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Editor’s Letter


i all, Welcome to the May edition of Northern Woman. This issue marks a year in the job for me and a year since the magazine underwent a total revamp. Maybe you are one of Northern Woman’s loyal readers who have been buying it forever, or possibly you are a newbie – either way I want to say a massive “thank you” for picking it up each month. The number of people buying NW has increased by 230% over the past twelve months and it has become Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing magazine; we are absolutely delighted with that. There is a highly skilled, enthusiastic team working behind the scenes - from specialist freelance journalists, to graphic designers, merchandisers, and so many others. So it’s brilliant to see the team effort pay off. This time last year NW was £2.50. It was reduced to the special offer rate of £1 to encourage new readers, and now it’s going back up to its usual price. Our annual subsciption offer remains the same; for £15 you get 11 issues delivered to your door along with this month’s free gift - Kalme Chameleon Concealer worth £19.95. Northern Woman is fantastic value for money; it’s Northern Ireland’s only fashion-led magazine - it enables you to stay updated

Carl from Zuni Hairdressing gets the gorgeous Emma photo ready

on the very latest looks inspired by the runways of Milan, Paris, New York and more, and learn how to recreate the trends. In addition to international, beauty, health and wellness, and interiors news; NW also keeps you posted on what’s happening here at home, from events and weddings to interviews with inspirational local ladies and a lot more besides. Speaking of inspiring local ladies, have you ever read something that made you stop and think “wow”? Well, turn to page 52 and read Eunice Nelson’s ‘Diary of a special needs mammy’ piece. At one point I felt tears welling up in my eyes and a moment later I was laughing out loud. Also in this edition – we hear from Nadine Coyle; showcase cruelty-free beauty products; explain how to style your home like a professional; and review beauty treaments. Enjoy the issue and testing out your free teeth whitening sample from Smile Lab. Don’t forget to email us your thoughts, and check in our Facebook and Instagram pages for daily updates. Until next month

Catriona Doherty Editor Northern Woman

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




STYLE 07 MELLOW YELLOW Bright turmeric, ochre and mustard hues 10 RETURN OF THE REBEL Punk is back 12 SUSTAINABLE STYLE Eco-friendly fashion 13 SOFT BLUSH 14 SPRING VIBES A pick and mix of spring/summer trends FEATURES 23 GIRL ON FIRE Nadine Coyle 28 BALMORAL IS BACK Female farmers showcase their skills 30 THE 14 PAINFUL STAGES OF HAVING HOUSE GUESTS 32 LOCAL LADY TAKES NI ART DOWN UNDER BEAUTY 35 THE BEAUTY EDIT Makeup bag must-haves 36 PROFILE: Anti-wrinkle injections 38 CRUELTY-FREE BEAUTY Our top picks for a cruelty-free face 41 BRUSH STROKES Aimee Connolly gives us the 101 on brushes 42 #INSTATREND the hottest looks from our newsfeed 43 A TIME TO BLOSSOM The Spring Spa Day Experience at Culloden Estate and Spa 44 STORE CUPBOARD BEAUTY HACKS HEALTH AND WELLNESS 46 THE VEGAN REVOLUTION 49 WRITING FOR A CAUSE 52 DIARY OF A SPECIAL NEEDS MAMMY Come and take a peek into Eunice Nelson’s world 54 EDIBLE FLOWERS Rustle up a flower salad 56 TRAINING TIME 57 HEALTHY CHOICES 58 FOOD FOR THOUGHT The Food and Mindfulness Tour

NW chats to Nadine Coyle


Cover image from Coast


Credit: Mango

ESCAPE 61 PERU: Kuelap is the new Machu Picchu 62 5 REASONS TO VISIT LOUGH ERNE RESORT 64 IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL Faraway destinations you’ll love LIVING 70 STYLE LIKE A PRO Top designers share their insider tricks 74 STATEMENT SHELVING Create a shelving showcase 75 DOUBLE UP Designer doubles DRIVE 82 ŠKODA KAROQ Reviewed 84 WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD MY NEXT CAR HAVE?

IN EVERY ISSUE 68 LET’S DRINK TO… Whiskies 66 THE SOCIAL 10 Local events not to miss 65 MOVIE ROUNDUP 76 LOCAL WEDDINGS 87 THE ALBUM Social pics 94 NORTHERN WOMAN HERE & THERE 95 BLOGGER CORNER My celebrity chicken and foodie blog 96 NORTHEN MAN Jeff Meredith’s cruising addiction 98 WIN A stay at Cliff Townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green

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, Elizabeth Moore, Eunice Nelson, Jade Beecroft, Jeff Meredith, Lucy Norris, Lynne Crowther, Paula Gracey, Sal Hanvey and Róisín Carabine Independent News & Media © 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of Independent News & Media.


Credit: Chi Chi London


Hanna wrap dress by Vero Moda available from £38

Earrings from H&M £12.99

Yellow 2 in 1 dress from Closet London £98

Ochre tied waist jumpsuit from Miss Selfridge £42

V-neck bodysuit from Zara £17.99

Divided top from H&M £14.99

Striped dess from Mango £59.99

Soft longline blazer £190, Portofino trousers £115, Madina raffia slider £75 from Jigsaw

Slingback leather shoes from Mango £49.99

Mellow Yellow Step out like a ray of sunshine in bright turmeric, ochre and mustard hues 7

Pleated midi skirt £25.99, pleated top £17.99 from Zara

Marc Cain

Reilley ochre suede skirt from L.K.Bennett £425

Top £115, trousers £115 by Bourne from Sitara Morgan, Portadown

Pyer Moss, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images

Two-tone trousers from Uterqüe


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Lara Khoury Show, Fashion Forward, Dubai. Getty Images

Spotted button side trousers from Miss Selfridge £32 Yellow culotte strappy jumpsuit from New Look £19.99

Yellow leather fashion point flats from Office £56



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Return of the

R eB E L

Son Jung Wan, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images

With the current mood in fashion being one of powerful women, challenging authority and outspokenness, it only seems fitting to bring back the trend that started it all. Get ready to stock up on chokers, clashing prints and vintage band tees as punk prevails. While designers such as Kenzo, Miu Miu and Alexander McQueen are indicating a strong Slim cat eye punk influence in sunglasses from spring fashion, that Zara £15.99 doesn’t necessarily

s out from the n’ ti ar M r. D d ol ur yo g di It’s time to nk is taking Pu , 18 SS is th as e ob dr ar back of the w vengeance h is yl st a h it w ck ba ’s it centre stage and


riginating in the 1970s, the Punk Movement became a way for individuals to challenge order and the establishment through donning spikey colorful hairstyles, frayed fishnets and the chunkiest pair of boots you could find. At the


height of the trend, Mother of Punk Vivienne Westwood was sparking controversy sending models down the globe’s runways clad head to toe in plaid, studs and intimidating black leather.

from gan tee vers slo 18 £ e SS18 lo g lfrid Miss Se Contrast stich black denim skirt from New Look £19.99

s l earring ss tasse Black cro imply Be £8 from S

Black cutaway textured heels from River Island £44 Irina Vitjaz, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images Striped double breasted blazer from Zara £79.99

Black and silver belt from Primark £5

Red c he sand cked heele als fr d Look om New £25.9 9

mean walking down the high street covered in safety pins and holey tights. Yes, punk is back but there’s a new way to wear it. The 2018 punk trend is all about subtle accents rather than fullblown transformations. Leave the pink mohawks at home and think femininity meets edginess meets glam as a guideline when shopping this trend. Incorporate tough accessories into your everyday outfits or finish off looks with slicked back hair and a dark lip and ta-dah, you’re nailing it!

The revival of this trend is all about breaking rigid rules that have crept back into Choker from fashion since River Island £20 the revolutio nary Westwood era in the 70s. Forget what you’ve be en told and start clashing pr ints, buying blazers three times too big and stealing your other half’s checked flannel shirt. For the adventurous among us, channel your inn er punk

Wolk Morais Collection. Getty Images

rock ballerina as was showcased at SS18 Paris Fashion Week, by pairing outrageous ruffles and tulle tutus with leather and fishnet tops. You only have to scroll through Instagram and clock the numerous posts of Kurt Cobainesque white framed sunglasses and leather trousers to see how prevalent the punk trend is becoming. So let loose on the high street and join the rebellion! n

logger a r g a t s n .i w ww m Lucy visit For more fro 11

Greenshowroom & Ethical Fashion Show Berlin. Getty Images



Upgrade to green this year as the biggest trend in fashion has everyone going gaga for eco and is giving our environment the TLC it deserves



thical fashion is by no means a new concept. We’ve all heard about the queues of animal cruelty protestors lined up outside fashion week, and the televised investigations into sweatshops and clothing being produced by child labor. However there’s a change in the air this time around. Becoming part of the movement for environmentally-sound fashion production is on trend and everyone wants a piece of it. From top to bottom, the industry is turning its back on unethical practices and reaching for sustainability. Since she started in 2001, Stella McCartney has been a leading figure in steering the industry towards a more environmentally-friendly mindset and nothing has changed for the


designer since then. At Paris Fashion week, she stood out in true ecowarrior form, presenting her invitations in a pouch with: ‘I am 100% compostable (and so are you!)’ slapped across the front of it. Stella McCartney is not the only designer who cares about the environment and everything living in it. Gucci made headlines by pledging to go fur free in 2018, following in the footsteps of Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani. With the mood of the moment being one of veganism and holistic living it’s only right for the clothes we wear to match the trend. Having a trend like this is all well and good but something you can’t necessarily see can be hard to follow and get on board with. So now fashion labels are becoming more transparent and careful about how they make their clothing.

This year you’ll see more campaigns highlighting ethical, organic materials implemented in branded clothing, and labels boasting production methods such as closed loop systems, and truck loads of recycled materials being used. A closed loop system is one where products and their components are designed, manufactured, used and handled so they are circulated within society for as long as possible. Puma, for example, have identified where exactly the biggest environmental impacts are in their production chain. They have used this knowledge to create products that have a lower impact and can be recycled. Taking the movement one step further, the concept of fashion shows separated by gender could be on the way out. In an attempt to reduce waste and improve their recycling game, fashion houses such as J.W. Anderson have combined their men and women’s fashion shows into one big spectacle. Playing on this concept and touching on another big trend for 2018, Vetements created a gender-less oversized sportswear range in an attempt to save our little planet. So next time your other half moans at you for raiding his/her wardrobe blame it on the environment! So ethical fashion is the way forward it seems, but let’s see if designers stick to their promise. How will you know what to look out for? I hear you asking. Well we’ve got you covered with this little label checklist. Look out for: Faux fur and skins, vegan leather, organic cotton, lab silk, sustainable down and recycled plastic. To name but a few, these brands do a fab range of ecofriendly fashion: H&M Conscious Collection, ASOS Eco Edit, Sheer Apparel, Eileen Fisher, We Are Thought, People Tree and Gather and See. n

For more from Lucy visit

Oscar De La Renta, New York Fashion Week. Getty Images Blush pink suede jacket from M&Co £55

Rio wide leg trousers from Coast £89

Blush blazer from Primark £17 Blush velvet biker jacket from £60

Nina Ricci, Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/2019. Getty Images

blush Soft

Cut out high heel court shoes from Stradivarius £19.99

Pink’s softer, all-the-more sophisticated cousin ‘soft blush’ is a pretty new colour for spring that will see you right through fall/winter 2018

Blush sequin peplum top from Lipsy £45

Geranium from Dune London £85

Valentino, Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018/2019. Getty Images


Spring vibes A pick and mix of spring casual wear featuring fringing, vibrant brights, pretty pastels and more

Shot on location at Odyssey Bowl


Dress from River Island £75; Boots stylist’s own


Dress from Warehouse ÂŁ69


Kimono from River Island £45; Top from Topshop £6; Trousers from Rio Brazil, Belfast £135; Hat from Stradivarius £12.99



Han Clothing Concession Hat £14, Trousers £35, T-Shirt £12 – all from Topshop


Skort £32, Jacket £70 from River Island


Han Clothing Concession Tee from Topshop £22; Trousers £40, Sunglasses £14 from River Island


– PHOTOGRAPHER – Jasmin Bell 075 2163 4789 – CREATIVE DIRECTOR & STYLIST – Niámh Cunningham 074 5394 0312 – HAIR STYLING – Carl St.Elliott Zuni Hairdressing 02890 332 345 – MAKEUP – Natalie McKee 075 1708 8158 – MODEL – Emma Conlin CMPR – LOCATION – Odyssey Bowl, Belfast 028 9045 2100

Dress from Rio Brazil, Belfast £115; Top from Topshop £20; Boots stylist’s own



Continued on 24 ➤


Photo credit: Getty Images


hings are certainly hotting up for Nadine Coyle. The star returned to the music scene late last year with new track Go To Work, followed recently by a four-track EP with Virgin/EMI, and a UK and Ireland tour that includes a much-anticipated Belfast gig this month. “I am really, really looking forward to coming back to Belfast,” Nadine tells Northern Woman on a call from her London home. “People can expect a night that they are just really going to have a lot of fun. I love shows that you go to and the whole night you are dancing and up having a really good time. Fans can bring friends, partners, girlfriends, boyfriends whatever… and just really enjoy themselves on a night out.” The concert will take place at the Limelight on 20th May and Nadine is looking forward to performing legendary hits such as Sound of the Underground and Love Machine.


“I will be performing some of the Girls Aloud songs because they are just so, so good.” Nadine says. “It would be a shame – I spent 10 years in the band – so it would be a shame to go out and have a show, and not include those songs. It would be so silly. So absolutely Girls Aloud songs will be included. “We are still in the planning stage now and are putting the set list together and finalising things, so I’m looking forward to actually seeing all of our discussions come together and to seeing our show from start to end.”

Girls on Fire

Nadine’s solo comeback kicked off with single Go to Work last September. “The video for Go to Work was shot in an all-girl office. We were pretending to gather papers, throw papers, throw money, and just generally being ridiculous wearing fabulous clothes,” Nadine explains. “We strutted around the old Net-a-Porter office having a lot of fun.

“Girls on Fire is a song that’s about girls being fantastic and knowing it, and saying: ‘I know I’m great, yes that’s fine, I can handle that’. But, ‘can you handle that?’ is really the question. “You know when you are out with your girlfriends and having the best of fun, and someone starts dancing, and then everybody starts eejiting around and being funny and ridiculous and in really high spirits. That’s what Girls on Fire is all about. I can relate to that, my friends and girlfriends can, hopefully everybody can.” Girls on Fire is the first track on Nadine’s four-track EP. “We have released a song every two weeks for the last six weeks,” she explains. “We started with Girls on Fire which is really in your face; it’s like ‘wake up, get up!’ Then two weeks after that we went with Gossip, which is a more laid back, reflective song. Next it was September song, which is a cover of JP Cooper’s track. It’s laid back and talks about when you were 15. I love it. “And the song we are bringing out this

week is Something in your Bones; it is definitely the sexiest and most suggestive song on the EP. “So there are four very different songs, all for a different mood.”

Juggling it all

Mid interview Nadine’s partner Jason and four-year-old Anaiya arrive home, and we can hear the excited chatter of Anaiya in the background; a reminder that Nadine is first and foremost a mum.

‘You juggle a busy career with being a mother. What is your advice to readers who are in the same situation?’ we ask. “I’m always asking people the same thing - it’s my first question to other working mums: ‘What do you do? How do you do it? How do you make it all work?’” Nadine replies. “I think it come part and parcel of the territory; the mother’s guilt. You feel guilty you are away from your child – you feel guilty but also you have to work, and we’re

in an age where women want to work. I really enjoy my job and I like to do both, but I can’t work to the same pace as I did before I had Anaiya. It just would be impossible, I wouldn’t see her at all. And I don’t want to do that. When she gets older I don’t want to look back and think that I missed out on all that time when she was a baby and when she was growing up. “I love that we have such a great relationship. I can see we have the same humour, we find the same things funny and have ‘in jokes’ because we spend so much time together. “I am very busy with work but I am also very busy with Anaiya and I very proactively spend a lot of time with her.

Continued on 26 ➤


“I’m glad that I worked as hard as what I did when I was 17 and I didn’t have a baby. Now I can just not work as hard.”


Life in the public eye can lead to pressure to look a certain way, ‘Are you happy with your body image?’ we ask the star. “Yes I am - I definitely am,” Nadine replies. “I think it’s something you can obsess over, you can look and think: ‘I don’t have a six pack’ or ‘I don’t have whatever’, but what are you going to do? If you really want a six pack, well then you have to spend most of your day working for it and set your diet, and there’s a huge compromise involved. I’m not willing to compromise; I don’t mind the fact I don’t have a six pack, I’ll survive.” There is something Nadine admits she couldn’t survive without and that is lip liner. “I always, always have to have a lip liner in my bag; I love it. My top three makeup products are lip liner, concealer and bronzer. “For skincare I use Dermalogica special cleansing wash and that’s really good because it takes away makeup and breaks everything down. I have been using Egyptian Magic recently to try it out. If you


are on holidays or in a hot climate you can use that for your hair too; it’s good for hair, face and body - all from one massive tub.” ‘You look amazing. What do you do to keep in shape?’ we ask. “I love to swim as often as I can which is such a good all-over body workout,” Nadine says. “I love any boot camp style stuff and high impact exercises with 20 or 30 seconds on and off – those are the type of workouts I tend to go for. I hate spinning classes, they are hell on earth for me!”

Derry Girls

According to reports Nadine will star in the second series of Derry Girls. Commenting on that she says: “I’m talking to the Derry Girls writer Lisa Magee. We have been chatting about the next season and I think we are going to try to do something that means we can work together. So fingers crossed. I loved the first series and we will see what we can do for the next series – that would be amazing.” The Derry native is currently based in England. Nadine says: “At the minute I am in my house in London. I love Ireland and I love going back there. I work a lot from London so I am here a lot. We have a place in New York, Jason still works a lot out of

Photo credit: Getty Images

New York and his family are still in LA. So we keep ourselves busy; we still travel around a lot. “Right now I’m really looking forward to coming back to Belfast and seeing all of the fans from before, and the new ones too. We are going to have a really, really great night. I will be performing songs from the EP, I’ll be performing old songs and new songs as well so it will be a really fun night.” n

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In the showring

Samara Radcliffe

Balmoral is back Balmoral Show is the highlight of the agricultural calendar, with lots of local ladies involved. Jade Beecroft reports.


It’s 3am in the McGovern house and Eimear tries to make as little noise as possible as she pads downstairs in her pajamas, before swapping her fluffy slippers for wellingtons and heading out to her car. The family’s farm is a short drive away and the 22-year-old is convinced she’s managed to sneak away unseen, but when she arrives at the gate she’s greeted by the unwelcome sight of torchlight glimmering from the barn. Heart sinking, she realizes that one of her siblings has beaten her to it! Eimear is one of four sisters, and together they have taken over the running of their Clogher farm after their father Sean suffered a heart attack a year ago, aged 54 – forcing him to take a backseat. It was actually Eimear who found him and saved his life after he collapsed while feeding the bulls. His daughters then returned to the farm later that day to oversee calving while Sean underwent surgery to have two stents fitted. The McGoverns breed pedigree Charolais cattle and showing is big business. An unwritten family rule states that whichever sister is present at the birth of a calf gets to keep and show that animal, so there’s huge competition as the siblings try to outwit each other. Such is the desire to get their cattle to the show ring that Clodagh, 25, Eimear, Caoimhe, 19 and Orlagh, 17, are prepared to forego nights out on the town and evenings with their boyfriends to bag the best calf. And for the McGoverns, like the rest of Northern Ireland’s rural community, Balmoral Show is the Big One. “We’ve been showing since 1999, we’ve known nothing different, it’s in our blood,” explains Eimear. “In fact I was just threeyears-old when I did my first show. I was so busy waving to Mum, with her camcorder, that I let go of my heifer and she ran away!” Luckily the sisters have honed their technique since then, and now regularly

Caoimhe, Orlagh and Eimear McGovern

Victoria Teuton. Credit: Joshua Kittle Photography

come away with rosettes for their livestock. Prizes mean pounds in the sales, and shows like Balmoral also give farming families the opportunity to network, meet friends and share best practice ideas – as well as helping members of the public connect with the folk who produce their food. For the McGovern sisters, who often start their days at 6.30am and work long into the night, it’s also a chance to socialise. The foursome love swapping their wellies for high heels, blow drys and “enough makeup to cover up all the late nights”. The eldest two sisters are graduates who juggle the farm around their full-time jobs and the youngest are still in education, with Orlagh due to sit her A-levels this spring. “We don’t have our class dates for Balmoral yet, but Orlagh might even have exams,” laughs Eimear. “She might have to sit it out this year. “We have two heifers that we’re hoping to take and it’s a group effort to get them ready for the ring. The judges focus on things like confirmation, style, and locomotion, and a lot of preparation goes into it.” This year the 150th Balmoral Show runs from the 16th to the 19th of May, with trade stands, agricultural and equestrian classes, entertainment, parades, food, and much more. Last year’s event attracted 115,000 visitors. To celebrate the 150th milestone, there will be a special anniversary marquee with an exhibition of archive photography, a timeline and video footage showing the history of the show.

A new generation

A day out at Balmoral also serves to inspire future generations of farmers and competitors. Samara Radcliffe’s unusual hobby began at a family visit to a rare breeds agricultural show, where she made a beeline for the pig tent. She fell in love with the porkers, and

every sentence afterwards began with “Mummy can I have a pig?” Eventually her dad Brian arranged to loan one of a farmer friend’s smallest boars and keep it in an outhouse opposite their Banbridge home. “We assumed it would be just a phase,” laughs Samara’s mum Sharon. “After all, how many little girls do you know that are into pigs? “But Samara was determined; we told her she had the summer to prove she could care for the piggy, and she did just that, so the following year we bought her a saddleback piglet of her own.” Samara taught herself how to show pigs by watching YouTube videos and speaking to other handlers, and by the age of eight she was in the ring herself, using a wooden board and stick to control her charges.

µµI was so busy waving to Mum that I let go of my heifer and she ran away∑∑ Now aged 13, Samara has six prizewinning pigs, which she regularly competes, and her ambition is to become a vet when she grows up. She became the youngest competitor to see one of her sows named Pig of the Year last September, and she’s hoping for success again this year. “Balmoral is the biggest show of the year and also the first event in the pig showing season,” explains the eloquent schoolgirl. “There’s so much preparation leading up to it; every other evening the pigs need to be washed, brushed and oiled, which I do after my homework. “It’s a great showcase for rare breeds and Balmoral’s very important to let people

experience rural life too – it helps families from towns connect with the countryside and agriculture.” And it’s not just livestock competing at Balmoral; there’s a wide range of equestrian classes too.

Horsing around

Equestrian HIS coach Victoria Teuton was working hunter champion with her horse Waterstone in 2016. This year she is taking two Irish Draught horses and her eldest daughter Anya’s Connemara pony to the show. “I look forward to the Balmoral and have done since I was a young child,” says the 38-year-old mum-of-two. “Every year my mum had to invent a new and believable excuse for my three-day absence from my strict, non-horsey Grammar school! I am now that mother, however luckily my children both attend schools who firmly believe in the educational aspect of the show, so no excuses are required. “We go to the show for the whole week, usually with a lorry load of young horses for me to ride. My parents will also come to support us, along with many friends and extended family, so it really is a family affair.”

A word from the organiser

Rhonda Geary, operations director at Balmoral Show, says it really does offer something for everyone. “With a mix of local food, farming excellence, showmanship and exhilarating entertainment throughout the four days, the show has so much to offer for the entire family,” she explains. “In addition to the numerous livestock classes, visitors can browse amongst over 650 trade stands, which include everything from ladies clothing and skincare to machinery. “For children, a visit to the Children’s Farm is a must for the chance to hold and even feed the baby animals. The fun fair is also a popular attraction with younger visitors. The Main Arena has many exhilarating attractions throughout the four days and the NI Food Pavilion features the best of local food and drink.” n

For pre-show discounted tickets, visit


The 14 painful stages of having house guests You may love the idea of hanging out with your friends or family for a few days but if you find yourself feeling happier when they leave than when they arrive, maybe you should consider shutting down your spare room for good. Mi Casa, Su Casa? BY CLAIRE BOWIE


It starts off so well. Friday night is the honeymoon period and the mantra is eat, drink and be merry! It’s a sea of over sharing, reminiscing and cackling about the good auld days; all washed down with Prosecco and Kettle chips. Perfect, yes?



You’re still in a happy haze the next morning but start to wonder what your guest could possibly be doing in the bathroom for nearly two hours, and hang on; is that a Sweet Chilli Kettle chip smeared on your stone-coloured sofa?


You finally get the bathroom back and assess the damage; it seems they are perhaps unacquainted with Molton Brown maths. A pea-sized squeeze is an adequate amount for lathering thank you very much. PEA SIZED! Smelling of pink peppercorns does not come cheap, lady.


You never noticed how careless they were until you cohabited. Next thing you know they’ll be casually sparking up the (decorative) Pomegranate Noir Jo Malone candles and sullying the Cath Kidston towels with St. Tropez. Best keep them away from the expensive glasses too; this is clearly an Ikea SVALKA stem kind of weekend.

aggressively make this trip uncomfortable and tense for all involved. Got it?


When they don’t bring a gift or offer to pay for anything all weekend. A bottle of £3 Lidl Prosecco is the least they could do, it’s called making a gesture. They’ll tan the wine and crush the cap on your gin but don’t have the courtesy to bring a box of matchmakers to smooth it all over. Whose idea was this trip anyway?


When they finally leave but the worst is yet to come and can look a little like


When you said “make yourself at home” you lied. The following things will be frowned upon: n Any shedding rituals like nail clipping, hair removal or excessive exfoliation. n Recording, deleting or judging any items from the TV planner. The Real Housewives of Cheshire is actually very compelling viewing and a great stress buster you know. n Sitting/lying on your side of the sofa, don’t they know the uncomfortable hard sofa is the designated guest seating area #obvs! n Any mention of staying over on a Sunday night. Just no. Don’t. Even.


You adopt neurotic mum/Monica Gellar mode; inwardly sighing every time you trip over their shoes, bag, phone charger, book, abandoned bottles of water etc. Is it too much to ask to pick up your stuff and put it in your own assigned area, for crying out loud?


Second night “guest fatigue” sets in. The bubble can burst on the second night when everyone is a little tired and heated discussions involving politics, religion, child

rearing or veganism rear their ugly heads. Wine + mixed ideologies = an awkward round of croissants and cappuccinos next morning.


Petty, irrational anger begins to seep from your pores. You could actually spontaneously combust when they jovially wave an empty glass at you in a “this glass is not going to fill itself” kind of way. The urge to march them out to the kitchen and point out the location of the fridge is overwhelming, but instead, you dutifully refill the glass like the wonderful hostess that you are.


It’s nearly worse if they are overly helpful or insist on excessive wiping up, vacuuming or dish washing. You may be dealing with a houseguest who operates a strictly “shoes off” policy in their own home and whose cupboards would never harbour a sticky soy sauce bottle or a dried up packet of noodles lurking in the shadows. #judgement


When they say things like “I’m easy” or “I’ll fit in with your plans”, they usually mean I’m easy if you do exactly what I want when I want, or I may passively

this: n They have generously left their make-up imprint on your crisp white pillowcases #clownface. n They have kindly left a bodily fake tan silhouette on the bed like some kind of recreation of the Turin Shroud. n They have “cleaned” their hairbrush onto your floor and you could now stuff a cushion with the remnants. n Three of your Ikea SVALKA’s that were MIA turn up on the dressing table with red wine residue. n The guest room (ornamental) bin is literally overfloweth and a shoe box has been casually discarded beside it. n Oh and thanks for rinsing down the shower cubicle, NOT!


The good news is that you can now relax and remember never to invite them again, a simple catch up in a neutral area will work much better next time and you can go back to enjoying their company for a maximum of 3-5 hours in one sitting.


The bad news is when you realise that you are actually related to some of these guests so this misery will have to happen again and again... weeps and reaches for (empty) gin bottle. Ding dong the guests are gone! n


NI art Down Under Artist and jewellery designer, Ruth McEwanLyon, tells NW about her once-in-a-lifetime art exhibition in Oz



hen Belfast artist and jewellery designer Ruth McEwan-Lyon of NI Silver, was invited on a trip of a lifetime to Australia to collaborate with an international artist and showcase her art, she knew it was an opportunity she could not resist. “I was shocked when the invitation arrived, but totally overwhelmed and delighted by the offer to take part in The Sister City Prints project and exhibition,” Ruth begins. “I never ever imagined that I’d end up travelling to Australia to set up, launch and attend the exhibition in person with such a wonderful group of ladies, but I was extremely eager to get started on the project and to get the process going.” The Sister City Prints project celebrates women from all over the world and their art through global collaborations. Their recent exhibition was held in Adelaide and involved 22 women of all ages and backgrounds. 11 contemporary Australian artists were paired with international artists and tasked with creating something together as team. Ruth says: “To travel so far to achieve my first international collaborative exhibition was amazing. They all loved my accent so that boosted my confidence! “Being the only representative from UK/ Ireland was fabulous, especially as the other


girls couldn’t believe I’d made such an effort to both participate and to attend the event. After all of the work that had gone into making it a success, I would not have missed it.” Ruth was partnered up with Robyn Finlay, who happens to be married to her cousin Mark and lives in Adelaide. Working creatively with someone on the other side of the world was a new experience for Ruth. She recalls: “It is a very unusual and genuinely difficult thing to collaborate across different time zones with someone who you don’t know well.

I’ve collaborated with other artists before but most of them have been good friends, so being creatively critical is easier when you know someone well, but Robyn and I seemed to gel immediately.” The duo decided to focus their design on the Dark Hedges to highlight how the landscape can be damaged due to the large amount of tourist buses travelling on the land. While Ruth loved showcasing her art, meeting the artists from around the world was a special moment for her. She says: “I was very humbled and privileged that the girls took me in as one of their own and made me feel extremely welcome. It was totally nerve-racking but very exciting and I felt honoured to be working with them. “I’d like to take the opportunity to all who

µµIt was totally nerve-racking but very exciting∑∑ were involved in the collaboration.” Ruth set up her jewellery brand NI Silver back in 2013 to give people a little piece of Northern Ireland - wherever they may reside in the world. “NI Silver is a bespoke jewellery design business that produces mini 3D images of local iconic landmarks, bridges and architecture from around Northern Ireland/ Ireland,” Ruth explains. “The NI jewellery ranges are equally attractive for tourists and ex-pats, especially the Dark Hedges, Game of Thrones, and Giant’s Causeway designs. While she loved Australia, Ruth hopes the exhibition will be hosted closer to home in the future to showcase more local talent. She says: “I would truly love to host this event here, whether it be Belfast, Dublin, London or all three. I think the calibre of work would be attractive to many art lovers.” Australia was hugely inspiring for Ruth, she adds: “I now have a few new Aussieinspired ideas that I would like to explore”. Watch this space! n


Credit: Inglot


Natural Face Palette from Too Faced £35


Enhance your natural beauty with this Natural Face Palette. The multi-dimensional shades are perfect for highlighting, bronzing and blushing and the velvety-soft powders are infused with coconut butter for a hydrating, comfortable wear.


Rich in plant ingredients these matte lip stains claim to last for an impressive 300 kisses. Composed of 77% water the texture is unbelievably light and instantly fuses with the lips, drenching them in colour. Choose from four naturallooking shades.

Water Lip Stain in Rose Water from Clarins £19

The Beauty Edit The latest makeup bag and skincare must-haves BY CLAIRE CRAIG BIG TEASE

Turn up the volume with Buxom’s Big Tease Plumping Mascara. The unique tapered, conicalshaped brush has chisel-tipped bristles that grab and coat each and every lash, from inner to outer corner, for a bold statement look. Big Tease Plumping Mascara from Buxom £18


Banish frizz on the go with these portable hair wipes. Made from natural hemp paper and infused with a blend of avocado and camellia oils, these genius wipes calm static and block humidity Swipe Up Hair Wipes from IGK £16 without disturbing your style.

Radiant Results Nourishing Cleansing Balm from No7 £13


This nourishing cleansing balm works to dissolve make-up, impurities, and pollutants. Formulated with No7’s Tri-Vit complex and Grapeseed Oil, the balm helps skin to retain moisture levels to leave skin feeling hydrated and squeaky clean. Simply massage over dry skin then use the dampened muslin cloth to remove the balm.

All-Day Brow Ink from Dior £22


Perfectly defined, intense yet natural looking, brows are the finishing touch to any look. To combine perfection with a natural and long-lasting finish, Dior has invented a tattoo-effect eyebrow ink that dyes the skin beneath the brows. The formula is rich in highintensity pigments that colour the skin in a single sweep and ensures a 36-hour finish that doesn’t move or fade, yet wipes off easily with makeup remover.


Jo Malone’s latest offering is a vibrant and exotic mix. Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense is a heady contrast of garlands, ylang ylang, vanilla and amber. Totally enticing and completely addictive. Jasmine Sambac & Marigold Cologne Intense from Jo Malone £75


Tried & Tested


Anti-wrinkle injections


This month Catriona Doherty reviews Botulinum Toxin injections

15 Skin Clinic offer a whole range of treatments to improve the appearance of skin, I reviewed Botulinum Toxin injections. Wrinkles and deep lines are a natural result of ageing. Injecting Botulinum Toxin into the area temporarily relaxes the underlying muscles responsible for wrinkling. The lines become smoother or can disappear altogether.

The initial treatment may become visible within two to three days, and the maximum effect is reached in two weeks. A top up may be required at this stage – 115 Skin Clinic do not charge for this. The effects usually last for three to four months and the treatment costs from £160. For more information visit www. or call 028 9047 1478. n






I spent the majority of my twenties living in hot climates, and I believe the effects of sun exposure could be seen on my face - in the fine lines around my eyes in particular. Plus I am in my mid-thirties, so ageing skin is inevitable! I met with GDC registered dentist Julie Johnstone, from 115 Skin Clinic for a consultation. Julie is extremely professional, knowledgeable, and down to earth in her approach and I knew I was in safe hands from day one. Julie asked me what I would like to improve. I told her that I have fine lines around my mouth (smile lines) but they don’t bother me in the slightest, whereas I would love to reduce the wrinkles around my eye area, forehead and frown lines. Julie explained that she always takes time to listen to her clients to find out what exactly they want to enhance, because she couldn’t possibly know what bothers someone. Her approach is a far cry from those cosmetic surgery TV programmes I have seen, where the doctors draw lines all over the person and tells them what needs to be done in order to look younger. We discussed various options and decided on Botulinum Toxin injections. For the treatment, I chose an evening where I didn’t have anything planned afterwards, although Julie prides herself on her track record for leaving skin bruisefree. “These injections can cause tiny bruises – everyone reacts differently,” Julie advised. “However I always use a different needle for each injection, as this prevents the needle becoming blunt which can lead to bruising.” The jabs didn’t hurt at all on my forehead, but pinched a little around the side of my eyes where the skin is not as thick. In my opinion, if you can cope with the pain of waxing, you can definitely cope with this. I had a couple of teeny tiny bumps next to my eyes for a few hours, and not one bruise. Gradually over the next couple of weeks my wrinkles began to smooth out. I still have lots of expression and movement; the look is natural as I had wanted. A friend complimented on my ‘lovely eye makeup’, which hadn’t changed; it was as if she knew something was different but couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was.



BEAUTY Going vegan is one of 2018’s biggest trends, so many of us are shunning beauty products tested on animals. Here are our top picks to make up a cruelty-free face BY JADE BEECROFT


INIKA Long Lash Vegan Mascara £23

This brilliant-value, hard-working palate features 10 super-wearable nude shades that will take you from a barely-there matt daytime look to popping, shimmery evening eyes. The complimentary shades are very buildable and there’s a decentsized mirror in the lid for touching up on-the-go. Barry M In The Buff Nude Eye Palate £6.49

The Body Shop Velvet Gel Pen Eyeliner £9


Australian make-up brand INIKA is vegan, certified organic and cruelty-free, and this mascara creates full, fluttering and smudge-proof lashes that stay put all day. Its sleek black and gold packaging matches the price tag and it can also be layered for a smoky nighttime look.



If you’ve ever struggled to apply a clean stroke of liquid liner, or scrabbled around trying to find a sharpener for your pencil, then this idiot-proof gel pen is the product for you. It can be used to create sharp and eye-catching lines, smudged for smoky eyes, or blended with a brush for a softer outline. It’s also long-lasting, and is available in black, brown or turquoise.


Finding a luxe-feel cruelty-free foundation can be a challenge, but with the Body Shop’s long history of campaigning against animal testing, you’re in safe hands. Its Fresh Nude Foundation is available in 16 shades, offers a light-medium coverage, and is semi-matt for a fresh-faced glow. It’s also suitable for sensitive skin, is dermatologically tested, and contains SPF15. And for those who like to build their coverage, the Body Shop offers a full range of vegan make-up brushes.

Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation £16


This concealer really lives up to its name in terms of offering long-lasting, crease-free coverage, and its applicator creates zero drag on the delicate skin beneath your eyes. Perfect for covering dark circles, and its liquid formula also means it won’t clump around blemishes. Barry M has had a strict ‘no animal testing’ policy since its creation in 1982.

TO FINISH INIKA Mineral Mattifying Powder £23


This lose mineral powder is made with a silky blend of lightweight materials to create a flawless finish when applied over foundation, or mattify a bare face for a pared-down weekend look. Its compact size means it’s easy to sneak into your handbag on a night out too, for a quick shine-busting sweep whenever you need it. Body Shop Instablur all-in-one Face Perfector £15


BWC’s range of matt lipsticks certainly give our favourites M.A.C a run for their money, and they’re easier on the budget too. Rich and creamy, they give a flawless, smudge-proof matt finish and last for hours. We’re in love with shades Tokyo Nights and Promise for chic yet subtle daytime lips. And, of course, the Beauty Without Cruelty brand does what is says on the tin – no animal testing.

Beauty Without Cruelty Natural Infusion Matte Lipsticks £10.50

Northern Woman tested this product on an outing to Giant’s Causeway one very wet and windy March day, and we’re pleased to report that our makeup didn’t budge. A mist of three or four sprays with B. Pro’s lightweight, non-sticky formula is enough to keep your carefullyapplied face intact during the bleakest Northern Irish weather conditions, so should comfortably be able to manage meetings, gym sessions and date nights. B. Pro Makeup Setting Spray £6.99



This bestselling primer pledges to control shine, hide blemishes and pores, and improve the complexion. It kind of does exactly as billed, blurring imperfections so you’re always Instagram ready.

Barry M All Night Long Full Coverage Concealer £4.49

Lush Skin Tints £12.50


Fragrant favourites Lush are renowned for their cruelty-free bath bombs, soaps, skin treatments and hair products, but did you know they do a line of natural makeup too? Their Skin Tints are rich, creamy and can be applied with your fingers to create highlights, blush, or an all-over glow. We love Feeling Younger for an illuminating lift with a jojoba oil base, and the darker Charisma which uses cocoa butter to give a warming and buildable bronze.

Okay, its not technically part of the face, but we felt Noughty’s brilliant vegan haircare products deserve an honorary mention. The packaging feels luxe, and the formulas themselves are thick, nourishing and beautifullyscented. The range is 97% natural, and free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates and silicones. Noughty also offers free UK delivery on online orders over £10. We love the To The Rescue Moisture Boosting range, including a shampoo and leave-in conditioner. Noughty To The rescue Moisture Boosting Shampoo £6.99

ANIMAL TESTING EXPLAINED In 2013, an EU law came into force making it illegal to sell products tested on animals in Europe. However, the global market makes the situation tricky. Although companies can’t sell animal-tested cosmetics in Europe, they can continue to test cosmetics on animals outside Europe and sell them in other markets worldwide. In fact, many emerging markets such as China have laws that demand products are tested on animals before they are deemed suitable for sale. This means that many of the larger cosmetics companies continue to test on animals outside the EU. Some even reintroduced animal testing to tap into markets like China. Companies that do not test on animals are normally clearly labelled as vegan, cruelty-free, or carry the ‘leaping bunny’ logo.






KALME Chameleon Concealer SPF20 WOR £19.9TH 5

Kalme Chameleon Concealer SPF20 is an award-winning product that helps calm and conceal redness and uneven skin tones, reduce sensitivity, moisturise, and protect the skin from UV damage.

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One of the most important brushes for any of us I think is something like this buffer brush. You can get one that’s called a stiple or painter brush, but I prefer these rounded headed ones to get a perfect flawless finish. I chose this synthetic hair carefully because it is super soft but it will also apply a cream, liquid or powder - so you’re sorted!

The quintessential eye brush in my opinion if you’re someone that might throw on one colour day to day and then dress it up for special occasions. This fluffy brush is so soft but tapered slightly at the top too, so it really blends effortlessly into the crease and brow bone. This is the brush that I use to put my bronzer on with as eyeshadow every day and it brings the whole eye look together.


My makeup routine is all about doubling up. Although I am a makeup artist, my own face tends to get thrown on so I like specific products that can do a lot. I named this angled tip brush The Setter because it can set your face with your translucent powder after foundation, and it can also expertly apply your blusher into the apples of the cheeks. It’s a handy two-in-one.


I could not finish off The Essentials collection without including the angle brush. I created this brush with an opposite ended spoolie on it. A spoolie is basically a clean mascara wand that will groom your brows and lift out any excess product – so handy! The angle brush itself is super thin which is so important in getting those sleek brows and winged liner. I would go as far as saying it is your secret weapon to a feline flick.



One of my favourite brushes that will do all of your ‘nitty gritty’ work as I call it. This pencil-headed brush is precise enough to get your smokey edges even smokier. It can be used to blend a kohl pencil at the lash liner to smudge it out, or it can expertly apply some shadow into the lower lash line without making it too thick and blotchy.

As the name suggests we’re getting smaller in size now as we’re working into a smaller area on the eye. This brush is a little more narrow and shorter than The Blender so you can tuck your smokey eyeshadow right in where it needs to go. I tend to focus this into the outer corners, under the bone and down to the lash line almost like it’s the outer third.


Brush strokes I Celebrity makeup artist Aimee Connolly gives us the 101 on her makeup brushes

on om nnolly.c o aimeec de: NW10 using co onth of for the m y. Ma

am sure many of us find the minefield of brushes a lot to take in; you see some sets that have 56 pieces or you’re looking at the newest YouTube video that presents brushes or sponges in shapes you’ve never seen before! So today I’m presenting my own ‘The Essentials Brush Collection’ (£48). n

For more from Aimee visit: www.instagram. com/aimeeconnolly_com or www.facebook. com/aimeeconnollyMU


Itzel Castillo @muaitzel_ Dewy skin and brushed up brows were all over the catwalk this season. Enhance the look with barely-there mascara and a pop of colour on the lips. Annabelle Hogg @annabelleh_mua

One of this year’s hottest colours; channel your inner green eyed monster with a wash of aqua or teal on the eyes.

Forget about mermaid hair and embrace this season’s hottest colour trend – abalone. If you didn’t know (and let’s be honest, who did?) then abalones are marine snails and while they may not sound the sexiest, hair is taking inspo from their pretty, pearlescent shells.

Rebecca Taylor @rebeccataylorhair

#INSTATREND The hottest looks from our newsfeed

Lydia Hall @whatlydialikes

BY CLAIRE CRAIG ta omfgre Greta @ Anne Wenzel @annepromakeupart For the Spring/Summer Moschino shows designer Jeremy Scott sent models out as life-size bouquets of flowers complete with ribbons and butterflies. It’s only natural that this trend should also filter through to the beauty world.

y mua_ha Court @ c M y le Hay

Mario Francis @MarioTheArtist


Cherry stained lips are one of this season’s most popular trends. They’re also one of the easiest to recreate.

How we heart summer hair. Now’s the time to get practising your pretty braids, beachy waves and bows.

No longer just for clothing, gemstones and sequins were seen on models walking for Belgian designer Dries Van Noton. While it’s not exactly an everyday look it’s perfect for festival season.

A Time to Blossom Ciara Hedgcock reviews the Spring Spa Day Experience at Culloden Estate and Spa


he Culloden Spa, within Hastings’ Culloden Estate and Spa grounds at Cultra, is a few steps from the car park, which post treatment, is perfect when you want to return home as quickly as possible to continue with the relaxation phase. The reception desk is opposite the entrance, I checked in quickly with Emma who gave me a short questionnaire to complete prior to escorting me to the female changing area; my first opportunity to enjoy the scent of ESPA products wafting through the treatment rooms and relaxation area. You can set your own code to secure your personal items in a locker. Within each, there is a cosy robe, slippers and fluffy towel. Once in my robe and slippers, my therapist Zamo introduced herself and showed me to my treatment room. It was spacious, luxurious and relaxing, not clinical, more atmospheric due to the mood lighting, rich wood floor and trim. The spring treat A Time to Blossom spa experience has been carefully tailored to

refresh and revive your skin in preparation for summer. Normally I would not have chosen this treatment as I automatically opt for a massage, but this winter has felt particularly long. My skin felt dry and neglected, and mentally I wanted to prepare for spring and summer, so this seemed like a perfect way to kick-start my plans. The treatment has been designed around the rosemary and lavender scrub, but Zamo offered to customise it for me. I choose a revitalising and invigorating peppermint and eucalyptus option. I lay on my stomach and Zamo began to apply the warm body scrub to my arms, back and legs. I turned onto my back and she continued to spread the oily scrub to my body with vigorous, sweeping, massage movements to get my blood circulation going. The aroma of the body scrub smelt like only a holiday or sensual aromatic scent can. Zamo asked me to use the shower, which was in the treatment room, to remove the excess scrub, but not to use any product so that the oils from the scrub would remain on my skin, which by now felt super soft and smelt fantastic.

Stage two of my experience was a reviving facial. It began with a cleanse followed by a skin analysis under an ultra violet light. I was told that I was dehydrated around my eyes and nose. A long time was spent massaging around my eyes, it was very relaxing and quite meditative. My sinuses had been irritated, so it felt great to have the facial massage to relieve any tension. Zamo rolled rose quartz crystals over my face; they felt silky smooth and cooling, she then applied a rich facemask. The final stage was a vitamin-rich hair treatment. With continuous movements through my hair and without (miraculously) getting her fingers caught in any knots, Zamo managed to massage the oil through my scalp and hair. Soft tugs on my scalp felt quite therapeutic, she worked with strong pressure but the entire process was very gentle. When the A Time to Blossom experience was complete, Zamo left me still covered in towels to relax on the massage bed. She returned in approximately ten minutes, gave me some product recommendations and highlighted the ones she had used to personalize my treatment. Back in my robe, I was shown to the relaxation area where I drank some strawberry-infused water (I was surprisingly thirsty) on a chair-bed complete with a control to position it at various angles. I reluctantly returned to the changing area before leaving – skin glowing and spring ready. I woke the next morning, relaxed and well rested after what I knew had been a really deep sleep. A light lunch is included and the treatment duration is 1 hour 20 minutes. I recommend you take a swimming costume so you can make full use of the spa facilities and enjoy the relaxing environment before and after your Spring Day Spa Experience. n

The Time to Blossom experience costs £105 Monday-Friday, and £135 on Saturday and Sunday. The treatment is also available at Spa at Slieve Donard. Enjoy!


Store cupboard BEAUTY HACKS How to revamp your beauty regime with a sea salt scrub, ginger mask, or honey hair treatment BY MONA ALYEDREESSY Avocados: Create a paste with fresh avocados and extra virgin olive oil and apply it to your face as a mask. Avocados are rich in healthy fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, and are wonderful at deeply nourishing and moisturising your skin, keeping it healthy. This mix can also be applied as a mask to the hair and scalp for beautiful, shiny and soft hair. Coffee: Add some drops of water with some coarsely ground coffee and use it as a facial and body scrub. The caffeine in coffee is known to rejuvenate and stimulate the blood circulation, and it can break through clogged pores giving the skin a deep cleanse. When applied to the body during a shower, it acts as a great treatment for cellulite, as it encourages blood flow if you massage it well into the affected areas, resulting in firmer looking skin. Sugar: Create a simple mix with brown sugar and some extra virgin coconut oil for a natural face and body scrub. This combination helps to exfoliate the skin, removing the dead layer of skin cells, to reveal a vibrant complexion. The coconut oil will help to nourish and moisturise the skin, so that it does not dry out from the exfoliation process. Sea salt: Create a mix of soft sea salt flakes and extra virgin olive oil and gently scrub the body and


face with it. Organic salt has excellent healing, cleansing and anti-bacterial properties, so it is great for those who suffer from greasy skin, acne and parasite infections. Ginger: Create a paste from ginger powder and honey or from the juice of fresh ginger root and apply it to the skin as a mask. Ginger is known to even the skin tone, improve elasticity and encourage the blood circulation to give you a beautiful youthful complexion. Honey: Pure and organic honey is one of the best treatments for your skin and hair, as it is full of anti-bacterial, healing and hydrating properties. Apply it to your hair as a conditioner before rinsing it out with warm water for soft and healthy hair and/or apply it to your skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne and other skin infections.

Black and green tea: Black and green tea are considered to be mild diuretics and have been used for hundreds of years to reduce puffiness, itchiness, swelling and infections in the eyes. After making a tea, chill the bags in the fridge before applying them to your eyes to make them feel fresh and soothed. Black pepper: Coarse black pepper can be applied to the skin as a scrub with some honey or extra virgin olive oil to promote blood circulation and provide oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells. It is rich in vitamin K, iron and magnesium, which makes it beneficial for treating skin problems, such as dryness and dark patches. n

Corn flour: Create a paste from corn flour and cold rose water and apply it to your skin to reduce inflammation and redness that can result from beauty treatments, such as waxing and threading or from the sun. Mixed herbs: Make a tea made from a dried herb mix and rinse your skin with it after using soap. Together basil, rosemary and thyme include many vitamins and minerals that help to cleanse and nourish the skin. This tea is also great for the hair, as rosemary, with the support of the other herbs, acts as a scalp disinfectant and can help to encourage hair growth and prevent hair loss.

Samira Zaidan and her daughter Mona Alyedreessy founded Azara Beautique, offering a range of soaps and cosmetic products with a Middle Eastern influence. Visit for more information.


Credit: Only Play



hen I first tried going vegan as a student almost two decades ago, it was a radical, cult-like lifestyle choice – championed by a dreadlocked bunch of hard-liners who sat around campus smoking questionable homemade “cigarettes”. Eating in was difficult, eating out was impossible, and I lasted about six weeks before lapsing back into the cosy familiarity of vegetarianism and macaroni cheese. Fast forward to 2018, and veganism has never been easier. When I decided to give it another try eight months ago, I was overjoyed to find that even the likes of Tesco were selling non-dairy cheese and yogurt, fakon (fake bacon, for the uninitiated), vegan mince and pastries – even “Free From” mini rocky road bites. Oh, how times have changed. Veganism is one of the fastest growing food trends of the moment, with retailers and restaurants falling over themselves to provide plant-based options.

Becky Brennan


The vegan

REVOLUTION Switching to a plant-based diet is predicted to be one of the biggest food trends of 2018. Here, new vegan Jade Beecroft explains why it’s becoming increasingly mainstream There are very few foodstuffs that now don’t have an appetizing vegan alternative. Love pizza? Greens in Belfast has a full and delicious vegan range. Miss bacon? You can buy vegan rashers at most wholefood shops. Crave comfort food? Try Lynda McCartney bangers and almond milk mash. In fact, veganism is now so easy that meat-eating is starting to look outdated. We call ourselves a national of animal lovers – so why are we overlooking what’s on our plates? For 23-year-old Becky Brennan, a student at Ulster University’s Coleraine campus, veganism was both an ethical and a healthy choice. “I’d been vegetarian since I was eight,” she explains. “But I hadn’t really given much thought to the dairy or egg industries until I started suffering with skin problems. “My dermatologist found I was reacting to dairy, so I started doing some research

and realised how inhumane it is. Animals raised for meat are generally sent for slaughter relatively young, whereas dairy cattle endure years of suffering. “And humans aren’t baby cows – we don’t need their milk.” After going vegan two years ago, Becky reaped another huge health benefit – she lost a staggering 5st in weight and discovered a love of home cooking; she also began lifting weights. Becky is one of a new generation of vegans who upload recipes and photos to Facebook and Instagram, and she believes social media has become a real catalyst for change. She also takes part in activism through local organization V Kind. “It’s actually really easy,” she laughs. “Veganism is a journey and a learning curve, but there’s lots of support out there and the activism we do is all about education.

WHAT IS A VEGAN? The Vegan Society defines veganism as a way of life that seeks to exclude, wherever possible, all forms of exploitation or cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. Vegans generally follow a plant-based diet, shunning meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey, as well as animal-derivatives like gelatin. They also avoid buying products like leather and anything tested on animals. An exception to this is medicine, as currently UK laws state that all medicines must be tested on animals. The Vegan Society does not condone refusing to take medication prescribed by a doctor – and points out that a dead vegan is no good to anyone!

Carole Grant “I think so many people just disassociate themselves from their food and try not to think about where it comes from. But animals’ lives matter. And taste preferences can easily be changed. “It’s also one of the best things you can do for your health. I have so much more energy, I catch fewer colds, I’ve lost weight and feel fantastic.” You don’t have to be a hip young Instagrammer to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. Carole Grant made the change in her 50s and now says she’s never felt better. “When I turned 50 I was starting to slow down,” she explains. “I’d been through the menopause, gained a little weight, and was suffering from chronic fatigue and joint pain. “Veganism has totally turned things around. I’ve got so much more energy now and I don’t have as many aches and pains.” With her glossy hair and glowing skin, 57-year-old Carole is certainly a great advert for the lifestyle. And she’s quick to point out that going vegan doesn’t have to mean ditching the beauty products. “You just have to make a few tweaks,” she says. “These days you can get great vegan and cruelty free make-up, hair products and toiletries. “I’m involved with vegan activism and a lot of people are surprised by my appearance; there’s still that vegan stereotype, but actually we’re a really varied bunch from all walks of life.” And if going cold turkey feels a little too drastic, Carole is a big advocate of making changes step by step. “Some people can go vegan overnight, and that’s great,” she explains. “But for others it

takes a little longer to change the habits of a lifetime and that’s still positive too. “Don’t be daunted, you don’t have to do it all at once, and there’s so much support available. Do your research and get help. You don’t have to throw out those leather boots straight away – just make better choices next time. “You can find our local activism group, VKind, on Facebook. That’s a great starting point.” One of the big arguments that carnivores tend to make against veganism is that it can’t be healthy. We’ve all got that meat eating friend or family member who worries we’re not getting enough calcium, or tells us to “eat a steak” whenever we feel under the weather. But that’s just nonsense, according to health screening nurse Debbie Cowan. After all, our hospitals aren’t full of poorly vegans. The 53-year-old has been vegan for two years and has certainly done her research. She’s quick to point out that study after study has shown a meat-free diet lowers the risk of a huge range of health problems, including diabetes, many types of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes.

µµPigs, cows, chickens, and other “farm” animals have the same emotional ranges as your family’s dog or cat.∑∑ “There are actually significant health benefits to going vegan,” she says. “It’s a safe, high fibre, low- cholesterol, nutrientdense diet. Humans have no need for animal products, and things like red meat and diary have been shown to increase our risk of all kinds of serious health problems. “Not only does veganism lower the risk of these problems, but some studies are even showing that it can reverse them. For example, we once thought that diabetes was incurable, but now research is showing that a plant-based diet can even stop the need for medication in some patients.”

For more information, go to

Debbie Cowan Debbie is also keen to dispel the common myth that vegans don’t get enough of certain nutrients. “There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein and calcium,” she says. “And B12 is easily available from nutritional yeast and fortified milks.” Listing these sources, such as beans, pulses, tofu and nuts, can make them sound unappetizing. But as soon as you learn to make a veggie curry, sweet and sour tofu stirfry, three-bean chilli burrito, or creamy vegetable pie, you’re cooking on gas! And, most importantly, you’re cooking without harming other sentient beings. Pigs, cows, chickens, and other “farm” animals have the same emotional ranges as your family’s dog or cat. They are just as capable of feeling pain, fear, stress, boredom and distress. “Some people come to veganism for the health benefits, others due to concerns for the environment,” explains Debbie. “We then learn about all the ways that human beings do harm to animals, and that’s what makes us stay. “For me, that’s the bottom line. We don’t need to harm animals. So why would you choose to?” n



Writing for a


It can be argued that real power lies within our words. This month Nothern Woman asks a bestselling author, a successful blogger, and a renowned singer/songwriter, what writing means to them. BY ELIZABETH MOORE ď‚ŁNIAMH McGLINCHEY

Professional singer/songwriter, has recently released her fourth album At Long Last Age: 26 Location: Gulladuff, Londonderry

What inspired your latest song Golden Wings?

Golden Wings is a bittersweet song for me. I wrote this song whilst grieving the loss of my friend Conall who passed away at 18 from cancer. It was the first time in my adult life that I had lost someone close

to me, and I was struggling with all the emotions that came along with the grief. I do feel Conall achieved so much in such a short life and that his purpose had been fulfilled. Although his family and friends were not ready to lose him - he was ready. So I sat down one day and wrote this song, and it was surprising how much comfort it brought me. The first few times I sang it I choked back tears, but when I looked up and saw the audience I realised then the significant comfort it was bringing others too.

What response have you had to this song?

I have received a huge response to this song, it has been my most watched and shared video ever. I was absolutely petrified about releasing this video as it features real people who have lost loved ones. They share their story, thoughts and emotions, and it really brings the song to life. I knew I wanted it to be a hard-hitting video that would stop people in their tracks for a few minutes and make them really appreciate the life that surrounds them. In response to the video, I’ve received numerous emails and messages from people who have been struggling with grief. They say that the song really illustrates their emotions and has been a great source of strength to them. This has been the most humbling aspect of my music so far.

Continued on 50 ➤


Do you feel that writing is the best way to raise awareness of a particular issue?

Writing is a fantastic way of releasing tension within yourself. I wrote this song to comfort myself and to let out all my anger, pain, sadness, guilt... every single emotion I was feeling. It really works, and is a great source of healing. As a singer-songwriter though, I do know that songs can take on a whole other form once they are released to the public. With this song I did intentionally set out to make people think twice and appreciate those around them, and I do feel it has achieved this ten-fold.

We hear you are now an ambassador for Cancer Focus NI. How did that come about?

It just seemed fitting this year with the release of Golden Wings. I always like to give back to charity in any way that I can, so when I received the call asking me to be an ambassador I was thrilled. I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some shape or form. I have lost a few family members and friends to this disease and it’s a cause that is close to my heart.

µµI wrote this song to comfort myself and to let out all my anger, pain, sadness, guilt... every single emotion I was feeling.∑∑ Considering the positive response your song has received, has this inspired you to write similar songs in the future?

I’ve always found it much easier to write emotional, meaningful songs rather than upbeat, happy ones. I suppose coming from a folk background, these songs always lend themselves to pulling on the heartstrings, and that’s probably why it comes so naturally. Also, my voice would be quite soft and delicate, so it suits softer music and songs that have a story-telling aspect. I always think that song writing is a great forum for highlighting certain issues, and whilst I do have a collection of light-hearted songs, after seeing the response to Golden Wings I believe there is a desire for songs of this nature.

What advice would you offer to someone who is considering ‘writing for a cause’?

Firstly, it has to be from the heart. If it’s not an issue that has personally affected you, then talk to people that it has affected. Never hold back and paint a true picture. In Golden Wings the first couple of lines of the song are really hard-hitting and make the listener sit up and tune in to the song. Finally, make your song relatable. It could be the best melody in the world, but if the listener cannot relate to your words, it’s less effective.



Irish Times bestselling author of eight women’s fiction titles, former journalist, and author of debut thriller Her Name Was Rose (out June) Age: 41 Location: Derry

Tell us about your novel Still You.

Still You is my eighth novel and it tells the story of two women; Aine – who is in her 80s and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her carer Georgina. The book tells the story of their friendship and their individual struggles, but more than that it tells Aine’s life story.

What inspired you to write this novel?

My grandmother, Anna Davidson, developed Alzheimer’s about fourteen years ago. It is a merciless and horrible disease that robbed her of so much and robbed our family of so much. It was an incredibly hard experience to lose someone to such an insidious disease – one which steals the person you know and love so much, bit by bit until they no longer know who you are or who they are. As a former journalist, I had done quite a bit of work promoting the great work of the Alzheimer’s Society in the Foyle area and had told the stories of many people who had developed different forms of dementia. I was quite passionate about making sure the person with the illness was not just identified as someone with dementia, but also recognised for the life they had led, the things they had achieved, and the people they had influenced. As hard as seeing someone with the illness was, I frequently reminded myself that my grandmother was still my grandmother. She was still the person I loved and owed so much to. So the title of the book Still You came from that. The book is dedicated to Granny, who very sadly passed away three months after it was published.

Do you feel that writing is the best way to raise awareness of a particular issue/illness?

I believe it is one of the best ways. If done properly it humanises a cause or a story so that people are more inclined to read it, empathise with it, and feel a connection with the people and characters involved. Too much medical jargon or information can be intimidating for a reader and can switch people off, but making the characters relatable (as I did with Aine) gives the cause a personality people can identify with. There’s a balance involved though – you can’t make a book about a cause solely about a cause. People don’t want to feel preached at or patronised. So it’s about balancing that story with other threads of storytelling. No one’s life is solely about one thing – so writing a book to highlight a cause has to be quite subtle in a lot of ways.

What response have you had to your novel?

First of all, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact releasing the book would have on me. It hit home for me at that time just how painful this condition really is for relatives to watch. It coincided with a rapid deterioration in my grandmother’s health so I’ll be very honest, it was a difficult book to promote for personal reasons. However, the response was overwhelmingly positive. People found the book extremely emotional but most importantly, people who had experience of Alzheimer’s or dementia found it realistic and relatable. It’s an incredibly emotive subject and I do know some people who found the book too raw to read, but that many others found it incredibly moving and enlightening.

Have you always had a passion for writing or how did it develop?

I have always been a writer. We were always encouraged to read as children and that suited my introverted nature. I loved spending hours lost in books, so I love spending hours writing books. I initially went into journalism, but the call of my creative side became too strong when I was turning 30 and I started writing novels. Still You is my eighth women’s fiction novel. I’ve recently switched genres, and my debut thriller Her Name Was Rose will be released in June by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins.

What advice would you offer to someone who is considering ‘writing for a cause’?

Do your research. If you can do first person interviews do that, find out what life is really like for those dealing with whatever ‘cause’ you are writing about. Try not to preach or ‘info dump’ to the reader. Most importantly get the balance write. Life is not black and white, your story needs every shade in between to come to life.

µµMy blog has allowed me to write about so many things I love∑∑ Do you feel that blogging is the best way to raise awareness of a particular issue?

I think blogging and social media now work hand-in-hand. The majority of my blog traffic comes from my social media channels. Not only does the combination of both help to raise awareness, but they can also help to form such a great network for support. People can find it so difficult to manage the lifestyle changes involved in managing Coeliac disease. The immediate response is often to go to supermarket shelves, but people would be surprised as to how much gluten-free food they already make at home. Very often it is about taking a simple approach – I would always advise homemade food and cooking like a caveman – grains, pulses, meat and vegetables. Fresh food that makes your gut happy. If people don’t find the information they need on my blog, they contact me directly and I’m delighted to be able to offer them the information that they need. The gut is like a second brain, it will tell you when something is wrong. My blog has really helped to show people that gluten free isn’t a fad – for a lot of people it is a necessary lifestyle change and one that can have a really positive impact on their wellbeing.

What response have you had to your blog?


Food blogger and founder of Gluten Free Fi Age: 32 Location: Belfast

Tell us about Gluten Free Fi.

Gluten Free Fi is my personal blog and a resource for people following a gluten-free diet to make it a whole lot easier and less stressful.

What inspired you to create this blog?

Having been consistently sick for seven years, I was eventually diagnosed with Coeliac disease. I decided to document my new gluten-free journey on Instagram. I’ve always been a huge foodie so I liked the idea of sharing the different recipes that

My blog readers and followers are incredible and couldn’t be more supportive. They are so encouraging and the feedback I get from them gives me the energy to keep on doing what I love. One of my favourite things is when someone recreates one of my recipes – I am completely flattered every single time. People love to know where to visit in Northern Ireland and where they can get the best gluten-free takeaway. They get genuinely excited to know that there are great options available to them and I get such a buzz out of being the person that can help them. I created or new gluten-free products that I loved. It was my way of approaching my diagnosis with positivity. My following on Instagram grew quite rapidly and there was a demand for a website to house my recipes. I then started to blog about my recipes, about places I had travelled to, and restaurants that catered for a gluten-free diet. I wanted to pass on information and knowledge to people who were new to gluten-free eating, steering them away from the boring and often tasteless ‘free from’ aisle, and get them back into the kitchen. When followers got in contact to say that I had helped them, I knew I was on the right track and had to keep going. I’ve been blogging now for four years and have loved every minute of it.

Have you always had a passion for writing?

Well I love to talk, so writing has always come naturally to me. It is a gorgeous way to express your views. My blog has allowed me to write about so many things I love; food, family, childhood memories, our wedding day and travel.

What advice would you offer to someone who is considering ‘writing for a cause’?

Of course, I would say to do it! The blogging world is big and there is always room for one more, especially if you have a niche subject. If you are passionate about it, other people will be too. n


Diary of a special needs mammy Come and take a peek into my world. Sometimes sad but often joyful. At once terrifying and full of wonder… BY EUNICE NELSON


y children have enriched my life and made me stronger than I ever thought possible. Our lives are challenging and through my ever present doubts I strive to rise to that challenge every day. Come in, put your feet up and join my family:


Yesssss it’s Monday morning (said no one ever except me). Today my kiddies toddle off back to school and I enjoy a few precious hours of being me, not Mammy, not a carer, just me. My eight year old heads off to primary school and my four year old is at preschool. I should be catching up on housework or washing but being Mammy can wait and this morning I want to be me. I want the gym or my circuits class with all of the other parents who are discretely being themselves too. We do not talk about our children, instead we pant and sweat and laugh at how exhausted and unfit we are. Bliss. Next comes after school snacks and then play therapy for my older daughter. She has cerebral palsy, is a wheelchair user and has learning difficulties. She is growing up and realising that she is different. She is angry and unsure how to express it. This is a therapy that she enjoys and it makes my heart happy so see her smile and be brave enough to allow me to leave the room.


No one wanted to sleep last night and I’m exhausted. It’s 5.30am and across the hall


I hear my (mostly) non-verbal four year old counting from one to four, babbling to herself and laughing hysterically. Despite my tiredness I grin in the dark and hope blooms. Maybe one day she will chat. Maybe one day I will be able to let go of the fear that she might be in pain or upset and unable to communicate it to me. This is a looming and constant fear for me. My funny, beautiful and affectionate four year old daughter is autistic.

µµit makes my heart happy so see her smile and be brave∑∑ Today is a day for my little ones therapy and I hurt for her as I see her struggle to sit still and attempt tasks. Then I have to turn my head and hide my smile as she deliberately makes a mockery of speech

therapy. She lights up my life each and every day and her smile is what guides me through my darkest thoughts.


Today is tough. It is a day for phone calls and organising and awaiting a date for surgery. It is a day when I struggle to maintain my façade as preschool teachers tell me that Jessie is upset but cannot tell them why. I ache for my girls, for the struggles that they have already been through and for what lies ahead. Life will be full of obstacles for my babies and there will be times when I cannot help them to overcome the hurdles. Today is a day for doubts. Am I doing all I can? Am I strong enough? Am I finding the balance between making them practice their various therapy tasks and just letting them be children? We are all frustrated. But today is also a day for comfort. A hug from my husband when my mask slips and my bravery deserts me. Cuddles from my

sucks sometimes. It doesn’t mean that we don’t adore our kiddies it just means that some days we hate the unfairness that their conditions bring into their lives. So if you also use these pages then have a little heart and a little compassion. Don’t blame, don’t scold and don’t start pointless debates that will in no way help us or our children. Just spread a little love and some hope if you can spare it.


There are two sides to every coin but I’m not sure what side I’m on today. I don’t know if I’m the dark cloud or the silver lining. Sometimes I look at my friends with their children and I’m so envious, not because their bodies or minds are different but because their futures are. girls when only Mammy will do or a brisk evening stroll with a friend to laugh and catch up. Today is still a good day.


If you look very closely you can probably see the steam coming from my ears. I am so angry. I frequent many special needs forums and groups online and most are a great comfort on lonely days. I’m not great at attending support groups so it’s nice to be able to chat to other parents about the similarities between our experiences. Today however I see that one of my favourite Facebook pages is signing off for a while, the reason, because this poor struggling mother has received so many vile, mean and scolding replies to the heartfelt and honest videos she posts about her darling son. Despite what others expect of us we cannot constantly talk about the positive aspects of our children. We need to vent. We need to be able to say that disability

µµTwo kids, three cats, an irate terrier and now a St Bernard. Yes we’re insane.∑∑ Everyone struggles when their kids are young but bit by bit they can regain their freedom as their children grow and become more self-sufficient. This seems so unfair when I’m under a dark cloud. I may never be able to watch my babies fly the nest and spread their wings. I might never see them get married and become mothers themselves. At some time in my life I will need to make a plan for when I am no longer around. The flip side of this, my silver lining, is that I will probably never need to worry about teenage pregnancy, drinking or drugs. I won’t lie awake at night waiting for my kids to arrive home from clubs or dates with

people I know aren’t good enough for them. My side of the coin just depends on the day.


Our home is buzzing with excitement. There is a new arrival that we have been waiting weeks to meet and everyone is watching the clock. My husband is getting the boy he’s always wanted – no not a baby you eejits, even better, a puppy. Sure what else would I be doing when I’m in the middle of building an extension that has left me with no kitchen and nowhere to keep the giant ball of fluff that has been added to our brood. Two kids, three cats, an irate terrier and now a St Bernard. Yes we’re insane.


Today is a pyjama day and we probably won’t emerge into the outside world until the afternoon. Sunday is spent mostly in my family home. My happy place. The safe space where there are no questions, no therapy, just the shrieking of cousins playing and the constant parade of my immediate family coming and going. We sit around complaining about life, someone always dozes off and whoever has enough energy plays referee to the children. In short we are normal. Here it never matters that my daughters are different. No one notices that one cannot walk and the other shrieks and flaps her hands. Sunday is a day spent in the wonderful company of my witty family and I am thankful. There you have it. A snapshot of my family’s life. We’re not so different, just a little more complicated than most. Our home is full of love, bursting with joy, and full of the same arguments and petty squabbles as everyone else’s. Now if only I had my kitchen back so I could get a little space from all of the above. n


Edible May represents the peak of spring when flowers are in full bloom writes Sal Hanvey


s I am sure most of you would agree, this has been the longest winter I can ever remember. If it wasn’t raining, it was snowing or hail stones or wind or ice or dark. Enough! At last – brighter evenings, longer days, and the birds are singing a happy song. At this time of year a great deal of people move away from the stews, winter soups and casseroles of winter. We are more interested in spring soups, salads and smoothies. May time is the perfect time to start thinking about these types of foods. They are packed with anti-oxidants, colours and nutrients. May is also


the time for new beginnings. Flowers are blooming in abundance. May 1st is otherwise known as the Beltaine. It represents the peak of spring and the beginning of summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility. This brings me to one of my favourite foods at this time of year – edible flowers, which will be included in my debut cook book that I hope to have published by the autumn.


Whilst edible flowers are wonderful and I can’t encourage you enough to

grow your own, not all flowers are edible; some may even be poisonous and if you eat certain ones they could make you very ill. Always check before eating any blooms. Also, even a keen gardener can be caught out because there are anomalies within plant groups, for example garden pea flowers are edible but not sweet pea flowers. Red runner bean flowers are edible but not the white ones. Please do check before eating anything from your garden.

µµMay is also the time for new beginnings∑∑ For the same reason do not eat any flowers purchased from garden centres, nurseries, supermarkets or florists. These may have been treated with pesticides and herbicides that can be toxic if eaten. It’s a sad fact that more than 80% of flowers sold in the UK are imported and most are

Sal’s edible flower salad Photo credit: Connor Tilson

Photo credit: Connor Tilson

Edible flower salad By Sal Hanvey

Ingredients (serves 2)

treated before entering the country. They are not intended for consumption. Edible flowers can be sourced at St. Georges Market in the city centre of Belfast. Do not collect edible flowers from the sides of roads where they can absorb exhausts fumes and, for obvious reasons, refrain from picking flowers from the edge of footpaths that are frequented by dog walkers. A final thing to bear in mind is that on rare occasions, some people have proved to be allergic to edible flowers, particularly in the case of people with severe pollen allergies.


The benefits of eating safe edible flowers are numerous – let’s take Calendula and Borage for example. Calendula, often known as marigolds, have been used medicinally for centuries to heal wounds, burns and rashes. The flowers are also said to support the immune system and lift the spirits.

• Rocket • Feta cheese • Figs • Sun soaked tomatoes • Sesame seeds • Borage flowers • Calendula flowers • Kalamata olives • Vac packed cooked Beetroot • Scallions • Balsamic vinegar • Extra virgin olive oil • Cracked black pepper • Rock salt

Method Borage, also known as starflowers, has been known to help with the symptoms of PMT as it acts as an anti-inflammatory, and is said to help with skin breakouts and anxiety. n

Sal Hanvey specialises in reflexology and acupuncture for fertility and maternity, as well as being an advisor in nutrition. To contact her call: 078 0147 6048, email:, or visit:

1. Gently heat the figs over a medium heat on a dry pan for a few minutes. 2. Add the desired amount of balsamic vinegar. I use a few tablespoons as I love it! The vinegar should coat the figs. 3. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds which will then cling to the figs. 4. Take that mixture and combine with all of the other ingredients to the desired quantity. 5. To finish, drizzle the oil over the salad and add a twist of cracked black pepper, a touch of sea salt and enjoy the first day of summer on a plate!


Training time What is the best time of day to exercise?



orking out shouldn’t feel like a chore, but with dozens of variables to nail down before hitting the gym, it certainly can. Did you remember to eat before your spin class? Did you pack the right shoes in your gym bag? Did you get enough sleep the night before? But there’s one thing you can get right about your workout: the timing. Some research suggests it’s best to sweat it out early in the morning on an empty stomach to help speed weight loss and boost energy levels; other studies conclude that squeezing in your fitness routine later in the day, once your body is naturally warmed up, is a better idea. Chris Jordan, an exercise physiologist who created the viral Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout – a fitness routine that combines the benefits of strength training and cardio for a full-body burn – takes a slightly different approach.


“The best time of day to work out is the time you’re most likely to work out,” Jordan says. Jordan experimented with various timing windows for his fitness routine before settling on afternoons. He says afternoons worked the best not only for his schedule – which is jam-packed with work and playing with his four-year-old – but for his body, which can feel stiff first thing in the

µµSome studies suggest that an earlymorning workout on an empty stomach helps speed weight loss∑∑ morning. “What I like about working out in the afternoon is that I’m loose, I’m not typically

as tired, and my muscles aren’t stiff like they sometimes are in the morning,” Jordan explains. “Plus, it’s a great break, and I get so much energy afterward.” If you’re partial to working out early in the day, however, there’s great news for you; some studies suggest that an early-morning workout on an empty stomach helps speed weight loss and boost energy levels by priming the body for an all-day fat burn. Exercising first thing in the morning may push the body to tap into its fat reserves for fuel instead of simply ‘burning off’ the most recent snack or meal. Plus, working out early could mean you get more sunlight – something that’s key to setting your body’s internal circadian rhythm. One study found that people who basked in bright sunlight within two hours after waking tended to be thinner and better able to manage their weight than those who didn’t get any natural light, regardless of what they ate during the day. “There are some pros and cons with whatever time you choose,” Jordan says. “Maybe you’re a bit sluggish in the morning, but if you choose that time, then at least it’s done for the day, and you’re not going to skip it when unexpected things come up.” The most important thing about a fitness routine is that you’re able to stick with it. Whether that means waking up at the crack of dawn to hit the track or cutting out of the office for an hour or two in the afternoons, matters less than how well it jibes with your schedule. “If you need to plan ahead, then do that schedule fitness in,” Jordan adds. “The most important thing is to do it on a consistent basis.” n


hether you’re an avid yogi or a dedicated runner, it’s easy to feel evangelical about your exercise routine – but just how much attention should you be paying to pre and postworkout foods? Doing so can drum up a whole host of queries: Will you ruin the benefits of your 10km run if you follow it up with a cheeseburger and chips? Will gorging on a peanut butter-laden protein shake really help your muscles recover after a spinning class? While some personal trainers will swear by sweetened smoothies and supplements, others will advocate fasted training i.e. working out on an empty stomach in order to jump-start fat burning as opposed to using up energy on digestion. When it comes to fuelling and recovering from a workout, the advice is as extensive as it is conflicting and largely depends upon your goals, but what are some of the foods you should avoid at all costs? According to top UK personal trainer

µµit’s crucial to refuel properly in order to aid muscle recovery∑∑ Toby Huntington-Whiteley, an absolute pre-workout no-no is indulging in large portions and high fat foods. This can be tough on the digestive system, he says, not to mention the inevitable discomfort attached to exercising on a full stomach. According to leading Harley Street nutritionist and author Rhiannon Lambert, one of the most common pre-workout misconceptions is relying on sports drinks for energy, which she explained can contain as much as two-thirds of the sugar as some soft drinks.

Healthy choices Foods you should never eat before or after a workout BY OLIVIA PETTER Despite lucrative marketing campaigns featuring buff models and lithe-limbed celebrities, supplements are no better either, she says: “no matter how effective, they can never replace a healthy lifestyle with real food, exercise and good sleep”. Instead, Lambert advises hydrating with water prior to working out while Huntington-Whiteley suggests opting for a light meal an hour or so beforehand, ideally something containing both carbs and protein such as a smoothie. A shot of coffee or green tea can also be beneficial pre-workout, he added, as it will help boost metabolism and provide a hit of antioxidants. As for post-workout eating, it’s crucial to refuel properly in order to aid muscle recovery, Lambert explains. However, she pointed out that refuelling with carbohydrates is just as important as doing so with protein: “This combination will help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores in addition to stimulating the growth of new muscle”. While some sports nutritionists advocate

drinking alcohol post-workout – yes, really – both Lambert and Huntington-Whiteley believe this is best to be avoided. Despite studies claiming beer has a recovery effect on par with some sports drinks, both experts stress that the brewed beverage will do little to help hydration levels, not to mention its distinct lack of nutritional value in comparison to a fruit and vegetable-laden protein shake. As for timing, Lambert advises eating within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. “Your body’s ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you workout,” she said. Foods such as quinoa, eggs, oats and cottage cheese are all good protein and carb-rich options. However, the most important thing to have both pre and post-workout is undoubtedly the simplest: water. It’s crucial to replenishing the fluids and electrolytes you will sweat out while exercising, in addition to keeping you well-hydrated, Lambert said. Drink up. n


Annie Mullan out foraging


The n tour tak ext Food and M es place infulnes s o Septem n 30th June an d 22nd ber. To b www.fa ook visit cebook .co : www.bu m/foodmindfu lness/ o tterlope r .uk The M indfulne organis ss and F ed by D ood tou iscover r was For furt Northe her info rn Irelan rmation d. on Nort hern www.dis Ireland go to : coverno rthernir m

This month we go on a Food and Mindfulness tour in Plumbridge, Tyrone BY CATRIONA DOHERTY Annie Mullan’s story

Tucked away amongst the sprawling Sperrin Mountains two miles from the village of Plumbridge, you’ll find Butterlope Farm, owned by Vincent and Annie Mullan. Annie worked for Derry City Council for six years, before quitting her job to pursue her passion for conservation and protecting the environment. Annie’s new “office” consists of a polytunnel surrounded by fields, a country farmhouse and converted barn. “Here at the farm we offer social farming, learning in the outdoors and slow adventure tourism; foraging experiences,” Annie begins. “Social farming is great for adults with learning difficulties or people who are recovering from mental health problems. Participants help in a wide variety of day-to-day activities and can even benefit from accredited qualifications. “The council is promoting slow adventure


tourism, which inspires connections with the outdoors and offers people a chance to engage with wild, open and natural spaces. From that I began working with Mabel Campbell offering a Food and Mindfulness tour. I also work with William McElhinney, aka The Seaweed Man, on the Coast to Glen Wild Food Adventure tour which takes visitors from the River Foyle to Butterlope Farm.” Annie has hosted local school excursions taking children out to explore the landscape, take part in fun hedgegrow surveys and more. “I’d love to get city kids out here – that’s our next step, and possibly work with a city-based charity,” Annie adds.


To begin the food tour Annie brought me out into the polytunnel to forage for “weeds” that are growing wild amongst the purpose-grown produce. She pointed out

chickweed, hairy bittercress and comfrey; I had seen these weeds before but was completely unaware that they are edible. Once we had picked our stash, Annie showed me how to whizz up pesto using olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, and the wild weeds. I loved the fresh taste and couldn’t wait to try it in pasta that evening. After sampling mouth-wateringly sweet elderflower cupcakes and Rowan jelly jam slathered on homemade scones, we explored outside the farm. As we walked Annie educated me on foraging in hedgerows, fields and bog habitats, explaining the do’s and don’ts of foraging throughout. It was interesting to hear all the different stories about historical uses and benefits of wild plants – for example, I learned that wild nettles make a great hair conditioner. “Simply boil nettles, strain the water and rinse your hair with that”, Annie explains. “Foraging is a not a new thing, it has been done for centuries – and the best thing is all of these plants and flowers are readily available and they are free.” For more information on Butterlope Farm visit:, call: 028 8164 7749, or email: butterlope@ For information on all slow adventure experiences available in the area, visit:

Mabel Cambell (pictured far right) takes time out

Mabel Campbell’s story

Farmers Mabel and John Campbell have opened up their home, Bradkeel Social Farm, to the public and they are truly passionate about what they do. Mabel explains: “We have some of the most stunning views of the countryside from our farm where a sense of space, peace and solitude can be found. The reason I wanted to do mindfulness here is so visitors can find space for them. Instead of doing all the time, you can just be. “Mindfulness is part of my own personal journey. I used to work in a stressed targetdriven environment, selling insurance. Ten years into the job I was made redundant and I am glad because it kick-started me looking at me.” Mabel began exploring holistic therapies and qualified in reiki, life coaching and care practice. She went on to work with people who have mental health problems, disabilities, the elderly, youths and vulnerable adults. Due to Mabel’s training, work experience and love of nature, coupled with her husband’s farming expertise, it seemed a natural progression to open up Bradkeel Farm to the public. Farm activities offered to participants are numerous and include horticulture, conservation and care of the land, sheep and small animal husbandry; activities such as feeding animals or

grooming ponies, and mindfulness. “With mindfulness and meditation you will come to understand your inner voice; it’s all about listening to that voice,” Mabel says. “Sometimes people are in the wrong job for example, and once you are doing what you love you are truly living and tuning into your true self. “Instead of living life on autopilot, I show people how to come off the ‘hamster wheel’ as I call it, and be more present.”


I did a mindfulness course back in December 2016 and got a lot from it; but it’s like everything – unless you form new routines and habits then your learning will fall by the wayside, which is exactly what happened to me. So I was really looking forward to a ‘mindfulness top up’. On arrival at Bradkeel Social Farm I was treated to hearty homemade soup and freshly baked bread, while Mabel told me about the tour and what to expect. Participants take part in a series of gentle tasks utilising the five senses; hearing, sight, taste, touch and smell, which encourage the person to ‘be in the moment’. So for example, one task I did during a countryside walk was to stop by the river and simply listen to the soothing sound of the flowing water. From that one task alone, I could see how mindfulness could help if you were

suffering from stress or anxiety. Deliberately taking time out to not think about your problems can only be a good thing. The riverside walk reminded me that we have a gorgeous walkway in front of my office – it runs from the Northern Woman office in Clarendon Dock to the big fish and beyond. A walk I admit I rarely do. As Mabel talked about the importance of taking time out during the working day and I vowed to leave my office, even if it’s raining, and stretch my legs at lunchtime. The Bradkeel Social Farm Mindfulness Tour was all about taking a break from the screen-fuelled, fast-paced rhythm of our lives. As I type this article up back in my office, having just returned from a lunchtime walk, I reflect back on the experience; I loved it and think that everyone would benefit from meeting Mabel. For information on Bradkeel Social Farm email: or call: 078 8904 2991. n

The night before the Food and Mindfulness Tour, I stayed at Bishops Gate Hotel, Derry. I couldn’t recommend it enough – from the unique and first-class menu, to the comfy bed and chic décor, and attentive staff, I absolutely loved it. For more information on the hotel visit:



Statue of lovers, found in Balinese architecture


Peru: Kuelap is the new Machu Picchu



he air is thin and misty up here, hanging in droplets from the hood of my raincoat. Edging forward to the sparse barrier of the mountaintop, it feels as though I am standing right above the clouds – and, at an elevation of 3,000m, I suppose I am. Peering over the edge, the foggy nothing completely surrounds me and the world below is unknown and forgotten. More than 5,000 people lived here, protected and secluded on a mountaintop in northern Peru about 1,500 years ago. They were known as the Chachapoyas, or Cloud Warriors. I walk slowly around the 400 or so stone house ruins that remain from their settlement, stopping in the centre of one to take it all in. The walls are crumbled and broken in places and the roofs are long gone, yet enough remains that if I close my eyes I can imagine what it once must have looked like. Narrow channels run around the perimeters of the sleeping quarters; I am amazed to hear from my guide, Carlo, that

these were used to house the families’ cuy (guinea pigs). These furry little rodents acted as a living, moving central heating system and were also kept as livestock, as cuy remains a popular traditional food in Peru. Although nature has reclaimed the site over centuries of limited visitation, beautiful and fascinating details can still be seen. Along the walls of the round houses, jaguar and snake designs have been carved into the rock, symbolising the power and strength of the warriors who lived here. Life changed irrevocably for the Chachapoyas in 1470 when they were conquered by their southern neighbours, the Incas, who themselves fell to Spanish invaders just 60 years later.

µµHere, at the top of the world, I feel peaceful, contented∑∑ Although the Incas attempted to decimate the cloud warriors, recent scientific evidence shows the Chachapoyas people were not completely wiped out. A 2017 study published in Scientific Reports found that indigenous DNA originating from the Chachapoyas lives on today in descendants from the same area. Their homeland, the fortress of Kuelap, was built between 600 and 900 years before Machu Picchu. It’s on a higher mountain and is a larger site than Peru’s most famous

attraction in the south, yet until recently it’s been difficult to visit this fifth century citadel. Just 30 years ago the trek from Kuelap to the nearest road took a staggering two months to complete; up until last year, the journey still required a four-hour hike or an hour-and-a-half car ride up a windy, nailbiting mountain road. But in March 2017, a cable car was installed, which covers 4km of the journey in just 20 minutes. There’s still enough of a hike left to give visitors a bit of a challenge to enjoy as they make their way from the gondola along paved steps that wind through to the entrance of the great walled city. To get to the very top of the settlement, I climb up precarious, jagged stone steps covered in slippery moss. I gingerly make my way up the slope, searching for any tiny foothold and holding onto the sparse lengths of railing to haul myself up to safety. I press myself against the damp, cold stone to let other, more confident, climbers pass. Carlo notices my absence by his side and hops expertly from step to step, helping other visitors scale the slope as he makes his way back down to the platform where I’ve hung back. With an encouraging grin, he beckons me to continue. This is the final ascent, the trickiest part – I am so close to the Kuelap settlements and the chance to look out from this cloud fortress; I can’t give up now. With Carlo’s help and advice the ancient path is navigated in a few minutes and we emerge into the open, green space at the very top of the mountain. I can feel the pulse in my neck as I take a moment to collect myself. A disinterested brown llama looks on, dew collected on his long eyelashes as he chews on some grass. Here, at the top of the world, I feel peaceful, contented – the only sound comes from my own ragged breath, and the humming of the llamas. Machu Picchu is indeed a wondrous marvel that deserves its reputation. But with an over saturation of tourists, which often threatens the ruins, it might be worth looking further north for your dose of history – especially when it’s this magnificent. n


5 reasons to visit Lough Erne Resort Catriona Doherty reviews Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen



Located on the shores of Lough Erne the hotel boasts jaw-dropping views of the Fermanagh Lakelands. My room overlooked the lake, golf course, and forestry that rolls into the surrounding countryside. As I stood on the balcony taking in the peaceful peninsula setting, I felt so far removed from the busy pace of Belfast life. Visitors can soak up the scenery from another angle onboard the Erne Water Taxi. Hop aboard a chauffeur-driven boat from the


jetty at the resort and go for an exhilarating spin around the lough. There’s a range of tours available, including a 90-minute Lough Erne Hop, three-hour Food Trail, and fullday Lough Erne Expedition.


Five-star accommodation

Guests have a range of accommodation options to choose from to suit all tastes and budgets, including suites, lakeview rooms, two and three-bedroom lodges, loughside lodges, and golf village self-catering properties.



At The Thai Spa a team of therapists are on hand to ease away any stresses, with an array of authentic Thai, Espa and Elemis spa treatments to choose from. Hotel guests can enjoy complimentary use of the thermal suite, infinity pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.


The dining experience

The food at Lough Erne Resort exceeded all expectations. I dined at the Catalina Restaurant and it was of the same standard (if not even better), as Michelin-starred restaurants I have been to. The setting felt so luxurious with its glass chandeliers, vaulted ceilings and ornate tableware. The waiting staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and I loved that they shared stories about where the food

originated from and how it was made. Every course was amazing in presentation and taste. As I dipped my spoon into a homemade rhubarb soufflé, I felt as if it belonged in an episode of The Great British Bake Off! A two-course dining experience costs £45 per person, and the three-course is £52 per person. Lough Erne Resort often have dine and stay offers, so look out for deals.



The resort features a driving range, The Golf Academy, and two championship golf courses; Castle Hume and The Faldo Course. During my visit I had a lesson with golf pro Shaun Donnelly. Shaun caters his lessons to suit all ability levels from total beginners like me, to professional golfers.

All equipment required is provided. Firstly I was shown how to hold the golf club correctly, and advised on my stance and swing. After hitting the ground a few times, I proudly began hitting the golf ball. V1 camera capture and Flightscope technology analysed my shots; extremely useful technology for those who want to improve their game. A lesson at The Golf Academy costs from £30, is a fun way to spend an afternoon and you won’t fail to brush up your skills under the watchful eye of Shaun. n

Newly engaged? Lough Erne Resort is an idyllic wedding venue. The luxe Ross Suite and Lakeview terrace are fairy-tale settings to toast your big day - both provide stunning backdrops for wedding photography. For more information contact the Wedding Co-ordinators on: 028 6632 3230 or email:


Toronto skyline

In it for the LONG HAUL The faraway destinations you’ll fall in love with BY DUCAN FORGAN


ant to turn your short break into a longer adventure? Short-haul travel may tick the boxes when it comes to convenience. But if time and money are no object it often pays to go the extra mile. The relatively manageable hop across the Atlantic makes the Americas a longstanding favourite for many. Especially convenient is Canada, which combines buzzing cities, welcoming people and a sophisticated infrastructure for visitors with some of the most epic scenery on the planet. For big-city culture, Toronto offers fantastic shopping, a cutting-edge food scene and some incredible art and museums. Adventures of a less urban kind can be found in Alberta – where the ski season in the Rockies is still going strong — or the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada’s top wine-growing region, which is home to wineries such as Okanagan Crush Pad and luxe boltholes such as the aptly named God’s Mountain Estate. Another favourite is south-east Asia. Thailand may grab the lion’s share of visitors but with its wealth of cultures, spellbinding nature and vast collection of often wildly diverse islands, Indonesia is another of Asia’s enthralling rides.

Pamper yourself

Known as the Island of the Gods, Bali’s options for relaxation and pampering rival anywhere on the planet. Much of the action is centred on a small area in south Bali where opulent resorts such as the new COMO Uma Canggu, sleek beach clubs and expensive restaurants rule the roost. Elsewhere, visitors can marvel at cultural highlights such as temple dances, learn how


Bali Island, Indonesia to select ingredients for traditional Balinese remedies and luxuriate in the glorious surrounds of some of the island’s lesserknown corners.

History highlights

An equally user-friendly destination in south-east Asia is Malaysia. Safe and with an excellent transport infrastructure, it is a breeze to get around. With a coastline fringed by sandy beaches and a culinary landscape that encompasses some of the best (and cleanest) hawker food in the region, it is the ideal destination for even the wariest of travellers. Highlights of the nation include its space-age capital Kuala Lumpur – an alluring blend of old and new – and the

Fujiyoshida, Japan

island of Penang, which has acted as a crossroads for trade and a link between Asia’s two halves for centuries. Its colourful history can be easily digested in the city of George Town. The island’s main hub, it revels in a sensual mix of influences where Chinese shophouses (a shop opening onto the pavement and also used as the owner’s residence) are a few streets away from shops selling Indian spices and grand mosques.


Costs are another major consideration when it comes to travelling long haul and value can be found in some, perhaps unlikely, destinations. Japan’s charismatic capital Tokyo, once rated among the most expensive cities in the world, has now become one of the most affordable destinations due to competition between restaurants, bars and cafés and the collapsing Yen. Other relative steals currently include South Africa, Kenya and Sri Lanka. From supping wine on a fabled Canadian wine estate to sampling bargain-priced Michelin-starred sushi restaurants in Tokyo, long-haul choices are, as ever, a mighty appetising proposition. n

How to talk to Girls at Parties

How to talk to Girls at Parties

Movie roundup New films coming to a cinema near you this month BY JAMES OLIVER I Feel Pretty

Fed up with being shunned by society due to her appearance, a young woman awakens after a bad fall with a new found sense of determination, capability and believing she is utterly beautiful. Now able to go about her day-to-day life with confidence, what happens when she realises she’s been able to change everything without changing anything? Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams and Emily Ratasjkowski Release date: 4th May


Tully tells the story of a mother of three, (including a new born) Mario, who’s finding the struggles of motherhood slightly overwhelming. When she starts to receive the help of a night nanny by the name of Tully, Mario soon finds she can let the responsibilities of motherhood lie with her newly-hired nanny and start to relax and unwind, dedicating some much needed time to herself and her relationship with her partner, as well as finding a new found friendship with Tully herself. Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis and Mark Duplass Release date: 4th May

The Cured

No film in recent memory has ever asked the question, what happens after a zombie apocalypse? What happens when those who were infected are cured? How do they return to normality? This is the situation a young woman finds herself in when her brother is returned home to her and must start adapting to life once more. Those who were infected and are now cured find themselves outcast by society and even their own families, which leads to escalation over time. Starring: Ellen Page, Sam Keeley and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor Release date: 11th May

An extra-terrestrial roaming the galaxy breaks away from her group and ends up encountering two young inhabitants of the London suburb of Croydon, who show her a very different kind of adventure. Starring: Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Ruth Wilson Release date: 11th May

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Following on from the success of Star Wars: Rogue One which was the first spin-off film from the main series back in 2016, this spin off story looks at the origins of Han Solo, the famed smuggler and self-proclaimed best pilot in the galaxy. Being recruited to join a crew aboard the famous Millennium Falcon sees Han form friendships with many, including Lando Calrissian. Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson Release date: 25th May

The Strangers: Prey At Night

Based on true events, this sequel to the 2008 sleeper hit focuses on the same trio of masked menaces who this time find new prey to torment and stalk for the evening, in the form of a family who are staying at a secluded mobile home park. Will the family live to tell the tale or will the strangers claim several more victims? Starring: Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison and Martin Henderson Release date: 25th May n

The Cured



Rose Doherty’s round up of this month’s most happening events

Pay a visit to the Belfast Metropolitan Arts Centre to see a revival of Abigail’s Party, the acclaimed play of writer Mike Leigh. Set in seventies Britain it tells the story of a cocktail party that unravels before the audience. Starring Roisin Gallagher, the play runs from 14th April to 5th May.

The Cup of Tae festival is held annually in the Donegal town of Ardara on 4-7 May. The festival features concerts and lessons in fiddle, tin whistle, accordion and more. With traditional sessions in the pubs each night, whether you’re a music lover or simply there for the fun of it, it promises to be a fantastic weekend.

Sample Downpatrick’s own Shortcross gin in the Gin Experience Tour. This distillery, located thirty minutes from Belfast City Centre, regularly welcomes guests from across the world. Tours run weekly from Tuesdays to Fridays. See how the gin is made and discover its secrets for £20. This month take a trip to the idyllic Rathlin Island. Just off the coast of Ballycastle, the stunning scenery and gorgeous views make it a great spot for a family day out or for a peaceful getaway. It also boasts Northern Ireland’s largest bird sanctuary, so take your binoculars. The tours run every Sunday and prices start at £10.

The City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival runs from 3-7 May and draws in artists from around the world, as more than 60,000 people flock to Derry. This year’s acts include Heavy Beat Brass Band and Sam York, while the headliner is the fantastic Van Morrison who plays the Millennium Forum on 6-7 May.

Allianz Garden Show Ireland will run from 4-6 May at Antrim Castle Gardens. A celebration of flowers, food and family entertainment, look out for feature areas; a meditation garden, eco garden, an artisan flower pavilion, and the return of the Food NI pavilion. For tickets and information visit: www.


Indulge in the local produce of Northern Ireland as you travel along the Antrim coastline with Toast the Coast, finishing at the Giant’s Causeway. Stops include the picturesque Ballygally and Glenarm. Explore a number of venues on foot while embracing your inner food connoisseur. Toast the Coast offer this tour on 12th May for £105, with other package deals available.

Calling all wine connoisseurs! Peek inside the Fratelli wine cellars and join them for their first wine evening hosted by Fratelli Galgorm and Fratelli Belfast on 16th and 17th May. Begin the evening with a four-course Italian feast, expertly paired with decadent Italian vino. See, swirl, sniff, sip and savour, as a guest speaker guides you through Italy’s best vineyards. To book visit: fratelli or, the cost is £50 per person.

BBC Music will bring The Biggest Weekend concert series to Belfast on 25-26 May with acts such as Beck, Franz Ferdinand, Manic Street Preachers and First Aid Kit taking to the stage. Children are permitted and kids aged two and under go free. With tickets price at only £18 this is a mustn’t miss.

Put on your running shoes, gather the girls and raise money while getting fit with Race for Life on 27th May. This is the 21st birthday of their Belfast event and everyone is welcome - from beginners to experts. You can opt to do the 5k or 10k in this women-only event. Registration costs £14.99 for adults and £10 for kids while under six go free.

WIN! Cirque du Soleil tickets

The SSE Arena, Belfast Northern Irelands premier Indoor Sports and Entertainment venue have created a new Share-a-Suite option in their luxury VIP suite level. If you are a regular concert goer this is the perfect way to enjoy a show in luxury surroundings sharing the exclusive suite with a small number of customers and availing of all the hospitality perks that The SSE Arena Suites have to offer. To celebrate the launch of Share-a-Suite The SSE Arena are giving six lucky winners a pair of tickets to the spectacular Cirque du Soleil when it returns to Belfast this October with the show OVO.


Simply answer this question: In what month will Cirque du Soleil take place in The SSE Arena? Email your answer and contact details to before 5pm on Friday 25th May. T&C Tickets are for Cirque du Soleil OVO on Saturday 20th October @ 4pm, they are non-transferable and non-refundable. INM T&Cs apply.






lthough gin is enjoying its moment in the sun, whiskies, both Irish and Scottish, refuse to be put in the shade. Always a drink for the ages, it is ever evolving and now grabbing a whole new audience with the help of young and trendy faces keeping it current. A new kid on the block is 808, a Scotch whisky produced in Edinburgh and the brain child of top DJ TommyD and Paul Pullinger of Ministry of Sound fame... even Pete Tong is an Advisory Board Member! The name derives from the TR-808 drum machine, the pulse of the electronic music scene, which points us in the direction of its target audience. In fact, 808 is already the house pour in many of the major clubs in the UK and is huge in Ibiza. It is designed to be enjoyed neat as well as being perfect for cocktails as you will discover now it has gained a foothold in the Northern Ireland market. DJ TommyD couldn’t have summed it up better when he said: “I wanted to make a whisky from the ground upwards, for my world – the funky, sexy world of nightclubs and music.” So there you have it – Whisky remixed! 808 is made from grain malt and is smooth and easy with great character and a sweetness to it, beginning with caramel and vanilla notes and only slight hints of cereal. Then you get the rich honey and chocolatey notes and a pleasing, smooth mouthfeel. Closer to home, I discovered another new whiskey, Irish this time (note the e) as The Cloth Ear at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast, launched an unique food and drink combination The Irish Flight. A fab little tasting menu, served on on handmade wooden serving boards, comprises a glass each of Guinness, Hop House 13 and Roe & Co Whiskey, matched superbly with three small plates by Head Chef Ian McAdam - and all for £15. It’s a fantastic showcase for quality Irish produce at its best, including salted smoked oxtail potato croquettes and a mini brisket burger with a veggie alternative. We can’t talk about whisky without mentioning our own world famous Bushmills, and they too have a newcomer in Red Bush. Matured exclusively in first fill, medium char bourbon casks which soften the spirit, Red Bush is a blend of triple-distilled single malt and grain whiskey delivering a sweet, smooth taste. The amber spirit offers intense aromas of toasted oak, with deep lingering caramel and vanilla notes. Barney O’Kane from Belfast speakeasy cocktail bar, APOC, has even created a celebratory launch cocktail, the Red Bush Signature Serve. Add ice to a glass of Red Bush, top with sparkling white lemonade, add a wedge of zesty lime, serve and enjoy. Cheers! n


Wine Recommendation from Rebecca: TRAMINER VISTORIA ALTO ADIGE What a joy it is to feel the stirring and excitement of spring in the air! The sweet scent of crocuses peeping up through the grass awakens the senses and reminds me of the floral aroma of one of my favourite white grape varieties. The regal yet delicate pink skinned Traminer. Known as Gewürztraminer in Alsace and as Sauvignon Blanc in the lesser known Jura region of France this sublime grape can trace its ancestry to the wild vines of France sometime after 292 AD. Mutations of the Sauvignon Noir in days of yore gave us eventually Sauvignon Blanc, or as we know it on our wine list here at Fratelli Belfast, Traminer. In the glass this wine displays a brilliant golden colour. The nose opens into the distinct sweet spice and floral perfume I have come to love from this aromatic grape. Grown in the slightly cooler climes of Alto Adige, on the palate you find a good balance of refreshing acidity that some tasters find missing from wines of its cousin in Alsace. Lychee and peach softly caress the palate and the characteristic oiliness of the wine ensures it leaves a pleasant length with each sip. This month, I have chosen “Chicken Saltimbocca” served with baby potatoes, tender stem broccoli and roasting juices which can be ordered from our newly launched spring menu here at Fratelli’s. I hope you enjoy this dish alongside this nectarious delight. Until next issue, Felice Primavera!

CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA RECIPE: Serves 2 Ingredients • • • • •

2x chicken breasts 4x slices parma ham 6x sage leaves 100g baby potatoes 100g tender stem broccoli

For white wine cream • ½ x fennel bulb • ½ x white onion • 1 x carrots • 1 x stick of celery • 200g beef bones from your local butcher • Bunch thyme • Bunch rosemary • Bulb garlic For Roasting Juices; 1. Places beef bones in roasting tray, roast for 1 hour at 200°c 2. Turnover and roast for further 1 hour. 3. Place bones in a heavy pot, cover with cold water filling to ¾ off pot 4. Cover, bring to boil and then simmer for ½ hour. 5. Dice vegetables and sauté in a pan with thyme, rosemary & garlic until soft. 6. Add to stock and simmer for

further 1 hour, skimming stock as you go. 7. Pass stock through a sieve to remove vegetables, then put back onto meat to reduce by half. 8. In a separate pan reduce a 1 litre of red wine until it reaches syrup consistency. 9. Add stock to wine reduction and reduce again to required consistency.


1. Boil baby potatoes in salted water until almost cooked, set aside. 2. Blanch broccoli until almost cooked and set aside. 3. Place 3 sage leaves on each seasoned chicken breast, wrap with parma ham, drizzle with olive oil, pan fry. 4. Roast chicken in pre-heated oven 180°c for 12 minutes. 5. Bring 2x pots of salted water to boil, plunge in potatoes to one, broccoli, to other, boil until vegetables are fully cooked. 6. Strain potatoes & broccoli and serve alongside the roasted chicken breasts and finish with the roasting juices.


Credit: Junipa from House of Fraser




Be creative with how you frame and hang your art. A tester pot of paint and washi tape can instantly and inexpensively transform a plain frame. Pick a colour that will highlight the picture inside it and tie in with the rest of the room scheme. Roisin Lafferty, DFS style ambassador.

Pink velvet sofa from French Connection exclusive to DFS, £849

STYLE LIKE A PRO Want to know a decorating secret? How about 14? Our top designers share their insider tips and tricks for a well-styled home



Your home should reflect your personality, so don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on it. A successfully styled interior is one where guests aren’t able to recognise or identify where you got everything from. Simple things can add character: like your favourite scarf stretched over a canvas or a holiday souvenir custom-framed in an oversize frame. Maureen Collins, interior stylist.

Caption: Woven throw £49; Linea chartreuse velvet oversized cushion £20; Linea Zulu embroidered cushion £25; Linea Chiku red embroidered cushion £25; Kerala sequin cushion £25; Junipa Baja planter £28; Junipa coral ornament £20; Junipa cane lantern small £30, large £40; Linea Annika weave shade £65, House of Fraser



Styling surfaces is the ultimate finishing touch. Create a vignette on your coffee table or sideboard using three or five objects of varying heights and shapes. Anchor the arrangement with a tray or plate underneath to keep it from looking haphazard. Keira Marshall, Dekko Bird.


Grey retro alarm clock £8; cement metallic votive, £3.50; concrete light balls 36; copper ball lights £4; plant jar £2; copper wire terrarium £5; mobile tealight holder trio £3.50, Primark




An ottoman isn’t just for putting your feet on. This versatile and most underrated piece of furniture can also be used as a seat, storage box or alternative coffee table. Go large and make a grand statement in your living room. Don’t worry about it matching the existing sofa – it just needs to complement the look of the room. Alison Hill, creative director, DFS.


If you lack colour confidence, consider go-with-everything grey. It’s the new neutral and provides a neutral backdrop for bolder coloured soft furnishings and accessories. Be careful which shade you choose, you don’t want your home looking like a concrete box. Heather Calder, interior designer.

Kitchen by Doran Kitchens,; Tom Dixon copper ball pendant lights,

DFS Capsule Collection the DFS Peace chair in teal £379 with Play hexagon footstool with copper legs £159, part of the DFS Capsule Collection



Paintings, clocks and mirrors should always be hung at eye level. You should be able to look at yourself, your picture or the time comfortably without straining your neck. Yvonne Nugent, head of homewares, Harvey Norman.

Zoey chaise sofa £1,699 & metal round clock, £200, Harvey Norman 7


Hallways are the perfect place to experiment with lighting. In landings especially because of the extra ceiling height you can get away with bigger pieces such as chandeliers, oversized shades or contemporary pendants with a long drop. Emma Chambers, interior designer, Neptune, Belfast.

Keswick medium console table £730 with Garrick aged bronze chandelier £375 & Longton lamp with Oliver shade, £165, Neptune, Belfast




Don’t be afraid to go big in small spaces. Extra-large format tiles can look really striking in a small bathroom and actually help make the space look visually bigger because there’s less lines subdividing the wall and floor. Enhance the look by matching the grout to the colour of the tile. Maureen Collins, interior stylist.

Place polished porcelain marble look-a-like large format tiles, 590mmx1182mm, from £32.99 per sq metre,



Use colour to subtly link rooms together and create a flow through your home. Pick out a colour from your accessories and use it on the walls. This allows the eye to travel around the space freely and makes it feel cohesive, considered and well balanced – all the key element s of a good design scheme. Keira Marshall, Dekko Bird.

Triangle print chenille throw £12 & Sketchy Lines reversible duvet cover, single £10, double £12, king £14, George Home @ Asda



Reusing and repurposing old furniture can help give your home a unique creative edge – plus it’s inexpensive. A simple paint job in on trend colours can transform a bedroom chest into a stylish dining cabinet or a bedside locker into a side table. Heather Calder, interior designer.




A statement piece of furniture, dramatic chandelier or ornate mirror can work as a focal point and can completely change how a room looks. A mistake many people make in an attempt to make a room look bigger is using too many small pieces. This can have the opposite effect, making the room look cluttered and confusing the eye. Elaine Gilmer, interior designer, CFC Interiors.

Bodahl Firenze dining table, from £1,975, www.



Bold, dramatic paint colours and statement wallpapers can add tons of personality to a room. For the less adventurous, the right accessories can be just as impactful. Adding texture with fabrics and soft furnishings will give your scheme added depth and make it look rich and inviting. Elaine Gilmer, interior designer, CFC Interiors.

Bedeck Moriko bedding from £25,



Consider where your room’s feature spaces are when hanging pictures. Gallery walls or pictures leaning on ledges can look really effective. Emma Chambers, interior designer, Neptune, Belfast

Hebden glass-topped trestle table with chalked oak legs £689, Shoreditch carver chair in pale oat from £350 & Somerton baskets from £33, Neptune, Belfast



When it comes to dressing a sofa or a chair, always choose feather-filled cushions and never foam; it’s synthetic and has absolutely no flexibility. There’s also the comfort factor to think of; a feather-filled cushion offers more support and will last longer. Yvonne Nugent, head of homewares, Harvey Norman.

Latham large light fitting £200, cushions from £40 & Vienna Eucalyptus throw £45, Harvey Norman


Kristjana S Williams Mini Globe from Omnibus, Belfast £220

Tamma Mug Range £12, Tamma Teapot £32 from Oliver Bonas

Statement Shelving Adding some statement shelving to your home can create a showpiece in itself and what you put on there is just as important, says blogger Elaine’s Roves ‘n Troves

Elaine’s top styling tips

 Getting the right balance on your shelf is key and it’s a place to get creative.  For items you are displaying on your shelves use a mixture of heights and sizes to keep the look varied. Stagger different pieces in a natural formation and group items in odd numbers where possible; it’s all more appealing to the eye. Ceramic Vase from Maven, Belfast set of 3 £40

 When selecting items to put on your shelves one of the key things to consider is shape and colour. Place with a triangle in mind, smaller items form the base and taller items form the peak.  When organising your shelving display incorporate a mixture of items from photoframes, vases and trinkets, to flowers, ornaments and books .  Work with varying textures from wooden to shiny to rustic and raw.  Group like with like by theme, colour, shape and texture.  Create layers and stack books.

Candlesticks from Maven, Belfast set of 2 £32

 Remember tidiness is crucial; don’t let your shelves become a space for clutter.


See more interior inspiration over on Elaine’s blog on, snap elainedonaghy, or look up elainesrovesntroves on Instagram and Facebook.

Metal Wall Hanging Shelving Unit (small and large) from Cult Furniture £49 & £69


Shelving Unit from Søstrene Grene £41.40 Wall Shelf from Maven, Belfast £32

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



Effie blue velvet armchair from £449

Cresta Blue Velvet Shell Chair from £947 Olli Ella Pom Pom Seagrass Storage Basket from £35

Blue & Green Pom Pom Belly Basket from £25

Flamingo Salon Cushion by Fern Living from £99

Pineapple & Flamingo print cushion from George @ Asda £6

Double Sided Mirror from Matalan £5

Webber Mirror from £45

Tre Large Mirror from Oliver Bonas £195

Jules Tinted Glass Mirror from £119

Broste Hanging Planter from Debenhams £22

Serax Vintage Hanging Pot from £34


Mr & Mrs O’Neill Photos by We Can Be Heroes


erry bride Aoife McGuiggan and Tyrone groom Sean O’Neill met when they were students of St Mary’s University College. “I immediately fell for Sean’s manner – he oozed confidence,” Aoife recalls. “From the word go he treated me like a princess and has continued to do so ever since.” Sean pulled off a surprise proposal at the Galgorm Resort & Spa in August 2016 and the couple set the date for 30th December 2017. “As a makeup artist I work with a lot of photographers; I worked with Tom from We Can Be Heroes at a wedding, I saw the album he produced and immediately booked him,” Aoife says. Swift Wedding and Event Services helped to pull off the winter wonderland-themed day, Cake Craft Cake Design created the classic three-tier wedding cake, and Irish folk band The Rare Aul Stuff ensured the dance floor never emptied all night. The bride looked sensational in a Pronovias San Patrick gown. “I bought my dress from Verona Bridal – I loved it and knew that it suited me when I first put it on,” Aoife says. Elaine McCloskey did the alternations. “It originally had high neckline, waist detail and a scoop back.” Sean’s favourite memory of his wedding day was, “waiting on Aoife coming down the aisle; it was very exciting and it’s something that will only happen once in my life”. Aoife adds, “being surrounded by all of our favourite people; we felt so loved”. The newlyweds enjoyed a two-stop honeymoon in Dominican Republic and New York. n

Venue: The Beech Hill Country House, Derry Dress: Verona Bridal, Magherafelt Groomswear: Ultimate Menswear, Dungiven Bridesmaid’s dresses: Verona Bridal, Magherafelt Makeup: A.M.G Makeup Hair: Michael Deery Hair, Derry Flowers: Bloomin’ Gorgeous Flowers, Derry



Mr & Mrs Photos by The Campbells


ynn Ferrari and Dan O’Connell met on a night out during their college days. Dan pretended he was a journalist and asked if he could take Lynn’s photo. “I was at the height of thinking I was ‘a creative’ so I dressed as crazy as possible,” former art student Lynn jokes. “I was wearing gold sparkly tights, a fur coat, and a flower in my hair - he says he thought I looked cute… I’m not too sure. “I think I knew I loved him straight away. He was the perfect gentleman. I could just tell he was the type of person who would always look after the people he loved. He made me laugh more than anyone, plus I thought he was gorgeous.” Dan popped the question on Lynn’s birthday in 2016 and the couple set the date for 28th December 2017. “We both love Scandinavian design and knew it was that style we wanted to go with,” Lynn says. “I was very picky about my photographer as I studied graphic design and knew I wanted a certain style. The minute I saw the work of The Campbells I knew they were perfect. They have a way of capturing the moment and energy of a wedding.” The couple admit to being “obsessed with donuts” so opted for tiers of the sweet treat instead of a traditional wedding cake. The bride walked up the aisle in a Rime Arodaky gown. Lynn says: “I went for a modern dress with a boho feel. Rachel from the White Gallery was great, and totally gave me the confidence to try it on. When I saw it on the hanger I thought I could never wear that, but in reality it was my perfect dress.” Lynn accessorised with ankle bracelets from Grace Loves Grace, a flower crown from Boutique Blooms, and a Chupi bracelet. The couple honeymooned in Mauritius and South Africa. n

Venue: Horetown House, Wexford Dress: The White Gallery, Newry Groomswear: Magee of South Anne Street, Dublin Bridesmaid’s dresses: ASOS Makeup: EF Creative Studios, Dublin Hair: The bride’s sister Flowers: Boutique Blooms, Dublin




Titanic Hotel Belfast Weddings Celebrate the most memorable day of your life and your shared future together, in a venue that pays tribute to the most iconic ship in history…


his week Northern Woman met Events and Wedding CoOrdinator, Rachael Lennon, and Gavin Teggart, Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator, to hear about a Titanic Hotel Belfast wedding. Mid-meeting a group of school kids walked past looking around them in awe, excitedly pointing at things, and we were reminded that this venue is so much more than a luxury hotel. Titanic Hotel Belfast transport visitors back to the golden age of ocean travel.


night, and a lot more besides. The venue is licensed for civil ceremonies and boasts a number of different locations perfectly suited to accommodate the size of any wedding, and bespoke packages can be created to suit your needs. For example the main banqueting suite provides ample space for 250 guests, whereas one of the unique Heritage Rooms would be ideal for a smaller, more intimate gathering. The champagne and cocktail bar, housed Original artefacts and artworks will bring within the historic Drawing Offices is the you and your wedding guests back to a time perfect place to toast the happy couple. when the Harland & Wolff Headquarters And of course behind the scenes at every building was the centre of the largest wedding, you’ll be guaranteed first-class shipyard in the world. service from a talented team who work Plush accommodation, first-class together to deliver your dream day. customer service and fabulous food, “Executive Chef Nigel ensures that Titanic Hotel Mannion has created a Belfast’s wedding guests very special and unique will discover the unique wedding meal, with history of the world’s all produce sourced greatest ship, whilst from local suppliers,” enjoying modern Rachael says. “Nigel luxuries. looked at White Star Line menus when Romance mocking up the current “Years ago men and wedding menu. Of women were kept apart course, food tastes have in the workplace, but changed over time, but he met in the shipyards,” Rachael Lennon tried to be as authentic as Rachael Lennon explains. “A possible. lot of our local wedding couples’ “Our Banqueting Manager Chris parents and grandparents met in Kilpatrick oversees each wedding and the shipyards, which is why they want get ensures everything runs like clockwork.” married here.” When asked what she enjoys most about her role, Rachael replies: “Meeting new couples and experiencing that whole journey with them, from planning their wedding through to their big day. “I also love exceeding expectations; we have so much to offer here at Titanic Hotel Belfast. And the fact that every wedding is Contact so unique to each couple.” Titanic Hotel Belfast is the birthplace of a story that captured the imagination of the world, and we have no doubt that it Wedding packages will capture your imagination. The venue The Titanic Hotel Belfast wedding package exudes romance, experience this first hand costs only £8,495 (for minimum 120 guests) by visiting the hotel. To meet with Rachael and it covers everything you could possibly or for more information on the wedding need for your reception – from a canapé packages, call 028 9508 2000, email and Prosecco reception, to a four-course, or visit meal, evening buffet, centre pieces, bridal n suite accommodation on your wedding

µµThe wedding package costs only £8,495∑∑


Ford Mustang



Northern Woman take the all-new compact SUV out on a test drive

This month’s motoring special provided the perfect excuse to take the ŠKODA Karoq out for a spin. The 2ltr diesel, automatic four wheel drive is spacious, drives like a dream, and strikes us as the perfect family car. Here’s what we loved about it:




Driving along we felt comfortable and safe. The SUV felt reassuringly secure, as if it would withstand any collision - which is what everyone wants in a car, particularly so if you have kids in the back.

There a number of ‘Simply Clever Features’ that are designed to make your life a little easier. Have you ever brought your grocery shopping out to the car only for it to fall everywhere? Well the Škoda Karoq’s boot is fitted with little plastic hooks to hang your carrier bags from, to prevent this happening. The boot is also fitted with a magnetic torch, which can be removed and stuck to the side of the car, should you ever need it at night time. The seats are fitted with rear foldable picnic tables; ideal for supporting tablets, kid’s games and snacking on the move.

If your hands are full and you wish to open the boot, you can use a kick motion underneath it and hey presto it opens up. After a test drive we wonder how we have ever lived without front and rear view camerafacilitated parking – super handy for getting parked in tight spots. Cruise control was another firm favourite by the end of the outing.

THE INFOTAINMENT We loved the sat nav, 10-speaker Canton sound system, and Smartlink to connect your mobile phone. If you are used to following google maps on your mobile, then it will seems like a real luxury to follow directions on this big sat nav screen instead.


COST The ŠKODA Karoq starts from £20,880 on the road.

What equipment should my next car have? Caroline Kidd selects the top safety, comfort and infotainment features that you should definitely consider for your next car SAFETY

With ever more stringent safety testing on new cars, manufacturers must raise the bar to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating on new models. While most cars now offer a full complement of airbags as standard, safety technology has moved on in the last few years to offer Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). These safety features are made possible by radar and camera sensors positioned around the vehicle. Terminology varies between car manufacturers but here are some of the key active safety features available on new cars in 2018:

 Blind spot monitors: The driver receives a visual or audible alert to warn of a vehicle passing on their left or right-hand side.  Driver attention warning: Monitors your driving and alerts you to take a break if your driving behaviour implies that you are losing concentration.  Autonomous emergency braking: If a collision is imminent the system will apply the brakes to bring the car to a stop or minimise the severity of the collision. Some systems will give an advance warning if the driver gets too close to a vehicle in front and the system senses an impending collision.


Active safety features use cameras and radar to alert the driver to danger  Lane departure warning: Alerts the driver with a visual, audible or vibration alert when the car begins to move out of a traffic lane.  Lane keeping assist: If you begin to wander into another lane some systems will apply counter force to help steer the car back into lane.  Traffic sign recognition: The system detects the speed limit on the road you are driving and displays it to the driver. Some systems will also alert the driver when the speed limit is exceeded.

Depending on the car, some or all of these features may be available. Some may be standard depending on the trim level and some may be options. Just like comfort features, safety features should be given due consideration in your next new car purchase. While these driving aids are no substitute for taking care in your driving and being alert to other road users, they can contribute to safer driving for all.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet

Apple CarPlay



Even small cars can have some great features for more comfort on the move. Here are some of the key comfort features to consider for your next car:

 Air conditioning/automatic climate control systems: Keep everyone on board cool and comfortable. Check your new car has air conditioning as standard (most will). Automatic climate control systems allow you to set a temperature and the car will maintain this. Dual control and even tri control systems allow passengers to adjust the temperature for their part of the car.  Heated seats/heated steering wheel: May be optional on some cars or included as standard on more expensive models. These features will make winter mornings in the car much more palatable.  Electric windows/mirrors: Electric

windows usually come standard on most new cars now, though smaller cars will often do with winders in the back and manual side mirror adjustment. Unless you regularly carry rear passengers, it’s probably not necessary to upgrade for electric rear windows. It’s great to be able to adjust your side mirrors from the driver’s seat, especially when parking, so it’s worth checking that these are included.  Cruise control: If you do a lot of motorway driving, cruise control is a must. Some systems incorporate radar control that detects the speed and distance of the vehicle in front, and then adjusts the speed of the car to keep it a safe distance behind.  Parking sensors and cameras: Depending on the size of the vehicle, it’s worth including parking sensors and a parking camera. Parking cameras are especially useful for reversing into a parking space.

Cars have moved on from the FM radio/ CD combo. Most manufacturers will now refer to your in-car entertainment as ‘infotainment’. Infotainment systems usually come with a screen that can be controlled by touch or by a rotary controller on the centre console. Some systems also include voice control. Manufacturers now offer expensive stereos with 10 speakers or more, but that’s more of a luxury item if you really love your music. Before you buy it’s worth checking with your dealer to see if your next car has these in-car features:

 Bluetooth: At best, a Bluetooth connection is a must in your next car so that you can make and receive hands-free calls while driving ,and stream music from your phone.  Apple CarPlay/Android Auto: These systems work by mirroring your phone screen for easy hands-free calls, streaming of music and access to maps and other apps. Even your text messages can be read to you and you can also dictate a reply while on the move. New cars are usually packed with features. Some features will come as standard while some will be optional. Think carefully about what you really need, and what will enhance your time behind the wheel and your safety. n


In the bumper June/July issue of

Kindfulness Bridal special Summer trend report Living with a sports nut Cathy Kelly’s latest venture


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

Credit: Chi Chi London



ALBUM Aimee Boyle. Photo Credit: Stephen Potter


James Wallace and Melissa Elliott

West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK The 25th season of West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK was an action-packed, fashion-filled affair. Atendees enjoyed four days of events in various locations across Belfast. Back for it’s twenty-fifth season, the event showcased a colourful array of Spring/ Summer trends, from pastels to colour blocking, clashing print and more. Photos by Brendan Gallagher

Loraa White

Chris Wilson and Niamh Crawford-Walker

Gerard Lavery


Patience Bradley

Kathryn O’Brien and Emily Hancock

Aisling Gallagher

Angela McQuillan and Megan Kingsbury

Chloe Henning

Ciara Decarteret and Amy Savage

Danielle Donohoe


Wendi Kane and Julie McCullough

Matthew Burns and Laura St John

Jumoñ launch party The simple philosophy behind Belfast’s newest dining experience, Jumoñ, is eat well to live well. Chef Nox and restauranteur Niall Davis have opened the outlet which combines their passion for Asian cuisine and culture, focusing on good, clean, plant-based dishes with an electric atmosphere on the side. Guests at the launch party sampled several of Nox’s signature dishes and delicious cocktails. Photos by Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye Orla Dowds Roddy, Wilson McKay and Meghan Dowds Roddy

Ciara Hedgcock and Conor Fleck

Cedric Davis, Aoife Kelly and Niall Davis


Zane Fraser, Lauren Crabbe and Wendie Gregg

Emma McKillion, Ally McPartland, Sarah McEvoy and Chloe Henning

The Boulevard Fashion Weekender

The Boulevard, Banbridge, formerly known as The OUTLET, hosted its first Fashion Weekender, jam-packed with free fashion and beauty-related events to celebrate the centre’s rebrand. The event included fashion shows, stylist talks, live designer talks, and make-up demonstrations. Attendees enjoyed a super stylish fashion show hosted by Belfast Fashion Week, and a retailer catwalk event led by Paul Costelloe. Megan Meredi, Laura Faloon and Jayne Dempster

Photos by Leszek Lata, BWP Group

Siobhan Murphy Amanda Doyle, Jane Cosgrove, Ashley Kernaghan and Olivia Kernaghan


Jemma Walsh, Maria Mackin, Kennedy Fox, Avril Christie, Beverley Harrison, Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Roisin Mc Caffrey, Chelsea Mc Curdy, Sarah Hoppe, Sophia Hill and Rafaella Zanatta

Belfast Met Afternoon Fashion Tea

Belfast Met recently hosted an Afternoon Fashion Tea in aid of the NI Children’s Hospice. The college’s BSc Hons Fashion Management degree students, the HND Fashion students, and the BTEC Extended Diploma Fashion students put on a show featuring their own work in the Linen Lounge restaurant at the College’s TQ Campus. Photos by Jim Corr

Maria Mackin and Sarah Morrow


Michael Nugent, Beverley Harrison, Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Jackie Ogilive and Grainne Mc Gowan

Kennedy Fox

Anne Hannan, Caroline McIlwaine, Ryan A, Ciara Gallagher and Conor O’Kane

Q Radiothon launch

The Q Radiothon, held at Ten Square, Belfast, brought together five of the leading cancer and end of life service providers in Northern Ireland – NI Hospice, Marie Curie, Cancer Fund for Children, Action Cancer and Friends of the Cancer Centre. Over a three-day period programmes were broadcast live from a purpose-built studio at Friends of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital and the other charity headquarters. Orla Ross, Jenny Devine, Julie McCartney and Sinead Little

Ian Orr, Cate Conway, Michael Deane and Stephen Clements

Photos by Simon Graham

Ruth McCullagh, Robert Walshe and Sinead Little


Send us your photo! We are very excited to introduce our brand new ‘Here & There’ page. To be featured simply take a photo of you with Northern Woman out and about locally or abroad. Every month one reader will win a ‘Pic of the Month’ prize. Email your photo to NW editor Catriona Doherty: Happy snapping!


Chris Keenan pictured in the Northern Woman office, Clarendon Dock, Belfast

Ben Tucker outside the Belfast Telegraph office, Belfast


Leeanne Stewart at Clarendon Dock

Jason Taylor pictured in the Independent News & Media office

Norman McBride pictured at Ballygally Castle Hotel

Have your brand featured here and reach your target audience. To sponsor Here & There contact Ciara Hedgcock on 077 69951 595 or email




i, I’m Lynne from Eating; a food, drink and lifestyle blog that offers recipes, competitions, reviews, top tips, videos and much

more. I started the blog in 2011 when I was living in London. I found that it was a great way to cope with a stressful time in work. I loved the process of creating recipes, writing about them and sharing them with the readers, and I quickly became hooked. When I was moving back to Northern Ireland at the end of 2012, I had a wishlist of things I wanted to do. Getting some work was high on the list but I also wanted to develop the blog and continue to enjoy writing and sharing it. Also on my list was a desire to be a TV/ movie extra and to keep chickens. To be honest, I never actually thought I would get any chicks, but when my sister said that she would eat her shoe if I did, I just had to! (By the way, I did get to be an extra too and can be seen in Game of Thrones and a U2 music video).

My celebrity chicken and foodie blog I really never imagined how much joy the hens would bring to me. After a tough day at work, just seeing them sprint down the garden to greet me never fails to make me smile. They all have their own personalities and can be quite vocal when they want something. I feel enormous pride when they lay an extra big egg and sadly find myself checking the eggs for stray feathers to see which girl has earned a special treat. Mabel was the first chick I got and I will admit to her being my absolute favourite (but don’t tell the others). She usually sits on the back doorstep waiting for us to come in and out and regularly flies up to sit on the windowsill to watch the comings and goings in the big coop. She acts as the poster girl for Eating Ideas, mainly because she is daft enough to let me lift her and pose her in ridiculous situations. She has become a bit of a celebrity with appearances on Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice and Sunday

Brunch. Mabel has featured in the Belfast Telegraph, the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council magazine and the Tesco NI website. She makes regular appearances on the Eating Ideas social media pages. I have always been an ambassador for Belfast and the whole of NI. I love exploring the food, people, places and experiences that it has to offer. I also partner with local companies to run fantastic giveaways. I love experimenting with food, creating recipes, reviewing events, venues and experiences and of course, keeping chickens. Eating Ideas is about sharing all of that. If you would like to keep up to date with mine and Mabel’s adventures, you can find us at, eatingideas, and on Twitter and Instagram @eatingideas


A day trip to Portofino, Italy

Jeff Meredith is in the zone


fter a number of false starts over the years, I never really got into health and fitness the way I wanted to. Nine years ago I was full on at the gym with a personal trainer and in the zone, but I got bored of being inside a gym and it all fizzled out. A few years later I met up with another personal trainer and we had the best time training outside, but I couldn’t sustain the cost. Fast forward to 2018 and I’m back, but this time, without a personal trainer; just me doing my own thing outside and building up slowly and steadily. It helps that I started by daily vlog on Instagram in January which motivates me to try and move every day. I have been building up from simple moves in my back garden, to running for a minute and walking for a minute and gradually increasing to the point where I’ve just ran eight miles. Yes that’s a shock to me as well, I never thought that once my twenties and thirties passed that I’d be able to do that again, but I guess anything is possible after all. I have also reverted to the diet of my teens and twenties: vegetarian. I gave up vegetarianism


due to the inconvenience of it all, I guess I got lazy. Much like exercise, fast forward to 2018, and I’m back on form, and as I tend more towards a whole food plant-based diet. This new diet is proving an interesting experience when eating out and recently I’ve been surprised by the choice in a few restaurants I’ve reviewed. Brooklyn Sq in Belfast have a fantastic choice of vegetarian options with a new vegan menu launching soon and they have plenty of gluten free options. Or the newly opened Jumon in Belfast is solely plant-based Asian cuisine, it’s so good a few meat lovers I know have been, loved it and plan on going back. Let’s see how long this journey lasts for, hopefully for a long time, because I’m feeling healthier and fitter than I have in years! Have a great day and thanks for reading. n



he holidays are booked and we are doing the usual; cruises. This year was supposed to be our year of city breaks around Europe, but our cruising addiction

kicked in. I always describe cruising as interrailing for adults, where you get to see a new city or port nearly every day, and unlike interrailing, you get luxury accommodation, top class meals, entertainment and service. To date we have experienced 18 cruises on 10 different cruise lines. There have been some two-night party cruises, some to review, a few out of New York, one around the Norwegian Fjords, one round the Baltic cities, one around the coastline of the United Emirates (where we didn’t get off the ship at all!) and many around the Mediterranean visiting the big

Cruising into Belfast

Cycling on a day excursion

Our favourite cruise, the Norwegian Fjords ports on the largest ship in the world and visiting tiny ports on 700 passenger ships. We’ve been on brand new ships and older ships; we’ve had cruises affected by hurricanes TWICE, we’ve witnessed amazing lightning storms at sea and been

Relaxing at sea caught in a sand storm! And it’s always amazing, ALWAYS. With cruising there’s something for everyone, some companies are like party cruises, some are perfect for families, others are perfect for the older travellers, some cater for single cruisers. You can have a six-star cruise experience on a small ship, or you can go big and surf, ice skate, roller skate, whizz down a waterslide and much more on the biggest ships. On one cruise we walked a gang plank out over the sea, on another cruise we went up in a glass pod hundreds of feet above the sea. Amazing experiences. You can go on the most spectacular day excursions in port. We have been on top of a mountain in a four-wheel drive

off a Thomson ship, we’ve cycled around Guernsey off a Princess ship, we’ve swam in the ocean off a private island in the Caribbean from an NCL ship, and we’ve walked on a volcano from a Costa cruise tour. Your options are endless, it really depends what you want to experience from your holiday. You can experience a VIP trip using, you can experiences the biggest ships in the world with Royal Caribbean. Look out on for our next cruise with Royal Caribbean, a two night trip from Barcelona on the brand new and largest ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas. Happy Cruising. n




A break at Cliff Townhouse on St. Stephen’s Green


e are offering you the chance to win a fantastic one-night break with Cliff Townhouse. Enjoy dinner for two with wine in Cliff Townhouse, a fantastic seafood restaurant on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, with accommodation for one night in one of their nine luxurious guestrooms, and a delicious breakfast the following morning. You can also enjoy cocktails in urchin, their downstairs venue. Located at the very heart of our capital city, overlooking the beautiful parkland of St. Stephen’s Green and just seconds from Grafton Street, Cliff Townhouse is the perfect base for a city break, whether you are visiting Dublin for a concert, sporting event or a spot of shopping. An architectural jewel in the city’s heart, the striking façade of this four-storey, Georgian red-brick building sets the tone for the restaurant’s elegant dining room and marble-topped Oyster & Champagne Bar, characterful private dining room & bar, and nine luxurious bedrooms. From the deep blue sea to the bright city green, Cliff Townhouse brings the freshest fish from the country’s coast to the heart of the city, to its handsome Georgian home on St. Stephen’s Green. Whether it’s for a quick breakfast with a


TO ENTER Simply complete the sentence: Cliff Townhouse overlooks the beautiful parkland of… Email your answer and contact details to before 5pm on Friday 25th May. T&Cs: The prize is subject to availability and is non-transferrable. INM T&Cs apply. pot of aromatic coffee, a leisurely brunch with a Bloody Mary, a few sparklingly fresh oysters at the pure theatre of the Oyster Bar with a creamy pint, or the drama of a shared seafood platter with all the trimmings and a bottle of bubbly or superb black sole on the bone with nut brown butter, Cliff Townhouse is the place for perfect fish, perfectly done. When you walk up the steps of Cliff Townhouse, you are walking in from the busy city outside to a beautifully relaxed and glamorous space, and a menu that reads like you’re right beside the seaside – your holiday from real life has begun! If you are not lucky enough to win this wonderful prize, check out, or call 00353 1 638 3939 when planning your next trip to Dublin – for delicious food, superb guestrooms and an unbeatable location on St. Stephen’s Green! n

Northern Woman May 2018  

Northern Woman May 2018

Northern Woman May 2018  

Northern Woman May 2018