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Editor’s Letter


i all, Welcome to our March edition. From Mother’s Day to International Women’s Day, Belfast Fashion Week and of course the official start to spring – there’s plenty happening this month and lots to read about in the March issue of Northern Woman. As I type it’s actually snowing outside my office window, but disregarding the winter weather it’s now officially spring – and a new season is the perfect excuse for new clothes. Spring/Summer 2018 collections are bright, bold and playful, and trends covered in this issue include dark denim, asymmetrical hemlines and contrasting texture. If you have not visited Titanic Hotel Belfast yet you really should check it out. We shot our polka dot-themed fashion editorial there this month and what a backdrop the hotel proved to be – stunning. Also in this issue, actress and writer Bronágh Taggart takes time out from working on new film ‘Troubles’ to talk to NW about her latest project. To mark Mother’s Day journalist Jade Beecroft speaks to three inspirational women whose journeys to motherhood were far from easy. Interviewee Derry/Londonderry mum Aisling Hillick, says: “By sharing our story, I hope we can give other couples hope” – so if you are struggling to start or grow your family, hopefully you will take solace from the feature. Did you know that March is National Bed Month? (Me neither!) The initiative aims to remind us all why getting a sound sleep is good for our health. With that in mind, our interiors specialist

Róisín Carabine shares her top tips from transforming your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. In addition to that, we also bring you travel reviews, competitions, movie listings, readers’ weddings and the local events you won’t want to miss. We also have a fantastic subscription offer running. Get 11 issues of NW delivered direct to your door for only £15, and the price includes a free human + kind Family Remedy Cream treatment worth £19.95. To subscribe call 0800 028 1909 (ROI 0044 800 028 1909) or email Enjoy the issue, don’t forget email us your thoughts, and check in our social media for daily updates. Until next month,

Catriona Doherty Editor Northern Woman

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



12 STYLE 9 DARK DENIM Runway rundown 12 ASYMMETRIC Handkerchief hems 13 LET’S TALK TEXTURE Cathy Martin’s take on the trend 14 IN BLOOM Maternity chic 16 A POLITICAL STITCH UP 18 POLKA DOTS Polka print gets a modern makeover FEATURES 30 BRONAGH TAGGART: Actress, writer and mental health advocate 34 GUILTY PLEASURES What are yours? 36 15 SURPRISING THINGS BEAUTY 39 BACK TO BASICS Foundation tried & tested 40 SAY GOODBYE TO BLEMISHES says Aimee Connolly 42 CROWNING GLORY 43 THE BEAUTY EDIT Makeup bag must-haves 44 RIBBON CHIC HEALTH AND WELLNESS 47 PROFILE: Colour Therapy 48 MY JOURNEY TO MOTHERHOOD 52 HIGH FLIERS Three sporting legends and a highflying ballerina

Credit: Warehouse


Cover image Photography Brendan Gallagher, hair Shane Breslin, makeup Samantha Weightman, stylist Niamh Cunningham, model Meagan Green. For outfit details see page 28.



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ESCAPE 58 NEPAL YOGA RETREATS Are spiritual holidays a load of nonsense? 60 9 THINGS TO DO IN LISBON 62 A MILLION REASONS TO BLOG LIVING 68 DOUBLE UP Designer doubles 69 FREE SPACE Homeware hacks for compact living 70 SLEEP TIGHT Transform your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary 74 INSIDE A READER’S HOME


78 CURRENT CRUSH IN EVERY ISSUE 63 LET’S DRINK TO... The Bees Knees 64 THE SOCIAL 10 Local events not to miss 66 MOVIE ROUNDUP 80 LOCAL WEDDINGS 85 THE ALBUM Social pics 96 NORTHERN MAN Jeff Meredith’s top picks 98 WIN A stay at Knockranny House Hotel & Spa

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, Elaine Donaghy, Emma Deighan, Eunice Nelson, Jade Beecroft, Jeff Meredith, Paula Gracey 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.

M O T h E R ’ S D Ay

AFTERNOON TEA S u n d Ay 1 1 m A r C h , t h e t i tA n i C S u i t e F e at u r i n g h o m e m a d e B a k e ry a n d Pat i ss e r i e , s t u n n i n g P h oto oPPortunities and live Jazz From £26pp Combined AFternoon teA And titAniC e xperienCe tiCket now AvAilA ble

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Credit: Closet London


Tibi SS 2018, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images

Nina Ricci SS 2018, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images

Christian Dior SS 2018, Paris Fashion Week. Getty Images


Zadig & Voltaire SS 2018, Paris Fashion Week. Getty Images

Mugler SS 2018. Paris Fashion Week. Getty Images

Max Mara SS 2018, Milan Fashion Week. Getty Images

The spring 2018 fashion season has arrived and with it comes the resurgence of dark denim. Models walked in indigo dyed denim in the collections of Calvin Klein, Tibi and Tom Ford to name just a few. Designers ushered in this noughties staple with an assembly of exposed stitching and sharp cuts, signalling a move away from distressed denim and oversized jeans. Entirely suitable for the office, there’s no need to wait to ‘dress down Friday’ to wear denim; think tailored blazers and tapered trousers for on-trend workwear. At New York Fashion Week Tibi did double denim with a buttoned up jacket and trouser combo. Nina Ricci did quadruple denim with a denim shirt, waistcoat, jeans and pumps. French fashion house Mugler showcased looks featuring cinched in waists, geometric cuts and contrast stitching.

Yang Shan, MercedesBenz China Fashion Week. Getty Images


Dark Blue Belted Culotte Denim Jeans from River Island £45

Denim Culottes from White Stuff £49.95

o T s y a W r Dark a e W enim D Celia Panel Cropped Jeans from JDY £28

CULOTTES Pair loose-fitting cullotes with brightly coloured, kitten heels or trainers. You can’t put a foot wrong with lavender, pink or green foot-hugging sock boots. Icon Denim Jacket in Indigo from GAP £54.95

JACKETS Button your denim jacket all the way up to the top or wear nipped in at the waist with a belt or two. Roll up those sleeve cuffs or pair your jacket with coordinating bottoms.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Getty Images


Mugler SS 2018, Paris Fashion Week. Getty Images

FLARED Pear-shaped ladies rejoice, figureflattering flares are in. For those of us who tend to store excess pounds around the tummy, hips or thigh area, boot cut jeans are the ideal as they balance out the top and bottom halves. A flare speaks volumes so opt for a pair without embellishment.

Tibi SS 2018, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images

Indigo Kick Flare Jeans from Evans £30

Reene Denim Jacket from L.K.Bennett £275

Flared Jeans from Stradivarius £29.99

Marc Cain

Skinny Flare Estila Island Blue from Zara £29.99

Dark Blue Contrast Stitch Denim Jacket from New Look £25.99

Zadig & Voltaire, New York Fashion Show. Getty Images

Jeans from United Colours of Benetton, Dublin €49.95


Black Floral Wrap Skirt from Miss Selfridge £30

Dark Floral Asymmetric Slip Dress from Dorothy Perkins £35

Asymmetric dress with slogan from Zara £17.99

Green Asymmetrical Skirt from Linea at House of Fraser £70

Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week. Getty Images

Dress from Stradivarius £25.99

Striped Pencil Skirt from New Look £19.99

Orange Songbird Print Wrap Dress from Warehouse £69

Asymmetric Handkerchief hemlines are back this spring – think stripes, polka dot and floral print zigzagging cuts

Shadow Spot Hanky Hem Skirt from Topshop £36


Let’s talk texture Cathy Martin, director of Belfast FASHIONWEEK, on the texture trend


ere at BFWHQ the look we are loving the most is the texture trend. It’s maximalism à la Gucci, but with a vintage kind of twist, which makes it all ok. I am totally loving the feathers, fringing and ruffles, with the likes of Balmain, Nina Ricci and Céline embracing this SS18 look best. And despite the global news agenda, the overall theme in fashion – and most definitely among those inspired by this trend – is one of positivity and playfulness. Everything from coats to tops and dresses were given a little bit of extra texture and I, for one, can’t get enough! There was also some bright and upbeat colour clashing, frill upon frill of mismatched patterns as well as socks and sandals returning with a chunky metallic upgrade. My advice? Don’t be afraid to mix it up this spring, try pairing a fringed leather jacket with a vivid lemon ruffle dress, invest in a ditsy floral dress and wear it over a denim shirt with a sequin collar, or nod to the trend by letting a statement multipattern dress take centre stage. n

Photo credit: Paul Ormonde

Photo credit: Stephen Potter

Photo credit: Collette O’Neill

Photo credit: Collette O’Neill

Photo credit: Collette O’Neill


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Tee from Ne Jeans fro xt £18, m H&M £34.99 , Shoes fro Zara £2 5.99, Ba m g from YSL £1, 390 Top from Mothercare was £20 now £16


One bump and six looks that will get you through nine months in true style BY EMMA DEIGHAN


Look 3

Chinos from Ga p £39.95; Ponch f rom H&M £ 29.99, B ag f John Ro cha £55 rom , Boots from Of fice £82

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Dress from Isabella Oliver £99

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Oprah Winfrey wears black to the Golden Globes. Getty Images

p u h c t i st cy By Lu

With the controversial state of politics in this decade, celebrities aren’t the only ones with powers to publically question authority. Fashion is allowing everyone to express opinions and cause a stir. We take a look at notable times clothing became the megaphone for political defiance. 16



The slogan tee is born

In the 1980s wearing your voice on your chest was a new phenomenon pioneered by Katharine Hamnett. Oversized t-shirts blaring bold statements acted as mouthpieces for the biggest political controversies of the time. Following her first design slogan ‘Choose Life’, Hamnett made headlines in 1984 after she waltzed into 10 Downing Street with ‘58% don’t want pershing’ plastered on her front to greet Margaret Thatcher. The revolutionary move was soon adopted by fashion friends Vivienne Westwood, with her ‘I am not a terrorist’ t-shirt, and Christopher Shannon with his ‘Save Me’ versions.

Chasing skirt


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Within the same year as the Thatcher incident, fashion’s agent provocateur John Paul Gaultier sent male models down the runway clad in tartan skirts and platform sneakers. A first for the era, the Paris show ‘And God Created Man’ didn’t go down very well, with editors of many publications, such as Vogue, walking out in disgrace.

Nevertheless an iconic moment was captured on fashion’s stage.

PETA bares all

I don’t think there’s a person living these days that hasn’t seen the PETA anti-fur campaign in some shape or form. In 1994, the biggest supermodels of their time stripped down in support of ‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur’. Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Elle MacPherson and Cindy Crawford graced billboards everywhere as the faces saving our fluffy friends from becoming accessories.

µµWe’d rather go naked than wear fur∑∑ The balaclava boycott

Perhaps one of the most powerful statements came in response to Russia’s abuse of LGBTI human rights. Banding together the genius of fashion creatives Nick Knight, Gareth Pugh and Ruth Hogben, SHOWstudio produced a

Kate Beckinsale wears black to the Golden Globes. Getty Images

series of short films ‘Proud to Protest’ featuring balaclava-clad fashion industry insiders. The films, in support of Amnesty International, were released for the opening of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and ended with the reveal of the silent protestors beneath the black balaclavas.

V is for Vivienne

Pioneer of punk in styling, Vivienne Westwood has often been introduced as the master at honing fashion to be a medium for social observation. She proved as much during her SS15 ‘Red Label’ show where every model on the runway sported a ‘YES’ badge in support of Scottish independence.

Protesting in Chanel No 15

Never one for subtlety, Karl Lagerfeld made his feelings on feminism known when he let his models loose down Boulevard Chanel for his SS15 Riot show. Cara Delevingne led the pack carrying signs and chanting empowerment mantras through megaphones.

The Vivienne Westwood Red Label show. Getty Images

µµThe Golden Globes threw out a sombre scene∑∑ Black is the new gold

This year has not been without its stamp of fashion on political issues. The Golden Globes threw out a sombre scene with celebrities donning dark hues of black in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, nodding to the allegations of sexual harassment and the Harvey Weinstein scandal. This idea of visual solidarity in black dresses and suits was not the first of its kind and paid homage to the 1908 British suffragette rally where a sea of white clothing changed history for women everywhere. Wearing white, symbolizing purity, carried over in to women in politics and their supporters, as realised by Hillary Clinton and Katy Perry at the 2018 Grammys. n

Khloe Kardashian unveils her PETA ‘Fur? I’d Rather Go Naked’ billboard. Getty Images


Polka dots

The timeless trend gets a modern makeover for a look that merges sophisticate style with a light hearted edge Shot on location at Titanic Hotel Belfast

Blazer from Topshop £39; Top from Urban Outfitters £32; Jeans from River Island £45; Beret from H&M £10; Shoes model’s own


Top from River Island £35; Jeans £46 and Bag £20 from Topshop; Shoes model’s own


Dress £65 and Bag £26 from Warehouse; Belt £5 from Topshop; Boots model’s own



Blouse from Stradivarius £18; Jumpsuit £49, Belt £20, Hat £18 and Bag £29 from Urban Outfitters



Jumper £39 and Backpack £24 from Topshop; Culottes from Urban Outfitters £52; Shoes model’s own


Jumpsuit from Warehouse £59; Bag from River Island £32; Shoes stylist’s own


Dress from Warehouse £65; Belt £5 from Topshop


Playsuit from River Island £46; Hat from Topshop £14; Boots model’s own


– PHOTOGRAPHY – Brendan Gallagher 07900 638365 – HAIR – Shane Breslin Paul Stafford Hairdressing – MAKEUP – Samantha Weightman Tel: 07866 315 279 Web: – STYLING – Niamh Cunningham Tel: 07453 940312 – MODEL – Meagan Green ACA Models – LOCATION – Titanic Hotel Belfast

Top from DV8 £24.99; Trousers from River Island £45; Shoes stylist’s own



Photo credit: Delcan Gallen



Starring as Gail McNally in The Fall. Photo credit: Helen Sloan



ronágh Taggart’s face is a familiar one to many, having starred in The Fall as detective Gail McNally, Stella Gibson’s (Gillian Anderson) sidekick, more recently she played emotional unstable waitress, Nicola, in Derry Girls, and has acted in numerous other productions. The Belfast native is also an accomplished scriptwriter. With her new film Troubles set to be complete this month, we catch up with the author to find out more about this exciting new venture. ‘What was the inspiration behind Troubles?’ We begin. “My husband – Jonathan Harden who is directing Troubles – and myself, for a while now we have been talking about wanting to write and make a film about mental health issues in the Millennial Generation and to explore that,” Bronágh explains. “The film is set in Northern Ireland and we know that word ‘troubles’ will conjure up some kind of thoughts in people’s heads but we like that it can actually mean something else.” Troubles is said to explore the failure of language and mental illness, Bronágh elaborates on that: “It’s that thing of people feeling like they can’t talk about mental illness. I suppose there has been a stigma attached to it for many years. I’d like to think it’s changing… I think it is, but there is still a long way to go. I don’t want to give too much away about what happens in the film, but it’s our way of tackling that and trying to break down those barriers.” University Mental Health Day is marked on 1st March; a national campaign to focus efforts on promoting the mental health of people who live, work and study in higher education settings. In

Photo credit: Michael Shelford Troubles the characters are educated, we ask the screenwriter why she feels this demographic is worth highlighting. “We don’t think education is a cure for mental health issues, and depression doesn’t discriminate; it affects a huge range of people,” Bronágh replies. “I can see how university can be a lonely time for students as they are away from family and friends, maybe in place they don’t know, and they can face financial pressures trying to pay for

education nowadays. The tendency to drink more and to experiment with drugs, is there – it’s not hard to imagine that is a bad cocktail for a person’s wellbeing. But we are very much aware that mental health issues can affect anyone.” Troubles will raise funds for mental health charity Inspire. Bronágh and Jonathan organised a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for previous film Guard and donated 5% of funds to Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland. “We decided if we were going to ask people to make donations, then other projects should benefit as well,” Bronágh explains. “Given the subject matter of the film we got in touch with Inspire and we said we’d like to help them. I think they are really proactive and do great work in Northern Ireland, so we are delighted to be working with them and to be able to help them in some small way. “Inspire hope to show Troubles to their users as a way of starting discussions and changing people’s minds about mental health.” On the date of NW publishing, Troubles was in the editing stage with Belfast-based post production company Ka-Boom. Once the final cut is ready, the film will go to Irish musician Zoë Conway who will do the score. After Ka-Boom add the finishing touches, the film will be shown in film festivals across the globe.

Continued on 32 ➤



Guard. Photo credit: Helen Sloan

Derry Girls


It’s almost one year on since Belfast-set boxing film Guard was made, and it’s still making its way around the international film festival circuit. “It’s a short boxing film about a girl called Katie who is very much cut off from the world,” Bronágh says. “Her father has just walked back into her life after a long time apart and he tries to use boxing as a way to reconnect with her. You realise it’s not that straightforward. “Guard was shot in West Belfast and we had some really great locations in there, like Clonard Boxing Club and Casement Park which has been shut for a while and has a great filmic look at the minute.” The actress says she was inspired to write the script as she felt a sense of dissatisfaction at the lack of good roles for female actresses; specifically women in their thirties:

“As we get older interesting parts start to dwindle and it was getting quite frustrating. I also write, I realised I couldn’t really complain about that if I had the tools to do something about it as a writer. So that’s how I decided to write something that I think would be interesting for an actress to play. “In Troubles the subject matter concentrated on the male story, so obviously the main actors are men. In balance, half of the crew are women, with more than 50% of those working in key positions.” For Northern Woman readers who would like to watch Guard, it will be aired at the Belfast Film Festival in April (scheduling details to be confirmed).

Derry Girls

Unless you have been living under a rock you will heard about, or seen, comedy Derry Girls. In the popular Channel 4 production Bronágh played Nicola; an emotional

waitress with questionable customer service skills. “It was really good fun to be part of Derry Girls. It was actually written by a good friend of mine. I was delighted to be involved in it and to be in a scene with the cast who are just amazing, it was great fun begin yelled at by Tommy Tiernan,” she jokes. Bronágh also has fond memories of her time acting in The Fall where she played detective Gail McNally who helped track down Jamie Dornan’s character, serial killer Paul Spector. She says: “I was just delighted to be asked to join The Fall; it was such a big moment in my acting career. It was already a hit. They already had a first series that had done so well and I was coming on board in series two, so I was a little bit nervous joining a show that was already so big. But everyone couldn’t have been nicer. I had a great experience and the show is so popular; who wouldn’t enjoy that?” The actress attributes the success of the series to the fact that it “it didn’t rush things”. “The Fall took the time to dig deeper, psychologically, into its characters. I think that’s something we are used that when it comes to American shows but I’m not sure audiences over here are used to it, and I think that’s what was different about it.” So, what’s next for the star? “Hopefully some more acting and writing; I have been juggling the two jobs now for a few years and I really enjoy doing both. I write for a lot of television shows and hopefully that will continue. It would be nice to do a feature film too,” Bronágh adds. “Troubles is our main priority at the moment. We really hope we do a good job with it and we hope that it’s well received after that.” n


Guilty pleasures What are yours? Go on admit it! BY EUNICE NELSON


hen I think of guilty pleasure these lyrics spring to mind:

“Hurts so good, Come on baby make it hurt so good, Sometimes love don’t feel like it should, You make it, hurt so good” By John Mellencamp Go on, you can tell me. You’re among friends. Do you ogle the postman or make laxative-laced baked goods for the tight sod


at work who steals your lunch? Maybe you window shop on Tinder when your partner annoys you or maybe you just delete the series that they’ve been waiting all week to watch? We all have our guilty pleasure, here’s mine.

Romance novels

I have always been an avid reader; a trait passed down from my father. I might not have gotten any of his tall, dark and handsome genes, but I am well read. I’ve always favoured the horror genre and I’m a

big fan of thrillers (the bloodier the better), I love a good biography and you will see all of these and more on my bookshelves. There is even a copy of Wuthering Heights (wonderful) and To Kill A Mockingbird (I’ll read it one day) just for good measure. I’m not highbrow but I have always prided myself on my eclectic tastes. Then one day a few years ago I downloaded Fifty Shades of Grey - out of curiosity of course. Now my poor little Kindle is full of chick lit and more romance than the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna. Don’t judge me

Step 4. Become hurt and defensive when asked about new shoes and say the following: “I’ve had these for ages (shocked expression), you never notice me anymore (sniff)”. Warning: Use this tactic sparingly to avoid detection. for having a romance back catalogue that has everything from cowboys to vampires. Also never google ‘books like fifty shades of grey’; I’m still in therapy over that.

Reading obituaries

I don’t remember when I started doing this; when I became an age where I made sure to check the obituaries when flicking through my local paper. I used to roll my eyes at other people when they turned over the radio station to listen to the death notices, now here I am looking at a picture of someone I didn’t know, who died many years ago. Sometimes I come across a familiar face and do that very human thing of marvelling at how long they have been dead: “Ten years, oh my I wouldn’t have said more than six,” I hear myself say, “but isn’t it a lovely picture, different one from last year”. Perhaps I’m at a time in my life when I recognise more faces in these depressing pages than I do in the social section of the paper. Time to get a life before mine is mourned in black and white.

Squeezing spots & blackheads

To me this is probably the most vomitinducing activity on planet earth but I had to include it as it seems to be a hobby for a majority of my family. Whenever my hormones revolt and stage an acne-based protest on my face, I have at least three

people following me around begging me to let them squeeze my spots. I’m not entirely sure where the joy is in squeezing spots but the look of concentration and pride on someone’s face as they do it is quite extraordinary. Those disgusting little pops seem to bring so much happiness and satisfaction. Maybe I’m missing out or maybe some people are just freaks, we may never know.



I once googled for a diagnosis when a miniscule patch of skin on my forehead seemed to have lightened in relation to the rest of my face and do you know what result I got? Well, it said I had leprosy. That’s right; according to Dr Google I should be in the process of setting up my very own colony in my living room. This was a fleeting error on my part but for some people I know it has become a passionate pastime. Sure what else would you be doing with your free time other than diagnosing yourself with the most terrifying diseases known to man? Who wouldn’t want to give themselves polio or smallpox with just a flick of your fingers over the keyboard? And who hasn’t thought they had a rare type of diabetes only found in parrots that live in the Amazon, after thirty minutes online?

Step 1. Buy more amazing shoes.

So I say don’t be ashamed of your guilty pleasures, embrace them. Maybe behind every buttoned-up bank manager lies an ABBA fanatic desperate to belt out Dancing Queen. Maybe the person you stand next to at the bus stop each day has a collection of snakes that would rival the zoo. I say live and let live, don’t judge and spread a little love. Our little quirks make life more interesting, except for foot fetishists and Trump fans that is. n

Don’t be alarmed it’s not some post-Brexit strategy for getting electrical goods across the border, this is simply how I get new shoes and clothes into the house without being questioned on silly things like price – a necessity if I’ve spend the mortgage payment. Anyone who knows me knows that I have an extensive shoe collection, it doesn’t matter that I have no social life, if the need arises I have a style and colour for any occasion. My habit however has not gone unnoticed, so I perfected a strategy I while I still lived at home and my Dad asked: “Is that another new pair?”

Step 2. Hide them in the car. Step 3. Smuggle them upstairs (to drool over) while no one is looking.



SURPRISING THINGS you learn when you become a mother BY CLARE BOWIE

Most mothers-tobe know that having children is not all about the lullabies and sweet shampooed heads, but maybe they weren’t expecting the following…



“Look, I produced a person!” Sadly all that birthing-ninja bravery disappears the minute you leave the hospital, so your next leg wax or eyebrow thread nearly kills you. What happens in the labour room stays in the labour room.


Who knew the rush of happiness and pride you feel when you receive your first ever handmade Mother’s Day card. Sure to the untrained eye the crumpled, scribbled ‘card’ may not look like much, but you are beaming and make a mental note to sign your little one up for art lessons as you can clearly spot budding artistic talent - you’re sure of it.



Mindful drinking, raw water, sugar free, gluten free, and frayed-edge kick-flared cropped jeans… what are you people talking about? Most parents are just trying to get through the day without having to clean baby food off the walls for crying out loud.




You get better at filtering out other people’s advice because it’s your baby and she can cry if she wants to. So back off with the boob squeezing, placenta pill-pushing, baby burping masterclass in judgement and crack on with the ironing if you really want to help. #friendshipgoals


Not tequila, it’s MMR now and you will cry louder than your baby when you have to hold their tiny wrinkly legs still while two nurses stab them and you want to kill them! Welcome to the start of your sticky Calpol journey and a drawer full of baby syringes.



You could happily spend hours just staring at their tiny hands and soft little silky heads. It’s like a Zara shopping trance... in between washing all the clothes, changing all the nappies, staying awake for 20 hours a day, and dealing with a change in hormones, obvs.



You really don’t know what to wear. You feel like Marty McFly arriving in a different time zone; how do you even know what’s fashionable anymore after months of jeans with massive stretchy bands? Oh, and your feet may have grown, so you can now bin off 42 pairs of redundant shoes! You may fight it but eventually you will have to invest in a standard mummy-issue sensible coat with a good hood.

~ 10 ~ FLUIDS

You become obsessed with hydration for you and your offspring. Milk for babies, water for toddlers, and for you, it’s coffee to wake you up and wine to wind you down. You would drink more water but there’s really no time left in the day and the bladder is not quite what it was.



You forget how to socialise. You’re either too cautious; fretting about mobile signal, scared of cocktails and late nights, or you act like a caged teenager, slamming shots and dancing on tables like there’s no tomorrow. Until tomorrow starts with a small child on your face at 5.30am. Morning!



Your second pregnancy will be so much easier now that you know babies are totally hardcore and not the fragile little bundles you’d expected. You’ve learned that they can simultaneously vomit, rip a necklace clean off your neck or headbutt you, before rolling over and falling asleep without a care.


Who knew you would be so good at mushing up carrots or doing dinosaur voices? Your child thinks you’re wonderful and even though you may feel jet-lagged, grumpy and impatient a lot of the time, you also smile a lot more. Also, you get really good at applying under-eye concealer and have at least 10 in your handbag.


“I love my new party dress” said no baby ever. It’s a bit of a lightbulb moment when you realise that less is more on the present front for a couple of years. They couldn’t give a Rudolph about Santa, have no interest in clothes and will not feel rejected if you haven’t hired a magician. More money = more gin people.

~ 13 ~ PARTIES

When they get older it’s all about the party but you soon learn the two golden rules of the birthday party. 1. Everyone wins something in pass the parcel. 2. Do not, under any circumstances, play musical statues, unless of course you enjoy singling out excited children and dashing their hopes and dreams in public.

~ 14 ~ THE CAR SPA

Life has changed, there’s a lot more bush in your brows and dry shampoo clogging up your scalp but you still manage to squeeze in a bit of me-time here and there. You may well end up doing your makeup on the move but the simple pleasure of driving off in a car by yourself in total silence is better than any massage.

~ 15 ~ SCHOOL

As they get older you find out the agony that is the school run, the minefield that is the other mummies, the sports days and Christmas plays, the notes and never ending homework, the lunches, and the politics that sweep you along in the tortuous machine that is education. Still, just another 14 years to go. How you you’ll miss those days of playdoh and CBeebies on repeat. n



Credit: Great Lengths


Back to basics NW puts long-lasting foundation to the test

Beauty Expert Maria McManus, Brand Manager at Coty, shares her tops for applying foundation: “To ensure even coverage apply foundation in the centre of your face and blend outwards. “Start with a thin layer and build up coverage where necessary; this looks more natural than applying a heavy layer and will help your foundation last longer too.” You may be aware of the tricks for helping your foundation to last all day, such as applying a primer beforehand and using setting powder or spray afterwards, but have you considered using a long-wear foundation? The ladies at Northern Woman put six products to the test. n

Tried & Tested

Nars Natural Radiant Long Lasting Foundation £35 This foundation blended very well and felt weightless; giving a radiant, semi-matt finish that lasted. THE VERDICT: I really liked that this foundation had a thin consistency and felt lightweight yet gave full coverage. I also got a more flawless finish applying the foundation with my fingers rather than a brush. The pump is fantastic at dispensing just the right amount and a little goes a long way. CG

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder £32 The foundation left a dewy finish which I felt made me look younger. I am in my mid-thirties and I find some long-lasting foundations seem to sit in my fine lines and emphasise them, so this product was a fantastic find. THE VERDICT: The foundation stayed put all day. £32 is more than I normally spend on foundation but the end result made it worth splashing out on. JF

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation £9.99 This product is lightweight in texture and has a lovely smell. The finish is silky smooth, even and bright, and doesn’t appear cakey. As the coverage is light you can build on it. It stayed put all day. THE VERDICT: I would buy this again, it is great quality for the price and it gives the premium brands a run for their money. SAG

Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation £9.99 It was easy to squeeze the correct amount from the tube. I used my fingers to apply the foundation which spread evenly and dried quickly. It smoothed out my skin tone covering any redness. I was pleased with the immediate effect and its staying power throughout the day into evening. My cream cleanser removed it easily, leaving no residue. THE VERDICT: A very good foundation at an affordable price. CH

Rimmel Lasting Finish Breathable Foundation £8.99 I’m not one for retouching makeup throughout the day so I was looking forward to testing out one that claims to stay put and ‘moisturise for up to 25 hours’. THE VERDICT: I was reluctant to put my trust in an inexpensive foundation prior to testing this one, but I’m pleased to report – I would now. It did indeed stay all day without drying out my skin. PR

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty First Base £25 On application the texture reminded me of lightweight moisturiser, yet the product provided full coverage that is buildable depending on your preference. THE VERDICT: The foundation colour (warm medium) was perfectly suited to my skin tone and the product lasted from morning to night. First Base also contains anti-ageing ingredients and that can only be a good thing! CD




GREEN COLOUR CORRECTOR A green colour corrector is known in the makeup world for toning down redness. There are very few products of this type that I rate, as I find a lot can be too thick or grey looking, but this Rimmel set is fantastic. It is lightweight which is how it should be, and it reduces the colour instantly. I apply this directly onto the area with my finger or brush and dab lightly.


Rimmel Insta Conceal and Correct Palette £6.49

Say goodbye to blemishes Celebrity makeup artist Aimee Connolly explains how to mask imperfections


hether you are someone who only gets blemishes when it’s that time of the month or you’ve suffered for years trying to battle them off, we have all been there and know what it feels like. Having a bad skin day can really affect someone’s confidence and play on their mind. It’s definitely worse for some of us than others. Today I’m looking at total cover up for those blemishes to fake flawless natural looking skin. n


CONCEALER / FOUNDATION Depending on how much coverage you feel you need, the concealer comes next. Using your foundation brush take a full coverage concealer (in the same shade as your foundation of course) and dot round the area, stippling it on top of the corrector. This ensures that no green can be seen and you get that little bit of an extra long-lasting coverage. MAC Studio Finish Concealer £13.60

SETTING POWDER Like with any foundation or concealer, the product can get oily and so a setting is usually needed. To keep the oils at bay and ensure that the concealing lasts as long as possible, place some fine translucent powder over the area. Translucent means that it has no colour so it should not effect the appearance of your cover up; it will just help it keep it intact for longer. Laura Mercier Translucent Powder £29

115 Skin Clinic Are you concerned with skin conditions such as Acne Rosacea Photodamaged skin Fine lines and wrinkles? Contact us to book a complimentary consultation We Provide • Courses of Environ skin treatments • Collagen Stimulation Therapy • Cool Peels • Dermal fillers • Anti Wrinkle injections • Lip Augmentation • Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy • Laser Teeth Whitening We Sell • Environ products • Advanced Nutrition Programme Supplements • Teeth Whitening products Coming in March 2018- Obagi Treatments and products

115 Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 3BE Tel: 028 9047 1471


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Keep your colour for longer by avoiding overly hot showers, protecting your hair from chlorine, and using thermal protectant before styling tools. Using a shampoo and conditioner dedicated to your hair colour can also help. Red hair colours are prone to fading more than any other shade because the red pigments are bigger than blonde or brunette ones, and wash out more easily. To protect those precious pigments, John Frieda has introduced a Radiant Red range to add to its Sheer Blonde and Brilliant Brunette collections. The products utilise advanced Radiant Red technologies which are absorbed Shampoo into the hair and help prevent from John colour fading. Frieda £6.99




Approximately eight million women in the UK experience hair loss; sometimes due to hereditary reasons, but for others it is caused by environmental factors such as stress or medication. Thankfully there are products out there to help combat the issue. Reseed’s natural anti-hair loss systems use the latest bio-technology to harness naturally active ingredients which inhibit DHT hormones and strengthen weak or dormant hair follicles to induce healthy hair growth. Reseed Botanical Solution £25

Make bad hair days a thing of the past BY CLAIRE CRAIG


Given that hair grows an average of a quarter to half an inch per month there are no short cuts (excuse the pun) to long, flowing locks. There are however a few tips to help speed up the growth process. Regular trims will keep split and broken ends at bay and ensure hair looks healthy, while massaging your scalp for 10 minutes daily can help to increase blood flow and stimulate hair growth. When it comes to products to help the process, celebrity favourite, Olaplex No. 3 actively strengthens hair and helps to rebuild bonds. While ghd’s Advanced Split End Therapy nourishes damaged ends for up to 10 washes.

Advanced Split End Therapy from ghd £19.95


Olaplex No 3 Hair Perfector £32


Soothe dry, stressed hair with a regular deep conditioning mask. For best results comb through freshly washed, towel dried hair then wrap hair up in a warm towel – the heat will help the mask penetrate better. For best results leave on for at least 20 minutes before rinsing.

Coconut Oil Protein Pack from Palmers £2.09

Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner £2.49


The Denman Tangle Tamer Ultra is perfect for detangling long, thick hair. The super-soft nylon bristles gently glide through the hair, removing tangles. An air-cushioned pad follows the contour of the head for smooth damage-free styling. This brush is also ideal for grooming and detangling hair extensions and wigs.

Denman Tangle Tamer Ultra Pink £12.50


Looking for an instant rejuvenation? MAC’s Mineralize Charged Water Charcoal Spray is loaded with ingredients that immediately re-energise and replenish lost moisture, visibly recharging lethargic skin to create a perfect canvas for foundation.

Mineralize Charged Water Charcoal Spray from MAC £19


Make a statement with Estée Lauder’s new Pure Color Envy PaintOn Liquid LipColor. Available in 22 shades, three bold finishes (matte, metallic and vinyl) and packed with pigment for ultrasaturated liquefied lip colour.

Pure Color Envy Paint-On Liquid LipColor from Estée Lauder £25


The latest makeup bag and skincare must-haves


Hide dark circles and imperfections with bareMinerals’ barePRO Full Coverage 16-hour Concealer. Available in 10 shades the ultra-creamy stick glides on with zero drag to deliver creaseproof, waterproof coverage and is formulated with Bamboo Stem Extract to smooth the look of pores and fine lines.


Terre de Lumière L’Eau from L’Occitane £49

Inspired by sunrise, Terre de Lumière L’Eau from L’Occitane is a fresh and delicate new season scent. Notes of bergamot, peony and pink pepper meet white musk, tonka bean and almond essence for a soft feminine fragrance.


Formulated with all the benefits of its original GRAVITYMUD™ Firming Treatment, GLAMGLDW now takes it to the next level with its #GLITTERMASK. This holographic sparkle treatment uses targeted ingredients like a TEAOXI® Complex of Licorice and Marshmallow Leaf to help make skin’s contours feel firmer and look more defined after just one #GLITTERMASK from use. Selfies at GLAMGLOW £44 the ready!

barePRO Full Coverage 16-hour Concealer from bareMinerals £23 Plumpline lip liner from Buxom £15


Buxom’s versatile thick pencil plumps, lines and defines lips to their fullest. Creamy and pigmented enough to wear alone or as a perfect base to lip colour, the built-in brush makes blending a breeze.


Nudies Glow All Over Face Color from NUDESTIX is a dual-ended, soft colour bronzing balm and blending brush for use on eyes and cheeks. Just draw directly on skin and dab softly with fingers or stipple brush for a soft contour and easy highlight.

Nudies Glow All Over Face Color in Hey Honey from NUDESTIX £32


Ribbon Chic Why a £1 black velvet ribbon is the only hair accessory you need this spring BY CHLOE STREET


K, so you may not have tied a ribbon in your hair since you were a little girl. But it’s time to set aside your reservations, because the hair ribbon is back and this time round it’s awfully grown up. From the wide black velvet ribbons tied around low-slung ponytails at Tory Burch and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s presentations, to the skinny black velvet ribbons worn around necks and hair at Temperley London, the humble black ribbon was all over the runways. The LBR (little black ribbon) was also seen all over the red carpet at the recent Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. Margot Robbie added drama to her monochrome look with a velvet ribbon loosely tied in her up-do for the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Philosphy Di Lorenzo Serafin. Getty Images

Riley Keogh went for a thick black ribbon which, paired with a red lip and smokey eye, felt very ‘80s Madonna. However you choose to wear one, the humble black ribbon is the chicest – and cheapest – way to update your look this spring. n

Christina Hendricks at the Golden Globes. Getty Images

Sienna Miller at the amfAR Gala New York. Getty Images


Christina Hendricks also showed us that wearing a bow needn’t be prissy as she styled hers threaded through a dishevelled bun at the Golden Globes. While Sienna Miller went for an equally low-key approach, wearing hers tied loose around a simple ponytail.

Margot Robbie at Critics’ Choice Awards. Getty Images

Riley Keoough at the Post-Golden Globes Party



Tried & Tested


Colour therapy This month Catriona Doherty reviews colour therapy


aymond McKimm from Green Therapy and Training, Bangor, uses Colour Therapy as a means for clients to get to know themselves better. Colour Therapy is based on the principles of Jungian Analytical Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology and Esoteric Psychology – but don’t worry if you don’t understand the ins and outs of all that – in reality it’s a lot more straightforward than it sounds. In brief, clients are invited to choose bottles from a colourful selection on display. The therapist then uses these bottles (which are known as Colour Mirrors) almost as conversation openers to discuss how you are feeling and identify which specific emotions you are experiencing, in order to process and regulate them. During Raymond’s research work as a clinical psychologist working with children who had suffered a trauma, he felt there was something else he was missing – something he couldn’t quite put his finger

on. Then one day he quite literally stumbled upon the answer. To put his clients at ease, Raymond had asked the kids to draw a picture at the beginning of each session. He says: “One day I slipped and the drawings all fell out of my hand onto the floor. And then it struck me; the children who had been through a trauma had consistently picked the same colours. The children in question had never met each other – they had no connection to each other.” Raymond began to explore the association between colour and symbols, looking at how colour can be used as a tool for self-expression and self-discovery. He developed theory using colour to symbolically access and represent the feelings and thoughts which we hold in our unconscious mind. Raymond says: “Nobody is broken and nobody needs fixed; sometimes we get distracted from how great we are.” Feelings of depression, anxiety or grief for example, can impact anyone – and you may need help in processing those emotions. n

I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first Colour Analytical Psychology session but I love learning about new things so I was looking forward to the experience. On arrival Raymond welcomed me in to the consultation room - with an open fire burning warmly and cosy couch, I immediately felt at ease. Raymond began by assuring me that anything we spoke about would be confidential, before explaining how Colour Therapy works. I was invited to choose any bottle, and any number of bottles, from the display. I didn’t give it a lot of thought other than choosing the bottles that I liked the look of. I opted for five bottles in various shades of red, orange, blue, pink and green, and placed them on the table. “Looking at those bottles I would say the world is a very busy place”, Ray tells me. It certainly is. I’m always on the go and really should relax more. “Start noticing what you are paying attention to and look out for gentler moments in your week”, he continues. Good advice as I’m often on fast-forward thinking about the next item on my to-do list. Raymond pointed out that I had picked a lot of red which is associated with masculinity, power, business and action. He said my olive-green bottle was connected with powerful women: “Olive green is power and love in equal measure; it’s about balancing power and love”. He noted I had picked a lot of orange which is often associated with joy. I was really delighted to pick the joy bottle because life is full of ups and downs – that’s totally normal – but I’m happy in all aspects of life at the moment. So it was a heart-warming reminder that life is going well. And if life wasn’t going so good – I’m pretty confident that would show up in the bottles too. Raymond charges £50 for an hour-long session, which should be booked in blocks of six. For more information visit


Aisling and Rick leaving the hosptial in Ukraine with their newborn twins

My journey to motherhood As we prepare to mark Mother’s Day, Jade Beecroft speaks to three inspirational women whose journeys to motherhood were far from easy


Aisling and Rick Grogan

In a dated and busy clinic almost 2,000 miles away from home, Aisling and her husband Rick finally cradled their newborn twins for the first time. The couple had always known that pursing their dreams of parenthood wouldn’t be easy. But little did they realise it would be a journey spanning seven years, involving 12 failed IVF cycles, numerous flights, Skype calls and emails, thousands of pounds and a surrogate mother. Aisling’s fertility problems began with emergency surgery to remove a large ovarian cyst – along with her left ovary and tube – at the age of 20. As a busy medical student at Belfast’s Queen’s University, she

hardly gave a thought to the implications. But when she met Rick a few years later, and their thoughts turned to a family, the couple knew they faced an uphill struggle. Tests showed that Aisling’s remaining right ovary was shrunken, had no connecting tube, and her womb was an unusual ‘half moon’ shape, meaning their only hope of conceiving would be through IVF. “We were advised to start trying sooner rather than later,” she remembers. “By the time we were married in 2011 we’d already had two failed IVF cycles.” The couple battled on, self-funding a further 10 treatments. Four cycles resulted in pregnancy, but tragically each time Aisling suffered a miscarriage at around 6-7 weeks. “It wasn’t just getting pregnant,” she explains. “My body wasn’t able to sustain a pregnancy. “The only way you can survive fertility treatment is by having a ‘Plan B’, so after our last failed cycle, in October 2016, Rick went to an infertility support meeting about surrogacy. “We never gave up hope, but Rick was worried about how much longer I could go on with the IVF.” After researching and speaking to other couples, Aisling and Rick booked a flight to the Ukraine, to visit the BioTexCom Centre for Human Reproduction. They were in for a shock… “The clinic was dated and crowded,” explained Aisling. “We met with a doctor who didn’t speak a word of English, and he seemed bored. We decided that if we were going to go ahead with it, we’d just have to accept that to the clinic it was a business transaction; we weren’t going to be handled with care. They offered us three surrogate packages – economy, standard and VIP. We opted for the middle one, but it would still set us back over £40,000.” A surrogate mother was chosen for the

couple; a Ukrainian woman in her 30s with two children of her own. “I knew she was doing it to support her family,” explains Aisling, a GP. “During the months of her pregnancy I managed to build up a friendship with her. We chatted over Skype; she’d tell me when the babies had been kicking – little details that were so precious to us.” Back home, the wait was agonising, with the clinic communicating mainly via email. “We got an email saying ‘congratulations, you’re pregnant!’, that was it,” laughs Aisling. “I worked out it was twins by looking at a scan photo.” The couple knew twins were a posibility and were delighted with the news (they paid an extra £3,000 to keep the second baby). “Looking back it was pretty crazy, but by this point we were committed. We found fertility forums with other Irish couples using the same clinic, so we all supported each other.”

When it was time for the birth, Aisling and Rick took time off work and booked flights back to the Ukraine. But complications meant the planned C-section was brought forward.

Another lady determined not to lose hope in the face of fertility problems was Lisa Smyth, from Antrim.

one more go, she emailed Ruth Ellen Logan, of Logan Wellbeing in Belfast, for help. The Logan Fertility Method was developed by Ruth Ellen as a result of her own experiences, and involves a combination of therapies including abdominal massage, dietary advice and reflexology. “She knew what I was going through,” explains Lisa. “During our first meeting we went through everything and I came out feeling so much better.

Lisa and Kenny Smyth

The 38-year-old journalist and her husband, Kenny, already had a daughter, Grace, now four, when Lisa went for an egg reserve test as part of a story she was writing. “I knew my chances of conceiving later in my 30s were lower because my mum and grandmother both had early menopauses,” she explains. “But I’d suffered postnatal depression after Grace was born, so I was in no rush to have another. “The test was a huge wake-up call though. I was told my egg reserve was very low and I could go into menopause any day. I sat in the car afterwards and cried my eyes out.” Lisa and Kenny began trying straight away, and fell pregnant immediately, but their excitement was short-lived. “When we went for a scan at 10 weeks, the baby had gone,” remembers Lisa. “They couldn’t find a heartbeat. It was awful; one of the worst times of my life.” Further tests revealed Lisa had been expecting a little boy, but he had a deformed skull and would have been profoundly disabled if he had survived. The couple buried him and began trying again… and again Lisa fell pregnant quickly. “It wasn’t getting pregnant that was the problem, it was keeping the pregnancy,” she explains. “This time I miscarried four weeks later at home.” The couple had been rocked to the core; Lisa was struggling with her grief and even having panic attacks. Determined to give it

µµBy sharing our story, I hope that we can give other couples hope∑∑ “We were rushing through the airport in Paris to make our connection when I spotted an email from the clinic,” remembers Aisling. “It just said ‘congratulations, you are parents’.” Aisling and Rick finally brought their newborns Art and Cadhla home days after

Christmas. The babies are now almost three months old and the family is thriving. “We visited the surrogate in hospital after the birth and thanked her,” says Aisling, now 38. “We keep in touch; we’ve sent her photos of the babies. I know that to her it was a job, but her actions have changed our lives. It feels like we’ve won the Lotto! “By sharing our story, I hope that we can give other couples hope.”

Lisa and Ethan

µµEthan has fixed my broken heart∑∑ “Unbeknown to me, Ruth Ellen already suspected I was pregnant again, so when I called her the following week with a positive test result, she wasn’t surprised. “She’d already put me on a fertility diet, with lots of brazil nuts, pineapple and brown rice, and pregnancy vitamins.” Throughout the early weeks of her pregnancy, Lisa was terrified of losing the baby again, and visited the Logan Clinic regularly. “The abdominal massage wasn’t suitable at first, that came later, but we did reflexology and she counselled me through,” says Lisa. “She kept telling me I was carrying a very strong little boy.” Lisa’s pregnancy wasn’t without complications and she went into labour five weeks early, but baby Ethan came into the world on May 2nd 2017 weighing a strapping 6lbs 3oz. “He was a little bruiser,” laughs Lisa.

“Ruth Ellen was right about me having a strong baby. I don’t think I could have done it without her. “We’ll never forget the babies we lost; we planted a tree in the garden in memory of our little boy. But Ethan has fixed my broken heart.”

Continued on 50 ➤


Teresa and Marty with Nina

Another mummy who knows all about overcoming loss is Teresa Kidd. For the 36-year-old and her husband Marty, the road to parenthood was an agonising test of their strength and determination.

Teresa and Marty Kidd

Their 15-month-old daughter Nina is a ‘rainbow baby’ – the term given to children who come along in the wake of heartache; the metaphorical burst of colour and light after the storm. Her birth, in October 2016, marked the end of a three-year struggle for a family that saw Teresa tragically lose three babies. “We always knew we wanted a family,” explains Teresa, from Draperstown. “But after a year of trying we were beginning to talk about fertility testing when I finally fell pregnant. “It was a routine pregnancy and I went eight days overdue before the pains kicked in.”

µµnever give up hope∑∑ But on the labour ward at Antrim Area Hospital the couple’s excitement soon turned to despair. After hooking Teresa up to a scanner, the midwife frowned and disappeared from the room. “I didn’t hear a heartbeat,” Teresa said to Marty, terror rising in the pit of her stomach. The midwife reappeared with a consultant, who did the scan again and then said the machine must be broken. Another scanner was brought in and then the whole room went silent. “I’m so sorry,” said the consultant as they


all stared at the monitor. “Your baby has died.” Sobbing and heartbroken, Teresa then had to go into labour to deliver her stillborn daughter Leonie, weighing 7lbs 14oz, in December 2013. Tests showed Leonie had died just a day before she was born of an infection called Group B Strep, which in rare cases can be passed from mother to baby. The couple held a funeral and immediately started trying again, but it was almost a year before Teresa fell pregnant. Again their joy was shortlived; in December 2014 she miscarried baby Leo just before her 12-week scan. And there was a further tragedy in April 2015, when she lost a third baby just ten weeks into her pregnancy. They named him Dylan and held another heartbreaking memorial service near their home. “We hardly dared hope when we fell pregnant a fourth time,” remembers Teresa. “Every time I went to loo I prayed not to see any blood. I was given medication to help keep the pregnancy and antibiotics to protect the baby from Strep.” Baby Nina arrived by C-section, weighing 8lbs 5oz. Now a healthy toddler, their rainbow baby has finally completed their family, but Teresa says she’ll never forget the children she lost. “We were fourth time lucky – you reach the stage where you wonder whether it will ever happen,” she says. “To any other familes struggling with fertility, I’d say talk to people and get help. Miscarriage is very common – we need to reach out to each other. I went to a local SANDS support group and that really helped. “But most of all, never give up hope.” n

HOWTO GET HELP There are a number of support services available for parents and parents-to-be in Northern Ireland: • Parenting NI offers a parents’ helpline offering support and signposting for any parenting issue. Dial 0808 8010722 or visit for more information. • Tiny Life is a charity for parents of premature babies in Northern Ireland. Visit or call 02890 815050 to find out more about its support groups, bereavement help and neonatal support services. • The Lullaby Trust offers a confidential bereavement support helpline for parents who have lost babies or young children. Call 0808 8026868 or email for more information. • Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity SANDS has support groups in Northern Ireland. To find your nearest group visit or call 0808 1643332.

Mothers Day Special Edition Afternoon Tea will be served on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 10,11,12th of March, 12-5 pm All afternoon tea guests will receive a complimentary glass of Prosecco.

Live Music Price £22.95 /person


Thanks MUM


Sunday 11th March C U L LO D E N • S TO R M O N T • S L I E V E D O NAR D E U R O PA • E V E R G L A D E S • B A L LY G A L LY

Call 028 9047 1066 or visit 51

Jenna McCorkell. Getty Images

High fliers

Ahead of international Women’s Day on 8th March – which celebrates the achievements of women –three local sporting legends and a highflying ballerina talk to NW about their diet and exercise regimes BY CATRIONA DOHERTY


Jenna McCorkell: Former competitive figure skater, 11 times British Champion, two times Olympian, and founder of Chique Sport From: Coleraine, Northern Ireland and currently living between Coleraine and Belgium Age: 31 Do you follow a specific eating plan? I don’t follow a specific plan but I do try to eat healthily when I can – although that can be hard when I’m so busy running the business and travelling, while also coaching 20 skaters in Belgium.

Describe what you eat in a typical day. For breakfast I have yogurt, a bowl of cereal, and a smoothie made with strawberries, a banana and an orange. Lunch is normally a pasta dish between sessions, and for dinner I have chicken or meat with vegetables or fajitas.

What foods do you enjoy for treats? My treat food would be Chinese; I love honey chilli chicken or chicken fried rice.

Do you exclude any foods from your diet? I am a very plain eater and there are quite a few things that I don’t eat because of that, rather than for nutritional reasons.

Jenna McCorkell

Describe your daily exercise routine. My daily exercise routine is much different now compared to when I was a competitive athlete. When I was competing I was training on-ice up to three sessions per day,

Danielle with her fellow Team NI swimmers

Danielle Hill: Member of Team NI swim team, Commonwealth Games 2018 From: Belfast Age: 18 Do you follow a specific eating plan? I have recently started working closely with a nutritionist, who has given me feedback on my eating habits and diet. This month I have been tracking my food intake and calories, which will then form the basis of a specific eating plan based on my daily activity. I feel I’m getting stronger through training and I’m at an age where everything I eat has an impact on my performance.

Describe what you eat in a typical day. Jenna McCorkell. Getty Images five or six days per week. I would also have had a very intense off-ice training routine for strength and conditioning and also running 10km three times per week. On top of that I had weight sessions and then either yoga or pilates classes. Now that I am no longer competing my training regime is much less strict. I am usually on the ice for about four hours every day when in Belgium as I’m coaching and that can be a really active time, as well as that I aim to run about 30km a week and when I have the time I still try to go to the gym to add some variety to my training.

Tell us about your involvement with Dancing on Ice. Following my competitive skating career I started my own business of developing a sportswear range called Chique Sport which I designed specifically for figure skating. It launched in March 2017. The team at ITV had heard about the collection so they invited me to supply some pieces for both the celebrities and professionals on the 2018 series of Dancing on Ice.

For breakfast I have two pancakes before training and afterwards I have a banana, cereal bar and overnight oats with berries. When in school I have pasta with dried tomato sauce and a yoghurt for lunch. If I’m not in school, I would usually have an omelette or scrambled eggs and toast. For dinner there is always a portion of protein and loads of carbohydrates involved, with a small portion of fruit and veg.

What foods do you enjoy for treats? My favourite treat food is chocolate, especially white chocolate. However, during a competition my go-to treat food has to be Forest Feast dried mango... so good!

Do you exclude any foods from your diet? No, however, I do try to reduce the amount of saturated fats within my diet.

Describe your daily exercise routine. I’ve been training for swimming since a very early age. I started my career in Teltots (now the Forest Feast Aquasprint league), so I am well used to getting in the water and pushing myself. I train in the pool weekdays before school from 6-8am, Saturday 6:30-8 and Sunday 7:30-9:30. On Wednesdays and Fridays I have a second swim session after school. I also train double sessions, swim and gym, Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Danielle Hill

Obviously a level of fitness is required to compete in the Commonwealth Games… The Commonwealth Games is a stepping stone towards the Olympic Games therefore it is essential to have a very high level of fitness and physical strength. It is important when working towards the Commonwealths to constantly push your body into new areas and zones as this is the only way to help you improve. Being in peak shape during the Commonwealths means a lot of work needs to be done months prior to the games, allowing you to build a good aerobic tolerance. I feel having a good aerobic base has a massive effect on how you perform 3-4 months later.

What are you most looking forward to about the Commonwealths? The thing I look forward to the most is representing my country at such a high level. I represented Northern Ireland when I was 14, but now that I’m 18 it means a lot more and I’m going there with a high expectation of myself in the hope to make my country proud and put NI on the map for swimming and sport in general.

Continued on 54 ➤


Hannah Bateman: Leading Soloist at Northern Ballet, created the title role of Jane Eyre From: Surrey and currently living in Leeds Age: Over 35! (I’m 36) Do you follow a specific eating plan? In a way yes, although it doesn’t have a specific name – it’s just what I have found works over the years.

Describe what you eat in a typical day. I always have toast for breakfast, I’ve tried porridge and cereal and yoghurt, but I always come back to toast as I love it. I have toast with marmite and a cup of tea, and a large glass of water with a dash of lemon.

What foods do you enjoy for treats? I always have a treat or two at the weekend which can vary from various desserts to some biscuits. My mum is a fantastic cook and her lemon meringue or apple pie can’t be beaten.

Do you exclude any foods from your diet? No, not at all. I’ve tried it and sometimes it makes sense to cut down on one group, but honestly you suffer in the long run if you cut one out completely. I don’t eat that much meat but that’s more through taste rather than anything else.

Describe your daily exercise routine. I wake up, drag myself out of bed and have a hot shower to wake my sore body up. I try to do some light stretching before I leave the house but during rehearsal periods this is tough when time is so short. All Northern Ballet dancers then start the day officially with company ballet class which is an hour and 15 minutes long. I warm up before this by rolling out my muscles on a roller, and the soles of my feet on a golf ball. We rehearse for 33 hours a week plus we have our daily class, so I try to fit in two or three cardio sessions a week and I squeeze strengthening exercises in-between or during rehearsals. If I get any extra

Hannah Bateman dancing with Javier Torres. Photo credit: Justin Slee time I go to a Pilates studio where I do a lot of work on the machines to loosen and encourage mobility in all the areas that get restricted from repetition, especially the thoracic area.

Obviously a level of fitness is required to for your role in Jane Eyre… Jane Eyre is tough cookie and the role reflects this physically. The ballet isn’t too long at just under two hours, but apart from about 10 minutes in the first act you are on stage the whole time. It’s exhausting but it’s exactly what dancers love. To get the opportunity to tell such an interesting tale with a whole range of emotions is a dream. I love to push myself hard physically; it’s what I enjoy most about dancing. I am addicted to that feeling of total satisfaction of knowing you have nothing left to give.

What are you most looking forward to about performing in Jane Eyre in Belfast? I’m really excited to perform in Belfast, the audience is always very receptive and I get to stay with family in Bangor. My parents are coming over to see me perform too, so it will be a wonderful week.

Hannah Bateman with Javier Torres. Photo credit: Justin Slee


Jayne Eyre runs from 4-7 April at the Grand Opera House, Belfast.

An ice wall at the Ice Climbing World Cup before I leave for school; I’m a high school English teacher. Straight after work I am back in the gym and do 3-4 hours climbing training, which varies between strength, power and endurance training. On weekends I will either be climbing in the mountains or on outdoor climbing structures, followed by some cardio; interval running or uphill biking. I usually take two rest days from climbing every week. On these days I try to do some good recovery activity like hiking or biking, and every now and again I take a full rest day doing absolutely nothing; my body normally tells me when me when I really need this.

How is the Ice Climbing World Cup going?

Eimir Mc Swiggan

Eimir McSwiggan: Ireland’s only international ice climbing Irish competitor - world ranking 5th. Eimir won silver and bronze in the 2017 World Cup and is now competing in the 2018 World Cup From: Gortin, Co Tyrone and currently living in Seoul, South Korea Age: 39 Do you follow a specific eating plan? I usually eat an oatmeal or egg-based breakfast after my first training of the day, followed by another small snack an hour later. I have a traditional Korean lunch of rice, meat or tofu soup and kimchi. Kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage or radish) is a staple of all Korean cuisine and although it sounds a bit weird is actually really delicious and nutritious. For dinner I eat

something a little lighter; salad and some fish, chicken or meat. I snack a lot on fruit and nuts.

Do you exclude any foods from your diet? No, luckily the Korean diet is quite healthy and seems to suit me very well so I don’t really have to think too much about it. The week before competitions I usually avoid eating red meat and try to get as many carbohydrates a possible.

Describe your daily exercise routine. In preparation for competition season I wake up at 5am and go for a 5-10 km run

This season got off to a bad start for me, failing to make it through qualifications in the first competition in Saas Fee, Switzerland in January. It was hard to come back from but I was delighted to have a much better competition in Rabenstein, Italy the following weekend. I made it to the final round and finished in 5th place. The third leg of the competition was in Hohhot, China last weekend. I had my best climbs of the season finishing in bronze medal position. This weekend I am headed to Cheongsong, South Korea for round four. It’s always an honour to climb at Cheongsong - the place where this sport all started for me. I really hope I can do my best there. I am currently in 5th position in the World Rankings and am hoping to hold on to this position at least, and if possible better it. The final leg of the circuit is in Kirov Russia on 2-4 March. However I will be unable to attend this competition unless I can find some sponsorship to help with travel costs.

What have you planned for 2018? Right now I am just completely focused on the Ice Climbing World Cup. After that I will be turning my attention towards further education to ensure I can secure a good teaching position in Korea. That would give me better job stability and a bit more free time to be able to develop my sport and hopefully start looking at developing a team back at home. n



In the April 1 ÂŁ issue of Check print Colour blocking Hanging art 101 Can going vegan change your life?


Credit: Vila


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


Holy Man, Kathmandu, Nepal


Nepal yoga retreats: Are spiritual holidays a load of nonsense?

Darren Loucaides swaps cynicism for spirituality at Nepal’s finest yoga and meditation centres


he guru tells us to strike the meditative posture, palms facing upwards, and close our eyes. “Be comfortable, relax your body,” he says. Easier said than done I think – it’s taking much of my concentration just to keep my legs crossed. We begin our breathing exercises: the guru, called Mantra, starts to chant “om” and we follow suit. I can’t help looking out the corner of my eye at the other students, as we chant over and over. I’m not a natural meditator, and I feel ridiculous. Nowadays, tourists come to Nepal as much for a quick fix of spiritual enlightenment as for the mountains. Meditation retreats and yoga centres catering to foreigners have proliferated in the majority-Hindu country where Buddha


was born. But are they any good? I’ve never done yoga before and am about as spiritual as a plank of wood. That makes me the perfect candidate, I decide, for a crash course in the merits of Nepal’s yoga and meditation offerings.

Back to basics

These simple retreats are big business in Nepal these days – you can even strip things back to basics (spiritually, at least) at luxury hotels. Tiger Mountain Lodge, for example, offers yoga and meditation lessons alongside its five-star digs. Situated on an idyllic hilltop above the lakeside town of Pokhara, no wonder well-heeled hippies are flocking to it. I visit for a couple of days, learning meditation from a man called Happy Ji, and leaving feels harder than any yoga pose.

What I’m en route to, however, is a more authentic experience than could be found in a five-star hotel. Atmashree Yoga Retreat is a four-floor concrete building overlooking Pokhara’s lake. At the door, I’m welcomed by Mantra, my young instructor who shows me to my lodgings – a bed with a firm mattress, and not much else. I miss Tiger Mountain, but there’s no time to mope. My first yoga session is about to start. I imagine us jumping straight into a run-through of asanas, but in fact we spend the first few minutes sitting still – or trying to, in my case. Mantra instructs us to imagine a flame or a candle in the centre of our foreheads, to focus on that and let other thoughts go like passing clouds. We concentrate on our breathing and begin chanting “om”. Initially, I find it embarrassing. But by the third “om” I’m appreciating the way the chant vibrates through my body. After about 10 minutes, Mantra decides it’s time for something called yoga nidra. Again, I brace myself for ligamentthreatening postures, but this time we’re

Travel essentials GETTING THERE

Flying from Belfast to Kathmandu requires two flight changes, however you can fly from Dublin with one change with Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.

STAYING THERE told simply to lie on our backs, close our eyes and repeat to ourselves: “I will not fall asleep, I will not fall asleep”. This is where things get weird. “Be aware of your right side,” Mantra says. “Be aware of the fingers of your right hand. Be aware of your thumb; of your index figure…” And so on, down through my entire body, one side, then the other, for a total of 45 minutes. The idea is to direct your awareness to each part of your body in turn (like the ‘body scan’ practised in mindfulness). It’s not easy, as proved by a few snores coming from another student, but there is a discernible result. Afterwards, I feel like my perception of my body has shifted slightly.

Moon salutations & mantras

In the early evening, as the setting sun turns the lake a silvery purple beneath us, we head up to the roof for our next class. Raj is 37 and has 25 years’ experience of yoga, he tells us. He leads us through moon salutations – a sequence of 14 stretches. Then we try some “simple” postures, which I find tough. The final session of the day involves chanting Sanskrit mantras, with Mantra playing a harmonium and Raj thrumming tabla drums. While the asanas are what most

westerners have in mind when they think of yoga, practising them only comprises two of Atmashree’s five daily sessions. Paul, a fellow student from Cumbria, tells me he was at first a bit disappointed by this, as he had come expecting to practise – or, rather, exercise – all day, and finds the meditative and spiritual components difficult. But that, according to Mantra, is the point. “Yoga is not just positions, or a kind of exercise,” he will tell us later, “it is a way of life.”

µµI am about as spiritual as a plank of wood∑∑ Rather than a hotel offering yoga sessions like Tiger Mountain Lodge, Atmashree feels more like a homestay. Dinner – cooked by Raj’s wife, who lives here along with their two young sons – is a family affair, all of us crammed around the kitchen table. In the morning, a bonus session involves pouring salty water into our nostrils from a special jug. This too, they say, is yoga.

Atmashree Yoga Retreat (atmashreeyoga. com) offers courses of varying lengths from $123 (£91) per person per day, full board. Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge ( has doubles from $520 (£384), full board. In Kathmandu, Dwarika’s Hotel ( has doubles from $375 (£277), B&B. Kopan Monastery ( has a 10day introductory course for an inexpensive $140 (£103), including lodging.

The programme is tiring, and I’m in bed by 9pm every night. But after a few days at Atmashree, I’m looking forward to the meditation sessions, and am even getting better at my asanas. “You’ve improved,” Mantra tells me on day three, after I manage to balance with a foot tucked into my groin, sole facing upwards, without falling on my face. Unlike most of the guests at Atmashree – or the devotees who spend weeks at a time at monasteries such as Kopan in Kathmandu, which has been hosting westerners since 1971 – I’m only here for four days. But my taster makes me realise that even a small dose of peace and tranquillity can be positive – and even life-changing. If a spiritual sceptic like me can find himself in a week in Nepal, anyone can. n



Yellow tram in front of the Lisbon cathedral

things to do in Lisbon

From art to Instagramming, here’s why the Portuguese capital is on everyone’s radar BY HEATHER TAYLOR


isbon’s star has never shone brighter: Instagram feeds are littered with snaps of its ubiquitous indigo-hued tiles, tech startups are flocking there, and a wave of chic restaurants and hotels have opened. Portugal’s so-called city of light lives up to the hype, offering visitors a winning combination of culture and cafés, a Mediterranean climate and great value for money. Want to find out what the fuss is about? Here’s what to do.


Savour the views

Take a deep breath and zigzag up the bright limestone cobbled streets to the miradouros (viewpoints) at the top of the seven hills on which Lisbon is built. You’ll emerge looking across the terracotta-roofed houses which ramble down towards the mouth of the Tagus river flowing in from the north of the country. Spot landmarks such as the Moorish São Jorge castle, then refuel under the shade of an umbrella at one of the outdoor kiosk cafés, where the service is breezy, prices are fair and the bica (espresso) is strong.

Buy a ticket to ride

Gravity-defying 1930s trams creak up narrow streets all over Lisbon, but the submarine-yellow number 28 offers the chance to see many of the city’s attractions in one go. Board at Campo de Ourique for your best chance to get a seat – though be mindful of pickpockets – and spot the Baroque architecture in Estrela; the


parliament headquarters in São Bento; and the ramshackle Arabic buildings in Alfama (the only district to have survived the 1755 earthquake which destroyed most of the Portuguese capital). A 24-hour ticket valid on trams, metro and buses costs €6.15, and is available from any metro station.

Sip white port and tonic

A glass of the locals’ favourite aperitif – mellow, honeyed white port from the Douro Valley, mixed with bitter tonic and garnished with lemon – will soon have you questioning your loyalty to Aperol spritz.

It’s served everywhere, but the peaceful Limão Rooftop bar at the H10 Duque de Loulé has a side of exceptional views across the city.

Be a bookworm

The smell hits you first, in Lisbon’s independent bookshops: musty paper and leather, mixed with coffee (usually being sipped by a bespectacled cashier). Woodpanelled Livraria Bertrand is the oldest in Portugal, while Livraria Sa Da Costa often plays host to live music and art exhibitions. In an old printing factory in LX Factory,

Marina in Cascais in Portugal

Restaurante Ponte Final, a no-frills joint for bubbling pots of monkfish and rice stew, or bulhão pato (clams cooked with white wine and coriander). Book ahead to bag one of the tables on the sandstone terrace: a prime spot to watch the sunset.

Browse the local market

Beyond Lisbon’s tacky tourist shops, you’ll find hidden treasure. Hipsters descend on LX Factory every Sunday to browse vinyl and 1960’s-style frocks at the flea market, while on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the Feira da Ladra market takes place in Alfama – if you’re willing to rifle, there’s a huge choice of antiques. In trendy Principe Real, Embaixada is a shopping gallery in a 19thcentury palace, housing concept stores from independent designers.

Pasteis de nata

Soak up some art

Lisbon’s answer to Shoreditch, cavernous Ler Devagar plays folk music and has flying bicycles suspended from its ceiling. Keep an eye out for work by enigmatic Portuguese poet and critic, Fernando Pessoa – English versions of his books are sold throughout Lisbon.

bakery to try the original incarnation of Portugal’s favourite pastry-clad treat. They’re dangerously good, though locals whisper that their favourites come from Manteigaria, in Chiado: vanilla-flecked custard in the flakiest casing, each is three bites of heaven.

Sample pastéis de nata

Dine old-school Lisbon style

Monks and nuns are to blame for the irrefutable sweet tooth of the Lisboetas. Some of those ousted following the 1820 Liberal revolution escaped from the Mosteiro dos Jeronimós, in the Belém district (accessible via the 15 or 127 tram from the centre), to set up camp in a nearby bakery. They flogged pastéis de nata (custard tarts), and eventually sold their recipe to the building’s owners. Today, customers queue at the Pastéis de Belém

The bountiful Atlantic provides the ingredients for the city’s restaurants. Arrive early at Taberna Da Rua Das Flores – by 6.30pm, this tiny eatery is booked up for the night. Young chefs cook modern interpretations of traditional Portuguese dishes, scribbled daily on the blackboard menu (the tuna tartare is outstanding). For a taste of old-school Lisbon, hop on a ferry from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas. Turn right and walk past the warehouses to

The MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology), cuts a graphic, undulating silhouette against the banks of the Tagus river. Opened last year, the building was designed by British architect Amanda Levete, and encompasses a roof which doubles as a public park, plus an exhibition space showcasing work from a roster of contemporary artists and designers. Lisbon’s art isn’t constrained to its galleries, however: whitewashed buildings provide a canvas for vibrant graffiti. Download the Lisbon Street Art app for tips on where to seek it out.

Hit the beach

The golden sands of Cascais are worth the 40-minute train ride from Lisbon (Cais de Sodre). Once the preferred holiday haunt of the Portuguese royal family, the seaside town blends palatial 19th-century architecture with fishing village charm. Wander along the coast to watch waves fizzing against the cliffs – and take an obligatory selfie at the Boca do Inferno (hell’s mouth) cave – then tuck into catch of the day with a glass of vinho verde at family-run institution Mar do Inferno. n


A MILLION reasons to blog

Meet the Down man who became a millionaire by visiting every country in the world



ohnny Ward from Co Down, spent ten years travelling the world and became a self-made millionaire along the way. How? By blogging as he travelled. “I don’t come from a family with money. I’m not a rich kid who decided they wanted to travel,” Johnny begins. “At the start, I didn’t have enough money for a plane ticket so I signed up and did some medical research. That made me around £1,700-£2,600; enough to set off on my journey. “I travelled to Thailand and taught English for a while when my money was running out and I was living off around €5 a day. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, and heard people were making money blogging. So I started blogging about my travels and it all began from there.” “My first blog I got paid for made €80, and thought it was amazing. “Then I started to make around €5,000-


€6,000 a month, and it started snowballing from there.” “If I can do it, anyone can do it”. So how exactly did Johnny generate so much cash from his travels? we ask. “The idea most people have when travelling is to save up enough money to travel for a certain length of time,” Johnny explains.

µµIf I can do it, anyone can do it∑∑ “In fact, working while you travel is the key. It’s a change of mindset.” The entrepreneur advises people to sell items online or teach English on Skype during their travels, he even traded currencies as he moved countries. He says the key is to generate money as you go, rather than saving like mad beforehand.

‘What about travel blogs? How can they make money?’ we ask. “99.9 percent of people don’t get paid to travel,” Johnny replies. “You travel to create the content and once you have the content you can create the blog/videos to then sell to places that would be interested. That then generates money to your blog.” He recommends starting a blog on places you travel to, keeping note of all that you are doing. For this, you will need a domain name and web hosting – he advises buying your own domain and paying someone to build the site, as it will stand out more. Standing out, of course, makes it easier to sell ads, Johnny explains: “Once you start building your profile then it becomes easier to sell. But unless you’re a big name on social media etc, you won’t get paid to travel,” he adds. Johnny had to blog constantly for a year before he was approached for content. “Lots of people post content for a few months and then get discouraged”, he says. “But one of the keys is sticking with it and building up that content base. “You need a lot of followers really to get people to notice you that way.” We conclude by asking Johnny what his future plans are. “How many countries are there in the world? It’s kind of complicated, but I call it 197 and I’ve been to them all.” “When it comes to making money from my travelling now, I choose where I want to go. “I do it because I love travelling and I make my own plans.” “If I’m able to make money off what I love doing then great.” n

Johnny also runs the charity fund, which helps build playgrounds for disadvantaged kids in the Philippines, India, Tanzania and Nicaragua.


The Bees Knees



othering Sunday is on the horizon and, of course, we all love to spoil our mums on Mother’s Day with flowers, maybe a meal somewhere fancy and a glass or two of fabulous fizz. But spare a thought for all those mums-to be, awaiting their bundles of joy, who won’t be able to partake in that lovely bubbly. As well as expectant mothers, there are 5.4 million adults in the UK who don’t drink alcohol... I just don’t happen to know any of them. What I have discovered, on their behalf, are a couple of fab new alcohol-free fizzies that are aptly named The Bees Knees. These two fun alternative sparking non-alcoholic wines look just like the real thing in their Champagne style bottle, complete with gold foil around the cork and they come in either white or rose. They really are the bees knees for non-drinkers. Both are made from grape juice which is infused with a hint of premium green tea which gives depth, tannin and body. Pop the cork on these fizzes and serve your mums-in-waiting a flute of either white or pink bubbles and they definitely won’t feel left out of the fun. They are also lower in sugar than most soft drinks and are really refreshing, fruity and not sickly sweet thanks to that addition of the green tea to give it a tannic hint. As an added bonus, there are only 34 calories per 125ml glass of this refreshing fizz whereas a glass of alcoholic sparkling wine packs 80 calories, which to me would suggest the perfect chance to indulge in a delicious dessert or slice of cream cake due to the calorie deficit created. These non-alcoholic fizzies are a great aperitif for the all the non drinkers, teens and designated drivers out there. They also pair well with lots of party food and, at £3.50 a bottle, you can’t go wrong. You can find The Bees Knees in supermarkets and online or look them up on Instagram and Twitter @beeskneesbubbly. Cheers Mum! n

Wine Recommendation from Rebecca Robb: Bertarose 2015 March heralds the beginning of Spring, with its subtle appearance at every corner. A stretch in the evening becomes a leap toward Summer, and so too do our thoughts wander to foot loose and fancy-free evenings with friends. What better way to enjoy than with a glass rosé wine. This month’s wine is the Bertarose, Chiaretto, 2015 from our wine list here at Fratelli. A family run winery overlooking Lake Garda is where this delicate, yet lively lychee pink rosé is produced. The light skinned Molinara grape has been put to wonderful use in this wine. It is blended with a smaller percentage of merlot, resulting in a rosé with firm length and pronounced fruit on the palate. Sweet scents of rose petals and pomegranate lead gently onto a refreshing palate of wild strawberry and raspberry. Three months of ageing on the lees imparts a great length to this enchanting little Italian beauty. The light, fruity flavours of rosé wine makes it the perfect pairing for Shellfish, so I have partnered our wine of choice with chef’s delectable crab risotto. A better food and wine marriage i couldn’t imagine. Until next time, Arrivederci!

White Crab Risotto from Chef William Johnston Ingredients

• 125g of white crab meat (picked of all shell) • 50g parmesan • 50g peas • 50g mascarpone cheese • ¼ fresh green chilli (finely sliced) • 50g rocket leaves washed for garnish For Risotto • 250g risotto rice • 1x shallot diced • 2x gloves of garlic • 1x bay leaf • Sprig of thyme • 250mls white wine • 750ml vegetable stock • 1x tbs olive oil • Salt & pepper


1. In a pot bring the vegetable stock to a gentle heat.

2. In a separate pan sweat off shallot, garlic, bay leaf and thyme with the olive oil. 3. Add the risotto rice to this pan and heat through for 2-3mins 4. Add the white wine to the rice mixture and cook out until all the wine has been absorbed by the rice. 5. Now gradually begin to add the heated vegetable stock. Using a ladle add a little at a time to the risotto mix until it is absorbed and repeat until all the stock has been added and the rice no longer has a chalky core and is cooked through. 6. Once all the stock has been added and absorbed by the rice season with salt & pepper to taste. 7. Just before serving add the white crab, fresh green chilli, peas, grated parmesan & mascarpone. Gently stir to warm through. 8. Serve in a heated bowl & garnish with fresh rocket leaves.



Northern Woman’s round up of this month’s most happening events Derry/Londonderry is delighted to announce the return of its annual City of Derry Drama Festival. This amateur drama festival is staged each spring since 1980 and was originally founded to celebrate the best of amateur drama, to foster and encourage excellence in amateur production and to make a varied range of dramatic productions accessible to as wide an audience as possible. The event runs from 2-10 March, for tickets visit

Gather up your girlfriends, it’s time for Ladies Night Goes to the Movies at Fratelli. Enjoy a main course, glass of wine and mini dessert buffet with a private movie screening. Practice your bend and snap because “Oh my God, oh my God you guys” - Legally Blonde is the movie of choice on 6th March.

Spoil your mum for Mother’s Day with a Special Edition Afternoon Tea at Maryville House, Belfast on 10-12 March. Enjoy mouthwatering home-baked treats, a glass of Prosecco and live music. Cost £22.95 per person.

West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK is set to fizz into focus this March as it prepares to launch its twenty-fifth season. The four-day fashion festival will celebrate the milestone with a spectacular Spring/Summer schedule that is set to offer serious style inspiration for the season ahead. The event will run from 22-25 March at venues across the city, for ticket information visit www.

Following the huge success of his two sellout arena shows earlier this year, Nathan Carter will be returning to Belfast to play the SSE Arena on Saturday 24 March. The country music legend will be playing tracks from latest album Stayin’ Up All Night in addition to old favourites. Seated tickets cost £25-30 and are available from SSE Arena.


Home of St Patrick Festival The eleven-day Home of St Patrick Festival celebrates the life, work and achievements of the patron saint at iconic locations across counties Armagh and Down from 8-19 March

Starry, Starry Night at Navan Centre runs on the 9th March. Hosted by BBC weather presenter Barra Best, observe the stars with expert astronomers from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, and discover the importance of the night sky during the time of St. Patrick. Navan Centre and Fort provides a beautiful setting for this unique experience to learn about the mysteries and wonders of the night sky. This event is held outdoors so remember to dress accordingly and you are welcome to bring your own binoculars and cameras.

Enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea at the five-star Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle in the company of author Joanna Trollop on 11th March. The author of many highly-acclaimed novels, Joanna will be speaking about fiction and autobiography, answering your questions and signing copies of her new book which will be on sale. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. This event celebrates St Patrick’s connection to literature; his Confessio manuscript is the oldest surviving written text in Ireland.

Another mustn’t miss is the St Patricks Landing at Inch Abbey on 11th March. This re-enactment of St Patrick’s arrival in Ireland in his mission to bring the Christian faith to the people of this land is a family-friendly event offering a host of interactive activities including boat trips and hands-on living history demonstrations with many free children’s activities and music. You can travel in style on the Shamrock Heritage Train from Downpatrick Railway Station to Inch Abbey from 12 noon, or avail of the free Park & Ride from Down Business Park on the Belfast Road.

Carminho was born among the guitars and voices of fado and began singing at the age of 12. During college she sang in fado clubs and was offered numerous recording deals but wanted to wait. After graduation she travelled for a year undertaking humanitarian missions, before returning to Lisbon determined to give herself entirely to her artistic journey. With platinum-selling and award-winning albums to her name, Carminho has performed around the world including an audience with UNESCO as part of the Fado application for world heritage. Carminho will play at Armagh’s St. Patrick Cathedral on 15th March.

Celebrate the first light of St. Patrick’s morning with the ancient people of Ulster at the ‘Sunrise with Patrick’ event at Navan Centre on 17th March. Through the bursts of sunlight, cast an eye back to what life and faith may have been like before the arrival of St. Patrick and Christianity. For more information on the festival visit:

Red Sparrow

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

Red Sparrow

Stunning ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to Sparrow School; a Russian intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their bodies and minds as weapons. After enduring the sadistic training process, Dominika emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the programme has ever produced - but her first deadly mission threatens to unravel the security of two nations. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons and Mary-Louise Parker Release date: 1st March

as it seems for mild-mannered American businessman Harold Soyinka. Harold crosses the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal and he attempts to survive in a deadly world dealing with dangerous drug lords, duplicitous business partners and international mercenaries. Starring: David Owyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Thandie Newton and Amanda Seyfried Release date: 9th March

You Were Never Really Here


In this dark comedy Gringo joyrides across the border into Mexico, where all is not


This Woody Allen movie is set on Coney Island in the 1950s and tells the story of four characters whose lives intertwine in an amusement park. The plot revolves around Ginny – an emotionally volatile former actress; Humpty – Ginny’s carousel-operator husband; Mickey – a young lifeguard who dreams of becoming a playwright; and Carolina – Humpty’s estranged daughter. Starring: Jim Belushi, Juno Temple and Justin Timberlake Release date: 9th March

You Were Never Really Here

A traumatised veteran who is unafraid of violence tracks down missing girls for a living. He finds himself in an unprecedented job that spins out of control. Nightmares consume him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening. Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov and Alessandro Nivola Release date: 9th March

Game night

A group of friends who meet for a regular couples’ game night find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery. Over the course of one chaotic night, the group are in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most dangerous game the participants have ever played. Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury and Danny Huston Release date: 1st March

Wonder Wheel

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun

Teenager Katie Price is sheltered at home since childhood as she suffers from a rare genetic condition; a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight. Katie’s world opens up after dark when she ventures outside to play her guitar. Her dreams come true when she’s asked out by her long-time love Charlie whom she’s secretly watched from her bedroom window for years. Starring: Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle and Kate Winslet Release date: 30th March


Credit: Helsinki Dash printed bedlinen from Sainsbury’s Home, from £17


DOUBLE UP Shop this month’s designer buys and purse-friendly lookalikes BY RÓISÍN CARABINE



Norm Wire Fruit Bowl by Menu from £39.95 Helsinki Wire Fruit Bowl from Sainsbury’s Home £7

Silver Skull Ornament from George Home @ Asda £10

Cleo Tripod Floor Lamp in solid wood from £109

Tripod Floor Lamp (with silk shade in choice of colours) from £230

The King Hand Silver Skull from £225

Farringdon Wirework Magazine Rack in charcoal from £29.50

Caged Paper Shelves from TK Maxx £19.99

Artisan Hammered Metal Side Table in copper from JD Williams at £89


Orrico Rose Gold Side Table from £130 Polly Parrots Table Lamp from Dunelm £55

Parrot Table Lamp (PR01) from £79

FREE space Homeware hacks for compact living



aking a compact home feel spacious and welcoming can be a tough challenge. Small spaces can easily become overcrowded and gloomy if you’re not clever with storage and design ideas. Interior design gurus Athina Bluff and Amy Brandhorst of Topology Interiors have teamed up with homeware brand Habitat to offer 10 stylish hacks on how to make the best use out of a small space.

HANG A MIRROR OPPOSITE A WINDOW Simple but extremely effective – both in terms of cost and visual impact. The mirror will reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your space, as well as making the room appear more spacious. If you’re feeling creative, play around with different shapes or multiples to reflect as much light as possible.

CONTINUE HALLWAY FLOORING Creating an unbroken flow of space will make it appear as though it’s one big area and it also creates the illusion that the floor is expanding.

PAINT EVERYTHING THE SAME COLOUR Try painting your walls, skirting boards and door

frames all the same colour. Painting them different colours can actually break up the space and emphasise the shape and (small) size of the room. If they’re all the same colour, they will blend in and make the room appear bigger.

GO DARK IN SMALL SPACES It may sound daunting but dark shades can actually disguise the perimeters of a room, blurring boundaries which can make a room appear bigger than it is. So don’t feel like you have to ‘Brilliant White’ absolutely everything to achieve a sense of more space – trust us, it works.

DUAL USAGE FURNITURE If there’s only two of you most evenings, opt for a folding table, which can be turned into a fourperson dining table by weekend. Same for when you invest in a sofa – check to see whether there is a sofa bed option which will turn sitting room into bedroom for guests to stay. And always think about storage: storage ottomans, pouffes, attractive looking trunks, coffee tables.

TRANSPARENT FURNITURE The more you can see around the object (or through the object) the bigger the room will look –

you’re allowing light to flow through the room and maximising the sense of space. Glass furniture, sofas raised on legs, skinny framed shelving – these will all help.

LIGHT SOURCES Ensure you have multiple light sources within a room to maximise light at night. You should aim to have around six light sources around the room which will ‘replace’ natural daylight and flow through the space, as well as being reflected from mirrored and metallic surfaces.

AVOID BULKY, HEAVY FURNITURE Bedrooms can be tricky if you don’t have any built-in storage and your bed seems to take up most of the space. Our advice is to again follow the ‘weightless’ idea. Avoid bulky, heavy furniture. Instead of a wardrobe how about a clothes rail for a lighter, more compact look? For bedside tables look for wire mesh, Perspex or floor lamps that have a shelving element to them.

SLIDING DOORS These are a great alternative to traditional doors in places where you’re short on space and can’t install a 90-degree open door. They are particularly great for en suites and small bedrooms which only fit a double bed.

MAKE USE OF WALLS If you don’t have a lot of floor space to play with, think upwards and make use of walls instead. Think floating shelves, wall lights, clothes hooks, wall mounted magazine racks and bike hooks. This will allow you to store such things as folding chairs or display belongings without taking up valuable square floor footage. Also make use of dead space areas such as corners – adding wall mounted shelves into corners is a great way of maximising storage space. n


SLEEP TIGHT Transform your bedroom into the ultimate sleep sanctuary with some helpful tips and useful advice from the experts BY RÓISÍN CARABINE


leep. We all do it – a third of our lives are spent in bed – but almost 50% of us don’t do it that well, according to The Sleep Council. And the numbers are rising. Lack of sleep is such a cause for concern the NHS have deemed it a massive public health problem with insomnia (defined as three or four nights of poor sleep a week) now affecting 25% of the population. Getting a good night’s sleep has never been trickier, but could part of the solution lie in a better designed bedroom? With March heralding National Bed Month we look at the ways your décor could be sabotaging your slumber.


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Chichester bed from £825 & Blenheim tall side table from £365, Neptune, Belfast

Olivia double headboard from £570, Neptune, Belfast

Your mattress needs replaced

A guaranteed good night’s sleep could be as simple as getting a new mattress. According to the National Bed Federation we should replace our mattress every seven years. There are many different types of mattresses to choose from: spring, memory foam, gel, waterbed or even air bed. The right one for you will depend on your sleeping preference, which is why you should always try it out in the shop before you buy. “And never ever buy online,” says Emma Chambers, interior designer at Neptune, Belfast. “The right mattress is vital to a good night’s sleep but a lot of people think that because it’s not seen, it’s not important. “At Neptune we offer just one mattress design, with two firmness levels, we believe it to be that good. It’s pocket sprung for support and offers seven layer comfort with a wool layer providing warmth, horsehair for strength and hemp to help regulate body temperature.”

Puderviva linen quilt cover and pillow case in natural from Ikea £45

Your bedding isn’t comfortable

“Until you’ve slept on 500-count Egyptian cotton, you haven’t experienced the best night’s sleep,” says Emma. She also suggests layering and mixing textures to make the bed more inviting and cosy. “A throw at the foot of the bed is also a good idea in case it gets chilly.” Of course if you’re not getting access to the sheets, it doesn’t matter how well your bed is dressed. Latest research from Ikea, Belfast reveals that 10% of us are losing out on a good night’s sleep from having the covers stolen, while 40% complain of being too hot or too cold. The solution to the battle of the bedsheets, suggests Ikea’s textile leader Carol McSeveny, is to adopt the traditional Swedish sleep trend of using two single duvets instead of one double. That way you’ll never risk having the covers stolen again plus you can choose a tog rating that’s just right for you. Genius!

Raknörel easy care synthetic pillow from Ikea adapts to the way you sleep. It has two heights and a special shape which follows the contours of your head and neck £8

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Marcello five foot bedframe in blue from DFS £945.

Lucas bedframe in navy from DFS £799

The décor isn’t calming

According to the National Sleep Foundation you need seven hours of sleep a night to be productive and the right colour on your bedroom walls could increase your chances of getting those. The best colour for sleep is blue. Its calming hues can lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Those whose boudoir is painted shades of aqua or azure tend to sleep longer than those who get their shuteye in rooms of a different colour, according to a survey by Travelodge. The same survey reveals yellow to be the second best colour for a restful night’s sleep, while shades of green rank third. Those with purple bedrooms get the least sleep of all. While it’s worth considering the science, the colours you choose should ultimately be ones you’re connected to. Roisin Lafferty, DFS brand ambassador, who will be running colour events with the company later this year, suggests shades from Fleetwood Sherwin Williams for the ultimate sleep sanctuary. “Pewter Green or Garden Gate for a rich earthy green tone, Dark Night for a deep velvety navy colour and Web Gray for a smoky mid to deep grey tone.”


Walls painted in Heartwood – Dulux colour of the year 2018 – and Blackberry Bush


Palm print double duvet set £65; Linea blue knitted throw £49; Linea Eden jungle cushion £28; Biba Nia embroidered leaf cushion £25; Linea Halston linen double duvet cover £110; Pillowcase pair £36; Biba Isak hanging planter £18, all House of Fraser

Gatsby side table £99; Marble double arm sphere lamp £69; Carmine duvet covers from £36; Carmine oxford pillowcase £20 pair; Shaggy rug from £79; Alexis white gloss cabinet £229; Fulton ivory eyelet curtains from £65, Dunelm

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Helsinki Dash printed bedlinen from Sainsbury’s Home, from £17 Moore wooden bedframe from Dreams £399

There’s too much clutter

Too much clutter in a bedroom can actually cause anxiety and sleep deprivation. Aside from the bed it’s best to keep furniture to a minimum – two bedside lockers, a chest of drawers and wardrobe is sufficient.

It’s not dark enough

Sleep quality is just as important as quantity and the best sleep happens in total darkness. However, it’s not enough to dress windows in blackout blinds or pop on an eye mask. Total darkness means banning smartphones, TVs and tablets too. Why? Because the blue light they emit suppresses production of the sleep-inducing brain chemical melatonin – even when switched of. Exposure to blue light is believed to be so bad, scientists have linked it to depression, premature ageing, weight gain and heart problems.

Your bedroom is too warm

Your body heat peaks in the evening and then drops to its lowest levels when you’re asleep, so a cool 16-18°C is thought to be the ideal temperature in a bedroom, according to the Sleep Council. Temperatures over 24°C can cause restlessness while anything below 12°C is considered too cold for sleeping.

There’s too much noise

Noise, whether it’s the muffled sounds of a TV, a barking dog or a snoring partner, won’t help your chances of nodding off easily. Invest in ear plugs or introduce some soft, soothing sounds of your own. Research suggests that listening to ‘white noise’, trickling water, wave sounds or wind chimes can help some people to fall asleep and sleep more soundly. Wayne Rooney once famously revealed that he nods off to the sound of his wife’s hairdryer.

The air isn’t clean

US research suggests that indoor air pollution could actually be more toxic than outdoor air. If you want to improve your room’s air quality leave a window open or invest in an air purifier – they’re also good for allergies and congestion. Neil Ferguson, bedrooms manager at Ikea Belfast suggests adding air purifying plants like Aloe Vera and peace lily. n


“The lamp harks back to a golden age.”

Photography by Michael Bradley

EASTERN STYLE meets traditional western

Northern Woman takes a look inside Ros Chambers’ Belfast home


aving lived in apartment with limited space Ros Chambers decided to take the plunge and buy her own home. Impressed by a deal offered by Simon Brien estate agents, Ros bought a threebedroom property in South Belfast, she begins: “The house has a garden, three bedrooms, three loos, and two parking spaces; in the city parking space means everything! “I have always loved the style of Victorian redbrick houses, but they do need upkeep and structural work. When I saw the property I’m in now – I felt it had everything on my doorstep.”


Ros, who is a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, says her bedroom is her favourite room of the house: “The design is a fusion of my passion for vintage quality and oriental character. The walls are finished in textured Venetian plaster with rustic effect. The finish works to accentuate the beauty of antique furniture, it also adds

oriental Wabi-Sabi feel of being in harmony with the passing of time to the room. The wall pendants are handmade baskets from Thailand. The room décor is finished with origami balls to pin down the oriental theme.” Ros takes NW on a tour of her home, sharing décor details throughout. n

“This lighting is quite different.”

“‘ The bedroom showcases an Eastern approach to Western kipping.”

“A taste of the Midi in my home.”


“This was picked up in China.”

“It’s great to start your day with something luxurious like a bath.”

“My favourite ‘blues’ in the morning.”

“A taste of France from John Lewis.”


“My castor oil plant helps with the cooking.”

“A skincare display in my bathroom.”

“I have taken an uncluttered approach in the art of the kitchen.”

“I liked to keep an open mind on room décor; this is a room for a rewarding existence.”


Moda Aviator Armchair Vintage Green Faux Leather from Cult Furniture £159


Take nature indoors in the form of adding some green to your home. This season get braver with colour as it’s all about setting a rich and moody room. Green is also the perfect colour for accentuating brass, which is the metallic finish trend for spring.

Badden Jewellery Stand from £25 Crescent Chevron Cushion from Marks & Spencer £19.50

Side Table from Søstrene Grene £36.20



Blogger ‘Elaine’s Roves ‘n Troves’ is currently crushing over these home décor must-haves… RICH VELVET

For statement soft furnishings go for velvet, set to be this season’s hottest fabric. It’s all about experimenting with texture this season, so make a statement with velvet and your home will ooze opulence. Lux Velvet Floor Cushion in Navy Velvet from £69

Melvin Two Seater Loveseat Sofa Velvet Upholstered from Cult Furniture £499


Grace Velvet Armchair from Dunelm £115

Ciara 49cm Bedside Lamp from Wayfair £46.99

Wire Angle Copper Bin from Oliver Bonas £34


Add some edge to your home with geometric inspired pieces which are still very much on trend, and create a real sense of dimension and add a modern touch to your home.

Romo Marquise Wallpaper from Romo Fabrics (my home is pictured) £81 per roll

Hex Tray from Foxford Woollen Mills £20

Floresta Duvet Cover and Pillowcase Set from Dunelm from £28

Small Cactus Pot from Marks & Spencer £6

Ceramic Pot with Leather Strap from Hubsch £35


Think large scale leaves and pattered foliage and bring the outdoors indoors; this will give your home a new lease of life. This trend is set to bloom and adds vibrancy to your home. Catcus Plant from Primark £1.50 each

See more Interior Inspiration over on Elaine’s blog on, snap elainedonaghy, or see elainesrovesntroves on Instagram and Facebook.


Mr & Mrs Smith Photos by Stefano Lunardi


elfast bride Rachel McNeill and Paisley groom Edmond Smith met in Belfast in 2010. When asked what made her realise Edmond was the one for her, Rachel replies: “I knew when he told me on our first date that he moved to Belfast to be near his kids. He is a loving, caring, thoughtful man and it helps that he is handsome too!” Four years later the couple began planning a wedding in Italy. “As it was a second marriage for both of us we wanted to have an intimate family ceremony,” Rachel explains. “We decided on a destination wedding bringing only our mothers, our kids and their partners as we felt we were marrying our two immediate families together, it was not just about the two of us. We then had a post-wedding party with family and friends in Belfast.” Rachel’s son Caolán Parker and Italian award-winning photographer Stefano Lunardi captured the wedding photos. The bride wore a chic Paloma Blanca gown. Rachel recalls: “I tried on countless dresses before the big day – bear in mind I only started looking three months before the wedding, so I was certainly cutting it fine. As soon I tried on the dress I knew it was the one. Thanks to Leondra and Hayley from Forever Bridal, and Tanya Alterations on the Lisburn Road, it was ready a week before we left for Venice.” Bridesmaids – Rachel’s daughter Niamh and Edmond’s daughter Maddie, wore navy two-pieces from Coast, which complemented the groom’s kilt. The wedding morning began with a breath-taking gondola trip to the ceremony, accompanied by classical Venetian violinist who played pieces by Vivaldi, Bach, Niccolo Paganini and many more. “In Venice our first dance was ‘I Palpiti by Niccolo Paganini’. For our first dance at our post-wedding party in Belfast, Michael Samuels sang Barry White’s My Everything. We choose this song as we both don’t take ourselves too seriously and like to have a dance and a laugh”, Rachel adds. The newlyweds enjoyed a relaxing honeymoon in the Maldives. n

Venue: Hotel Ai Reali, Venice Dress: Forever Bridal Boutique, Belfast Groomswear: Kinloch Anderson, Edinburgh, Bridesmaid’s dresses: Coast, Belfast Flowers: Fantin Fiori, Venice



Mr & Mrs Toner

Photos by Hannah McKernan Photography


rmagh bride Leanne Grimley and Tyrone groom Nathan Toner met on a night out in Hagan’s Bar, Dungannon. “Neither of us intended going out that night but you could say fate ensured we would meet,” Nathan begins. “Leanne approached me claiming to have lost her drink which was on the bar where I happened to be standing. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen so, as a gentleman I offered to replace her drink. We talked the entire night and left together hand in hand for a romantic curry chip. “I had never met a woman like Leanne before, she had me at hello. It’s very soppy but it was definitely love at first sight for me.” Nathan pulled off a surprise proposal on Christmas Eve during a romantic stroll at Belfast Castle. The couple booked Ballymagarvey Village based on its “relaxed atmosphere, decor, homely feel and picturesque grounds”. Hannah McKernan captured the wedding photos. Leanne enthuses: “Hannah’s natural, relaxed and fun images tell a beautiful story and she is a dream to work with.” The bride looked sensational in a Liz Martinez dress. Leanne says: “The designer was actually in The White Gallery for a Trunk Show the day I chose my dress. It was quite surreal receiving Liz’s opinion on which style suited me best; luckily we agreed on ‘the one’!” The gown was accessorized with Sophia Webster heels and a bespoke headpiece by Lori Muldoon Millinery. Leanne says her wedding was the best day of her life. “I was surprisingly calm that morning but I couldn’t wait to get to the altar to see Nathan. I had a little wobble when we finally met eyes as I was filled with a rush of emotions.” Nathan adds: “My favourite moment was definitely seeing Leanne at the altar. I was totally blown away, she looked so beautiful. I felt like the luckiest man in the world.” The couple enjoyed a five-star honeymoon in Mauritius. n

Venue: Ballymagarvey Village, Meath Dress: The White Gallery, Newry Groomswear: Dee Graham, Tailor Made, Dungannon Bridesmaid’s dresses: Una Rodden Couture, Belfast Makeup: Ellen Lunney, Belfast Hair: Lorraine & Amanda from Surgery Hairdressing, Moy Flowers: Rosehip & Berry, Lisburn






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ALBUM Aimee Boyle, West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK launch. Photo by Stephen Potter


Trazanne Norwood and Marian Koozarian

West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK Local fashionista’s made their way to Ormeau Baths for the official launch of Belfast Fashion Week which takes place in March. Attendees enjoyed a fashion show of Spring Summer looks and learned more about March events including high street and designer runway shows at St Anne’s Cathedral, the F Words brunch at Babel, as well as Sushi Saturday and Style Sunday at James Street South. Photos by Brendan Gallagher and Stephen Potter

Emma Mooney


Stefania Egan

Charlotte Trudge

Yasmin Robinson and Tristan McGavigan

Lauren Crabbe and Siobhan Murphy

Cathy Martin

Rebecca Rose Quigley Jordan Humphries and Melanie Harington

Melissa Elliot and James Wallace

Joanne Lyttle and Katie Bryce


Sarah and Matthew Booth

Philip and Sandra Mutch, Jenny and Terry Lyness

Belfast Telegraph Sports awards Held at the Waterfront Hotel, The Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards honoured sporting glory – from Jonathan Rea’s third World Superbike title win, as well as an inspiring World Cup qualifying campaign from the Northern Ireland football team. A total of 14 awards were up for grabs at the starstudded ceremony. Photos by Stephen Hamilton at Press Eye

Emma Gregson, Gina Woods, Katie McKee and Orla Thompson


Pete Snodden and Nigel Ringland

Kieran Harding and Laure James

Gareth Steenson, Michael ONeill, Karen Steenson, Ruth Gorman and Tommy Bowe

Lillian McClean and Thelma Hanna

Johnny Duddy and Stuart Blair

Richard Reynolds and Evan Connolly

David Robinson and Laure James


Wendy Gallagher and Claire Kieran

A Journey of Discovery with Tourism NI

Darren Diven, Gerry White and Aly Harte

Guests at the Tourism NI media launch for 2018 were introduced to a bucket list of authentic experiences to see and do in Northern Ireland this year. Atendees enjoyed a music from the Belfast Traditional Music trail and dined on a meal of local produce. Photos by Press Eye Bill Buchanan, Kate Conway and Conor Hogan

Susie Brown, Jeff Merideth and Lyndsay Malone


Claire Williamson and Kirsten Elder

Rubymarie Rice, Johanna Cunningham and Niamh Deery

Lindsey Barton, Ben Fraser, Holly Poots, Ciara Maguire and Grainne Baker

Blues and Bourbon with KPMG The inaugural KPMG Young Professionals Event saw 80 guests from the legal, banking, corporate and finance world enjoy the Blues and Bourbon evening at the firm’s Belfast office. Along with live music, atendees tasted two premium bourbons and a bourbon cocktail paired with food. Photos by Press Eye Hannah Keery, Emma Jayne Armstrong, Claire Browne, Michaela Sloan and Claire Stewart

Caroline Maxwell, Janet McCucker and Philip Maxwell Stephen Turkington, Phil Clarke, Harriett Porter and Claire Stewart


Caitlin Grant

Joanne Gray, Sean O’Neil, Aideen Martin, Donna Smyth, Darren Albrighton, Daisy Lindsay, Simona Balagova and Jody Devlin

Rouge Relocation Launch

Hair salon Rogue in Bradbury Place, Belfast celebrated their relocation to a new premises with a party for clients, friends and family. Guests were treated to hair styling and beauty treatments on the night, and introduced to the salon’s fabulous product range L’Oréal Professional. Rogue is the only salon from Northern Ireland to win the UK L’Oréal Colour Trophy. Photos by Daniel McCabe

Brenda McMahon, John McMahon and Moya Lamony

Jody Devlin and Catherine Breen

Brenda McMahon and Paul Devlin


Mary Peters and Gillian Hetherington

Katie Andrew, Tristan McGavigan, Aisling Gallagher and Rebecca Lenaghan

The Ivory Hors d’oeuvres & drinks

Following extensive renovations The Ivory, Victoria Square celebrated their revamp with an Hors d’oeuvres & drinks event. At the event the team unveiled their new rooftop garden to VIP guests, customers and media. Photos by Brendan Gallagher Laura McDaid, Aileen Moynagh, Cecelia Daly and Clodagh Rice

Julian Simmons and Adam Stockman

Ashleigh Halliday and Curtis McCosh


Kim and Ryan Constable

Michael Stewart and Alan Clancy

House Belfast opens its doors

To celebrate the opening of House Belfast, the latest addition to Belfast’s hotel, bar and restaurant scene, a special launch event was held at the Botanic Avenue venue. Invited guests enjoyed music entertainment, cocktails and canapÊs. House Belfast features 31 bedrooms, The Whiskey Room with an extensive range of whiskey and gin products, and a restaurant. Photos by Press Eye

Stephen and Avril Carter with Laura and Kevin Doherty

Francis Brown and Eve Gilmore

Fran and Martin Tobin, Niamh Caffrey and Dean Tobin


Lorna Murphy, Noah Lee and Jenny Lee

Deirdre Reynolds

Vertigo Indoor Skydiving VIP launch Belfast-based Leisure operator, We Are Vertigo is expanding into the Titanic Quarter with the launch of Ireland’s first and only indoor skydiving centre, Vertigo Indoor Skydiving. The state-of-the-art facility is located in the former T13 building and was developed using the world’s leading Aerodium tunnel technology, used by the movie industry to film stunts for awardwinning movies. The centre celebrated the launch with a media and VIP night. Photos by Press Eye

Orla Ross, Lorna Murphy and Marleta Bailie

Melissa Riddell

Vertigo Indoor Skydiving team


NORTHERN MAN Jeff Meredith out and about in Belfast

Embellished Jacket from Topman £110

Embellished Trousers from Topman £50

Tailor Made Bespoke Suit from Suitor Brothers, Belfast


ast month I mentioned the exercise thing and how much I was loving getting into my fitness groove again; well didn’t I go and fall down the stairs and put my back out! Didn’t that just put a temporary stop to any workouts on the beach as I was forced to take it easy. There goes the plan for my daily vlog to include some form of exercise every day. Did I mention I started #30seconddays, have a look for the hashtag on Instagram? The idea was to document what I’m up to every day and condense it to a 30 seconds video. I have to say I’ve had more people tell me they’ve been watching the clips than anything I’ve done in the 7 years I’ve been blogging, and that’s inspiration enough for me to continue. One of the events I have featured recently in #30seconddays is a VIP party on the SS Nomadic to celebrate 10 years of success for the Titanic Foundation and to look ahead at their future plans. One new attractions opening this year is the Mew Lighthouse Optic (The Great Light), one of the rarest lighthouse optics in the world. The optic is


along the outer perimeter of the Titanic Studios on the new Titanic Walkway linking the Slipways with HMS Caroline. Look out for it. March sees the always fun Belfast FASHIONWEEK return for another season of style. FASHIONWEEK is a key event in any fashionista’s calendar. Once again it returns to St Anne’s Cathedral for spectacular shows on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23 March. Will I see you there? Maybe I’ll be wearing one of the suits featured over there on the right. I usually mention holidays here, but apart from a taster cruise on the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas in April I have nothing booked. The plan is to go on lots of day trips around Northern Ireland and keep it local. We have so much to offer here I thought it was time to support local. Have you any suggestions? Have a great day and thanks for reading. n Flintoff By Jacamo Slim Suit Jacket from Jacamo £120

Check suit from Zara (price not released by date of publishing)

Strong suit BY JEFF MEREDITH A wedding or event requiring a suit sends some guys into a panic because there are a few out there who don’t even own a suit or struggle to get one to fit – I’m one of them. In 2018 you don’t have to wear a classic black, blue or grey suit to be formal, you can embrace colour and pattern and still look dressed for the occasion.

Lilac Suit Blazer from River Island £65

Jacket £150, Trousers £100, Shirt £45, Gloves £40 – Kenneth Cole from House of Fraser

Navy Blazer with Printed Waistcoat by Vivienne Westwood for House of Fraser £920

(L-R) M&S Collection T-Shirt £6, M&S Collection Suit £149 and M&S Collection T-Shirt £6. Limited Edition Suit £119 from Marks & Spencer




A break at Knockranny House Hotel & Spa


e are giving you the chance to win a luxurious overnight break in the stunning Knockranny House Hotel & Spa in Westport. Set in a secluded location on a hillside overlooking Westport, Knockranny House Hotel & Spa offers spectacular views of Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay, which, when combined with open log fires, antique furniture and classical music, helps to create a supremely warm and relaxed atmosphere – a perfect spring getaway to renew and awaken the senses. Rest and relaxation is paramount at Knockranny House Hotel & Spa, and you will enjoy pampering yourself at the hotel’s Spa Salveo with use of the Vitality Pool and Thermal Suite. Acclaimed as one of Ireland’s finest destination facilities, Spa Salveo also offers a vitality spa pool, expansive thermal spa including a brine inhalation room, aromatherapy grotto, herbal sauna, scented steam room, monsoon shower and hydrotherapy body massage stations. After all that pampering, you might like to explore the Great Western Greenway which travels alongside the hotel. n For more information visit:


TO ENTER Simply complete the sentence: Knockranny House Hotel & Spa offers spectacular views of … Email your answer and contact details to before 5pm on Friday 30th March. T&Cs: The prize is subject to availability and is non-transferrable. INM T&Cs apply.

Northern Woman March 2018  

Northern Woman March 2018

Northern Woman March 2018  

Northern Woman March 2018