This June, the award-winning furniture, lighting and home accessories brand, Neptune, will open its 21st UK store in Belfast. The iconic Ormeau Bakery building is less than 10 minutes drive from Belfast city centre and marks Neptune’s first flagship store in Northern Ireland.

Founded in 1996 by friends, John Sims-Hilditch and Giles Redman, Neptune is an interiors retailer recognised for its exacting standards, design-led aesthetic and expert craftsmanship. Perhaps most well-known for its kitchens, every Neptune piece is designed for a lifetime of use, with its trademark ‘look’ being rooted in British heritage.

Like all of its stores, Neptune Belfast is designed to feel, first and foremost, like a home. The building has been designed by Neptune’s retail design team, transforming it into a one-floor living space with four spacious kitchens, two bedrooms, and a couple of living-dining areas.

“It’s surprising how much you can fit into a relatively small space,” explains Fred Horlock, the lead designer on the project from Neptune’s Retail Design Team. “It’s quite a contemporary space that’s full of light. You walk into a contemporary townhouse-style Suffolk kitchen. From there, there’s a more coastal-contemporary Chichester in our Shell palette with a whitewashed ceiling. One of the two bedrooms has a really contemporary feel which ties in beautifully with the open plan Limehouse kitchen and living area.”

Neptune Belfast will display a large portion of the collections with designs for every room of the home presented within a lifestyle environment. Its four kitchen collections will be showcased along with furniture for the bedroom, living room and dining area. Additionally, visitors to the store will see a design office and accessories area with a large floral display. It will also feature a section dedicated to Neptune Tailored. Here, customers will be able to get up close to its house-blended paints and the extensive selection of textiles that make up its fabric library.

More details of the store opening will be posted on Neptune’s website with plans set for a late June opening.

Neptune Furniture


Ulster Tatler Interiors chats to Kelly Hoppen, International Interior Designer and a former ‘Dragon’ on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den.


In the early days what inspired you to become an Interior Designer?

Interior design has always been in my bones. As a child, my mother says I was constantly shifting furniture around our home and displaying everything at its best. I also had a passion for looking around show houses and being exposed to different approaches to interior design.  My mother has always been an inspiration to me. She has amazing style and is a big fan of retro furniture which has influenced my designs massively.  This all eventually evolved from being a hobby to being my job. Through a lot of hard work and not being afraid to take the next step, I have managed to grow my business into a very successful enterprise.

Where do you draw your creativity from at the start of each individual project?

I always get to know my clients before I start a project and seek to understand how they live and what is important to them. It is not enough to simply fill a space with beautiful items if they are not going to work with the client’s lifestyle. It would be wrong to try and sell a current fashion to a client which is simply not suited to him/her. Once we have spoken about it at length, I visualise the room and from that point my creativity flows. Planning is also absolutely essential when designing your perfect space. Many people do not plan as it is time consuming and involves a lot of drawing, costing etc…However, it is crucial in attaining your perfect space.

For any young person seeking out a career in Interiors Design – What’s the best advice you can give them?

You need to put in a lot of hard work, be determined and not be afraid of taking the next step to achieve more. I have always lived by the motto ‘Nothing is too big and nothing is big enough’, it keeps me focused. It is also very important to keep an open mind, and use every resource you can. Listen to any advice that is going, soak it all up like a sponge because at some stage or another it will be of use to you.

Have you seen a shift in Interior Design since the start of the credit crunch?

The credit crunch has affected everyone and people have had to cut back drastically in every part of their life. Until recently, people were borderline obsessed with having the latest trend but now you can see people are trying to stick to what they already have and modernising it. It is so important that your interiors suit your lifestyle and that you invest in timeless and elegant pieces that will not go out of style and need to be replaced.

What are the best and/or most challenging aspects of your role?

The best aspect of my job is when a client is happy with the end result. This is immensely motivating and the reason I get out of bed every morning. I also love my role at the Princes Trust. It allows me to share my experience with young entrepreneurs and their motivation for success inspires and motivates me every day.

What does a typical day’s work involve? 

I try to sit and meditate for 15minutes every morning when I wake up, I am so busy every day so I need to take a little time to center myself in preparation for the day ahead. I then tend to spend most of my days in my studio meeting clients, brainstorming for upcoming projects and I am constantly coming up with new ideas for my ecommerce site, In the evening I like eat out with my friends or stay in and feast on a delicious home cooked meal from my favourite Honestly Healthy cookbook. I rarely get a moment to relax but it is important to make time as inspiration always comes to me when I take a few minutes away from my normal routine to just sit back and reset my mind.

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life?

There have been so many throughout my life and for many different reasons. My friends and family are my biggest inspirations by far, my daughter Natasha in particular. Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Nelson Mandela also stand out. People who have a voice and are not frightened of speaking up and are true to their thoughts are always an inspiration.

What are your typical clients looking for?

I have a very distinctive design philosophy which is to create timeless elegance whilst fusing the eastern principles of simplicity and the western taste for sumptuous textures and luxurious finishes. People know my style and are looking for it when they take me on. However, I always aim to create a space that fits my clients lifestyle perfectly so it is great to work with a client who knows what they want as this can lead to a wonderful creative collaboration.

What are the main trends going to be for 2015?

The bath, which was once a disappearing aspect of the bathroom is making a huge return in 2015. People are dying for the ultimate relaxation time in a deep sunken tub. Sleek showerheads and statement freestanding baths are all the rage at the moment. My recent collaboration with apaiser perfectly illustrates how bathware has now been redefined.


You will also see many different colour woods being used together. Blonde, taupe, black and grey woods are being mixed to bring a lovely feel to the home. Rose gold, bronze, silver, and nickel are also being introduced to the home. The same way we have started to mix different jewelry together, we are now repeating the trend in our homes with wood and metals. It goes to show how interiors and fashion really do go hand in hand.


In terms of lighting – BAN the down lighter is what I say! They are the most unflattering bulbs. You want wall washers, up-lighters, pendant lights and lighting in shadow gaps to compliment the room and space. The added bonus is that you can save lots of money too!.






What were your wishes/requirements for your special day?

Jonny and I both love BBQ food! So from the start that was probably the number one requirement on our list! Neither of us wanted our reception in a hotel, we wanted somewhere more personal, unique, somewhere that would hold one wedding a day and would provide an intimate setting with loads of character and plenty of places for photographs. We wanted our guests to be impressed but to feel  ‘at home’ and relaxed.  We found everything we wanted and more with Hillsborough Castle.


Which venue did you choose for your reception?

Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland.


Why did you choose it?

We didn’t start out with a particular theme in mind for our wedding but my mum and I joked that the theme that developed was ‘understated elegance’ and Hillsborough Castle certainly fit this description.

Initially my sister and I went to look around Hillsborough Castle – I never thought we could afford it but loved the idea of having a nosy! We were blown away with both the Castle and its beautiful gardens. It was everything I had been looking for; full of character and provided an intimate setting for our reception where we could be close to our guests. We also felt that it had a very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere and lots of places for guests to explore.

Being in Northern Ireland, we were hoping for sunshine but reckoned we needed to be prepared for rain and the Castle had plenty of photo opportunities both indoors and out. The staff were friendly and very helpful. The wedding co-ordinator assigned to us was fantastic – she encouraged us to come to see around a couple of times before booking. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

Another factor that was important to us was Hillsborough’s central location and making it easy for everyone to get to.


Which spaces did you use? 

We used all of the ground floor of the Castle. On arrival at the Castle, refreshments were served in the State Drawing Room which had beautiful double doors that opened out onto a stunning sandstone terrace overlooking the ornately manicured gardens complete with a fountain. The reception was held in the Throne Room. Starter and dessert were served to guests but the main course – a BBQ – was buffet style. Guests moved through the Red Room into the State Dining Room where the BBQ was served, then returned to their seat to enjoy their meal. Both before and after the reception, guests were free to explore the grounds – 100 acres in all – and also to wander through the beautiful rooms in the castle itself.

Throughout the day Castle staff were on hand to help guests and they were always polite and friendly. The Castle even supplied a tour guide to answer any questions and this really helped bring the Castle to life for the guests.


Who did the catering and what food/drinks were provided?

The catering was provided by Jane’s Kitchen, Kells, Co Antrim. On arrival at Hillsborough Castle our guests enjoyed a sandwich and shortbread reception served on vintage china, with tea/coffee or sparkling apple juice.


Was there a particular theme?

The reception was decorated with the flowers that had been in the church, the table centre pieces were hand tied bouquets of flowers in ‘fish bowl’ vases which were given to our aunts at the end of the evening!

The large arrangements from the church were placed at either end of the straight top table, with chains of flowers draped along the front of the top table and cake table.

The cake itself was three tiered with the top tier being modelled on Lady Alice’s Temple which is in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle.



We felt welcome and at home in the Castle and the staff, without exception, were friendly, fun and considerate. We wish we could enjoy the day again as, like everyone else says, we felt it went far too quickly!

For more information or to enquire about booking Hillsborough Castle for your

wedding please contact the events team

on 028 9268 1342 or email


Danielle McClenaghan

Name: Danielle McClenaghan

Age: 24

Wedding Date: 26th July 2018

Venue: Tullyglass House Hotel

How did your fiancé propose?

Ryan proposed on the 1st of January 2017 on White Park Bay beach. With being  the middle of winter it was absolutely freezing!

Did you have a say in the ring or was it a surprise?

It was a complete surprise. Ryan went and picked it the day before, but he did choose well.

What was the first thing you planned for your wedding?

The first thing that we organised was the venue and the church. It meant that we could organise everything else with a date in mind and then we had a countdown to the wedding.

What has been the best part of planning the big day so far?

The best thing so far is the moments that catch me off guard, like the realisation that we are going to be family, or this is actually happening. I have to say trying on dresses has been a lot of fun also!

How do you avoid the stress of organising a wedding?

To avoid stress I keep a diary for all our appointments. This helps us plan everything and keeps the stress levels low. It’s also important that you make time for yourself and take in everything. It is a massive change and it is nice to have time just to soak it all in.

Do you have a theme in mind for your wedding?

Yes – but if I say any more I’ll give too much away.

How many bridesmaids are you going to have?

I intend to have my two sisters Kerry McClenaghan and Louise McClenaghan and then my little cousin Tess McAuley.

What are you most looking forward to on the big day?

There is so much I’m looking forward to. I can’t wait for Ryan to see me in my dress, I can’t wait for the dinner and I’m really excited for the party at night. It should be really good fun.

Do you have any ideas of what you will do for your hen do?

To be honest I’m hoping Kerry and my mum will organise that. I’ve heard a few stories here and there of o trip to Portrush for the weekend and few other crazy ideas, but hopefully they don’t go too mad.

What input has your fiancé had in the planning?

Ryan has had a say in pretty much everything, apart from dresses and the like, as I believe it is our wedding and not just my wedding. If we can decide on stuff together now, we can make decisions better when we are married.

Where do you hope to honeymoon?

Ryan is planning the honeymoon, I want it to be a surprise as I think I will have enough to do up until then.


Gradam Ceoil Awards – The Oscars Of Traditional Music

TG4’s Gradam Ceoil music awards, know as the Oscars of traditional music, is set to bring stars from the stage and the screen to Belfast Waterfront on the 4th February 2018. For the first time since the trad music extravaganza began, it will be held in Belfast City with the two hour concert being broadcast live on TG4 and worldwide on A total of seven awards will be given out on the night, with live performances from:

Musician of the Year: Frankie Gavin with guests Alec Finn, Colm Murphy & Máirtín O’Connor, original members of De Danna. Frankie  is legendary fiddle player and has played and recorded around the world, collaborating with everyone from Andy Irvine, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Stéphane Grappelli, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and in 2010 became reputedly the fastest fiddle-player in the world, with an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

Young Musician of the Year: Clare Friel with sisters, presented by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Altan. Clare is from Glasgow and has emerged as one of the most exciting young traditional musicians on the scene today. Her family background has a shared heritage between Donegal and Scotland with her songs reflecting the history of migration and the cultural traffic.


Singer of the Year: Máire Ní Chéileachair, presented by Nell Ní Chróinín and Conchubhar Ó Luasa. Maire from Cork is known as one of the sweetest voices in Irish music. She is both a singer and teacher and has been teaching sean-nós singing in her native area for many years in the Aisling Gheal scheme.

Special Contribution Award: Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, presented by Stephen Rea. Pádragín will perform with guests, The Voice Squad. Pádraigín is a  local recipient. The acclaimed singer, researcher, poet and composer is based in South Armagh.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Patsy Hanly, presented by and featuring a guest performance with Matt Molloy, The Chieftains. Patsy is from Co. Roscommon, who has taught and performed at festivals worldwide.

Musical Collaboration: CONCERT created by Colin Dunne with Sinéad Rushe and Mel Mercier.

Special Award: The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. They will open the show with a special montage filmed in iconic locations around Belfast, ahead of their performance.  Widely considered at the pinnacle of their game on a global scale, The FMM have brought Irish traditional music to audiences and peers across the world, and have set standards of excellence that others aspire to.

Showcasing the very best of Irish music and song, Gradam Ceoil celebrates musicians from Ireland and across the world. The award winners who are world-class musicians, will perform on the night, alongside many well-known faces.

Tickets for TG4’s Gradam Ceoil 2018 are available from 

Visit for further information or connect with Gradam Ceoil on Facebook,, Twitter, @GradamCeoil or search the #Gradam hashtag.

Starting 2018 in Style

Here at Ulster Tatler we started 2018 in style with our striking January front cover from the wonderful Aesthetic Skin Clinic, Belfast.

Their first clinic opened in 2001 and soon after marked the start of the clinics 15 years (so far) of working with the Ulster Tatler, starting with a feature in our ‘new kids on the block’ article and progressing to our front cover. The relationship is not all that has grown over the years. At the time aesthetic medicine was a new specialty and John, a Belfast boy, was at the forefront. The ASC has gone from being one of the first clinics in Belfast to offer  anti wrinkle injections and fillers to become a group of clinics in both Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands with award winning doctors offering a vast range of cutting edge treatments and technologies.

Dr John Curran is widely recognised by the profession as a master in the field of cosmetic dermatology.  At the Aesthetics awards last year in London he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award for services to aesthetic medicine as well as being named in the top 30 doctors in the UK delivering ‘state of the art’ results in skin rejuvenation.

The Belfast Clinic has recently undergone a transformation to refurbish the interior to reflect the clean aesthetic lines of the flagship clinic in Guernsey. The Clinic offers a fab range of treatments that are definitley worth checking out. Details of all their treatments available can be found here:

See the January issue of Ulster Tatler for the Aesthetic Skin Clinic’s feature on the new power facials creating a buzz in 2018.


Swap The Winter Blues for Blue Skies This January

Forget the January blues and get yourself down to the Holiday World Show this month!

Now in it’s 26th year the show will transform Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre into a lively celebration of all things travel-related from Friday January 19 – Sunday January 21, with many major companies and destinations coming to Belfast to answer Northern Ireland’s insatiable demand to travel.

Anthea Turner is headed to open the Belfast Telegraph Holiday World show which will open the doors of opportunity for hundreds of travel-related businesses, showcasing deals and destinations to an expected audience of 20,000+ potential travellers.


The event, firmly established as one of Northern Ireland’s largest and best-attended annual public exhibitions,  is a rich global marketplace for deals and destinations, featuring exhibitors from close to home and from all four corners of the world, presenting just about every style of vacation experience alongside an array of travel-themed entertainment, complimented by competitions, attractions and special show-only offers. The three-day show provides opportunities to discover what’s new, to chat with the industry professionals, gather expert information, check out destinations and compare prices … all under one roof. Whether you’re there to buy or to browse, it’s also a favourite family outing as audiences prepare to shake off the winter blues and think about blue skies ahead.

Specialist pavilions will be available,  including The Cruise Pavilion, the Honeymoon & Wedding Destinations Pavilion, and the popular Caravan & Motorhome Show, along with the return of the 50+Village. Amongst the desirable destinations set to tempt show-goers in 2018 will be family favourites such as Spain and France. Air Canada will be at the Belfast show for the first time, while America will have a major presence at the show. Florida and New York holidays have retained their popularity with local audiences but this year there will be opportunities to explore further with new representations from Alabama, Atlantic City, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Tennessee. For those with an appetite for far-flung destinations, the choice has never been broader or more exciting. There will be national tourism organisations for countries as diverse as Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia and Thailand ready to tempt travelers to new horizons.

Holiday World will be staged at Titanic Exhibition Centre, situated on Queen’s Road in Titanic Quarter, close to Titanic Belfast and just opposite the Titanic Studios where the global hit fantasy series Game of Thrones is filmed.

The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World show will be open from 1:00pm – 6:00pm on Friday 19 January and from 11:00am – 5:30pm on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 January. Tickets are £5 for adults; £4 for Senior Citizens and £3 for Students. A £10 family ticket admits two adults and up to four children.

Here at Ulster Talter we have teamed up with the Belfast Telegraph Holiday World to offer readers the chance to win one of 15 Family Passes (admits 2 adults and up to 4 children under 16) to this year’s Holiday World Show.

Check out the competition on our website:

To find out more visit


Look Good and Do Good. 

Gemma McCorry and Niamh Cunningham recently celebrated the opening of the new SIX 4 GOOD store in Belfast’s CastleCourt Shopping Centre. This is an accessories and jewellery shop with a difference! All of the brand new items on sale have been donated to Oxfam Ireland by SIX, a brand from the Beeline group, to help raise vital funds for the charity’s work with people in crisis and poverty around the world. SIX is a brand owned by the Beeline group, one of Europe’s leading suppliers for accessories and jewellery, they donates a percentage of profit every year to social institutions. Previous examples include: HIV therapy in Africa and projects in the millennium village Gandhiji Songha in India. Oxfam Ireland is one of its Corporate Social Responsibility partners.

The first of its kind, the shop sells a fantastic range at discount prices, including rings, bracelets and earrings starting at £2 and necklaces and purses from £3 – good news for Northern Ireland’s bargain-hunting fashionistas who like to look good and do good.

Oxfam and Beeline have been working together since 2005. Beeline donates new stock to Oxfam for sale in Oxfam shops across the island of Ireland which helps raise vital funds for the charity’s work worldwide.


Ashfield Girls Raise £1000 for Charity

Following the success of their annual Sponsored Walk in December, pupils from Ashfield Girls High School,  Madison Tate, Alisha Stitt, Jodie Rainey and Megan Neill, were delighted to present a cheque for £1000 to Gayle Baird from the Child Brain Injury Trust.

The students had been given the opportunity to research, discuss and choose charities they wished to support this year, Student Council representatives then elected to donate the funds raised through the Sponsored Walk to Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Child Brian Injury Trust, East Belfast Community Counselling and Cancer Research UK.

Pictured left to right: Mr P McClintock (Vice Principal), Madison Tate, Alisha Stitt, Jodie Rainey, Mrs J Donaldson (Charity Co-ordinator), Megan Neill and Gayle Baird (Child Brain Injury Trust)

Young Entrepreneurs Take On The Big Market

Students from across Northern Ireland are getting the opportunity to learn vital business lessons at  the up and coming Young Enterprise event set to place at the start of December.

Over 700 students from across Northern Ireland will showcase their start-up businesses at an event in Belfast next week. Pupils from 60 schools on the Young Enterprise Big Market programme have developed their products from conception to production in just three months.The programme takes each student on a business start-up journey that gives them their first opportunity to trade and launch their product in The Big Market held at St George’s Market on Wednesday December 6th.

On the programme students are responsible for creating an initial product concept, developing their product, creating a business plan, raising capital and then marketing and selling their products to the general public.Over 70 businesses consisting of young people from ages of 10-18 will be selling everything from jewellery, coffee, baby products, gifts and phone apps to crafts and books amongst other things.Throughout the event Northern Ireland business leaders will judge the young people’s companies on the day. Partnering with the Young Enterprise for the event is Belfast City Council who provide St George’s Market as the venue.

Funded by the Department of Education the Young Enterprise Big Market Programme has become an essential part of business learning for young people across the country. One of the most important elements of the Big Market Programme is the opportunity for anyone to attend as customers fro 10-2pm at St George’s Market on Wednesday December 2nd.  This gives students the opportunity to be able to gain valuable insight into their own product as well as learn about the importance of marketing and selling products.

Check further details here:



Hospitality Awards for Professionalism Launched for 2018

The Institute of Hospitality NI , the professional membership body for individual managers and aspiring managers who work and study in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries, has officially launched the 23rd Institute of Hospitality Awards For Professionalism. The awards will take place at Titanic Belfast on Friday 11th May 2018.The nominations are now officially open for these highly coveted awards recognise talented individuals who have contributed to their business and the industry over the past yea. For 2018 there are 21 categories with 4 brand new categories including;

  • Duty Manager of the Year,
  • General Manager of the Future,
  • Human Resource Manager of the Year
  • The Unsung Hero Award.

The two-day judging process features an experienced team of independent judges who come from a huge range of non-hospitality related sectors, and who give their time and expertise freely to assess a large number of nominees. Through an interview process, judges look for individuals who clearly demonstrate how they develop themselves, their people, as well as shape their business.This year the Institute of hospitality is delighted to announce that the charity partner for the awards is Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI, the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to blood cancer research. As a registered educational charity with a global membership, the Institute offers a wide range of benefits including online resources, regional networks and industry-specific management publications and research.

For details on how to enter and the closing dates visit or follow Institute of Hospitality NI on Facebook InstituteofHospityalityNI/ and Twitter @IOH_NI #IOHNI18.




The incomparable ‘Lunch with and Old Bag’ returned to The Belfast Harbour Commissioners Offices on Friday 10th November raising over £45,000 for young people supported by The Prince’s Trust. A host of guests including Una Healy from the former girl band the Saturdays and Pamela Ballantine became honorary ‘Old Bags’ and joined 150 of the country’s most fabulous and influential women in aid of the youth charity. Also in attendance was the wonderful Cathy Martin of CMPR and Former Miss N.I, Beauty Blogger and Business Women, Tiffany Brien.

The annual fundraising event on behalf of The Prince’s Trust Northern Ireland brought together many of Northern Ireland’s most glamorous and stylish ladies, known affectionately as ‘Old Bags’. This year’s event was supported by Lunn’s, Hastings Hotels, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Devenish, Danske Bank and Legacy Wealth Management with funds helping the charity support thousands of young people who are unemployed or struggling at school to transform their lives.

The number of young people supported by The Prince’s Trust has increased substantially in the past few years. In 2014/15 they supported 58,804 young people through core and pilot programmes, with 77% finishing with a positive outcome in education, employment or training. Lunch with an Old Bag shines a bright light on issues faced by young people, challenges stereotypes and helps The Prince’s Trust in it’s mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people.

The full story and photos from the event are featured in this months December Issue of Ulster Tatler in shops now.