Lunn’s Jewellers Unveils New Interior

The iconic Lunn’s Jewellers store, which has been located in Queens Arcade, Belfast for 64 years, recently celebrated a makeover designed by interior stylist Suzanne Garuda, with a #LoveLunns event for media, bloggers and influencers to allow them to try on jewellery from design houses like Cartier and Chopard as well as Mikimoto, Brietling, and Lunn’s in-house marque, Portfolio of Fine Diamonds. Daniel May from Craigavon won the exciting ‘Lock & Key’ competition on the night, when his key, one of 50 given out on the evening, opened the safe containing a beautiful necklace.

Check out our July issue, on sale Tuesday 27th June, for more coverage of this event. 

“Striding Forward” Summer School

To mark 30 years since the death of John Hewitt; poet, political writer and commentator, The John Hewitt Society has established the ‘Striding Forward’ Summer School, taking place on Monday 24th July – Saturday 29th July at The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre in Armagh.

The partnership with Poetry Ireland and support from The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund will be presented through the poetry, music and drama featured during the week.

We will see many well-known and successful faces, such as Scottish poet Liz Lochhead accompanied by prize-winning American poet, Mark Doty. The event will feature New York Times bestselling author John Boyne.

The ‘Striding Forward’ Summer School will host eight different workshops with a range of genres to choose from.

To honour John Hewitt, Head of Literature and Drama, Damian Smyth stated, “Once again this year’s programme includes an impressive collection of exceptional artists and events and is a fitting programme for this important anniversary.”

See the full programme online: Tickets on sale now: call The Market Place Theatre on 028 3752 1821 or book online

Monet Hair Making Waves and Turning Heads on Belfast’s Lisburn Road

The ‘Style Mile’ of Belfast’s Lisburn Road is set to see a new addition this month with the opening of an exciting new hair salon, Monet Hair.

The new salon will boast some of Northern Ireland’s leading hair stylists on its team with a combined experience of over 40 years in the industry.

Multi award-winning makeup maestro, Paddy McGurgan is also onboard with a make up pro store concession within the salon. This makes Monet the perfect one-stop shop for hair and beauty in the South Belfast Area.

Speaking of this latest venture, Mone said:

“Fashion, hair and beauty are all so tightly interlinked and my previous experience in these areas will ensure that Monet Hair will be at the forefront of styling and colour in Belfast.

I’m excited about our collaboration with Paddy McGurgan. Having make up and beauty on site as well as hair means that a visit to Monet is both convenient and enjoyable.”

A new initiative will be offered which is a first for Northern Ireland which is ‘Monet’s Blow Dry Club’. The exclusive, members only club will offer access to unlimited blow drys as well as other special discounts for a monthly fee.

Monet Hair will launch on 23 June 2017 and will be open 10am until 6pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and until 9pm on Thursdays with a slightly earlier closing time of 4pm on Saturdays.

The Monet team outside the new salon premises on Lisburn Road, Belfast.

Bid For A Fitter Belfast With The Every Body Active Scheme

Belfast City Council has secured £1.5 million of National Lottery Funding to deliver Sport Northern Ireland’s Every Body Active 2020 scheme.

The scheme aims to encourage the people of Northern Ireland to become more active and has a number of representatives including special guests rugby players Andres Trimle and Rodney Ah You.

Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell is joined by rugby players Andrew Trimble and Rodney Ah You for the launch of the ‘Sport NI Every Body Active 2020’ at Belfast City Hall.

12 delivery partners are engaged including Athletics NI and Ulster Badminton who between them will offer 15 separate citywide sport programmes in a further bid to motivate people to get involved in the scheme.

Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mary Ellen Campbell said: “We’ve set out in The Belfast Agenda that we want Belfast to be a city where everyone experiences good health and wellbeing – and taking part in sport and physical activity is a key way of helping to make sure that we keep fit and well, both physically and mentally.

We’re especially keen to increase the number of women and girls, people with a disability and those in areas of greatest social need taking part. But not only that, we want to help them enjoy, engage in and excel at their chosen sport.”

(L-R) International athlete Amy Foster, Sophie Thomas Ulster Squash, international netball player Niamh Cooper, rugby player Rodney Ah You and Ian McClure, Irish Bowls Federation launch the ‘Sport NI Every Body Active 2020’.

Sport Northern Ireland Chair George Lucas added: “We believe passionately in the power sport has to enhance our physical and mental health, and to promote community cohesion. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we are able to invest £1.5m into projects and activities which will allow more people in Belfast to participate in sport and enjoy the many benefits of an active lifestyle.”


To get involved, register at:

Rio & Brazil Set To Open New Store In Victoria Square

One of Belfast’s longest running independent fashion boutiques, is celebrating 40 years in business, by investing over £200,000 to relocate to a new store in Victoria Square. Rio & Brazil has taken over a 3,200 sq ft two story unit on the ground floor, opposite the iconic yellow Jaffe Fountain and Kitchen Bar.

The new store is set to open in August, with 14 staff.

Rio & Brazil first opened its doors 40 years ago in Bradbury Place Belfast, soon followed by two further stores in Donegal Arcade and then to its current store on Wellington Place. The boutique is famous for its exclusive clothing lines for men and women.

Victoria Square will benefit from the introduction of 10 unique brands that are exclusive to Rio & Brazil for Northern Ireland. Shoppers will avail of over 44 new brands not yet represented in Victoria Square. Some of these unique global fashion lines include: Circle of Gentlemen, Farah Vintage, Matchless London, Save The Queen, Pom Amsterdam and Ana Alcazar.

Steven Simpson, Owner of Rio & Brazil said: “My father opened our first store 40 years ago making us now one of the longest running independent fashion boutiques in Belfast. We are grateful to all our customers who have supported us over the years, as they’ve continued to shop with us through each of our relocations. Our continued evolution and introduction of unique premium products, over recent years, has now set us apart from high street stores. We are very excited about the move and are looking forward to our new convenient setting in Northern Ireland’s most prestigious shopping centre, Victoria Square.

Pictured (l-r) outside the new Rio & Brazil unit in Victoria Square are Gary Martin, Associate Director of Retail Agency at Lambert Smith Hampton with Steven and Jeane Simpson, Owners of Rio & Brazil.

“The business has traded strongly over the last few years, especially with the introduction and success of our online store,, and we felt now was the right time to move to a bigger premises. Our new unit is 25 percent bigger than our current store and is situated at the main Victoria Street entrance, with prominent on street windows. This store will give us a bigger presence, allowing us to carry more labels and offer our consumers a bigger choice.”

He added: “The high footfall and location of the unit in Victoria Square presented us with an opportunity to grow the business. The centre has high visibility and attracts a lot of international customers. We’ve secured 44 new brands which are unique to Victoria Square and we are proud to be able to bring our unique shopping experience to a wider audience.”

Commercial property agency Lambert Smith Hampton acted on behalf of Victoria Square to secure the new tenant.

Gary Martin, Associate Director of Retail Agency at Lambert Smith Hampton commented: “We are delighted to have been able to bring Rio & Brazil to Victoria Square. The owner’s decision to invest in a new store in Victoria Square, is testament to the strength of the scheme as the top retail destination in Northern Ireland. We’re confident Rio & Brazil will add to the already diverse retail offering in the centre and be a huge hit with consumers.”

Spring Ball 2017 at Culloden

The Spring Ball was hosted in the stunning surroundings of Culloden Estate in memory of Lindsay Emerson, raising funds for Fields of Life. During her short life, Lindsay worked with charities in the Philippines, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Albania. Her last charity trip was in 2006, when she and her husband led a team of volunteers from Emmanuel Church to Uganda, with Fields of Life. Lindsay thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children she encountered and was touched by the passion of the Fields of Life staff and school teachers.

Whilst in Uganda, Lindsay suffered from headaches and shortly after her return home, she was diagnosed with with a brain tumour. When Lindsay died in April 2007, at the age of 23, Fields of Life dedicated the school she and her team had started working on, to her memory. The secondary school is called Light for All school and over 200 pupils now attend.

Over £60,000 was raised on the night, which will go to build a computer room at Light for All, as technology is a key element in improving education and obtaining results in sustainable development.

Sky News correspondent David Blevins was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and entertainment was provided by top Ulster performers, Conor Taggart, The Belfast Community Gospel Choir, and popular band The Gents. The evening’s prize draw included a £2,000 diamond ring, courtesy of Lunns Jewellers.


The Style Edit

Media personality, stylist and breakfast Rebecca McKinney joined forces with award-winning Belfast makeup artist Stevie Lennox to host their very first collaborative style event at the Fitzwilliam Hotel. The Style Edit was attended by nearly 100 eager style fans who gathered to find out the latest trends in fashion and makeup.

Check out our June issue, on sale now, for more coverage of this event. 


Bushmills® Irish Whiskey Takes Over The Filthy Quarter This Bank Holiday

The Filthy Quarter will host the first ever Black Bush® Block Party on Sunday 28 May from 4pm as part of the #AnswerTheCall event series. The event will be an explosion of creative energy saluting the fearless, the spirited and the defiant.

Created in collaboration with Kevin Pyke, food guru and owner of Derry/Londonderry based street-food start-up Pyke ‘N’ Pommes, The Black Bush Block Party is the first-time Kevin will share his street food concept with a Belfast audience. Kevin has been experimenting with Bushmills® Irish Whiskey to create a menu of Black Bush inspired tacos and will bring the undeniable atmosphere and intense aromas of Pyke ’N’ Pommes to Belfast so the city can experience his food revolution built on fiery fare and fervid fun.

Kevin’s tacos will pair perfectly with the rich, fruity notes and intense character of Black Bush and include ‘Beef Brisket Slow-Cooked in Black Bush’ and ‘Pork Al Pastor with a Black Bush Glaze’, to name a few.

The #AnswerTheCall series sees Bushmills® Irish Whiskey working with local creators, thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs and adventurers to celebrate their stories and inspire others to fulfil their true calling. Kevin will be joined by barber extraordinaire Garry Jackson and elusive street-artist Glen Molloy. All three talents will showcase their passions and share their stories of fearlessness and defiance to inspire revellers to discover and answer their call.

 To read the stories of and keep up to date with the #AnswerTheCall series, visit To join in the conversation follow Bushmills on social media @BushmillsUK. 

Photo by Rob Durston ( )

Winner of Northern Ireland’s Nightmare Bathroom Competition Revealed

Leading bathroom company, Bassetts, announced that Elizabeth McGrogan (35) from Castlereagh has won the first-ever ‘Northern Ireland’s Nightmare Bathroom Competition’ and her prize is her very own dream bathroom renovation worth £10,000.

The competition saw people from all over Northern Ireland submitting an image or video of their current nightmare bathroom alongside reasons why they deserve a dream bathroom.

Beating stiff competition, Elizabeth was named among the five finalists as decided by an expert judging panel led by Philip Rodgers, owner of Philip Rodgers Design, before ultimately going on to win the overall prize.

Elizabeth submitted an impressive video of her bathroom which was entitled ‘The McGrogan’s Bathroom Nightmare,’ and featured an image of their dream bathroom before showing the reality of their current nightmare bathroom, which included floral tiles, holes filled with silicone, lime green paint and mould.

The East Belfast native said she could no longer cope with her bathroom and even her three dogs, Tootsie, Betsy and Holly, couldn’t put up with it any longer!

Elizabeth’s entry secured the most votes on social media following an impressive campaign including support from local politician Naomi Long on Twitter.

Elizabeth said, “After a close family member’s positive experience with Bassetts we decided to enter this competition to transform our bathroom. My whole family are delighted that we have won this competition and are excited that we are finally going to have our dream bathroom.

Elizabeth McGrogan with Bassetts Showroom Sales Manager Martin Strutt.
Elizabeth McGrogan with Bassetts Showroom Sales Manager Martin Strutt.

“In the past I have invited family over to stay and had to apologise to them for the state of my bathroom, it was very embarrassing. Now though, with my five year old daughter Georgia wanting a Kacuzzi, as she can’t quite say Jacuzzi, and my 16 year old son wanting an audio-Bluetooth mirror, we are sure this really will be our whole family’s dream bathroom!”

Bassetts Managing Director Alan Wright added, “We have been overwhelmed with the engagement this competition has received from people across Northern Ireland. We received a large amount of entries and we would like to thank everyone that has entered.

“It was a tight-run race but in the end, Elizabeth is a well-deserved winner and we are now working closely with the McGrogan family to make their dream bathroom a reality with the aim of installing it within the next few months.”

The competition ran from March through to May with the public voting stage taking place over a two week period. The other four finalists all received a 50% discount voucher which can be used across any of Bassetts’ stores.

Catering for every need, ranging from boilers and radiators through to bathrooms, showers, tiles and everything in between, Bassetts currently employs over 100 people with branches in Bangor, Belfast, Clady, Coleraine, Downpatrick, Dungannon, Lisburn, Greencastle, L’Derry, Mallusk, Newry, Portadown and Omagh.

For further information, visit or telephone 028 3833 94 38.  

BUSHMILLS® Irish Whiskey To Discover Northern Ireland’s Literary Talent

#AnswerTheCall sees Bushmills® Irish Whiskey working with local creators, thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs and adventurers to celebrate their stories and inspire others to fulfil their true calling.

Keen to celebrate local talent, #AnswerTheCall has teamed up with David Torrans of No Alibis to offer undiscovered writers in Northern Ireland the opportunity to have their work published. Writers are invited to compose an ode for the fearless, spirited and defiant amongst us and submit it to A selection of the submissions that embrace the Bushmills spirit of fearlessness and determination will feature in a publication exclusively available at No Alibis.

The Old Bushmills Distillery has been handcrafting whiskey for over 400 years, and is one of the first distilleries in the world to make both single malt and blended Irish whiskey. This innovation and fearlessness to forge a new path is something David Torrans can identify with.

Fighting off the giants of the books industry is a tall order but cultural hotspot, No Alibis has confidently owned its place in the market since 1997. Like Bushmills Irish Whiskey staying true to its recipe throughout the malt tax of the 1850s, No Alibis has been persistent in fighting off the books industry, refusing to be intimidated by bigger industry players. For over 20 years, David has defied the rise of digital publishing and the never-ending march of national book chains to create a unique book buying experience for Belfast’s literature lovers.

David once only dreamed of owning his own bookstore and worked the 9-5 slog as a mushroom picker, barman and civil servant. Until he answered his call. With expression his passion and literature his tool, David established No Alibis to serve as a cool, interactive medium between readers and writers. His vision was to create much more than a bookshop, rather a cultural hotspot to nurture visitors’ passions and talents for literary arts – everything from spoken-word to song-writing to reading.

Now, No Alibis represents a success story, each chapter filled with challenges and accomplishments and each page packed with ambition.

Some of the other talent collaborating with Bushmills Irish Whiskey to host and curate #AnswerTheCall events include; Whitehead based tattoo artist Willy G who in his second year of tattooing won 6 awards and has countless celebrity clients on his books, one of Belfast’s best known street artists, Visual Waste who has attracted thousands of tourists to Belfast through his expressive and unpredictable murals and Kevin Pyke, owner of Derry based Pyke ‘n’ Pomme, an acclaimed street food style eatery.

To submit creative words for consideration for the #AnswerTheCall publication, visit

To join in the conversation and keep up to date with the #AnswerTheCall series, follow Bushmills on social media @BushmillsUK.

Diamonds & Daiquiris at Jack Murphy Jewellers

Jack Murphy Jewellers celebrated their 5th annual cocktail party at 63 Hill Street Newry on the 6th of April. This was a special event as they recognised the founder, Jack’s 60th year in the jewellery trade. A relaxed evening of cocktails and canapés while trying on and viewing the stunning diamond collection. One lucky attendee – Clarice Downey won a £1,000 diamond on the night!

Check out our May issue, on sale Friday 21st April, for more coverage of this event.  

An Entertaining Spring Fair at Barnett Demesne

Roll up! Roll up! for fun as Belfast’s annual Spring Fair unleashes a feast of family entertainment in the grounds of Barnett Demesne over the weekend of Saturday, 29 April and Sunday, 30 April.

Surrounded by a colourful pageant of spring flowers including glorious daffodils children can view the scarecrow display or try to score a bullseye having a go at archery. They can take pony rides, dance, climb, get a caricature drawing, use junk to create artistic masterpieces, meet the larger than life characters ‘Himself’ and ‘Herself’ or just sit still and enjoy the fun going on around them.

Bees, bugs and butterflies are on the agenda in the environmental areas while the Park Life education programme will have activities related to the harmless Hoverfly and his pollinator pals.

Councillor Matt Garrett, Chair of the People and Communities Committee,  enjoys tea with nine-month old Maisie McErlean, her sister Ella and Paul the scarecrow as they launch the Spring Fair that takes place at Barnett Demesne on Saturday/Sunday 29-30 April between 1.30pm-5.30pm.
Councillor Matt Garrett, Chair of the People and Communities Committee, enjoys tea with nine-month old Maisie McErlean, her sister Ella and Paul the scarecrow as they launch the Spring Fair that takes place at Barnett Demesne on Saturday/Sunday 29-30 April between 1.30pm-5.30pm.

Everyone can enjoy the plants and craft stalls while a fun fair zone with the biggest inflatable assault course in the world will be on offer for £1.00.

Councillor Matt Garrett, Chair of the People and Communities Committee, who launched the Spring Fair said: “Be adventurous that’s our message for the weekend try out something you haven’t done before alongside those old favourites.

“The Spring Fair is always a great family event with thousands of people of all ages coming through the gates. I hope everyone will take advantage of what’s on offer.”

Visitors are encouraged to use public transport with a bus service from Donegall Square East as only limited parking, including disabled parking, is available at Belfast Indoor Bowls Club, Milltown Road. A park and ride service will operate from here between 1.30pm – 5.30pm each day.

Only assistance dogs only are allowed in the park.

More information is available from or pick up a leaflet, which are also available in braille, from local centres or visitor attractions.