Ards and North Down Council Mayor’s Farewell Concert

Cllr Robert Adair (Mayor of Ards and North Down) hosted a ‘Farewell Concert’ in Bangor Castle recently to thank people for their support during his Mayoral year.  Bangor Ladies Choir wearing sashes ‘Votes for Women’ sang their tribute to the Suffragettes with a great selection of songs that included the well-known WWI songs, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, ‘Keep the home fires burning’ and ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag’.  After being entertained by the choir, the Mayor’s guests enjoyed a delightful afternoon tea. Cllr Adair was installed at the annual general meeting of Ards and North Down Council on Wednesday 7th June 2017; at age 29 he was younger than any mayor of the two councils Ards and North Down which ceased as separate entities in 2015.  Speaking of his Mayoral year, Mr Adair said that he was honoured and humbled and felt very privileged to be the youngest ever Mayor of Ards and North Down Council.

Cllr Robert Adair (Mayor of Ards and North Down) pictured at his ‘Farewell Concert’ in Bangor Castle with Ann Adair-Smith and Warren Smith.

FOOD TO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD

Since 1992, wagamama restaurants have been a hugely popular destination for people seeking high quality, nutritious and delicious food. wagamama opened its doors in Belfast in 2011, and the rest is history, with the restaurant becoming a firm favourite in the Victoria Square centre. So much so that it recently opened a second location in Dundonald in 2016.

The ethos at wagamama is that the menu has been designed to nourish, sustain, soothe and inspire. “wagamama is all about positive eating”, commented Mr Eddie Johnston (Managing Director), “the idea that we feed our soul as well as our body. That’s why we use fresh ingredients, cook our dishes with passion and love and serve our food the very second it’s ready, spreading positivity from soul to bowl. The aim in a wagamama restaurant is for all our customers to share in our enthusiasm, relax in good company and leave feeling happy, nourished and refreshed”

wagamama have introduced a selection of new menu items which are being launched in May to support its latest campaign, which aims to leave us feeling good through positive eating. With a range of dishes from curry to salad to new omakase (chef’s special) dishes, there is sure to be something for everyone on the new menu.

These items include:

  • Pad thai salad: a new take on the old classic, consisting of ginger chicken and prawns on a bed of mixed leaves, mangetout, baby plum tomatoes, shredded pickled beetroot, carrot and red onion. This is then garnished with fried shallots and served with a side of peanuts and nuoc cham and ginger and miso dressing. This dish is a little on the lighter side if you don’t want something as filling as a teppanyaki or ramen dish.
  • Seared nuoc cham tuna: seared tuna steak on a bed of quinoa and stir-fried kale, alongside sweet potato, edamame beans, red onion and peppers. This is topped with coriander and a nuoc cham dressing. This is a slight variation on the grilled tuna dish that wagamama offered previously, giving it a refresh for the summer season.
  • Grilled bream donburi: a new take on the donburi (literally “big bowl of rice” in Japanese), this dish consists of fillet of sea bream served with sticky rice in a sweet teriyaki sauce. This is finished with carrots, pea shoots, spring onions, spicy vinegar and coriander.
  • Sticky pork belly: citrus and teriyaki glazed pork belly rests on grilled miso aubergine, topped with spring onions, ginger and chilli and served with a side of white rice. If you are a fan of the shirodashi pork ramen, give this one a try.
  • Samla curry: a fragrant and spicy lemongrass and coconut curry with peppers, shiitake mushrooms and baby plum tomatoes. Served with white rice and garnished with spring onions, chilli and coriander, available with chicken or tofu (yasai)
  • Beef tataki: the beef tataki is a new side dish which is sure to be a hit with lovers of Japanese cuisine. It consists of lightly seared and marinated steak, which has been sliced thinly. It is served chilled and dressed with citrus ponzu and Japanese mayonnaise, with pickled beetroot and coriander on the side.

For more information on wagamama menus, opening times and locations visit www.wagamamani.com

 

Galgorm says Konnichiwa to world exclusive gin

Northern Ireland’s premier luxury hotel, Galgorm Resort & Spa, has taken delivery of one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive gins. With only six bottles released into the UK market each year, Watenshi retails at £2000 per bottle and Galgorm is now the privileged owner of one of this year’s batch.

A gin unparalleled in intensity and complexity, with notes of sweet citrus and spice, Watenshi will take centre stage in the renowned Gin Library at Galgorm, becoming the 400th brand of gin to be welcomed to the collection. Produced by the multi-award-winning UK based Cambridge Distillery, which has been commissioned to distil gins for some of the world’s best restaurants and voted the ‘World’s Most Innovative Gin’ for the last 2 years running, Watenshi is arguably one of the most extraordinary and prestigious spirts ever produced. Distilled at half the pressure found on top of Mount Everest and at a temperature lower than the coldest day recorded at the South Pole, Watenshi is created by capturing the ‘Angel’s share’ of Cambridge’s ‘Japanese Gin’ which would otherwise be lost to evaporation – yielding just 15ml per distillation.

Galgorm’s resident Gin Connoisseur, Marcus Carty, said;

“As Northern Ireland finds itself in the grip of a gin loving phenomenon and with World Gin Day just around the corner, Watenshi or as it is more affectionately known, ‘The Japanese Angel’, truly is a heavenly arrival to Galgorm for gin aficionados. Galgorm is renowned for its above and beyond offering, housing some of the world’s most innovative brands and exclusive facilities all under one roof. It is a privilege to welcome this extraordinary bottle to our collection and it means our guests can experience something internationally remarkable right here at home. We have acquired bottle No.5 from this year’s release and coming in at 45% ABV it certainly packs a punch. It is a gin best enjoyed neat, on ice or as a very dry Martini.”

Presented in a hand-blown decanter bottle and finished off with silver pieces by jeweller Antoine Sandoz, whose other clients include Chanel and Tom Ford, Watenshi is as easy on the eye as it is on the palette. With 400 brands available in the Gin Library, the Resort champions both local and global distillations, with Northern Ireland gins Jawbox and Shortcross sitting shoulder to shoulder with gins as exclusive as Watenshi.  The array is showcased through the Resort’s daily ‘Gin Tasting’ for residents and Connoisseur, Marcus, is on hand to create a bespoke gin-based cocktail for couples getting married at the spectacular Resort adding a personal touch to their special day.

 

Katharine Walker crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2018

Katharine Walker has been crowned the 2018 Insanity Tan Miss Northern Ireland at the glittering black tie event at the Europa Hotel, Belfast on Monday 28th May. The stunning 23 year old pediatric nurse from Hillsborough impressed the panel of judges on the night with her beauty, charm and personality, giving her the winning edge over twenty-four other finalists, to acquire the coveted crown from previous titleholder, Anna Henry.

The exclusive gala final was a glamorous affair hosted by UTV presenter Marc Mallet and former Miss Northern Ireland and television presenter, Zoe Salmon Corrie. Contest organiser and Managing Director of top Belfast modelling agency ACA Models, Alison Clarke said: “We are thrilled that Katharine has won the title. Although the standard of talent has been extremely high this year, Katharine has really sparkled throughout the contest and she certainly wowed the judging panel on the night.”

Winner Katharine Walker said: “I am absolutely delighted to wear the Insanity Tan Miss Northern Ireland crown and be given the opportunity to represent Northern Ireland in this way! Taking part in the contest has been such an immense experience and I never thought I would come this far. I’ve always looked up to previous Miss Northern Ireland winners, so I hope to follow in their footsteps and become a positive role model for other local girls. The competition has already been such a life changing experience and I have made friends for life. Winning this title is undoubtedly life-changing and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me!”

Katharine will receive an extensive prize package worth thousands of pounds including a year’s modelling contract with ACA Models, an all-expenses paid trip to Miss World,1 years beauty treatments and complimentary Insanity spray Tan’s from Bronze Tanning & Beauty Salons, a make up hamper from Make Up Pro Store worth over £500, a personal training package with Think Fit tailored just for her, a stylish Fiat 500 car from Donnelly Group, a new designer wardrobe provided by Rosie’s Closet and much much more.

Runner’s up on the night were Lucy Spratt aged 22 from Belfast who came second in the contest and Klaudia Gorska aged 18 from Magherafelt who was placed third.

Gerry McBride and Joe McGlinchey, joint MD’s of Bronze Direct and producers of Insanity Tan said: “It has been an absolute pleasure sponsoring Miss NI as title sponsors for another year. Congratulations to Katharine on being crowned Insanity Tan Miss Northern Ireland 2018 and we can’t wait for Katharine to enjoy all of the amazing beauty treatments we have on offer at our Bronze Tanning & Beauty salons throughout the year of her reign.”

On handing over her title, the 2017 winner Anna Henry said: “I’ve had an incredible year as Miss Northern Ireland. It’s been real honour fulfilling this role and I’ve gained so much from my experience. It’s with a heavy heart that I relinquish my crown, but I am so happy to be passing it to Katharine, who is a deserving winner. I wish her all the very best for her year as Insanity Tan Miss Northern Ireland 2018.”

For further information on the contest and finalists, please visit www.missnorthernireland.co.uk

 

 

150th Anniversary of the annual Balmoral Show

The 150th annual Balmoral Show took place last week, see our gallery below.

 

Ards and North Down Pipe Band Championships

The Ards and North Down Pipe Band Championships, the first pipe band contest of the 2018 season, was held in wall to wall sunshine at Castle Grounds, Bangor on Saturday 12th May.  Hosted by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBANI) in conjunction with Ards and North Down Borough Council the event saw 40 bands and 46 drum majors take part.  The chieftain of the Day was Councillor Robert Adair (Mayor of Ards and North Down Council) who took the salute and presented the prizes.  A Highland Dancing Competition held in First Bangor Presbyterian Church Hall added to the Scottish flavour of the day in Bangor.

Ladies in Waiting

Galgorm Resort and Spa rolled out the red carpet to welcome two very special guests ahead of their attendance at the hotly anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll from Derry-Londonderry, who have been invited to the Royal Wedding on 19th May, were whisked off to Galgorm for a day of styling and pampering to get them royally ready for the celebrations at Windsor Castle. Hosted in the opulent surroundings of the Spa ‘Boudoir’, Galgorm’s private group treatment suite ideal for pre-wedding pampering, the Resort treated the excited pair to a day of luxury fit for a Princess. After a bespoke styling session, decadent royal themed Afternoon Tea and luxurious spa treatments in Galgorm’s award-winning spa and thermal village, the ladies were left refreshed, revamped and ready to attend the wedding of the year. Although their wedding packages don’t come with an official Royal title, Galgorm promises to make every bride feel like Royalty. The Resort is inviting future brides to join them for a showcase of matrimonial opulence at the Galgorm Summer Bridal Open Evening on Wednesday 27th June. Those attending will be treated to everything a summer wedding at Galgorm has to offer including access to their very own gin mixologist, croquet on the lawn, entertainment and an array of delectable culinary delights.

 

Further information about the free event is available now at www.galgorm.com Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll, are pictured with Galgorm Resort and Spa Doorman, David Faloon.

 

Galgorm Resort and Spa rolled out the red carpet to welcome two very special guests this week ahead of their attendance at the hotly anticipated wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle. Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll from Derry-Londonderry, who have been invited to the Royal Wedding on 19th May, were whisked off to Galgorm for a day of styling and pampering to get them royally ready for the celebrations at Windsor Castle. Hosted in the opulent surroundings of the Spa ‘Boudoir’, Galgorm’s private group treatment suite ideal for pre-wedding pampering, the Resort treated the excited pair to a day of luxury fit for a Princess. After a bespoke styling session, decadent royal themed Afternoon Tea and luxurious spa treatments in Galgorm’s award-winning spa and thermal village, the ladies were left refreshed, revamped and ready to attend the wedding of the year. Although their wedding packages don’t come with an official Royal title, Galgorm promises to make every bride feel like Royalty. The Resort is inviting future brides to join them for a showcase of matrimonial opulence at the Galgorm Summer Bridal Open Evening on Wednesday 27th June. Those attending will be treated to everything a summer wedding at Galgorm has to offer including access to their very own gin mixologist, croquet on the lawn, entertainment and an array of delectable culinary delights. Further information about the free event is available now at www.galgorm.com Mother and daughter, Catherine Cooke and Julie-Ann Coll, are pictured with Galgorm Resort and Spa Doorman, David Faloon.

 

Darkness Into Light

On Saturday, May 12th Pieta House and sponsorship partner Electric Ireland marked the tenth anniversary of Darkness Into Light, a global movement and fundraising event with over 200,000 participants across fifteen countries including thousands of people across nine venues in Northern Ireland who woke up and walked from Darkness Into Light to de-stigmatise suicide and raise funds for suicide prevention, suicide bereavement and self-harm in Northern Ireland.

From humble beginnings in 2009 with 400 walkers in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Darkness Into Light, has grown from strength to strength.   This year the first walk took place in New Zealand as teams were setting up for the 180 locations across the island of Ireland. From there it moved to Australia, on to the US, the United Emirates, across Europe with Belgium, Spain and Germany, before finally crossing the Atlantic after Ireland and the UK, with the last event being on the west coast in Vancouver, Canada.

Clare McAllister, Sales and Marketing Manager, Electric Ireland, said, “We have been incredibly proud to support Darkness Into Light since 2013. We are thrilled with the swelling number of people participating every year, making this event a powerful international movement in the fight against suicide; together we can offer hope, community and solidarity to people impacted by suicide and self-harm.’’

Brian Higgins, the CEO of Pieta House, said, “I can’t thank the volunteers, supporters, participants and our sponsors Electric Ireland enough. Each year, I’m blown away by the support and compassion shown around the world on this very special day. We must not get complacent however, and I urge our walkers and the public to remember that the finish line is only the beginning of our journey. We need to replace suicidal thoughts and self-harm with hope and understanding and practice hope and empathy every day.”

Electric Ireland has sponsored Darkness into Light for the past six years. To celebrate all those who make the event a success, from participants to volunteers and fundraisers; an inspiring video has been produced which includes impactful scenes from the event to serve as a reminder that the finish line is just the beginning in the fight against suicide.

Watch Electric Ireland’s ‘Thank You’ video here: https://youtu.be/euRgRpitxPs

Reception in Honour of the Nashville Sister Cities Delegation

 A reception in honour of the Nashville Sister Cities Delegation was held in the Discover Ulster-Scots Centre, Belfast on Tuesday 1st May.  The visitors from Nashville, one of Belfast’s Sister Cities, were welcomed by Ian Crozier (Chief Executive Officer, Ulster-Scots Agency).  The keynote speaker was former First Minister, the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA who brought good wishes from Northern Ireland.  The event saw the launch of the Ulster-Scot’s latest publication ‘Andrew Jackson, the first Scotch-Irish President’. The author, Billy Kennedy, gave a brief overview of the book and then signed copies for the guests.

 

Jacob Stockdale talks about tries, television and the moment he nearly quit rugby.

Jacob Stockdale talks about tries, television and the moment he nearly quit rugby to Jane Hardy…

Stockdale’s weekly routine is naturally all about the game. “It is my life. Rugby’s not a hobby, it’s my job.” Yet Stockdale nearly didn’t become Ulster and Ireland’s game maker. The speedy wing went to Wallace High School and was a late developer in sports terms. There was even a time he went right off the other beautiful game, as he recalls: “I wouldn’t say I was ever tempted by another sport, but I was tempted to quit when I was fourteen to fifteen. I wasn’t so good, I wasn’t enjoying it and wasn’t big enough. There was a point where I missed some training sessions.” He adds that it was all credit to his old coach at Wallace, Derek Suffern, that he continued. “I don’t know if he saw potential but he persuaded me to come back.” 

See the full interview in this month’s Ulster Tatler, on sale now!

My Fair Lady

Lisnagarvey Operatic Society presented ‘My Fair Lady’ in the Island Hall, Lisburn recently.  People who flocked to the show enjoyed seeing Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Karen Hawthorne) take speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins (Tim Pentland) so that she may pass as a lady and improve her career prospects.  This comic, moving and endearing show adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture ‘Pygmalion’ included well-loved musical numbers such as, ‘Wouldn’t it be loverly’, ‘With a little bit of luck’ and ‘Get me to the church on time’.  This ‘rags to riches’ musical favourite, was definitely one not to be missed.

Charles Hurst Land Rover Puts Belfast First At UK Awards

Charles Hurst has hit the top spot at Land Rover UK’s Retailer Conference for its aftersales service and expertise. Beating off keen competition from franchised dealerships in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Belfast-based Charles Hurst Land Rover is now officially ‘Aftersales Retailer of the Year’. Recognising the prestige marque’s best UK dealerships and quality of service, Land Rover, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, singled out Charles Hurst’s Belfast Aftersales team for the top prize and praised the company for its dedication to providing a first-rate customer experience. Land Rover judges were impressed by the team’s commitment to consistently exceeding customer expectations in its aftersales service and the importance which it placed on new and longstanding relationships.

Andrew Gilmore, Charles Hurst Group Aftersales Director, said:

“Charles Hurst Land Rover has a very clear direction and customer focus on our aftersales service delivery and we’re really pleased that this is recognised by Land Rover UK and among our peers in the industry.

“Our award win is the result of a real team effort and I’m thrilled that our collective efforts have been noticed in this way.”

Charles Hurst also highlighted the contributions made by Land Rover Aftersales Manager Glenn McCartney and by Parts Manager David Cockfield, who helped in leading the Belfast’s team UK victory at the national awards.