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✷Stronger together: RariTea event for families dealing with rare diseases

✷Colour party: Bring the new season trends home ✷Sun and songs: Sharon Corr on family life in Madrid ✷Kindred spirits: Eddi Reader on tracing her roots

Plus: Hair and beauty tips, holidays, recipes, gardening, health, events and entertainments & much more...

4 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Contents 6-7 Sharon Corr is loving family life under the Spanish skies


8 Why Eddi Reader would love to be featured on Who Do You Think You Are? 10-12 Get the kettle on and support people living with rare diseases

Countingdown tospring C hristmas is a distant memory and the pink cherry blossom and daffodils are perfect reminders that spring is just around the corner! With the first day of spring on March 1, there are lots of dates to keep a note of – not least Shrove Tuesday, St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day. Thankfully, the annual celebration of mums everywhere isn’t until March 31 – there’s plenty of time yet to plan something extra special this year, whether your focus is your mum and all she has done for you or you want to thank your other half for being such a good mum to your own children. Some mothers and daughters have a year-round special bond, like Carol McAdam and her daughter Joanna. Joanna will be making sure her mum puts her feet up on the big day – but don’t wait until then to get the kids involved in sorting out the house. The annual spring cleaning frenzy is already underway at homes across the country and we’ve a few tips for getting through it. The spring season is the optimum time for new beginnings so whether that means finally getting rid of all that clutter, having a go at some home improvements or simply updating your home decor, there’s no time like the present. We’ve had a look at what’s trending across home interiors for SS19 as well as checking out what’s happening in the garden over the next month.

Of course, it’s not just the home that gets a spring refresh every year. It’s time to check out the latest fashion trends and sort out your looks for the longer days. That might include shaping up but whether you want to shed a few pounds before summer or simply improve your family’s health, we’ve done some fact-finding on issues to tackle – including the importance of sleep for physical and mental health. While most of us have only the odd cold or tummy bug to contend with, a significant portion of the population find themselves battling diseases that GPs often have little experience of treating. That’s why we’re delighted to get behind the first RariTea event, highlighting the challenges facing people with rare diseases. Read about little Cara Bustard, the only child known to have her particular condition, and Julie Power, who’s battling Vasculitis. We also have interviews with Irish musician Sharon Corr, of The Corrs fame, and Scottish troubadour Eddi Reader, both of whom are heading to a stage near you. Elsewhere, this edition looks at holiday ideas and follow up on a special family reunion/holiday in New Zealand. If you like to include entertainment in a family break, we bring you some of the best festivals to check out this year. Of course we also highlight many other events for all the family in Northern Ireland. Happy reading!

40 Try our no fail pancake recipe for Shrove Tuesday

13 Mother’s Day: Carol McAdam and daughter Joanna are as close as a mum and daughter can get

42 Brighten up your outdoor spaces

14 Our gift guide to help you show mum you care

43 Kids v garden? How to foster peaceful co-existence

16 Ready to do the Kondo Congo? Spring cleaning tips for all

41 When is spring, anyway?


44-45 Ways to support wildlife in the garden

18-19 Home styles for SS19 21 Pick a colour, set a mood plus storage solutions 22 How to improve your home 24-25 Beauty: Blossom this spring with gorgeous colour 26-27 Refresh your style for the new season 28 Fresh as a daisy skin solutions 29 Top tips for terrific tresses 30-31 Go forth and discover... 32-33 19 of the best festivals for 2019 34-37 New Zealand trip helps family rebuild connections 38 Chore coats, Cuban collars and other trends for men


46-47 Health, fitness and the importance of a good night’s sleep

48-54 Festivals, gigs and events for all the family

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

6 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

SharonCorrfindsmanyreasons for loving life in Spain “When I’m not working I love I walking round By Maureen Coleman

t’s testament to how well Sharon Corr and her family have settled into life in Madrid that her two children now speak better Spanish than their own native tongue. The Corrs musician and singer moved to Madrid last summer with her Belfast-born barrister husband Gavin Bonnar and their two children Cathal (13) and Flori (12) after five years in Andorra. And the Dundalk woman and her family are loving life in the Spanish capital. But while her husband and children have mastered the new language well, Sharon is still brushing up on her skill, to make sure her phrases don’t raise any more eyebrows that they already have. “Gavin and the children are very proficient at Spanish. In fact I’d say Cathal and Flori speak better Spanish now than English,” she says. “I’m just okay. I can get by with the day to day stuff and I can follow conversations but sometimes I say the wrong thing completely, really inappropriate, double entendres that tend to shock people. So I definitely think I need to improve my language skills.”

the city centre, taking in the sights, the history and architecture. It’s really the atmosphere that got me.”

Settled - for now Describing herself as a ‘gypsy at heart’, Sharon likes the freedom that comes from moving around, but she says she sees herself and the family staying in Madrid – at least until the children have left school. “I would never say that we won’t move again. I am a bit of a mover. But for the time being, we’re all very content in Madrid. The kids are at college so I wouldn’t even consider going now until they finish secondary education. So yeh, life is good here and we’re very settled.” There are many perks to living in Madrid, Sharon says, and not just the blue skies. Though a huge capital city, it feels intimate and familiar and the locals are friendly and accepting. “In many ways the Spanish are like the Irish,” says Sharon. “They’re very open and fun and Madrid itself isn’t really like other big cities. It’s not cold or lonely and the people are very welcoming. “When I’m not working I love walking round the city centre, taking in the sights, the history and architecture. It’s really the atmosphere that got me. We have a market near our home which I love browsing round too and myself and the kids head to the central park on our bikes. “Having blue skies most of the year is a massive bonus too. I really cherish that in winter. It can be very closed in at home during the winter months.”

Homecoming gigs

Speaking of home, Sharon will be back in Ireland and the UK next month (March) with her good friend Vonda Shepard, the musical star of hit TV show Ally McBeal. The pals are teaming up to play a number of gigs, including a Belfast show at the Empire on March 13. The tour will feature songs from their solo catalogues alongside a number of duets.

Sharon Corr, photo by Barry McCall

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 7

Gerry Corr with daughters (from left) Caroline, Sharon and Andrea after The Corrs received an honourary MBE from British Ambassador to Ireland Stewart Eldon Sharon with her husband, Gavin Bonnar

Photo by Barry McCall “Vonda was touring in Spain last year and I had every intention of going to see her in Barcelona but unfortunately our dates clashed,” she says. “We’ve been friends for a very long time. We met through her husband, producer Mitchell Froom when The Corrs were doing our Unplugged album in Dublin. He brought Vonda over and we all went out for dinner and drinks. We hit it off and got on like a house on fire. “When I was recording my second solo album I went over to Los Angeles and was in their home every day. Vonda was there, cooking up a storm and we stayed in touch. “We started talking about doing something together then. We have so much in

common, music, being mums, our careers. It just made sense, but it took us a long time to get round to it.” Rehearsals for the upcoming shows are done via Skype, which can be challenging but Sharon says it’s all coming together nicely now. “We’ll each do our own set, then come together on certain songs. We have a great band too and the shows will be fun and intimate. “There’ll be a lot of songs people know in there and we’re both really looking forward to the tour.”

Famous family

Sharon, who’s writing more solo material at the moment, has played Belfast many times

with her famous siblings, Andrea, Caroline and Jim. And she says the local audiences are among the best she’s ever performed in front of. “The Corrs did a few gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast in 2016 and the audiences there were by far the best of that tour,” she says. “It’s such a big venue, it can be hard to make a show feel intimate but that was definitely the warmest reception we had. Then we were back in Belfast for Belsonic that same year. “Vonda has played Belfast too before and she’s excited about coming back. Dublin will be great too because my friends and family members will be there but I have to stay focused on the music.”

Sharon will be singing with good friend Vonda Shepard

The Corrs with former Irish president Mary McAleese

Bittersweet memories

Returning to Ireland brings mixed emotions for Sharon, since both her parents passed away. She says it’s always a bittersweet time for her as she relives old memories. And she also has fond memories of her time living in Belfast. “We were living with two babies while in Belfast so it was very much a nesting period,” she recalls. “But I loved where we lived. It was very peaceful and quiet and close to Gavin’s parents.” While family life in such a cosmopolitan, cultured city as Madrid is obviously going well, Sharon says there are a few things she misses about home. “I really miss the bread, the butter and the milk,” she laughs. “But then again, the Spanish wine makes up for those things.” * Sharon Corr and Vonda Shepard play the Empire Music Hall, Belfast on March 13.

8 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Eddi Reader on going back to her roots


cottish singer Eddi Reader would love nothing better than to get a call from the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are so she could unlock the secrets of her past. Eddi, whose music career began with Fairground Attraction in the ‘80s, has followed her heart back to Scotland and been exploring her own family roots. And she’s discovered that folk music is in her blood. “In my research of my own family history I found I’ve a great-great-great-grandfather who came from Germany in 1850 to play music in the streets of Edinburgh when he was 18. He made mandolins and tuned pianos. He taught these skills to his sons and his grandson, my great-grandad, who in turn sang Robert Burns songs all over Scotland and collected Scottish folk song. I’m quite fascinated by this man but I can’t get any further back but I think any talent I’ve got is probably generated from that. It’s amazing how things are handed down – I love seeing that on Who Do You Think You Are and in talking to other people.” Even more amazing since one of Eddi’s greatest successes was her 2003 album Eddi Reader Sings the Songs of Robert Burns and she starred last month in a Burns Night concert at the Titanic Centre that was broadcast here and in Scotland.

Local connections

She would love to find out more about the German strain of the family and she’s also got connections to this side of the Irish Sea. “My dad’s grandmother is Elizabeth Brennan from Lurgan and my mother’s mother is from Tralee.” It’s not unusual for a coachload of relatives to turn up when she’s gigging here. Eddi has a lot in common with Billy Connolly, not least her working class roots and her love of a yarn and a good tune. Story telling was opened up to her on her Granny Nammock’s knee. “She painted Tralee as some kind of mystical Walt Disney World, mermaid swimming, gorgeous place.” Eddi has been exploring more about that side of the family too, learning from her aunts. “My mother was a rock ‘n’ roll girl, she didn’t get involved in the old stuff but I love it.”

Come home

Her career has taken her far and wide but Eddi returned to Scotland in the early noughties. “When I started to do the Burns album it was 2001 and I was living in London and I started having a vision of Robert Burns in the middle of a bridge over the border. He was holding his hand out and saying ‘Come on girl, come over, come home’. Then my boyfriend at the time, now my husband, John Douglas, wrote this song Wild Mountain Side. He just wrote it because he fancied me but I didn’t know. We’d been friends for 20 years and we just found each other later in life. There’s a verse ‘Only a mile to go, I’ll carry you if you fall. I know the armour’s heavy now, I know the heart is tired. It’s a beautiful just over the Wild Mountain Side’ That was a real

Eddi Reader and her husband John Douglas, photo by Steve Humphreys calling home for me too so I put that song on the album and then I married that guy and we’ve been working together ever since. It’s been a real journey for me. I feel a little like the female version of Billy Connolly. I left the shipyard and Margaret Thatcher land and then I returned home with this album...” Still, she was uncertain about returning. “I was away from home from I was 18. I lived in London and then in France and I longed to go back but I didn’t know what I would go back to as a council estate girl with a family that were working poor. I wasn’t sure what was left. You couldn’t have made an album or written a book or be anyone musical here in 1979 when I left.”

Sons and songs

She was delighted to see her sons Sammy and Charlie responding to their Scots culture when they moved north of the border. “My two sons were brought up in England and I loved their wee school but they were never taught any music. When we came back to Scotland the boys came home from primary school with armloads of Scottish songs and they loved them – to see the kids grasp onto something they’d never any experience of is great. I believe that our history and culture is not to do with our religion but more our environment. Just as the trees and the water are tainted by the air, you get tainted by the

air. If I went to live in Lurgan I’d become a Lurgan person. If you don’t teach your children about their cultural heritage they go about the planet throwing chairs when they go to football matches and being rude to other cultures because they don’t have any sense of their own nature. If you’re a child it’s so good to learn about your cultural DNA just so you’ve got a connection to all your

ancestors - it connects your heart to all those people like a crochet thread.” She’s a little disappointed that she ended up having just two boys. “I thought I would have had a whole football team. I think I would have if I’d started a bit earlier but I started at 28.” Her boys are now in their 20s. Sammy produces dance music and helps out on Bill Bailey tours while Charlie, who his mum says sings better than Michael Buble, works in stage management. Eddi’s looking forward to being a grandmother some day. “It’ll be fun and hopefully they’ll teach me something.” Every year, Eddi and her band, including her husband John, tour Ireland and this year their final gig is at the Ulster Hall on February 24. “I adore coming to this island. There’s something about the air and something about what’s underneath – you know the film Roots? Whenever I go there I feel like I’m going back to my roots. “As well as songs from Cavalier I’ll be doing some Fairground Attraction and a mix of songs from down the years. As it’s the last night of the tour we’ll be match fit and ready to party afterwards.” Visit for tickets and further details. Some material from this interview was featured in Belfast Telegraph’s recent Burns Night supplement.

10 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

NorthernIrelandRare DiseasePartnership launchescampaign Support RariTea and help families living with rare disease


are’ conditions are chronic, debilitating, life threatening conditions, affecting fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. There are more than 7,000 such conditions, with more being defined every year. In Northern Ireland, 1 person in every 17 will be affected by a rare condition at some point in their life. This is the equivalent of over 100,000 people; a population the size of Derry~Londonderry and a community larger than that affected by AIDS and cancer combined. Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership (NIRDP) is a not for profit

organisation and registered NI charity that works to bring about change for those with rare or difficult to diagnose conditions. The charity is running its first national campaign, RariTea, from February 21 – March 7, and is asking everyone to get involved in helping create real change for those affected by rare conditions across NI. The campaign coincides with International Rare Disease Day on February 28. Rhoda Walker, Chair of the Partnership, says: “Our campaign is based on the popular coffee morning model, except that in Northern Ireland we do love a wee cup of tea, hence, our focus is on having

Launching RariTea (l-r): Julie Powers, Secretary NIRDP, Rhoda Walker, Chair, Kerry Moore, James Caldwell, Treasurer, Christine Collins and Tanya Boggs, NIRDP Project Officer, Western & Northern Health & Social Care Trust areas

The RariTea event aims to raise awareness of the challenges facing families across Northern Ireland, such as little Cara Bustard, the only person known to have her particular condition, and Julie Power, who’s living with a blood condition, Vasculitis

Julie’sbattle forhealth BY SOPHIE McLAUGHLIN


ooking at Julie Power (53), it’s hard to imagine the hardships she has faced since being diagnosed with a rare disease, Vasculitis, in 2005. Vasculitis is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy blood vessels and organs. Born in Donegal, Julie now lives in south Down with her husband, Michael. Her four children, aged 30-21 were still young when she first became ill, with a lot of cold and flu-like symptoms which she simply couldn’t shake. It grew progressively worse – she had extreme joint pain, frequent nose bleeds and developed ulcers in her mouth that prevented her from keeping food down and stopped her from speaking. “It was really frightening because none of it made sense. I was so ill I couldn’t tell you what part of me was sick.” Julie credits a young doctor at the Downe Hospital for recognising that she had a ruptured bowel and ordering a biopsy that ultimately uncovered the cause of her illness. She remained in hospital for three months as doctors tried to prevent her body shutting down – a terrifying time for her and the family. By the time she was discharged her whole life had changed and she had to adapt to living with an entirely unpredictable condition. “If something went wrong I didn’t know if it was going to be the disease, a

Julie Power virus or whether it could be something else. Because I had been so ill and it happened so quickly, I almost felt I should be sitting in A&E all the time in case anything else went wrong.”


At home she went from being the joint provider and caregiver to having to rely on

her husband and children. She tried to return to her job as an Occupational Therapist, however the constraints of living with Vasculitis made her too ill to work and she had to medically retire. Having experienced a few big health scares in the last 14 years Julie is grateful for the team, directed by a Specialist Clinic in England, that has looked after her. She is permanently on a biological drug and a toxic chemotherapy drug which suppresses her immune system. Living with the condition has meant dealing with some traumatic ordeals – not least when her nose collapsed after the disease destroyed the cartilage. It also damaged her eye sockets, blocking her tear ducts, meaning that what normally flowed down behind the eyes, flowed down her cheeks. This, and a combination of the hair thinning and bloating caused by steroids and now having to use a walking stick to avoid falls, undermined her confidence at one stage and she struggled to deal with people staring or asking her questions. “I never thought I was a vain person but I just would think ‘oh my gosh I don’t recognise myself any more’.” The opportunity to undergo reconstructive surgery in 2014 – when surgeons rebuilt her nose from a piece of her rib – was a turning point in her life and allowed her to feel more like herself once again.


Although any activity needs to be planned to ensure there are other people around in case something does occur, Julie doesn’t let her illness stop her getting on with life. She is still able to drive herself around, meet up with friends and regain some of the normality that she had lost when she became sick. With

just a 6 in a million chance of being diagnosed with Vasculitis, Julie didn’t meet anyone else with the condition until she attended a conference in Cambridge in 2010. “It was frightening to see all these people at different stages of the disease. It was like someone held a mirror up to your face and you couldn’t change anything.” However, she met with a fellow sufferer from Northern Ireland and they have both welcomed the opportunity to share experiences with someone who understood what it was like to be fighting the same battle. That year she set up the cross border charity Vasculitis Ireland Awareness, which provides support to those struggling with any of the 18 types of Vasculitis currently known. With around 300 members across Ireland, Julie acts as a contact to anyone who is newly diagnosed, having trouble with symptoms or who just needs someone to talk to. She has been working with the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership since 2012 and is appreciative of its work with all people who are suffering as she knows first hand how lonely having a rare disease can be. “It’s brilliant because even though it was all different rare diseases, we started to realise we are all dealing with similar issues like trying to get a diagnosis, getting appropriate care and even day to day issues - it took away all the isolation.” She is now the secretary of the NIRDP and works to highlight the good work that is being done here in Northern Ireland and raise awareness of the 1 in 17 people who suffer with a rare disease and reassure them that they are not alone. She’s pleased to get behind ‘RariTea’ and adds, “a cup of tea has always been a help with everything.”

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph a cuppa together! We are asking for individuals, organisations, businesses and groups to support a tea event with friends and colleagues; this might be an afternoon tea, a tea party or simply sharing a cuppa with a few friends. “Even the smallest of efforts can go a long way towards helping us raise awareness of our charity and the work that we do, and will aid us in reaching more families, carers and patients across the region who need our support.” NIRDP are joining forces with Coleraine-based Infuse Artisan Teas to help bring people together over a cuppa to find out about rare conditions, to share some quality time, and to have some fun! There are many ways to get involved and by posting your images and comments of support via social media, tagging the charity on @NI_RDP and using the hashtag #RariTea you can help NIRDP increase its reach. If groups would like to make a donation this can be arranged via the website, www., or by contacting info@nirdp. for more details. All donations will go directly towards fundraising for a full time co-ordinator who will help families and patients affected by rare conditions access the help and support that they need. The charity’s motto is ‘Stronger Together’, so get involved in this year’s RariTea and make a difference for all those living with rare conditions across Northern Ireland. To find out more contact the NIRDP at email: Facebook: @NIRDP_News Twitter: @ni_rdp Website:

Family Life | 11


 NIRDP is a unique partnership of those living with a rare disease; organisations representing them, health professionals; science and industry; health policy makers and academics. The membership includes people with rare conditions ranging from the very rare, for example Trisomy 13 mosaic, to relatively well-recognised conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease, Spina Bifida, or Muscular Dystrophy.  NIRDP is represented on the Department of Health, Northern Ireland Rare Disease Stakeholder Group, and the UK Rare Disease Forum. It has links with Genetic Alliance UK, and with IPPOSI, Rare Disease Ireland, and the Medical Research Charities Group in the Republic of Ireland.  Common issues reported by people with rare diseases include difficulty finding useful information, including for clinicians; the challenging pathway to diagnosis, and lack of co-ordination of care, which creates feelings of isolation and vulnerability.  A Northern Ireland survey in 2011 revealed that one-third of patients wait up to 5 years for an accurate diagnosis and half receive a wrong diagnosis.  NIRDP works to ensure that no one in Northern Ireland is disadvantaged by the rarity of their condition, offering vital support, advice and signposting services to all those affected by rare or hard to diagnose conditions. It is a not for profit company Limited by Guarantee and a registered NI Registered charity.



any families with a child with special needs find themselves on a journey of discovery as they get to grips with diagnoses and treatments. But what if no-one else has the same condition? Cara Bustard (6) is the only person known to have her particular chromosomal abnormality. Kieran and Meadhbh’s son Conall was three years old when Cara was born and the family’s delight at having a daughter turned to concern when it quickly became apparent that she was deaf. Meadhbh recalls: “She failed her hearing screening three times in the hospital and basically after four or five weeks, we knew she was profoundly deaf. I’d been thinking I would love to have a wee girl and then to find out she was deaf was very difficult – it breaks your heart.” Back at Craigavon Area Hospital, Cara was fitted with hearing aids but with no hearing at all to amplify, they were useless. She was put on a waiting list to have cochlear implant surgery and during that time, she was diagnosed with nystagmus, dubbed ‘dancing eyes’ and prescribed glasses. “Throughout all that time we had a feeling that there was something else not right,” recalls Meadhbh. “She wasn’t meeting her development milestones – she

couldn’t even hold her head up and was giving you no eye contact.” Her paediatrician in Craigavon Area Hospital referred Cara for genetic testing. A basic screening came back clear but the doctor ordered more detailed testing and Cara was found to have a micro deletion of 22q13.1. “It basically means there’s a piece of DNA missing from the 22nd chromosome and this was causing all her issues – that she was profoundly deaf, visually impaired and non verbal, severely learning disabled and with low muscle tone or hypotonia.” Those times of discovery were particularly difficult for the family and Meadhbh, who had intended to go back to her job managing four sites for a major dental practice, decided she needed to care for Cara full-time. “With all the appointments and all the therapy I decided I would rather put the time into her and developing her and it’s been worth it.”


While at times the baby’s situation seemed dire, Cara has blossomed into a lovely and loving child who moves well and has found her own way of communicating with her big brother and parents. Continued on 36 


12 | Family Life The cochlear implants – inserted when she was 18 months old – have vastly improved her quality of life, thanks to more hard work on behalf of her parents and professionals. Meadhbh says: “People think when you get cochlear implants you can hear straight away but Cara had to learn to hear and remember sounds and speech words so that she can understand what we are saying. Her understanding would be very basic but we know how to speak to her. She isn’t able to speak yet but we never give up hope. We thought she might not walk but she did. We continue to work on it and continue to talk to Cara the same way as we would talk to Conall and hopefully some day she will talk. “She learned to walk just before her third birthday – it was a massive milestone – I cried my eyes out,” says Meadhbh. The breakthrough came after intensive therapy with physios and occupational therapists as well as at home. “At first she was strapped into braces to strengthen her legs and then walked using steel frames. It took constant work to progress her but it has paid off.” These days, Cara is enjoying life at Ceara Special School in Lurgan and communicates using PECS, (Picture Exchange Communication System), where she points at images of things she wants or needs. When I met her in the family home in the hills near Gilford, County Down, there was no doubting that she wanted her mum to put Super Mario on TV. She loves to see visitors at the house and hates to see them leave. “Cara has a sweet disposition, like other children with similar conditions and she’s very loving.” While Cara’s condition is unique, the

Kieran and Meadhbh Bustard with their children, Conall and Cara family have gleaned useful information by learning about Phelan-McDermid Syndrome which is similar. Even within that category, there’s a broad spectrum of abilities, with some people being able to walk or speak and others not. “We were able to read the literature on that syndrome and see these are the type of things that Cara might face.” While Cara takes up a lot of their physical and mental energy, the couple are careful to give Conall (10) plenty of attention too and encourage him in ju jitsu, boxing and gaelic. “Conall is brilliant with her – so caring, he’s amazing,” says his mum. “He’s involved with a young carers’ group with other children with a sibling with a learning disability or additional

needs – it’s good for him to be around children going through similar things.”


They have found groups like the NI Rare Disease Partnership to be an invaluable source of support. “At the time Cara was diagnosed we were constantly on the internet, googling for information and that’s how we came upon the NIRDP – they’re very good.” Meadhbh says they’ve had a lot of help from groups for parents of deaf children as well as those with rare diseases. She’s also full of praise for Lurgan Junior Gateway Club, which Cara attends weekly. Looking back, she says the strain of Cara’s first two or three years was extremely hard.

“You just worry from one minute to the next, how you’re going to cope and what the future holds. It changes everything. Cara will be with me and Kieran until we die. The likelihood of her living independently is slim. She’s not going to lead a typical life; she’s not going to have a boyfriend and get married. There’s a massive grieving over all that at the start but now we wouldn’t change her. I would like for her to have a typical life but she’s happy and she doesn’t know any different. I used to constantly think, how am I going to cope with what’s ahead of me but you find ways of dealing with it. Thankfully we have a really happy marriage and support each other really well. There are so many people out there that are worse off than us.”

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 13



ig-hearted Carol McAdam and her young daughter Joanna share a close bond – and a deep desire to help other people. Carol’s husband Jim works abroad for much of the year. When he’s away, the pair spend a lot of time with each other and mum admits she couldn’t do without her 11-year-old daughter for company. And one way in which the mother and daughter spend their quality time together is by volunteering and fundraising for their favourite charity, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, particularly this year, the charity’s 50th birthday. These days, the pair can often be seen at Cancer Focus NI events shaking a collection tin or handing out awareness leaflets to passers-by. Carol has also run five marathons for the charity – London four times and Boston once. In fact, she has done 13 marathons altogether over the last 11 years and has raised a whopping £15,000 for different charities. “A close family friend used to do a lot of fundraising for the Ulster Cancer Foundation, which is the old name for Cancer Focus NI, which is why I like to raise funds for them,” she explained. “Sadly she passed away when I was doing my third marathon for the charity, which made that run a very emotional one. “Also, my cousin Claire Williamson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and is running her first marathon for the charity in Belfast this year after she got so much from their art therapy service.

er’s h t o M Day, 31 h Marc

Cancer Focus NI look after us so well, it’s a pleasure to fundraise for them.” With her husband away working much of the time and both her mum and mumin-law in nursing homes, Carol takes Joanna everywhere she goes and she says she’d be lost without her daughter for company. “I’ve done so many coffee mornings at her primary school. Joanna took part in the Cancer Focus Strictly for Kids. She’s energetic but it was a lot of hard work and commitment every Tuesday for nine weeks learning dances – all the children were all brilliant,” she said. “We both did the charity’s Dare to Dip at Crawfordsburn beach on New Year’s Day last year. We’ve done a Night at the Races

Carol McAdam with her daughter Joanna

Joanna with her collection box

and organised a charity auction, all kinds of things.” Carol continued: “My poor child, I’ve dragged her along to everything, but it’s become part of our life. Fundraising can sometimes involve standing in the cold and wet with a collection box, which not many children would do, but Joanna loves it, she never complains. She’s always so cheerful and smiling. She’s a wee chatty thing too and loves meeting new people. She is a very generous girl and I’m very proud of her. “I think it’s good for children to help others and I hope I’m a good role model for her. I can get quite anxious before a marathon but she’s laid-back and keeps me

sane. I think she’s quietly chuffed that I’m a marathon runner. “We have a very special bond and Mother’s Day is one of those special days when I like to tell Joanna how much I love her and how I couldn’t do without her.” Cancer Focus NI has been caring for local cancer patients and their families for 50 years and also provides a wide range of cancer prevention services, funds research and advocates for better health policy. Anyone who would like find out more can call 028 9066 3281, email or visit

14 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Personalised soundwave prints created from your baby’s heartbeat. Interactive soundwave art playable with a free app. Replay that wonderful moment when you first heard their heart beat, £19.99,


Hand made in Northern Ireland, this award-winning Orange, Basil and Poppyseed Chocolate Fudge is £3 for 100g,


other’s Day, on March 31, is when mums all over the country are presented with anything from hand paintings from toddlers to elaborate bouquets. Apart from taking mum breakfast in bed or out for lunch, there are lots of ways to make the day extra special. Book her in for a weekend away or a day at a luxury spa, treat her to afternoon tea or go to a show

together. If money is a problem, make her a gift of notes, promising favours, from washing her car to making dinner. Whatever you do, make sure the day involves quality time for the person who anchors most families together – whether that means surrounding her with loved ones, or giving her a break! And if you’re in the market for a gift to show you care, here are some suggestions to help you on your way…

Grow Mini Greenhouses by Caroline Wetterling is made of two hand-blown glass parts. The bottom part holds the soil and the plant, the top part is a lid equipped with a spout, allowing it to be used as a watering can. It also functions as a valve that lets in air and regulates the moisture and temperature levels inside the greenhouse, from £28.50,

This lime green Bud Vase is mouth-blown from a single piece of glass, £13.95,

First Mother’s Day Papercut Photo Card, £6,

Northern Ireland made Tulip Moon Luxury Scented Room Diffusers come in a range of fragrances, including Rose Geranium, Red Mandarin and Cedarwood Atlas, or, for someone who doesn’t like a particularly floral scent Basil, Bergamot & Lime, £20,

Happy Jackson Mumtastic Notebook, £10, store.

Original Duckhead umbrellas are designed to be strong, light and wind resistant, £22,

Eskimo Wool Hot Water Bottle in pistachio, £35.50,

Emma Bridgewater Mum is beautiful mug, £19.95,

There’s much more to the Beautify Makeup and Jewellery Cabinet than meets the eye. At a glance it looks like a full length mirror. However, open the door to reveal a spacious storage space that is large enough to accommodate your collection of cosmetics, jewellery, belts and hair accessories, £57.99,

Fine Scandinavian Halaus Linen Scarf in petroleum, £38,

Help mum keep all her recipes together with this Next teal recipe book, £8,

Succulent Love Hearts in Concrete Pot, £4.99,

Practically perfect Mary Poppins quote print in A2, A3 or A4 size, from £12,

Green Flamingo Thermal Flask, £15,


22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 15

Enjoya greatescape withBelle IsleSelf Catering Holidays


f you are seeking total escapism in a family getaway then you will get exactly what you are looking for at Belle Isle Self-Catering Holiday Cottages. Located on the private island estate on the shores of Lough Erne, choose from our 13 courtyard apartments, cottages and restored coach houses which are all perfectly suited to suit a family short or longer break. Not only have we great, family-friendly accommodation, our bistro also offers guests an alternative to self-catering with delicious breakfast and dinner menus on offer. Private parties are welcome too and with our residents’ bar open from 6pm, a pre-dinner aperitif is also an option. Two estate trails now give guests a choice for walking or cycling and for the more energetic these trails are also suitable

Belle Isle Castle

Self catering apartment for an early morning jog. Boat hire is also possible for those wanting to explore Lough Erne. Belle Isle is undoubtedly a special place. Once you have crossed over onto the island you instantly feel the hustle and bustle of normal life disappear. Accommodation is full of character and charm and all in easy reach of our reception for any questions you might have. Free wifi, a welcome

hamper, flexible check-in are all available. Note too that if you don’t want to leave your dog behind when you come on a break to Belle Isle, that’s fine, the family dog is also welcome. We have listed on our offers page a variety of packages and offers, you can also keep up to date by joining our mailing list or liking our facebook/Instagram pages. See for details.

Mountain biking

16 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019 Put on your favourite playlist to make cleaning less of a chore Teen bedrooms can look – and feel – like a battlefield


clutter the boot


nce the house has had its pre-Christmas blitz, it’s easy to let things slide. The short, dark days of January and February are forgiving of those hotspots where things pile up, the fingerprints on windows and mirrors, the messy bedrooms. However, it’s only a matter of time before that spring cleaning itch starts and before we know it, we’re doing the Kondo congo around the house, throwing out anything that doesn’t ‘give us joy’ and folding our undies into tidy little balls. Here are some facts to spur you on...

Japanese ‘organising guru’ Marie Kondo’s Netflix series has sparked a decluttering revolution


Marie Kondo hasn’t become a global cleaning sensation for nothing. There’s more to having a good clear out and decluttering our homes that simply getting reacquainted with the flooring... Psychological research in recent years has found that not only does clutter interfere with healthy relationships, it also leads to snacking. The more chaotic our surroundings, the more likely we are to reach for the biscuit tin. Psychology lecturer and author Dr Susan Krauss Whitbourne says: “Streamlining seems to have its advantages, then, not just as a housekeeping tool, but as an essential process for maintaining your happiness in your home environment and at work. At the same time, cutting through the clutter can benefit your physical health and cognitive abilities. Start getting out that trash bag, whether virtual or physical, and you’ll soon feel better able to enjoy your surroundings while you think more efficiently and cleanly.”


Before you adopt a minimalist mindset and

cleaning products in the bathroom, to shoes in the bedroom.


ditch everything visible on your shelves, the same research which revealed a clear link between clutter and a disrupted feeling of home, also found that curating certain possessions provides a healthy outlet for self-expression. Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, collects model lighthouses. He said: “Manageability, practicality, and the healthiness of the attachment is what separates personal collections from harmful clutter.”


It’s important to keep your kitchen clean and to always wash your hands before and after handling food. Give the kitchen a thorough clean, including the inside and behind appliances, every three to six months

If you’re living with a messy teen, don’t give up the struggle to get them to keep on top of it. “One special reason to keep after the messy room is when your son or daughter is by nature extremely disorganized and highly distractible,” says Carl Pickhardt PhD. “Children and adolescents of this type can easily feel ‘out of control’ in their lives, having a hard time focussing, staying on task, and remembering what they need to take care of. It’s hard for the teenager to concentrate when his surroundings are in a state of disarray. Use your supervision to help him continually bring order to that world and to simplify how personal space is kept, and you will help him feel more ‘in control’, more able to keep the rest of his life effectively organized.”


Some people like to mount a full assault on a room when it comes to spring cleaning, however, don’t drag every stitch you own out

and pile it up on the bed unless you know you’ve enough time to sort it all out. Start with one drawer or the hanging section of your wardrobe and separate things that you definitely want to keep from the rest. Put those away, then sort the remainder into piles for giving away or binning. Remember the 80/20 rule which states that we tend to wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Check whether items still fit you – you might find that something you haven’t worn in years is suddenly just right. Otherwise, if you haven’t worn it in over a year and it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Use storage boxes for items like formal wear that you want to keep but rarely need and put them into storage under the bed or in the attic.

80/20 RULE

When having a clear out, you can apply the 80/20 rule to everything from books to toys and DVDs as well. It can be easy to hang on to toys that are no longer played with, for sentimental reasons. Keep one or two that hold special memories and say goodbye to the rest.


If as you’re tidying up, you realise you don’t actually have a place for a set of items, such as stationery – scissors, pens, stamps, envelopes, glue, sticky tape etc – create one and you’ll drastically cut down on time wasted looking for these things. Over the door organisers are also useful for keeping anything from

Broken items or jigsaws with missing pieces are no use to charity shops but they can usually sell on substandard bed linen or curtains to textile recycling firms and you can label those ‘for rag’. They tend to welcome anything from accessories to bags, books, clothing, crockery, games, films, jewellery, music, ornaments, paintings, shoes, and toys. The Charity Retail Association advises people to check with the shop before turning up with large items of furniture, or electrical goods. UK taxpayers may be able to Gift Aid donations – this lets the charity receive an extra 25p from the Government for every £1 raised from selling your goods. See www. for details.


Make cleaning less of a chore by putting on your favourite music or an audio book. You can also look at it as a work out – if you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can download an app on your phone and feel even better about yourself once you’ve finished tidying.


American cleaning guru Marla Cilley has pioneered a system through her website Flylady which does away with the need for spring cleaning. Dividing the home into four zones, she advocates 15 minutes’ decluttering every day as well as short bursts of cleaning. “We have a better way that doesn’t even seem like we are cleaning at all,” she writes. “Our zones free us up to have a life with less guilt and more peace. Your home will always look great, not just for one day in the spring and the fall.” Her system has been adopted by thousands of people and while signing up for her emails means your inbox will quickly be full of clutter, she has an app, FlyLadyPlus which is much more user friendly with daily and weekly routines and a timer, to stop people taking on too much and becoming overwhelmed.

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The Madama pendant light is designed by Cristina Celestino for quirky Italian brand Mogg. Inspired by stiff petticoats these pendant lamps include a steel shade coated with fringes, ribbons and decorations, from £270,

Mussenden by local artist Adrian Margey

Fringe Yellow Velvet Lamp, £120,

Make a statement with art, whether you buy original works or eye-catching prints which you can buy cheaply and frame yourself. Red apples wall art print, from £5,

Large pink mirror lamp, £39.99, Homesense at TK Maxx Lily side table with marble natural stone top, £199,

Perfectly pastel - the Veronese Collection from Designers Guild

Stylestobring homeforSS19


he new year is well underway, time to welcome the spring into our homes. If you’re thinking of refreshing some rooms or redecorating, there are a few key trends to suss out before you make any final decisions...


Eco conscious householders are more mindful than ever of the need to cut down on waste and likewise, retailers are looking at ways to incorporate recycled materials into their furniture, reusing paper, plastic, fibre and wood with amazing success. If you don’t go the recycled route, you can do your bit for the planet by choosing quality pieces in a classic, timeless style. They’re made to last and will see you through many years of changing trends.

If you aren’t big on the ‘70s, similar patterns along with details like fringing and pom poms fit with other schemes like the new more toned down version of Boho Chic, Eclectic and Mid Century Modern.


Over the last couple of years, we’ve been introducing the odd splash of mustard or brighter shades of yellow into our homes and it seems we’ve liked what we’ve seen as mustard, in particular, is ‘hot’ right now. It looks amazing with the other on trend blues and greens.


Mid Century Modern is big and has partly influenced the return to open plan living. It’s a hard style to peg down even for devotees of Mad Men. Take your inspiration from houses from the 1940s to the 1960s with plain, well made furniture. Perhaps rein in the post-war householder’s desire Oh Happy Days! clock to throw off the constraints SO SEVENTIES by Heidi Clawson, £30, of austerity with big stone The rebound against the fireplaces that often took up ’70s with their avocado the length of a wall and wood baths and migraine-inducing orange panelled ceilings. Their love of huge patterned carpets is now long forgotten windows endures and while the furniture and householders, tired of the neutral is understated, it’s accompanied by pop art minimalist look, are embracing their colour and space age shapes. inner hippy. This year expect to see more macrame, wicker and rattan furniture with PERFECT PINKS a modern twist, bold colours and patterns. Pink, whether blush pink or moving

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 19

Mouth blown and hand moulded glass sits atop a marble base in this statement table lamp in mustard, grey and blue by Lab, £129, Game Bird Lampshade mustard, £42, Floral cushions for SS19 from Designers Guild

Lorena Canals Washable Lobster Wall Hanging is made from eco-friendly cotton and machine washable, and comes in two colours and sizes - 140 x 200cm or 70 x 100cm, from £155,

Ash and leather Mid Century style armchair, £1,200,

MW by Matthew Williamson Pendant £95, Pineapple embroidery duvet set (double) £60, Throw £100, Tassel basket £30, Table light £85, Palm vase £25, Bowl candle £15, Cushions £30–£40, Rugs £50 each, Debenhams

Cinnabar camel cushion, £14, Dunelm

Phenix Flamingo Coral House Cushion, £40,

Midcentury Half Moon Etagere, H:109cm W: 80cm D: 23cm, £950, Arteriors Fergie sculptures, set of 3, feature slices of agate on a pedestal, £507,

Alisma nest of tables £200, Nora table light £45, Lustre iridescent vase £22, Pink and gold small box £12, Sakura duvet cover (double) £45, Pillowcases (pair) £20, Penelope pillowcases (set of two) £25, Penelope cushion £30, Penelope runner £70, Geo print medium box £30, Peonies in cube £35, Translucent tealights (set of two) £15 much as possible with organic materials like stone and wood, lots of plants and facilitate the daylight streaming into your home with sheer curtains.


Medical research has found that visiting an art gallery dramatically reduces people’s stress levels. If you have lots of beautiful pictures, let them shine. You’ll not only be on trend, but you and your family may feel better for it.


Lille organe slot top voile panel £16, woven throw, £30, elephant tealight holder, £8, Caprice side table, £79, large wooden clock, £35, Whitby sofa from £649, Caprice coffee table, £149, llama sculpture, £12, ceramic tribal platter, £22, beige desert skies rug from £385, Dunelm towards orange as in Pantone’s Living Coral or Crown paint’s Powdered Clay, is perfect for spring and summer and is so versatile you can work it in practically anywhere. Like mustard, it makes a wonderful contrast to blues and greens, whether you go strong or opt for ice cream colours.


Go natural and bring the outside in as

Florals have been enjoying a comeback in recent years and when better to introduce them to your home than for spring and summer.


Strong colours, whether dark or jewelled are bringing drama to our living spaces as the drift away from understated neutrals continues. Black, too, is in vogue, especially for a luxury bathroom look.


While some people are so smitten with one trend they are happy to surround themselves with it, for many others, pick and mix is best. And that’s bang on for 2019. Forget matchy-matchy furnishings and let your personality shine through. Avoid a room looking cluttered and cheap though – go for the best quality you can afford and buy as original as you can when it comes to anything from art to custom furniture.

Tallulah Cushion, £50,

Black Rattan Double Arm Chair, large, £299,

20 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019 SPONSORED


ome the Edit Spring Summer 2019 is a curated collection of all that is new at Harvey Norman this season. This collection is bursting with incredible designs that will spice up your home and elevate your space with a touch of sophistication. So whether you’re looking to completely overhaul your space or you simply want to create a small change, the journey to transforming your home begins here.


Let the journey

Belluci cushions from £12 each

Espinillo double duvet cover set, £65 Wick & Wish White lily candle, £10 Reef coral rug, £209 Linear double duvet cover set, £65

Magnolia velvet soft bolster, £35 Wick & Wish White scented candles, £10 each

Cotton seat pads, £15 each

Faux flowers and greenery from £5

The power of 4

Luxe velvet cushionsfrom £18

Emerald rug, £555

Blenheim mirror, £425


he collection is inspired by four emerging trends that reflect how home design is changing in Northern Ireland... From the deeply rich shades of Modern Indulgence that will elevate your space to the intrinsically calming Wonderland. Perhaps the glamorous Parker Palm will suit your style? Or, the animal-inspired Full Contrast, which will add a dash of boldness to your home. Available in all stores from early March.

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Rebel yellow

shines in spring colour therapy

Family Life | 21


Shortofplacestostorestuff?Adaptorimprovise with clever solutions, like our top 5...


The Preston, from Harvey Norman, looks like an attractive, modern coffee table with its pale wood effects contrasting with dark concrete colours. Slide the top across and you’ve a fun and functional table that provides an elegant solution to your living room storage needs,

Personalized, printed on-demand and eco-friendly vinyl wall mural and framed poster, from £29,


This storage cabinet with hideaway table and bench from Lifetime is a great storage cupboard with pull out seats and table and can work in a living room or child’s bedroom beneath a high sleeper bed. It’s handcrafted to order in Denmark from pine from a certified sustainable forest and is available in two finishes, £845,

Yellow combo


Yellow goes well with many colour combinations. It looks great in combination with all shades of green - from bright lime to noble emerald. It creates distinct contrasts with white and black, which will create a minimalist (predominance of white) or maximalist (predominance of black) composition. Mustard yellow also goes together with pastel pink and blue, and deep, heavy navy blue. Team it with grey for sophisticated elegance or with pink for subtle accents.

sychologists, marketing specialists and manufacturers are all aware of how colour influences your emotions. By exploring colour therapy it’s easier to make sure your decor isn’t just stylish and functional but also has a positive impact on our wellbeing. After all, our home is our safe haven. Most of us have a favorite colour and it is not necessarily the one that suits us. Most often, it is a colour that evokes pleasant associations and makes us feel good. Apart from refreshing memories and stimulating the subconscious, every colour (including white) has its own features, even if our brain does not associate it as a ‘favorite one’.


Forget tripping over piles of shoes in the hallway or kitchen with a stylish shoe cupboard like this one by Orren Ellis. It holds 24 pairs of shoes, £133.99,

The history of chromotherapy, as colour treatment is referred to by professionals, dates back to antiquity, when Egyptians discovered that the colour seen by a sick person has an impact on the treatment of ailments. Many years passed before scientists resumed research on the issue and wrote down the secrets of all the colours in scientific, non-esoteric publications. Thanks to the knowledge gathered over the years, today we know what shades to choose in order to achieve certain effects.

Colour properties

According to wall art firm Pixers: ✷White has a positive effect on our mood, reflects negative energy and stimulates the immune system ✷Black calms and spreads a mysterious aura ✷Green, just like vegetation, relaxes, gives hope and strengthens our empathy ✷Violet, a mystical color, is perfect for meditation and alleviates the symptoms of insomnia ✷Blue also alleviates insomnia, has a cooling effect and stimulates the metabolism

✷Red increases blood pressure and warms up the atmosphere, raising levels of passion and ambition ✷Pink reduces negative emotions and injects optimism. ✷Orange supports digestion and alleviates the symptoms of respiratory tract diseases, but primarily adds energy and mobilizes us to act. ✷Yellow evokes joy and optimism and relieves stress. It also stimulates the brain and increases memory capacity, so it’s perfect for the interior designed for work and study.


Keep hot styling products away from little fingers as well as your furniture with a handy item like this Style and Store Hairdryer and Tongs Storage Unit. Its silicone sleeves protect anything from heat damage and there are air holes to speed up cooling, £16.99,


Create extra shelving in the kitchen or bathroom with over the door storage racks like this one, £25.99,

22 | Family Life

Rooms to improve


t’s that time of year when thoughts turn to home improvements – switching out the old and worn out for the new and exciting. Ideally, any work you carry out will add to the value of your home. Go about it the right way and you may even enjoy the process, almost as much as the end result. For any major work, it’s vital to work out your budget before starting and allow for a little extra for that as well as the timeframe. Decorating and repairs are fine for a DIY project but unless you know you have the necessary skills, leave any major renovations or extensions to the professionals. Usually wear and tear means the time has come to replace the kitchen or bathroom, the most popular home improvements. Done properly, they add a substantial figure to the value of a home. The other driver in most projects is the lack of space – growing families mean you may need extra bedrooms.

Look up

One of the most cost effective ways to gain an extra bedroom or bathroom is to convert the roofspace. It’s about 50% cheaper than building an extension and while you don’t need planning permission, you do need to notify Building Control. There are a number of factors that dictate whether you can complete an attic

conversion. The standard ceiling height is 2.4m but for a roofspace conversion to work, the sloping ceilings need to take up less than half the floor area. You may also need to strengthen the floor to comply with Building Control. The other issue to be considered is accessing the roofspace which needs to be possible from the landing and not from another room.

Add light

Perhaps you simply want to gain more space off the kitchen for dining relaxing, socialising, working or studying. A sun room or conservatory can be a costeffective option – go for a solid roof and thermal blinds for an even year round temperature. The extra light flooding into the house gives the impression of

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

adding lots of space, even if it isn’t that large. Emphasise the indoor to outdoor connection with large windows and doors opening fully onto the garden or patio.

New kitchen

If you want a new kitchen it’s worth spending as much as you can afford as you want one that’s built to last. It can take anything from two days to a week to replace a kitchen and it’s well worth using a reputable firm that will look after the entire design and fitting process. Don’t assume that you’ll have to pay a fortune – many of the more established companies offer excellent discount or free extras. If you are happy with the shape and flow of your existing kitchen, it’s quite easy to give it a facelift with new cupboard doors and counters from a company like Dream Doors, or by painting the existing doors.


If the lack of space means a one or two storey extension is required, hire a reputable contractor and preferably an architect so you don’t end up with that ‘tacked on’ appearance. The rules around extending to the front or side of a house are much more stringent than the rear. An architect can come up with solutions you might never have thought of and save you money in the long run. Before you proceed with a contractor,

it’s wise to get written quotes from two reputable firms rather than estimates which can turn out to be wildly off target. The quotes will list the work to be done along with a breakdown of costs and should make clear whether VAT is included.

Be prepared

No matter what size of job you are having done to your house, make sure the quote is based on the completed job and not a daily rate as a disreputable tradesperson might spot an opportunity to drag the work out. Also, prepare yourself for major upheaval and make arrangements to stay elsewhere if possible while the work is going on. Make sure you have valuable furniture stored well out of the way of the copious amount of dust building work generates. It can seem like a major operation but if the end result is transforming your ordinary house into the home you’ve dreamed of, it will all be worth it in the end.

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph


Family Life | 23

ExquisiteTiles– excellentquality, extraordinaryvalue!


ith over 20 years of experience in the tiling industry we bring the latest design trends to life and straight to your door. We offer an extensive range of the highest quality Italian and Spanish

porcelain wall and floor tiles to suit all purposes and locations, tastes and budgets for bathrooms and kitchens, domestic and commercial premises. Our elegant and luxurious tile collections have been hand-picked by our

team of professional designers for the ultimate in quality and aesthetic appeal. We can supply and fit the finest porcelain tiles that influence the latest product trends. With our long and close relationships with the most innovative and creative Italian and Spanish manufacturers, we are able to source the highest quality porcelain tiles at a wide variety of price ranges. Our company ethos has been built on fair pricing, efficient operation and keeping costs low. As we don’t have a glitzy showroom with high overhead costs we can offer outstanding value for our clients throughout our product portfolio. We know everyone has busy lives and we want to make it easier for you to create

that unique space or special project in your home. At Exquisite Tiles we are proud to offer tiles direct to you through our online store allowing you to select the finest wall and floor coverings from the comfort of your own home. Make an appointment and we’ll bring your chosen tile sample direct to you. We also have a professional team of tilers that can install your tile to our exacting standards. Please take a moment to browse through our site, our range extends from the very popular wood effect, to the concrete industrial feel or the classic polished porcelain… we hope it will inspire you to choose your own exquisite tile.

24 | Family Life


thisspringinbeautifulcolour BY DAVINA GORDON

Stila’s Lingerie Souffle Skin Perfecting Colour is an opulently whipped, lightshiny new season is upon us and weight, delicately tinted skin perfector. It’s that means we have an excuse also infused with botanicals and over 70% to shake up our water and coconut water for skin make-up bag, that looks and feels smooth, huzzah! SS19 comfortable and hydrated. make-up is bright and It’s the perfect alternative beautiful with a touch of to a heavy foundation. sparkle. So, don’t ditch Use a liquid your Christmas concealer for glitter stash as it’s under-eye circles all about glitteror to hide any winged eyes. As blemishes and then always, we’ve done use an iridescent the hard work for you highlighter on the and bring you the mustapples of your cheeks have essentials to stock for a youthful glow. For up on. pretty rosy cheeks, we It always begins with love MAC Powder Blush in beautiful, healthy skin that Frankly Scarlet ( just love the Lingerie Souffle Skin looks like you’ve just had name too!). Perfecting Colour in a facial. It’s no surprise that Make sure your peepers Shade 1.0, £30, Stila luminous, glowing-fromare the star of the show within skin is very much on and invest in a musttrend and even if you’re sporting a pasty have eyeshadow palette. We love the winter pallor, you can still cheat your way magnificent offerings from Bobbi Brown to gorgeous, dewy skin. Blush-toned make- and Too Faced. Eyes can be vibrant and up is the go-to for SS19 and it’s a good idea intense or subtle and sexy, whichever to use a primer so your foundation slides is your thing. Earthy metallics exude on effortlessly. effortless sophistication while a flash of


Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019 Studio Fix 24 Hour Smooth Wear Concealer, £18.50, MAC Sublime Skin Illuminator in Verve, £23.50, Mii Cosmetics blue or green shows personality. Not forgetting your brows, we really heart MAC’s Shape and Shade Brow Tint in Fling. Lashings of blacker than black mascara is always the order of the day and you can’t go wrong with either Too Faced or MAC for dramatic, luscious, flutter-ready lashes. Stand out even more with a slick of silver glitter in the crease of your eyes with MAC’s 3D Glitter in Silver. Sharpie-esque graphic eyeliner is a must and wear it winged or floating if you’re brave enough. Finish your look with a fabulous lipstick or gloss. Matte red and coral lipgloss are excellent choices and will warm up your complexion. There is also a trend for twotone pink and red lipstick if you want to make a statement. Use a colour matching lip liner for the perfect pout. Keep your tresses bang on trend with surfer girl hair and Victoriana-style braids. Messy buns and pink hair are also hot for SS19. So, what are you waiting for? Spring into spring with our white-hot make-up buys.

Multi-Use Diamond Fire Highlighter, £28, Too Faced

Nudissimo Stick Lipstick, £16, Diego dalla Palma

In the Buff Powder Spray, £24, Stila Shade Mystere Liquid Eye Shadow in Psychic, £24, Stila

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 25

Shape and Shade Brow Tint in Fling, £19.50, MAC

Pretty Rich Diamond Light Eyeshadow Palette, £39, Too Faced

Better than Sex Diamond Edition, £19, Too Faced

Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Give Me Sun, £25.50, MAC

Haute Nudes Palette, £39.50, Bobbi Brown

Magnetic Nude Glimmers, £20, Nudestix

Powder Kiss Lipstick in Mandarin, £17.50, MAC

Eye Palette in Floral Shoppe, £19, Paul & Joe

Melody Lip Gloss in Become a Butterfly, £11, ZOEVA

Haute & Naughty Lash in Black, £20, MAC

Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner, £20, Marc Jacobs

3D Glitter in Silver, £16.50, MAC

Powder Blush in Frankly Scarlet, £19.50, MAC

26 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Refresh your style this season

Orange Polka Dot Jumpsuit, £42, Miss Selfridge

Polka Dot Cropped Trouser, £35, Lipsy Navy polka dot wrap top £30, Oasis


Polka dots are here to stay. Whether they’re on a class black and white print to give you that monochromatic glam or something with a spot of colour, this ever popular trend is going nowhere any time soon! Khaki Shirt Dress £46, Lipsy


Winter is on its way out and now is the perfect time to give your wardrobe a well deserved spring clean. Straight off the catwalk and into your arms - it’s time to clear some space and treat yourself to those essential items to enhance your Spring 2019 looks.

Green Polka Dot midi dress, £45, Very

Button Utility Skirt, £14,George at Asda


Utility style is in – big belts, patch pockets and everything in between has been very prevalent on the catwalks. It’s all about dusky hues and earth tones, proving that neutral is far from boring. Camo Utility Trousers £39, Miss Selfridge

Utility Playsuit, £38, Very


Double Breasted Relaxed Suit Jacket, £60, Next

Lipsy Utility Jumpsuit, £50, Lipsy

SS19 Wallis White Short Suit Blazer, £42, Wallis

Every wardrobe needs the perfect tailored suit and what better way to make a statement this season than with a fun, bold colour. Why not mix up the classic trouser and jacket combo with a matching skirt or pair of shorts – sure to make you a standout among the crowd.

SS19 Rose Gold Satin Blazer £45, Dorothy Perkins

SS19 Rose Satin Shorts, £28, Dorothy Perkins

Alejandra Co-Ord Suit, £125, Monsoon

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 27


Neon Tiger Print Satin Slip Skirt, £38, Miss Selfridge

Neon is on. Your favorite ‘80s trend is coming back in full force and proving itself to be a 2019 staple thanks to the likes of celebs such as the Kardashians. Whether you are head to toe bright colours or making an accessorizing statement, neon is a must–have for this upcoming season.

Snake Skirt, £13, Primark

Neon Green Shoulder Bag, £12.99, New Look

Deep Pink Suedette Square Toe Two Part Sandals, £19.99, New Look

Neon Mix-Metal Dropspink earrings, £3, Primark Yellow tea dress, £26, Next

IT’S SHOE TIME! Step out in style with fun and funky footwear this spring and summer Yellow Chelsea Boot, £32, Dorothy Perkins

Yellow Tab Wide Leg Crop Jeans, £38, Miss Selfridge


Petite Yellow Crepe Trousers, £25, Dorothy Perkins

Yellow Zebra Satin Cowl Neck Midi Dress, £24.99, New Look

What better way to welcome the sun back into our lives than dressing for the occasion. Bring some light into your Spring looks - butter, lemon, marigolds and all hues in between will definitely uplift you from your winter blues.


Skinny jeans are slowly becoming a thing of the past. With the mom jean and straight leg trend pushing it off its top spot, the newest member of the denim family to re-emerge is the wide leg trouser. This flattering cut is perfect for those who have never been a fan of tight jeans and are wanting something with more space to move in.

Yellow Snake Clutch, £8, Primark Wide Leg Cropped Jeans, £25.99, New Look

Ted Baker Jacquard Trainer, £39, Debenhams

Guiltt loafer, £75, Dune London

Black Double Buckle Strappy Sandal, £22.99, Deichmann

Eco Denim Wide Leg Jeans, £42, Miss Selfridge

Wide Leg Cropped Jeans, £32, Very

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

28 | Family Life

Maeve Richardson chats to senior hair stylist Cliona Geary and gets the inside track on how to maintain your mane



’m always on the lookout for products that live up to the hype. I have combination skin which can be tricky to keep looking its best, and after a harsh winter my skin is in need of a little extra TLC. Here are some of my top picks to keep your skin in tip-top condition.

Optim-Eyes Lotion, £26, Filorga

THE HYPE: A pioneering tri-phase hybrid make-up removing lotion infused with skincare properties to leave the eye contour looking brighter, fresher and visibly younger. Removes all traces of make-up including waterproof formulas. Harnessing the anti-ageing benefits of a serum, it also boosts eyelash growth for fuller-looking lashes. THE VERDICT: This removed every scrap of waterproof mascara and felt lovely and gentle on the delicate eye area. It’s too early to tell if it really does boost lash growth but my lashes definitely felt soft and moisturised after use. Top marks.

Bye Bye Make-up Melting Balm, £30, IT Cosmetics

THE HYPE: A revolutionary fast-acting cleanser, make-up remover and anti-aging serum all in one step. Developed with plastic surgeons, this sulfate-free formula is infused with deep-cleansing extracts and botanicals to remove makeup and impurities without drying or irritation. Perfect for all skin types, even the most sensitive. THE VERDICT: Incredibly gentle and virtually scent-free, this effortlessly removed all traces of make-up and my skin felt hydrated and clean afterwards. I find some balms too oily but this was lightweight and left no residue. My only complaint is unnecessary packaging and the tub is deceptively large in comparison to the amount of cleanser it contains, still a decent price for a fabulous product.

CBD Active Hydrophilic Make-up Remover, £38, mgc derma

THE HYPE: A multi-tasking product, that removes all traces of makeup, including mascara and smudge proof lipstick, and helps revive the skin, protecting from clogged pores and breakouts, with its unique formulation of high purity Cannabidoil, which is beautifully gentle on the skin. THE VERDICT: The texture was unexpectedly slimy due to the aloe vera but it was really gentle on my skin. It did remove all my make-up including waterproof mascara but it took quite a while to do so and I felt the urge to double cleanse. My skin felt smooth and silky after use but personally, I would save this cleanser to use morning and evenings on my make-up free days or use in conjunction with an eye make-up remover.

firmness and help smoothe deep wrinkles. THE VERDICT: I am obsessed with this cleanser. It smells divine and effortlessly melts my make-up away. The dual-action cloth is amazing too and has a mildly abrasive muslin side for controlled exfoliation, and a smoother side for polishing. The mask is rich and luxurious and you can use it as an overnight skin treatment if you are going through a dry patch.

Essential C Day Moisture SPF30, £60, Murad

THE HYPE: Murad’s Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 protects and strengthens skin against environmental ageing by blocking UVA/UVB rays, while conditioning skin for optimal hydration. It shields and restores environmentally stressed skin, prevents sun damage and improves skin’s appearance and elasticity. THE VERDICT: A brilliant everyday moisturiser that conditions and hydrates my skin. It also has a lovely soft citrus scent, which is great for the morning, and I love that it contains SPF which protects my skin without feeling too heavy.

Genius Sleeping Collagen, £88, Algenist

Moringa Essentials Kit, £49, Emma Hardie

THE HYPE: This kit is worth £78 and includes Emma Hardie Skincare’s cult Moringa Cleansing Balm with cloth and the Moringa Renewal Treatment Mask, which Ms Hardie herself describes as ‘an instant skin drench for stressed, tired skin’. The balm promises to thoroughly cleanse deep in the pores, moisturise and calm all skin types. The face mask is designed to improve skin moisture, radiance,

THE HYPE: A cutting-edge overnight treatment that combines a high concentration of active vegan collagen with Algenist’s patented Alguronic Acid to lock in moisture for softer, more cushioned, supple and radiant skin in the morning. THE VERDICT: This absorbs surprisingly quickly despite its rich texture and helped smoothe my fine lines, leaving my skin soft and supple. A small amount goes a long way so there’s no excuse to skip treating your neck and décolleté too.

Cliona: “Your stylist wants you to leave the salon looking and more importantly, feeling fabulous. We are here to make things easier for you and help you find a hair care routine that will work with your lifestyle. Whether you wash your hair every day or just once a week, we recommend the right products for you, and a style that you can maintain yourself in between appointments.” Choosing the right hair stylist can be as tricky as finding a dream date, any tips on how to find ‘the one’? “Ask a co-worker, friend or random person on the street with hair that looks similar to yours and that you admire where they get their hair done. “Don’t be afraid to ring and ask for a consultation before you commit to a full appointment. All good hairdressers will offer a free consultation. “Arrive prepared: ask your last stylist for a colour record, decide if you are you maintaining what you currently have or going for something totally new. Feel free to bring a picture of your own hair freshly done or an image of what you’re hoping to achieve in the future.” How to communicate well with your stylist “Even if you don’t know what you want, don’t be afraid to tell your stylist what you don’t want – we are here to advise, but at the end of the day it is about what the client wants and not what the stylist thinks is best. “Don’t be afraid to question terms you don’t understand – most of us love the chance to show off our knowledge and explain terms like balayage, blunt cut, baby lights, free-hand cutting. Plus, these meanings can differ from salon to salon and stylist to stylist so it’s always good to make sure you’re on the same page. “We love when clients have pictures because one person’s idea of blonde or short can be very different from another.” Should you tell them if you’re unhappy? “Like any other relationship, you need to be honest, voice your doubts or concerns before making a decision about your cut/ colour, and please tell us if you’re not happy with the end result. We will always do what we can to rectify the situation, and will often add notes for future appointments to avoid recurrence of said problem. “It’s not uncommon to have a new client arrive looking to have us ‘fix’ a colour/cut that they had done elsewhere. Personally, I would always prefer the opportunity to make my clients happy, even if it takes a second visit.” Pricing in hair salons can be confusing, how does it all work? “Prices are based on time, experience and quantity of product used. Don’t be afraid to question a price before the service, or ask for a breakdown afterwards so you know for future appointments. If something is out of your price range

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Toptipsfor fabuloushair

ask about alternatives. Often the first appointment can have a higher cost because you’re laying the groundwork for the future. “More experienced stylists will charge a higher rate, however, if you have a straightforward long hair that only requires a basic trim, you are better off going to a junior stylist to get a cheaper rate. They are still fully qualified and will do the job well. If you want a complete restyle, it can be worth paying for someone with more experience.” What are the biggest Dos and Don’ts when it comes to hair care? “I know it sounds really basic, but first and foremost wash the hair properly. If you don’t do this, even the best products and styling is a waste of time.”

“Brush long hair before you wash it. Always thoroughly wet down hair before you wash, as this dilutes shampoo and spreads it further, which means you have less waste. It opens the hair cuticle and allows the shampoo to do its job. “You should use warm water (body temperature), cold water won’t cleanse properly, and if the water’s too hot it damages the hair and scalp, and increases sebum production. “Unless you wash your hair every day, shampoo twice. Hair needs to be thoroughly rinsed removing all traces of shampoo before applying conditioner. Conditioner is essential no matter what hair type as it closes down the hair cuticle to help protect the hair. “Be careful when brushing wet hair, that’s when it’s most vulnerable. Pat dry, do not towel dry. “Heat protectors are a worthy investment if you use hair dryers,

straighteners or curling tongs. Some styling products will have in-built heat protector but not all so read the description. “Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t apologise for what you do/don’t do for your hair. Whether your lifestyle means you throw your hair into a messy bun or straighten it every single day, your stylist is not there to judge!” Galway based Cliona Geary has 20 years’ experience with award-winning salon,Yourells

Treats for tresses

Speechless Dry Oil, £25, IGK This dry oil spray weightlessly softens hair and helps reduce frizz while enhancing color dimension and shine. An antioxidant-rich blend of oils, including avocado and amla oils, nourish and protect the hair. Can also be used on the body. All IGK products are vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without gluten, parabens or sulfates.

ReNu Hair Mask, £26, Nu Skin This deep conditioning treatment provides critical hydration by penetrating the hair shaft and tripling the strength of damaged hair. Featuring CS7, an innovative cuticle smoothing agent that acts as cuticle glue to seal and strengthen each cuticle.

Nutriol Shampoo, 125ml, £36, Nu Skin To help ensure a lifetime of healthy looking hair, Nutriol Shampoo enhances the vitality of your hair and scalp with patented technology. Formulated to remineralise the scalp and hydrate the hair, Nutriol helps you hair look and feel abundant.

30 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Go forth and

discover.... Lough Erne flows past Enniskillen Castle


ith a mild climate, stunning scenery, fantastic food and amazing attractions, a spring break not too far from home will appeal to all ages and tastes. Plan a weekend in the city, take the kids away on an adventure or take the road to the middle of nowhere for a complete escape. Here are some ideas to help you on your way...


The ideal location for a mid–term break


he five-star Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort is nestled in 360 acres of countryside between the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, yet only 30 minutes from Dublin. There will be plenty of fun activities to entertain the children including face painting, puppet show, playground and indoor playroom, ‘Druids Den’ and a 6km walking trail with a fairy forest. The supervised Kids High Tea Club means busy parents can have some downtime if they choose. The mid-term break programme runs from February 20 – 23 inclusive, supplement applies. Bed and breakfast, from £175, including full use of the Health & Fitness Club, wifi access throughout the hotel and free car parking.


For more information on Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort visit or call 00353 1287 0877.

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 31

Dublin’s Liffey viewed from Liberty Hall and (below) pretty Carrick-on-Shannon

Get the drift

For a totally relaxing fun break, head for the heart of the country and the ErneShannon waterway which extends from Fermanagh to Limerick. Hire a cruiser and stop off at Enniskillen, Carrick-onShannon or Athlone for supplies or a slap up dinner.

Never done with Donegal

Dramatic landscapes, crazy Atlantic breakers and a laidback vibe continue to set Donegal apart. Explore the Slieve League cliffs or Glenveagh National Park, dip a toe at one of the county’s 12 Blue Flag beaches, or learn to jive or set dance on a night out. At this time of year, you might even get to see the Aurora Borealis over Inishowen.

Dub steps

With its sophisticated docklands, swish shopping streets, trendy Temple Bar and wonderful attractions such as Croke Park with its skywalk, Dublin can’t really be done in a day. If you haven’t been for a while, prepare to be impressed! With its canals and waterways, there’s plenty to do on the water, including cable wakeboarding, and as for restaurants and nightlife, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you don’t fancy staying in the heart of the city, there’s a range of pretty suburban towns villages to set up base in, from Sandymount to Killiney, Bray or Dun Laoghaire, each with their own beautiful coastal scenery, great facilities and ease of access to the city centre.


For days out, Co Meath is not to be missed, especially for history buffs. Stop off at the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre in picturesque Oldbridge then make for Newgrange passage tomb with its engraved stones, thought to predate the Pyramids at Giza. And for something completely different, pop across to Tayto Park for rollercoasters and raptors!

Portstewart Strand, photo © NITB

Go for Galway

The great and ancient city is full of character, thanks in part to its bohemian vibe and the popular family resort of Salthill is a stroll along the promenade. The wider county is well worth exploring with its spectacular mountain ranges, fine beaches and stunning scenery, not least the amazing rocky landscapes of the Connemara Gaeltacht.

Wild Atlantic

The west coast has so much going for it, people tend to go back time and again. Sligo and Mayo both boast incredible natural beauty with an ever changing coastline, majestic mountains and wonderful hospitality. Stay in Sligo town for great food, music and shops or perhaps Westport, another thriving, lively coastal town.

Bring me sunshine

The sunny south-east has more than its mild climate going for it. Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford are packed with historic sites, including Dunbrody Famine Ship where costumed characters tell the story of emigration, while the coastline is lined with gorgeous, clean beaches.

Look north

Have quality family time on the Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens. ‘Do’ the Old Bushmills Distillery and the Giant’s Causeway, step about Dunluce Castle’s ruins, dare to walk Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge or the even more terrifying Gobbins, or take the ferry to Rathlin Island to see the puffin colony or simply spend the days at the superb beaches at Portrush, Portstewart and beyond... See what’s happening at Seamus Heaney Homeplace, visit Roe Valley Country Park, near Limavady, or simply bask in the outstanding natural beauty from the Glens to Binevenagh Mountain with its lake and cliffs with views as far as Donegal and Scotland.

32 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

19of thebest festivals for‘19 1

St Patrick’s Day

Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

The Republic of Ireland loves festivals, whether big, cosy, quirky, arty, sporty or foodie. There’s something for everyone with everything from Star Wars and trad music to opera, poetry and arts festivals, country escapes and city takeovers.

St Patrick’s Festival, Dublin, March 14 - 18 As well as the traditional Dublin City parade on March 17, there will be a number of other events taking place in honour of St Patrick’s Day. The 5-day festival will offer visitors and locals a broad range of events including storytelling performances and Greening the City which sees buildings, venues and spaces across the city illuminated green. This year parades will also be taking place in Swords and Skerries for the first time. Full details of all events at


Cork Choral Festival, May 1 – 5 Cork Choral Festival, which started in 1954, brings choirs from across the world for a programme of gala concerts, national and international competitions and world-class performances, as thousands of participants bring the city to life for a celebration of choral music in all its many forms. One of Europe’s premier international choral festivals, Cork is noted for its high standards, eclectic and wide-ranging programme, and the friendliness of its welcome.


May the 4th Festival, Kerry, May 4 – 5 May the fourth be with you! The Star Wars festival returns to Kerry with events for all ages across the villages of Ballyferriter, Portmagee, Ballinskelligs and Valentia Island. It features drive-in movie screenings, guided film location walks, a fancy dress céilí and more, all within sight of Skellig Michael where Luke Skywalker followed in the footsteps of ancient Irish monks by living in rugged isolation. www.



Earagail Arts Festival, Donegal, July 10 – 28 This annual Irish and English multidisciplinary summer festival showcases inspiring performers and native artists providing opportunities for cultural exchange, in purpose-built theatres, galleries, village halls, forests and beaches across Donegal, creating a unique cultural experience in the May the 4th most unlikely of magical places. Festival

Listowel Writers’ Week, Kerry, May 29 - June 2 Bringing creative writers, artists and poets to this stunning Kerry heritage town since 1970, this is a festival for everyone. Expect unique experiences, including book launches, author readings, walking tours and poets’ corners.


Castle, the festival sees music artists, immersive theatre, art installations, gastronomic experiences, and indulgent wellbeing areas come together to provide a weekend of sensory exploration. Tickets and details from

Body&Soul, Westmeath, June 21 – 23 Set in the stunning grounds of Ballinlough


Kilkenny Arts Festival, August 9 – 18 Some of the world’s finest musicians, performers, writers and artists gather in Ireland’s historic city for 10 days, with churches, castle, courtyards, townhouses and gardens hosting unique collaborations and intimate encounters between audiences and artists. www.

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 33

in exhibitions, talks, performances, workshops and experiences that celebrate the creativity and craft of the visual image. The festival is hosted by twice-Academy Award nominated animation studio, Cartoon Saloon and is set against and inspired by the backdrop of Kilkenny’s medieval streets.

Listowel Writers’ Week


Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Drogheda, August 11 – 18 The Fleadh Cheoil has become one of Ireland’s most popular events and is the world’s largest annual celebration of Irish music, language, song and dance. This year’s festival will feature workshops, competitions, concerts, céili’s, and much more.


A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, September 6 – 15 Featuring over 250 events taking place in 41 towns and villages and eight islands, A Taste of West Cork is one of Ireland’s longest running food festivals.


Dublin Theatre Festival, September 26 – October 13 Europe’s longest running theatre festival takes place over three weeks each autumn bringing world-class theatre to Dublin and showcasing the best of Irish theatre to the world. The programme offers unique experiences to suit everyone’s theatrical tastes.


Kilkenny Animated, September 27 - 29 Cartoons, animation and illustration feature

Kilkenny Arts Festival


Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, September 27 – 29 Each year Galway celebrates the world’s longest-running oyster festival, with tantalising events from foodie talks and tasting events to The Oyster ‘Olympics’ and World Oyster Opening Championship. One of the most popular experiences is The Bay Coast Seafood Trail from Erris, Co. Mayo, to Connemara and on to Galway Bay, passing some of Ireland’s most breath-taking seascapes and landmarks. Over the three days, enjoy a range of family activities, an electrifying line up of top class artists and the annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball.


Global Irish Festival Series, Limerick, October This year the Global Irish Festival Series will see two key events bringing together the people of Ireland and the Irish diaspora to celebrate film, art, literature and more. The Richard Harris International Film Festival (October 22 – 28) takes place in the home of Ireland’s first leading man, Richard Harris, Limerick. The festival offers a platform where Irish and international film-makers can collaborate and share their work. I.NY (October 3 – 13) celebrates the shared history and ever-changing cultural exchange of Ireland and New York. This experiential, multi-disciplinary festival will bring music, literature, film, exhibitions, presentations, discussions, and street-art

tramsported back 2,000 years with a night time torch-lit procession through ancient roads, a fringe programme of events in surrounding heritage towns and villages of counties Meath and Louth, and a harvest food experience showcasing the best of local Boyne Valley producers. www.

17 to several venues across Limerick City. www.


Wexford Festival Opera, October 22 – November 3 Opera live from Wexford will run for 13 consecutive days and include 12 main evening opera performances and an exclusive performance of The Veiled Prophet by the Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford, featuring international pianist Una Hunt.


Bram Stoker Festival, Dublin, October 25 – 28 Experience four days of deadly adventures at this festival inspired by Dublin horror novelist and author Bram Stoker. Fiendishly fun events include theatre, street animation, film, and literary events. The full programme will be revealed in September,


Samhain – Halloween, Meath & Louth, October Bank Holiday Weekend Ireland’s newest festival celebrates the original home of Halloween, which began as the ancient tradition of Samhain in the world heritage setting of County Meath in Ireland’s Ancient East. Be

Mayo Dark Sky Festival, November 1 – 3 Mayo Dark Sky Festival will take place around Newport, Mulranny and Ballycroy and offers stargazing hikes, moonlit walks, and environmental events with guest speakers. www.


The Jonathan Swift Festival, Dublin, November 21 - 24 Exploring the life and legacy of the creator of Gulliver’s Travels, the festival provides a cornucopia of international food and craft stalls, circus workshops, live music, music, exhibitions and talks.


NYF 2019, Dublin, December 31 Gather in the heart of Dublin with family and friends, as the city becomes the centre of New Year festivities. In 2018 highlights included Gavin James in concert and the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment with live DJs and percussionists performing on the water. For updates closer to the time check For more information on festivals around the country in 2019 and to help plan your itineraries visit: www.irelandshiddenheartlands.

34 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Lake Wakatipu gives Queenstown the wow facor



The Face of Peace flanks an unusual war memorial at Caroline Bay, Timaru




he coloured lights in the pool shimmered through the warm water as we lay on our floating hammocks, gazing up at the unfamiliar night sky. A soft Canadian voice told stories of Maori folklore and directed our focus to the stars overhead – the Southern Cross, Sirius, the Milky Way, Orion’s Belt. The hammocks swayed with the water, lulling the senses as we floated among strangers from all over the world, awed at the scale of the universe and our tiny part in it. It was 2am by the time we were leaving

Timaru shops

the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island and the chilly night air was still, with only the occasional chirrup of cicadas disturbing the silence. In winter, we might have seen the Southern Lights dancing and reflecting on an icy Lake Tekapo and snow covered peaks beyond as this is one of the best spots for catching that colourful spectacle. However, it was January and the height of summer and the hillside pool, when we returned the following day, was revealed as one of many, all at different temperatures where you could cool off or stay warm and simply relax and drink in the turquoise lake and forested peaks stretching out into the distance. Star-gazing in Lake Tekapo’s hotpools was one highlight among many on this unexpected trip – a surprise gift from my husband’s sister who moved to New Zealand with her family 15 years ago. Jim was only 13 when Lyn left home to begin her nursing career, moving to Scotland where she married James Coyle before emigrating. The siblings had only seen each other a handful of times over the years, but as often happens, as soon as they were reunited at Christchurch Airport, it was as if they’d never been separated. We weren’t as exhausted from the flights as anticipated, although they included a nine hour flight from Dublin to Dubai and worse – a 19 hour stretch from Dubai to Christchurch with a short reprieve at Sydney. Any stress was eased by the con-

Grace Rutherford feeding the wallabies stant diet of movies and the decent meals from Emirates. Crossing different time zones was mind-blowing, especially on our return home, as we left New Zealand at 7pm on Saturday and arrived in Dublin at 11am on Sunday. In that overnight stretch,

we were airborne for 26 hours and like hobbits, had had two dinners, a supper, two breakfasts and two lunches.


The two hour drive from Christchurch to

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 35 The Crown Range Road

The Cardrona Hotel is a famous landmark

Lyn and husband James’ home in Timaru, on the east coast, was spent taking in first impressions and following a crash course on Kiwi life in James’ Scottish brogue. Glaciers have carved out vast, flat plains between towering mountain ranges and while the grass was green, that’s thanks to human intervention. Plants and trees were similar to home but lupins grow wild

creating huge blocks and ribbons of colour. You are as likely to see fields of deer as sheep and cattle and the roadkill tends to be possums. Tall hedges defend the fields against erosion from the strong winds that bring a drop or rise of 10 degrees in the temperature, depending on whether they’re southerlies from the Arctic, or balmy northerlies. On one occasion, we

were enjoying a hot sunny morning when a southerly got up and by tea-time the temperature had plummeted and storm winds and rain beat down on the corrugated roof common to houses there. However, most other days saw end to end sunshine and temperatures up to 35C with any rain falling at night. Continued on 36 

36 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Christchurch is rebuilding and the result is a blend of old and modern Timaru, like many other New Zealand towns, resonates with Maori, British and American influences. Wide streets are flanked by American western style timber-clad shops with awnings offering shelter from the sun and rain. Kerb appeal is low on the list of des-res features as most houses are built side on to the road with the emphasis on the rear and garden where most of the time is spent. In our case that included an outdoor jacuzzi used as a cooling spa in summer and a hot tub for star-gazing in winter. Our first couple of days were spent around Timaru and its gorgeous Pacific Ocean beaches. At the sandy Caroline Bay, we swam among shoals of tiny fish and returned to see Timaru’s famous little blue penguins when they emerged from the waves and waddled up the beach to feed their chattering young at night. It was a completely different story at the stony, surfers’ paradise of South Beach where dolphins are often seen. Our 13 year old daughter loved the ‘Two dollar stores’, while my favourite place was the vast Centennial Park where I usually got lost, being mesmerised by the enormous eucalyptus trees with their shredded bark, water lily ponds and fan-tailed birds making the feathery heads of pampas grass dance and sway. On a day out at Waimate, the wonderfully eccentric ‘Wallaby Lady’ Gwen taught us how to feed the dozens of rescued wallabies she’s given a home to without getting punched. Like a military commander she had us squatting in front of them, speaking only English (no Skippy the bush Kangaroo noises!) and scratching their backs once they’d finished batting their long lashes at us and nibbling grain from our hands. Nearby was the home of another popular Kiwi eccentric, Dot Smith, whose husband and sons fulfilled her wish to live in a

Reunited: and Jim

Colourful hoarding surrounds Christchurch Cathedral which remains as it was after the earthquake of 2011 fairytale castle. While you can only view Riverstone Castle across the moat, you’re likely to meet Dot in the grounds which are intriguing for their completely nutty shops, highly rated restaurant and fabulous gardens where the healthiest looking vegetables I’ve ever seen are grown for the menu, alongside shrubs and flowers.


A road trip was planned for the weekend and took us into the heart of the spectacular Alpine scenery around Mount Cook where Lord of the Rings was filmed. It was easy to imagine legions of Orcs swarming over these expansive plains. Arriving at night in unspoilt Lake Hawea, Wanaka, we sat on the balcony of our hotel room

Riverstone Castle is protected by a moat. The grounds are home to a fine dining restaurant, beautiful gardens and some bizarre shops (inset)

watching the moon’s reflection on the water and awoke to the most beautiful scene with the lake ringed by forests and mountains. Food servings are enormous in New Zealand and after working through a mountain of syrupy pancakes piled high with fruit, we set off for Queenstown, the ‘adventure capital of the world’. En route we stopped at a well known local landmark, the Cardrona Hotel, famed for its quaint, gold-rush era frontage and lively gardens, and drove through Arrowtown, a preserved mining town – think American western rather than Welsh valleys. The drive saw us climbing the Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s most famous mountain roads where every turn brings an even more breath-taking panorama.

The hairpin bends on the descent aren’t for the faint-hearted and Lyn told us the last time they drove it, in November, the snow was still there from the ski season and the road was icy in parts. Each bend has a recommended speed limit – great for warning how bad it’s going to be – and the roads have plenty of stopping off points for taking photos as well as pulling in and letting traffic past. Lyn had high hopes for us getting to grips with the adrenaline-charged aspects of Queenstown but she was to be disappointed. We couldn’t be persuaded to go up the Gondola, the steepest cable car lift in the southern hemisphere which takes up 450 metres up to Bob’s Peak, where there’s a luge and kart racing. We were quite

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph Bungee jumping over Queenstown

Family Life | 37 Lake Hawea

The Little Blue Penguins are protected from the public as they waddle back to their nests to feed their young at Timaru at night. (Below) Tekapo Springs is one of the best places to view the Southern Lights in New Zealand

Reunited: Siblings Lyn Coyle Jim Rutherford

happy to admire the views of the Southern Alps and The Remarkables, the mountains surrounding Queenstown, from solid ground. Neither could she get us to have a go in the shark, a metal boat that soars 12 metres out of the water. Bungee jumping over a ravine? Happy to watch, thanks. The Haunted House experience was hair-raising enough for Jim, James and Grace and made for some hilarious photos. It was enough for us to stroll around this uber trendy town, built around Lake Wakatipu, taking in the sights, slurping frozen Coke and ice creams and enjoying the buzz. Our road trip ended with our star-gazing night at Lake Tekapo. Despite the fact the town has reportedly the cleanest air on the planet, that didn’t stop the Asian

Mountains rise beyond Caroline Bay, Timaru. Visit the beach at night to see the Little Blue Penguin

tourists wearing their masks as they walked around The Church of the Good Shepherd. At just over two square metres it’s the smallest church in New Zealand but punches way above its weight with its spectacular lakeside setting and panoramic window behind the altar. The remainder of the holiday was spent around Timaru, enjoying quality time with the family, meeting their friends, usually over a Pavlova which is practically the national dish, and having a day at Christchurch before heading home. The city is still recovering from the earthquake

of 2011, in which 185 people died. Here and there, shipping containers are stacked up against unstable facades and large gaps remain between buildings with almost 9,000 having been demolished. Christchurch Cathedral remains as it was the day the earthquake struck and is a sad sight with its steeple collapsed into the ground. However, the city is reinventing itself as it rebuilds and is emerging as a thoroughly modern metropolis with personality plus. Humour and art go hand in hand here and everywhere you look there’s something to see, whether that’s a full-sized Mini car al-

most at the top of a building or the cool C1 Espresso cafe, a former post office where metal barrels of curly fries are pneumatically delivered to your table through a network of outsized glass tubes and where a bookcase slides back to reveal the way to the bathrooms. We had our final lunch together there before making for the airport and teary farewells. Even while we were saying our goodbyes, however, there was a sense of fresh beginnings. While we might be a world apart, this family has never been closer.

38 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Bucket hats come in handy when a spring shower starts out of nowhere

spring Bucket hat, £35, Kangol

Bucket hat, £295, Moncler

Essentials for

Corby Trench Coat, £650, Aquascutum Railroad Work Jacket, £189, Albam

Cuban collars are everywhere this season – in stripes and any number of patterns

Stripe Cuban collar shirt, £25, River Island


t long last sunlight, birdsong and colours are reappearing after what felt like the long winter George R.R. Martin and the Starks have been warning us about in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Try these additions to your spring wardrobe, along with the staples you may already own – plain Oxford shirts, white tees, dark jeans, hoodies etc. Some cutting-edge trends are better left to the social media #influencers. Save yourself some cash and leave the neon trousers, face masks and endless pockets to Neo and the rest of the Matrix extras.

Trench Coat

Many fashion staples have a military heritage, and the trench coat is possibly the most stylish of the lot. Originally designed to keep officers clean in the trenches during World War I, this smart and practical coat has stood the test of time. Usually falling to just above knee length, these coats are designed to keep the rain and dirt away much like a winter coat would, whilst being lighter and more breathable to keep you comfortable as the warmer weather arrives. Though a trench coat is better suited to smart and smart-casual wear, it works well dressed down with jeans and a sweatshirt. Burberry and Aquascutum are the classic brands however high-street brands offer far more wallet-friendly versions, although that often comes with a trade-off in terms of technical performance.

Chore Coat Chore Jacket, £149, Universal Works

Authentic, £49, Vans

Trench coat, £1,550, Burberry

Workwear clothing has crept its way into everyday fashion in recent years, and the chore coat (or jacket) is arguably the best blend of style and rugged functionality you can get. Created for American labourers who needed clothes able to withstand a beating chore jackets were made from thick and durable materials while fitting oversized for comfort and freedom of movement. The four large patch pockets on the front also helped for carrying tools without lugging around a tool box, while the large collar could be flipped up to a little more protection from the elements.

Modern chore coats tend to come in slimmer fits and often have fewer pockets and smaller collars. A good chore coat will no doubt add some hardiness to your outwear this spring. Working best when dressed down, throw on with a pair of jeans and trainers for a relaxed look. Carhartt are the most synonymous brand with the chore coat, though other streetwear brands such as Levi’s and Dickies have a history with the sturdy jacket. And best of all, unless you go high-fashion, you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for quality.

Trench Coat, £75, River Island

Engineers Coat, £85, Levi’s

White Trainers

Every man should own at least one pair of white trainers. With relaxing dress codes in recent years, more and more A-listers have been donning their pearliest ‘gutties’ at red carpet events without looking a step out of place. Even taking a trip through many workplaces you will find that they have replaced oxfords and brogues as the go to shoe. And while white trainers now don’t look out of place in more formal settings, they still find a home paired with jeans on terraces and with trackies on walks with the dog. There isn’t a shortage of iconic trainers to choose from either. Adidas, Nike and Converse all have a history producing quality, durable and affordable white kicks. High fashion have had their say on the footwear staple in recent years, with Common Projects’ stunning minimalist shoe the pick of the bunch.

Cuban collar

The stylish cousin to the Hawaiian shirt, the Cuban collar shirt has made a comeback recently. To look more Elvis Presley rather than Ace Ventura though, make sure your shirt is fitted well throughout and steer clear of over-the-top patterns.

Leaf printed short sleeve shirt, £25, Burton

Festival short sleeve shirt, £30, Topman

Bucket hat

Though not to everyone’s taste, there’s no doubting that the Britpop classic bucket hat is the on trend headwear of choice this spring. They are aptly named too, as one will come in handy when a spring shower starts to bucket down out of nowhere.

Stan Smith, £75. Adidas

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 39 SPONSORED

Shamrocks & Shenanigans at the Kennedy Centre, Belfast


here’s family fun for everyone as Kennedy Centre celebrates its 9th Shamrock & Shenanigans on St Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, from 1 – 4pm. An afternoon of FREE entertainment is packed with traditional Irish dancing from our local Irish dance troops, plus traditional Irish music. There will be lots of fun and craic with face painting on the mall for the young and old with NeweBlue Media providing compere and a party atmosphere throughout the day. You can recharge, refuel and relax in our fabulous 200 seated Food Court on the first floor, with Burger King, Subway and Banjaxed Chicken, with something for everyone. There is also Greggs, Costa and Sainsbury’s Cafe on the ground floor. Why not wine and dine at 26 West Bar & Grill – they offer Traditional Irish breakfasts, pancake stacks USA style and the favourite American tradition of ‘free refills’ hits our streets, check out the great meal and movie deals available along with Omniplex 8 Screen Cinema

- with Candy King Pic’n’mix, assigned seating, automated ticket purchase and collection points, 3D performances, VIP seating in selected screens, with disabled seating locations in all screens. Enjoy fun, family playtime at Funky Monkeys indoor soft play centre. Come and explore our soft play area, our jungle kingdom, with its very own cafe and snack bar. The all new Family Entertainment Centre next to the Food Court provides fun and games for older kids - even the big kids! Centre Manager John Jones commented: “The Kennedy Centre’s St Patrick’s Day celebration ‘Shamrock & Shenanigans’ is probably our biggest event of the year, beside Christmas and Santa’s arrival. There’s a real sense of community about the whole day, young and old enjoying the craic, with local Irish dancers and traditional musicians providing the entertainment alongside our fabulous range of shops and services. Come along with the whole family and join in the Shenanigans!” The Kennedy Centre - for shopping & leisure, it’s always a pleasure.

40 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019



aster is late this year, on April 21, which means Pancake Tuesday falls late too, on March 5. The tradition behind Shrove Tuesday is that people would use up their stocks of fat, butter and eggs before the start of Lent, on Ash Wednesday. The 40 days of Lent

Buttermilk Pancakes Ingredients (makes about 10 pancakes) 225ml plain flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda half teaspoon salt 375ml buttermilk 1 large egg 2 tablespoons melted butter (or marg)


✷ Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir ✷ Measure 375ml buttermilk into a jug, add butter and egg and stir. ✷ Gradually add the jug contents to the dry ingredients and use a hand whisk to mix. ✷ Slightly grease the pan and once it’s hot, ladle some of the mix into the centre of the pan. Leave it until the bubbles forming on the surface burst and leave holes before flipping. ✷ If you need to loosen the pancake, a plastic spatula is better than metal.


✷ The beauty of pancakes is their versatility as a sweet or savoury option, depending on what

would be spent fasting from such goodies with many families continuing the fast past Holy Thursday and only breaking it on Easter Sunday. There are many pancake recipes out there but Family Life’s tried and tested favourite is as follows:

toppings you opt for. ✷ Go for traditional maple syrup and crispy bacon, lemon and sugar or fresh fruit and whipped cream. ✷ All sorts of cheeses are great on pancakes – try goat’s cheese and spinach or cheddar, leek and mushroom. ✷ Just about anything sweet and fruity is also a hit, from peanut butter and banana to ice cream, blueberries and honey.

Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding from Le Creuset

Eating seasonally


orthern Ireland is famous for producing first rate food products and that includes fruit and veg so why not have a go at growing your own? It’s not only cost effective but veg in season contains the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need at that time of year. And for anyone with picky kids, encouraging them to get involved in the growing process is a great way to open their minds to fruit and veg. Salads, tomatoes, peas and strawberries are easy to grow and fun for kids. Coming into spring, the fruit pickings are scarce with rhubarb being about the only fruit growing, however, veg in season include Asparagus Cauliflower Cucumber Leeks Purple Sprouting Broccoli Radishes Savoy Cabbage

Sorrel Spinach Spring Greens Spring Onion Watercress Check out Eat Seasonably eatseasonably. for excellent tips on what to grow and what to eat at any given month. For instance, February’s star veg are leeks and cabbage. Another excellent website, packed with ideas for leftovers is Love Food Hate Waste Recipes include this one from Le Creuset:

Food Unearthed Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding

One hour Intermediate Serves 4 What better way to use up a stale loaf of bread than making a warming bread and butter pudding? This tasty dish is recommended by Le Creuset.

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph Ingredients

1 large leek, approximately 250g Knob of unsalted butter Small white onion, sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked Pinch of sea salt 100g chestnut mushrooms, quartered 500ml whole milk 3 eggs 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 stale loaf, approximately 400g 75g soft blue cheese 75g Serrano ham


✷ Slice the leek into 2cm rounds and place into a saucepan of boiling water. Blanch the leek for 3 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside. ✷ Melt a knob of butter in a casserole dish. Add the sliced onion and sauté for 5 minutes over a medium heat. When softened and beginning to caramelise, add the garlic and thyme to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Continue to fry for a further 3 minutes. ✷ Add the mushrooms and leek to the pan and remove from the heat. ✷ In a large jug combine the milk, eggs and nutmeg and lightly whisk. Cut or tear the bread into 4cm chunks. ✷ Combine half the bread with the onion and leek mixture in the pan and then dot half the cheese and Serrano ham equally around the pan. Layer up the remaining bread, cheese and ham over the top and pour over the egg mixture. ✷ Allow the bread to soak for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Whilst the bread is soaking preheat the oven to 190˚C/ Gas Mark 5. Bake the bread and butter pudding for 25 - 30 minutes until golden and crispy. ✷ Serve with a green salad or seasonal vegetables – perfect!

Family Life | 41

Counting down the days...


very year there’s debate over when spring has arrived and this year is no different, with some arguing it starts on March 1 and others, March 20. The truth is that both positions are correct. March 1 is the first day of the meteorological spring while March 20 is the first day of the astronomical spring. According to the Met Office, astronomical seasons refer to the position of earth’s orbit in relation to the sun, taking into account equinoxes and solstices. Meteorological seasons are instead based on the annual temperature cycle.

The meteorological seasonal calendar works by splitting the seasons into four periods made up of three months each and coinciding with the Gregorian calendar. Thus, as far as meteorologists are concerned, spring is all of March, April and May,

summer is June, July and August, autumn is September, October and November and winter is December, January and February. So roll on springtime – just a week to go!

42 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019




ith spring in the air, it’s time to reclaim your outdoor spaces with decorative patterns, vibrant colours and botanical prints set to be a big trend for 2019. Adaptable pieces that are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use are perfect for making the most of any opportunity to enoy the spring sunshine. Alison Chatten, trend expert and head of design at British soft seating brand Icon said: “With evenings growing longer and temperatures starting to rise, spring brings a sense of renewal and revitalisation. “That need to refresh and create brighter,

ical or wave design cushions (from £14.99). And these work well when paired with bright plain cushions. Make the most of your space by looking for furniture which is comfortable for different activities. For example, the Icon Oria Beanbag Armchair (from £69.99) is a comfortable seat which is great for relaxing indoors with a book, or for taking outside to snatch some sun. Particularly in urban areas, outdoor space can feel a little bleak. So look for pieces that instantly add colour and energy. Floral prints in particular can bring as sense of being closer to nature. Choose pieces that are water resistant and easy to keep clean. The Icon Spring Summer 19 range uses comfortable, tactile materials which are designed to be wiped clean. Footstools and pouffes such as the Oria Eclipse Footstool (from £49.99) are great for adding extra seating, take up less space and can even be used as a side table.


more invigorating surroundings, is leading the trend for vibrant, contrasting colours and floral prints, as well as wave and fan patterns. The Palm House trend continues to be a strong theme, as well as bright clashing Latin American inspired designs – it’s all about bringing energy to your living spaces.” Here are Alison’s tips for making the most of your outdoor spaces: Drawing on colours and themes already in the home, and using these outside, will



 create the impression of more space by harmoniously bringing the two areas together. Brightly painted pieces such as vases complemented with vibrant flowers, clashing colours and patterns are great for bringing life to your outdoor space. Go for artistic and casual patterns rather than symmetrical, such as Icon’s botan-



Apart from perfect plant arrangements, stylish and sometimes useful additions can give your garden the wow factor and keep you out there throughout the lengthening spring days...

 

Home botanist garden kneeler, £12.50, Sainsbury’s Home

Mosaic bistro set, £100, Wilko

Dachshund dog garden bench, £179.99, thePresent Finder

Porto large navy plant pot, £15, National Trust

Plant stake peony mini, £8, National Trust

Plant Stake Love Birds Feeder, £18, National Trust

Dragon fly melamine dinner plate, £7, and beaker, £6, www. sophieallport. com

Frame Woven Garden Chair in Anthracite by Woood, £219, Cuckooland

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 43

Bare root roses are easy to plant and grow like this gorgeous Roald Dahl English shrub rose bred by David Austin



If you go outside and sniff hard enough month and why not start by sparing a thought you can almost smell spring coming for our feathered friends? They still need round the corner. food and water. If you want to cut Even if it’s still chilly enough back overgrown hedges, do it to have you squeezing one more before the nesting season begins. pair of socks inside your wellies, Carry on planting or moving the brighter skies are drawing trees and shrubs, including many a gardener outdoors to roses, not forgetting to stake start getting the garden into them where necessary. shape for the year. Even a general It’s also time to tackle weeds tidy up and getting rid of those which are just beginning to sprout. dead leaves and flower heads can Dealing with them now will save Leycesteria make a difference. you untold heartache later. or Himalayan There are a number of jobs that honeysuckle can The RHS advises: “Many sumcan be tackled in the garden this be pruned now mer-flowering deciduous shrubs

can be pruned between February and March; usually those that flower on the current year’s growth. Shrubs that need regular pruning include Buddleja davidii, Ceratostigma, Hydrangea paniculata, Lavatera, Leycesteria, Perovskia, hardy fuchsias, and deciduous Ceanothus.” If you like to work with an eye to how the garden will look in its prime,

Kids v garden

Unicorn melamine dining set, £15, www. Babymoove Babyni playpen, £60, jojomamanbebe.


hildren and beautiful gardens can co-exist with just a little planning and organising. Even a small garden can be separated into an area for playing in and one for you to relax in. The more fun to be had in the kids’ zone, the better your chances of having some down time to yourself too. If football is an issue for your flowers and shrubs, dedicate a space in the garden for target practice and put up a net – it doesn’t need to be big. Swingball is also fun and takes up even less room. Concentrate the play things in one zone and make it as appealing as possible for your children’s age range. Perhaps a sand pit (covered, to prevent cats turning it into a litter tray when not in use), a play kitchen, blackboard and mini trampoline. A swing or an old tyre can be rigged to a tree if you don’t have space for a stand alone swing set. Should this summer be anything like last, a paddling pool will be useful but remember that younger children can’t be left unsupervised near water. Even a bucket of water can pose a danger. Playing is thirsty work so if possible, have a low table for younger children and cut down the danger of them pulling a hot drink down on themselves. Bean bags are handy for snack times or lounging about on if they fancy reading outside. Some children love growing things and would enjoy having a planter or patch of flower bed to do their own thing in, however, even a reluctant gardener gets a kick out of watching their very own sunflower soar skywards. Other plants children

stock up on summer flowering bulbs like gladioli, ranunculus and lillies. Plant them in groups of five or more for maximum effect. Alternatively, you can plant them in containers and they’ll add a splash of vibrancy to a sunny spot. Get prepping the vegetable beds, ready for sowing and if you like, sow seeds indoors from now.

These garden chair organisers are useful in all sorts of ways, £14.95, House of Bath often enjoy growing, for the pleasure of tasting them, include strawberries and peas – even a reluctant vegetable eater can appreciate yummy peas, fresh from the pod. Needless to say, when it comes to watering the plants, give them a watering can or a hose and you’ll be hard pressed to get them to stop. Likewise, a child-size wheelbarrow can provide hours of entertainment, whether they’re actually helping you shift weeds or plants, or simply using it to transport toys and collectibles about the garden. Finally, check that you don’t introduce anything poisonous into the garden if you have toddlers or babies who are prone to explore everything by sticking it into their mouths. Foxgloves (digitalis), lily of the valley and ivy are among many common plants that could prove deadly if eaten. Bring a play pen outside and put the little one in it with their favourite toys for a more relaxing time outside.

Croquet garden game, £19.99, TK Maxx

Muddy Maker Mud Kitchen, £99.95,

44 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Makeyourgardencount forwildlifethisspring BARBARA PILCHER Ulster Wildlife member & gardening expert


t’s high time to get busy in the garden – so many tasks and quite a small window to do them in. But let’s not forget about the creatures that we share our garden with and cater for them as we work. It’s time to cut down spent seed heads and dying herbaceous material, now that the need for winter foraging has passed. We can clear up rotten or diseased material, essential to stop pathogens

or pests carrying on from year to year. Pruning of roses and fruit (apart from plum family) should be finished up, to increase flowering and fruiting. Make sure though you leave plenty of tree and shrub cover, and some long grass to provide shelter for insects, frogs, newts and hedgehogs. Even simply raising the height of your mower blade by a few inches and mowing less frequently can make a massive difference to wildlife. Ensure that you are not cutting back your hedges during bird nesting season, between March and August. Cutting your hedges during this time could actually be an offence as it’s illegal to disturb birds’ nests and their young. Like honey bees, native bumblebees and solitary bees need all the encouragement we can muster. All are in decline and, alas, that goes for butterflies too. Aside from the intrinsic value of wildlife, gardeners have a particular need for these and other insects to ensure our fruit and seed crops are pollinated and give good yields. In the greenhouse or windowsill, seeds can be sown, especially annual flowers such as marigold (Calendula), borage, poppies, and mignonette. Choosing singleflowered options will favour pollinators – this is a lovely project to share with children or grandchildren. Plant masses

Wrens’ nest © Bob Coyle

“Ensure that you are not cutting back your hedges during bird nesting season, between March and August. Cutting your hedges during this time could actually be an offence as it’s illegal to disturb birds’ nests and their young.”

of herbs and daisy-type and pea family flowers to sustain bees and butterflies. How do we go about boosting our gardens’ credentials as pollinator habitats? Ecozones: see how many boxes you can tick: bare soil, mulched areas, long grass, log pile, water (needn’t be huge), boggy area, sand and gravel. Tick all these and you’ll ensure a greater diversity of plant and wildlife. Or cultivate a nectar border, a fruiting hedge, a miniorchard, a berry garden, for you, your family and your wildlife to enjoy. For more wildlife gardening tips and advice visit wildlife-gardening

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 45


BY ANDY CRORY Nature Reserves Manager, Ulster Wildlife

Outside of the breeding season, frogs and newts need plenty of vegetation and damp, dark places in your garden where they can seek refuge, hunt for food and hibernate in winter. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:


lthough often thought of as cold and slimy, amphibians are beneficial garden creatures that control slugs and other pests. Why not take a leap forward this spring and encourage these lesserspotted creatures into your patch? The springtime frog ritual of laying egg masses in ponds is always a natural spectacle and as temperatures begin to rise, from February onwards, many frogs will be triggered into action. Newts, on the other hand, are stealthy and discrete, laying single eggs on aquatic plants. Both species undergo a metamorphosis from tadpole to adult, which is quite a magical thing. As tadpoles, both species are fairly vicious: when they run out of food options they’ll turn cannibalistic – in fact, they’re so voracious they’re only one bite away from eating themselves! The way to tell the tadpoles of each species apart is pretty straightforward: newt tadpoles have a pair of frilly gills around the outside of their heads, which

disappear as they turn into adults. Creating a pond is one of the best things you can do to attract frogs and newts to your garden.

An ideal pond has gradual sloping sides, good native plant cover in and around the pond’s edges and partly submerged rocks and

logs, if there are no shallow areas. You could also think about a bog garden or small water feature instead.

• Create a compost heap out of old pallets for amphibians to hibernate and forage. • Build your own bug hotel from natural materials such as straw, dry grass and hollow plant stems. • Avoid using slug pellets and pesticides. • Plant a diverse range of native plants and shrubs to attract insects – amphibian food! • Pile up some large logs, paving slabs or rocks in sunny, south facing parts of your garden. • Leave some areas of long grass, especially around the pond edges. • If you lawn must be mown mow it regularly, so you can see amphibians and their juveniles. • Never transfer amphibians or spawn from one pond to another, as it risks spreading disease and invasive pond weeds. For more wildlife gardening advice visit wildlife-gardening

46 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Already fab but not too fit? I

t’s hard to keep those New Year Resolutions going throughout the dark January days, especially if they involved getting fitter. But spring is the perfect season for dusting them off, digging out the trainers and resetting some targets. Whether you’re nine or 90 years old, it’s worth looking after your health for all sorts of reasons and especially if that means getting more exercise. No matter what your motivation is, there are all sorts of benefits, from losing weight to getting fitter or stronger, to looking after your emotional wellbeing and even making new friends. Many of us are so sedentary that even incorporating more movement into our day will help us shape up. If you are aged 19-64, you can slash your risk of heart disease,

stroke and type 2 diabetes by up to 50% by doing at least half an hours’ moderate exercise – fast walking or cycling – five days a week as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles – legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Strength exercises might include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, push-ups and sit-ups or yoga. For older people, load bearing exercise is vital for maintaining bone strength and doing anything to maintain balance is important for avoiding falls. If you promise yourself every night that you’ll start walking/running/ swimming/cycling tomorrow, only to keep procrastinating, it might be useful to make a pact with a friend or family member to face it together. You’re much more likely to make it out for a run or a walk if there’s someone waiting for you and you may find the going easier if you’re too busy chatting to notice the time passing. Join a walking group, or a

cycling or running club or find out when your local Couch 2 5K is next starting a course – these hugely successful sessions build you up from running for one minute at a time to 30 minutes over a number of months. The aim is to achieve a 5km run. People of all ages are welcome and you could be one of the thousands taking part in Parkrun 5ks

every Saturday morning before you know it. Visit for details. For some people, exercise is a solo pursuit and they enjoy nothing more than heading off with just their favourite playlist or a podcast or simply their own thoughts for company. One of the many fitness apps that will help you track your run or steps may be the answer if making the decision to go today is a problem or if you think you simply don’t have time for exercise. They also help you incorporate more steps into the normal working day, through walking to the shops instead of driving or taking the stairs rather than a lift. There’s much more to getting fit than upping your step count or running every week. Go dancing or join a dance or aerobics class, organise a weekly 5-a-side kickabout with your friends, join the children at ice-skating, have a go on the kids’ trampoline or get to work in the garden – mowing and weeding are as good as many work outs. If you’ve never tried a gym, it’s never too late to go along. The attendants there love to see all sorts of people coming in and they’ll take you round all the equipment, show you how it works and even work out a programme for you. Even low intensity workouts, such as walking, swimming and jogging have huge benefits in terms of improving stamina, mood and sleep, fighting fatigue and stress.

Quit smoking – for your health and your wealth


arch 13 is national No Smoking Day and while the percentage of people smoking in Northern Ireland has continued to fall, the latest statistics indicate that around one in six adults here still use cigarettes. Young people aged 18-24 are less likely to take up the habit than in previous generations and men are more likely to smoke than women With smoking believed to account for more than 2,000 deaths here every year, there’s still a drive to reduce numbers. The Public Health Agency (PHA) has a network of free Stop Smoking Support Services offering tailored advice and support to help smokers quit for good. “Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself, with benefits for your health, your appearance, your finances and your relationships,” said Siobhan O’Brien, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Senior Officer with the PHA. “However it isn’t easy and different approaches will work for different people. “There are a range of services across Northern Ireland that have an excellent track record in helping people to quit. Experienced stop smoking staff provide a friendly, supportive service in a relaxed environment. They’ll help design a stop smoking plan that will work best for you to make this as easy as possible.” Services are offered in many community

pharmacies, GP practices, HSC Trust premises, and community and voluntary organisations, and can be set up in workplaces.

Toptipsongiving up smoking ✷ Make a date to give up – and stick to it! ✷ Make a plan. Think about what could help you stop smoking, such as using a nicotine-replacement product, and have it ready. ✷ Get support from your local stop smoking service. Some people find that talking to friends and relatives who have stopped can be helpful. ✷ Keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes. Try to change your routine, and avoid the shop where you normally buy cigarettes. ✷ Treat yourself. If you can, use the money you’re saving by not smoking to buy yourself something special. The PHA has recently refreshed its stop smoking website www.stopsmokingni. info with information on the benefits of quitting, stop smoking aids and services and you can also order your free Quit Kit online.

Drink Up!


ne of the most important things we can do for our bodies is to drink plenty of water. Allowing ourselves to become dehydrated affects how we think, our mood, our energy levels and our ability to absorb nutrients. Keeping our body hydrated also helps reduce the risk of some cancers, can help with weight loss and keeps the joints supple and the skin glowing. Aim to drink about eight glasses of water a day. Replace some of those cups of tea with hot water with a slice of lemon and a teaspoon of honey in it or for a cool, refreshing drink, keep a jug of water in the fridge. Even if you don’t use a filter jug, keep an ordinary bottle or jug of tap water in the fridge with the lid off and any chlorinated smell will dissipate leaving you with something that tastes every bit as good as bottles spring water. Drinking water is vital for kidney function and the latest research indicates that it can also help women avoid bladder infections and UTIs.

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Sleep tight


etting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

It’s mental

During sleep, your body works to support healthy brain function – forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative. Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior. Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

Physical impact

It’s also vital for physical health, aiding healing. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity in all age groups as well as blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.

Family Life | 47 Children and young people need sleep for healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the release of the hormone that promotes normal growth, boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility. Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy.

How much is enough?

There’s no hard rule but the guidelines are Toddlers – 12 hours per night Aged 3 – 6 need 10 – 12 hours Aged 7 – 12 need 10 – 11 hours Aged 13 – 18 need 8 – 9 hours Adults need 7–8 hours a day

Tips for getting to sleep:

• Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. For children, have a set bedtime and a bedtime routine. Don’t use the child’s bedroom for timeouts or punishment. • Try to keep roughly the same sleep schedule every night – weekend lie-ins can disrupt the body clock’s sleep– wake rhythm. • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Avoid strenuous exercise and bright artificial light, such as from a TV or computer screen. • Avoid large meals, alcohol and caffeine, soft drinks and chocolate within a couple of hours of bedtime. • Spend time outside every day (when possible) and be physically active. • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark (a dim night light is fine, if needed). • Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.

Health briefs Up against diabetes

New research suggests that optimism may have a protective effect against type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women, according to a report in Medical News Today. Juhua Luo and colleagues from the School of Public Health at Indiana University examined data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and found that those who were the most optimistic were 12% less likely to develop diabetes. Conversely, women who were the most likely to express negative emotions had a 9% higher risk of developing diabetes. The correlation between hostility and diabetes risk was less strong in obese women.

SAD times

People with depression can find Spring Fever, and the ensuing cheerfulness hard to bear. For people suffering from depression and their loved ones, recognising 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.


If you have a young person in the family struggling with anxiety, experts here recommend an app developed in Canada. MindShift is designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. MindShift aims to help sufferers learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help them take charge of their anxiety. This app includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle: ✷Making Sleep Count ✷ Riding Out Intense Emotions ✷ Test Anxiety ✷ Perfectionism ✷Social Anxiety ✷Performance Anxiety ✷Worry ✷Panic ✷ Conflict


Reducing the amount of salt, sugar and fat in our diet will make us less likely to end up obese or with serious illnesses. Health experts recommend that we eat at least five portions of fruit or veg a day to make sure we are getting the vitamins and minerals we need, basing one third of our meals on starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, rice or pasta and adding in some dairy or dairy substitue and a source of protein, such as beans, meat or fish.

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Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Children’s Festival Belfast Children’s Festival takes place across the city from March 8 - 13 with theatre, visual art, music, dance, literature, workshops and talks, guaranteed to inspire joy, creativity and curiosity in young people from babies to 17-year-olds. See for a full festival programme and ticketing information.

Babaithe Cultúir

The Cultúrlann Gerard Dillon Gallery

welcomes all parents and carers with their little ones aged 0-4 for fun and creative activities designed and delivered by professional artists, alongside reading and drawing areas. Taking place on Tuesday mornings from Febraury 26 - March 12, from 10am - 12pm, the range of interactive and creative experiences of Babaithe Cultúir supports young children’s creative expression, enabling them to try new things, and giving them the freedom to get as messy and as creative as they want, in a safe, fun and welcoming Irish language environment. All levels of Irish welcome. All children must be accompanied by an adult and booking is required.


The Brian Friel Theatre at Queen’s University is hosting Removed – a funny, moving and shocking insight into the experiences of a young man sharing his story of life in the care of the state. Removed is a collaboration between award-winning Prime Cut Productions, writer Fionnuala Kennedy and VOYPIC (Voice Of Young People In Care), working with looked after young people across Northern Ireland, learning from them and exploring their experiences. Showing from March 7 - 16.

Milo’s Hat Trick Babaithe Cultúir

At the Lyric, children can anticipate magic, music and mischief in Milo’s Hat Trick, a

Removed: Experiences in care explored delightful adventure from the multi-award winning Cahoots NI, based on the book by Jon Agee, from March 8-12. Tickets and details from


The MAC is exhibiting HOME by artists Jane Butler and Duncan Ross, who have invited schoolchildren across Belfast to explore what home means to them. On show from March 8-13, HOME is part of Belfast City Council’s ‘(Y)Our Home’ programme, which allows young citizens to explore what it means to feel at home in Belfast through a variety of creative engagements.

Volume Control at Oh Yeah

International Women’s Day – Volume Control

Volume Control are celebrating International Women’s Day with a gig on Friday, March 8 in The Oh Yeah Centre, Belfast (doors at 7pm). The exciting lineup – headlined by Girls Rock School NI graduates, with support coming from Gemma Bradley and Sister Ghost – reflects the diverse and powerful females lighting up our live music scene.

Acoustic Picnic

The Oh Yeah Music Centre is holding an

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 49 music and play, and their expertise in working with babies create this unique, safe and fun-filled show full of making friends and laughter.

Da Vinci Day

Take part in a range of free children’s art workshops inspired by the Royal Collection Trust exhibition ‘Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing’ in the Ulster Museum for free on March 10. Make dragon masks, flying machines, explore anatomy and much more based on the works of the great master of Italian art.

Family Comedy Club Claymation Workshop and bring them to life through the magic of animation. Everyone will receive a digital copy of their films at the end of the session.

acoustic picnic event for free on March 9 and promises to be a family-friendly afternoon of live music, crafts, games and activities for children. Relax with a coffee, listen to live music and take part in fun games and activities.

Can Do Academy: Claymation Workshop

Ever fancied trying your hand at animation? Can Do Academy’s Claymation Workshop at the MAC on March 9 allows participants to make a complete animated film on an iPad, using sound effects, visual effects, titles and lots of imagination. You will use plasticine to make models

inSPIREd – Family Fun Day in the Cathedral Quarter

Get involved in Belfast Children’s Festival’s free family fun day in the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter on March 9. Use your imagination and come together to build your dream city in miniature. Events include workshops from Can Do Academy, Wheelworks ArtCart, Northern Ireland Opera and Ulster University’s ‘Unique’ shop, and a chance to try your hand at DJing with Bounce Culture. Story-tellers, facepainters and magicians will be adding to this bumper day of creative experiences.

Baby Rave: Rave In The Nave

Baby Rave like you’ve never seen it before! Get down to the beats with a fun-filled rave designed especially for the under-4’s in the impressive surroundings of Belfast Cathedral on March 9. A team of friendly and energetic dance leaders encourage parents and babies to dance and explore rhythm and music. Relive your dancing days with uplifting tracks you’ll recognise and tunes the babies will love too.

Baby Daddy

The Replay Theatre Company’s Baby Daddy is a show for babies aged 6-18 months with an all-male cast. Three male performers, each playing a live instrument, in a new specially-designed theatre space, play to 6-8 babies at a time (and their grown-ups) on March 9 and 10 at the MAC. Replay’s knowledge of sensory theatre,

From the creator of the extremely popular Pigeon and Plum’s Family Vaudeville Cabaret, Paul Currie, comes a brand new family comedy club at Black Box on March 11. Paul Currie will unleash his unique style which fuses traditional stand-up with puppetry, clowning and sheer exuberance. Something new and refreshing for families that goes straight for the funny bone that we all share.

Write Club at Duncairn

Are you destined to write the next big screenplay for the silver screen or award winning novel? Drop in to the Duncairn Cultural & Arts Centre and develop your story-writing skills with Fighting Words Belfast. The Write Club at Duncairn offers a space for young writers to work independently on their own writing, with support from our writing mentors. Taking place for free every Wednesday from 4pm – 6pm, suitable for 13-18-years-old.

50 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Funeventsforallages Botanic Gardens is hosting a guided winter tree trail tomorrow, Saturday, February 23. Meet at the Palm House before 11am


et the kids to put down their phones and take a wider view of the world with days out at any of Northern Ireland’s pay in or free attractions. Take them to see the animals at Belfast Zoo, which is open from 10am-4pm daily until March 31, to your nearest museum, or how about one of these family friendly events happening over the next few weeks.

Using the new Medieval Carrickfergus town model as inspiration, little ones will recreate their own version of the old town at the Carrickfergus Museum & Civic Centre on February 23 from 2pm - 4pm. There will be an artist on hand to help, and loads of arts and crafts materials. Free, drop-in session for children aged 1 - 5 years with their families.

Derry’s stunning Guildhall will be the atmospheric setting for a music event with a difference this month as it hosts the first Guildhall Beats Festival, on February 22 - 24, showcasing Ireland’s hottest musical talent, including local stars Elma Orkestra & Ryan Vail (Eoin O’Callaghan, best known as Best Boy Grip), and young upcoming music sensation ROE, fresh from her recent Arena tour supporting Northern Ireland band Snow Patrol. The Festival programme also includes music therapy sessions, a movie soundtrack night performed featuring the Guildhall Organ, a Creative Cultural Celebration with choral maestros Allegri, and a classical showcase performed on the Organ on the Sunday. For tickets visit

The amazing Gaia by UK artist Luke Jerram is on show at W5 for free until February 24, as part of the NI Science Festival. Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. This will be a unique opportunity, for young and old, to experience the Earth close up in an exquisite, three-dimensional way.

Belfast One and Cathedral Quarter Belfast are bringing Belfast Restaurant Week to the city centre until February 24. To find out more about the tasty events taking place every day, visit

Gaia at W5

The Crown Liquor Saloon is showcasing some of the finest malt

Singer ROE is performing at the Guildhall Beats Festival whiskies from around the world until February 24. There will be sampling events and tutored tasting sessions as well as special offers such as £1 for a whisky and ginger ale when you download their Nicholsons app.

Belfast Alternative Fashion Week is taking place at Belfast Castle on February 23, with creative fashion, live music and art combined to give you the ultimate fashion and entertainment experience. Tickets are available at

Enjoy a guided winter tree trail of Botanic Gardens on February 23 and learn about some of the 500 different types of tree growing in the garden. Guides will teach you to recognise a variety of trees without the visual clues of summer and take samples to be examined in more detail in the warmth of the Bowling Pavilion, making use of lenses and tree identification books. Meet at Palm House before 11am.

Continued on 52 

52 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

The CoderDojo Saturday Club gives tech enthusiasts from 8 – 15 years the opportunity to learn to code, build a website, create an app or a game and explore technology in an informal, creative and social environment. Classes run from 9.30am - 11.30am at Markets Community Centre on February 23, March 9 and 23. To book your slot contact Roisin McKenna on 028 9027 0644 ext: 3589 or email

Peace Proms returns to the stage of the SSE Arena Belfast on February 24 and promises to be a huge celebration of youth, music, energy and talent. The critically acclaimed Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland will perform with the Belfast Children’s Peace Choir which is made up of 3,500 primary school children from all over Northern Ireland. For details visit

Join the wardens for a morning of birdwatching at Castle Espie on February 27 and March 27 and see what wonderful wildlife you can spot as the seasons change. Make sure to bring along a pair of binoculars and sensible footwear.

The International Festival of Chamber Music takes place on March 1 - 3 and showcases a range of musical talent, including Amatis Trio, London Haydn Quartet, Isabelle van Keulen (violin) and Marianna Shirinyan (piano) and Leon McCawley (piano solo). Tickets available from the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and online at shows.

The Belfast Giants will be entertaining the crowds at the SSE Arena on March 3

Have the ultimate family day out with W5 and the Stena Line Belfast Giants on Sunday, March 3. Discover over 250 interactive exhibits at the award-winning Science and Discovery Centre and then watch the Giants hit the ice to take on Manchester Storm in the SSE Arena. Call 028 9073 9074 or visit for tickets.

The fast and furious World Seniors Snooker World Championship is coming to the Waterfront on March 3, as eight members of snooker royalty battle for a £20,000 prize. For tickets visit

Grab a few pints and enjoy sketches from some talented artists at Seedhead

Arts’ free live sketching event, Real Sketchy, taking place at Black Box on March 7.

The Viewpoints exhibition by students from the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) will be on show at Ards Visitor Information Centre from March

22 February 2019 | Belfast Telegraph

Family Life | 53

See London Haydn Quartet at Belfast’s International Festival of Chamber Music 9 - 30. Their work explores their local environment and utilises a wide range of craft, art and design disciplines including ceramics, print, textiles, photography and fine art.

The Big Fish at Donegall Quay


Textile artist Hannah Grainger’s ‘Weaving into Being’ exhibition will be on show at Art in the Loft, Portaferry Visitor Information Centre from March 9 to April 2.

Everyone’s favourite doll Trixie Mattel brings her brand new one woman comedy show to the Ulster Hall on March 12. This show contains adult humour and is strictly over 14s only. All 14 - 16 year olds are to be accompanied by an adult. To book your tickets, visit Continued on 54 

Trixie Mattel

Objects along the stretch known as Maritime Mile in Belfast are ‘waking up’, and anyone with a mobile phone can strike up a conversation and hear what they have to say. Running through to St Patrick’s Day on March 17, the public will be able to interact by text with a range of well-known maritime landmarks, starting at the Big Fish at Donegall Quay and finishing at HMS Caroline at Alexandra Dock. Landmarks you will be able to chat to include the Big Fish, Belfast Harbour, SS Nomadic, Titanic Belfast, The Great Light and HMS Caroline. The project aims engage both visitors and

residents of the city to learn more about the notable landmarks that are located along the scenic riverside stretch, as well as have some fun. To play, simply find an object by looking out for landmarks signposted with the yellow branding. Once nearby, text ‘Hello’ to 028 250 222 55 with the landmark’s name, for example ‘Hello Big Fish’. You can then chat with the object to learn some fun facts and hear other people’s stories. Please note, standard network rates apply and all messages are anonymous.

54 | Family Life

Belfast Telegraph | 22 February 2019

Go birdwatching at Castle Espie on February 27 and March 27

Big Telly Theatre Company is bringing Freak Show to Portico, Portaferry on Friday, March 15. The highly inventive blast of theatre collides comedy, visuals and taut poetic text with true stories of people who were displayed as freaks in the 18th Century. Tickets available from

In Armagh, the Home of St Patrick Festival runs from March 8 - 18 with regional and international music, theatre, spoken word, art, comedy and family friendly events which will showcase the stunning locations where Saint Patrick walked and worked. Highlights include a procession through Armagh city on March 16, as well as family fun days at The Shambles Market, Armagh, on March 17, and Solitude Park, Banbridge on March 18. See for details.

the Botanic Gardens and Tropical Ravine. The roughly hour long tours take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and run until March 31. For more information email tropicalravine@

Belfast Operatic is performing The Greatest Show, packed with songs from The Greatest Showman, Moulin Rouge, Bohemian Rhapsody, La La Land, SMASH and many more Hollywood classics. There’s likely to be singing and dancing in the aisles of The MAC between March 20 - 23 and there’s a matinee on the Saturday too. Tickets from

The unique Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics returns on March 25 – 31 with its biggest ever programme and an open invitation for the public to engage

Da Vinci’s work at the Ulster Museum

Musical magic at The MAC

with the big issues of our times. The non-partisan festival offers up an eclectic programme with a wide range of events including talks, workshops, theatre, comedy, films, walking tours, exhibitions and lots more across the city. Visit for details.

artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint. The Ulster Museum is also home to a stunning tapestry depicting key scenes from every episode of hit TV show Game of Thrones. For more information visit whats-on/leonardo-da-vinci.

Every nook and cranny of the historic North Down Museum building will be filled with arts activity to experience, participate in or observe at the Arts Night At The Museum on March 26. You will be able to participate in clay work, printmaking, drawing activities and painting or just sit back and listen to some good music in this event for all the family. Look up events at www. for details.

Some of Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest drawings are on show for visitors to enjoy at the Ulster Museum until May 6. The exhibition will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the

DiverseCity is hosting a series of events to learn more about the people, places and communities that make Belfast, including a Refugee and Arabic Cultural Information Workshop on February 27. This introduction to asylum and refugee issues in the UK and NI in particular is followed by a visit to the Belfast Islamic Centre on March 7. Participants can explore the history of the Muslim community in Northern Ireland and learn about aspects of Islam. March 12 provides the opportunity for participants to experience Irish culture, music and language with an event at An Droichead. For details email goodrelations@ or calling 028 9027 0663.

Join around 2000 runners for the annual SPAR Craic 10K taking place in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day on Sunday, March 17. The race will leave City Hall at 10am, passing through the Gaeltacht Quarter before finishing at Ormeau Park. Every registered runner in the SPAR Craic 10K will also be helping Marie Curie with a donation from every registration going to the charity. Register online at or by calling 028 9061 1916.

There are events across Northern Ireland for St Patrick’s Day with a carnival parade on Sunday, March 17, through Belfast city centre, followed by free open-air concert from 1.30pm 4pm in Custom House Square. The line up includes Vengaboys, The Whistlin’ Donkeys, Irish dancers Fusion Fighters, singer Catherine McGrath, who recently supported Michael Bublé and Picture This and guitarist Ryan Sheridan. See for further information.

Create your own miniature garden for free at the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Gardens on March 20. All materials will be provided and the Tropical Ravine and Parklife teams will be on hand to lend a helping hand. Or take the family for a stroll in the park and enjoy the free guided tours that incorporate the history and heritage of

BLOOD LINES: BAFTA winning film and theatre maker Robert Rae has been working with people affected by the Troubles, including the Dublin bombings, to develop and perform in a contemporary piece of verbatim theatre, ‘Blood Red Lines’, which opened in Newry this month, and will tour to Dundalk and Belfast in March. The play is part of an EU PEACE IV funded arts programme, The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy. ‘Blood Red Lines will come to the Brian Friel Theatre, Belfast on March 1 and 2 , 7.30pm, Box Office 028 7126 8027 or

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