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Can you spot the clue that our Valentine’s spread was not actually shot in February?

Editor’s Letter


i all, Welcome to our February edition. Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Score some brownie points with your other half by cooking them a meal from our recipe special. For our ‘single and ready to mingle’ readers we have reviewed different dating methods road-testing two options for finding love. From a casual coffee date to a romantic meal, we’ve got your Valentine’s date outfits sorted. As always the fashion section is jampacked with the latest looks, from pretty pastels to luxe lingerie and earthy neutrals. Also in this issue, Northern Woman had the pleasure of speaking to space superstar Colonel Chris Hadfield; astronaut, author, and social media sensation thanks to his recording of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. With the lyrics ‘Ground Control to Major Tom’ buzzing around in my head I was excited to have the opportunity to talk to Chris and hear first-hand about his experience of walking in space and commanding the International Space Station. This month beauty writer Claire Craig spotlights the very latest makeup bag must-haves and her beauty hero budget buys. Celebrity makeup artist and influencer Aimee Connolly shares her three favourite lip looks along with product details so you can recreate the looks at home. “Can dunking yourself in icy water really be good for your health?” asks journalist Jade Beecroft as she meets the local man who is championing cold immersion therapy. Our interiors specialist Róisín Carabine shares ‘15 clever ways to update your bathroom’. In addition to that, we bring you travel reviews, competitions, movie listings, readers’ weddings and the local events you won’t want to miss. We also have a fantastic annual subscription offer running. Get 11 issues of NW delivered direct to your door for only £15 - that price includes a free Vitamin Recharge Oh Là Là hair treatment worth

Behind the scenes - editorial fashion shoot in Café Parisien, Belfast £19.95. To subscribe call 0800 028 1909 (ROI 0044 800 028 1909) or email Enjoy the issue, don’t forget to tweet or email us your thoughts, and check in our Facebook page for daily updates. Until next month,

Catriona Doherty Editor Northern Woman

Contact me at: Follow NW on Facebook at: and Instagram @northernwomanmagazine. Tweet us at: @NorthernWomanNW.




STYLE 09 HIGH SHINE A reflective finish for quick-fix glam 10 SOFTLY DOES IT Next season’s pretty pastels 12 A WIDER SHADE OF PALE From snow white to earthy neutrals 14 OFF THE CHAIN Chunky link chic 15 ULTRA VIOLET Pantone’s colour of the year 16 INTIMATE ENCOUNTER Add a touch of passion to your lingerie lineup 18 FROM PARIS WITH LOVE Valentine’s date outfit inspo FEATURES 28 COLONEL CHRIS HADFIELD shares his experiences of outer space 33 SINGLE AND READY TO MINGLE Dating methods put to the test 36 THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ An incredible love story 37 THE UPS & DOWNS of being the middle child 38 MIXED MESSAGES A virtual timeline to your real life relationship 40 THE LAST WORD BEAUTY 42 EASY ON THE EYE Eye makeup remover put to the test 43 LIP LOOKS Aimee Connolly talks lipstick 44 6 UNDER £6 45 THE BEAUTY EDIT Makeup bag must-haves HEALTH AND WELLNESS 48 PROFILE: Bach Flower Remedies 50 AUTISM FRIENDLY NORTHERN IRELAND 52 SURVIVE AND THRIVE The highs and lows of finding love

Credit: Sézane


age from Cover im ndon o Closet L setlon www.clo


Credit: Marks & Spencer

54 CALM DOWN IT’S JUST A MIDLIFE CRISIS 56 ICEMAN talks cold immersion therapy ESCAPE 59 SAYING ‘MILLE GRAZIE’ to these money saving tips 60 MIAMI: in just three days 62 BOURNEMOUTH 64 THE SOCIAL 10 Local events not to miss 66 MOVIE ROUNDUP LIVING 69 DOUBLE UP Designer doubles

70 BLING BATHROOMS on a budget 74 INSIDE A READERS’S HOME RECIPE SPECIAL 79 CRÈME DE CRECY and lots more IN EVERY ISSUE 86 LOCAL WEDDINGS 90 THE ALBUM Social pics 96 NORTHEN MAN Jeff Meredith’s top picks 98 WIN A stay at Clontarf Castle Hotel

Publisher Independent News & Media Ltd Belfast Telegraph House 33 Clarendon Road Clarendon Dock Belfast BT1 3GB T: 028 9026 4264 Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Editor: Catriona Doherty Design: Robert Armstrong Sales Manager: Ciara Hedgcock Art Editor: Helen Wright Editorial Contributors Aimee Connolly, Claire Craig, Clare Bowie, Emma Deighan, Eunice Nelson, Jade Beecroft, Jeff Meredith and Róisín Carabine Independent News & Media © 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of Independent News & Media.



Credit: Miss Selfridge


High Shine

enihS hgiH

Skirt from Zara £19.99

Skirt from Primark £10

Your go-to reflective finish for quick-fix glam Vinyl leggings from Simply Be £29


Per Una Mac from M&S £89


Perspex bag from New Look £15.99

Blouse by Linea from House of Fraser £60

Trainers from H&M £24.99

Skirt from Topshop £39

Skirt from Miss Selfridge was £35 now £18


Marc Jacobs

Nicki Minaj jacket from H&M £49.99


Softly Does It

Introduce a subtle colour injection with next season’s pretty pastels BY EMMA DEIGHAN

Leather jacket from Topshop £185


Lace top from Primark £12

Culottes from Chloé £564

Blouse from Prada £790

Basic tee £6, heavy petal floral skirt £39, heavy petal floral dress £39 from Topshop

Jasper Conran

Saddle bag from Next £28

Bag from Accessorize £20 Culottes £40, shirt £36 and boots £85 from River Island

Earrings from Accessorize £8

Duffle bag from Matalan £14 Principles trousers from Debenhams £39

Espadrille from Office £42

Sock boot from New Look £27.99 Max Mara coat from £1,820

Principles jacket from Debenhams £50


Printed sweatshirt from Stradivarius £19.99

Pringle of Scotland

Couture hoodie from River Island £45

Coat from Zara £79.99

White top from Uterqüe £89

A WI D E R S H A D E O F PA L E From snow whites to comforting creams, neutrals are the tone of choice for fashion’s no-man’s-land BY EMMA DEIGHAN

M&S Collection necklace from Marks & Spencer £22.50

Bag from Topshop £24

Shopper by Calvin Klein from Littlewoods £329


Star by Julien MacDonald dress from Debenhams £99

Chunky knit from New Look £19.99

Polo sweater from H&M £19.99 Cable knit sweater from Massimo Dutti £69.95

Puffer jacket from Guess Jeans £125

Jumper from Dorothy Perkins £30

Leather trench from Topshop £375

Cardigan from Oasis £40

Gaston jumper from Sézane £90


Charm detail bracelet from Charles & Keith £19

T bar bangle from Accessorize £7

Earrings from Mango £9.99

Poppy boxy shoulder bag by Biba from House of Fraser £80

Off The

Chain Bracelet from H&M £24.99

Necklace from Accessorize was £19 now £5.70

From chunky links to delicate chain chic, update your look with Spring 2018’s musthave accessory

Citizen Eco-Drive ladies’ rose multidial bracelet watch from Argos £139.99

Infinity bracelet from Georg Jensen £475

Leather City crossbody bag from Uterqüe £150


Pink floral pyjama style shirt from Dorothy Perkins £28

Blue stripe shirt with bow detail from Dororthy Perkins £30

Hold frill sleeve top from Oliver Bonas £55

The Hussein Bazaza show, Dubai. Getty Images

Oriental style This spring designers look to the East for inspiration Spring/Summer 2018 collections feature colourful kimonos, intricate embroidery, fringing, slinky silk, and oriental print – think birds, floral detail and jewel tones. Last year’s palazzo-style trousers and silk shirt combo, aka the pyjama suit, is back for another season, as are tassel embellishments. Look out for figure-flattering waist-accentuating detail; frills, belts or bows… anything goes.

Dark green fan tassle stud cross body bag from River Island £35

Embroidered stud x-body bag from Accessorize £27

Blue floral kimono top from Evans £32

Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week. Getty Images

Gem button dress from Uterqüe £180

Black floral jumpsuit from Miss Selfridge £45 Earrings featuring semi-circle tassels from Stradivarius £7.99


Lise Charmel nightdress from Orchid, Lisburn Road, £150

Set from £38

Set from £44.99

Marie Jo Sophia bra £78.95, briefs £40.95 from Orchid, Lisburn Road

Bra £24, briefs £14 by Reger by Janet Reger from Debenhams

Bra £9, briefs £4.50, from George at ASDA

E N C O U N T E R Add a touch of passion to your lingerie lineup this Valentine’s with fiery reds and moody blacks BY EMMA DEIGHAN


Spotted gown from ASOS £34

Victoria’s Secret

Bra £22.50, briefs £8 from M&S

Bra £9.99, briefs £12 from New Look

Bodysuit from Victoria’s Secret £76.80

Bra £32, briefs £12 by Myleene Klass from Littlewoods

Augustine Bra from Sézane £50

Bralet from Topshop £16

Bra from H&M £14.99 Bra £24, briefs £12 from Next

Bodysuit from Guess Jeans £49

Bodysuit from £15

Bra £19, briefs £4.50 from La Redoute

Briefs from H&M £8.99

Bra £71.99, briefs £31.99 by Ashely Graham from


From a casual coffee date to a romantic meal - we’ve got your Valentine’s date outfits sorted.

Shot on location at Café Parisien, Belfast 18

Tee £18, chains £12 for 3-pack, stilettoes £36 – from River Island; trousers from Topshop £55


Jacket from Topshop £150; dress by Label Lab from House of Fraser, Victoria Square, £49


Top £25, trousers £45 and stilettoes £36 – from River Island; chain from Rebecca Jane, Crossgar, £23.50



Jumper by Karen Millen from House of Fraser, Victoria Square, £140; skirt from Topshop £32; bracelet from Marks & Spencer £17.50


Top £29 and bag £34 from Topshop; jeans £40 and stilettoes £26 from River Island


Trousers from Siren Boutique, Bloomfield Avenue, Belfast, £59; top £36 and earrings £7 from River Island; coat from Topshop £65


(Sarah) Dress was £89.95 now £67.45, choker £24.50 from Rebecca Jane, Crossgar (Christopher) Jeans from Marks & Spencer £35; jacket was £49.99 now £29.99 from Zara


(Sarah) Jumpsuit by Issa London from House of Fraser, Victoria Square £119; stilettoes £36, earrings £5, choker (worn as bracelet) £12 for 3-pack – from River Island (Christopher) Jeans from Marks & Spencer £35; shirt was £29.99 now £19.99, jacket was £49.99 now £29.99 from Zara; shoes from Gucinari £89.95

– PHOTOGRAPHY – Brendan Gallagher 07900 638365 – HAIR – Amy Cartwright Paul Stafford Hairdressing – MAKEUP – Samantha Weightman Tel: 07866 315 279 – STYLING – Catriona Doherty Northern Woman – MODELS – Sarah Ennis Style Academy & Christopher Keenan – LOCATION – Café Parisien, Belfast


Photo credit: Max Rosenstein

Colonel Chris Hadfield

talks to Northern Woman about the “staggeringly beautiful human experience� of doing a spacewalk, his Space Oddity cover, and experiencing zero gravity 28

Photo credit: Max Rosenstein



he 21st century’s most famous astronaut, bestselling author, YouTube sensation, public speaker and musician, Colonel Chris Hadfield takes time out from his busy schedule to talk to Northern Woman ahead of his upcoming visit to Belfast this February. As the Skype video screen pops up on our screen and the call connects, we admit to feeling a little starstruck. Just over 200 people in the world have completed a spacewalk and one them is about to share his real-life space travel stories with us. To date Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent 166 days orbiting the earth in space, he has completed three missions flying on space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour, and the Russian Soyuz rocket. He commanded the International Space Station and has brought space exploration to the world like never before with his photos and YouTube videos, not to mention his acclaimed version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. “Since New Year I have been working on a TV show called ‘The First’ that Sean Penn is starring in,” Hadfield begins from his home in Canada. Set in the near-future, The First sci-fi series will follow the first human mission to Mars and is billed to premier on Channel 4 and Hula this year. Hadfield goes on to say he is looking forward to his Belfast visit.

An Evening With Colonel Chris Hadfield

An Evening With Colonel Chris Hadfield is a unique 90-minute presentation by this Canadian pioneer reflecting on his 35-year

history, complete with rarely seen videos from space. The event takes place on 15th February at the SSE Arena, Belfast, and offers attendees the opportunity to hear first-hand stories of space exploration. “From a presentation side of things there will be many images, as well as a chance to interact; I will do a Q&A. There will be music for sure,” Hadfield says. He will also be talking about some of the lessons he learned during his time in orbit. “I have had some very unusual experience in life, it gives a different perspective and forces you to see the world in a different way.” Take fear for example, Chris poses the questions: “How do you manage fear? How do you deal with fear versus danger?” He encourages people to look at the difference

between perceived danger versus real danger - in order to get to grips with what you are really afraid of and to change your reaction to overcome challenges. “How do you get around fear? How do you change your behaviour?” he asks.

Ground control to Major Tom

Hadfield became a space superstar when he recorded a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity on-board the International Space Station back in 2013. The first ever music video performed in space immediately went viral, and one YouTube video alone has been viewed more than 38 million times, and that figure continues to increase. ‘What inspired your Space Oddity cover?’ we ask. Continued on 30 ➤


The Soyuz TMA-07M launches. Photo credit: Carla Cioffi/NASA via Getty Images

“I have always been a musician, my whole life I have written songs and recorded songs, fronted bands, I have been a pub musician,” Hadfield explains. “There was a guitar on the station which was put there by the NASA psychiatrists as they had recognised the link between music and mental health. When I was supposed to be asleep I would play, write and record. When people heard this there was an internet clamouring for me to do a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. “Initially I was reluctant; I had never covered Bowie, it seemed an audacious thing to do. But people asked, and so I worked with my son’s assistance and recorded the song and it came out really nice. It’s been amazing to see the reaction to it. Bowie loved it and said it was possibly the ‘most poignant version’ of the song ever created.”


Taking a spacewalk

When asked to describe the most memorable experience of his time commanding the International Space Station, Hadfield doesn’t hesitate. “The most memorable of all was doing spacewalks. I’ve done two and that has been the most magnificent and startling and perspective-building experience of my life. “The chance to cross continents, float past a spaceship… it’s a staggeringly beautiful human experience.”

µµIt’s as if someone released all the repressive laws that govern you on earth and you can do things that seem like magic∑∑

Photo credit: Dmitry Lovetsky

“What is the best way to describe the feeling of zero gravity?” we ask. “It’s a joyous freedom,” Hadfield replies. “It’s as if someone released all the repressive laws that govern you on earth and you can do things that seem like magic. You can fly! It’s like having a super power, like you are in X-Men or are Wonder Woman. “You’re floating weightless with the whole world in the distance turning slowly, and the whole universe around you. It’s wildly different and magnificently beautiful.

“It’s fun, it’s joyful and it’s liberating.”

Touchdown Ireland

Hadfield has Irish roots and is a Tourism Ireland ambassador - he explains how that role came about. “From orbit I took around 45,000 pictures of the world including Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. On my third space flight we had social media so I could share photos in real time. I sent down some pictures of Ireland, of Dublin and

Photo credit: Carla Cioffi/NASA via Getty Images Belfast. The reaction was huge. It felt so heart-warming and so warm. My daughter was studying and was just joining Trinity College Dublin at the time.

Continued on 32 ➤


Sunita Williams. Photo credit: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

NASA austronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, during the mission’s third session of extravehicular activity (EVA) September 2012 in space. Photo credit: NASA via Getty Images

“Shortly after that I came and visited Ireland and Northern Ireland. “I then helped make some promotional videos with Tourism Ireland. It was a natural development.” And finally, we have one other burning question for Colonel Chris Hafield: “Do you think we are the only intelligent thinking beings or do you think extraterrestrial life exists?” “We have never found any evidence of that, except on earth. We are looking – that’s why we drove through plumes of one of Saturn’s moons, and Jupiter’s Moon Europa, and Enceladus.” “As for intelligent life – there’s no way to judge. There has been life on earth from four billion years ago. It’s only recently there has been intelligent life. “So far there is no evidence.” n

An Evening With Colonel Chris Hadfield An Evening with Chris Hadfield will open your eyes to dream the impossible. This is a highly educational and inspirational presentation that is suitable for all ages. The event will kick off the start of the 2018 NI Science Festival; a packed programme of over 180 events celebrating the science of you, the Universe and everything in between. Tickets cost from £22.50 and are available from the SSE Arena.


Dr Janet L. Kavandi. Photo credit: NASA via Getty Images

Women in space During the interview Colonel Chris Hadfield paid tribute to the inspirational females who “dominate the industry and are immensely successful in space and as astronauts.” To name but a few, Peggy Whitson, Dr Janet L. Kavandi and Sunitya (Suni) Williams are some of the greats. • Peggy Whitson returned to earth in September 2017 after spending 288 days aboard the International Space Station. This mission puts her in the record books for spending the most time (665 days) in space, more than any other American or female astronaut in history. Peggy also holds the record for the most space walks by a female astronaut, having completed 10 in total.

Peggy Whitson. Photo credit: Bill Ingalls NASA via Getty Images • Dr Janet L. Kavandi is an American scientist, a NASA astronaut, and Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr Kavandi is a veteran of three Space Shuttle missions and has served as NASA’s Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. • Sunita Lyn (Suni) Williams has spent a total of 322 days in space and more than 50 hours on spacewalks alone. The astronaut was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 14 and Expedition 15. In 2012 she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33. Cheered on by the crew, Sunita Williams ran the first marathon by any person in space and finished the Boston Marathon in four hours and 24 minutes.

Photo by Collette Creative Photography

SINGLE and ready to mingle Dating options put to the test Name: Laura Age: 35 Reviewed: Soirée Society NI

with a good sense of humour, and someone who knows what he wants in life. Too much to ask?

How long have you been single?

What did you need to do to get started?

Two and a half years

First I connected with Soirée Society by completing the contact form on the matchmaking page of their website. I received an immediate response email thanking me for my enquiry and telling me I would shortly receive a further email giving me access to the application form. It assured me that whilst the questionnaire is completed online, it is confidential and it is not publically displayed. The questionnaire asked relevant questions about myself, my interests and hobbies, previous relationships and what I liked/disliked about them, my qualities (both good and not so good), and what I would like in a partner e.g. age, height, personality, values etc. On completion I had a telephone call with Rhoda my matchmaker and we discussed what level of service best suited

Why did you decide to sign up for Northern Woman’s dating challenge? I have tried all types of online dating, speed dating, blind dating and singles parties without any success, so I wanted to try something a little bit different. I liked the idea of Soirée Society trying to ‘fill’ a vacant role in my social life. Also I was excited at the idea of someone objective choosing a partner for me based on my interests and personality rather than me just swiping left or right based on a picture.

Describe your dream partner. My dream partner – that’s a tough one. The Milk Tray Man of course! All joking aside, I would like someone who is kind and caring, who has an interest in health and fitness

my requirements. As I wanted to see photographs, I went for active membership which entailed a one-to-one consultation. I met both Rhoda and the owner of the company, Claire Hughes. They were very accommodating as they arrange to meet at a venue and time that suits the client. The meeting put me at ease which helped enormously in getting my personality across, which in turn helped Rhoda to prepare my profile document. She also authenticated my ID and confirmed my photographs were current and a true likeness. No fear of being cat-fished (again!).

How long did it take? I wasn’t expecting to hear anything for a week and was pleasantly surprised to receive my profile document for review within 24 hours. Following my approval of the profile document, Rhoda confirmed they would be commencing their search to find me a compatible match.

Continued on 34 ➤


What happened next? Unlike online dating, you don’t get to see a catalogue of available matches. It’s actually the matchmakers that do the searching and crosscheck each party’s desired criteria. When they find one, you get emailed the profile of the potential match for your consideration and you are requested to accept or decline the introduction within 24 hours so as both parties know fairly quickly if a date is on the cards. When both parties accept each other’s profiles this is counted as an introduction. I was sent a profile that I liked and was then told that he had also accepted my profile. After that both of us received an email advising the first name and telephone number, the process to progress it, and a set of guidelines for that first date.

Photo by Collette Creative Photography

Did you go on a date? Yes, I went on a date.

How did the date go? The date went well. We had arranged to meet in a local bar and we talked over a couple of drinks and got to know each other a little better. As our desired criteria had already cross-matched, we obviously had a number of common interests so we had plenty to talk about and the conversation flowed freely.

The verdict: I felt the service was very personal, confidential, and they were very thorough in their consultation to increase the chances of finding my perfect match. They were very professional and there was good communication and follow up throughout.

So what happened next? Whilst my date was a very good match and we got on well, I just didn’t feel that elusive chemistry that would have made him my ‘Milk Tray Man’. In saying that, it was an enjoyable dating experience and with Soirée Society continuing their search, I look forward to receiving my next potential match.

µµMy dream partner – that’s a tough one. The Milk Tray Man of course!∑∑


SOIRÉE SOCIETY – THE LOWDOWN Award-winning matchmaking agency, Soirée Society is an off-line, confidential, bespoke service facilitating introductions for unattached people aged 25-75. “The best way to describe what we do is to compare it to a recruitment agency,” explains Soirée Society matchmaker Rhoda Hughes. “Most successful companies that have a job vacancy will employ a good recruitment agency. They find that in the long run it saves them time and money sifting through random applications, shortlisting for the desired and essential criteria, interviewing, checking credentials as well as significantly increasing their chances of getting the right person for the job. We work in exactly the same way, only our employer is our client who has asked us to work with them and for them, to find the right person to fill a vacancy in their life.” Soirée Society Claire Hughes says: “Dating is similar to diet and exercise. We all know the theory but often, for one reason or another, many people are not good at doing it themselves. That’s why some people choose to go to slimming groups or to employ a personal trainer as someone else works with you in helping you achieve your goals. People who invest time and money in themselves by employing someone else that has a vested interest in their success,

tends to lead to better results, and matchmaking is no different as we have helped many people find their perfect partner.” Rhoda says that a lot of Soirée Society’s clients are “time-poor” as they are busy juggling demanding careers and/or family commitments with the search for love or companionship. Others feel daunted by modern dating or dislike, distrust or feel disillusioned with online dating. She says: “The main benefit for many is that unlike online dating, ourservice is private and confidential and no one need know that they are using our services unless they want to tell them. “Knowing the significant benefits of being in a loving relationship, motivates me to help others take positive action to move forward in their lives and to seek that extra dimension that being in a good relationship can bring. “In saying that, we are not magicians and we cannot guarantee that people will find love and chemistry, but it is so good when they do as their success is our success.” The cost is £100 per annum for Pool Membership (passive) with various options for Full Membership (active) ranging from £195 to £1395. For more information visit:

Name: Sarah Sadie McDonald Age: 26 Reviewed: Zoosk online ( How long have you been single? About a year

Why did you decide to sign up for Northern Woman’s dating challenge? I’m a model with ACA models and I run a dog walking company called HappyTailsNI and in both professions I don’t get the chance to meet dashing young men so I thought Northern Women could help me out!

Describe your dream partner. • Tall • Funny • Intelligent • Likes to read • Likes to travel • Cultured • Bit of a nerd • Honest and good natured • Has his life together

What did you need to do to get started? Zoosk asks you lots of questions, from your income to if you want children. It asks you to upload a range of photos and write about your interests, about you, your perfect match and your ideal date.

How long did it take? About 10 minutes to get it completely set up.

What happened next? Without buying the monthly subscription you are limited to what you can do. You can like profiles, see who has viewed you, and people can send you messages, but you cannot respond properly or look at their profiles. When my subscription came through I was able to access all of the features. Within the first half hour I had more than 20 messages. Not one was from Northern Ireland or in my age range. I put in capitals in the ‘About Me’ section: Don’t message me if you do not live in Northern

Ireland or you are over 35. There were a few guys with good profiles I liked the look of, but all they were from England, there was the odd message from Northern Ireland but they were not my type. Zoosk does match up you with people but again not from distance, all the good ones seemed to be really far away.

The verdict: You have to buy a subscription to access features and to look at people’s profiles who have liked you. They don’t have an age or distance limit which for me seemed to attract unsuitable people. n

µµI’m a model and I run a dog walking company. In both professions I don’t get to meet dashing young men!∑∑



he incredible story of how the tattooist of Auschwitz found love in the concentration camp has been told in a heart-wrenching new book. Lale Sokolov, born Ludwig ‘Lale’ Eisenberg to Jewish parents in Slovakia in 1916, was admitted to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942. Lale, now identified as prisoner number 32407, was forced to work in construction in the camp before contracting typhoid. A French academic called Pepan took care of Lale while he was ill. Pepan, who had given Lale his numerical prisoner tattoo, made Lale his assistant and showed him the ropes with the tattoo supplies. When Pepan disappeared one day, Lale was made the predominant tattooist of Auschwitz. While Lale was still a prisoner of Auschwitz, being the chief tattooist afforded him privileges such as extra rations and a single room. However, he knew that he was lucky every day just to be alive. “He did what he did to survive,” Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, told the BBC. “He said you took whatever was being offered. You took it and you were grateful because it meant that you might wake up the next morning.” Of all the people that Lale was forced to tattoo, one made a remarkable impression on the tenacious man. In July 1942, Lale was presented with the arm of a young girl, now to be known as prisoner number 34902. Decades later as he recollected his first encounter with his one true love, Lale told Morris that “as he tattooed her number on her left arm, she tattooed her number in his heart.” The girl in question was Gita Fuhrmannova, an inmate of the Birkenau women’s camp. Lale enlisted the help of an SS guard to smuggle letters to Gita and was even able to sneak extra rations to her and her friends. Lale used his advantageous position as chief tattooist to help as many


Author Heather Morris. Photo credit: Steve Morris

The tattooist of Auschwitz An extraordinary story of love and survival against all odds BY SABRINA BARR

people as he could. He was able to trade goods with local villagers so that he could afford more rations for those in need. When the Nazis began shipping prisoners out of Auschwitz in 1945, Gita disappeared without a trace. However, Lale never lost hope of reuniting with his long lost love. After being liberated from Auschwitz and returning to his family home, Lale made his way to Bratislava ‘a common place for concentration camp survivors

to pass through on their way back to Czechoslovakia’. He was advised to try going to the Red Cross instead. However, he didn’t make it the whole way there. While en route, lo and behold a familiar young woman stepped in front of his horse in the middle of the street. Lale and Gita had found each other again at last and married in October 1945. After being imprisoned by the government for sending financial support for an Israeli state, the Sokolovs eventually made their way to Melbourne. The couple had a son, Gary, in 1961. The origins of their love story remained a secret that only a few friends were aware of up until Gita’s death in 2003. Lale passed away three years later in 2006, with the knowledge that people all over the world would finally learn of the extraordinary story of his and his wife’s enduring love. n


UPS & DOWNS of being a middle child

Find yourself seeking approval, attention or recognition on a daily basis? BY CLARE BOWIE The lows

■ You’re awful at getting served in the pub because you’re just too good at waiting your turn and keeping everyone else happy. ■ When your big sister beat you up, you were told to sort out your own diffs and stop being a grass but when you beat the youngest up there was all kinds of trouble and you had to do some serious room time. ■ You never got the ‘well rounded’ treatment. Your sibling was a veteran of clarinet, pottery, judo, gymnastics and Mandarin (just in case) and you got Brownies. ■ You never got your own bike and a new coat was rare. You sometimes didn’t even get your own name, as all manner of people from teachers to relatives accidentally called you by your big sister’s name. ■ You got no respect from your siblings. You never got the window seat and in games you were always the sick patient;

never the nurse, and always the naughty pupil rather than the teacher. ■ You weren’t really sure if you even liked Barbie but your sister did so your folks figured you must too. ■ You’re never ‘acted’ the right age and you were often told: “Your big sister would never have done that at your age” or “look how well behaved your brother is and he’s much younger than you”. ■ The majority of the baby photos are of your older sibling. The firstborn’s memory box is literally busting with photos, hair and even teeth, and all you can find are a few loose photos of you. Probably explains that selfie addiction you have now.

The highs

■ You never have to organise family gatherings or hassle your brother about your dad’s birthday present because the oldest, responsible, bossy one does all that family admin stuff. ■ Your parents are a bit vague about your

first steps and words, however they were also a bit vague about what programmes were suitable to watch, what time to come home etc. so you didn’t have all that overly zealous first-time parent pressure. ■ Everyone expects you to be difficult and jealous, but, to be fair; the odd meltdown can yield some great results. ■ Mostly you are quite easy to live with because you are used to going along with things; no one ever asked what would suit you because they were so busy living vicariously through the oldest or indulging the baby. ■ Relatives don’t ask you if they should buy a hat every time you get a boyfriend because they are too busy hassling your big sister. During make-believe games, when she wasn’t the teacher or nurse she always insisted on being the bride while you were the bridesmaid. #karma ■ When you’re not trying to prove yourself or keep the peace you have the financial perks of having an older sibling to borrow money from and a younger sibling who used to pay you to go to the offy for them. ■ “You’re not the first and you won’t be the last.” This is an especially good rule when it comes to leaving home; you can slip out without the forlorn fanfare of the firstborn’s departure or the heart wrench when the youngest empties the nest. n


Mixed messages W

The virtual timeline to your real life relationships BY EUNICE NELSON

hen it comes to the changing dating scene, these days I am the evolutionary equivalent of a dinosaur. I’ve never swiped my way into a relationship, unless you count stealing someone’s boyfriend (just kidding). But has it really changed so much? Dating apps may seem superficial but I’ve never seen someone in a bar and lusted after their ready wit and sparkling personality. However it begins, virtual or actual, all relationships have a definite timeline.

really think he’s the one” while all your mates set up a WhatsApp group that you are excluded from to discuss your impending doom and how much vodka to have stored up for the inevitable break-up. Blissfully unaware of your fretting friends you revel in your new love. It’s all talking until dawn and amazing sex (this is just hypothetical Mum). Your messages will probably look like this:



I used to think that Tinder sounded awful. Definitely not something that appealed to me. Then I thought back to my version of meeting potential boyfriends and realised that the digital version is just the same and probably less embarrassing. I’m sure that some of you out there, who like me are of a certain vintage, remember the horror of having to give a lad your home phone number. Yes folks I come from a time when mobile phones were not widely used (I’m that old). If you think waiting for a message is bad try spending a few days hovering around the landline in your kitchen, sweating profusely and trying to appear casual. Of course one of your parents inevitably answered the call and sat staring at you while you tried to arrange a date without revealing any details on your end. I’m sure my mother thought I had the vocabulary of a family pet when I was a teenager. So as you stare at your phone and will a new message to appear try to remember that it could be worse.

New relationship

This is the wonderful part of your relationship where your single friends and your couple friends hate you in equal measure. For you possess a pure happiness that is completely unattainable to anyone who isn’t at the beginning of a relationship. You send messages to your friends like “I


Me: Hi xxx Him: Hi babe xxxx Me: Miss you Him: I’m only in the kitchen lol

You have now farted in front of your partner and have come to terms with the fact that you each have bodily functions. Your messages have now changed to reflect the changing nature of your relationship and your predictive text types “Chinese or Indian?” all on its own. Most of the messages you get from your mother will now be queries about pending engagements and the need to buy a hat. Now that the first flush of love has faded your messages are once again dedicated to your besties:

Me: He’s driving me crazy, need a girls’ nite out Bestie: Same, need Prosecco Me: Call with a crisis Bestie: Hahahaha


It’s called the honeymoon period for a reason. Much like the beginning of a relationship your messages are universally dreaded by everyone and now consist of pictures of the wedding, the honeymoon, and those supremely annoying photos of both your hands with the wedding rings. Most people you know have now secretly unfollowed you on Facebook because they can no longer remember a time when they opened their newsfeed and weren’t confronted by your deliriously happy face. It’s not that your friends no longer like you,

it’s just that they used up all their happiness on your wedding and after party. Now there is only boredom and resentment, don’t take it personally. It goes something like this:

Me to Friend Me to Hubby Me: Hey, wanna come Me: BF is avoiding me, over tomorrow night? said she working tom nite BF: Sure what’s Hubby: Ur being happening paranoid she wouldn’t lie to you Me: Got my wedding Me: She’s a breakfast album chef BF: Sorry just Hubby: She’s jealous of remembered I have you babe to work x


Your communication now consists of messages about schoolbags and late night conversations about how tired you are. You have at least fourteen different WhatsApp and Viber groups solely dedicated to your kids’ after school activities and playdates with the children of the parents you can actually stand. Messages to your significant other are now less about sexting and more about passive aggressive, shouty, capital letter communications about whose turn it is to get some time out of the house:

Me: Hey babe, yoga at 7 remember, u b home Hubby: Should be, you got babysitter Me: NO, u said u be here

Hubby: I’ll do my best Me: I need this, be home Hubby: Doesn’t matter if ur 5 minutes late Me: it does if you want to LIVE Hubby: On my way We spend so much time in a virtual world that we can often forget to communicate with the three-dimensional people in our lives. Maybe you will spend this Valentine’s Day gazing into your lover’s eyes across a candlelit table in a romantic bistro. Maybe you will spend it trying to bribe the kids to go to bed early just you can have a few moments alone. Maybe your special someone is far away and you’ll be facetiming in your lingerie. Or maybe, just

µµMessages to your significant other are now less about sexting and more about passive aggressive, shouty, capital letter communications∑∑ maybe you’re having a cosy night in with an artificially intelligent robot that comes with an off switch, I’m sure that’s the dream. Whoever you spend your Valentine’s with; make memories for your heart instead of your Instagram account. No one wants to see more pictures of your hands. n



LAST word

The 15 most irritating things you can say to the man in your life BY CLARE BOWIE


I can’t believe the baby is finally sleeping through the night after three long, agonising years where we came close to killing each other. Should we have another?

I mean... I would cut the grass/hedge but I know you like doing it and the trimmer is a bit heavy for me. #selectivefeminism

3 40


Sorry! Was the last 10 minutes of the boxing match important? I switched off the recording because it clashed with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.


I don’t mind, you decide. #itsatrap

My whole family are just popping by to spend the weekend together and we may all have a laugh about you and your awful DIY skills. #hilaire

I’m just cleaning the house here, doing all the ironing, scrubbing the bathroom floor and making the dinner, but you just sit there, don’t even worry about answering the door when the Grand Prix is on.

You DIY– shame him. Why would we “get a man in?” You can plumb the bathroom, hang the shelves, build the gazebo and re-wire the house can’t you? #manup

I just got a few Farrow and Ball samples for the living room. I know we only got it done last year but I’ve gone right off it. The heart wants what the heart wants.


I’m going out and leaving you to make dinner and put the kids to bed but I also need a quick four hours to get ready first too. That’s ok right?


Let’s go shopping! We can get rid of your really comfortable jeans and try on some new skinny ones that cut off your circulation.


Let’s watch a movie, as long as it’s not too scary or violent and not remotely Star- Wars-like in any shape or form. Romantic and funny might work though.

Do I look old/like I have gained weight? #coderedsituation

Maybe we should get rid of Sky/go to IKEA/have a dry month/go vegan? #asteptoofar

Could you just take a quick photo of me for Facebook. Quick = 26 photos later.


I’ll just have a simple G&T when you’re on your feet, as long as it’s Jawbox with honeycomb and special ginger ale in a fish bowl glass with lots of ice, thanks hun. n



NW puts eye makeup remover to test “It is important to use products designed for the eye area, as the skin is thinner there and absorbs ingredients more rapidly than skin on other areas of the face,” says Caroline Casey IMAGE Skincare Trainer. “The area is delicate and susceptible to irritation therefore eye products use gentler formulations. There are no oil glands in the eye zone therefore hydration is a key factor. Eye products are formulated with all these differences in mind and that is what gives us the ultimate result of younger looking eyes.” The ladies at Northern Woman put four different products to the test. n

B. Effective Stubborn Makeup Remover £7.99 The product is oil-based so you need to shake it well. Once applied it took a lot of my eye make-up off on the first wipe and didn’t require too long to completely remove make-up which is ideal for me as I usually find the process arduous. It left an oily residue on my skin, but when I woke up the next day my skin was left silky smooth and not dried out or feeling tight, which I have experienced with other makeup removers. THE VERDICT: Pleasantly surprised by the product, it was quick and easy to use, removed all of the make-up and left my skin in great condition. Big thumbs up! SAG


Tried & Tested IMAGE Skincare I BEAUTY Flawless Rejuvenating Eye Pads This dual product is used to ‘gently lift away makeup while rejuvenating the appearance of tired or ageing eyes’. The product is said to significantly reduce fine lines and hydrate the skin. The pads removed my waterproof mascara easily. My lids felt cleansed and on close inspection I couldn’t see any makeup residue remaining after use. THE VERDICT: I was really impressed. At £34.50 the product is a lot more expensive that my usual eye makeup remover. Saying that, my go-to product doesn’t contain anti-aging botanicals or anti-inflammatory properties; the IMAGE Skincare eye pads are clearly a superior product. JD

Mary Kay Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover £13 I liked using this remover very much. I used a cotton wool pad and applied a little of the product, held it to my eyes for approximately five seconds and it removed almost all of the mascara and eye liner in one swipe. It just took one more wipe and all of the makeup was gone, very gently with no rubbing. When I had finished cleansing that there was no oily residue left. THE VERDICT: I would recommend this product and will continue to buy it as I believe this would assist in avoiding lines around the sensitive eye area as there is very little tugging or pulling while cleansing. IF

human + kind Miracle Make-up Remover £9.95 I usually use cotton balls and an eye makeup remover liquid, so I was intrigued by this product. The Miracle Make-up Remover is a reusable cloth that is said to ‘leave your skin make-up free and silky soft in one simple step’. To use, I washed the cloth first, wet it with lukewarm water, and wiped it around the eye area using only water. I could clearly see all of the makeup come off onto the cloth. THE VERDICT: I loved it. Sometimes I feel that I use too many different products on my skin, so I loved this ‘back to basics’ approach utilising water only. CD


I am confident that no one has ever gone through life without wearing a nude lip. It is definitely the most popular shade and is particularly associated with a day time look and is perfect with a smokey eye. My biggest piece of advice? Don’t go for a colour that is so nude it drains you out, always add a slightly darker lip liner to make sure that the lips pop. I am (pictured left) wearing my go-to combination of MAC ‘Spice’ lip liner and Rimmel lipstick 108.

Lip Looks Celebrity makeup artist Aimee Connolly explains how a lipstick can change your look


hether you are a makeup novice or know-it-all, lipstick is one product you can bet we’re all familiar with. It has been on the market for years and has defined certain eras in terms of how women painted their faces. Today we’re chatting all things lips and just how much of an impact they can have on your look. If you’re someone who wants to make a statement or maybe you’re rushing from work and need a quick spruce-up, these lipsticks are sure to make a difference. All three of these lips work and go with different looks – pick one that you’re comfortable with but don’t be afraid to shake things up. n

For more from Aimee check out or

THE CLASSIC BERRY This is a lip that for some is considered a nude and for others it is on the brink of being a statement lip – it really depends on how you wear your makeup. I use this colour a lot on my more mature clients to give them that bit of a lift without overpowering them. It suits all colourings and it means you can still afford to dress your eyes up too. My look (pictured right) is Max Factor Elixir Lipstick in shade ‘Mulberry’.


Nothing says vintage like a red lip. This for some is their ‘going out’ look and for others they would not dream of it, it is all about how you wear it. My biggest piece of advice when braving a colour like this, is to team a lip liner with it to help stop the bleeding. Secondly, don’t spend a fortune on a colour if you’re not sure you’ll wear again. This is why I have chosen a nice affordable match. The lip (pictured left) is Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipstick shade ‘Ruby Cutie’.


It’s with good reason that Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula, £3.99, is considered a cult beauty classic. This rich moisturiser softens and smoothes dry skin while also helping to heal and fade marks and scars. Plus it smells amazing.

Polish up your pout and give flaky, winter lips the push with this mango Lip Scrub from Barry M, £4.99. These handbag heroes are infused with Vitamin E and olive oil to repair and regenerate, plus avocado and jojoba oil to help nourish.

This Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour in Blush from Rimmel, £5.99, is the perfect, easily applied nude shade for full coverage that stays put without drying out lips.



Shake up your beauty routine without breaking the bank with these budget hero buys

There’s nothing like a bit of blusher to bring life to tired winter skin and this Flamingo Blush from Sleek, £4.99, packs a pigmented punch. Silk-fine and long lasting there are nine other shades to choose from so finding your perfect match shouldn’t be a problem.


Nail a smokey eye makeover with the Le Smokey Eyeliner from L’Oreal, £4.99. Available in four shades the pencil boasts intense, easy to blend colour and an integrated smudger to help you tailor your own look.


Give your makeup extra staying power with Collection’s Primed & Ready Illuminating Setting Powder, £3.99. The lightweight formula helps to set your base in place without caking and adds a subtle luminous glow.


A busy lifestyle, the sun and pollution can put stress on your skin, dulling its natural radiance and even causing breakouts. No7’s Early Defence Glow Activating Serum has been designed to counter the effects of air pollution and deliver healthier looking skin in just one week by boosting the skin’s natural renewal process, helping to clear and refine pores. Early Defence Glow Activating Serum from No7 £20


Dior has introduced two brand new finishes to its iconic Colour Reviver Lip Balm; Matte Glow and Holo Glow join this ink/ balm hybrid collection. Both are packed with nourishing ingredients to protect and moisturise for 24 hours while giving a transparent colour. And the best part? You don’t even need a mirror to apply these fool-proof formulas.

Lip Glow Colour Reviver Balm from Dior in Matte Raspberry £25


The latest makeup bag and skincare must haves


This matte eyeshadow palette from Too Faced features 12 shades of super pigmented, blendable buttery creams, peaches and rich browns all infused with a peaches and cream scent.



Studio Waterweight Pressed Powder from M.A.C. £28


Perfect for perking up jaded winter skin on the go Bobbi Brown’s Extra Glow palette features Extra Face Oil to instantly quench skin with intense moisture, Remedies Skin Salve No. 57 to protect and repair dry, chapped skin and Extra Soothing Balm to condition and provide a luminous, glowing finish.

Just Peachy Eye Palette from Too Faced £33

The new Studio Waterweight dualtoned Pressed Powder from M.A.C boasts warm and cool variations of your skin’s shade so you blend and customise for a perfect medium finish.

Extra Glow Skincare Palette from Bobbi Brown £34.00


Start the day right with this soft-radiance face primer from Benefit. Its oil-free, lightweight, silky smooth texture instantly minimises the look of pores and The locks on makeup while its pearly POREfessional pink tone helps skin look bright, Pearl Primer boosted and awake. from Benefit £27.50

They say a woman’s neck gives her age away first so keep them guessing and invest in a firming moisturiser. bareMinerals’ new Ageless Genius collection is formulated with mineral gold and age-defying peptides for wrinkle-fighting results. The Firming & Wrinkle Smoothing Neck Cream targets the delicate, damage-prone skin below your chin using Edelweiss extract, known for its firming Ageless Genius properties, hydrating Algae Firming & Wrinkle extract and free radical Smoothing Neck damage-inhibiting Jasmine Cream from extract. bareMinerals £42





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Health + Wellness 47

Tried & Tested


Bach Flower Remedies

Jade Beecroft goes for a Bach consultation


but the rest of the Bach range we see lined he 38 Bach Flower Essences up in health food stores can seem baffling, were created by Harley to say the least. Where do you Street physician start? That’s where a qualified Dr Edward Bach practitioner comes in. Bach at the Bach therapists run beginning through a serious of of the twentieth questions to build up century, using extracts an accurate picture from flowers such of their patient’s as heather, clematis, emotional state, honeysuckle and before creating a vine. Each of the bespoke blend of essences is intended around half a dozen to have an impact on a different emotional essences. Administering state. the remedy is simple; you Sharon Bingham As the essences are can either put a few drops natural, one of their benefits beneath your tongue or add is that they claim to be safe to use them to your water bottle. in conjunction with other medicines, on Bach devotees claim the essences can the elderly or very young, pregnant women, help with sleep problems, feelings of guilt and patients with serious health problems or anxiety, sadness, exam or work stresses, such as cancer. Some people even use them concentration problems and low self on their pets. It’s also very hard to overdose esteem. on them. Always look for a practitioner who is Most of us have heard of Rescue Remedy, registered with the Bach Centre. n


I’ve a keen interest in therapies which claim to be all-natural, so I was excited to meet Sharon Bingham, who runs Rainbow Therapies in Newtownabbey. Sharon is clearly a Bach devotee, and tells me that as well as regularly taking the flower essences herself, she also makes up batches for her daughter and newborn baby granddaughter. The key to success, according to Sharon, is tuning into her patient’s current emotional state. She tells me that the remedies work immediately, and goes onto ask a series of questions to find out where my head is at, right here, right now. We cover my general state of health, any worries or anxieties, what pushes my buttons and any stressful memories that may still be having an impact. I confess to being a bit of a workaholic, prone to bouts of 3am worrying, sweating the small stuff as well as the bigger picture, and – in my boyfriend’s words – possessing “zero patience”. Sharon prescribes me a mixture of cherry plum, to tackle my control-freak tendencies, impatiens (aptly-named, as it turns out), for my impatience, oak, for strength, pine, rock water, walnut and white chestnut to encourage feelings of tranquility and groundedness. She mixes my bespoke preparation right in front of me, using natural spring water, so I can see exactly what’s going into it, then tells me to take a few drops at regular intervals. It’s apparently impossible to overdose. If you Google Bach remedies you’ll find plenty of speculation as to whether the therapy has any scientific merit or whether its effects are purely placebo. I’m not a clinician or scientist, so I can only say as I find. Placebo or not, I very much enjoyed my consultation with Sharon, and after a few doses of my remedy, I could swear I feel a little more chilled out. I even caught myself driving 10mph BELOW the speed limit on the motorway last night – uncharacteristically cruising along in the slow lane with a peaceful smile on my face. If that’s the power of Bach then I’m a convert. Sharon charges £45 for an hour-long Bach consultation, which includes a bespoke remedy to take away. For more information visit or call 07881 658797.


Bach Flower remedies can be bought from The Nutmeg natural health food store located on 9a Lombard Street, Belfast. For more information visit

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Autism friendly Northern Ireland From cafes and hairdressers to cinemas and even car dealerships – Northern Ireland is going autism friendly. Jade Beecroft investigates


n Northern Ireland one in 40 children are on the autistic spectrum, so it makes good business sense to cater for them, according to Christine English, development manager at Autism NI. “Autism affects 30,000 families in Northern Ireland,” she explains. “So it makes sense to take it into account when thinking about your customer service. “Staff training is very important, so people know what autism is, what to look out for and how to help. “People with autism are very sensitive to their sensory environment, so it could be as simple as providing a quieter space or minimising flashing lights. “Parents with autistic children are also likely to plan ahead, so businesses can help by making sure information is available on their quietest times of day, or the layout of their premises.” Autism NI provides a family support helpline: 02890 401729. If you’re a parent looking for autism-


friendly services, here’s just a smattering of what Northern Ireland has to offer:


In June 2017, a project was announced to see Newcastle recognised as Northern Ireland’s first autism-friendly town. A number of local businesses are signed up to the initiative, including hotels, shops, restaurants, and even Maud’s ice cream parlour. The initiative has been a partnership between Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Autism Initiatives NI and the Equality Commission. Alison Robinson, from Autism Initiatives NI, explains: “We expect 70% of Newcastle businesses to be signed up to our ‘Every Customer Counts’ pledge by the end of March, and we then offer their staff training in autism awareness. We want Newcastle to be a friendly and inclusive space, both for adults with autism, and children with their families.” Get involved: For more information about Autism Initiatives NI, visit


The Movie House cinema chain offers autism-friendly screenings on the first weekend of every month, at its branches in Belfast’s City Side, Glengormley and Coleraine, where families can watch films in a more relaxed environment, with the cinema lighting left on and the sound turned down. The screenings take place at 11am, when the cinemas are usually quieter. Michael McAdam, Managing Director of Movie House, told us: “We’ve received numerous messages from parents saying how much they enjoy the monthly trip to the cinema and for us it’s great to see families coming out and enjoying a movie together.” Cost: Tickets are £3.50 per person. Next screenings: Animated kids movie Coco will be screened on February 3rd and 4th. Other options: Omniplex cinemas also offer autism-friendly screenings, where the volume is lowered, the lights left on and the cinema is never more than half full. Meanwhile the Odeon offers monthly autism-friendly screenings at its Belfast cinema on Sunday mornings.

packs for children, autism-friendly sessions at quieter times, chair leg protectors to stop scraping noises, and staff are trained to help by dimming lights, turning down the volume on music and switching off tannoy announcements. Where: Trust Ford has sites in Belfast, Ballymena, Mallusk, Lisburn, Coleraine and Craigavon. Contact your local showroom to see how they can help.


The Alley Arts and Conference Centre, in Strabane, has been given an Autism Impact Award by Autism NI for making sure its 30 staff have all been trained to support visitors with autism. It is part of a drive by Derry City and Strabane District Council to make all its arts and cultural venues autism friendly, which means training around 500 staff. Other options: Many theatres across Northern Ireland stage autism-friendly performances of family shows and have staff trained to assist people with autism, including the MAC and QFT in Belfast, and the Waterside Theatre, Millennium Forum and Playhouse in Derry. The Royal Opera House in Belfast hosts family Sundays on the last Sunday of every month.


Trust Ford is the first car dealership in Northern Ireland to gain an Autism Impact Award for the service it provides to customers and families. Its showrooms offer pre-visit information booklets and sensory


The new Kidz Shack, in Lisburn, is a hair salon just for kids, with games consoles, slush puppies and a soft play area, but it also has a dedicated sensory room for youngsters with autism, designed with the help of a local ASD family support group. Salon owner Kenny Parker explains: “The sensory room has visual toys, brightlycoloured fish and bubbles, an outer space theme, and the lights can be dimmed. But most importantly, our staff have been trained and the support group brought some autistic kids along to that training. We book the room out in half-hour slots so it’s less rushed and our stylists are often down on the floor, interacting with the kids as they cut.” Prices: A haircut in the sensory room starts from £12.50, and must be booked in advance. A free Kidz Shack temporary tattoo is offered with all services. Call 02892 666112.


From trampolining to outdoor activities,

there are loads of venues that offer sessions for kids with autism. We are Vertigo, in Belfast, runs sessions at 5pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for customers with sensory sensitivities. The lights are lowered and music is turned down. And the Liberty Consortium’s Playtrail, in Derry, has a special sensory play area and holds regular inclusive events. Meanwhile Belfast Zoo provides pre-visit information for families with autism and hosts quiet autism-friendly days. Cost: A one hour autism-friendly session at We are Vertigo costs £8 and a parent or carer can go free. Other suggestions: Jumpboxx NI, in Banbridge, has been accredited with an Autism Impact Award, as has Titanic Belfast, and Todds Leap outdoor activity centre in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone.


The Black Box, on Hill Street in Belfast, is an arts and entertainments venue that works in partnership with Autism Initiatives NI and other charities and support groups to run events for adults with autism and learning disabilities, including club nights, a film club, and even LBGT socials. Director Rachael Campbell-Palmer explains: “Seven years ago we had a young autistic woman on a work placement with us, and she told us how vulnerable she felt going on a night out with friends, so that’s where the idea for our Black Moon discos came from.” The next Black Moon disco is on February 6th, from 7pm to 10pm, with a bar and live DJs, but the volume is lowered, the room isn’t as dark as a traditional club, and there’s a chill-out room alongside. There’s also a relaxed Black Moon film club with regular Saturday screenings; again with the volume lowered and house lights up. For information: Call 02890 244400 or go to for a list of upcoming events. n


Survive and thrive The highs and lows of finding love


f you are single and are not particularly enjoying the experience, the ‘month of love’ February can be disheartening. We catch up with former serial dater turned life coach, Jennifer Boon as she has just released a book on the highs and lows of finding love; Survive & Thrive. After yet another dating disaster Jennifer began to wonder, ‘Why me? Why haven’t I found someone yet? Where is my soulmate? Why is he taking so bloomin’ long to get here?’ The author recounts some of her love life low points. “I was just about to turn 30 when I was dumped by the man I thought I


was going to settle down and have children with. I had another ex who dumped me by letter; unfortunately it went to the wrong house and I didn’t receive it. I rang him and he told me he was breaking up with me to go off with a lap dancer. “I had various long term relationships and they all followed a similar pattern – of the guy falling in love with me and then wanting out, to go off and do their own thing. “I went on lots of dates with guys who turned out to be players. “I remember one Christmas I met up with friends at home, by that stage they were all settled down. I told them my dating

stories and they were saying ‘how awful’. I felt like I was a car crash, the entertainment for the night, and like I was totally on my own. “It can be quite challenging when you get to your thirties and forties, and want to meet someone and it hasn’t happened.” Northern Woman asks, ‘What would you say to readers who are single at the moment and not enjoying the experience?’ “I would say it’s very common; lots of people feel this way,” Jennifer replies. “We are all unique and made up of different packages of good and bad. Liking ourselves and being happy within ourselves and who we are, can put us in a better place –

Jennifer Boon to focus on the present and on enjoying the experience. Jennifer advises us not to turn the date into an interview. “If you have been on countless bad dates, it can feel like the best way to get through to them is to ask the questions that you want to know the answers to without the pleasantries in between,” Jennifer says. However the other person may begin to feel like it’s an interrogation and nobody likes to be on the receiving end of being questioned. “Don’t get serious too quickly,” Jennifer adds. “If you are looking for a relationship there can be a tendency to jump in too quick – if there is too much pressure, then cold feet comes about. “Avoid having sex too early; it creates a level of intimacy that possibly isn’t there yet in a new relationship, and muddies the waters.”

A new set of challenges

although that can be quite challenging. “Listen to what is going on inside. Is it positive or negative? There are practical exercises you can do to figure out your beliefs and if there are patterns being repeated. Focus on the positives; this will help to get you to a better place.”

Date smart

At one stage following a breakup, Jennifer took a year out from dating and she believes the experience could benefit others. She says: “Having breathing space away from dating can be a really good chance for you to figure out what you want. Following a breakup we can be driven by the fear we won’t meet the right person. Time out gives us space, rather than jumping in and making the same mistakes over and over again.” In Survive & Thrive Jennifer outlines some of the tips that helped her and others, when looking for love. A biggie is avoiding ex chat on a first date, as it’s more helpful

A few years ago, following an unsuitable relationship with a controlling partner, Jennifer decided enough was enough. She listened to her intuition and broke things off. “I decided to go into acceptance mode,” she recalls. “My life partner might not be along for years so I may as well enjoy life in the interim and so I did.” Within the month, Jennifer was on a snowboarding trip with a friend when she met her “Mr One True Love”. Four months later the couple moved in together and got engaged within the year. “I’m happily married now and I have a baby girl. I wouldn’t change a thing, or any of my previous relationships. I think if I had met my husband in my twenties, I wouldn’t have appreciated how giving and kind he is, I wouldn’t have valued the qualities I see in him now. We have our ups and downs, it’s not a fairy-tale, but we have a strong bond. I believe this comes from being a bit older when we met and being willing to compromise. “I’m a romantic at heart, I believe there is

love out there for everybody. Being single is a stage in your life that you will move on from, and then another life stage will arise which will bring its own set of challenges. After I met my husband, we struggled to get pregnant and I have had miscarriages. “We all have a choice in how we approach life. Life is about facing different challenges, once we have mastered one there are more to face and there are so many life skills you learn along the way. “Being single is a chance to get to know you.” n

Quick jitter fixers Dating and putting ourselves out there can impact our confidence and self-esteem. Jennifer recommends these tools to help you manage pre-date jitters and build confidence. • Wear clothes that make you feel confident. When we are wearing things that don’t just make us feel great, it comes out in our posture, our way of being, and the things we say. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but find a first date outfit that makes you feel fantastic, sexy or full of life. • Connect to your breath. Practice breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six. By making the out breath a longer breath, it calms the heart and body into rest mode. • Visualise. When you are going to be in a situation that makes you feel unconfident, imagine the best outcome and that everything goes well. See it as a film being played out in your mind.



did something embarrassing the other day. I tracked down not one but two ex-boyfriends online. What can I say, I was feeling nosey; but as soon as I discovered the mundane truth, that they were; a) still living in Northern Ireland b) married or c) looked a little older, I quickly shut them down again and thanked the internet for not letting on about what I’d done. Anyway, yes, I was a bit nosey/nostalgic, whatever, but according to a number of studies my behaviour means I could actually be hurtling towards a midlife crisis. Oh! I was pretty relieved to find out that the other signs of a midlife crisis included taking vitamin pills, only reading books on holidays, checking out the internet doctor of doom with medical symptoms (never goes well that one), bad hangovers, and poor sleep patterns. So, basically, everything I do sums me up as a predictable cliché of a woman fretting wistfully about the past with a restless anxiety about the future. I’ll take that – sounds pretty normal, right? In fact, the more I read (not actual books obvs) the more I see how ubiquitous the term ‘crisis’ has become. The phrase ‘midlife crisis’ used to seem much more impactful; hinting at a dreaded, almost inevitable period of despair where we scrambled to make sense of our lives as time ran out; but now, every woman I know seems to be entertaining a ‘crisis’ at all ages, at all times, about all things from parenting to identity, wardrobe to confidence, careers to crow’s feet. Our anxiety is never too far from the surface and seems to become further compounded as we measure ourselves

Calm down it’s just A MIDLIFE CRISIS Clare Bowie says having a midlife crisis is not all bad

against each other, charting our achievements and failures, and comparing our coping strategies as we pursue the next goal. Is it even possible to avoid a feeling of crisis at midlife or any other time because we feel we never quite measure up to others, whose lives we perceive as perfect? Hands up anyone who hasn’t compared themselves, their relationships, their children or even their skin to a friend’s at some stage and felt a little jaded afterwards?

Running our own race

Perhaps the key to tackling all these bumps and changes in the road (i.e. life) is to run our own race. If we spend our lives afraid


ways. Whether it’s a loss of freedom in motherhood or a loss of youth as we grow older, it is our own thought patterns which will ultimately define if these changes will open a gateway to despair (or even depression), or a transitional opportunity for a renaissance period in your life. Most women cite a time of true crisis following a significant event in their lives; like a big birthday, giving birth, a loss, a divorce or an illness. Yes, a crisis is a critical period in our lives but not necessarily a bad period because it gives us the chance to question ourselves, our purpose and our contribution.

Moving forward

So whether our question is, ‘am I a good mother?’ or ‘what is the point of me?’ transformational coach and author Dr. Marcia Reynolds believes “it is better to ask the questions and seek the answers than to live a numb life”. She says: “if you are not questioning your identity or reassessing who you are you cannot move forward”.

µµI did something embarrassing... I tracked down not one but two ex-boyfriends online∑∑

because we are standing still or trying to measure up to others then we are sure to face a quarter-life, midlife or late-life crisis, fretting over every detail and doubting every decision from childcare to culottes. Maybe if we spent less time ‘checking in’ and comparing lifestyles we could spend more time defining what success means in our own lives. How can we truly appreciate ourselves or fulfil our own potential if we are convinced after every trawl through Instagram that the whole world is prettier, younger or funnier? Sometimes the comparisons can be overwhelming; the pressure on a new mother nowadays is intense, as she not only has to deal with the startling realisation

that her identity has changed forever as she becomes mummy but also contend with the fact that all the personal decisions she makes regarding feeding, sleeping or childcare, are suddenly in the public domain as others bombard her with their what’s best for (her) baby opinions. Jacqui Marson, a psychologist specialising in motherhood issues and published author, says that accepting your life has changed for good can be difficult but recognising the key factor that “the loss of identity is just a transitional period,” can ease the journey towards the “new you,” that will emerge at the other end. Like a new mother’s identity crisis, a midlife crisis can be seen in two

Dr. Reynolds believes that by the time women reach their midlife crossroads or “midlife quest for identity”, (typically aged 35-44, according to Relate), they may have already become disillusioned with their career path. Reynolds says as they deal with inequality in the workplace and “continually feel misunderstood and mismanaged they begin to drop off the corporate ladder. Their personal values and corporate values may become irreconcilable.” She believes that it is in their forties that many women “feel they can accomplish more working on their own”. A trend that is reflected in the figures for female entrepreneurship which saw a 45% increase in the number of female business owners in a three-year period (between 2013 and 2016 – as reported in the Financial Times); and is surely far removed from the view that midlife is a desperate time of boredom and regret rather than a time of re-evaluation and clarity. For me, midlife brings a little more bingo wing to the table but also a little more mental freedom. For Suzanne Collins it meant penning The Hunger Games at 46, for Julianne Moore it meant winning an Oscar at 54. Vera Wang was 40 before she entered the fashion industry and Halle Berry was 47 when she had her second child. As David Bowie said: “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming”. n


Scott doing snow yoga


Can dunking yourself in icy water really be good for your health? Jade Beecroft meets a Bangor man who is championing cold immersion therapy


o anyone whose mum once warned “you’ll catch your death of cold”, the idea of voluntarily climbing into icy water must seem counterintuitive… to say the very least! But 30-year-old Scott Riley credits cold immersion therapy with helping to turn his life round, and now he’s building a business teaching others his alternative techniques. Scott’s health coaching company, Causeway Living, offers day and weekendlong retreats, where he tutors a group of clients in breathing techniques and stretching, takes them hiking in the Mournes, and finishes with a freezing dip in a mountain pool or lough. And if you’re thinking ‘I wouldn’t do that if you paid me’, then you’ll be intrigued to hear that Bangor’s answer to Bear Grylls


charges upwards of £79 for the privilege. “The feedback I get is so positive,” says Scott. “People feel exhilarated and get a huge sense of achievement. It’s about helping them to find confidence and trust in their bodies.” Scott, who was a graphic designer before setting up his own business, has a huge interest in natural health and stumbled across cold immersion therapy via podcasts and videos online. He found a Dutch practitioner called Wim Hof, who has trained his body through cold exposure, meditation, stretching, yoga and breathing techniques. Scott signed up for a 10-week online course with Hof, teaching himself to stand under freezing showers and eventually moving onto ice baths and wild swimming. He then travelled to Los Angeles, in the States, to train to become an official instructor of the Wim Hof Method.

Dash & Splash, Bangor

“The science behind cold immersion therapy is really fascinating,” explains Scott. “There’s this old-fashioned assumption that getting cold leads to you catching a cold, but swift exposure to icy water actually does the opposite. “Research suggests that controlled cold exposure training can increase the body’s white blood cell count, which boosts the immune system. It’s also a brilliant stressbuster. So many of us function in a state of low-level stress, juggling our busy lives, and it’s really bad for our health. “In my workshops, we raise the body’s stress levels by getting into cold water, which naturally takes your breath away. By then regulating your breathing using my techniques, you learn how to bring your body out of that fight/flight state. It’s exhilarating and powerful.” Scott’s interest in alternative health practices is very personal. Four years ago he weighed 19st, suffered chronic rheumatoid arthritis, bouts of depression, and at his worst could barely walk up a flight of stairs. Now the image is very different; Scott is a glowing advert for his own brand. “Every morning I woke up in pain,” he remembers. “I was at rock bottom. I was 26-years-old and hardly had the strength – or inclination – to get out of bed.” Knowing he needed a major life change, Scott booked himself a place at a plant medicine and therapy centre in the Peruvian Amazon, and put himself on a two-month juice fast to lose enough weight for the trip. He came home a changed man – not just physically, but mentally too – having spent three weeks in the company of “inspirational and positive” natural health advocates. For the first time in years he was able to throw out his arthritis medication

Practicing cold immersion therapy in the Mournes and anti-depressants. “You can get stuck in a vicious cycle of ill health,” says Scott. “But it’s actually quite simple to reverse. You take that momentum that got you down and turn it around, making small positive changes to build a better life. “If you concentrate on small steps in the right direction, the bigger picture will take care of itself.” Scott went on to train as a holistic lifestyle coach at the Chek Academy in Lancashire, England, because he “wanted to help others stuck in a rut”. He’s constantly researching and updating his repertoire of techniques, meaning he can tailor his services to best suit his clients.

µµYou learn how to bring your body out of that fight/flight state. It’s exhilarating and powerful.∑∑ “For me there are six pillars to good health,” he explains. “Hydration, nutrition, sleeping, breathing, moving and thinking. During my courses and retreats we look at simple tools for each of these areas. “For example, if you want to improve your sleep, I recommend you have a digital detox before bedtime. The light emitted from computer, TV and phone screens actually inhibits your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. So switch off the social media after 10pm at the latest.” Scott offers a Six Week Shift, an online course starting from £69, with targets and tutorials in each of these areas, such as breathwork and stretches. His one-day and weekend retreats are more hands-on, with regular pauses as he guides his clients up Slieve Donard to discuss positive lifestyle changes. And Scott believes a touch of karma led to him finding his perfect mountain pool for the cold immersion climax. “After I got home from San Diego I took my girlfriend away for a weekend in the Mournes,” he explains. “We took a wrong turn on our way to the hotel and ended up at a place called

Bloody Bridge, which is just this perfect, picturesque pool of water. It was almost like it had been designed with my cold water immersion in mind – it’s so beautiful. Of course I pulled off my clothes and dived straight in, while my girlfriend watched from the bank!” Diving straight in isn’t for the faint hearted, and for Diane Hurley, from Dublin, a childhood fear of water made completing Scott’s retreat even more of a challenge. “It’s always been a goal to conquer my fear,” she explains. “I found Scott very patient and caring, and his candidness in sharing his own transformation helped me take the leap. “The breathing techniques helped me focus and build up some inner heat to the point where I wasn’t really aware of the cold water on my skin until it hit my chest. I continued the slow breathing and this helped me keep focus and start to relax, surrender to it and enjoy the experience. “I have been going into the sea twice a month since then and find the benefits to be enormous. I’ve lost any anxieties I had been carrying. It’s even impacted my professional life; I’m calm and focused during presentations and making major decisions.” For an introduction to Scott’s work, he runs free ‘Dash and Splash’ sessions run every Sunday in Bangor. It’s open to all abilities, the group meets at Pickie Fun Park for a light jog along the shore, followed by a bracing dunk in the sea. Meeting times vary according to tides, but Scott posts details of each week’s event on his Causeway Living Facebook page. Claire Ritchie, from Bangor, attends most weeks. “My family thought it was hilarious,” explains Claire. “Normally I hate cold water; I even struggle to get in the sea on holiday. But Scott is so calming and motivating. He talks us through some breathing techniques before we get in, and then we all take the plunge together. “I always feel so invigorated and proud of myself afterwards. I’ve suffered with anxiety but working with Scott has really helped. And I haven’t had a cold yet this winter either.” n For more information on Causeway Living and Scott’s retreats, visit



Rome, Italy


SAYING ‘MILLE GRAZIE’ to these money saving tips for your trip to Italy BY JULIA BUCKELY


o, how does one avoid being ripped off in Italy? In exactly the same way one avoids being ripped off anywhere. Venice is no different to Paris, Barcelona, Moscow, New York or Buenos Aires. Or London, for that matter. Avoid tourist traps, be vigilant, check prices and look those gift horses in the mouth. Having said that, there are a few things to remember in Italy that can save you from trouble. And, this being Italy, they mainly revolve around food. Whether you’re in the most touristy bar in Rome or a tiny cafe in a Calabrian village, standard practice is to charge more for customers who sit down than those who stand up. Some places waive this; most don’t. By law, all bars have to state their different prices for bar and table service. Look – or ask – for the ‘listino prezzi’, and compare ‘al banco’ to ‘al tavolo’. Sometimes the difference is very little, sometimes it’s vast – at somewhere like Quadri in Venice’s Piazza San Marco, for example, the coffee that might cost you €2 at the bar will be more like €15 sitting down. There might even be a music charge for sitting outside.

Fish for a bargain

Fresh fish in Italy is usually charged by weight, so unless you’re prone to carrying scales around with you, you’re at the mercy

of the restaurateurs. The vast majority will price it fairly, but like anywhere, the odd bad apple will take advantage. This doesn’t mean you can’t order fish; it means order fish with care. Specify what kind of size you want – tell them you’re not hungry and they’ll pick a small fish. Ask how much it’ll be, roughly – they’re usually happy to weigh it. And don’t be shocked if it’s expensive – it is, after all, fresh fish, prepared for your sole delectation, and is almost certainly worth it. Just check the price in advance. The same goes for meat – although most cuts will be charged by dish, some, like a fiorentino steak, will be done by weight. Check the small print – if it says something like “€8 all’etto”, or “100g”, you’re being charged by weight.

Check the extras

Most restaurants in Italy will charge a coperto, or cover charge. It might be 50 cents, or in a really posh place it might be €4. You can’t get around that, but if you’re offered anything else – bread, bruschetta, olives – it pays to check whether that’s included. Bread is usually included in the coperto, but sometimes not. Lots of restaurants will finish dinner with limoncello on the house – but if you’re in a touristy place, best check it is indeed on the house. If anyone tries to tempt you with extras – check. It might be a present, or it might be charged.

Question things

If they bring a 3.5kg platter of fish along with your spaghetti, question it. If you’ve asked to share something (‘in due’ is how

to order that) and it looks huge – check it’s only one portion. Question things the minute they arrive, not once you’ve eaten them. It might not be them trying to take advantage; it might be a simple language barrier. It’s illegal in Italy not to be given an itemised receipt. So you should always get one anyway – but if you’re suspicious about something, make absolutely sure you get it. Don’t accept a receipt that just shows the total, instead ask for it to be itemised; request “il conto dettagliato” or “il conto lungo”.

And one for the road...

Getting a taxi home? Check the official prices. Roman taxi drivers in particular have a bad reputation – the guys at Ciampino airport who insist on quoting astronomical prices for a trip into town, when the fixed price of €30 is written on the door – but there are ways to get around it. Check the official prices – which are always clearly displayed in a cab. Check the tariff for the time of day. Use an app like ItTaxi so you have a record of the driver and the route they took if there are problems later. Always take official taxis – always! Avoid the airport chancers asking you “Taxi?” in arrivals, and queue with the other sensible people. And if the worst happens? You can try reporting it to the city authorities, or, if you have time, you can approach the police to make an official ‘denuncia’. Most importantly, try not to let it ruin your trip. You may have been unlucky enough to taste a bad apple, but the vast majority of others on the tree are really very sweet. n


Downtown Miami


in just three days



t was ambitious. It was audacious; one of our most audacious trips yet. We were going to abandon the children and go for a city break… in Miami. I know it sounds cracked but it was eminently doable. We would fly out Sunday afternoon on Aer Lingus’s direct flight, back Wednesday evening, arriving home Thursday morning and straight into work. So three days and three nights, and we would get a city break, a beach break, winter sun, a cultural holiday, and an American shopping experience. The flights were longish, true, but without children, we decided the flights would be part of the holiday. And the flight was like a holiday. Not to make you all puke here but they gave us an upgrade on the way out. The seat turned into a bed, a bed that was actually comfortable. Champagne to start off with and the great joy of having a mini-bottle of mouthwash. I hid the sandwiches I always bring with me on flights and succumbed to the luxury. We actually arrived more refreshed than when we took off. I thought at that point that the cabin crew were extra nice to the First Class people, but I discovered on the way home when I was back to being a normal person and we had the same crew, that they are actually just extra nice.

A man with a plan

We had planned things with military precision. We needed to stay awake until a


Graffiti artist, Wynwood reasonable time the first night to adjust and I knew if we were walking around dazed looking for somewhere to go or something to eat we would make bad decisions and maybe fight. So I had a plan; a walk of about a mile down Collins Avenue would allow us to have a lookabout and would bring us to Taquiza, which I had gleaned online was a funky, casual taco bar. So that’s what we did, walked down in the balmy air taking in the South Beach cool crowd. And then we just ordered pretty much everything on the menu up at the counter. The food was amazing, we got a few beers in, and we strolled back up to bed. It was a good start and it actually set the tone for the rest of the trip, which became a mini love affair with Mexican street food. Mealtimes went out the window really and we just ate whenever we saw good Mexican, from tacos at Huahuas at the top of Lincoln Road to small plates at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar. The Palms Resort and Spa, where we

were staying, was on the beach but away from the madness of the trendier end of South Beach. It was more relaxed and oldschool, kind of plantation style.

Keeping the kids happy

The next day was a bit cloudy so we allocated the morning for shopping. This had been included in the plans but was moveable depending on the weather. Mainly we were on a mission to go to Target to get Toca Boca clothing for the kids. I won’t divert into explaining Toca Boca but rest assured the only way we were being allowed to America without a load of guilt was to get Toca Boca clothing. I’ll be honest, we’re pathetic this way but we would have spent the whole three days in Target. If you can imagine a giant shop that has everything, then this is it. We loaded up on American sweets and even rare cereal for the kids as well. The younger is obsessed with American rubbishy food from YouTube so it gave us a

Getting there Aer Lingus flies direct to Miami, Florida, three times a week all year round from Dublin. Fares start from €209 each-way, including taxes and charges, when booked as a return trip. Enjoy US Immigration pre-clearance at Dublin Airport and avoid any queues Stateside. The Palms Hotel winter rates from $295 per night and summer rates from $175 per night. See For more information on Miami see

to be part of a walking tour because it meant you could do what you really want to do in Little Havana: gawk. We did it in cigar shops where there were Cuban women rolling cigars while smoking cigars, and we did it in local restaurants and the park where all the old people play dominoes. But it was OK because we were part of a tour. A tour is essentially staring legitimised.

South Beach, Florida

A USA energy jolt

good excuse to hang around Target looking at all the crazy stuff they have there. We were doing it for our kids.

Cultural outings

That evening was earmarked for Wynwood; a formerly rundown area reclaimed by artists and hipsters. The big attraction there is the Wynwood Walls which are essentially murals but really good ones, a whole park full of them, many done by well-known

artists. They’re better than they sound and they also made you feel you had done something cultural so you can then enjoy a few beers in the cool little bars around Wynwood, and more Mexican street food and blood orange frozen margaritas at Coyo. Our other cultural outing was a walking and eating tour of Little Havana the next day. The main thing I learnt from this is that Cuban food isn’t great, but it was great

Miami is two-thirds Latina and it has all kinds of layers. Sometimes you feel you could be in Mexico, then there’s the Cuban feel, and then there’s a whole tropical vibe as well. But all the time you’re in America. We hadn’t been in America for 10 years, since before the eldest was born, and we had both been craving that great jolt of energy the US gives you. And we loved just hanging out, soaking up the American-ness of everything. The beauty of Miami is that while some parts are a little dispersed, if you’re staying on the beach, you can wander around up and down Collins Avenue and it’s all there, so it’s actually really relaxing, unlike other city breaks. We swam in the warm ocean before breakfast every day, joining other early beach birds who were doing their morning yoga routine, walking or contemplating life. We loved our trip. We came back relaxed and having had a great laugh, without a cross word the whole time, I even noticed my wife forgot about the kids for a few hours here and there. We plan to make it an annual event. But don’t tell the kids that. n


Bournemouth Why Bournemouth is trending as a weekend destination

Hengistbury Head Beach Huts



irbnb has announced its top travel trends for 2018 and there is a surprising inclusion. The seaside town of Bournemouth was found to have the second-highest increase in bookings on Airbnb in the past year. Located along England’s southern coast, Bournemouth came second in its list of trending destinations (behind Korea’s Gangeung) which has seen an incredible 353 percent increase in bookings over the past year. Airbnb wrote in its report: “An unusually warm microclimate, dramatic seascapes, and a buzzing nightlife of clubs and casinos make Bournemouth a tempting destination this year.” Here’s everything you need to know about spending a weekend there:

The lowdown

Golden sand, tropical gardens and the sea at your doorstep, you’d hardly guess this was England. But Bournemouth is quite literally a hot spot – it gets warmer weather than most of the UK – and people are making it their go-to holiday destination. With an abundance of bars, restaurants and cafes to choose from, your culinary minds will be spoiled for choice.

What to do

Home to seven miles of beaches, this destination comes into its own in summer. Bournemouth pier is a welcome change to the better-trodden ones of Brighton and Hastings – it has an activity centre complete with an obstacle course, climbing wall and zip line. Bournemouth Gardens is home to an aviary, plants from three different continents and rock gardens. The coastal villages of Boscombe, Southbourne and Westbourne are dotted


Bournemouth Beach & Pier delicately along the clifftops if you fancy going for a drive along the coast during your stay. If visiting during winter, the Bournemouth market is a must, as is the ice rink set among its historic illuminated gardens.

Where to stay

There are more than 300 Airbnb rentals in Bournemouth which average at £68 per night. But if you’re after a more traditional stay we’ve listed our picks below.

Derby Manor

An Edwardian Boutique Guesthouse with a contemporary twist, the Derby Manor is a family-run guesthouse with 11 individuallydesigned rooms. Rooms start from £90 per night. For information visit:

The Living Room

A quirky, vintange boutique B&B, The Living Room is filled with charm and character, and has seven individually styled rooms. While there, make sure you pay a visit to their traditional tea room and coffee lounge.

Rooms start from £60 per night. Visit:

The Green House

A luxury boutique hotel, The Green House is a 32-room Grade II Victorian villa in the heart of Bournemouth, perfectly nestled between Dorset’s finest blue-flag golden beaches and the ancient mysteries of the New Forest that’s all about sustainability. Rooms start from £60 per night. Visit:

How to get there

Fly direct from Belfast to Southampton (39km away), Bristol (90km away), Exeter (111km away) or London Gatwick (122km away). It takes two hours to get to Bournemouth via direct train from London’s Waterloo and costs £60.50 return.

When to visit

While the summer months will provide the perfect beach-going opportunities Bournemouth is famous for, winter can make for a cosy seaside getaway. You should go here if you are in need of fresh sea air, a place to clear your thoughts and relax. n

Rebecca’s Wine Recommendation: CRITO February From Calabria in the toe of Italy comes a wine that looks forward to the future and innovation while at the same time respecting the traditions of the past. This wine is named after Crito, the favourite pupil of the famous scholar Socrates, and is so named to represent a pursuit of knowledge. Since being founded in 1950 by Niccodemo Librandi this winery, which is still family run, has had a place at the centre of the community and produces wines with a real sense of pride and respect for the people and terroir of the region. Bianco Critone is a blend of Chardonnay (90%) and Sauvignon Blanc (10%) with the grapes picked by hand and fermentation controlled in stainless steel tanks. The result is a superb dry white wine with delicate aromas of green apples complemented by hints of peach and wildflowers. It is crisp on the palate with a refined elegance and true depth of flavour. As a wine to accompany this mouth-watering hake dish it is a wonderful pairing with the rounded Chardonnay character matching the fish while the zestiness of the Sauvignon blanc harmonises perfectly with the capers and lemon butter.

Portavogie Hake Serves 4 Ingredients • • • • •

4 x175g Hake fillets 100g Pink Prawns (defrosted) 100g Spinach (washed) 30g Baby Capers ½ Lemon (juiced)

For the gnocchi • 700g/1lb 9oz Desiree Potatoes, roughly cut to pieces of similar size and unpeeled · Salt and freshly ground black pepper • 2 free-range eggs, yolks only · 150g/5½oz plain flour · Rice flour, for dusting For the Parmesan Crisps • 200g of grated Parmesan


1. For the gnocchi, place the potatoes in a saucepan with lots of salted cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, but not falling apart (about 15–20 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes). 2. Drain and allow to cool a little. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins. While the potatoes are still warm, mash them until smooth or pass through a ricer, then set aside to cool completely. 3. Season the cooled potatoes with salt and pepper, stir in the egg yolks and add the flour. Bring the mixture together to form a dough. 4. Sprinkle some rice flour on a clean work surface and roll out the dough into long sausage shapes.

With a sharp knife cut the roll into dumpling shapes of about 2cm/1in. Set aside. 5. Preheat oven 180°c. 6. Heat a medium Frying pan on a high heat. Add a table spoon of olive oil then add the Hake skin side down, fry for about 1 minute then put in the preheated oven for approx. 6mins. When timer is done take fish out turn over add lemon juice and a knob of butter. Rest. 7. Heat another pan medium heat add a little butter then your capers, pink prawns and spinach lightly fry for about 30sec to 1 min. 8. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop in the gnocchi. Simmer until they rise back to the top then lift them out with a slotted spoon. Drain well and taking care not to break up the gnocchi. For the Parmesan Crisps 9. Preheat the oven to 210 C / Gas 6/7. Cover a baking tray with a silicone baking mat, or with baking parchment. 10. Sprinkle the Parmesan in 4 to 5cm circles onto the mat. Cook for 4 minutes in the preheated oven. 11. Remove biscuits from the mat with a palette knife. Take a rolling pin and roll each biscuit onto the pin whilst they are still warm. Let each biscuit cool on the rolling pin. The biscuits will take the shape of the rolling pin. 12. Serve once cooled and crisp. 13. Serve immediately with your gnocchi mix and Hake fillets and put your parmesan crisp on top


Northern Woman’s round up of this month’s most happening events Motorcycle enthusiasts gear up for the NI Motorcycle Festival, on 2-4 February at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Lisburn. Festival features include stunt shows, aerial displays, drifting and Supermoto races. Tickets cost £12, free admission for under sixteens.

David Meade brings his Wizard of Odds show to the Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, on 3rd February. In his funniest show yet, “the first mentalist to a win a million dollars in a Las Vegas casino will blow your mind as he beats the odds and predicts the impossible”. Tickets cost £18.

‘Kickstart your Wellbeing’ at Castle Espie’s special Saturday session on 3rd February. Each session starts with a 45-minute fitness burst on the Castle Espie reserve depending on the weather, run by ‘Chief Victoria’ from Tribal Fitness Bootcamps. Next you’ll attend a seminar on Personal Energy Management with insights and self-assessment techniques, which will allow you to make the right nutrition choices. Lastly tuck into a healthy brunch prepared by The Kingfisher Kitchen team at Castle Espie. To book call 028 9187 4146. Cost £20.


The Script are set to play at the SSE Arena, Belfast, on 6th February. They will be playing tracks from fourth UK number one album, Freedom Child, in addition to old favourites. At the time of publishing only single seated tickets were available.

Michael Flatley is bringing ‘Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games’ to the Millennium Forum, Derry/Londonderry on 8th February. With all the action and thrills of the original show, Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games features new staging, new costumes, choreography and forty of the world’s most outstanding young performers. The show is directed by Michael Flatley, and includes his protégés, Morgan Comer and Cathal Keaney.

The Bog Couple runs at the Playhouse, Derry/Londonderry from 13-17 February. Fate and failed marriages have crashed two men together under the same roof in the Rossville Flats in the midst of The Troubles - in the mismatch of the century. The comedy follows Oscar Meenan and Felix Young - both “Bogside men” - one a Catholic and one a Protestant; one is an easy-going slob and one an obsessive perfectionist preoccupied with neatness. Join them in the Bogside in 1976 to find out if true friendship can overcome all in this story of bittersweet disharmony.

Spend an evening with the Pride of Belfast, ‘The Jackal’ Carl Frampton, as he talks about his career highlights from humble beginnings and amateur boxer days to becoming the two-weight World Champion and global megastar. See Carl Frampton at the Belfast Waterfront on 9th February, tickets cost £30.

Photo credit: Max Rosenstein The 21st century’s most famous astronaut, Colonel Chris Hadfield, returns to Belfast on 15 February. ‘An Evening with Chris Hadfield’ is a unique 90-minute presentation by this Canadian pioneer reflecting on his 35-year history complete with rarely seen videos from space. Tickets cost £22.50 and are available from the SSE Arena Belfast from £22.50.

Be transported back to the nostalgic days and music of the fab fifties and swinging sixties at the Rock N Roll Years and Dance Hall Days on 16 February at Riverside Theatre, Coleraine. Audiences will be taken back to a time when dance halls were filled with the sounds of Four Seasons, the Shadows, Neil Sedaka, Dean Martin, Patsy Cline, Elvis and much, much more!

Born2Run Castewellan takes place on Castlewellan Forest Park, Down on 24th February. The race starts and finishes in the shadow of the Majestic lakeside castle and participants will enjoy fantastic views of the Mourne Mountains. Choose between the 5k or 10k distance. Register online for the final race in this year’s Belfast Telegraph Run Forest Run Series. To register visit:


The Mercy

Movie roundup New films coming to a cinema near you this month

Lies We Tell

A trusted driver must deal with his dead boss’s Muslim mistress. Her dark past pulls him into a life-and-death showdown with her notorious gangster cousin/ex-husband. Will he escape with his life? Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Harvey Keitel, Sibylla Deen, Mark Addy and Jan Uddin Release date: 2nd February

Phantom Thread

Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the centre of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites and dames. Women come and go through Reynolds’ life, until he meets Alma; a strong-willed young lady who soon becomes his muse and lover. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville and Camilla Rutherford Release date: 2nd February

stability, new threats could jeopardise their happy ending before it even begins. Starring: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Kim Basinger and Arielle Kebbel Release date: 9th February

The Mercy

Yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s failed attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race ends up with him creating an outrageous account of travelling the world alone by sea. Starring: Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis and Genevieve Gaunt Release date: 9th February


In the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California. Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mother. Lady Bird is an emotive look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the the meaning of home. Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts and Lucas Hedges Release date: 16th February

Dark River

Following the death of her father, Alice returns to her home village in Yorkshire for the first time in 15 years, to claim the tenancy to the family farm she believes is rightfully hers. Alice’s relationship with brother Joe is tumultuous and they both fight for what they believe is rightfully theirs. Starring: Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley and Sean Bean Release date: 23rd February

Finding Your Feet

Fifty Shades Freed

The third instalment of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy sees newlyweds Christian and Ana fully embrace a passionate connection and shared life of luxury. But just as Ana steps into her role as Mrs Grey and Christian relaxes into an unfamiliar

Lady Bird

Dark River

On the eve of retirement a middle class, judgmental snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend. She is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished innercity council estate. Starring: Joanna Lumley, Timothy Spall, David Hayman and Imelda Staunton Release date: 23rd February n

LIVING Credit: Walls painted in Dulux Grey Splendour, Drifting Cloud & Cobalt Night, £25.72 for 2.5L tin




In the March issue of

Wardrobe updates Interior must-haves Hair care products we can’t live without The surprising things you learn as a mother


Interiors, health & wellness, travel reviews, local weddings, beauty news, events, competitions and lots more

Credit: Joules



Presenting February’s round up of the best of high street finds and designer buys BY RÓISÍN CARABINE


Moroccan Style Berber Diamond Rug, 100% wood from £180


‘Halo’ Iron & Brass Bar Trolley with glass shelves from £269

‘Jerry’ Dining Chair with metal base from £75

Katherine Carnaby Handwoven Coast Diamond Cream Rug from Harvey Norman from £780

Vitra Charles & Ray Eames DSR Chair, available in a choice of colours from £235

Copper Wall Clock from Primark £8

‘Egil’ Copper Wall Clock from £29

Brass Planter with stand from £78

Yellow Planter from Sainsbury’s Home £14

‘Indra’ Table Lamp in copper with marble base from £49

Marble & Brass Drinks Trolley from £355

‘Ora’ Table Lamp in marble and polished brass from £139 Wire Design Stool/Table from Sainsbury’s Home £35

Ferm Living Medium Wire Basket in petrol with oiled oak lid from £134


Mardi Gras 599 Sagres Vinyl tiles from Carpetright, £15.99 a square metre

BLING bathrooms on a budget 15 clever ways to give your bathroom a glamorous update with ideas that won’t break the bank BY RÓISÍN CARABINE

Walls painted in Dulux Grey Splendour, Drifting Cloud & Cobalt Night, £25.72 for 2.5L tin

01 Replace the floor

If you change just one thing, consider patterned flooring. Statement flooring is very en vogue and can make a dramatic difference to the look of your scheme. For an inexpensive update choose vinyl; it’s stylish, highly practical and comes in a huge choice of creative designs and colour combinations.

02 Add a chair

Nearly all high-end bathrooms have some sort of seating, be it a simple wooden bench, stool or gorgeously upholstered armchair. If you’ve the space, consider a throne of your own.

03 Refresh with paint

Giving your bathroom a new lick of paint can be totally transformative – and it’s cheap. Remember to choose a paint that’s specifically formulated to protect against moisture and mould growth. Dark shades look gorgeously rich and expensive, and work equally well in high ceilinged rooms and petite suites.

04 Hang mirrors

Mirrors have an instant knack of making a bathroom look expensive and glamorous. A floor-to-ceiling mirrored wall can look totally decadent, although one oversized decorative mirror can be equally impactful.


06 Add greenery

Large leafy, sculptural houseplants are very on trend and perfect for adding a touchy of green glamour to a simple bathroom scheme. Choose wet-loving vegetation that thrive in low light, high humidity and warm temperatures such as Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena, Boston Fern and Aloe Vera.

Monstera potted plants (set of two) £94, tropical leaf shower curtain £8, Mirror £25, laundry basket £35, all from Dunelm. Hansgrohe Axor Starck V single lever basin mixer in chrome and glass from £650. Visit for stockist details.

05 Update the hardware

Replacing taps and shower heads with quality fittings in sculptural shapes and on trend finishes is an effective way of giving a bath, sink or shower cubicle a completely new look. For maximum visual impact consider waterfall spouts, transparent mixers, rain shower heads or a floor standing bath/ shower set in black or rose gold.

07 Contain and display

One of the easiest ways to give your scheme an elevated aesthetic is to find a place for all your bits and bobs. Store toothbrushes in a stylish tumbler, display soap in a dish rather than on the sink and stash cotton buds and dental picks in glass jars – a row of these on a shelf above the sink will instantly pretty up the place.

Savoy Geo bathroom set from George Home @ Asda, tumbler £4, dispenser £6 & toilet brush £9


Davey Extra -large Quad Pendant brass 7636 XL light from, £945

08 Get the light right

Lighting is so often overlooked in a bathroom as it has to be practically pleasing, but it’s often aesthetically boring. Add a little drama with a show-stopping chandelier, oversized shade or a cluster of pendants hung at different heights.

09 Invest in smart storage

Have you noticed how organised and clutterfree spa-like bathrooms are? Transform yours with smart streamlined storage. Make the most of every inch with free-standing cabinets, shelves, baskets, boxes, rails, hooks and ladders.

Vilto shelving units £40 & £50, Vilto towel stand £30, Vilto step stool £17, Brogrund hooks £3 (two pack), Brogrund glass shelf £11 & Nordrana baskets (set of two) £6, all from Ikea


10 Replace the bath panel

Swap a plain, white plastic bath panel for a more exciting mirrored version. This will help to create the illusion of space and also serves to bounce light around the room which is useful in a suite with little or no natural light.

11 Reclaim and restore

For an Insta-worthy suite why not transform an existing piece of furniture into a high-style vanity. Just cut a hole in the top of an old dresser or chest for a drop-in sink. Finish the look with wallmounted taps.

10 Walls that wow

Being creative with wallpaper and tiling can really invigorate a scheme. Paper a feature wall or inside shelving in marble wallpaper (see, or how about making a standout splashback in gorgeously tactile 3D tiles.

15 Creative candle displays

Even the smallest design touches can really add to the polish of a room. Create an eye-catching display with a cluster of single colour pillar candles on a shelf or windowsill. Items positioned in groups appear considered without looking cluttered. Try standing a mirror behind the candles for double the impact.

3D Offset Hexagon wall tiles in light grey from, from £134 per square metre

13 Buy new towels

Tired, worn towels are a sure way of making your bathroom look unloved and low budget. All the best boutique hotel bathrooms have the softest, fluffiest towels and if you want to make an impression in yours buy the best Egyptian cotton you can afford. The best towels should get you dry quickly and dry out speedily too – nobody likes going back to a towel they used that morning to find it damp.

Luxury Charcoal textured roller blinds, made to measure, from, from £42.67

14 Dress the windows

J by Jasper Conran towels from Debenhams, from £11 each

Forget wooden blinds and shutters, this year’s best dressed bathroom windows are wearing patterned window film and material blinds in solid colours for dramatic effect.


“The stairway is quite different as it’s not actually attached to the wall. Our small grand piano is perfectly placed to inspire Ottis to play.”

A Georgian-inspired new build with modern comforts BY CATRIONA DOHERTY

Northern Woman visits Claire and Patrick Marshall’s Georgian-inspired home in Holywood, Co Down Photography by Michael Bradley 74


laire says she always loved Georgian style but wanted the comfort of a modern building. With tall narrow windows, high ceilings, a floating staircase, underfloor heating and various mod cons throughout – this family home has a contemporary yet period feel. Claire and Patrick previously lived in Wimbledon, have travelled widely and stayed in various hotels and country houses over the years including favourite Babington House in Somerset – from this their home décor style evolved. The couple’s architect Simon Robinson from RPP Architects Ltd. encouraged Claire to take photos of design elements that she loved in order to help emulate the couple’s preferred style. The end result is stunning – decorated throughout with eye-catching artwork, quirky antiques and carefully chosen décor touchers, but first and foremost the house is a warm, inviting home for Claire, Patrick, children Topaz, Finn and Ottis, and pet Chihuahua Theo. Claire takes us on a tour of her home, sharing information on the décor throughout. n

“The library contains a mishmash of books; cookery books, the kids’ books from when they were growing up, old books that belonged to my relations, and lots of others. The table to the right of fireplace was my granny Molly’s and the statue on the mantelpiece I got from a local flower shop.”

“My great aunt did this rubbing, it came from a church in Oxford. I was brought up in Brussels and it was hanging in my parent’s dining room when I was a little girl.”

“The telescope belonged to my Mum and Dad and it sits in the window of our library now.”

“The head came from my parent’s house in Spain when the property was sold.”


“The middle island is massive and I love it. The lady sculpture is from a Northern Irish artist and I just loved her. I sat her down there when we arrived in the house and she has not moved since.”

“The seats are B&B Italia from Living space and they were quite a special buy. The rug is from Parvis.”

“Fresh flowers add life to the house and these pots came from a local flower shop in Holywood.”


“The chandelier is from Fultons. We wanted something quite long here because it’s a high piece of ceiling. We got the candlestick holders in an auction just before we moved in. The paintings are from an art gallery in Wimbledon.”

“You can see right out to our garden from the hall. We inherited the garden from the previous owner and we have a great gardener who looks after it. It leads out to a beautiful stone wall at the back.”

“The paintings above our bed were done by a local artist.”

“My bath and flooring came from Ceco and my sister did the painting that’s framed on the wall.”


“This statue has a vintage feel and it’s perfect for the cove in our hall.”

“This is my son Finn’s bedroom. For the back wall, we found an image that we wanted to enlarge. A specialist in Bangor blew the picture up for us and that was the end result.”

“We thought the painting was quite cool. It’s the Dead Hendrix by Paul Insect; a street artist who used to work with Banksy.”

“These bespoke ceramic tiles are from a shop called Estillo in Wimbledon that has closed down.”





Crème de Crecy

Pears in Red Wine

By Michel Roux

INGREDIENTS (Serves 6) • 6 pears, still a little firm • 1 bottle red wine (Pinot or Gamay) • 200g caster sugar • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 vanilla pod, split • 6 black peppercorns • 1 strip of orange peel • 4 tablespoons crème de cassis

(Cream of Carrot Soup)

By Michel Roux

INGREDIENTS (Serves 6) • 750g large carrots • 1 onion white • 60g bacon fat (or veg oil) • 50g round rice • 100g butter • 1 bunch mixed colour heritage carrots • 2.2lt chicken stock (or vegetable stock) • Salt pepper METHOD 1. Peel and finely slice the carrots and onion. Sweat in the fat or in oil gently until tender. 2. Add the rice and continue to cook for two to three minutes. 3. Add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked. 4. Season and then place in a food processor to blitz until smooth. 5. Wisk in the butter and serve with slithers of the heritage carrots.

This recipe (courtesy of the BBC Good Food Show) is an extract from The French Kitchen cookbook by Weidenfield and Nicolson. Photography by Cristian Barnett.

µµ It still amazes me that so many people think of the Roux name as being synonymous with cooking greatness; how so many people are in awe of my father, my uncle and the Roux name. ∑∑

METHOD 1. Peel and core the pears, taking care to leave the stalks in place. 2. Put all the remaining ingredients, except the crème de cassis, into a pan and bring to the boil. 3. Add the pears, make sure they are submerged and cover with greaseproof paper. 4. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender, then leave to cool. 5. Add the crème de cassis and chill in the refrigerator overnight. 6. If you want thicker syrup, decant the liquid and boil until it is reduced by a third. Serve with crème fraîche. This recipe (courtesy of the BBC Good Food Show) is an extra from A Life in the Kitchen cookbook by Weidenfield and Nicolson. Photography by Cristian Barnett.



Jollof Quinoa and Roast Chicken By Mick Élysée

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4) • 4 large chicken legs • 500g quinoa • 2 onions • 2 fresh tomatoes • 1 chilli • 2 red peppers • 1 tsp turmeric • 1 tsp ground ginger • 1 tsp garlic powder • 1 tsp curry powder • ½ bunch of chives • 5 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp tomato puree • 3 glasses chicken stock MARINADE • 1 tsp garlic powder • I tsp ginger powder • Salt and pepper METHOD: 1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Combine the marinade spices in a bowl and sprinkle over the chicken legs. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes and then bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside at room temperature. 2. Chop an onion and sauté in a saucepan with the olive oil over a low heat for about two minutes. Add the remaining spices and cook for five minutes. 3. Chop the second onion, chilli, tomatoes and peppers and combine in a blender with a little water to obtain a creamy puree. Pour into the saucepan and cook for about eight minutes over high heat. 4. Add the quinoa and chicken stock to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Then remove from heat. 5. Serve warm with a dash of chilli oil or chicken cooking juice.

Papaya Tart By Mick Élysée INGREDIENTS (Serves 4) • 1 large papaya • 1 roll of shortcrust pastry • A packet of vanilla sugar • 130g brown sugar • 6 eggs • 500ml of double cream METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel and cut the papaya in half. Remove the seeds and wash. Dice one half and mash the second one.

2. Line a flan tin with the shortcrust pastry and prick all over with a fork. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 3. In a bowl mix the mashed papaya, brown sugar, eggs, cream and vanilla sugar. 4. Remove the shortcrust pastry from the oven and add the diced papaya. Pour over the papaya mixture and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. 5. Serve the tart cold with a scoop of rum and raisin ice cream. Both recipes are extracts from Mick’s new recipe book Not Guilty.


Doughnut Bread Pudding By Nadiya Hussain INGREDIENTS (Serves 8-10) • Butter for greasing • 6 jam doughnuts, cut in half horizontally to make two circles • 200ml whole milk • 300ml double cream • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste • 40g caster sugar • 3 large eggs • 1 tsp icing sugar METHOD 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan/gas mark 5. Generously grease a 23cm square dish. 2. Lay out the doughnuts with the jam facing up. 3. Add the milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and eggs to a jug and give it all a good whisk. 4. Pour the mixture over the doughnuts, gently pressing them down so they are submerged. 5. Put the dish to one side for 30 minutes, so the doughnuts can soak up the mixture. 6. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the centre of the pudding is slightly wobbly. 7. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Dust with the icing sugar before serving. This recipe is an extract from Nadiya’s Bake Me a Festive Story (illustrations by Clair Rossiter), courtesy of the BBC Good Food Show.


Pork with Zesty Slaw Recipe courtesy of M&S INGREDIENTS (Serves 2) • 2 pork loin steaks • 2 blood oranges • 2 tsp fennel seeds • 0.5 tsp whole black peppercorns • ¹⁄³ Savoy cabbage • 1 fennel bulb • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar • 2 tsp olive oil • 1 tsp butter • 1 handful parsley • 20g whole almonds PREPARATION Skin on, toast and roughly chop the whole almonds. Chop the parsley. Slice the fennel bulbs. Crush the fennel seeds. Juice one, then peel and segment one of the blood oranges.

METHOD 1. In a shallow dish, season the pork and pour over the orange juice. 2. Press the fennel seeds and pepper on each side. 3. Cover and chill for two hours, or overnight. 4. In a bowl, mix the cabbage, fennel, orange segments and vinegar. 5. Season. 6. Heat the oil in a pan on a medium-high heat. Cook the pork for 2 minutes each side (keep the marinade). 7. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for five minutes each side. 8. Add the butter, parsley and marinade, baste the pork, and cook for two minutes each side, ensuring the marinade simmers. 9. Rest for five minutes. 10. Serve the pork and slaw with the almonds and pan juices. All the ingredients listed are available to purchase from M&S Food Halls.


Mr & Mrs McLaughlin

Photos by Peter Thomas Photography


angor bride Kealin Murdock met groom Jason McLaughlin, who hails from Buncrana, at work in 2011. “Jason joined Aer Lingus in Belfast as a first officer and I was cabin crew,” Kealin begins. “We became great friends. Jason was friendly with my cousin who asked me to keep an eye out for him when he joined Aer Lingus – so I stuck by my word and did just that!” A mutual love of Christy Moore’s music brought the pair together when Jason bought Kealin tickets for his concert. “We had a brilliant night out in Dublin,” Kealin says. “This made me realise how close we had become. Jason said he knew that from the very first flight we had together, that he wanted to ask me out on a date.” Five years after they first met Jason pulled off a surprise proposal at the Glenevin Waterfall, Clonmany. “He took me there when we first started dating and it’s one of my favourite places to go,” Kealin says. “It was starting to rain so I didn’t want to get out of the car but he eventually convinced me to. Lucky enough I did!” The couple set the date for 3rd August 2017 and booked Lough Eske Castle. Peter Thomas captured the wedding photos, Kealin says: “He was very relaxed which made it easy for us to enjoy the day”. Love Box Wedding Stationery, Omagh provided the stationery, and Carndonagh-based baker Mary Laffery made the wedding cake. “When I saw the cake I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was, and everybody commented on how tasty it was,” Kealin recalls. The bride looked stunning in a Cristina Wu wedding dress accessorised with a diamante-detail veil, pearl and diamond earrings, and a diamond bracelet which was a wedding present from Jason. Kealin’s favourite memory of her day was, “Jason’s smile throughout the whole day; he was grinning from ear to ear”. Jason adds: “Seeing Kealin as she came up the aisle was just fantastic; she looked amazing and took my breath away”. n

Venue: Lough Eske Castle, Donegal Dress: McElhinneys, Ballybofey Groomwear: Tomorrows Menswear, Derry Bridesmaid’s dresses: Pronuptia, Belfast Makeup: Kerry Harvey, Donegal Town Hair: Mango Hair Studio, Donegal Town Flowers: Rock N Rose, Antrim



Mrs & Mrs Geddis Photos by Christin White Photography


oisin Walls first saw Tracey Geddis at a fundraising flashmob in Central Station, Belfast, in 2013. “She had mad red hair and leopard print glasses, and I was instantly attracted to her; she just lit up the room,” Roisin recalls. With a little help from friends a date was arranged. “I started falling for Roisin from our very first date,” Tracey says. “I couldn’t believe how pretty she was, I got so nervous and just couldn’t stop smiling!” Roisin adds: “It was epic, when I got home my housemate asked how it went. My response was: ‘I’m gonna marry that girl one day’.” Roisin proposed at Spelga Dam shortly after their third anniversary and the couple set about planning their civil partnership. “We wanted a relaxed and cosy atmosphere, like you get at a big BBQ or party at your mate’s house,” Tracey says. The search for an alternative venue led them to “Magnakata and their awesome tepees”. Tracey and Roisin “fell in love with” Christin White and fiancée Gareth Martin’s photography style and can’t thank them enough for their “absolutely stunning” images. The pair handmade dreamcatcher décor. The wedding décor also included incense sticks, Jawbox gin bottles on every table, and food and flowers with a South African slant as a nod to Tracey’s first home. Instead of cutting a cake the couple lit a Chinese lantern together at sunset and watched it float off into the night. They had a big open fire in the middle of the tepee which they danced around all evening. Both brides have many favourite moments from their day. Tracey says: “when I saw Rois I honestly can’t even describe to you how incredible I felt; she was so beautiful and the atmosphere in that tepee was so warm and lovely.” One of Roisin’s favourite memories is: “Seeing my gorgeous wife dancing on the table next to me at 3am swigging Prosecco from the bottle”. n

Venue: Dunamoy Cottages & Spa, Ballyclare Tracey’s dress: Free People online Roisin’s outfit: Top from Elven Forest, trousers by John Paul, Zante ‘Best persons’ dresses: A boutique in Zante and Free People online Makeup: Blush by Louise, Ballyclare Hair: Partners Hair & Beauty, Belfast Flowers: Leckey and Golden Florists, Belfast




ALBUM Frances Moylan and Aoife Lennon Photo by Press Eye


Wendy Smyth and Alison Gordon

Terry Bradley and Kieran Gilmore

Bradley Art Opening Guests, clients and friends of Terry Bradley recently gathered for the opening of his new gallery Bradley Art in Bangor. Guests were welcomed with a Champagne reception and were treated to an exclusive preview of Terry’s most recent work. New original artwork, limited edition canvases and paper prints were on display for all to enjoy. Photography by Greenhouse Films

David and Sharon Stark

Sam Finnegan and Jenna Frazer

Darren and Kathryn Dunlop

Patience and Ivor Bradley


Jessica Finnigan, Mary Nugent and Leah Beattie

Emma McFarland and Lorraine Downey

Down Royal Boxing Day Race Meeting The traditional Boxing Day meeting at Down Royal Racecourse, Lisburn was a fashionable affair with racegoers wrapping up for the winter races in leather looks, faux fur and vibrant woollen three-quarter coats. Photos by Press Eye

Pamela Ballantine


Emma Dunlewdy, Tina Long and Hannah Chambers

Megan Farley and Lucy Montgomery

Sonya Murphy and Laura Joyce

Sheena Magee and Roisin Magee

Louise Armstrong and Lynn Gourley

Leah Beattie, Robert Burton. and Caroline Todd


Kim Constable

Denise Strahan, Tanya Cairns and Louise McClure

Style Masterclass Peel, Belfast

Anne Megahey and Mandy Dalm

Peel, Bloomfield Avenue hosted a ‘Peel away the mystery of style’ masterclass. Attendees were treated to Prosecco and canapés in the lovely Rita Duffy suite in Belfast’s fabulous Merchant Hotel. Elaine and the team showcased Peel’s collection in the context of ’10 things every woman should have in their wardrobe’. The event focuses on how styles can be adapted to suit different ages, shapes and lifestyles. Photos by Stephen McCracken Joan Rice Nuala Meenehan

Jacquie Martin and Elaine Peel


Rachel Lyness and Francesca Armstrong

Joan Hobson and June Farmer

Emma and Anna McNeill

Culloden Estate & Spa Members Party The Spa at Culloden held its annual member’s party with members enjoying an evening of music and drinks including a gin demonstration from Jawbox Gin. A raffle was held on the evening in aid of the local charity AWARE which raised over £400. Photos by Press Eye

Gareth and Joanne Kidd

Philip Robinson, Rachel Lyness and Cyril King


NORTHERN MAN Spring is springing

Black Bag from Topman £20

Criminal Backpack £60, Raincoat Shutterheim £180, Jeans Criminal x Millerain £40 from House of Fraser


t’s happening, 2018 is here, we’ve all (hopefully) recovered from Christmas eating and the New Year celebrations and Spring is springing. The little snowdrops and crocuses are up, and the very early narcissi are peeking through and I’m already planning for my allotment for the rest of the year. My first year with an allotment was a great success and we enjoyed lots of fresh veggies all summer (as did my neighbours). I was picking tomatoes right up until November. You just can’t beat the feeling of eating something you’ve grown yourself. If you’re interested in setting up an allotment this year, The Royal Horticultural Society is a good place to start ( In other news, if you’ve been following my Belfast Times Instagram and stories you’ll have seen my exercise regime ramp up a bit. In the year when I’m about to reach my 49th birthday I can feel the aches and pains increasing. Does everyone stand up after a two-hour meal in a restaurant and make those noises and have to slowly straighten


up, or is it just me? Answers on a postcard or just tweet me @belfasttimes! Exercise isn’t something I do for a New Year’s resolution, it feels like a constant in my life, to move more, to go out for that walk, to watch a yoga video in the back garden and try and follow it, to cycle or walk to the allotment, to constantly fail at all of the above but still keep trying. Add into that the confidence crushing thought that someone is watching this eejit trying to do stuff. You just have to push through and do it. Imagine how I felt, having practised a few workouts in my back garden, squats and lunges etc., then going to the beach one day and setting up my camera on a tripod and videoing it all. Throwing caution to the wind and just doing it was embarrassing and awesome, and I have done it on more than one occasion now. What I would really like now is a great Bangor-based personal trainer who will join me on the beach or in a park and push me in a non-gym environment. I had one before, maybe I should give him a call! Thanks for reading and keep moving, Jeff Meredith n

Paul Smith Paris Fashion Week. Getty Images

Tommy Messenger Bag from White Stuff £79.95

Blue Backpack £30, Jacket £45, Shirt £22, Chinos £30 from Burton Menswear

Bag it

Holdall from Next £55

Lavin Paris Fashion Week. Getty Images

By Jeff Meredith

Hammond & Co Bag from Debenhams £65

Roll Top Backpack from Primark £12

Wallet, phone, glasses, technology, accessories, gym kit, layers for out walking or that outdoor exercising and liquid to keep hydrated; there seems to be more to carry about than ever, meaning man bags are a necessity for the 21st century guy. Here are my top picks.

M&S Collection Bag from Marks and Spencer £39.50

Mirror Logo Nylon Backpack by Hugo Boss from House of Fraser £159

Ben Sherman London Fashion Week. Getty Images




A stay at Clontarf Castle Hotel


onour Saint Valentine this year with the ultimate romantic gesture and whisk your loved one away to a 12th century castle. Let the fairy-tale begin as you wander up the leafy driveway to catch your first glimpse of the impressive façade, continue through the dramatic atrium lobby and step into the magical world of Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin. The Romantic Rendezvous package includes an overnight stay, chilled Champagne, decadent chocolates and rose petals on arrival. Relax with your loved one over dinner in the double AA Rosette winning Fahrenheit Restaurant where you’ll enjoy Executive Head Chef Stuart Heeney’s menus using the best of locallysourced produce. Unwind with an afterdinner cocktail or craft beer in Knight’s Bar, before retiring to your luxurious room for the night. The luxury continues the next morning with an Artisan Castle breakfast. Take the time to explore Clontarf with a walk along the pretty promenade or simply relax by the open fireplace with a book or newspaper in each other’s company. Clontarf Castle Hotel combines the perfect blend of old and new, mixing tradition and history with contemporary luxury. Located just 10 minutes from Dublin City Centre and 15 minutes from Dublin airport, it is the perfect setting for a romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day.


To celebrate their Valentine’s Day – Romantic Rendezvous package, Clontarf Castle Hotel are giving one lucky reader and a guest a chance to win a two-night stay with an Artisan Castle breakfast each

morning and dinner on one night of your choice in Fahrenheit Restaurant. For more information on the Romantic Rendezvous package, visit www. or call 01 833 2321.

TO ENTER Simply answer this question: In what county is Clontarf Castle Hotel located? Email your answer and contact details to before 5pm on Friday 23rd February. T&Cs: The prize is subject to availability, non-transferrable, and not valid on selected dates including bank holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year. INM T&Cs apply.



Blackstone uses the power of Physiotherapy to change lives. We focus our tailored treatments on the cause of your symptoms to relieve pain, improve your function and help you to move easily again. Become stronger, more flexible and injury free.


As a recognised Pilates training centre, Blackstone offers Physiotherapy led Pilates classes in bespoke studios with all classes being taught by fully certified APPI Pilates Instructors. Improve your core stability and strength, flexibility, balance and move better! No matter what your age or ability there will be a class suitable for you. Join us at Blackstone in the wonderful world of Pilates.


Treat your feet at Blackstone’s foot clinic where our expert Podiatrist offers a full range of services including specialist diabetic foot care and custom made orthotics. Healthy feet are happy feet - ensure you step with ease.

For more information and services check us out

Carrickfergus 1B Lancasterian Street 028 9332 9932

Moira 21 Main Street 028 9261 1211

Dundalk 18 Williamsons Mall 00353 (0)42 9327836


Northern Woman February 2018  

Northern Woman February 2018

Northern Woman February 2018  

Northern Woman February 2018