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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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

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