WHAT IS MAKING THE HEADLINES?

MID ULSTER BARBER CHAIN SWEEPS THE BOARD AT L’ORÉAL COLOUR TROPHY REGIONALS 2019

MID ULSTER BARBER CHAIN SWEEPS THE BOARD AT L’ORÉAL COLOUR TROPHY REGIONALS 2019

Mid Ulster stylists, Barbers of BT45/Barbers of BT80 and Salon 45, are celebrating after being named as the only salon chosen to represent Northern Ireland at the L’Oréal Colour Trophy grand final in London this June, in three categories. The first time this has ever been achieved, making history.

The L’Oréal Colour Trophy is the longest running live hairdressing competition in the world – having started in 1954 – and it has hosted thousands of the industry’s most prestigious talents over the years. Competitors are given just 30 minutes in front of a live audience to style a model of their choice before the models are required to partake in a catwalk. The competition is blind, and judges have no idea which model is attached to which salon.

The accolade was awarded to Barbers of BT45/Barbers of BT80 and Salon 45 after competing in the Northern Ireland regional semi-finals at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Ten entries from across the province were whittled down to just three, and the judges were so impressed with the barbers efforts that all three positions were awarded to the Mid Ulster outfit.

Owner and lead stylist, Chris Graham has said of the occasion: “We’re absolutely overjoyed by the news that we will be representing Northern Ireland in London. We proved time and time again that talent and vision can thrive outside of the cities, and that Mid Ulster is a haven of inspiring stylists.

“Our stylists Cathal McCormack, Megan Ludlow and Kala Boyle have done an exceptional job at the regional semi-finals and our ambition now is to go to England and take the big prize home with us. Northern Ireland has a rich tradition of innovation when it comes to beauty and style and we want to continue on in that vein.”

The Grand Final of the L’Oréal Colour Trophy will take place on the 3rd of June at Battersea Park in London where Barbers of BT45/Barbers of BT80 and Salon 45 will be competing against other regional winners from across the U.K. including London, the South of England, the East of England, the West of England, the North East, the North West, Scotland, and Wales.

RELIVE FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AT SIX BY NICO

RELIVE FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AT SIX BY NICO

Six by Nico Belfast has today announced its latest theme and it’s set to take you right back to your youth.

In the latest offering, ‘Childhood’, Chef Nico Simeone has created a menu filled with fun, laughter and reminisce; recreating dishes inspired by memories of our childhood, to create an unforgettable dining experience. Guests will be invited to take a trip down memory lane at Six by Nico Belfast, located in the bustling Cathedral Quarter.

The conceptual six-course tasting menu restaurant has already taken the city by storm having only opened its doors a month ago. During launch week in March 2019, there were over 5,000 pre-opening reservations made for ‘The Chippie’ menu, indicating that this novel dining experience was something people in the city where craving. The eagerly anticipated second menu to land in Belfast is set to be a hit as it has previously been a firm favourite at sistering restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

‘Childhood’s’ new six course tasting menu includes: Mac’n’Cheese – Compressed grape, cauliflower couscous, caper & raisin; Egg & Soldier – Duck egg, Pecorino, Black Garlic Emulsion, Asparagus Salad; Pancakes & Bacon – Pork Belly, Compressed Apple, Chickpea Pancake, Maple Mayonnaise; Fish Finger – Confit Salmon, Kohlrabi, Buttermilk & Dill Dressing; Duck Duck Goose – Duck Beast & Leg Bonbon, Spiced Date, Heritage Carrot; and Cereal milk – Pannacotta, Honey Gelee, Peanut Clusters & Strawberry.

Known for his quirky dishes and original flavour combinations, Chef Nico Simeone’s latest menu, ‘Childhood’ will instantly transport guests back to the memories of their grandmother’s kitchen, their fond school canteen days or their first overseas holiday as a family.

Chef Nico Simeone said, “Reliving those fond childhood memories is exactly what we aim to do for all our guests with our ‘Childhood’ tasting menu. There are some foods that no matter how many years have passed, they will embody youth. Almost everyone has childhood memories of family meals, ranging from holiday gatherings to the ordinary breakfasts, packed lunches, and home cooked dinners. We want to evoke those memories and help re-create those reminiscent foods and flavours but in an unforgettable way.”

Nico added, “It is fascinating to discover what memories stay with you and when it comes to food, nothing evokes stronger feelings of nostalgia as your childhood.”

Diners can book a table now for ’Childhood’. Open from midday, Tuesday to Sunday at the Belfast restaurant on Waring Street.  Each six-course menu will be available from noon to night. The menu is priced at £28 per person with the option to enjoy an expertly selected wine and specialist drinks pairing for an additional £25. There is a vegetarian alternative available for every course, as well as childhood theme inspired snack sides.

To make a reservation and to book now, visit https://www.sixbynico.co.uk/belfast/ ‘Childhood’ will run from Tuesday 16th April – Sunday May 26th 2019.

RAIL-Y BIG BIRTHDAY BASH TO MARK 100 YEARS OF THE NO. 3 GUINNESS ENGINE

RAIL-Y BIG BIRTHDAY BASH TO MARK 100 YEARS OF THE NO. 3 GUINNESS ENGINE

Whitehead Railway Museum is set to host a fun filled birthday party to mark the centenary of the No. 3BG Guinness steam locomotive.

The 1919 engine, appropriately named after Arthur Guinness was built to shunt wagons between the famous Guinness Brewery at St. James’ Gate in Dublin and the nearby Kingsbridge (now Heuston) station. When Guinness closed its broad gauge line in May 1965, No. 3BG became the RPSI’s first locomotive.

Since then, the engine has shunted at Whitehead Excursion Station, worked train rides on the site and spent time hauling passenger trains on the Downpatrick and County Down Railway.

To mark the historic occasion, a birthday party will be hosted at Whitehead Railway Museum on 6th April 2019 from 12 noon to 4pm. Short steam train rides on the engine will be the main attraction as it will allow visitors to experience the smells and sounds of a steam locomotive, stepping on board a steam train perhaps for the first time. Tickets are required for the train rides and are priced at £2.50 for adults and £2.00 for children. No need to book in advance as they can be purchased on the day.

For ticket holders there will be lots of fun activities throughout the afternoon for young and old to enjoy including balloon modelling, face painting and cutting of the birthday cake!

Big Telly Theatre Company will also be performing five minute pop-up plays at 10.30am,  12.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm throughout the museum, re-enacting the Whitehead train robbery of 1939.  Museum tickets for the plays can be purchased on the day.

Siobhan Dillon, acting General Manager of Whitehead Railway Museum said, “This is a fantastic occasion for the Museum, and we want everyone to feel part of the celebrations. It is not often that you get to enjoy a 100th birthday party so we want to make it a memorable occasion. We are pleased to have delegates and invited guests join us from across Northern Ireland but want everyone feel welcome. The festivities are set to be a fantastic family fun day out and everyone is welcome to come along.”

The Edwardian Tea Room will be open as usual from 10.15am serving homemade lunches and guided tours will be on offer at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm. For more information visit, https://www.steamtrainsireland.com/

‘BOUNCERS’ IS THE RAUCOUS NEW COMEDY AT THE MAC…JUST DON’T WEAR TRAINERS!

‘BOUNCERS’ IS THE RAUCOUS NEW COMEDY AT THE MAC…JUST DON’T WEAR TRAINERS!

This season’s offering at the MAC is already getting people talking, as John Godber’s hit play Bouncers comes to town for a three-week extended run. The show is a co-production between the MAC and Big Telly; starting on Saturday 30 March.

Set over the course of one night in a 1980s Belfast nightclub, giving it a distinctive Northern Irish flavour, Bouncers is a darkly funny play about the characters and shenanigans of an 80’s Belfast disco, as seen through the eyes of the club’s doormen.

Quick-witted and at times close to the bone, this rollercoaster of a play features four of Belfast’s finest comedic actors – Ciaran Nolan, Conor Grimes, Martin Maguire and Chris Robinson – who play all the parts. All the familiar characters from a typical night on the tiles make an appearance, from the cheesy DJ, to the kebab-shop proprietor and, of course, the foul-mouthed bouncers themselves.

As always with the MAC, you can expect something a little different, as all the action takes place within the exclusive Luminaire Club, transforming the theatre space into an intimate jazz-club experience complete with table service.

The MAC’s Creative Director, Simon Magill said: “Bouncers has been described as one of the funniest plays written in the last 40 years, but with the creative direction of Big Telly’s Zoe Seaton and experienced cast members like Conor Grimes, Ciaran Nolan, Marty Maguire and Chris Robinson, this promises to be a no-holds barred theatre experience.

It’s a play that is unapologetically provocative, remaining true to John Godber’s original script. However, we’ve relocated the action to a Belfast nightclub, with an evocative 80’s soundtrack that many people will relate to.

You’ll be immersed in the 80s vibe and enjoy the extra special experience of our Luminaire Club, where we’ve played with the flexibility of our theatre space creating something very special for audiences. With this intimate club setting serving as a backdrop, this fast-paced, rollercoaster of a show will have you laughing one minute, then questioning if attitudes have really changed since 80s Belfast.

The show will run from Saturday 30th March until Saturday 20th April, but with tickets set to sell out fast, book now to avoid disappointment! Avail of discount prices of up to 25% when you book multiple events in advance. This also applies to premium cabaret tickets which will allow for the full nightclub experience!

BELFAST PROPERTY EXPERT MICHAEL CHANDLER  MARKS 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS

BELFAST PROPERTY EXPERT MICHAEL CHANDLER MARKS 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS

An impressive 380% growth, new territories acquired and the creation of over 20 jobs marks an incredible 10 years for property expert Michael Chandler and wife Laura.

The last decade has been an unpredictable one for the Northern Irish property market. Prices have fluctuated, new trends introduced, and many areas across the province have experienced major rejuvenation.

During all this, Michael Chandler has worked hard to establish himself and the agency as one of Northern Ireland’s most well-respected and forward-thinking property agents challenging the perceived model of estate agency. This has resulted in achieving an impressive 380% client base growth, expansion into new territories, East Belfast, South Belfast and all over County Down; plus, the introduction of a mortgage and insurance division.

Identifying an opportunity for growth during the worst of the economic downturn, when property values fell by as much as 40%, Michael and his team helped to steer vendors and landlords through the storm; as well as advancing the business.

Now with the property market making a recovery to pre-2007 levels, Northern Ireland has demonstrated remarkable resilience and has been reported as the ‘best performing’ region in the UK. Michael Chandler Estate Agents based on the Ormeau Road, has been at the forefront of this recovery.

Managing Director, Michael Chandler, says his company’s approach to estate agency “very proactive” and has emphasised a change in mood from the dour predictions of ten years ago. He said: “When I launched Michael Chandler Estate Agents a decade ago, I had two young children with two more to come. I wanted to ensure I had a well-respected and trusted business to ensure their future was bright as possible, and by setting out to improve the opinion people have of Estate Agents seemed like the perfect place to start.

“We have come a long way since then, and I’m proud to say that Michael Chandler Estate Agents is flourishing! Through winning scores of endorsements from customers and expert peers, it goes to show the dedication of the staff in making my initial vision a reality, and I feel so grateful to be the captain of this particular ship.”

Northern Ireland’s property market is experiencing something of a boom now, and Michael Chandler Estate Agents is confident it will stay ahead of the curve.

Michael adds: “Going forward we have a positive outlook to the property market in Northern Ireland. We also have plans in place to expand the team, services and territories with additional investment into the Michael Chandler brand.  I strongly believe that our approach is unique, and we will keep looking at ways to push the boundaries, simplify the process of buying and selling and ensure that we continue to strive for excellence.”

MAC TAKES THE REINS OF THE CAFÉ/BAR  MARKING A NEW CHAPTER

MAC TAKES THE REINS OF THE CAFÉ/BAR MARKING A NEW CHAPTER

This month marks a new chapter for the MAC, Belfast’s leading cultural venue, as it officially opens its all-new café/bar to be operated independently, as part of its current four-step corporate strategy. This latest development has also enabled the creation of 19 additional hospitality roles within the business.

Previously managed by third-party contractors, this is the first time since the MAC’s inception in 2012 that the café/bar area will provide a direct revenue stream for the organisation and will be managed by its newly appointed hospitality team, including Head Chef, Terry Quinn and Owen Ferguson as Café/Bar and Hospitality Manager.

Bringing years of culinary experience to the MAC, Head Chef Terry will be launching a completely new menu to refresh the café bar offer. From the introduction of breakfast serving from 8.30am, to a new children’s menu and pre-theatre sharing platters, there will be something for the broad range of visitors that the MAC attracts. Plus, the MAC has launched a new wine list supplied by Direct Wine Shipments and launched a new smartphone interval drinks order system so that theatre goers can place their interval order with the greatest of ease, avoiding the usual queue.

The new café/bar also complements the MAC’s other commercial activities, such as the roll out of its innovative Luminaire Club, that transforms the theatre space into an intimate jazz-club experience complete with table service. This new experience gives the MAC the added flexibility to create event-specific promotions such as a Mother’s Day Brunch on the 31st March. Owen is confident that the he can build upon the visitor experience by further moving the MAC’s hospitality offering beyond the traditional theatre-style service.

Anne McReynolds, MAC Chief Executive said: “Taking our café bar in-house is a big move for us, not least in doubling the size of our current staff team, but it presents a huge opportunity for the organisation.  From a customer care point of view, we want to get closer to our customers – offering them eating and drinking experiences that better complement their whole MAC experience – whilst also making sure that the first person you meet in the MAC is a welcoming and informed member of our team, which is very important to us.

“Some people might ask, why now? Not many people may know that the MAC is a charity and just like every other charity, we must work hard to raise the money needed to survive and grow in the long term. This is a very positive and significant step for the MAC, as we are acutely aware that we need to keep making strides towards a sustainable model that not only involves public funding but continues to maximise the ways in which we can increase self-generated income.”

The MAC’s café/bar is open daily from 8.30am until late. Breakfast is served from 8:30am – 12 noon, and last orders for lunch are at 4pm. The bar is open late on show nights and from 30 March, the MAC will also be serving its new pre-theatre sharing plates to enjoy before the show.

For more information and to view the new menus please visit: https://themaclive.com/your-visit

APPRENTICE STAR LAUNCHES NORTHERN IRELAND’S FIRST MAKEUP & BEAUTY AWARDS

APPRENTICE STAR LAUNCHES NORTHERN IRELAND’S FIRST MAKEUP & BEAUTY AWARDS

Apprentice star Grainne McCoy is gearing up for the launch of Northern Ireland’s first Makeup & Beauty Awards on Sunday 7 April. Nominations from the public have been received with the aim to recognise and applaud a new class of quality talent in Northern Ireland, celebrating the success and exemplary work within this thriving creative industry.

The Makeup & Beauty Awards wants to shed light on those creatives who work tirelessly behind the scenes, honouring the work of those in the forgotten sectors, including makeup artistry, beauticians, online influencers, nail technicians and much more.

Hosted by Grainne, along with legendary Belfast Drag Queen Lady Portia, the awards will be taking place in the iconic Titanic Building, Belfast. The decadent black-tie awards will include a red-carpet champagne reception, formal dinner, awards ceremony and afterparty with an appearance from the popular Sugartown Road Band.

Grainne explained her motivation for the awards ceremony saying: “We’ve had huge growth across Ireland in recent years, and there just isn’t enough opportunity for them to be recognised and acknowledged. There’s an abundance of talented creatives not being recognised in the NI Makeup and Beauty Community and I wanted to shine a light on those people.

“The Makeup and Beauty industry is at its peak now. Professional work is often celebrated, but without recognition in the form awards. This is something that I am passionate about transforming – we need to ensure these artists and creatives are celebrated, just like those in other industries would be.”

Finalists have now been announced and feature a range of categories including Bridal Makeup Artist of the Year, Online Influencer of The Year – Makeup & Beauty, Theatrical & Media Makeup Artist of The Year and Makeup & Beauty Business Person Of The Year.

Tickets the Makeup & Beauty Awards 2019 are now available at www.makeupandbeautyawards.com/

ON THE RIGHT TRACK FOR YOUNG VOLUNTEER WHO WINS TOP PRIZE AT NATIONAL AWARDS CEREMONY

ON THE RIGHT TRACK FOR YOUNG VOLUNTEER WHO WINS TOP PRIZE AT NATIONAL AWARDS CEREMONY

Belfast train enthusiast Matthew Wilson has won “Young Volunteer of the Year” at the annual ceremony of the Heritage Railway Association.  Matthew who is 23 years old, is a volunteer at Whitehead Railway Museum. Despite being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (autism), he never lets this get in his way.

Matthew has become a well-respected team member and he is regularly complimented by Museum guests and colleagues for his ability to conduct enjoyable guided tours at Whitehead Railway Museum as well as being a friendly and charismatic steward.

The recently introduced Lord Faulkner Young Volunteer of the Year prize is to give nationwide recognition to a young person who is taking on the responsibility for driving various schemes within railway preservation forward.

Lord Faulkner, the HRA President, who sponsored the award, commented it was vital that the wider railway heritage movement cherished its young volunteers. He said: “Many of those enthusiasts who founded the railway preservation movement are now past retirement age and it is important that we look to the future and harness the talents of the next generation. There was vast competition for this award from some of the leading railways in Britain but I am pleased to say that Matthew was a worthy winner.”

Speaking on his success Matthew said: “I am delighted to have received the award but this would not have happened without the support, encouragement and leadership of the team at Whitehead.”

Matthew’s dad David and mum Ellen who accompanied him to the awards evening in Birmingham on Saturday said: “Matthew does not let this disability prevent him from pursuing his love of steam trains. He is a proud volunteer at Whitehead Railway Museum and gets considerable enjoyment and satisfaction from carrying out his duties as a tour guide.”

General Manager of Whitehead Railway Museum, Siobhan Dillon said, “We are delighted to have Matthew as part of our team. We have guests visit us from around the world who often compliment Matthew’s enthusiasm for steam trains. We are very proud of his successes and to be recognised at National level is extra special. Congratulations Matthew!”

‘SIX BY NICO’ INVESTS HALF A MILLION POUNDS OPENING NEW RESTAURANT IN BUSTLING CATHERDRAL QUARTER

‘SIX BY NICO’ INVESTS HALF A MILLION POUNDS OPENING NEW RESTAURANT IN BUSTLING CATHERDRAL QUARTER

Renowned Scottish-Italian chef, Nico Simeone, is set to introduce his Glasgow and Edinburgh dining concept ‘Six by Nico’ to Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

‘Six by Nico’ Belfast will be the third addition to the growing restaurant portfolio, taking Nico’s conceptual restaurant idea out of Scotland for the first time and placing it in the bustling Cathedral Quarter.

With the opening, comes exciting new job prospects and there are plans in place to create 40 news jobs in the local area.

Chef Nico Simeone said, “We are very excited to bring an unforgettable culinary experience to Belfast. I have visited the city and I grew up with an understanding of the strong Ulster Scots connection. Belfast is the perfect location for our next venture and I couldn’t think of a better location than the vibrant food and drinks scene of the Cathedral Quarter. We are really looking forward to collaborating with local businesses and have people from the city join our team.”

The £500,000 investment will bring the introduction of a pioneering revolving culinary hub as every six weeks, Nico and his team will re-invent the wheel – serving a brand new six-course tasting menu, each one themed upon a different place, memory or idea. Drawing inspiration from both at home and abroad, Nico and his team will combine different ingredients, flavours, and dishes, to bring memories and stories creating a brand-new dining experience every 6 weeks.

The creative and ever-evolving six course set menu, is priced at £28 per person which has gone down a storm in the Glasgow and Edinburgh food scene and Six By Nico believe this will be a great price point for diners in the city.

Six by Nico will open its doors on Waring Street in March 2019, becoming the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. From creative menu concepts to outstanding food and service, the venue will aim to become an immediate hit with the people of Belfast.

 

HOME SWEET HOME FOR HISTORIC DONEGAL STEAM ENGINE

HOME SWEET HOME FOR HISTORIC DONEGAL STEAM ENGINE

Veteran Donegal steam locomotive No. 4 Meenglas is set to return home to Londonderry shortly following a major facelift at Whitehead railway works. Meenglas is due to arrive by low-loader at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum in Derry next week, more than a year after it left the city for Whitehead.

A welcome home ceremony is planned at Foyle Valley Railway Museum for Wednesday January 30 at 12 noon. The red-liveried 40-ton locomotive, which has been given a cosmetic overhaul by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI), will then go on display at the Derry museum.

Dermot O’Hara, manager of Destined, the Derry-based charity that owns the railway museum, said the occasion would be “a red-letter day”. Funding for the overhaul was awarded to Destined by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Mr O’Hara said that the unveiling on January 30 would mark the launch of an exclusive video and railway information booklet about the North-West, heralding the start of a new railway preservation society in Derry.

He added: “Destined will be screening an excerpt from a new video made by members of the charity along with local schoolchildren. It involves a series of interviews with local people who either worked on the railway, travelled on it or who have fond memories of it.

“We are also making plans for a major programme to mark the 60th anniversary in 2019 of the closure of the Co. Donegal Railway. This will be done in partnership with Donegal Railway Restoration in Donegal Town.”

Meenglas, which was originally constructed in 1907 as a narrow gauge locomotive by Nasmyth Wilson of Glasgow, is not capable of being steamed at present, but Foyle Valley Railway said that it was not ruling it out as a long-term option.

Peter Scott from the RPSI said: “The requirement was to restore Meenglas to displayable condition pending funding for full restoration. While the locomotive may not yet be ready for traffic, it certainly no longer looks like the derelict item it was when it arrived at Whitehead.

He added: “Extensive repairs were carried out to the side tanks and bunker, which were full of gaping holes. The smokebox and chimney also had to be repaired, while the cab had to be rebuilt. We made new boiler cladding, a new dome cover, dummy safety valves and whistle – both the latter look the part but won’t actually function.”

Rebecca Laverty, Museum Administrator at Whitehead Railway Museum, which is wrapped round the workshops, said: “Our visitors have been intrigued to see work in progress on this attractive steam locomotive. It almost looks as though Meenglas is ready to steam down the track! We will miss our little visitor once it goes home.”

Work has been carried out over the past 14 months by professional staff from Heritage Engineering Ireland, the RPSI’s engineering subsidiary, apprentices and RPSI volunteers.