Twinkle twinkle you very bright star

Posted on: 8th November, 2016

Category: Image

Contributor: Louise O'Dwyer

I’m sitting here in my flip-flops on one of the last days in October, writing this. What amazing weather we are having, it is so very like the American Fall; this time last year my boys were ice-skating in Central Park in t-shirts! Whoever you are who waves the magic wand and controls the weather… can you please take note – the Irish are definitely ‘closer to God’ when the weather is good. On that note, who knows, maybe this year we will have a heatwave for Christmas… and rather than having to wear tights, we will be smothering our legs in sun tan oil.

OK, back to reality, the season of joy is fast approaching and I for one can’t wait. I no longer apologise for being the biggest child ever! I love the sparkle, the twinkling lights and the smell of cinnamon. Sometimes I wonder if I have the memory of a goldfish because every year when I open all my Christmas decoration boxes, I can’t contain my bubbling excitement at the beauty of them. I feel exactly the same about Christmas style. This is the time of the year that you can step it up a level and be more glamorous than you normally would be. Don’t panic – this does not always mean that you have to go and buy an entire new wardrobe.

Christmas party wear is all about having fun with your style and oozing glamour. This is the season to embrace sequins and sparkles. Velvet might take a little getting used to but it is one of the season’s front-runners. A pencil velvet dress to just above the knee with a plunging neckline (not too plunging) will see you though any Christmas event – it is an elegant, glamorous, and amazingly comfortable to wear all-in-one piece, so you only need to add shoes and a bag. The next must-have is a dress with a fluffy skirt or just a fluffy skirt. Think ‘Sex in the City’; Sarah Jessica Parker will show you exactly how to do that style and what to wear with the ‘fluffy’ skirt for a party night. Google pictures from the hit show – you might be surprised to hear that it really does work if you put a somewhat plain or flashy but stylish top with it.

The glorious sequin dress will always knock ’em dead. It just screams Christmas partywear. While there are plenty out in gold, silver, red or green, could I perhaps suggest that you opt for the luxurious dark burgundy, burnt camel or black? These shades allow you to wear them over and over and still have the ‘wow’ factor. I’m sure that you already have one tucked away in your wardrobe so apply the golden rule of style – ‘wear it again as if it is brand spanking new’ – because, trust me on this, nobody will remember that you wore that last year. Change your hairstyle and add a more dramatic make-up look if you are worried that there were a lot of photos taken last year! Some sequin dresses are backless so get exfoliating and moisturising now – great skin was not born overnight.

Yes, the long dress will be a big hit for the party season ahead and they will always look amazing on those of you with a height advantage. What I adore about some of these dresses is that they now come equipped with pockets. Don’t ever underestimate the power of pockets, and believe me, I know exactly what I am talking about. Having the opportunity to put your hands in your pockets is like being able to buy a bar of self-confidence and get an instant result. Don’t ever apologise for being nervous or shy or emotional or self-conscious – the counter opposites can often be too much to handle and sadly, cockiness or arrogance is grown from a place where self-esteem and self-confidence are at an all time low.

Business-style loose, high-waisted trousers will make a killing at any Christmas party this year. All you have to do is to add a sexy top; whether you choose a sequin top, a backless top, a corset-style top or a gold high-neck chiffon blouse is completely up to you. The ‘look’ screams elegance all the while being so very practical – no tights needed and you avoid the fake-tan-on-the legs-disasters. Glorious upstyles will add to the glamour of this look and get out your most shocking red lipstick.

Even the most amazing, most expensive and most flattering Christmas party dress can be let down with a bang by wearing crappy underwear. Now is the time, while you have the time, and before the ‘mania’ starts in the shops and on the streets, to look for some flattering underwear that allows you to focus on what’s important, rather than on any bits you think might be floating around where they shouldn’t be. Good underwear gives an overall smoother look to any outfit. There is no excuse for a visible panty line anymore, your boobs can always look well supported and in your bra, not floating around outside of it. Your back should look smooth, absolutely no skin pouring out above or below your bra straps. If, like me, you have a little tummy pouch, (as a result of giving birth to two healthy seven pound boys at the same time, so no complaints, and I don’t want to get rid of it) you can always work around it. Buy good quality higher-waisted knickers, they do amazing things for your tummy and they don’t look anything like Bridget Jones knickers! Please don’t leave your underwear choice until just before you are going out the door; I’m sure that you would have spent plenty of time day dreaming about what dress or outfit you will wear to the party and put plenty of footwork into finding exactly what you want – just put more time into the underwear that will ‘pull it all together’.

Always, always choose a bag big enough to hold a spare pair of tights, you would be amazed at the number of wooden stools and wooden chairs that are ‘out to get your tights’ on any night out, Christmas Party night is no exception. Kate Moss might be able to pull off the ‘laddered tights’ look and the ‘smudged mascara’ look perfectly but we are not all Kate Moss look-a-likes, nor do we want to be. So buy a waterproof mascara and liner.

Don’t put any pressure on yourself to buy anything new for your Christmas Party, re-use what you have, Google all the looks, look at shop windows for ideas – you would be amazed at how little things change when it comes to festive style and also how many wonderful bits you have in your wardrobe that you have tucked away. If you have the money in your pocket enjoy some new sparkly bits and perhaps invest in a gorgeous new black leather jacket that will top off your look stylishly and effortlessly.

I’m going to quote my daughter because I think it is the best advice I can give you, ‘Don’t grow up, it’s a trap’. So take the time and allow yourself the time to be smothered in all of the good things that the festive season has to offer. Be childlike, be mesmerised by lights and sparkle and children’s faces and wonder and connect with people. We’ve all been there and done that with ridiculously large presents, most of which we cannot even recall, so how about you think about someone who has had a tough year, perhaps endured a great loss, been under huge amounts of stress, come out the other side of illness, whatever it is, call to see them, let them know their struggles didn’t go unnoticed. You can do all that and still dazzle everyone in your party dress so sparkle on my darlings, this is your time to shine.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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