{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

GNI mag

THE LOCAL HOMOCULTURAL MAGAZINE Issue 25 February / March 2017 £3.95 / €4.95

THE MEN TAL HEALtH ISSUE Help , adv ice, ife sto and ries

real l

ASTON MERRYGOLD

Talks JLS and his solo career

LONDON

Our scrimpers guide

GARETH GATES

Singer, actor & entrepreneur

ANASTACIA

Trump, drag queens and so much more.


Lunns.com


Trade in, trade up or buy a previously owned watch of distinction The Pre-Owned Collection at Lunn’s is a range of previously owned prestige watches. The collection has been selected for its quality and character by our expert buyers. Each watch has been restored to pristine condition ready for you to wear and enjoy. The Pre-Owned Collection offers you the opportunity to own a watch of distinction, at the right price, with a one year guarantee.


Introducing your new intimate friend...

All images shown are of the TOTO Washlet, exclusive to Soaks Bathrooms.

A new dimension in cleanliness – The Toto Washlet.

Experience a toilet with features such as heated seat, automatic cleaning, odour extraction and warm air drying – with the ability to program your individual preferences via remote control.

Visit our showroom to see the largest working display of shower toilets in the UK and Ireland. We have eleven working models on display including Toto, Geberit and Villeroy and Boch.

MON - SAT: 9.30AM - 5PM, THURS: 9.30AM - 8PM | 5 – 7 APOLLO RD, BELFAST BT12 6HP

|

WWW.SOAKSBATHROOMS.COM

| TEL: (028) 9068 1121


GNI mag MANAGING DIRECTOR Tony Day tony@lambpromotions.com OPERATIONS & DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Daniel May daniel@gnimag.com SALES EXECUTIVE Mark Mulholland mark@gnimag.com CELEBRITY EDITOR Gary Campion EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Christopher Megrath

SPECIAL THANKS TO Martin Kearney / Gemma Hutton / Greg McCaw / Gordon Crawford / Anastacia / Abby Williams / Aston Merrygold / Gareth Gates / Grand Opera House, Belfast / Tom Vonier / PHA / Stefan Ginesi / Rainbow Project / Alicia V Perry / New Look / Neil Kerr / Misstique / Hugh Glass / 68 Clooney / Eamon McAuley / John & Donal / Rea Campbell / Laura & Jayne / Brad McClenaghan

GNI MAG is published by: Lamb Promotions Ltd 145 Holywood Road Belfast, BT4 3BE Telephone | 028 90654314 Website | gnimag.com

24

All submissions to GNI are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI and its licensed editions worldwide. In the case of a picture selection, the editor’s decision is final. Any material sent is at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken neither Lamb Promotions or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI are accurate. However we accept no liabilty for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Lamb Promotions Ltd. Lamb Promotions Ltd 2015

@gnimag

@ gni@lambpromotions.com @GNImag #TeamGNI /gnimag

33

36


contents

49 START

@GNI MAG RECOMMENDED
 Marty takes a look at the best of entertainment over the next month or so. GEMMA HUTTON Life after Christmas, what’s this year hold. GREG MCCAW Talks about the new dating trend. TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS Belfast’s finest drag queen. ANASTACIA Worldwide supertar Anastacia gives us an honest and frank interview. DANIEL MAY Ahead of the Footloose stage show. ASTON MERRYGOLD In the studio producting new music. GARETH GATES Literally the nicest man you could meet. OPINION Dating as an older guy, what’s the story?

REAL MAN Hugh talks about his routine. HOMES Spring cleaning time peoples. FOOD 68 Clooney at the White Horse Hotel in Derry gets the GNI MAG once over. TRAVEL Our scrimpers guide to London DATING Eamon is back with more answers. GNI MAG WEDDINGS Donal and John open the doors to their fabulous wedding. HEALTH Sexually Transmitted Infections, what you need to know. COMING OUT Rea tells us his story. LGBT FAMILIES Laura, Jayne and their daughter.

THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE INFORMATION, ADVICE & TIPS We get the lowdown from the PHA SUPPORT The Rainbow Project are there to help. LIVING INSIDE A MONSTER Stefan shares his story. COHERCIVE CONTROL Alicia talks mental and domestic abuse.

LIFE & STYLE

LOOK We check out the lastest styles from New Look Men MEET THE ARTIST Neil Kerr talks art and music. GROOMING Daniel tries out the latest face cleansing technology. WET WEAR Misstique’s lates range of swimwear. FITNESS
 Some tips on exercising at home.

69

EDITOR’S letter January is a funny old month, it’s kind of like the gootch of the year - the high from Christmas is gone, but it doesn’t really feel like we’re into the whole swing of the new year yet. So, we’re glad that’s behind us (pardon the pun). We’ve had great craic putting this issue together. Our coverstar Anastacia was an absolute delight, and doesn’t hold back on answering any of the questions we put to her (#superstar). Aston Merrygold took time from his busy schedule producing in LA to answer our questions about bullying, life after JLS and his new music. Our very own Team GNI MAG, Daniel May, caught up with Gareth Gates during panto season in Belfast, and he came back completely in love - it turns out Gareth is actually the nicest guy in the world! Our favourites are back in this issue; Greg sheds some light on the latest dating trend and Gemma tells us what the year ahead holds for her. Eamon helps some readers with their dating and relationship questions, and Marty recommends the latest in entertainment. John and Donal let us peer through the doors of their gorgeous summer wedding down at Ballymagarvey village. They tell us about how they met, where the proposal happened and how they went about planning their perfect day - right down to alcohollic slushees. Fashion in this issue is on fleek! New Look Men show us what they’ve got for the fashion concious guys out there, and Belfast’s Misstique showcase their latest range of designer swimwear - the guys are beaut! Grooming takes a look at the latest device to give you cleaner, younger looking skin, and in fitness we look at ditching the gym and exercising at home. Daniel took a trip to London to catch a show or two and tells us how he managed to scrimp by on £300 for the whole trip. Our homes feature this issue we look at getting down and dirty and getting that spring clean sorted. The PHA talk to us about Sexual Health in our health feature - we all need to be clued in. This issue is our Mental Health issue, you’ll find information and advice from The Rainbow Project and the PHA, as well as real life stories from Stefan and Alicia. Read it all, love it all. #TEAMGNIMAG


@ gni mag VINCENTE FOX QUESADA @VINCENTEFOXQUE Sean Spicer, I’ve said this to @ realDonaldTrump and now I’ll tell you: Mexico is not going to pay for that fucking wall. #FuckingWall

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_bondsza

STEVE E. @SFRANCHISEESQ Because maybe... You’re gonna be the one that saves me... And after all... You’re my #FuckingWall JULIA PUGACHEVSKY @JAYPUGZ I came in like a #FuckingWall

In the wake of America collapsing, Trump is still planning to build his wall which has finally lead to Mexico’s former President losing his shit on Twitter. He started the hashtag, #FuckingWall, and it’s the best response we could have asked for.

DG @DONNA_GALLERS Gonna build a #FuckingWall around my lounge to keep my kids out when they should be in bed & make them pay for it out of their pocket money (((FRANCESCOPPOLA))) @FRANCES_COPPOLA So it’s not a Great Wall, it’s a

#FuckingWall. Trump has been outTrumped. VINCENTE GARCIA PEREZ @SOMETRIES Look at this hashtag: #FuckingWall, is the most beautiful hashtag ever, there are some – I assume are good, but this one is the best. ANDREW @TWEETSBYDREA Republicans: I don’t think my money should go to any government spending After Trump: 20 billion for a #fuckingwall sounds good NERVOUS CURTAINS @NERVOUSCURTAINS I wanted healthcare and pay raise, but all I got was this #fuckingwall ANDREA MCGUIRE @ANDREADUSS Not on my tax dollars! I’d rather build a million bouncy castles in public parks than a #FuckingWall

ON THE COVER

#Celebrityselfieswoon

LIAM PAYNE - WOOF!

@liampayne IMAGES VIA INSTAGRAM

8 | GNIMAG.COM

ON THE COVER ANASTACIA


WINTER OFFERS AT BULLITT

O V E R N I G H T S TAY & A THREE-COURSE MEAL £120 THREE COURSE MEAL WITH WINE I N TAY L O R & C L AY £ 1 7. 5 0 P P AVA I L A B L E S U N D AY T O F R I D AY DURING FEBRUARY 2017* * T E R M S & C O N D I T I O N S A P P LY

Visit www.bullitthotel.com to check out our spring offer


SAT SUN TUES WED FRI SAT

15th 16th 18th 19th 21st 22nd

APRIL APRIL APRIL APRIL APRIL APRIL

BELFAST DERRY LOUTH WEXFORD KILKENNY CORK

© Ben Portsmouth, Taking care of Elvis

SSE ARENA MILLENIUM FORUM THE TLT THEATRE NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE THE HUB CORK OPERA HOUSE

SUN TUES THUR FRI SAT

23rd 25th 27th 28th 29th

APRIL APRIL APRIL APRIL APRIL

www.takingcareofelvis.co.uk

CORK KILLARNEY CLARE DUBLIN DUBLIN

CORK OPERA HOUSE INEC GLÒR ENNIS OLYMPIA OLYMPIA

In association with MLM Concerts


ANASTACIA:

TOURING, STRICTLY, PRESIDENTS, PHILOSOPHY & DRAG. PAGE 24

ASTON MERRYGOLD:

LIFE AFTER JLS, HIS NEW MUSIC, BEING BULLIED AND WHAT’S NEXT. PAGE 30

GARETH GATES:

POP IDOL, SINGING, ACTING AND HIS NEW COCONUT TEA. PAGE 36

START! GNIMAG.COM | 11


Recommended Marty Kearney

POWER RANGERS It’s morphing time!

HIDDEN FIGURES The women behind NASAs first mission

In the early 1960s, three Black Female mathematicians helped launch NASAs first mission. Without their input the mission would have been a fail, and their story untold, until now. Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a flight team member of Astronaut John Glen, who calculated the equation that led to his successful launch, as well as landing in his mission to Orbit the Planet. Joining her is Oscar winner (The Help) Octavia Spence, playing Dorothy Vaughn who was the first African-American supervisor at NASA, along with teaching herself how to programme the space agency’s state-the-art IBM computers. Not to forget, Singer-turned-actress, scene stealing, Janelle Monae taking on the part of Mary Jackson, who was NASAs first black female engineer. This just isn’t just a true story set in the 60s, nor about being a woman of colour in an era of sexism and forced segregation... it’s about giving these women the recognition they deserve. Rounding up the cast is Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons. Released on February 17th, make sure you go put your bum in a seat!

12 | GNIMAG.COM

Mastodon! Pterodactyl! Triceratops! Saber-Tooth Tiger! Tyrannosaurus! GO GO POWER RANGERS... 25 years and I still know that off by heart. Apart from Wonder Woman, this is the movie I’m most excited about this year. I’m not going to lie, when I played Power Rangers (just last week with my sisters and cousins) I was of course Kimberly Hart - the pink ranger. She was my favourite, and I bet she was yours too! Power Rangers along with the animated X-Men series, were my two favourite shows as a pre-teen, and today, I’m very chipper as I get to write about their forth coming movies. Starring a bunch of unknown actors as the colourful teen fighting force with attitude, they must work through their differences in order to save the earth from The Evil Sorceress Rita Repulsa, played by Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect). It also features Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as The Power Rangers mentor Zordon. Upon viewing the trailer, the racial stereotypes have been scrapped, and it actually looks pretty decent. If this is done right, there is no reason why this couldn’t be a franchise as big as Transformers. Fanboys of the original show will surely be in line at the cinema and hopefully todays pre-teens will go to see it (I just hope they appreciate it as much as I did!). With all these re-boots, I have everything crossed for news of a She-Ra movie. Here’s Hoping! Power Rangers is released 24th March.

NOT TODAY SATAN A while back it was recommended I watch Hurricane Bianca on Netflix that the humour was right up my street. So I gave it a go and did laugh out loud a few times. I never even heard of Bianca Del Rios on till then. But she’s quite a big deal in fact she’s so big she has a North America, European and Australian tour. The alter ego of Roy Haylock Bianca Del Rio was the season 6 winner of RuPauls drag race. Known for her hateful insults and unapologetic no filter humour and is described as the Joan Rivers of the drag community. The Not today Tour will be here for one night only so make sure you get your tickets fast. 20th February.


WHEN WE RISE Re-capturing the events of the gay rights movment in the US

THE GOOD FIGHT Continued a year after The Good Wife...

When We Rise is a seven episode mini-series that will re-capture the events of the gay rights movement in the US. Starting with the Stonewall riots in 1969, this is created and produced by Dustin Lance Black who won an academy award for his screenplay Milk. This series will most likely mean something to you personally. I’m glad this story is being told in the medium it deserves. We have this epic drama being broadcast on one of the most popular networks in the United States. ABC, which is the home of Greys Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Modern Family and many more hit TV shows viewed by the millions on a weekly basis. This is a great platform for millions of people to see what LGBT people went through. In the hands of Dance Lance Black (MR Tom Daly) it will get the credit and proper telling it deserves. The series has already caused controversy with anti-LGBT and religious groups but sure, what else would you expect? Starring Guy Pearce playing the real life gay activist Cleve Jones and Carrie Preston as feminist Sally Gearhart, who both fought alongside Harvey Milk. Also appearing is Rosie O’Donnell and the living legend Whoopi Goldberg. See how Pride began on 27th February.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Belle and the

Fans of The Good Wife, rejoice!

Quinn (Cush Jumbo) in one of

Fan favourite Diane Lockhart,

Chicago’s most distinguished law

played by the always fantastic

firms.

Christine Baranski is back

I have no doubt that Christine

headlining her own show The

Baranski will be able to carry

Good Fight. Many fans were

this spin off to a great success,

left disappointed at how the

especially with many characters

final episode of The Good Wife

returning (including Sarah Steele

ended. Hopefully we will now get

as Eli Golds daughter, Marissa

some closure. The Good Fight

Gold, Diane’s husband / gun

is continued a year after from

expert Kurt McVeigh played by

when Diane gave Alicia a well-

Gary Cole), It will be like the

deserved slap for her betrayal in

court room drama never even

the final. OMFG. After she loses

stopped. Let’s just hope Alicia

all her money in a financial scam

Florrick ( Julianna Margulies)

involving her young prodigy and

and better still, Kalinda Sharma

God-Daughter, Maia (played by

(Archie Panjabi) turn up in future

Game of Thrones actress Rose

episodes. Can you imagine?

Leslie). Diane is forced out of

#DRINKINGBUDDIES. You

the law firm she helped build,

can catch Diane and Co 19th

and now she must join another

February.

Good Wife fan-favourite Lucca

Beast are back! These live action Disney movies breathe life into the classic animated Disney movies of yesteryear. Each one has been a treat to the eyes. Maleficent turned the original tale of Sleeping Beauty on its head and made the villain the hero. In Cinderella, director Kenneth Branagh did absolutely nothing to change his version from the 1950 Walt Disney version, and it most certainly worked. The movie was simply perfect, and on that note it’s true what they say, don’t f#%K with the original... this should be the case of Beauty and the Beast. The casting of Emma Watson as Belle is on point and like Belle, she’s actually French (just in case you didn’t know!). Including an all-star cast, Luke Evans as antagonist Gaston. Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen as Lumiere and Cogsworth (respectively) the talking candle stick and the talking

clock. Taking over Angela Lansbury’s role of Mrs Potts, is Emma Thompson. It would be rude to mention that Downton Abby’s Dan Stephen, even looks hot as the Beast! The 1991 Beauty & the Beast was the first ever animated movie to be nominated for a best picture award. It spawned a very successful Broadway and West End Musical. I’ve no doubt in my mind that this will be a critical and financial success. Release date 17th March.

GNIMAG.COM | 13


LOGAN Could this be the Logan movie we truely deserve? I feel like the X-Men movie franchise has never really lived up to its full potential. Sure, it’s produced some great movies and I’m sure that everyone will have their opinion on their favourite. For me, my memorable favourite was the first X-Men movie back in 2000, which many say it set the bar for today’s comic book movies. I loved it because my favourite X-Man (or should I say woman Rouge) was a key character

FEUD

in the first movie. The X-Men

DOUBT Grey’s Anatomy

When I first heard news of this show, I let out a very gay scream and scared the wits out of the lady I share my office with! When I told her why I screamed, she also made some sort of gleeful whimper at the news. I always knew the relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford would be made in to some sort of medium for our viewing pleasure. Two of the greatest actresses that ever lived and they hated each other. Even before they starred alongside each other in the camp classic “Whatever happened to Baby Jane” they despised each other. Ryan Murphy the genius behind American Horror Story and American Crime Story brings us another anthology series. Starring two of today’s iconic actress #BESTCASTINGEVER Jessica Lang as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis. Feud: Bette And Joan will tell the rivalry of these “Two old Broads”on the set of the classic movie Whatever Happened to baby Jane? (Watch it to find out, thank me after). In 1962, Bette and Joan were two Hollywood has-beens and it was no secret that the two loathed each other, responsible for the movie being such a success. Bette Davis was nominated for an academy award for playing baby Jane Hudson. When she went on to promote the movie, and to talk about her nomination, she didn’t even acknowledge Joan. Joan however, contacted other actresses nominated in that category, and offered to accept their Oscar if they could not attend. On the night of the ceremony, Anne Bancroft won for her leading role in The Miracle Worker, but could not accept due to appearing in a play in New York which led to Joan strutting up on stage to accept the award and up-staging Bette in the process. This will be one of the many battles we should expect to see in the war of these two Hollywood Legends. The limited series has an all-star cast consisting off Catherine Zeta Jones, Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates. The first episode will air 5th of March

14 | GNIMAG.COM

producers are back with this gritty legal drama staring Laverne Cox Doubt is created by Grey’s Anatomy producers Tony Phelan and his wife Joan Rater. Katherine Hegil (Greys Anatomy)takes on the lead role as Sadie Ellis, a defence lawyer of a man who may or may not be guilty of murder, and whom she also has a romantic link to. The series also stars Elliot Gould (Ross and Monica’s dad) and Transgender goddess and Orange is The New Black star Laverne Cox. This will be the first time a transgender female has been cast as a regular in a network drama. Although, to be honest I’m only giving the pilot a chance because of Cox, and so should you. Let’s hope by the end of the episode that we’re hooked. Let’s face it Hegil needs us to be. Release date is the 15th February.

movies have made a global star of Hugh Jackman, making this his 9TH appearance in the role (making me a huge Wolverine and Jackman fan due to his performance). Logan is taking a leaf out of Deadpool’s book and going for 15s Certificate, so expect more swearing and violence... basically a Wolverine movie we truly deserve. With most of the mutant population dead, an aging Logan who suffers chronic pain due to his mutant abilities, cares for Professor X who is also suffering from dementia, who both protect a young mutant clone from an evil government organisation. From the trailer the action looks top notch and some new mutants look to be introduced, but it just seems more than a comic book movie to me, it seems more like an epic character movie. This could well could be the last time Hugh Jackman releases his claws, although rumour has it he may make an appearance in a future Deadpool movie. As great as that would be, I for one, would be happy that Logan would be the closing chapter on this franchise. Reboot anyone? Who else wants to see a super-strength, sassy-flying, southern-belle who goes by the name of Rouge? Out 3rd March


MIRANDA SINGS - SELP HELF You need this in your life... I wasn’t one for watching “You Tubers”, well all that changed when I was introduced to the Netflix comedy Haters Back Off which has already been giving a second season order. Starring you tube sensation Miranda Sings. Now I’ve spent hours on my tablet with tears streaming down my cheeks at these hilarious videos. The character of Miranda was created in 2008 by the talented and gorgeous Colleen Ballinger. The YouTube channel has had over 1 billion views and over 7 million subscribers, myself included. Miranda is a self-claimed singer/ song writer, model, actress, magician among other things but really she is a misguided talentless egotistical narcissistic brat who is yet very relatable and extremely lovable and endearing. So when I saw she published a book, I ordered my copy straight away. This “Selfhelp” book may not be able to let you hear Miranda Sings unique vocal stylings but from the very first page, the You Tuber’s quirky character is busting out of the pages from sound advice on how to become famous to getting a boyfriend and how to do magic tricks. This book had me laughing out loud in my office and on the bus, basically every time I picked it up to read I had a good chuckle. This is a must for all Miranda Sings fans #MIRFANDS. Available to order now.

POWERLESS A sitcom set in the DC world...

This is the show I’m most excited about. In 2017, a sitcom set in the world of DC Comics, the story follows Emily Locke (played by High School Musical and lucky bitch Vanessa Hudgens - as she once dated Zac Effron). Emily and her co-workers work in an insurance firm, selling products & polices to non-hero civilians for collateral damage, caused by superheroes and supervillains. No news yet of what characters will be making an appearance, but expect plenty of nods, name dropping and hidden Easter eggs in each episode. Actually, the insurance company Emily will Work for is under the Wayne Enterprise business umbrella. This is the first live comedy to come from DC and it’s much needed after the grim Batman vs Superman. Released 2nd February.

TAKEN Set decades before the movies begin...

GIVE MY HEAD PEACE The Hole in the Wall Gang are back!

The Hole in the Wall Gang are back on the stage with the Give My Head Peace stage show, based on the very popular Northern Ireland comedy of the same name. Give My Head Peace is a comedy about a cross community family which ran for ten seasons, and for a limited time only you can see Da, Ma, Cal, Uncle Andy and the rest of the gang as they bring these much missed characters to the stage. With light hearted sectarian and political banter fans of the show should not miss this opportunity to catch up with the gang. Showing at the Grand Opera House, Belfast 19th-25th of March.

It’s not uncommon for movies to be turned into television shows. In fact, it seems that all the networks produce these days are remakes of movies, and unless you liked the movie, chances are you won’t tune into the series. Although, who didn’t like Liam Nessons surprise hit Taken? The plot ... the teenage daughter gets kidnapped, dad to the rescue! Simple and done a trillion times but the audience just loved it, so much in

fact it had two sequels and now the prequel in the form of a series. Taking place decades before the events of the first movie, Bryan Mills is played by fellow Irishman Viking’s actor Clive Standan. Mills leaves the CIA and is recruited by a black-ops unit and I’m most certain it’s here where he learned his “very particular set of skills”. Cast opposite Clive Standan is the Flashdance Actress Jennifer Beals. Premiering 27th February.

GNIMAG.COM | 15


TRADITIONAL SESSIONS TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY AND BANK STREET . BELFAST THURSDAY NIGHTS, PLUS SATURDAY AFTERNOONS

IN THE HEART OF THE CITY

LIVE BANDS FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHTS

BANK STREET . BELFAST IN THE HEART OF THE CITY


TRADITIONAL SESSIONS TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHTS, PLUS SATURDAY AFTERNOONS LIVE BANDS FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHTS

KELLYS.CELLARS


28th March - 1st April 2017

Tickets are priced from ÂŁ18-ÂŁ20 - Book online www.theatreatthemill.com / 028 9034 0202


COLUMN__ GEMMA HUTTON

BUZZ of the month

Living on auto pilot and taking risks...

Gemma Hutton SO, ANOTHER MONTH, ANOTHER BLOG. I

year old woman who insisted four days before she

two days later than agreed because I am a wile busy

nurses could piss off if they wanted to take it off to

am currently writing this on the train to Bangor

multi-tasking business bitch with a penchant for

over loading myself with work. Like... I lost two

days this week trying to find my PS3 controller in my bedroom. Stacy cracked and found it in seven

minutes, which is why she will be carrying our first child.

This has been a crazy

LA LA LAND RYAN GOSLING & EMMA STONE Three times! That’s how many times I’ve seen La La Land so far. Probably the most beautiful movie I’ve seen in a long time. We were so excited to see it that the whole Team GNI MAG took a Friday afternoon off just to go to the cinema, and it certainly did not dissapoint. A love story perfectly portrayed by Ryan Gosling (possibly the hottest ass on the big screen), and the stunning Emma Stone. The movie harks back to movies of the past with songs injected throughout, and the love story has a few twists and turns along the way. It’s a movie that made me smile most of the way through, but by the end had me feeling literally emotionally drained. If you see no other movie this year, go see this one! And after you’ve seen it then you’ll want to go download or stream the soundtrack, who’d have thought we’d all love jazz so much?

rollercoaster month. I

planned to tell you the tales of me, the wife and Queens

in Amsterdam, and how, as a non-drug user I took a space

cake and had to be hand lead in my bubble of white to the

apartment to sleep it off (this actually happened). Or how a few of us have decided we are moving over there now

that fascists and diktats have

taken over the world, to run a

passed that I paint her nails hot pink and that the

get her heart monitor on. A woman who admitted

to slashing tyres and boasted of her family’s part on the Orange movement, got onto camera and stated she didn’t care what people thought, she loved me as I was. She stopped instantly voting DUP. We

need to vote. If we don’t, say good bye to Queer arts. Say goodbye to free speech comedy. Say goodbye to

“... as a non-drug user I took a space cake and had to be hand lead in my bubble of white to the apartment to sleep it off.”

queer b’n’b. (I think this is a

real memory, it was the same

day I had the cake so…) But more has happened since before Xmas.

I lost my nan suddenly, and the person who I saw

as my last connection to my mum in the world. My depression came back with vengeance…something that will always happen and doesn’t embarrass me admitting in the slightest. I felt the world wave

over me, and Christ knows what I talked about on stage because it felt like my life was switched into auto pilot. But the one beautiful thing was that I

have a little ten minute documentary of me with my

arts in general. Because you can be sure they will keep cutting funds in the ‘non-

essential’ areas to fund their own plans. Their actions

will become more extreme

with their arrogance. I hate to break it to you all, but

comedy and art is a serious

business. It’s how we speak to the richest and poorest

people all on one platform

without prejudice if we want too.

Don’t worry your pretty

heads though, I and a few colleagues/partners in

crime are planning our own revolts in the arts this

year. As they get loud, we need to get louder. On a personal level, I know 2017 is going to be a massive

year of change for me both artistically, and personally, and that scared me at first, but now I am kinda

excited. I know I am about to make some good and

bad moves, but I won’t know until I make them, and

sure that’s what being creative is about. Taking risks, and shaking yourself when you start to settle.

nan talking about being from Bangor, and how her

CHECK OUT THE LATEST WITH GEMMA AND

I was a lesbian.

GEMMAHOUSTONHUTTON

religious and political views changed after she knew

WHERE TO SEE HER AT FACEBOOK.COM/

She was a big influence on what and how I spoke

about my world view in Northern Ireland. This 75

GNIMAG.COM | 19


Lovein the Linen Quarter MARRY THE ONE YOU LOVE IN THE HEART OF THE CITY CENTRE

WEDDING PACKAGES from just £47.50 per person

TEN SQUARE HOTEL

10 DONEGALL SQUARE SOUTH

Tel: 028 9024 1001 www.tensquare.co.uk


COLUMN__ GREG McCAW

PAYDAY

January was a long ass month, thank goodness for that end of Jan pay cheque! LA LA LAND

Swear on my hair, I could sit in a dark room and just watch that on repeat for days.

Hansel & Gretelling (The Breadcrumber)

Greg McCaw

DAYLIGHT

Call me boring, but I’m loving that it’s not dark when I leave work in the evening. MY LIVER

Well to be fair, it’s loving me. Dry January probably done me some good. DUA LIPA

The standout music star from 2016 can do no wrong, she’s on everything and that looks set to continue this year. THE GYM

After forcing myself to go, I’m actually enjoying it. The eyecandy helps though.

LOVE HATE EASTER EGS

It’s February FFS. Put them away! EMMA STONE

Not really hate, pure jealousy maybe. She gets to snog the bake off Ryan Gosling. DANIELS DIET

The things he’s eating in the office stink, seriously fish at 10 in the morning. Boke. CENSORSHIP

There’s so much we wanted to put in this issue about current political events but we couldn’t!

BEING HAILED AS THE DATING trend of 2017 it’s called: ‘breadcrumbing’ and more brutal than ghosting, it is described by Urban Dictionary as: “The act of sending out flirtatious, but noncommittal text messages (i.e. breadcrumbs’)… in order to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort.” We have all experienced this kind of guy, he’s selfindulgent, manipulative and he’s cleverly justified his behaviour in his head as perfectly ok, he might even boast about it to his friends, meanwhile he’s hooked you Hansel & Gretel style. This isn’t a new trend; we’ve just finally got a category for this kind of guy. So how do you spot if someone drops a breadcrumb for you this Valentines? IT STARTS OFF LIKE A DISNEY MOVIE. You couldn’t have a better connection on the first date; you connect so well you might have even imaginatively introduced him to your friends whilst he’s in the toilet. The truth is you’re going to soon find out that he’s better at freezing people out than Elsa.

LIAM NEESON? He’s gone, there you have it, you can see the blue tick but there’s no response for weeks. You’re left thinking what have I done, he was filled with such effervescence. He’s got a particular set of skills, skills that make a mug out of people like you. ‘I WISH I KNEW HOW TO QUIT YOU’ AND ALL OF SUDDEN HE’S ALL BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN AGAIN. Just when you start to move on he drops another breadcrumb, he’ll hit you up with some pathetic excuse like ‘I’m rubbish at getting back to people’ or short messages like ‘Yo, what are you up to?’ with NO EXPLANATION. You’ll feel a little letdown but you’ll remember the great connection you both had over what a twat he’s been.

“He’s completely non-committal and he’s just about to slide you off the door, back into the ocean. Make no mistake, he’ll be ready to scuba dive back down there in another few weeks and pull you out of that haze of utter confusion.”

YOU’VE GOT MAIL – AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN… He’s so keen you’ve stopped for a minute and thought should I get a restraining order out on this guy and then you’re like ‘nawwww’ this is real, this was a meeting of minds.

PS. I LOVE YOU… RE PHOTOS, ALL OF THEM, EVERY SINGLE ONE. He starts liking photos on Instagram that would take at least 20 minutes to scroll to and he’s tagging you in Facebook posts every other day, you’re thinking, ‘He gets me’ he’s thinking ‘I’ve hooked him’. HAS HE BEEN TAKEN, DO I NEED TO CALL

utter confusion.

HE WILL MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE ROSE ON THE TITANIC. You’ll go on another date but this is all to boost his ego and satisfy his boredom, he’s still actively out there searching and you’re just something he’s holding onto just in case something better comes along. He’s completely noncommittal and he’s just about to slide you off the door, back into the ocean. Make no mistake, he’ll be ready to scuba dive back down there in another few weeks and pull you out of that haze of

We’ve all got enough resilience to deal with rejection after a few dates but the ‘breadcrumber’ is something special, he forgets that the world of dating is about connections, not conversations so it’s not about getting some thicker skin, you need to stop picking up the breadcrumbs and that’s the only way to end it. Channel your inner Taylor Swift; write a song and MOVE ON.

GNIMAG.COM | 21


MEET THE STAR__ TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

MEET THE STAR Trudy Scrumptious, not just a pretty face, Belfast and beyond! Gertrude Lillian Sarah Jessica Von scrumptious , better known as Trudy Scrumptious tells us she first got into drag when she was four years old. Climbing up her mums wardrobe she tried on one of her mum’s childhood dresses, a 1950s cobalt blue poodle dress, of course it was a perfect fit - and a star was born! Performing in drag since 1999 , she started in a Belfast gay club called The Parliament. Since then she’s performed in all sorts of venues up and down the country across the arts spectrum; filim, television, theatre, cabaret and much more in between. She has her own club night “Illusion” on the last Friday of every month at Kremlin, Belfast. Trudy’s mantra is that creativity breeds creativity and has gained inspiration by surrounding herslef with amazing talent. Looking to the future Trudy Scrumptious has been working on her own music and this is the year we are all going to get to hear it. She’s also working on a play she colaborated on with the Theature of Pluck called Divided Radical And Gorgeous (DRAG), taking the play to America!

Photo: Laura Curran

You can find and follow Trudy on her social mediaL Facebook - Trudy scrumptious Instagram - Trudy scrumptious Twitter - trudyscrumptious82

22 | GNIMAG.COM


ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA ANASTACIA 24 | GNIMAG.COM


GNIMAG.COM | 25


INTERVIEW__ ANASTACIA

26 | GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW__ ANASTACIA

They say good things come in small packages, and that’s definitely true with Anastacia. Selling over 52 million records worldwide and topping the dance chart on two separate occasions. We all know, and sing along with chart favourites such as “I’m Outta Love”, “Paid My Dues”, and “Left Outside Alone”. A new album released at the end of last year, and an “Ultimate Collection Tour” lined up this year, this lady doesn’t know how to stop. We caught up for a catch up with this global superstar...

ANASTACIA [CURTSEY TO THE ICON], THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME OUT TO SPEAK WITH US. YOU’VE BEEN ABOUT FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE ALL OF MY TEENAGE YEARS AND WELL INTO MY 20’S NOW. JUST TO GET IT OUT OF THE WAY, WHAT’S THE SECRET TO YOUR LONGEVITY? Hard work!! haha. Honestly my work is my life, I absolutely love it. You’re going to have to drag me off the stage at 90, because this girl isn’t giving up any time soon! In all honesty I think the key to longevity is real hard work, a great team to work with and looking after yourself. I also wouldn’t be where I am today without the fans, they have been with me through thick and thin, the dark days and the super highs, so I really owe it all to them! SOME OF YOUR EARLY HITS, LIKE THE ONES MENTIONED ABOVE ARE MAYBE 16 YEARS OLD, YET THE STILL GET PLAYED IN CLUBS UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY – OBVIOUSLY THE SIGN OF A CLASSIC. HAVE YOU ANY FUNNY STORIES ABOUT BEING IN A CLUB WHEN YOUR TRACK CAME ON? I hear my songs all the time, in coffee shops and cabs. I don’t have a lot of time to go out to the clubs these days but my fans are the first ones on Twitter to let me know when they’ve heard me! It’s always a strange feeling to hear yourself in any situation, but I try to have fun with it. I love my songs so sometimes I’ll have a sing along! WE KNOW, YOU KNOW, AND EVERYONE KNOWS YOU HAVE A MASSIVE LGBT FOLLOWING. BUT, YOU DON’T HAVE THE DIVA REPUTATION THAT SO MANY OF OUR ICONS SEEM TO HAVE. WHY DO YOU THINK OUR COMMUNITY FIND YOU SO ENDERING? I call myself “honestacia” because I really am super honest with my fans, be it on social media or at one of my M&Gs. That’s just who I am. I think honesty is so important in life, you get what you put out to the universe and if you’re honest and genuine people will give that back to you! SO, ALTHOUGH YOU LOOK AMAZING, BEHIND THE FACADE YOU’VE NOT HAD IT

EASY WITH REGARDS TO YOUR HEALTH THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE. DIAGNOSED IN YOUR EARLY TEENS WITH CROHN’S DISEASE, BREAST CANCER AT 34, AND SUPRAVENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA (ABNORMALLY FAST HEART RHYTHM) AT 39. HOW DO YOU KEEP SMILING AND WHAT IS IT THAT KEEPS YOU POSITIVE AND MOTIVATED THROUGH EVERYTHING? My incredible friends and family have been with me from the start throughout my health issues, without them I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now. Crohn’s is something I have learned to live with, as there is currently no cure. I have had so many amazing fans write to me on twitter or tell me in person that they also suffer from chrons, and it’s such a hard thing to live with, I hope I can inspire people who are suffering with the disease that you can live with it, and hopefully one day we will find a cure. We just need to stick together! SO, TELL US ABOUT YOUR TATTOOS, DO THEY TELL THE TALES OF DIFFERENT TIMES IN YOUR LIFE? The one on my back is special to me because it was a big feature on the I’m Outta Love single artwork. It symbolises a really amazing time in my life, as that song was such a big hit around the world. I cherish the memories around that one. The tattoo on my back are my wings! They give me strength and show I can get through anything. In my recent shoot with FAULT magazine they are a big feature, I show it off as it sits above my mastectomy scars. YOU TOOK PART IN STRICTLY COME DANCING LAST SEASON. HOW’D THAT COME ABOUT AND HOW’D YOU FIND THE WHOLE PROCESS? Oh my gosh I absolutely loved it! I actually performed at the final the year before I got involved in the show. I was so thrilled to be asked as I have never done a reality show in my life, and this is the one I have always wanted to do. I went in to the show because I wanted to really connect with my femininity again through dancing. I have good rhythm but have never been professionally dance trained, so I was so excited to learn from the incredible professional dancers on the show. I honestly had the best time and I am so happy for the winners, Ore and Joanne, totally deserved.

GNIMAG.COM | 27


INTERVIEW__ ANASTACIA

YOUR HOME COUNTRY JUST “WELCOMED” A NEW PRESIDENT AND A LOT OF ARTISTS REFUSED TO PERFORM AT THE INAUGURATION DUE TO PERCEIVED VIEWS ON LGBT RIGHTS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS, WOULD YOU HAVE PERFORMED IF ASKED? I absolutely would not have performed at our current president’s inauguration. He is not my president for so many reasons, I have been a strong Hilary supporter for years and I am devastated at our current situation. I think now we just need to plan and stay strong. Be patient and kind and listen to each other. You only have to look at the Women’s March across the world the other day to see how strong we can be, we all need to stand up and be counted. THE EUROPEAN TOUR KICKS OFF IN MARCH THIS YEAR (WE SEE YOU’RE NOT COMING TO IRELAND, HMMMMM), ARE YOU EXCITED OR NERVOUS? WHAT CAN YOUR FANS EXPECT? I am SUPER excited! I did a small run in the UK last year but not as many as we’re doing this time so I am going to some places I have never played some of the songs on the setlist live, which is so exciting for me. The show is the “Ultimate Collection Tour” so it’s a show jam packed with all my hits, and some surprises thrown in for good measure. It’s a real spectacle so I fans can expect lots of FUN. I can’t wait to get back on the road again. APART FOR YOUR OWN MUSIC, IS THERE A SONG FROM ANOTHER ARTIST THAT YOU LOVE TO SING IN THE SHOWER? I love Barbra Streisand, so any of her songs are perfect for me to sing in the shower. She is a queen! AS WE MENTIONED BEFORE YOU’VE A MASSIVE LGBT FOLLOWING, SO BIG INFACT THAT THERE ARE DRAG QUEENS OUT THERE WHO MODEL THEMSELVES ON YOUR UNIQUE LOOK. FLATTERING OR PHONEY? AND WHILE WE’RE ON IT, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DRAG NAME? OMG SO FLATTERING!!! I want to be in a drag show myself. When we played G-A-Y in 2015 I had two drag queens as my dancers, it was so much fun! I think my name would be “NASTYSTACIA!!!” ANASTACIA WE LOVE YOU. OF YOUR CLOSET….

TELL US SOMETHING FROM THE BACK

I used to hand make all my iconic outfits from back in the day, and I still have ALL of them. Maybe we should get together and play dress up??

28 | GNIMAG.COM

A 4 APP THE LATEST ALBUM FROM ANASTACIA IS AVAILABLE NOW.


INTERVIEW__ DANIEL MAY

All Shook Up... After recovering from an accident that almost claimed his life, Daniel May has thrown himself into the world of theatre and is now set to star in Fortwilliam Musical Society’s production of “All Shook Up”. The 33 year old, who is originally from Craigavon, has worked in Belfast for the past four years and has racked up an impressive catalogue of show performances. Despite his success, he never expected to pursue a career in theatre. We caught up with Daniel recently to find out about his role in the upcoming American Jukebox Musical “All Shook Up” and what’s next for him in the industry.

30 | GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW__ DANIEL MAY HI DANIEL! WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN THEATRE AND THE ARTS? Growing up it was never something I was involved in, though I always used to watch my sisters dance in shows and competitions. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I first went on stage - me and my cousin entered a Pop Idol competition and sang Westlife! From then on I was bitten by the bug. I entered other competitions, joined the local drama society MADS (Moyraverty Arts Drama Society) and have never looked back. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE IN YOUR UPCOMING SHOW, ALL SHOOK UP? I am playing the role of Chad. He’s kind of a mix between Elvis, The Fonz and Danny Zuko - a biker who loves his denims, leathers and the ladies, although he definitely isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. He plays on his looks and charm to get women but there is one girl he just can’t get, which drives him mad. Chad is a serial offender, he goes from town to town “spreading his loving”. The show is set in 1950’s midwest America where music, tight clothes and public affection are all banned. Since these are the affinity of Chad, he always winds up in jail. All Shook up is a story based around the music of Elvis, like “Mama Mia” is for ABBA and “We Will Rock You” is for Queen, therefore my character is by no means Elvis.

difficult so I try to squeeze in 30 minutes over lunch or in the evening before rehearsals. WHICH ELVIS HITS CAN WE EXPECT TO HEAR, AND WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE? All the big numbers are in there, you don’t need to be a die hard Elvis fan to enjoy this show. “Love me Tender”, “Jail house Rock”, “Teddy Bear”, “Devil In Disguise” and many more are all featured, and there are also some not as well-known songs that are great such as “Follow That Dream”, “I Don’t Want To” and “It Hurts Me”.

different, though I must admit I missed dancing! ANY OTHER PLANS COMING UP? All Shook Up takes me up to April. I plan to head away for a few days when it’s over then when I come home it’s straight into rehearsals for a play I’m doing “The Honeymoon”. After that my next musical will be “Spamalot”, which will be shown in The Grand Opera House in October WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG PEOPLE HOPING TO GET INTO THEATRE IN NI?

HOW DID YOU START IN THE BUSINESS? WHAT TRAINING DID YOU DO AND WHERE? Local Drama Societies. I have worked with many over the years…if I heard about a show I liked I would go an audition. I also went to BIFHE many moons ago and studied Musical Theatre. Straight after my course I went and worked in Greece for 2 years in a hotel company as an entertainer. When I came home I stupidly never continued with studies. I got a day job and got stuck back into musicals, pantos and plays with different groups across the province DID YOU ALWAYS EXPECT TO WORK IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY? Never. If you had asked me 15 years ago what I would be doing now it most definitely wouldn’t involve working for a magazine by day and preforming by night. I have worked in media now for around 10 years, prior to that I had always worked in retail so I always thought that was the path for me. WHICH PART OF PERFORMING ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO? Everything about it, the character is so different from me which makes it great fun. The cast and chorus are so talented and working with the production team is just great. Every rehearsal so far has been really good fun. I get to act, sing and dance in this show so have a big task ahead of me AND WHAT IS THE HARDEST ASPECT OF PREPARING FOR A SHOW LIKE THIS? Juggling time is hard when you work 5 days a week. Getting the time to read the script and learn songs is

WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL STAGE ROLE? There are so many roles I would love to play had I the chance: The Phantom, Val Jean, Chris in Miss Saigon…the list could go on and on. WHICH STANDOUT SHOWS HAVE YOU PREVIOUSLY PERFORMED IN? I’ve probably been in around 50 shows, though roles that stand out are Johnny Castles in Dirty Dancing, Roddy in Boogie Nights, and of course Joseph – I have played the role 5 or 6 times and could do it in my sleep! When I was 21 I also played Val Jean in Les Miserables. This was one of the best experiences of my life, a great character and epic songs. More recently I was in Legally Blonde and Ghost in the Grand Opera House. I played the murderer Willie Lopez, again such a different part for me to play as usually I’m the love interest or prince. So it was great to do something

The key is definitely to start young. I see kids who aren’t even 10 that are so talented, there are so many great local drama societies around. Even if you aren’t that serious and just go for fun it is so beneficial, you’ll get to meet and work with fantastic people and it will help with confidence. CATCH DANIEL AS CHAD IN “ALL SHOOK UP” IN A SERIES OF 6 PERFORMANCES THAT RUN FROM TUESDAY MARCH 28 TO SATURDAY APRIL 1. BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE NOW AT WWW.THEATREATTHEMILL. COM OR CALL THE BOX OFFICE ON 02890 340202. WORDS BY ABBY WILLIAMS

GNIMAG.COM | 31


C3FS provide specialist advice in a wide range of areas including; Investment Planning • Inheritance Tax Planning • Retirement Planning Business Protection • Family & Personal Protection • Mortgage Advice

For full details, Contact Elizabeth Walker, Director C3FS 028 9573 3153 | 07955050111 | elizabeth@c3fs.co.uk | c3fs.co.uk C3 Financial Services Ltd. 89 Deerpark Road, Belfast, BT14 7PW. C 3 Financial Services Ltd. is authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.


ASTON MERRYGOLD

ASTON, LETS START BY GOING BACK, BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD. IT’S BEEN REPORTED THAT YOU WERE BULLIED HORRIFICALLY AT SCHOOL, THIS IS SOMETHING MANY OF OUR READERS CAN RELATE TO. HOW DID IT ALL START? It wasn’t horrifically as I never let it get to that level. It started out of school in my local football team, people thinking things are funny and a joke but actually it was having an effect on me. I spoke up to my parents straight away as I was starting to hate going to something I loved. So the option was to leave or speak up and I chose speak up. Apologies were said, everything was out in the open and things improved massively because I confronted it head on.

ASTON MERRYGOLD, ONE QUARTER OF BRITISH POP SENSATION JLS. TWENTY-FIFTEEN AND TWENTYSIXTEEN SEEN THIS BOY FROM PETERBOROUGH RELEASE SOME GREAT MUSIC ON HIS OWN AWAY FROM THE BAND, AND THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE EVEN MORE EXCITING. CURRENTLY IN LA PUTTING FINAL TOUCHES TO HIS NEW ALBUM, ASTON TOOK SOME TIME OUT FOR A CHAT…

HOW DID IT MAKE YOU FEEL, AND HOW DID YOU REACT? It makes you back into a corner. I tried to laugh it off at first as if it was just a joke, but it starts to leave an imprint. But my reaction was to speak up as I didn’t want a lasting effect. BACK IN THE DAY, AT THE START OF YOUR MUSICAL CAREER YOU APPEARED ON STARS IN THEIR EYES (ASK YOUR PARENTS), PERFORMING A MICHAEL JACKSON TRACK. LISTENING TO SOME OF THE MUSIC YOU’VE RELEASED THERE’S DEFINITELY A HINT OF MICHAEL IN THERE, HOW MUCH OF AN INSPIRATION IS HE?

A huge inspiration! His music and artistry is legendary. The first artist and music I remember being fascinated with. LIFE IN JLS MUST HAVE BEEN MANIC, CONSTANTLY TRAVELLING AND PERFORMING. WAS IT DIFFICULT TO STAY GROUNDED? We have great family, friends and had a great team around to keep us as grounded as you can possibly be in that situation. We were young guys who were loving life. WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU WERE FAMOUS?

GNIMAG.COM | 33


INTERVIEW__ ASTON MERRYGOLD

During the Xfactor we did our homecoming in Croydon and shut down roads, police everywhere, crowds waiting to see us. We were very confused but that’s possibly the first time we all thought is this what famous is?!

ON BUSES, MUST HAVE BEEN THE MOST MANLY SMELLING BUS ABOUT?

PRODUCING IT IN LA YOU MUST BE WORKING WITH SOME BIG NAMES?

Best smelling bus with the amount of aftershave we all bought at every airport!

DID YOU FEEL LIKE THE CAT THAT GOT THE CREAM WITH WOMEN THROWING THEMSELVES AT YOU?

THEN THE JLS DREAM ENDED IN 2013, HOW’D IT HAPPEN AND HOW’D YOU FEEL?

Production is and has been all over the world. The U.S, UK, Australia, other European countries.. it’s been amazing to be able to work with friends and some serious hitmakers. WHAT’S THE FIVE YEAR GOAL FOR YOU?

Obviously at the time it was hard but it’s all part of journey. WAS IT TOUGH DECIDING WHAT TO DO NEXT?

I’m always adding to my goals list but in 5 years down the line I still want to be performing all around the world to music people hopefully know and love.

Flattering….but they missed.

Deciding what to do next personally wasn’t hard but it just took a while to get used to being on my own. JLS wasn’t just a thing.. here today gone tomorrow, it was one of the best times of my life and the fact I got to live it with my brothers was special!

AND LASTLY, LETS TALK SEX, WELL MORE… CONDOMS. JLS CONDOMS, WHO’S IDEA WAS THAT? CORRECT US IF WE’RE WRONG BUT WE BELIEVE YOUR PACKS SOLD MORE THAN THE OTHER BOYS?

HOW WAS IT BEING AWAY FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME?

SO TELL US ABOUT YOUR OWN MUSIC, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT, AND WHEN WILL WE GET TO HEAR IT?

It wasn’t easy, it never is, but I love being on the road! Being able to perform around the world is all part of the dream! I loved it then and love it now.

Music is out there now. I’ve been putting music out getting people ready for an album that when I release I’ll be proud to. There’s nothing to expect because before now I’ve never put out Aston music. It’s the start of something new so the possibilities are endless.

HA! Well nothing like a bit of healthy competition between friends! It was a collaboration with our charity (the JLS foundation) and Durex to raise awareness and speak out on a taboo subject. There’s a lot of people young and old that weren’t educated in safe sex so we decided to make a difference.

I joined JLS when I was 18/19 when we were struggling. When it was all about the hustle and once things started working for us and life changed.. all I’ll say is the female attention was a bonus for a young single boy band member. AND WHAT ABOUT THE BOYS THROWING THEMSELVES AT YOU?

FOUR BOYS LIVING AND SLEEPING

34 | GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW__ ASTON MERRYGOLD

GNIMAG.COM | 35


INTERVIEW__ GARETH GATES

MR GATES GARETH GATES: SINGER, ACTOR, PHILANTHROPIST, & BUSINESS MAN

36 | GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW__ GARETH GATES It’s been fifteen years since Gareth Gates came second to Will Young in Pop Idol, at the time he seemed to be the nations favourite - the Golden Boy. After a hugely successful career as a pop star Gareth went on to tread the boards in shows such as Les Miserables, Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and last year seen him beginning rehearsals for Footloose which in continuing later this year. We caught up with him during his panto run in Belfast’s Grand Opera House. He was the most charming guy you could meet, telling us about how much he loves Belfast, that he would love to buy an apartment here and that the only club he knows here is Kremlin - and that he loves it. Gareth projected a beautiful, charming outlook while we chatted, explaining that there are many things in life that could have got him down or held him back, but perseverance helped him get through. Chatting about his other interests, he tells us about his business (he invented the world’s first range of coconut tea - Cuppanut), he talked about being a patron of an HIV charity (Body and Soul), and how he likes to keep his charity work private and not always with a camera in his face. With the buff body we all saw in the recent holiday photos he told us that he’s become addicted to the gym, trying to go about five times a week (phwoar). JASON WATSON: WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE YOU’VE VISITED WHILE HERE IN BELFAST? It has to be the Kremlin, I’ve been there about five times so far.

DEAN DOHERTY: HAS NOT HAVING A RECORD LABEL DISCOURAGED YOU FROM MAKING MUSIC, AND IS THERE ANY CHANCE THAT YOU HAVE A COMEBACK ON THE CARDS? Yes, I was speaking to my manager the other day and I think at the end of 2017 I’d like to get into the studio, yeah, I’d love to do that. Watch this

FRED SCOTT: WOULD YOU EVER BE INTERESTED IN DOING A SOAP LIKE KIM MARSH OR SHAYNE WARD? My girlfriend is in Coronation Street and I know what hard work it is, I mean she films all day and then comes home at night and learns the scenes for the next day. It is hard work, so that’s kinda put me off a bit. But you know, I’d like the challenge of it. KAREN MCCONVILLE: HAVE YOU ANY REGRETS ABOUT YOUR CHOSEN CAREER PATH? NO

AMY THOMPSON: WHAT’S BEEN THE HIGHEST AND LOWEST PART OF YOUR CAREER? I’ve had many many highs, I’ve had five number ones and each and every time I was top of the charts it was the best feeling in the world, you literally feel on top of the world. My lowest point was probably when I lost my voice last year, it was probably the worst experience of my life, my kind of ‘gift’ wasn’t there anymore. LINDA MOOREHEAD: I CAME TO SEE YOU IN PANTO, WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH MAY MCFETERIDGE AND ARE YOU ENJOYING BEING A PRINCE? In panto I’ve almost always played the prince, eight pantos and I was the prince seven times, Aladdin the other time. I love being the prince, I get to be in charge of everyone. May is just fun, John is incredible – he’s a legend here. It’s an honour to be sharing this stage with him in Belfast.

in character, my adopted persona, it’s never an issue. I’m not playing me, I’m playing someonone else and somehow psychologically that works.

SEAN ROBERTS: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ASKED, OR WOULD YOU CONSIDER DOING BIG BROTHER OR I’M A CELEBRITY? I have been asked to do both, a few times actually. It turns out that each time I was doing something else. If I had to do one of them it would be I’m a Celebrity – I just feel it’s the better show. But, again, I’ve always done shows that require you to learn a skill. I did dancing on Ice which I enjoyed, but it isn’t just down to playing the fool, you actually have to learn and my work etheic has always been high. And so I’ve always said maybe not, but never say never. FIVE QUICK QUESTIONS... TRIMMED OR AU NATURALE? Trimmed space. AIOBHINE MCGRALE: I WAS BORN WITH THE SAME SPEECH CONDITION AS YOU, IT’S AFFECTED MOST PARTS OF MY LIFE, HOW HAVE YOU WORKED PAST THIS AND ACHIEVED SO MUCH? It’s about perserverance, there are lots of things in my life that could have very easily made me give up on my dreams, but I thought, you’ve just gotta keep on and try and seek as

much help as you can. If I wasn’t on the speech therapy programme I’m on, if I didn’t have the support I have, then I’d find it really really hard, so yeah, just find as much help as you can.

BOXERS OR BRIEFS? Errrr, tight boxers.

SUSAN MCPEAK: HAVE YOU ANY LIMITATIONS PERFORMING DUE TO YOUR SPEECH AND STAMMER? For instance, the Footloose roll, I only get one song in it so the majority is just dialog. But the moment I’m

COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? [Laughs] Rimmel Sun Shimmer, Medium Matt

FAVOURITE GROOMING PRODUCT? Rimmel Sunshimmer, Medium Matt

GUILTY PLEASURE? Yes, plug for the tea… My coconut tea, it’s delicious and it’s healthy.

GNIMAG.COM | 37


FEATURE__ OPINION PIECE

What’s it like using the dating apps when you get to a certain age. Geoff tells us what gets his BLOCK button going... I’M A GUY IN MY EARLY forties. In ‘gay years’ that makes me ancient, should I even be actually

reading GNI MAG? Thing is, I don’t feel that old

and I don’t remember when I got old - nobody gave me the memo! Being a single guy I’m still on all

the usual apps and websites, but the guys I attract amazes me.

I am not a muscle bear by any stretch of the

imagination, I’d probably describe myself as an

otter, kinda average build and hairy. Fairly ordinary

looking. Depending on which app I’m on my photo will vary, on Grindr there’ll be a nice pic of me

trying to look as youthful as I can, Growlr you’ll

probably find a topless pic of me, Tinder I’ve got the bestest smiliest Facebook photos chosen - trying to look like the guy you’d want to bring home to your

use Tinder to look for dates or something a little

guys though the response is, on the whole, very

fun.

the tooth to be messed about by a young pup, and

more long-term, from the other apps; maybe some I’m fairly descriptive in my bio’s about what I

want out of each app. To fill you in, my type if I’m after some fun would be sitting in the age range

of 30-35, probably the cub type. And for the man of my dreams would all the 35-40 year old, hard

working, half decent looking men please form an

orderly queue? So, with this in mind it never ceases

to amaze me who I actually end up getting messages from.

I seem to be at that age where I attract two

complete opposite ends of the man spectrum. I get

messaged from twinks (no offence, just not my thing - which is clear on my profile), and the opener is

maybe polite responses have gotten them nowhere. But, there’s really no need for the arrogance. Now

I’m not tarring everyone with the same brush - just apparently the ones I attract. Once refused I often

get sent a barrage of abuse, “you think you’re better than me” style. Adios lads, BLOCK.

Where have all the normal lads gone? Bring

back the days of Gaydar, it wasn’t quite so instant

and often it seemed the guys wanted to take some time to get to know you, although, maybe that’s

because I was younger, and the guys who are my age now were more interested - who knows?!

Maybe I should just go back to basics. You

usually fairly indiscreet, and usually accompanied by

know, actually get rid of the apps and get outside.

ever happened to hello? I try not to be offensive so

better, be chatted up. This in itself presents a

an in the mirror picture of them on all fours. What

I’ll politely respond with a “thanks, but not for me”. This seemingly encourages one of two responses.

The usual could politely be described as persistence. More photos will ping through, which I’ll ignore.

Then comes the “Daddy” line. If you’re of a similar age to me you’ll know what I mean, and maybe

that’s your thing, and fair play to ya, but it does

nothing for me - that’s where I hit the BLOCK

Actually go to a bar and chat a guy up, or even

problem for guys of my age, most of my gay friends are lucky enough to be coupled up, and the straight ones can’t get out because they’ve kids. Now I’m

beginning to sound like a bit of a desperado aren’t I? It’s really not that bad. I’ll just live in hope

that someday Paddy McGuiness host’s an all man

version of Take Me Out and hedge my bets on that.

button. The other response would be the ‘Ok, I’m

No likey, no lighty.

would I have in common with a 20 year old, I could

P.S. we all know that I’m not going to go off the

cool with chat” one. Seriously? What on earth

literally have children older than you? BLOCK.

On the other end of the man spectrum I all to

mother. Obviously like most guys I know who are

often get messages from guys who are maybe 20

different people and as a rule of thumb, for me, I’d

just not what I’m attracted to. When I rebuke these

apps, I’d miss my love hate relationship with them. I think it’s the only long-term relationship I have.

years older than me. Again, I’m not ageist, but it’s

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_vdovichenko

on these apps, we’re all looking different things from

different. Maybe like myself, they’re a bit long in

38 | GNIMAG.COM


Music CEREMONY MUSIC FOR YOUR BIG DAY DB MUSIC: 07712 209 163


LGBT HEALTH:

THE RAINBOW PROJECT TALK TO US ABOUT OUR MENTAL HEALTH PAGE 46

STEFAN GINESI:

CREATING A MONSTER TO HIDE HIMSELF AWAY

ALICIA V PERRY:

DOMESTIC & MENTAL ABUSE CAN BREAK EVEN THE STONGEST. PAGE 53

THE

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE

24 HOUR Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline

Open to all women and men affected by domestic & sexual violence

FREEPHONE

0808 802 1414

text support to 07797 805 839 24hrsupport@dvhelpline.org


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ INFORMATION, ADVICE & TIPS

TAKE 5 STEPS TO WELLBEING Most of us know when we are mentally and physically well, but sometimes we need a little extra support to keep well. There are five simple steps to help maintain and improve your wellbeing. Try to build these into your daily life – think of them as your ‘five a day’ for wellbeing.

CONNECT

Connect with the people around you: family, friends, colleagues and neighbours at home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these relationships as the cornerstones of your life and spend time developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.

BE ACTIVE

Go for a walk or run, cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity that you enjoy; one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

TAKE NOTICE

Be observant, look for something beautiful or remark on something unusual. Savour the moment, whether you are on a bus or in a taxi, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

KEEP LEARNING

Don’t be afraid to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or sign up for a course. Take on a different responsibility, fix a bike, learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favorite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy. Learning new things will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.

GIVE

Do something nice for a friend or stranger, thank someone, smile, volunteer your time or consider joining a community group. Look out as well as in. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and will create connections with the people around you. Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_bialasiewicz

42 | GNIMAG.COM


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ INFORMATION, ADVICE & TIPS

What is good mental health? Having good mental health means feeling positive about yourself, being able to cope with everyday pressures and being able to form and maintain relationships. We accept the importance of looking after physical health. But it’s just as important to look after mental health. In fact, physical health and mental health are closely related. Poor mental health can lead to poor physical health and physical health problems can affect your mental health. Can’t concentrate? Short tempered? Lacking energy? Panicking? Not eating right? Can’t sleep? These can be normal, but how do you recognise a problem? Anyone can experience a range of emotions, from being on top of the world to feeling like things can’t get any worse. It’s when these feelings become extreme, are present more often than not or when they adversely affect your life that they start to become a problem. Body Image Being happy and at ease with the way we look is a healthy body image. There are a number of factors that influence our body image, and many of these come from the media and from society. Sometimes these influences can be unrealistic and can have a negative impact on our body image, making us think that we are worth less than we are. We are all individuals, we are all different. Be healthy, have a positive body image and learn to accept and embrace who you are. A healthy diet and plenty of physical activity can improve your health, confidence and wellbeing. EATING DISORDERS Eating disorders are a group of illnesses where a person’s perception of their body shape and weight becomes distorted. Avoid using food to deal with feelings of stress, loneliness, boredom, anxiousness, anger or sadness, as this can lead to problems with food. • People with eating disorders

often have a very poor body image as well as low selfesteem. People with eating disorders often see the use of food as a way of staying in control of their life, but over time, similar to the misuse of alcohol or drugs, the eating disorder takes control. Eating disorders can stem from relationships, abuse, bereavement, problems with study or work, low self-esteem or low confidence. While eating disorders most often affect young women between 15 and 25, they can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or cultural or religious background.

Family issues Whether you live at home or not, family problems such as parental break-ups or domestic violence affect how you feel and your work. • Parental break-ups • Arguments, moving house and the

prospect of seeing less of one or both of them can make it especially tough on you. • Let your college or university know what’s going on. They may make allowances if your grades are slipping. • It is normal to feel angry, sad and generally upset. Get extra support from other relatives, mates and tutors. • Don’t end up being a go-between or try to do the talking for them – you’ve got enough on your plate. For further information on relationships visit www.relateni.org FEELING DOWN Sometimes our problems can seem so overwhelming that we can’t see a way past them and start to lose hope in the future. If you or someone you know is so down that they can’t cope with everyday life, help is needed – and more importantly available. Talk to someone you trust as soon as you can. Ignoring the problem can

GNIMAG.COM | 43


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ INFORMATION, ADVICE & TIPS make it worse and can have serious consequences. Signs of a potential mental health problem include: • change in mood • disturbed sleep • disturbed eating patterns • lack of care for personal appearance or personal responsibilities • unusual behaviour • recurrent physical symptoms • increased use of alcohol or other drugs • talking about not wanting to live

Self-harm Unfortunately there are times when we don’t feel able to talk to anyone about what is bothering us, leaving us feeling helpless and hopeless. Sometimes harming ourselves appears to be the only way of coping with whatever is going on in our lives; this is sometimes referred to as self-harm. If you feel like hurting yourself you need help with whatever is causing you to feel so desperate. SUICIDE It is very important to know that if you are having thoughts of suicide you need help and support to deal with whatever is causing you to feel this way. Remember you are not alone and there are people who can help you find a solution and work through your problems, no matter how difficult they may seem – talk to someone you can trust and tell them how you are feeling. This might be a friend, family member or your GP. If you feel that you can’t talk to anyone you know or would prefer to talk to someone anonymously, phone a helpline such as Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or Samaritans on 116 123 – both are available 24 hours a day and free from landlines and mobiles.

Worried about someone? Everyone goes through tough times and can experience periods when things seem hopeless. If someone tells you that they are thinking of suicide, take them seriously. Hearing this can make you feel overwhelmed especially if your friend is upset and angry. If they ask you not to tell anyone else explain to them that you can’t keep this to yourself – if they didn’t want help, they wouldn’t have told you. Suggest to them that they need to get help and support – maybe offer to go with them. Remember it is important to look after your own mental health, not take on more than you feel comfortable with and to talk to someone about your concerns. If you have been affected by the death of someone through suicide and would like to talk about it, there are organisations that

44 | GNIMAG.COM

can help you. Visit the directory of services at www.mindingyourhead.info or call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.

TALKING AND LISTENING

Talking to someone can be a great way of putting your thoughts in order and getting problems off your chest. Talking can help you understand what’s going on in your head. Find someone you can talk to. This might be a mate, a family member or your doctor, or you may prefer to contact a confidential helpline like Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 or Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours a day). Part of being a mate is listening to your friends’ worries and stresses, but know your limitations. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Tips • talking about problems can be the first step to sorting them out • people talk when they are ready • don’t interrupt – let them have their say • look at them while they talk • advice can be useful, but listening is often best • be prepared to help your mate access other forms of help • listen without judging Talking through problems with friends might be enough, but sometimes professional counselling is needed. Stressed out? Everyone needs some time out for themselves to do something they enjoy. It is easy to forget to make time for yourself when things get stressful. Reduce stress and blow off some steam by: • getting active • playing sport • playing a game of pool • going for a coffee • reading a book • listening to music • going for a walk • or whatever works for you! Chilling out with mates is good, but be careful with alcohol and other drugs if you’re feeling stressed. It may seem like they’re helping, but they just mask the symptoms. They can’t help deal with the problem and will just make things harder in the long run.

ALCOHOL You may think that alcohol helps you cope with difficult situations and emotions, reduce stress or overcome inhibitions. However, alcohol is in fact a depressant and associated with a range of mental health problems including depression and anxiety.

Drugs using drugs often has unexpected negative consequences. Cannabis use, for example, has been linked to the development of mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia. FIGHT FEAR AND PREJUDICE Even though one in five of us will experience a mental health problem, it can be a very isolating experience. Some people may feel ashamed, embarrassed or frightened about mental health problems. As a result, many mental health problems go undiagnosed and untreated. It’s just as important to be there for your mates if they need it – knowing you’re there just might make all the difference.

Taking control We’re all different, What’s good for one person isn’t always good for another. Don’t give up until you find what’s best for you. KNOW YOURSELF Know your limits strengths and weaknesses. What keeps you happy? What gets you down? Use this knowledge to plan ahead and take control of your mental health. Check yourself How do you feel? Identify any problems and take action to deal with them. If you feel you can’t cope on your own, get help.

Domestic violence If you are worried that you or someone close to you is a victim of domestic violence contact the domestic violence 24hr helpline on 0808 802 1414 Choices Think carefully about how the choices you make affect your life. Try and work out what’s best for you, and don’t let fear of mucking up stop you from doing things. Sometimes “mistakes” are unavoidable. Put it down to experience and move on.

With thanks to the Public Health Agency for their assistance in preparing this feature.


Equalitee.co.uk was created in 2016 as a social enterprise, part funded by the Big Lottery Fund, to increase the sustainability and protect the future of The Rainbow Project and the services they provide across Northern Ireland.

You are twice as likely to quit with support and you are four times more likely to quit with support and NRT For More information: Contact Nuala 028 9031 9030 nuAla@rainbow-poroject.org

BUY ONLINE TODAY! WWW.EQUALITEE.CO.UK

Did you know The Rainbow Project relies on your support to help provide the services we deliver?. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to help the LGB&/T Community across Northern Ireland. We want to say Thank You, to all those people who have set up monthly donations to The Rainbow Project. You help us to succeed. If you would like to donate regularly to The Rainbow Project, just head to www.justgiving.com/rainbowhealth and click ‘monthly donation’ or you can make a one of donation by texting LGBT10 £10 to 70070 – you can change the amount to any amount you can afford.

www.rainbow-project.org /TheRainbowProjectNI @TRPNI


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ RAINBOW PROJECT

LGBT people are growing up in a society in which many of us feel unable to be our true selves. LGBT people may hide their true sexual orientation and/or gender identity for a number of reasons; to fit in with society’s heterosexual norms, out of fear of rejection from family or friends, because they are socially stigmatised, because of other people’s religious beliefs, because of the way they have been brought up, or because they may have been victims of homophobic/transphobic hate incidents/hate crimes.

Tackling poor mental health is one of the greatest challenges facing societies around the world. There remains so much stigma attached to people experiencing mental health difficulties that it can be difficult to know how and when we need to ask for help. Mental health can be an uncomfortable topic for people, but it doesn’t need to be. If we hurt a part of our body, we talk. We let people know about it and get help to make it better. Unfortunately, many people in our society view mental health differently from physical health and when it comes to mental health, people may not feel able to talk about it. They might not let anyone else know or they may not know where to access support. Unfortunately, within the LGBT community, poor mental health can be very common. Research into the mental health and wellbeing of LGBT people in Northern Ireland, conducted by The Rainbow Project has found that there are extremely high experiences of poor mental health within the community, including worryingly high rates of depression, self-harming behaviours as well as thoughts and attempts of suicide. This is not because there is something wrong with us but rather because of the stresses we experience as LGBT people in Northern Ireland. Growing up LGBT is not easy in a heterosexist society, which views being straight as being normal and anything other than straight as less deserving of respect, dignity and validation. LGBT people are growing up in a society in which many of us feel unable to be our true selves. LGBT people may hide their true sexual orientation and/or gender identity for a number of reasons; to fit in with society's heterosexual norms, out of fear of rejection from family or friends, because they are socially stigmatised, because of other people's religious beliefs, because of the way they have been brought up, or because they may have been victims of homophobic/transphobic hate incidents/hate crimes. Many people may feel fearful of identifying as LGBT in a society where the notion of straight as normal and everything else as abnormal is so deeply ingrained. One of the most damaging aspects of being closeted is that the darkness and isolation of that place can make us blind to the huge changes that have occurred in our society. While many of us still struggle to find acceptance or access services, we must also remind ourselves that there has never been a better time to be LGBT in Northern Ireland than right now. Undoubtedly, we have not achieved the full and equal citizenship which

46 | GNIMAG.COM

is frequently enjoyed by citizens in other jurisdictions, and there are many more steps to travel on our journey to equality but it is also true to say that many of us could not have predicted how rapidly society would change for the better. However, we still have much work to do and there are still many members of our community who need support and community. This is why The Rainbow Project exists. The Rainbow Project works across Northern Ireland to support the physical, mental and sexual health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and or transgender individuals and their families. Our services have been developed with input from the community in Northern Ireland and from our service users telling us about the kind of support that they feel they need. Support can be provided on a one to one basis, it can be on a couples basis or can be grouporiented. Services provided by The Rainbow Project are designed to be confidential, LGBT-affirmative and sex-positive and they exist to support LGBT people in gaining confidence in accepting who they are, challenging discrimination or prejudice they may face as well as equipping LGBT people with the skills and understanding to improve their mental, physical and sexual health in a supportive and non-judgemental envinronment. There are a range of services The Rainbow Project can provide to support you including: • Co-cultural Counselling • 6 Weeks Personal Development Programmes • One to one support sessions • Awareness sessions • Training • Befriending • Smoking Cessation service • Sexual health services • Advocacy services • Drop in session (Foyle and Newry) There is also a range of Support groups for LGBT people and their families; Women’s groups (Foyle), Men’s groups (Foyle), Same-Sex Families, Dads, Family Ties, Transgender groups, regional groups For more information on The Rainbow Project and or further information on any service contact 90319030 or email info@rainbow-project.org


SUPPORT The Rainbow Project are there to help.

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_lopolo

THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ RAINBOW PROJECT

GNIMAG.COM | 47


ELITE HEALTH AND FITNESS LISBURN NABBA NI gym of the year 2016

Are you interested in supporting people with dementia?

• Locally Owned Unisex Gym • Spacious, Modern with Top of the Range Equipment • Friendly and Professional Instructors • Relaxing RE-FUEL Lounge Serving Healthy Meals and Drinks • Proteins, Vitamins and Supplements • Free Parking a ke ein Sh

Volunteers Needed Volunteer Befrienders meet with a person with dementia or a small group of people with dementia once a week or once a fortnight. Volunteer drivers support people to remain independent enabling attendance at groups or appointments. If you are interested in volunteering in a small group or on a one-to-one basis, we would love to hear from you. You will be fully supported in your volunteering journey with the Society.

t EE Pro et a FR g G A M GNI ention OOK

AL S ND HAVE A IN L UR GOAL L O A Y C E V IE ACH HELP YOU L IL W E W

M

£5 Walk In £15 per month DD off Peak 9am - 4pm (Anytime Saturday and Sunday) £25 per month DD Anytime £30 per month Cash no Contract

For more information, please contact

028 9038 7787, 078 6018 2072 or at belfast@alzheimers.org.uk

ELITE HEALTH AND FITNESS

1c Harmony Height | Skyline Drive | Lisburn 0289260 92671442 0442 028

OPENING HOURS

Monday- Friday 6am - 10pm Saturday- Sunday 8am - 6pm

CARLISLE HOUSE RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTRE Helping You to face the Challenge of Alcohol or Drug problems Carlisle House offers a safe and structured space to help find constructive ways to meet the challenges of addiction. At the core of our approach is a focus on your strengths and expertise, and your ability to make the changes you need in life and your relationships. We will work in ways that acknowledge the importance of different perspectives, beliefs, cultures, contexts and life experience, and will adapt how we work according to your needs. To Find Out More Attend An OPEN MORNING Every 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the Month from 10.30am - 12 noon A short presentation will be followed by a tour of the centre and Q & A session facilitated by Services Users

2-4 Henry Place, Clifton Street Belfast, BT15-2BB Tel: 028 9032 8308 Email: Carlislehouse@pcibsw.org


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ Stefan’S Story

life inside my OWN monster Stefan tells us his story of creating a 43 stone monster to dissapear into.

GNIMAG.COM | 49


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ STEFAN’S STORY Life isn’t always easy. That’s a fact most of us will agree with. Stefan was born in the mid-seventies into a working class family from Lisburn. Growing up he spent his childhood in a government initiative mixed housing community, he had the sort of childhood that most kids who grew up in the 80’s will remember, running the streets with friends and coming in to the house when the streetlights came on. But something for Stefan was different, he felt different. Through primary school he knew something about him wasn’t like the other boys. Going into high school things didn’t get any better. While other boys were dating the girls he was befriending them, seeing them more like sisters. It was during this time while he felt out of control of his feelings and desires he learned that there was one aspect of his life he could control. Stefan started to control his appearance. Choosing what to eat and when to eat it he realised he could alter his look in relatively short periods of time. His weight frequently went from extremely slim to morbidly obese. Stefan felt like a freak and he didn’t like it. Stefan had joined the local boxing club around the age of 8, and had a promising career ahead of him. Boxing was an escape, and during the later secondary school years it offered some stability. With the regular training and food regime it encouraged Stefan gained a lean physique. Unfortunately this only seemed to make things more difficult for him regarding his internal turmoil about the feelings he was developing for guys. He was an attractive young lad with an Italian background and a boxing physique, the girls noticed this and there was no shortage of attention from them. He tells us that he rejected their advances, but then when he did they would ask questions, and some began spreading rumors regarding his sexuality. Growing up in what he perceived as a homophobic environment Stefan felt himself retreating into himself. Even forcing himself to “go” with some girls just to dispel the talk of the town. Leaving school and getting a job gave Stefan some money in his pocket and he was able to hit the “Big Smoke” of Belfast at the weekends. He became a familiar face at the gay bars and clubs of the time and didn’t have a problem attracting guys. Usually older guys. After struggling for years Stefan craved the attention, he wanted to feel wanted, needed even. And the older guys seemed to offer everything he desired; money, drink, drugs, sex, gifts, and maybe even love? After a while this all started to feel a bit empty, realising that these guys were really just after some fun with a hot young boxer Stefan felt dejected. Belfast had lost it’s spark. He wanted to find someone who could offer the acceptance and security he’d searched for, for most of his life. After a couple of years Stefan met a guy. A lovely guy. Good looking, good job, and he treated him like he was the most important thing in his life. The guy was in his 30s, and Stefan had experienced a lot in his short life, but the first time they were intimate felt like the very first time for Stefan. He was falling in love. Things were going great, they spent time together and enjoyed each others company. Stefan saw his future with this guy. But, something wasn’t quite right and Stefan had a niggling in the back of his mind. The guy was very secretive about his family life, assuming he was closeted Stefan decided not to pry any further - when the guy was ready to tell him, he was sure he would. Unfortunately that happened too soon. One night this knight in shining armour announced that he was actually married to a woman and she was pregnant. Things with Stefan had to come to an end. Immediately. At the time Stefan was pretending to his family that he worked night shift so they wouldn’t ask questions

50 | GNIMAG.COM

when he was out meeting this guy. Arriving home in the morning Stefan was prepared to step out onto the railway lines that were close to his home. He was broken hearted. He thought he’d moved on from being the confused boy at school, he’d found the love of his life. Going into the house Stefan prepared to say his good-byes to his family, but instead he looked at his younger sister. Suddenly nothing else mattered, he knew instinctively he had to be there for her, he had to be the big brother; the protector. That’s when things changed. Not wanting to be the object of desire for the older guys, or for any girls who might question his sexuality, Stefan reverted to what he knew, he decided to take control through food. He was going to create the most grotesque, repulsive monster he could, something he could hide inside, literally. He was going to build a kind of a prison, somewhere that the outside world couldn’t get to him. That night he stopped boxing and started eating. Forcing himself to eat around 11,000 calories per day he was determined to be the most disgusting creature he could. Detaching himself from what was growing on him he never saw himself when he looked in the mirror - just his creation. In the streets people would stare, people would shout insults, strangers stopped him in the supermarket to tell him he was a disgrace. Stefan didn’t take any of this personally as he didn’t feel it was directed at him, rather at his creation which he felt was his own doing. Fulfilling it’s requirement, nobody found it attractive. The admiration from guys and girls stopped. Nobody wanted this 43 stone monster. Life went on and the years passed. Stefan worked as a milkman and was well known throughout the town. Stefans plans were in place. He wanted to be there to protect his sister, to make sure she had a good life and a stable environment. He felt his plan was over once she was old enough to take care of herself, and his get out plan was to end his life. He’d gone from 12 stone to 43 stone and lived in the shadow of his own creation, controlling his emotions through food. He’d pushed everyone away that he felt was surplus to requirement sin his life. Twenty-four years living inside this “costume”, only very occasionally did he feel someone looked into the eyes and actually seen him back there somewhere. At sixteen his sister announced she was pregnant and Stefan felt he’d have to be around a while longer. His niece was born and he fell instantly in love. This beautiful little girl needed to have her uncle Stefan around, again as her protector. As the years went by he could see that his sister had a good life, and her daughter was growing up happy. Stefan felt like he could leave. Of course there would be hurt left behind, but he felt the time was right. After all this had always been his plan. Having previously worked in Kilkeel, Stefan knew how he was going to do it. He planned it for a night in May and had even done a couple of “dry runs”. He felt living wasn’t an option as he couldn’t be who he truly was. The whole situation to him was very factual, he was calm and collective about the whole thing. Deciding not to leave a note, and not to have any big goodbyes, he wanted just to go and say a casual goodbye to his mum. Not wanting to alert her attention he planned on calling in to her flat as normal and leaving as cheery as he always did. Calling in, immediately his mum sensed something was wrong. Call it a mothers intuition. Asking Stefan what was wrong, he dismissed it with an “everything’s fine”. Becoming upset, she started to cry, Stefan turned to leave with a “See you around” as a farewell. Then

without notice, his young niece who had, unbeknown to Stefan, been in the bedroom came running out and down the hall to Stefan, arms open for a hug. As he cuddled her she slipped something into Stefan’s pocked, he though nothing of it and set off on his drive to Kilkeel Harbour. Driving from Lisburn to Kilkeel Stefan remembers listening to a Dire Straits tape. There were no nerves, no sense of anticipation or anxiousness. He knew what he felt he had to do. It wasn’t a big event to him, just the end of something. Arriving at his destination he drove the wheels to the harbour’s edge. Putting the handbrake on and taking his feet off the pedals Stefan turned the radio off and done a quick tidy up of the car interior. All very methodical. Putting the car into first gear and about to ease his foot off the clutch Stefan happened to glance down, and there peeking out of his top pocket was the thing his niece had slipped into his pocket. It was a small envelope. He put the car in neutral and put the handbrake back on. Stefan took the envelope out of his pocked and opened it. Inside was a handwritten note. It read; Some people say he’s a monster, some people say he’s going to die, but not me, he’s my hero and heros never die. BANG At once, the twenty year old Stefan was back. Looking in the rear view mirror for the first time he saw himself again. It took the unconditional love of a child for him to see his true worth. Putting the car into reverse and driving out of the harbour that night, Stefan felt like a new man heading back to Lisburn. The first thing he had to do was be true to himself, and those around him. Stopping at his mum before even heading home, he told her he was gay and always had been. There was no response but he didn’t care, finally he had the strength to be the man he always knew he was. He then went and told his best mate who gave a “and so” reply. That night, which was supposed to be the end turned out to be the beginning of a new life for Stefan, a life where he wasn’t ashamed, a life where he wouldn’t be used, a life where he was his own man. He knew he wanted to get himself out of the creature he’d created. Stefan knew he couldn’t just stop eating completely, his body couldn’t cope with that. He’d been to the doctors who’d advised him he’d done so much damage to his liver that he may not have long to live. He had type two diabetes and had abused his body. Feeling house bound for the first six months Stefan embarked on a gradual exercise regime, starting with dancing in his living room and walking up and down the stairs. Nothing was going to stop him - he was determined to live his life to the full, and determined to get back into the boxing ring. Loosing ten stone within the first six months he then ventured outside to continue with his grueling regime. Three and a half years on, life is very different. He’s literally 30 stone lighter, has his own business and is getting back in the dating game. He’s a confident guy with the world at his feet. A man who’d always felt betrayed by love was saved by the love of his niece who he felt showed him real love. Stefan has been back in the boxing ring and remains undefeated. He’s fighting his final match this September. If you feel you have feelings like Stefan please don’t’ suffer in silence. There are people to help, contact The Rainbow Project on 028 9031 9030 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ STEFAN’S STORY

GNIMAG.COM | 51


THE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE__ COHERCIVE CONTROL

Cohercive Control Alicia V Perry tells us her own harrowing story of how domestic abuse can break even the strongest person. IN SEPTEMBER 2013 I lost one of my best friends. She was suddenly found dead one evening in her apartment. It was no secret she was in and out of a domestic violent relationship for 16 years. Her death was unexplained and as such remains that. I thought it was black and white. I told her to leave him many times but because she kept taking him back I distanced myself from her and the situation. It was painful to watch as my friend deteriorated into a shadow of herself. I didn’t want to know anymore and I didn’t want to listen. I just didn’t ‘get it’. The month before her death I began dating a man. He was gorgeous, sexy, strong, kind, loving, passionate, considerate, all those things a girl wants in a man and more. He was my Prince Charming and my hopes began building for my Happy Ever After. He was really there for me when my friend died, held me in his arms while I cried sore for my dear friend. The following month my dreams were crushed when my Prince beat me repeatedly, in my bedroom, then out on the street in front of terrified neighbours. He was arrested, spent a week in prison and then was released. Almost immediately he broke bail to find me, told me it was the drink and steroids, which seemed a valid reason so I forgave him and took him back. Why? Because I didn’t want to give up on my Happy Ever After. To ‘prove’ his love for me he got down on one knee and

proposed. I said yes because I’d waited my whole life for that one moment; but then again he knew that. From that moment on I lost control but more importantly I lost myself. I was apparently misplacing items in my house, saying things I couldn’t remember saying, doing things I couldn’t remember doing and really questioning my sanity to the point I thought ‘I am actually going mad, HE is right.’ HE is right and I am wrong. He must be because why would he lie to me? Each day became more and more about him and less and less about me. I stopped going out as much to avoid the interrogation I got from him when I got home. I seemed to argue and fallout with family and friends one by one. All these things and more were happening but I didn’t know why or indeed how to stop them from happening. Over two and a half years I fought hard in my mind for my Happy Ever After. Two and a half years while he continued to chip away at me physically, mentally, financially and emotionally until finally one day, I ‘got it’. I finally ‘got it’. Last year I separated from my ex and walked away from my dream of a Happy Ever After. I began working with Women’s Aid NI and started to see things a lot more clearly. I stopped misplacing things, my memory improved dramatically and the dust seemed to settle slightly. I was

right all along but that realisation brought with it shame and guilt. How could a strong, educated and independent woman like me not know this was happening? Since my separation my ex has turned up at my home but this time was different. I saw him for the monster that he is and I have Women’s Aid NI to thank for that; but I still live with that fear and those horrible memories. I was able to come out of that relationship, accept vital help from Women’s Aid NI and speak out publicly. Many victims can’t. Many victims are too frightened, too vulnerable, too damaged or just too confused because they feel they don’t have a choice. Many victims just don’t ‘get it’ yet; just like I’m sure many of you reading this who have not been through it. All last year I have been campaigning for new domestic abuse laws here in the North of Ireland in honour of my friend. I was motivated by the need to help our Ministers and Politicians ‘get it’ before more victims have to live in fear and have those horrible memories. I believe we owe it to the women, children and the men of Ireland to strategically tackle the issue of domestic violence and abuse now, before more lives are destroyed. I believe we all have an onus to the women, children and men of Ireland to hurryup and ‘get it’ to help improve their chances of a Happy Ever After. It’s too late for my friend but it’s not too late for them.

GNIMAG.COM | 53

24 HOUR Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline

Open to all women and men affected by domestic & sexual violence

FREEPHONE

0808 802 1414

text support to 07797 805 839 24hrsupport@dvhelpline.org


Perfect Day THE WEDDING SPECIALIST Ireland’s Premier Stockist for Mori Lee

WINNER 2015

88 WILLIAM ST. LURGAN T: (028) 3832 1607 E: perfectdaylisa@hotmail.co.uk WWW.PERFECTDAYNI.COM


NEW LOOK:

THE UNDIES FROM DOWN UNDER ON THE HOTTEST MODELS EVER. PAGE 57

GNI WEDDINGS:

JOHN AND DONAL LET US IN ON THEIR BIG DAY. PAGE 81

FAMILIES:

LAURA TELLS US ABOUT HER LIFE WITH JANE AND THEIR DAUGHTER. PAGE 98

MODEL WEARS SUPADUPA SWIMSHORTS – BLOSSOM £59.95 SIZES XS, S, M L & XL AVAILABLE AT MISS TIQUE, 27 GRESHAM STREET, BELFAST WWW.MISSTIQUEBELFAST.COM

LIFE & STYLE GNI MAG | 35

GNIMAG.COM | 55


Paul hampton home and pm lighting

P

Paul Hampton Home and PM Lighting are on trend this season showcasing beautiful room settings with stories featuring Teal and Mustard home furnishings teamed with Gold and copper light fixtures. Call in to see our furniture and lighting ranges in both our showrooms at 14 Boucher Way and 5 Harry’s Road Hillsborough. Not only do we have stunning products to see instore, we also have a vast library of home furnishings, interior design and lighting to suit any budget or style. We offer free house visits and consultations to bring your dream home to life. Contact Paul at Paul Hampton Home on 02890 997645 Contact Shelley at PM Lighting on 02890 743254 And follow us on Facebook

Showrooms on 14 Boucher Way, Belfast & Harrys Road, Hillsborough


FASHION__

NEW LOOK MEN

GET THE

LOOK THIS PAGE: TRACKSUITE TOP: £19.99 / €24.99 ROLLNECK: £9.99 / €11.99 TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS:£17.99 / €22.99 TRAINERS: £24.99 / €29.99 WWW.NEWLOOK.COM GNIMAG.COM | 57


FASHION__

NEW LOOK MEN

THIS PAGE: TRACKTOP: £29.99 / €39.99 TURTLE NECK: £14.99 / €17.99 COAT: £74.99 / €99.99 WWW.NEWLOOK.COM

58 | GNIMAG.COM


FASHION__

NEW LOOK MEN

THIS PAGE: SHIRT: £17.99 / €22.99 JACKET: £59.99 / €79,99 TROUSER: £24.99 / €29.99 SOCKS (PACK OF 5): £6.99 / €8.99 TRAINERS: £34.99 / €49.99 WWW.NEWLOOK.COM

GNIMAG.COM | 59


FASHION__

NEW LOOK MEN

LOOK noun

The appearance of someone or something, especially as expressing a particular quality.

60 | GNIMAG.COM


FASHION__

NEW LOOK MEN

THIS PAGE: JUMPER: £22.99 / €29.99 NECKLACE: £7.99 / €9.99 JEAN: £29.99 / €39.99 WWW.NEWLOOK.COM

GNIMAG.COM | 61


FASHION__

NEW LOOK MEN

THIS PAGE: T-SHIRT: £9.99 / €11.99 JACKET: £39.99 / €49.99 WWW.NEWLOOK.COM

62 | GNIMAG.COM


TWO PIECE FROM NEWCASTLE, CO. DOWN. POP GODS, GOOD LADS AND MASTERS OF THE MUSICAL UNIVERSE. discobeard discobeardmusic discobeardmusic

discobeardmusic@hotmail.com

GNIMAG.COM | 59


MEET THE ARTIST__ NEIL KERR

MEET THE ARTIST WHAT SORT OF ART DO YOU CREATE? I’m first and foremost a musician which in reality seems a bit ridiculous as I’ve never actually released anything. I’m probably too picky and I get bored easily so I rarely make it to the end of a song. Thankfully, I have wised up a bit this past year and have a few EPs close to completion and due out in a few months time. Outside of music I’m screenprinting quite a bit these days to help pay for cat food and synthesizer modules. I’m also back working with video to help pay the bills and have started up a clothing label that will probably lose me any money that I earn. I need to be working on several things at once or I get too absorbed in one given project and become a hermit. HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO THIS, WAS IT A JOURNEY THROUGH DIFFERENT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES? I went to London a few times in my late teens / early twenties with my music and somehow managed to get signed to a major label on a development deal. After convincing them to buy me some music equipment instead of paying for studio time they asked me to write songs like Teenage Dirtbag so that friendship ended and I politely did a runner. I found the whole London experience quite lonely and had become a bit disillusioned so I took a few steps back from the music and worked for a while in the film industry, having gotten funding from NI Screen to shoot a short. This in turn led me to work on music videos which led to me working with Polaroid photography to learn more about lighting, which then led me to work in fashion photography and fashion film. I then decided to start up a Polaroid print magazine which led me to learn how to screenprint so I could print rewards for the Kickstarter campaign. This led me to curating art

64 | GNIMAG.COM

NEIL KERR shows and printing clothing for nightclubs which then led to me making videos for nightclubs which then led me to working with local dj and Extended Play records founder on a new music project, Mount Palomar. I have accidentally been involved in way too many different ventures but thankfully they all kind of feed into each other and keep me enthused. WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY CREATING? Music. It has taken me 17 years since the first time I went to London to actually feel ready to release material. I don’t really think making music was the problem necessarily, I just don’t think I was in a good place to venture too far from home, especially when pursuing creative ventures. These past few years I’ve learnt how to deal with a lot of the negativity, usually self inflicted, that comes with being an artist. I feel like I’m in a really good place now, the first Mount Palomar EP with Timmy will be out soon, I’m finishing off my own debut EP and collaborating with Oisin O’Brien from Guerilla Shout on a number of videos for the release, which I’m really excited about. I still have the label to launch in spring and a few other projects that are launching later this year. As long as I can continue to avoid getting a real job and get out of bed excited to go to ‘work’ every day then I really can’t complain. FOLLOW: www.facebook.com/here.was.neil www.instagram.com/neil_was_here www.facebook.com/wearemountpalomar


MEET THE ARTIST__ NEIL KERR

GNIMAG.COM | 65


Sunday Duvet Day

Clayton Hotel Belfast is the perfect place to relax on a Sunday with a complimentary movie, pizza and popcorn in bed. Guests can also avail of the leisure facilities such as swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi. Breakfast and late check-out of 1.00pm on Monday is included.

£99 per room

based on 2 adults sharing and subject to availability.

MAC Roller Disco, 10-11 Feb £15 (skating), £5 (non-skating) Mid Term Family Roller Disco, 11-12 Feb £7 per person Back by popular demand, our roller disco is the perfect Valentine’s date night with a twist. If a family day out is more your thing, check out our Mid-term Family Roller Disco with sessions starting from 1pm.

Book now Book now at themaclive.com

+44 28 9032 8511 claytonhotelbelfast.com

CRUMLIN ROAD 838-840 Crumlin Road Tel: 028 90714477 BALLYSILLAN 254 Ballysillan Road Tel:Harm 028 90714444 Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self REGISTERED CHARITY NUMBER: XT23768 BRADBURY

Queen’s Café Bar

Queens Arcade Belfast BT15FF

Meal Deal for 2 Food Served

46 Bradbury Place PIPS Charity delivers Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Tel:Support 028 90222444 Services, Counselling and Therapies across Belfast and throughout CASTLEREAGH STREET Northern Ireland. 94 Castlereagh Street Tel: 028 90451989

PIPS offer a range of high quality services DUNDONALD which include: 1003 Upper N/ards Road Counselling & Alternative Therapies Tel: 028 90483240 LISBURN Crisis Suppor t 46 Longstone Street Befriending Tel: 028 92634444 OCN Accredited TrainingDONAGHADEE Outreach counselling for over55-57 65’sHigh Street Tel: 028 91882572 Family suppor t group

NORTHCOTT 106 Ballyclare Road, G/gormley PIPS OPENING HOURS Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9am-9pm Tel: 028 90838899 Tuesday & Thursday: 9am-5pm | Saturday & Sunday:BALLYMENA 2pm-6pm

38 Broughshane Street IF YOU WOULD LIKE ANY FURTHER INFORMATION ON OUR Tel: 028 25652144 SERVICE PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US AT:

Secure a sparkling smile

PIPS Char i t y, 281 Antr im Road, B elfas t BT15 2HE Tel: 02890805850 | Freephone: 080 0 088 6042 w w w.pipschar i t y.com | Email: info@pipschar i t y.com

Porterhouse Steaks 22Porterhouse Steaks with sides with sauce sauce and and sides Includesaabottle bottle of Includes of red or white red or white £29.95 for 2 for 2 £29.95 Thurs - Sat from Thurs– Sat from 5.00pm 5.00pm

Food Served Food Served

Mon - Wed 12 - 7.00pm

12-7.00pm Mon-Wed Thursday 12 - 9.00pm Thurs-Sat Fri - Sat 1212-9.00pm - 8.00pm Sun 1-5.00pm Sunday 1 - 5.00pm T: 90 249105 E: queenscafebar@hotmail.co.uk W: queenscafebar.co.uk


LIFESTYLE__ GROOMING

Glowing skin and feeling fresh. Daniel from Team GNI MAG tried out the Foreo LUNA 2 For Men... RECENTLY WE RECEIVED THE NEW Foreo LUNA 2 For Men to test and review. Having never used the original model I can only compare it with your regular facecloth and scrubs. First thing’s first; the appearance, the Luna 2 is a very sleek device, though still has a decent weight to it which allows it to be freestanding. It is approx 5 inches in height and easily fits into your wash bag. One side has is silicone bristles and the other has semicircle raised ridges. No batteries are required which is always a bonus you simply plug the device into a socket or your laptop using the USB cable provided and let it charge. There are many functions and benefits and two main modes ONE Cleansing – from reading stats the Luna 2 claims to remove 99.5% of dirt, oil and dead skin, and after using it my face was left glowing, clean and feeling toned. The device is so easy to use, simply apply a small amount of the cleansing lotion to your face, wet the Luna 2 and you’re ready to go. When cleansing use the bristle side and set the

mode to 2 (you’ll know you’re on the right setting as it be faster than setting 1) . You can use all over your face and it only takes 1 minute. Spend 15 seconds on each area; forehead, left cheek, right cheek, nose and chin. Don’t worry about timing or counting, the clever device lets you know when to move on to the next area, as the pulsations will pause. Different strokes are recommended for different areas, there is a great guide for this on the Foreo website. TWO Anti-Aging – Similar process to cleansing only you use the reverse side of the Luna 2 – with the circular raised ridges, set the device to Mode 1 which is slower than the cleanser setting. Again, can be used all over the face though stick to the areas you have, or usually get wrinkles, The forehead and between your brows, your temples and smile lines. The process again only takes 1 minute. Spend 12 seconds on each key area and move to the next. You’ll feel the pulsations pause 3 times telling you to move on.

You can do each function in succession or on their own. I always done both as its only 1 minute yet so much added benefit. When cleansing or using the anti-aging mode you can adjust the vibrations speed to suit. If you want a deep clean put it up high (my preference), though if you have delicate sensitive skin you may want to turn the pulsations down, there is a + & - button and either side of the power mode. Also as a safety function if you accidently leave the device on it switches off after 3 minutes. I found the Luna 2, quick and easy to use. We all have busy lives though anyone can easily fit in 2 minutes in the morning and night to use this fantastic product. I will definitely continue to use it as part of my daily routine. For more info or to purchase visit www.foreo.com Tested by Daniel May

GNIMAG.COM | 67


first floor victoria square, belfast first floor victoria square, belfast t 028 90326098 t 028 90326098

first floor victoria square, belfast 028 90236098 t 028 90326098

NOW ALSO OPEN AT new menu now available Eastpoint Entertainment Village Dundonald BT16 1XT t 0289048 3407

wagamama.com.ni

follow us follow us /wagamama northern ireland /wagamama northern ireland /wagamama belfast wagamama.com.ni /wagamama belfast

wagamama.com.ni

follow us /wagamama northern ireland /wagamama belfast

PR

In

Semi Pe

By Ale

YOU + ME YOU + ME Just for JustTwo forTooth Two Tooth Whitening Whitening ONLY ONLY ÂŁ449! ÂŁ449! per couple per couple

BookBook todaytoday on on 028 028 90669066 6684. 6684. www.martinacollins.com www.martinacollins.com

PRETT semi p PROC test an MAKE Lip Lin patient your ey great, n


FASHION__ MISSTIQUE

WET WEAR MODEL WEARS SUPADUPA SWIMSHORTS – BLOSSOM £59.95 SIZES XS, S, M L & XL

GNIMAG.COM | 69


FASHION__ MISSTIQUE

MODEL WEARS SUPADUPA SWIMSHORTS – AHOY £59.95 SIZES XS, S, M L & XL

70 | GNIMAG.COM


FASHION__ MISSTIQUE

MODEL WEARS SUPADUPA SWIMSHORTS – BIRD OF PARADISE £69.95 SIZES XS, S, M L & XL

GNIMAG.COM | 71


FASHION__ MISSTIQUE

ALL ITEMS FROM THIS SHOOT AVAILABLE FROM: MISS TIQUE, 27 GRESHAM STREET, BELFAST WWW.MISSTIQUEBELFAST.COM

MODEL WEARS SUPADUPA SWIMSHORTS – PINEAPPLE £59.95 SIZES XS, S, M L & XL

72 | GNIMAG.COM


NON-STOP NON-STOP SHOP SHOPININ DUBLIN DUBLIN 22 express 22 express services services fromfrom Belfast Belfast to to Dublin Dublin Airport Airport & Dublin & Dublin City from City from £8*. £8*. BookBook online online at aircoach.ie at aircoach.ie

* Single fare. * Single fare. Terms andTerms conditions and conditions apply. apply. Available online Available andonline limitedand availability. limited availability.

rcoach_GNIHalfPageAd.indd Aircoach_GNIHalfPageAd.indd 1 1

20/01/201720/01/2017 12:06 12:06

PRETTY

In Ink

Semi Permanent Make Up

By Alexis James

FULLY QUALIFIED SEMI PERMANENT MAKE UP TRAINER: LEARN THE SKILLS

City Council Registered. 255 Woodstock Road, Belfast, BT6 8PQ Tel: 028 9045 5022 | Mob: 07471 479 455 www.prettyininkbelfast.co.uk

PRETTY IN INK BELFAST is run by Alexis James, a fully qualified and insured, semi permanent make-up artist and trainer who has carried out over 7,000 PROCEDURES in the last ten years. Alexis offers a pre-consultation, mineral test and example of what your new eyebrows will look like. PERMANENT MAKE UP PROCEDURES & BEAUTY TREATMENTS INCLUDE: Eyebrows, Lip Liner and Blush, Eyeliner Micropigmentation and Alexis works with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and also alopecia sufferers - If you have lost your eyebrows or waiting for them to grow back, permanent make up offers a great, natural looking alternative.

Derma fillers SPMU eyebrow micro Courses Available: Alexis courses available: Lips or facial lines £90 blading / feather strokes provides a 1 on 1 training profor 1ml alexis provides /embroidered grammefor for up up to a 1 on 1 training programme totwo twoweeks Upper/lower eye liner lip which includes the machine weeks which includes the machine and products required Botox 3 Areas £150 Liner and blush £100 inl and products required plus months. PDO thread face lift plus aftercare support for three aftercare support for three total cost £2,750 £500 months. Total cost £2,750

5 Day one on one Training course Look better available Top up offer for GNI Readers quote GNI MAG

for longer with Pretty In Ink semi permanent make-up


LIFESTYLE__ FITNESS

Getting that ripped body from the comfort of your front room. The festive season is a distant memory, Here’s our tips if you can’t get out to the gym. OUR LAST ISSUE WAS AT the mouth of

Christmas, now that’s well past us and all the

remnants of mince pies and boxes of chocolates

have been polished off or binned in my case, it’s

session you’ll feel great and you’ll have the rest of

Bargains, a weight bar, bands or tubing. Increase

USE A JOURNAL TO TRACK YOUR

COOLDOWN

the day free.

time to get back into shape. Summer is still a while

PROGRESS.

maintain until Summer

Jot down any breakthroughs you may have. When

decided to put together a few tips to exercising

you to find patterns you can break. For example,

away though my goal is to feel great for Spring and With it still being bitterly cold out I have

you have a bad day, write that down, too, to help

your flexibility with floor stretches or yoga poses.

Your cooldown should be like the warm up, says

Steele -- “cardiovascular work at a low level to bring the heart rate down to a resting state.”

you may find an egg-white omelet gets you through

STRENGTH

of porridge.

You can do strength work in same workout as your

can pick up great products online. I recently bought

SET GOALS.

simple few stretches to loosen up the muscles or a

is great to improve on core muscle and definition.

Like training for a race or losing 20 pounds. “goals

easier to store than bulky equipment and just as

you know is within your reach,” for me it was doing

at home. It does take extra motivation though it’s

more convenient and a lot easier on the ole wallet/ purse. No costly membership fees which can be

anything up to £50/month, and for a few quid you an Abdominal Exercise Wheel for only £2 which

I also spotted kettlebells in Home Bargain for £8, effective (get shopping).

OK TIME FOR THE TIPS... CHALLENGE YOURSELF AND AVOID BOREDOM. At home, you won’t have the variety of equipment and classes that are available at a gym. Surf the

Internet and browse fitness magazines to check

out new workouts and make sure you’re exercising correctly. Pictures are everything. Use them as a guide for form and technique.

FIND AN EXERCISE PARTNER. You’ll be less likely to find excuses when you’ve

your morning workout better than a banana or bowl

should be something you can’t do right now, but

spot of basic yoga, stretching you as you relax. Just be sure to warm up and cool down every time you exercise.

a 5k run in 21 minutes, from memory it took me

GETTING STARTED

until I reached my goel. Give yourself mini-rewards

If you’re a beginner, aim for 30 minutes of

of how much your craving that snickers, go for a

and 20 to 30 minutes of strength work three times

around 27 minutes though over time that decreased along the way, not in the form of food regardless

new fitness magazine, that workout top you’ve been eyeing, or a new pair of trainers.

An effective fitness program has five components, all of which you can do at home: •

Warmup

Resistance (strength-building) exercises

• • •

Cardiovascular (aerobic) workout Flexibility moves Cooldown

arranged to work out with a friend. Take turns in

WARMUP

meet in a local park.

A warm-up could be an easy walk outside or on a

SCHEDULE YOUR WORKOUTS.

the cardiovascular portion, walk or pedal faster, do

going to each other’s houses (space providing lol) or

aerobic work, or split them up. Cool down can be a

treadmill, or a slow pace on a stationary bike. For

step aerobics with a video, or jump rope -- whatever

cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week, a week. Be sure your strength workout covers all major muscle groups, in your upper body, lower

body, abdominals and back. Shoot for three sets of 10-15 repetitions of each strength exercise.

No matter what type of exercise you do, be sure

to start slowly and gradually increase your workout time and intensity. And don’t forget to listen to your body.

It’s also important to stay tuned in to what motivates you.

Working out at home has obvious advantages,

but there are obstacles, too: distractions from the phone, the kids, the dog, the Internet and the

refrigerator can derail a workout. And that’s if you can get started in the first place. When you’re at

home, it’s easy to find something else that needs to be done.

Perhaps most important, make exercise as

you enjoy that gets your heart rate up.

integral to your life as sleeping and eating. You

you must change one, reschedule it immediately.”

RESISTANCE

end. Get out of the mind frame that exercise is

work for you, you don’t want to be changing all the

The resistance portion can be as simple as squats,

getting out of bed, though once you’ve done your

work with the kettle bell I mentioned from Home

“Have a plan,” write out your exercise appointments one week in advance. If something comes up and

From the outset go for times of the day that usually time. First thing works best for me, yes its tough

74 | GNIMAG.COM

push-ups and abdominal crunches. Or you could

have to think of it as a lifestyle change. It doesn’t something you’re only going to do for a period of time.

WORDS | DANIEL MAY


LIFESTYLE__ REAL MAN

& I havn’t started the gym just yet but will soon. For the time being I watch what I eat and I do a lot of walking. I also have fitness DVDs to work out in the comfort of my own home. My favourite DVD for fitness has to be Charlotte from Geordie Shore, 3 min bum work out, There about 30 different routines you do within it to help the bum, legs and stomach. Then finish off with ice cold water with lemon.

NAME: HUGH LEE GLASS AGE: 22

HEIGHT: 6’ 2” WEIGHT: 11st 7lb

TRIMMED OR NATURAL? Trimmed: prefer trimmed more sexy, but natural is good too for over the winter. . BOXERS/BRIEFS? Boxers: more comfortable, for me briefs tend to ride up and be uncomfortable. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE GROOMING PRODUCT? Favourite grooming product is my trimmer. It works for every single part of the body. WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? Guilty pleasure. Saturday night with Keeping Up with the Kardashinas, sweets and pizza. Saturday is my cheat day. WHAT ONE PRODUCT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? One thing I could not live without would be my photo album. It as every single photo I need to look over my life, from, friends, family, nights out, big events and memories that will never be forgotten.

GNIMAG.COM | 75


Nutt Promotions 2nd Eikon Ad PRINT.pdf

Nutt Promotions 2nd Eikon Ad PRINT.pdf

1

1

04/01/2017

04/01/2017

Nutt Promotions 2nd Eikon Ad PRINT.pdf

1

18:26

18:26

04/01/2017

18:26

Eikon Exhibition Centre Eikon Exhibition Balmoral Park, Lisburn, BT27Centre 5RF Balmoral Park, Lisburn, BT27 5RF Eikon Exhibition Centre For more information visit

C

M

Y

C

CM

M C

Y

MY

CY

M

CM

CMY

Y K

MY CM

CY

CMY

K

MY

For more information Eikon Exhibition Centre visit www.motorcyclefest.tv Balmoral Park, Lisburn, BT27 5RF

For more visit Balmoralinformation Park, Lisburn, BT27 5RF

Friday 2pm until 10pm www.motorcyclefest.t www.motorcyclefest.tv Saturday & Sunday 10am until 5pm For more information visit

C

M

www.motorcyclefest.tv Friday 2pm until 10pm Friday 2pm until 10pm Friday 2pm until 10pm Saturday & Sunday 10am until 5pm Saturday & Sunday 10am until5pm 5pm Saturday & Sunday 10am until Y

CM

CY

CMY

Nutt Promotions 2nd Eikon Ad PRINT.pdf

MY

1

04/01/2017

18:26

CY

CMY

K

K

Carl Fogarty & The Purple Helmets will be there all day Saturday & Sunday Carl Fogarty & The Purple Helmets will be there all day Saturday & Sunday

Adm: Adults £12/€12 OAP £6/€6 Adm: Adults £12/€12 OAP £6/€6 Eikon Exhibition Centre Children under 16yrs 16yrs gogo freefree Children under Balmoral Park, Lisburn, BT27 5RF Carl Fogarty & The Purple Helmets will be all & Sunday For more information Carl Fogarty & The Purple Helmets will bethere therevisit allday daySaturday Saturday & Sunday C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

www.motorcyclefest.tv Adm:Adults Adults £12/€12 OAP Friday 2pm until 10pm Adm: £12/€12 OAP£6/€6 £6/€6 Children under 16yrs go free Saturday & under Sunday 16yrs 10am until 5pm Children go free

Carl Fogarty & The Purple Helmets will be there all day Saturday & Sunday

Adm: Adults £12/€12 OAP £6/€6 Children under 16yrs go free


LIFESTYLE__ HOMES

Spring is around the corner, time to get down and dirty and give that house a good clean! MOPET ROBOT MOP WWW.FIREBOX.COM £29.99

It’s tradition to give the house a good clear out and spring clean around this time of the year, here’s some tips and hints to help you along... SOFAS, CARPETS AND FABRICS You’ll need to give these a deep clean after the debacales and dirt from the winter. Easiest thing to do is to rent a carpet cleaner, but be sure to practice somewhere out of the way first incase you muck it up. The drying process can take up to a day so you’ll have to open those windows, but that’ll give the house a good airing too.If you don’t fancy cleaning these expensive pieces yourself there’s always the option of getting a professional carpet and upholsery cleaner in.

HETTY VACUUM CLEANER WWW.LYCO.CO.UK £199.99

WALLS AND WOODWORK Who cleans their walls eh? Well maybe you should. We aren’t talking scrubbing every inch of your living room walls. But take a look in the corners, or heavy traffic areas - they could be grubbier than you think. Use a sponge and dishwashing detergent, and wash it in sections. Don’t forget your skirtings and architraves, they’re usually painted with gloss or varnished so the dirt should wash off easily. LIGHT FITTINGS You will be amazed at how much brighter your bulbs will seem if you give your transparent light fittings a bit of a clean. Just use a sponge and

some all purpose cleaner. If your’e working at a height be careful not to topple off the ladder - mayber better taking the light fitting off and cleaning it on the floor or at a table. HOOVERING The rest of the year you get away with vacuuming around the furniture. This is the one time of the year you should make an effort to move the furniture (where possible), and vacuum underneath where it would be. It usually works to move all the furniture to one side of the room, vacuum the empty side and then switch it around to do the other side. THE KITCHEN Empty those cupboards and the fridge. Get it all out. Get your rubber gloves on and get stuck into those cupboards, they’ve built up a year’s worth of filth from tins that may have travelled across countries before ending up in your cupboard. Also, don’t forget to check your washing machine for anything that may have been caught in there. ALTERNATIVELY If you’re just far too busy to do it all yourself, now’s the time to hire a cleaner.

WASH UP TIDY DORSET BLUE WWW.HURNANDHURN.COM £14.50

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_tverdohlib

RAMBLING ROSE WASHING UP GLOVES WWW.EBAY.CO.UK/USR/DOTCOMGIFTSHOP £9.95

GNIMAG.COM | 77


LIFE & STYLE__ FOOD & DRINK

68 Clooney Our Daniel tries out 68 Clooney restaurant at the White Horse Hotel, Derry.

I have visited Derry on many occasions and eaten in many bars, cafés and restaurants though I must admit this was my first time staying in the City’s White Horse Hotel and having the pleasure to dine in 68 Clooney Restaurant. The Dining room was elegant and inviting, head Chef Noel Ward and his attentive team take great pleasure in serving “real local food”, the menu screams quality and it clear to see a lot of time has went into piecing together a menu that showcases an array of the finest local ingredients. The restaurant has won many awards to include N.I Federations Hotel & Guest House Best Restaurant award with the prestigious first place. We Dined on a Friday evening arriving at around 8.30pm, there was a fantastic atmosphere as we were greeted by the malonic sounds from the resident pianist who played an eclectic mixture of tunes on the Baby Grand Piano until around 10.30pm. There was a range of menus available, A la carte, 2 course & 3 course offerings giving diners plenty of choice. While selecting our starters the chef served us an amazing amuse bouche, this certainly got our taste buds going a ready for our dinner. We went for Chilli Garlic Prawns as an appetiser, other options included Venison Terrine, Tempura Vegetables, Mussels and Boneless Buffalo Wings. The majority of mains were £13.95 each and there was a small supplement for fresh fish and steak dishes. The variety of local produce was impressive, incorporating red meats, seafood, poultry, and vegetarian options. At the server’s recommendation, we decided to order the Chateaubriand Steak for our main meal; this is the ultimate experience for two, our server arrived with a trolley in toe, filled with an abundance of side orders, including chunky chips, seasonal vegetables and 3 sauces, Peppered, Beef Jus and Béarnaise. The star of the main was of course the Chateaubriand; an enormous fillet steak which had been cooked and seasoned to perfection before being sliced before their very eyes and flambéed on our plates to requirement. Everything was exquisite; from the succulent meat to the delicious sides, as much attention to detail had been given to the preparation, production and presentation of the food as you would expect in a fine piece of art. Although being full at this stage it would be a shame not to indulge on a dessert course. My guest and I decided to share a pudding and the cheese between us. My choice was the Raspberry Posset, this was topped with cream and served with a butter biscuit whirl, this was both fruity and refreshing. The Irish cheese board had three large wedges; Cheddar, Stilton and Brie served on a platter with a selection of crackers, grapes, apple slices, celery sticks and a rich currant chutney. Both options were to die for and the sweet flavours finished off the meal decadently, plates were left empty, despite feeling entirely full from the previous courses. The service, food and surroundings at 68 Clooney Restaurant in the Best Western White Horse Hotel was faultless. If you’re looking for somewhere new to try, we couldn’t recommend it more.

78 | GNIMAG.COM


LIFE & STYLE__ FOOD & DRINK

GNIMAG.COM | 79


Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_irstone

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_photolondonuk

TRAVEL__ LONDON

a scrimpers guide

LONDON.

80 | GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL__ LONDON

EXPERIENCE LONDON ON A LIMITED budget, usually words that

are not in the same sentence, but I set myself the task of being able to visit England’s capital and not break the

bank, my goal was a meager £300pp

for a fully inclusive trip, sounds virtually impossible I know, but I’m going to tell you how I made it work.

Firstly, to explain, the main reason

I was travelling to London was to

...

watch some of the latest Musicals in

and catch up with friends, I am a die hard musical buff and London’s west end is a theatre goers dream, at any one time there can be 50 different

productions playing. I picked the four show’s we wanted to watch and made it my mission to buy tickets and stay

spent a few hours between last minute sites, Airbnb and regular hotel chains, though it was good old booking.com we settled for, staying in the 2 Star

Enrico b&b, this was in the easy accessible district of Victoria, minutes

from the tube and coach station. The

room itself was clean and tidy with all

the usual facilities, Tv, Iron etc… Bedding was changed daily and new towels were also provided, cost was only

£75pp, I couldn’t believe it. On many occasions, I’ve went to London and

spent £400+ on getting a good Hotel/ Apartment, but that is definitely a

thing of the past, after all the room is only needed to have a few hours kip and get ready.

Ok so that’s £220 spent thus far

within budget, £30 max per show.

leaving us with only £80 each to

be £100+ my plan was to get 4 for less

stage I was skeptical though decided

Now bare in mind a single show can than £120.

Que my new bestie “Google”, the

power of the internet continues to

excite me, there are so many sites you can visit for discounted food, shows, attractions and much more. Some-

times you can save as much as 75% off the RRP. A simple search “£25 Dream Girls Ticket” and you are directed to

all sorts of specialist sites. By process of elimination I went through the

sites and got all the tickets we wanted,

sort a few meals and drinks, by this to download the Groupon app, you can see the best deals by location,

unbelievably you are able to get a 2

course meal with free drinks from £15 so we booked 2 different restaurants

(£30) which left us with £50 to spend on drinks, snacks and the odd McD’s

and £8 went on a bargain busting bus trip - would be rude going the whole cut to London and not touring the landmarks.

Setting myself a goal such as this

some in the Grand Circle, some side

was slightly daunting though I like

private box.

moral of the story is don’t settle for

view and one show we even got a Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_hansenn

Next thing to arrange was the

travel, getting from A to B can

sometimes be the most expensive part of a trip though not for me, round trip with transfers from Belfast to

London Victoria a minimal £25.98. I’ve gotten taxi’s which cost more –

though Ryanair offer ongoing rates of only £9.99 each way to Gatwick and transfers with Easy bus for only £6 return – BONUS.

Was sorting a hotel going to be

a challenge and easily succeeded, the package deals, yes they may save you time, though 9 times out of 10 they

are more expensive as they obvs want their cut. Set a few hours aside and

piece together your perfect trip, you’ll be surprised at how much fun it can be and so gratifying knowing you’ve gotten the best deal.

Words by Daniel May Trip taken in Jan 17

the deal breaker? Thankfully not, I

GNIMAG.COM | 81


r u o It’s Birthday NEW A BA R T H 5 9 5 FROM

£209 DEPOSIT & £209 PER MONTH WITH PERSONAL CONTRACT HIRE

THE NEW A BA R T H 1 2 4 S P I D E R FROM

£3,890 DEPOSIT & £389 PER MONTH WITH PERSONAL CONTRACT HIRE

DONNELLY BROS

MALLUSK WAY, NEWTOWNABBEY, CO. ANTRIM

T: 028 9590 0219

DONNELLY BROS

DONNELLY M1 COMPLEX, 181 BALLYGAWLEY ROAD, DUNGANNON

T: 028 8744 0703

DONNELLY & TAGGART

CAMPSIE IND ESTSTAE EGLINTON, CO. L/DERRY

T: 028 7122 9372

DONNELLYGROUP.CO.UK Personal Contract Hire offers across the range based on 48 months with 6,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charge apply. Finance subject to status to UK residents over 18 years of age. Guarantees may be required. Terms and conditions apply. Finance provided by Fiat Financial Services, PO Box 4465, Slough, SL1 0RW. All images are for illustration purposes only. Offers may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Offers available until 31st March 2017.


LIFESTYLE | DATING

Ask Eamon! Our resident dating expert Eamon McAuley is ready to solve your shameful dating mishaps

Dear Eamon With Valentines day around the corner, I’m feeling lucky this year that I’ve got a partner. We’ve been together for about seven months now and I am completely in love. I know it might seem quick, but I really feel like he is the one for me for the rest of my life. I was thinking of asking him to make an honest man of me and be my husband. In my head I see it in our favourite restaurant on Valentines Day, with me down on one knee. I’m confident he will say yes but I’m worried about his reaction to me making a public declaration like that as he’s quite a private person. I just want everyone to know how happy and in love I am. Do you think I should scale back the proposal or just go with my dreams? Alan, Cork Thanks for your question Alan. I think you need to do the proposal that is best and will be the most special for you both. You mentioned he is a private person, so perhaps a public declaration might make him uncomfortable. So to comprise for you both perhaps you could still do it in your favourite restaurant but choose a quiet evening midweek and let the restaurant know in advance so then can hopefully give you a private table if your heart is set on that location. Whatever you decide upon Alan, don’t make a decision based on letting the world know, he is the most important person to you, so make it special for that reason only. Good luck Dear Eamon I got chatting to a guy on Grindr while he was home visiting family over Christmas, we hooked up and got on well. So well in fact that we went on a proper date the next day, and spent the rest of his time here together. He’s

gone back to London where he lives, and the texting, phone calls, and smoochy Facebook posts have continued. However, I’m trying to be a realist, do long distance relationships work and is there any point in continuing this. I’m not going to leave Armagh and he’s said he’d never get a job over here like he has in London. What should I do, keep going and just see what happens, or cut it off before I get to emotionally involved? Sean Og, Armagh Hi Sean Long distance relationships can work but that depends on the 2 people involved. It can be complicated and lonely at times, but it also can make the time together even more special if its infrequent. I certainly would set some grounds rules from now, like are you both committing to an exclusive relationship if you decide to continue this. Have you asked him directly yet is it something he would even consider? It’s really a question only you can answer Sean, and one that might take you some time to work out both emotionally and mentally. If you are someone that needs emotional reinforcement from a partner frequently you may get hurt, but if you are independent and enjoy time alone or with family and friends, then sometimes you have to take a chance when someone you like presents themselves, as what do you have to loose! Good luck

Daniel, Belfast Hi Daniel Many times this question arises and I feel personally it is as you say some guys greatest fear, perhaps because of the fear of pain or a top is more of a man ect which is nonsense. Anal Sex can be very enjoyable and special between two people, but the main thing you need to have is trust in one another. I would bite the bullet and have a honest conversation with him, he may even surprise you and be willing to try being the bottom also. If you are the one committing to trying it, my biggest advice would be do some research on it. For example preparation required like douching beforehand. With the actual act, you also need to be relaxed for it to be pleasurable for you both and that again is something that takes practice. Certainly look into the use of lubrication and perhaps a stimulate like poppers. Take your time with this, and don’t be afraid to give him direction with various foreplay acts that can also benefit you beforehand, so that you are totally comfortable and having fun! Enjoy!

Dear Eamon Recently I met a guy in the bar. We flirted a bit and exchanged numbers. I took the plunge and text him the next day. Since then we’ve been on a few dates and have had some “fun”, but haven’t gone all the way. And this is where it gets tricky. Turns out we are both “top”, and two tops don’t make a bottom. He seems reluctant to switch, and I’ve never done it so I’m terrified. Any suggestions or advice you could offer?

IF YOU WANT EAMON TO ANSWER YOUR DATING PROBLEMS EMAIL GNI@LAMBPROMOTIONS.COM

GNI MAG HAS THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH SUBMITTED MATERIAL IN WHOLE OR IN PART FOR A DATING AGENCY WITH A TWIST VISIT UNIQUEDATINGAGENCY.COM

GNIMAG.COM | 83


Corick House Hotel and Spa is the ideal venue for a Civil Ceremony/Partnership with a variety of suites available to cater for your wedding party, from our secluded Library Room which accommodates intimate celebrations for up to 20 guests, to seating 200 guests in our elegant Garden Room and 350 guests in our stunning new Orchid Suite. The advantage of having your civil ceremony in Corick House Hotel and Spa is the professional dedicated time and attention devoted to you and your wedding day. From the initial planning stages right through to your wedding day we will ensure that you get the highest level of personal service. No request is too big and no concern to small. For more details contact our wedding co-ordinator today on functions@corickcountryhouse.com or 028 8554 8216

20 Corick Road, Clogher, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT76 0BZ T: +44 (0)28 8554 8216 | E: reservations@corickcountryhouse.com www.corickcountryhouse.com/civil-wedding-ceremonies


GNI MAG Weddings


After meeting at the Silent Disco at Kremlin, Belfast, Donal and John waited a couple of years to plan the perfect wedding.

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING?

when I pulled Donal up to dance with me. I had been single for around 8 months prior to meeting Donal.

HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID DONAL:

IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN

John and I met the Friday before Belfast Pride 2010,at

IMMEDIATE YES?

friends and John had been out with friends, he was

DONAL:

over at me and then him dragging me up onto the stage.

in 2013, three and a half years after we started going out!

the silent disco in Kremlin, Belfast. I was out with work dancing on the Kremlin stage, when I noticed him looking

We both got engaged in London over my 30th Birthday

I had been single for six months at that point. It was an

We had been living together for over a year and the time

instant attraction and moved quick from there. JOHN:

We met on the Friday night before gay pride in Belfast in Kremlin, Belfast. They were holding a silent disco. I was

up with friends from home and was dancing on the stage

felt right, we both asked eachother did we want to get

married, it felt amazing that we were on the same page #igotthebiggerbling JOHN: it was just over two years later when when we got

GNIMAG.COM | 87


GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ DONAL & JOHN

“...to sum it up it was just absolutely stunning and full of love.” 88 | GNIMAG.COM


GNI MAG WEDDINGS__

DONAL & JOHN

engaged. It happen whilst we were in London and

JOHN:

it was time to take the relationship to the next step,

our big day on Sunday 24th July was finally here.

on a night out in Soho. We both made the decision

After three long years of planning and preparation

and at the weekend were engaged. It was also a

We traveled separately with our best men to our

reason to drink more lol.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY…. DONAL: Our wedding was at Ballymagarvey Village in Navan, Co. Meath on 24th July 2016. We had

been planning it for nearly three years and when we found the venue we instantly fell in love. It

was absolutely stunning with beautiful gardens

and a lake. We loved the history of the venue. The wedding day could not have went more perfectly

from start to finish. It truely was amazing (#cliché), but it was. The staff and vendors were excellent and

stunning venue: Ballymagarvey Village in Navan, County Meath. We had planned a humanist

ceremony that was very involving of ourselves

family and friends. The day was amazing and yes I

can say I was nervous, but I knew this was going to be a day to remember. The team at the venue could

not have done better on than what was delivered on the day. From the preparation before hand to the

tuning of the day itself. It was entirely seamless and the food was out of this world. The menus from the afternoon tea to our banquet dinner and also the

buffet had been had selected by Donal and myself,

and, for those who know me I’m a very fussy eater.

could not do enough for us, our family and our

WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK….

very fast, but with that it all went perfectly and felt

DONAL:

ceremony and had a few little surprises on the day,

(#foodies), which was the reason we viewed 20

friends. I was totally nervous on the day and it went so special to us. We designed our own humanist

John and I had high standards re the food/drink

therefore it was very personal to us both and where

venues before we decided on Ballymagarvey Village.

overwhelmed by how amazing our family, friends and the staff. To sum it up it was just absolutely stunning and full of love #loveislove

We loved they did the food and its presentation,

which sold it to us. Mainly that it was cooked fresh on the day with load of choices to pick from which we loved on our tasting day, as well as the copious

GNIMAG.COM | 89


GNI MAG WEDDINGS__ DONAL & JOHN

wines lol. We definitely where not let down on

and of course I had a few local beers

mentioned how good the food and well the service

ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT

the day as it was all beautifully done and everyone was. A credit to the Ballymagarvey staff.

YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT?

INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE

DONAL:

DIFFERENT?

We both spend majority of our time together but

JOHN: From our own slushee cocktails to the wines we

DONAL:

was amazed at the intricacy that Donal and myself

have a love of hardcore dance/trance music. I

selected to compliment the food at dinner, everyone

We mostly have similar tastes but John does

had gone to to make the day a success and a truely

will come home to find Clubland TV popping

memorable experience for all our guests.

DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO

up when I switch on the TV. I am not a fan

lol, but to be fair John may not totally love my

not totally. We have time with other friends and family which we both feel is very healthy in a

relationship. It allows us time to miss eachother. We both would be totally lost without the other #totessoppy JOHN:

#realhousewivestvobsession

like all couples we spend most of the time together.

DONAL:

JOHN:

Our honeymoon, we decided to do our 1st cruise

our tastes are pretty similar and we both like most

we both do things alone or with other sets of friends

Celebrity Cruises. It was pure luxury and out of this

and certain genres of TV. I’d say the main interests

DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON?

around Italy and Greece for 14 nights with world #cruiseconverts. JOHN:

Our honeymoon was spent on the Celebrity Cruise ship Reflection where we started a 14 day Cruise

around Italy, Greece and Turkey and then returning to Rome to return home to Belfast. We visited

historic towns and sampled any of the local cuisine

90 | GNIMAG.COM

of the same things as such where both into cooking that are different would be my choice in music as I’m more of a clubland house music and Donal

isn’t into this and likewise im not into his choice of reality TV dramas such as the kardashians a d real housewives of any location by secretly I do watch

these for a chuckle to myself of the shenanigans that they get up.

We socialise as a couple but there are times where or work colleagues. Plus there’s only so much

proseccco I can consume before the bubbles go to my head. So yes time together is great but we can and do enjoy times when we’re not together.


The ideal location from which to explore the sights of the North West Coast and The Walled City of Derry. After a day of sight seeing along our stunning coast line, relax and enjoy our modern venue with full leisure facilities and spa treatment rooms. Unwind in our comfortable bar area, and eat in our award winning restaurant run by head chef Noel Ward. Contact Us Now for the best deals and packages to Meet your Needs.

www.whitehorsehotel.biz - 0044 (0) 28 71 860 606 - reservations@whitehorsehotel.biz White Horse Hotel, 68 Clooney Road, Derry-Londonderry, bt47 3pa


If you're in crisis or despair or know someone who is, call Lifeline 24/7 on 0808 808 8000 Calls to Lifeline are answered by qualified crisis counsellors who can provide immediate support. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles

(Textphone: 18001 0808 808 8000)


COMING OUT__

REA

COMING OUT Rea Campbell, 26 year old actor & singer from Lisburn tells us his story.

My mums words were: “You are still my son and I love you” WHEN DID YOU FRIST REALISE YOU WERE ATTRACTED TO SAME SEX PEOPLE? I always felt that I was different. As far back as Primary School I had started to notice that my interests were somewhat different to my male friends which meant that most of my friends were girls. I was a lot more sensitive and although I was picked on a bit I embraced being different and thrived in the school choir and performances. It was when I started High School that I began making the connection to my sexuality. High School was a lot harsher and the names were more “to the point”. DID YOU TELL ANYONE AT THE TIME? WHY? I didn’t. I wasn’t sure how people would react and the thought of actually saying the words was a very daunting prospect. Instead I compared myself to other people and decided to blend in. WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY COME OUT? I came out when I left High School and had started Performing Arts College. I was 16. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DO IT? At the time I had just started college and was making new friends. I was studying performing arts and was around a lot of similar minded people in a trusting and open environment. I was really quite desperate to find myself and finally take steps towards a realistic dating life because I hadn’t even experienced that yet. I was socialising with friends for my birthday and my friend brought along a guy from her work. We got chatting and we stood outside together all night in deep conversation. I’d never felt butterflies like it. We swapped numbers at the end of the night and my first real romantic encounter had started. I realised quickly that I wanted to share my excitement with my close friends and decided that it was the right time to be honest with myself and others. HOW DID YOU DO IT?

I was out socialising and I told one of my closest friends in private. She told me she always knew and that she was proud of me. She insisted that I go back inside and tell all the others, so thats what I did. My sister was also there, I told her too. I had told so many people that I felt I had to tell my mum as soon as I got home and I did. It all sounds very easy but in fact it was really hard. I found it easier to say that I was bisexual at first as I found it hard to vocalise the word Gay. This eventually faded and I became fully open with people. The following weekend I also had my first kiss which was with the boy that prompted my coming out. It became my first heart break but it was worth the pain because it was real! WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR FAMILY & CLOSE FRIENDS? My friends were excited and supportive. I had always surrounded myself with loyal people so I had all the support and love I needed at the time. My sister struggled with it for a while and we had a little rough patch in our relationship. We were always very close but she was taken by surprise when I spoke openly about being gay. We soon got through that and we are extremely close now and she supports me whole heartedly. My mum and my twin brother just shrugged it off and said “OK”. My mums words were “You are still my son and I love you”. This was the best thing I could’ve heard from my mum. ANY NEGATIVE REACTIONS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE? I made a conscious decision to not tell my dad as we hadn’t always had the easiest relationship while I was growing up and it’s always been my feeling that this was due to an unspoken tension created by his opinion on my sexuality and lifestyle. I ended up blurting it out during a heated argument and quite a few nasty words were exchanged which was pretty upsetting. This wasn’t an ideal situation. Though time really is a healer. we have finally found a quiet understanding of one another and

that became easier as I got older. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS THINKING ABOUT COMING OUT? You are not alone. There is a community of people waiting to open their arms to you. Don’t feel like you have to “make a statement” or sit everyone down dramatically to tell them, Just be yourself. Everyones experience is different so don’t approach with expectations of a certain outcome because you may be surprised. Draw all the negative thoughts out of it because, this is a positive movement towards your happier and open future! Give yourself the opportunity to love openly. You deserve it and its your right! Lastly, I know how you feel. I was once that frightened, nervous young person trying to find the words that I wanted so desperately to say… I am now writing proudly about that exact experience that I was scared of. It has changed my life. ANY FUNNY STORIES ABOUT WHEN YOU CAME OUT TO SOMEONE? When I told one friend, her response was “ awk sure I know, We have been telling you this for years… sure when you were asked in p1 what you wanted to be when you grew up… you said… Mermaid”. I never quite achieved that goal but those who know me can tell you that I still live in hope. Thanks Kirsty. ALSO... On 1st February I started my 5K a Day of exercise which I am doing for 25 consecutive Days to raise funds for Cool FM & Downtown Radio Cash for kids. I would like to raise as much as possible though my goal is £800, this will go towards helping thousands of disadvantaged children in Northern Ireland who need our support. Every Little Helps and if you can afford to sponsor at all (big or small) it would be greatly appreciated. TO DONATE visit https://5k.everydayhero.com/uk/ rea-campbell-5k-a-day

GNIMAG.COM | 93

If you’re in distress or despair call Lifeline 0808 808 8000


FRI 03 FEBRUARY 8:00pm

SAT 04 FEBRUARY 7:30pm

Millennium Forum Derry 028 7126 4455

The SSE Arena, Belfast 028 9073 9074

MILLENNIUMFORUM.CO.UK

SSEARENABELFAST.COM

@bowieexp

@bowieexperience

www.BowieExperience.com


LGBT FAMILIES__

LAURA’S STORY

LGBT FAMILIES Laura tells her story...

“Of course there are times that we are acutely aware that we are viewed as different or less than...”

OUR DAILY LIVES AS AN LGBT family are pretty much the same as anyone’s, we argue over what to watch on TV and who is going to dry the dishes. We go to the supermarket, do the school run and work hard to save up for nice holidays. I’m a social worker, working with children and families, and Jayne works for The Rainbow Project. We have a daughter, Abbie, who is nine going on nineteen. She loves school, hockey and is obsessed make-up and Little Mix. I (the loud one) had Abbie before meeting Jayne (the weird one) when Abbie was four. We can honestly say she never batted an eyelid at the fact that Jayne was female. She continued to get the love and attention she was used to and therefore was as content as ever. In fact, a number of years down the line, she would remark about how it was great having two Mummy’s and she is fiercely defensive of her family. Of course there are times that we are acutely aware that we are viewed as different or less than, and times that it is all too apparent that there is much work to be done in Northern Ireland to increase the visibility of our community and promote acceptance of our family as equal. The first time this really hit home was when trying to organise a play date with Abbie and a friend from a local club that she attends. The other mum was great up until the point when she asked if my husband lived at home. Politely and sensitively, as though it is our job to do so, we once again began the almost daily task of ‘coming out’. The woman recoiled in absolute horror, muttered something about sorting something soon and needless to say that play date never happened. We have also had a few issues with school, in that Abbie has not been provided with an environment where she always feels comfortable to express her wishes, having been refused the right to draw pictures that reflect her family. She’s been told not to include her step-mum in drawings and pieces of writing and when the school has been

approached they have simply said that Northern Ireland is not ready for ‘all that’. The lack of representation of LGBT families in the mainstream is notable also, and the constant explaining that “no, Jayne isn’t Abbie’s Aunt” and “no, we aren’t worried that we will make her into a lesbian” is exhausting, frustrating and upsetting. The amount of times that we need to explain ourselves is quite frankly ridiculous and our family make up appears to give people the green light to ask lots of invasive questions such as “But how did you get pregnant?” and “Where did you get the sperm?” Having said that, there are lots of positive stories too, and we get a good laugh every now and then at it all. Like the time that Abbie and her friends were discussing their favourite things at a play date. It was colours and pop bands, before Abbie loudly enquired “who is your favourite drag queen!?” This was met by a sea of confused and shocked faces of the other, then seven year olds, and their mums. Abbie of course does actually have a favourite drag queen and loves looking out for all her heroes at Belfast Pride every year. She makes our hearts happy every day with her acceptance and open minded outlook, something that we are very proud to have instilled in her from an early age. Growing up in a home with two mums and a therefore being cradled in a sea of her parents friends, with all sorts of relationships and identities, has made her appreciate the beauty of diversity and understand it way beyond the normal parameters for her young age. She is a shining example of what our future generations can look like. The best advice we can give anyone with a similar family to ours, or that may be planning children in the future, is do not feel that you are alone, there are lots of us around. A great way to get support and meet other families just like yours is via The Rainbow Project and Here NI’s joint ‘Same-Sex Family Project’. Don’t be invisible; be proud of your family, just like we are of ours.

GNIMAG.COM | 95


HEALTH__

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS LOOKING AFTER YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_BDS

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be passed on when you have unprotected sex or other close sexual contact with another person. The most common STIs include: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, HIV, genital warts, genital herpes and Non Specific Urethritis (NSU). Many people with STIs don’t have symptoms, so it is worth getting tested if you think you have put yourself at risk. 96 | GNIMAG.COM

Have unprotected sex and you could be sleeping with everyone your partner’s ever slept with. People with STIs don’t always have symptoms. Choose to protect yourself. Always use a condom. For advice go to sexualhealthni.info


HEALTH__

IN NORTHERN IRELAND, RATES OF some

You can find details of your nearest clinic at the

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) have

website sexualhealthni.info and you can also view

increased over the last ten years so it’s important, if

a video on what happens when you go for an

you’re sexually active, that you look after your sexual

appointment at a GUM clinic on the website.

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

STI DID YOU KNOW

The good news is most STIs can be treated easily Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) can be

but if left untreated they can lead to health issues

passed on when you have unprotected sex or other

in the future including infertility, pregnancy

close sexual contact with another person. The most

complications, weakened immune system, liver

common STIs include: chlamydia, gonorrhoea,

damage and cancer. You also risk spreading the

syphilis, HIV, genital warts, genital herpes and Non

infection to others.

Specific Urethritis (NSU). Many people with STIs don’t have symptoms, so it is worth getting tested if

TREATMENT

you think you have put yourself at risk.

Treatment for each infection is different. Following consultation with a doctor and tests, it may include

WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING STIS?

lotions, tablets or injections. It is important that

Anyone who is sexually active and unsure about

the course of treatment is completed. You should

their partner’s sexual a sexually transmitted infection. While 16-34 year olds account for 82% of new STIs in Northern Ireland, people at any age can get an STI. You should have a sexual health check-up if: •

While 16-34 year olds account for 82% of new STIs in Northern Ireland, people at any age can get an STI.

you think you might a condom split or came off during sex;

you are at the beginning of a new sexual

• •

you shared injecting equipment.

medication are free of charge. REDUCING YOUR RISK You can reduce your risk an STI by:

always using a condom when having sex with casual and new partners;

you or your partner have more than one sexual partner;

treatment. Treatment and

GUM clinics - a step-by-step guide View the video on what happens when you go for an appointment at a GUM clinic on sexualhealthni.info

getting tested if at risk, as these infections often have no symptoms;

reducing your number of sexual partners and avoiding overlapping sexual relationships.

How often you need a check-up depends on your lifestyle and sexual activity but if having unprotected sex with casual or new partners you should get tested for HIV/STIs at least annually, and every three months if changing partners regularly. STI TESTING You can get tested at a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic, and at some GP surgeries testing is

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LOOKING AFTER YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH GO TO SEXUALHEALTHNI.INFO

Condoms protect against STIs such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV and syphilis. Choose to protect yourself. Use a condom.

free, straightforward and confidential.

GNIMAG.COM | 97

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_danicek

relationship;

not having sex during

of getting or passing on

have an STI; •

given by the doctor about

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_atic12

history is at risk of getting

also follow any advice

Almost one in four people with HIV don’t know they have it. If you think you might be at risk you can get tested at a GUM clinic and some GP surgeries. Testing is free, straightforward and confidential.

Image Copyright: www.123rf.com/profile_sunnysmilestock

health.


Have unprotected sex and you could be sleeping with everyone your partner’s ever slept with. People with STIs don’t always have symptoms. Choose to protect yourself. Always use a condom. For advice go to sexualhealthni.info


Profile for GNI MAG

GNI MAG ISSUE 25  

We're back with another "bunged to the gills" issue of GNI MAG. Worldwide superstar Anastacia graces our cover, and gives a frank and hones...

GNI MAG ISSUE 25  

We're back with another "bunged to the gills" issue of GNI MAG. Worldwide superstar Anastacia graces our cover, and gives a frank and hones...

Advertisement