublin docks, uncovers a heart-warming pride within the stories and memories of its custodians. See  The MAC is devoting all three gallery spaces to a major exhibition by Gilbert and George, the world renowned duo whose work was last showcased here in 1999. ‘Scapegoating Pictures for Belfast’ celebrates the 50th anniversary of Gilbert and George’s collaboration, which began when they were students at St Martin’s School of Art, London in 1967. Their images, drawn from life in London’s East End,

speak to themes of religion, sexuality, race, identity and belonging, with their philosophy ‘Art for All’ rooted firmly in the social fabric of this urban landscape. Admission to the exhibition is free for all and it’s open until April 22. See for details.  Comedian William Caulfield is touring with his new theatre show ‘One Hundred Years of Our Jimmy’ to mark the centenary of James Young’s birth. Featuring some original, and some new material from the beloved comedy characters of Lily O’Condriac, Billy Hulk, Big Derek, Orange Lil, Willie Simpson, The Ballymena Man and wee Sammy the Schoolboy, this is a show that will delight fans old and new who enjoy good Ulster humour. Catch him on February 23, Market Place Theatre Armagh; February 24, Ulster Hall, Belfast;

 Gwen Taylor (The Billy Plays, Coronation Street, Duty Free and Barbara) and Susan Penhaligon (Upstairs Downstairs, A Bouquet of Barbed Wire) star in the Grand Opera House’s revival of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde, running until February 24. Prepare to take a welcome turn with Wilde’s much-loved Algernon, Earnest, Gwendolen and Cecily, as town and country clash in a brilliant and wildly funny story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags. Suitable for over 8s, visit  Maggie Muff is back in the highly-anticipated sequel to 50 Shades of Red White and Blue and Dirty Dancin’ in le Shebeen at The MAC until February 25. Maggie’s Feg Run finds Maggie and Big Sally-Ann on top form as they head to Benidorm. It turns out to be a holiday the gang will never forget. Imagine a dive on a pedalo (and we don’t mean into the sea), a slider from the poke man (not of the ice-cream

Runabay variety) and some nudists from Rathcoole that have Big Sally-Ann in a tizzy. And you’ll never guess who makes an appearance at the all-Inclusive breakfast buffet... The grand finale in the Maggie Muff trilogy, from best-selling author and playwright Leesa Harker, it stars the critically acclaimed Caroline Curran. Visit  David Meade returns to the MAC on March 1–4 with his brand new show, Wizard of Odds. In his funniest and most impossible show yet, the ‘first mentalist to win a million dollars in a Las Vegas casino’ will blow your mind as he beats the odds and predicts the impossible. Visit  ArtsEkta presents a gripping wartime story of love and loss in The Troth, inspired by a classic 100-year old Hindi short story, Usne Kaha Tha. As the action moves from rural India to the trenches of Belgium, we learn of the secret promise made by one soldier, Lehna Singh, as he makes the ultimate sacrifice to save another. Marking the centenary of World War I, the poignant narrative unfolds through powerful contemporary dance, evocative music ➤ continued over

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Belfast Telegraph | 23 February 2018

➤ continued from page 61

and archive film. Created as part of UK-India Year of Culture 2017, The Troth features some of the UK’s most exciting young dancers and is directed by award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke. Catch it at The MAC on March 5, admission free, booking essential. Visit  EdgeFest is a three week festival of new, cutting edge theatre at The MAC, running from now until March 6. Beautifully poignant and a theatrically explosive feast for the mind and body, The Man Who Fell to Pieces is the signature performance for Tinderbox Theatre Company’s new adventure of exploring the potential of the imagination through physical storytelling and play. Theatre-goers can opt for a double bill of Prime Cut Productions’ plays, East Belfast Boy and Every Day I Wake Up Hopeful. Pumping techno, pulverising movement and street sharp poetry, East Belfast Boy is a cliché free zone, about Davy – his streets, his mates, his girl and… the Boys. Every Day I Wake Up Hopeful, by John Patrick Higgins, is poignant, confessional and funny to the bone. Malachy has made a decision, perhaps for the first time in his life. He has six bottles of wine, a bucket of chicken and he wants to talk. Visit  The Lyric Theatre is premiering a new play by Martin Lynch, from March 22-31. ‘We’ll Walk Hand In Hand’ marks the 50th anniversary of the Northern Ireland civil rights struggle and explores what civil rights meant in 1968 and what it might mean in 2018. It centres on working class Belfast students Vincent and Lesley in 1967, who find themselves at the centre of the explosive student reaction to the Civil Rights movement, and then leaps into 2018, when their grand-daughter presents the couple with a different kind of civil rights challenge. Tickets from  Belfast’s Adam Maxted is taking on WWE legend Rey Mysterio when 5 Star Wrestling comes to the SSE Arena on March 1. The ‘Love Island’ star and pro wrestler has signed to 5 Star Wrestling for their historic arena tour which is going out live from 7-10pm on Thursday nights on the new UK channel FreeSports. Other wrestling stars signed to be part of the tour include Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, John Morrison, Jake Hager (formerly Jack Swagger), Carlito and Chris Masters. Tickets are now on sale from Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Adam Maxted

Cityof Derry Jazzand BigBand Festival


he biggest and best Jazz Festival is returning to Derry from May 3–7 2018. The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival will be back for its 17th year, featuring artists from all over the world and attracting over 60,000 revellers over the bank holiday weekend. This year’s headliner is Sir Van Morrison, who will perform in the Millennium Forum on Sunday and Monday, May 6—7. The multi award-winning singer, composer and performer will be showcasing songs from his most recent studio albums Roll with the Punches and Versatile — as well as dipping into some of his greatest and best known hits from undoubtedly

one of the most revered back catalogues in music history. Some popular acts returning to the Festival will include the Red Stripe Band, The Roaring Forties, the Ska Beat, Velocity Brown and The Hot Rods, and Jaydee Brass band. New acts joining the festival in 2018 will include Mercury nominated Dinosaur — a vibrant new ensemble praised for their blend of styles, taking sounds from folk, rock, minimalism and contemporary art music. Dinosaur will be performing in the Playhouse on Sunday, May 6, at 8pm,

admission £6. Taking the UK by storm, Heavy Beat Brass Band will also make their Jazz Festival debut across various city centre venues, producing sounds including modern jazz, Reggae, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Funk & Soul with the sounds of a roaring New Orleans Brass band. As well as The Revolutionaires! – a sizzlin’ hot 1950s’ Rhythm and Blues combo, Sicilian band Jumpin Up! and duo Kaz Hawkins and Sam York. An exciting addition to this year’s Jazz Festival is the Darren Beckett Masterclass. Open to all musicians, the world renowned drummer, who has toured with Brandon Flowers and Madeline Peyroux, will impart his experience and knowledge on how to play dynamically and musically in a jazz setting. Also featured will be a special Education Programme in the run-up to the Festival, as well as Jazz Hubs at The Playhouse, Bennigans, and Great Hall at Magee — allowing audiences to relax and appreciate the authentic Jazz experience. Visitors can also enjoy Jazz Master Classes with respected Jazz musicians and take a trip down memory lane at the Showbands’ Exhibition in the Guildhall. Book your stay now! For more information visit #derryjazzfest

DON’TMISSOUTONSCHOOLTOURSPACKAGE2018 Visit Lisburn Bowl, Northern Ireland’s most modern and advanced bowling and entertainment centre. A competitive Primary school tour rate that runs until June 31, 2018*, can see children taking part in bowling from as little as £2.75. Add in a hot lunch from for £3.95 per child in Pins Restaurant, with healthy options available for all, where else would you rather go! Add in a visit to our Game zone or disco for an extra £2.75pp*. Situated in the thriving Lisburn Leisure Park, this destination is your onestop-shop when it comes to school tours. Voted Primary Times’ best party Venue in Northern Ireland 2017. Visit Lisburn Bowl, receive FREE squash, tea and coffee for teachers, bus driver and children. To book or for further details please call 028 9266 9466 or email * Ts&Cs apply.

Family Life February 2017  
Family Life February 2017