Soaks bathroom win big!

Soaks Bathrooms have won ‘UK & Ireland EK&B Best Bathroom Retailer 2019’ at the recent Essential Kitchen and Bathroom Business awards night which took place in The Brewery in London . Having won this and the ‘KBB UK & Ireland Bathroom Retailer of the Year 2019’  they have won the top 2 awards in the Bathroom Industry nationwide!

Castle Lighting – Barrett Electrical Light Up Omagh With Official Launch Night Celebrations!

Following an extensive refurbishment and extension Barrett Electrical and Castle Lighting have amalgamated under one roof to create a fresh new in-store experience.

The new store is now Omagh’s largest specialist stockist of quality electrical supplies, decorative lighting and home interior accessories.

Guests at the recent launch evening were treated to a VIP experience, enjoying a red carpet entrance with light refreshments an exclusive opening offer and festive themed competition.

In-store the guests also took the opportunity to browse the vast selection of indoor and outdoor lights to illuminate their chosen space. From fairy-tale chandeliers to abstract pendants, designer table lamps to eye catching exterior lights.

To complement the beautiful range of lighting there was also the wide selection of home interior accessories on display. From chaise lounges to themed side tables, striking mirrors to beautiful statement accessories and gifts.

Electricians and DIY enthusiasts were also catered for in the electrical zone where they were able to discover the full range of electrical fittings and accessories to ‘switch on’ or ‘light up’!

Why not check out Castle Lighting – Barrett Electrical for yourself at 29 Gortrush Industrial Estate, Omagh, telephone:  +44(0) 28 8224 6616 or visit www.castlelightingomagh.com

Black Santa Night Time Bazaar

Christmas visitors to the Cathedral Quarter this year will be able shop for unique seasonal gifts while being entertained and supporting those less fortunate.

St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast will open its doors to a stunning Art and Craft Bazaar this Christmas in aid of the Black Santa Charity.

The Black Santa Night Time Bazaar runs from 5pm to 10.30pm on Saturday December 14.

Set to be a magical night, the event will see more than 100 stalls of the best art and crafts, vintage and food.

A woodland walk through the crypt will lead to a stunning stretch tent packed with artisan food vendors and Live Djs

The Jazz Bus is making its first appearance this Christmas, where you can sip a craft beer, cocktail or a hot drink and listen to stunning live jazz. There will be seasonal music from local choirs with special guests and the best DJs in the city.

The bazaar is a fully family-friendly evening with lots of surprises.

Organiser Caroline Baker of Little Fox Events says there will be something for everyone – and that’s no exaggeration.“From entertainment, music, drink and food, to the best artisan and craft items available, there will be plenty to see, do and buy.

“As well as helping the Black Santa charity appeal, you will also be supporting small, local, independent businesses and keeping the carbon footprint down! So, get into the festive spirit and make it a date to come down to Belfast Cathedral and join in the fun.”

The event is supported by the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District initiative and Belfast Music City Council.

CQ BID manager Gareth Neill says it’s an exciting new development for the Quarter over the Christmas season.He said: “Everyone involved in the BID is looking forward to the bazaar which is the latest offering in the area.

“It involves small local businesses, entertainers and musicians, artisan food makers, crafters and best of all, while people are shopping and having fun, they can donate and support those less fortunate at this festive time of year – what’s not to like?

We hope people will come out in their droves to support the bazaar, and the Black Santa charity, as people have been doing loyally here for many years.”

 

CONNSWATER COMMUNITY GREENWAY BLOOMS WITH THREE MAJOR AWARDS

Connswater Community Greenway has scooped three major awards at two high profile ceremonies held in London last week, reaffirming its status as a ‘Living Landmark.’  The awards from The Academy of Urbanism and the Landscape Institute recognised the tremendous work the project has achieved in connecting people, place and nature in a revitalised urban space as well encouraging civic pride and community engagement.

The Paul Hogarth Company, the landscape architects for the Connswater Community Greenway, received two awards from the Landscape Institute for their contribution to the ‘What’s Growing on the Greenway’ project. They scooped the Communications and Presentation Award along with the overall President’s Award, which was previously won by prestigious projects including the redevelopment of Olympic Park and Leicester Square. Sir David Attenborough was a special guest and set the tone for the evening regarding the fightback against climate change by stating’We need to help humans see, understand and love nature.’  It was recognised that What’s Growing on the Greenway’ did exactly this by opening a dialogue between the local community and the new landscape via a blog and a book. The blog featured plant of the week which blossomed into content for a book with local people who produced photos and images capturing their favourite plant species supported by interesting facts, trivia and location.  Judges were also impressed by the Greenway’s ability to provide a positive focus for residents struggling with mental health.

Connswater Community Greenway also fought off strong competition to win the award for best place to live in the UK and Ireland from The Academy of Urbanism. The ‘Great Place’ award is one of five given out each year by The Academy. The theme of this year’s awards was inclusivity. The academy recognised Connswater Community Greenway as a model and exemplar of community integration and a high inclusivity project both in its delivery and legacy. They also acknowledged the Greenway for its positive regeneration outcomes in relation to health, volunteering and reducing anti-social behaviour.

For the latest news on EastSide Greenways visit www.eastsidepartnership.com, Facebook.com/ConnswaterCommunityGreenway or Twitter @ConnsGreenway #EastSideGreenways.

Women in Business NI Shine a Light on Business Leaders

Women in Business NI presented the Spotlight on Success Conference at the Crowne Plaza Belfast as they welcomed a host of inspirational guest speakers.

In association with Power NI, this unique half day conference brought together business leaders from across the corporate and entrepreneurial world who passionately spoke about their successes and provided words of encouragement and motivation.

Stepping into the spotlight to share their personal success stories with delegates were speakers including Tracy Meharg, Department for Communities, Jackie Henry, Deloitte, Marie-Therese McGivern, Belfast Metropolitan College, Dr Wendy Austin MBE, Fiona Tierney, Member of the Board of eir, and Isabel Jennings, Queen’s University Belfast.

Marie-Therese McGivern, Chief Executive and Principal at Belfast Metropolitan College spoke of the importance of forever learning, stating, “Learning is not a process it is an attitude”, and Fiona Tierney, who has recently been appointed by Government to ‘Better Balance for Better Business’, exclaimed that “We women are on the move.”

Followed by a Leaders networking lunch, the Conference was a perfect opportunity to gain invaluable, first-hand knowledge ensuring those important connections were made.

If you are interested in upcoming Women in Business NI events visit the website www.womeninbusinessni.com

For more information contact Louise Carson at louise@aikenpr.com or Grace White at grace@aikenpr.com

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Cocktails

The Christmas party season is upon us once more and it’s beginning to look a lot like…cocktails!

Our friends at Fratelli Belfast have been causing quite a stir, shaking up a mix of new festive themed cocktails to enjoy this festive season. Drink in the festive season with a perfectly mixed cocktail whilst enjoying food with friends and family at Fratelli or shake up some sparkle at home with these easy to make Christmas cocktails. 

Featuring a range of different spirits and garnished to perfection, these winter wonders will guarantee guests a very merry Christmas.

The Duchess

This playful cocktail is sure to be the talking point of any Christmas gathering! Inspired by the inventor of afternoon tea, Duchess Anne of Bedford, bring a little naughtiness to the celebrations by spiking Blood Orange Tea with the decadent Galgorm Estate Gin, rounded off with a dash of peach liquor.

Ingredients

50ml Blood Orange Tea (Chilled)

50ml Galgorm Estate Gin

10ml Peach Liquor

15ml Lemon Juice

2 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters

For Garnish

Orange slices

Cinnamon stick

Method

Add all the ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 8-10 seconds. Fine strain the mixture into a china teacup. Garnish with orange slice and cinnamon stick on the side plate.

 

Festive Fiero

The Festive Fiero is guaranteed to keep you fiery this Christmas! This cocktail features a modern take on the traditional vermouth cocktail. Bold, zesty flavours are complemented by the sweet tones of raspberry. Beautifully finished with a snowy sprinkle of icing sugar, the Festive Fiero captures the spirit of Christmas perfectly.

Ingredients

50ml Martini Fiero

25ml Amaretto

25ml Lemon Juice

25ml Raspberry Syrup

For Garnish

Raspberries

Mint Sprigs

Icing Sugar

 

Method:

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake together for 8-10 seconds. Fill a crystal tumbler with crushed ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Garnish with raspberries, a sprig of mint and finish with a dust of icing sugar.

 

1857 

A timeless classic, the 1857 is the perfect way to usher in a new decade. Combining the authentic local taste of Galgorm Estate Gin with the luxuriousness of Alfred Gratien Champagne, treat yourself to an 1857 to ring in the new year. A modern take on a classic taste – the perfect guest for your new year’s eve party.

 

Ingredients

35ml Galgorm Estate Gin

20ml Lemon Juice

10ml Sugar Syrup

2 Dashes of Orange Bitters

Alfred Gratien Champagne

For Garnish

Orange Twist

Blueberries

 

Method

Add all ingredients apart from champagne to a cocktail shake. Add ice and shake for 8-10 seconds. Fine strain into crystal champagne coupe. Top with Alfred Gratien Champagne. Garnish with an orange twist and a blueberry.

 

Let’s Get Blitzen

Guests can’t help but get into the spirit of Christmas with this cheerful concoction. The homemade festive mix imbues the drink with traditional cinnamon and clove flavours synonymous with Christmas, while the fresh citrus and raspberry flavours provide a lighter note to the drink.

Ingredients:

35ml Homemade Festive Mix (Method of how to make below)

25mls Lemon juice

25mls Sugar syrup

15ml Crème de Cassis

For Garnish

Candied Orange

Raspberries

Mint Sprigs

Icing Sugar

 

Method:

24 hours before you make the cocktails, add the orange peels, juniper berries, a stick of cinnamon and four cloves to a bottle of vodka. Leave to infuse for 24 hours to create your homemade festive mix.

To make each cocktail, add 35mls of the homemade festive mix to a cocktail shaker with the other ingredients. Shake all ingredients together for 8-10 seconds and strain the ingredients into a glass over crushed ice. Finish with candied orange, a raspberry, a sprig of mint and a dusting of icing sugar on top.

 

Columbian

The Columbian gives an invigorating boost to even the weariest of Christmas party-goers. Re-boot your energy with this caffeine-infused masterpiece, which combines the indulgent chocolate flavours of Crème de Cacao with the beautiful botanical flavours of Galgorm Estate Gin.

Ingredients

2 Shots of Coffee

35ml Galgorm Estate Gin

20ml Crème de Cacao

10ml Sugar Cane Syrup

2 Dashes of Orange Bitters

For Garnish

Orange Twist

Coffee Beans

 

Method

Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Fine strain mixture into tall coupe glass. Garnish with orange twist and coffee beans.

No matter what your taste is this festive season, these showstopping cocktails will have your guests drinking in the spirit of Christmas and are the perfect accompaniment to any Christmas party.

Fancy another round? Visit www.fratellibelfast.com for more cocktail inspiration, or follow Fratelli on Instagram @fratelli.belfast and on Facebook @FratelliBelfast.

 

Punk’s Back in Belfast as The Outcasts Reveal New Release

Legendary Belfast band The Outcasts  ‘Stay Young’ with brand new EP.

Fresh from their 5-date run in Japan, The Outcasts are bursting back onto Belfast’s music scene with their first release in almost 40 years.

Belfast-born punk icons, The Outcasts, were formed in 1977, when three brothers and a friend came together to offer local music fans a “night off from the Troubles”. Their unique sound proved a hit and they were signed to Terri Hooley’s infamous Good Vibrations record label. Branded by local media as “the band you love to hate”, The Outcasts embraced their bad boy image and were central to the development of the youth punk scene in Belfast.

Forty years later, the punk rockers are back stronger  than ever and have recently signed with US Philadelphia-based record label, Violated Records. The new ‘Stay Young’ EP will be released in January 2020, and will be available as a 3-track Vinyl record as well as a 5-track CD with bonus songs.

The EP release marks the launch of The Outcasts’ US Tour in 2020. The band are set to take the States by storm with their East Coast tour from the 9th-24th April, finishing up in Canada with a closing set at the Montreal Oi! Festival on 25th April.

Lead singer and bassist, Greg Cowan, said:

“When we formed The Outcasts we wanted to unite everyone with a love of punk and celebrate Belfast’s vibrant music scene. It’s a really big deal for the band that we have been signed by an American record label Violated Records, who have supported us in releasing our first material in almost 40 years. We are overwhelmed by the continued support of fans, both old and new, and can’t wait to celebrate in the only way we know how!’

 The Outcasts will be marking their triumphant return to Belfast’s punk scene with their famed annual Christmas Party at the Black Box on Saturday 21st December. Promising to be a raucous affair, with a DJ set by Good Vibrations icon Terri Hooley, the Christmas party this year will have a unique French theme. Hand-picked by The Outcasts to open their show in style are The 1984, a young punk band and The Dead Ritans, a punk accordion band, both travelling from France to party with Belfast’s music-lovers. Tickets are priced at £10 and are available now from the Black Box (www.blackboxbelfast.com/event/the-outcasts) or Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk/the-outcasts-tickets).

‘Stay Young’ will be available to buy from January 2020 from record shops across the UK, as well as on The Outcasts Facebook page.

The Outcasts can be found on Facebook @officialoutcasts.

Armatile invest £3m and creates 20 new jobs in Dublin expansion

A County Armagh headquartered tile manufacturer has announced plans to create 20 new jobs and invest £3m in a new luxury showroom and design hub in Dublin. Armatile, a family owned business that employs around 90 people across three locations at Armagh, Belfast and Newry, will open the facility at Baldoyle, North Dublin in Spring 2020.

Retail Director, Chris McCann said the company’s vision is to make the new showroom amongst the best in Europe in terms of design and visitor experience.

Armatile manufactures and sells bespoke floor and wall surfaces for residential, hospitality, commercial and conservation design projects. Over the past 18 months Armatile products have been manufactured and supplied to Ireland, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Nigeria, Russia, Switzerland and USA.

Ireland has been an important market for Armatile for many years and the new centre will provide an easy to access location where architects, interior designers, project contractors and installers and product specifiers can meet experts and see first-hand the wide range of bespoke mosaic, Victorian flooring and decorative tile surfaces as well as the support Armatile have available.

Chris McCann continued: “This new facility will provide tangible evidence of our long-term confidence in the Irish marketplace. We have supplied Armatile products to many projects across Ireland such as Mazda Ireland, Peter Mark Salons and the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan, to name a few. A Dublin expansion has been in our plans for a number of years and finally we have found a property with a good location, transport infrastructure and the right size.

“We have developed a reputation as one of the leading suppliers for architectural and interior design tiling solutions throughout Ireland and UK. We are able to design and manufacture bespoke and repeat mosaics, patterns, features and fabricated products – all made to a client’s preference in our Armagh manufacturing facility. Our bespoke offering is something that will truly differentiate us in the Irish market.”

The new Dublin showroom will be an inspirational experience showcasing the latest designer tiles from the world’s leading tile manufacturers. Visitors will be taken on a journey through thousands of different interior design and external landscaping options, from format tiles to authentic wood effect tiles and landscape transforming porcelain paving.

Alongside this development, Armatile is increasing its manufacturing capacity in Armagh and boosting production to meet growing demand for its expanding product range.  Meanwhile recruitment has begun for the first ten new positions for the new Dublin location.

Armatile is an awarding winning company. This year, Armatile received the UK Tile Association Award in recognition of the company’s unique, specialist skills for manufacturing customised tile and mosaic surfaces; supplied to exclusive interior, commercial and residential projects around the world.

Q Radio Christmas Light Switch-On

Platinum-selling artist Gavin James performed an exclusive, intimate gig on the Q Radio HQ terrace for their Christmas light switch on.

Guests wrapped up and turned out for mince pies, mulled wine & lots of selfies! 

For more coverage of this event, see our January 2020 issue. 

 

Ballyhackamore Christmas Family Fun Day 2019

Artie O’Neill (St Colmcilles), Maire Hendron MLA, Deputy Mayor Cllr Peter McReynolds, Market Manager Catherine Reilly and stall holder Philomena Dawson

Ballyhackamore recently hosted a Christmas Family Fun Day to help spread some festive cheer in the lead up to Christmas 2019.

Supported by Belfast City Council and local traders, visitors to Ballyhackamore enjoyed going to the various artisan markets and finding great homemade gifts to give their loved ones at Christmas. Kids enjoyed the event too, with face painting being offered as well as a unique and exciting Santa experience, as he and Mrs Claus were, of course, in attendance at the Fun Day, and could be found on the ‘Santa Bus’ that was present there.

A beautiful carol concert was also hosted, which helped to make the day even more memorable for both adults and children alike!

 

 

Methody PTA Ladies Fashion Show

Guests recently turned out in style for the Methody PTA ladies dinner and fashion show with a festive twist in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings.  The evening was hosted and styled by Rebecca McKinney. Rebecca shared her latest picks from high-end, high street and boutique retailers, showcasing outfits for every occasion, budget and taste.

The aims of the Methody PTA are to promote partnership between the College and parents and to engage in activities that promote a team and community atmosphere as well as raising funds for the school. Other events hosted by the Methody PTA in the past to raise money for the school have ranged from quiz nights, celebrations of local talent in a literary event at the No Alibis Bookshop, to the Welcome Night for new parents, as well as supporting the school Open Days.

The PTA has used the proceeds from the various events to fund small priority projects across the school. In the past, these projects have ranged from the purchase of equipment for a number of different departments, to the furnishing of the break-out room for pupils with SEN.

For more coverage of this event, see our January 2020 issue.