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Archive: February 2012

FRIDAY NIGHT THERAPY IS THE NEXT BIG THING


28 February 2012

Friday Night Therapy Live is a team of talented young writers, musicians and comedy performers from all over Northern Ireland and the UK working at the creative edge of comedy from their base in Belfast. 

They perform live at venues across Northern Ireland incorporating a mix of pre-recorded sketches, stand-up comedy and music – a format that is new to audiences here.

They are dynamic, creative and clever and, by their own admission, eight of the silliest people in Northern Ireland who are willing to do anything to make an audience laugh until it cries - within the boundaries of good taste, of course!

Creator, performer and writer, Jordan Dunbar, from Holywood, 25, is no stranger to awards and accolades having won the Julian Fellowes ‘Screenwriter of the Year’ at the Cinemagic Film Festival and ‘Presenter of the Year’ at Dublin Cinemagic Film Festival, and he is looking forward to performing the show in the Black Box on the 23rd March.

He said:  “All of the material to be performed at the Black Box on the 23 March is brand spanking new and includes some of the best stuff we’ve ever done as performers and writers.”

Lovers of alternative comedy eager to see the ‘next big thing’ will be treated to an interesting take on the Titanic story, be introduced to Northern Ireland’s friendliest Vicar, enjoy a shocking take on the classic game show Family Fortunes as well as many other hilarious and eyebrow raising moments.

“It feels like everything we’ve done as writers and performers has been building up to this moment.” He continued.

“Our comedy has been described as alternative but it also has a mainstream element to it – after all a laugh is a laugh no matter how it’s caused.

“The show is filled with laugh-out-loud moments and a few that’ll have the audience members watching from behind their hands, but that’s important to us.  Funny is what we’re good at and there’s nothing better than hearing the audience’s reaction to a topical joke when you have no idea how it will be received.  If there’s a big story in the news you can bet we will put our unique twist on it.”, said Jordan.

The group already has a host of local celebrity fans, including Alan Simpson, Diarmuid Corr and Joe Rooney from Father Ted and they can now also count one of the writers of the uber successful animated cartoon series, South Park, as a fan.

Jordan said:  “We’d heard on the grapevine, via Green Inc who we work with, that Toby Morton, one of the writers on South Park, had seen our sketches on youtube and on our Facebook page and liked what we were doing. 

“But we got a genuine shock when he decided to pop into one of our regular writing sessions during a recent visit to Belfast and he even posed for a quick photo and a chat telling us we were very talented. And we were obviously very flattered.”

Toby said:  “These talented guys and girls have an on-stage rapport that can only come from working together for so long – rare in such a young cast.   They have the performance element down and after sitting in on an impromptu writing session it’s clear they are set for big things.”

The Friday Night Therapy Live tour will take in venues across Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and finish up at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Tickets for the Black Box performance are available at the door or to buy online from www.blackboxbelfast.com  website at a cost of £7.

For more information on Friday Night Therapy Live you can visit www.facebook.com/fntlive or call 07817294606.

BLUSH BRIDAL BOUTIQUE ANNOUNCES NEW 'FACE OF BLUSH' FOR 2012


22 February 2012

Chic Lisburn Road boutique, Blush, has just announced the winner of its fourth annual ‘Face of Blush’ competition at a beautiful and intimate event held at the Merchant Hotel on Saturday 11 February. The lucky lady is Lee-Anne McDonald from Belfast who now can enjoy the run-up to her big day as she chooses dresses for both herself and her lucky mother from the store’s stunning collections.

A lawyer based in Liverpool, Lee-Anne will also be featured on Blush’s advertising campaign for the next twelve months following a one-on-one photoshoot with renowned fashion photographer Khara Pringle. On the day itself, when she will tie the knot with Neil Crossman at Belfast Castle, Lee-Anne will benefit from having her hair professionally styled by Ruairi Curran from Blue Hairdressing and make-up by Caoimhe Curran. New for this year’s winner is a range of highly sought after cosmetic treatments by Martina Collins which will surely add to the experience of Lee-Ann’s fairytale wedding.

The judging panel that was faced with the difficult task of choosing from the 12 finalists included Belfast FASHIONWEEK Director Cathy Martin, make up artist to the stars Paddy McGurgan, and Jeané Simpson from IN! Magazine. In the opulent setting of the Private Dining Room at the Merchant Hotel, Cathy said, “As judges, we had a particularly tough time trying to pick a winner out of the high calibre of entrants from all over Ireland. We found Lee-Anne encapsulated all that a Blush Bride should be in terms of her natural beauty and dedication to the whole process.”

Owner of Blush, Aileen Wilson said of the winner, “We are absolutely thrilled that Lee-Anne will be the face of our advertising campaign for the next 12 months. She has shown such enthusiasm and a real sense of professionalism in any dealings we have already had with her so I am really excited about working with her this year.”

After hearing the announcement that she would be the new Face of Blush for 2012 Lee-Anne said, “I am still in a state of disbelief that they chose me, I keep having to double check! I am beyond delighted and honoured to represent Blush Boutique as it has the best selection to choose from out of all the shops that I visited and the service from the girls is second to none. I truly am over the moon.”

The application process kicked off last Summer and saw hundreds of hopeful fiancées from all over Ireland vie for the prestigious title for this highly prestigious store which sees women travel hundreds of miles to view their exclusive collections.

GLAM SALLY'S - Diet Coke & Benefit Bring Their 'Get Glam' Campaign to Life With a Make Up Competition at Sally's of Omagh


20 February 2012

Make up artists from across Ireland are set to descend upon the mid Ulster town of Omagh on 25 March as one of the country’s most exciting make up competitions takes place in Sally’s nightclub. Hosted by Diet Coke and supported by Benefit cosmetics, the competition will see one lucky winner jet off to San Francisco to experience a four day training stint at Benefit head office, courtesy of Diet Coke.

 

Open to both amateur and professional artists and featuring categories including bridal, fashion editorial and creative make up, the competition will also see category winners walk away with make up kits as well as watch Benefit artists demonstrate key products and looks on the day.

 

Paula Coulhoun, Licensed Trade Marketing Manager for Diet Coke Ireland, said: “This competition follows on from other successful events in Sally’s in the past and is a perfect event for Diet Coke and Benefit, as we are currently celebrating a joint on-pack promotion on specially designed, limited edition cans in which consumers can win Benefit make-up kits every 30 minutes.”

 

Oonagh McGirr from Sally’s said: “I’m delighted to be working with Diet Coke on this project and am really looking forward to seeing the entries come in. We love bringing customers in from across Northern Ireland and we fell this competition will appeal to creative types from all over the country.”

 

Lead judge, European gold medallist make-up artist Paddy McGurgan added: “I know there is great creativity in the industry here, so I imagine it will be difficult to make final decisions, but bring it on!”

 

Make up artists who are interested in taking part can download applications and rules from the Sally’s website at www.sallysofomagh.com or call 02890324437 for more detail email style@fashionpharmacy.com

You've got to be in it to win it - Mencap's Y-Factor is back to give aspiring singers an 'X'tra boost!


14 February 2012

 

Northern Ireland's leading learning disability charity, Mencap, is proud to announce the return of X-Factor inspired talent contest ‘The Y-Factor’, taking place at Belfast’s Empire Music Hall on Saturday 24th March.  Back by popular demand, the fourth annual Y-Factor will provide aspiring singers and songwriters with a stage and a spotlight to belt it out in front of a live audience, while raising money for the charity.  
Hosted by Pamela Ballantine and Peter Gilroy, the ever-popular event will give budding pop stars from the Northern Ireland business community the opportunity to take to the stage with The Jukes, a live five piece band, and test their talents before a panel of high-profile judges made up of Steve Martin from Sound House NI, Cool FM's Paul Kennedy, Director of Belfast FASHIONWEEK Cathy Martin and Brenda Buckley from Business Eye magazine.   
Each of the contestants is asked to raise £500 for Mencap before taking their places centre stage to compete to win the chance to record their track with Sound House Music and a number of other exciting prizes.  Scores given by the panel of judges will count for 50% of the overall total of the contestants’ scores, while the audience will be given the opportunity to buy votes for their favourite singer to contribute to the other 50% of the final scores.  The event promises to be a great opportunity for these aspiring stars, an entertaining night out for their supporters and a chance to donate to a worthy cause.  
Danielle Hibbert, Fundraising Manager for Mencap in Northern Ireland says, “This year’s Y-Factor is taking place on one night only and without a doubt will be bigger and better than ever before!    We are delighted to have sign ups from local businesses such as Asda, Oxford Economics, Optical Express, Sky & Almac and can’t wait to see which company has the most hidden talent and the most supportive colleagues!  We are thrilled to be supported by such generous local businesses and as with any of our fundraisers, all the money raised in Northern Ireland is spent in Northern Ireland, supporting both children and adults with learning disabilities and their families and carers.  This is a unique and entertaining event and we would encourage everyone to come along, or if you are feeling daring, there are still a few spaces left for singers so sign up today!"
Fundraising is a vital part of Mencap’s work, and The Y-Factor is just one of the charity's many exciting and innovative opportunities to help raise funds for Mencap whilst experiencing amazing personal achievements.  For further information on The Y-Factor, please contact Danielle Hibbert on tel: 028 9069 0159, email: yfactorni@mencap.org.uk or visit the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mencapchallengesni.  
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Northern Ireland's leading learning disability charity, Mencap, is proud to announce the return of X-Factor inspired talent contest ‘The Y-Factor’, taking place at Belfast’s Empire Music Hall on Saturday 24th March.  Back by popular demand, the fourth annual Y-Factor will provide aspiring singers and songwriters with a stage and a spotlight to belt it out in front of a live audience, while raising money for the charity.  

Hosted by Pamela Ballantine and Peter Gilroy, the ever-popular event will give budding pop stars from the Northern Ireland business community the opportunity to take to the stage with The Jukes, a live five piece band, and test their talents before a panel of high-profile judges made up of Steve Martin from Sound House NI, Cool FM's Paul Kennedy, Director of Belfast FASHIONWEEK Cathy Martin and Brenda Buckley from Business Eye magazine.   

Each of the contestants is asked to raise £500 for Mencap before taking their places centre stage to compete to win the chance to record their track with Sound House Music and a number of other exciting prizes.  Scores given by the panel of judges will count for 50% of the overall total of the contestants’ scores, while the audience will be given the opportunity to buy votes for their favourite singer to contribute to the other 50% of the final scores.  The event promises to be a great opportunity for these aspiring stars, an entertaining night out for their supporters and a chance to donate to a worthy cause.  

Danielle Hibbert, Fundraising Manager for Mencap in Northern Ireland says, “This year’s Y-Factor is taking place on one night only and without a doubt will be bigger and better than ever before!    We are delighted to have sign ups from local businesses such as Asda, Oxford Economics, Optical Express, Sky & Almac and can’t wait to see which company has the most hidden talent and the most supportive colleagues!  We are thrilled to be supported by such generous local businesses and as with any of our fundraisers, all the money raised in Northern Ireland is spent in Northern Ireland, supporting both children and adults with learning disabilities and their families and carers.  This is a unique and entertaining event and we would encourage everyone to come along, or if you are feeling daring, there are still a few spaces left for singers so sign up today!"

Fundraising is a vital part of Mencap’s work, and The Y-Factor is just one of the charity's many exciting and innovative opportunities to help raise funds for Mencap whilst experiencing amazing personal achievements.  For further information on The Y-Factor, please contact Danielle Hibbert on tel: 028 9069 0159, email: yfactorni@mencap.org.uk or visit the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mencapchallengesni.  

 

Fashionistas Benefit with Diet Coke!


07 February 2012

 

Fashionistas from the world of retail gathered in the luxurious surroundings of Belfast’s Merchant Hotel this weekend to celebrate the launch of a chic collaboration between Diet Coke and make up brand Benefit over Afternoon Tea and an intimate Benefit make up master class. 
The event celebrated an on-pack promotion which will run from 20 February to 01 April on specially designed, limited edition cans in which consumers can win Benefit make-up kits every 30 minutes. 
And just like the specially commissioned can designs, make up brand Benefit also created three make up looks inspired by the marionette puppets from the Diet Coke campaign. Guests at the event learnt how to use classic Benefit products such as Benetint or ChaCha tint to get the fashionista, romantic or rock chic looks of puppets Irene, Bernadette and Eleanor. 
 
Speaking to guests on the day, make-up artist Nicola McGuinness from Benefit said: “The lip looks on the glam cans are based around our three very famous lip and cheek tints - Benetint, Posie tint and Cha Cha tint. The great thing about using the tints is that they're waterproof, so they're going to stay put, even when you’re sipping on your Diet Coke!”
Paula Colhoun, Licensed Trade Marketing Manager for Diet Coke Ireland, added: “This was a fun and relaxed way to tell our customers first-hand about the new on pack promotion; and having the Benefit team on board really brought the collaboration to life.”
Fans of Diet Coke and Benefit can pick up promotional cans at stores across Northern Ireland from 20 February. For further information on the collaboration, visit www.cokezone.ie or www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk/dietcoke 

 

Fashionistas from the world of retail gathered in the luxurious surroundings of Belfast’s Merchant Hotel this weekend to celebrate the launch of a chic collaboration between Diet Coke and make up brand Benefit over Afternoon Tea and an intimate Benefit make up master class. 

 

The event celebrated an on-pack promotion which will run from 20 February to 01 April on specially designed, limited edition cans in which consumers can win Benefit make-up kits every 30 minutes. 

 

And just like the specially commissioned can designs, make up brand Benefit also created three make up looks inspired by the marionette puppets from the Diet Coke campaign. Guests at the event learnt how to use classic Benefit products such as Benetint or ChaCha tint to get the fashionista, romantic or rock chic looks of puppets Irene, Bernadette and Eleanor. 

 

Speaking to guests on the day, make-up artist Nicola McGuinness from Benefit said: “The lip looks on the glam cans are based around our three very famous lip and cheek tints - Benetint, Posie tint and Cha Cha tint. The great thing about using the tints is that they're waterproof, so they're going to stay put, even when you’re sipping on your Diet Coke!”

 

Paula Colhoun, Licensed Trade Marketing Manager for Diet Coke Ireland, added: “This was a fun and relaxed way to tell our customers first-hand about the new on pack promotion; and having the Benefit team on board really brought the collaboration to life.”

 

Fans of Diet Coke and Benefit can pick up promotional cans at stores across Northern Ireland from 20 February. For further information on the collaboration, visit www.cokezone.ie or www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk/dietcoke 

 

MISS NI 'INSURES' SUCCESSFUL SEARCH WITH NEW SPONSOR


01 February 2012

The search for Miss Northern Ireland 2012 launched this month with a glamorous brunch at the Europa Hotel where insurance company Open+Direct was named as the proud title sponsor for this year’s event.

Contestant organiser Alison Campbell and the current title holder Finola Guinnane – who reached top 20 at Miss World 2011 – announced the new sponsorship and set the precedent of the competition to several young hopefuls who wish to make it to the Open+Direct Miss Northern Ireland 2012 final.  The gala black tie final event, which will take place on 14 May in the Europa Hotel, will see the hopefuls whittled down to 24 finalists competing for the title, and will also showcase the latest fashionable looks from fashion sponsors, THE OUTLET Village in Banbridge.

Colin McEvoy, Head of Open + Direct said, “We have supported the Miss Northern Ireland contest for several years now so we are absolutely delighted to be the main sponsor of this year’s event. We wish all the girls who are taking part the best of luck and we are looking forward to crowning a new winner who will represent Northern Ireland in the Miss World Contest.”

"The OUTLET Village Banbridge is delighted to be the official fashion sponsor of this fantastic contest for the second year,"  stated Siobhan McKeown, Marketing Manager at The OUTLET:  "It was a privilege for us to work with such a professional contest last year and we look forward to dressing the finalists for the gala final to showcase the fashion and accessories available throughout the 55 plus stores at The OUTLET." 

Alison explained the heats and entry opportunities for girls hoping to take this year’s coveted title: “I’m delighted to be starting our twenty-sixth year of the contest and each year it seems to get more and more popular. Our official search will start with a heat in Café Vaudeville in Belfast on Thursday 01 March and will continue on a whirlwind tour throughout March and April - stopping off in Bank in Newry, Spice Restaurant in Antrim, Da Vinci’s Hotel in Derry city, Walshes Hotel in Maghera, the Coach in Banbridge, Sense in Cookstown, Sally’s in Omagh, McAleer’s in Dungannon, Drumbo Park in Lisburn, where last year’s winner Finola qualified, Horatio Todd’s in East Belfast, before finally coming to a close in Betty Blacks in Bangor on 29 April 2012.”

The winner of the competition will not only take on the coveted title of Open + Direct Miss Northern Ireland 2012, and an all-expenses paid trip to Miss World in China, she will also win a car from Downey’s, taxed and insured for a year by Open + Direct, as well as a wardrobe of designer dresses for Miss World from Beverly Hills and a front cover photoshoot with IN! magazine. Beauty prizes, which will keep her preened and prepared for her role, include one year’s hairdressing and sun tanning with Michele International as well as 1 year’s eyebrow threading, eyelash extensions and nail treatments by Renu at Michele International, luxurious beauty treatments from Beauty Culture as well as stunning designer sunglasses from Jonathan Keys. The winner can also be keep fit with her gym membership at Culloden Spa and her modeling career will also get off to the right start with a photoshoot session with Andy Cameron Photography and a year’s contract with top model agency, the Alison Campbell Agency.
Event organisers are looking for entrants aged between 17 and 24 from all parts of Northern Ireland to take over the crown from current Miss Northern Ireland Finola Guinnane. “We need someone who has that extra special quality, the ‘je ne sais quois’, or a certain X factor as it takes more than good looks to win Miss Northern Ireland.” Said Alison Campbell.  “The winner will have her diary filled with a range of modelling and promotional assignments throughout the year – some challenging, some fun but all fantastic experiences. Plus she must be free to depart Northern Ireland on 19 July to attend the Miss World final held in China on 18 August. It takes great stamina, commitment and confidence to carry off the title, and Finola Guinnane has been a wonderful ambassador this year. Finola graciously took on the title last year and has been a truly fantastic ambassador and achieved a brilliant result at Miss World by reaching the top twenty in the beach beauty contest.”

Current title holder Finola said: “I have had the most amazing experience so far this year – and although I’m delighted to be part of this year’s launch, it’s quite sad, as it’s the beginning of the end of what has been a fantastic reign. I’ve enjoyed so many different and varied modelling assignments which have jam packed my portfolio, but I’ve also done so many things I would never ever have had the opportunity to do before such as meeting girls from all over the globe at the Miss World final as well as taking part in several charity challenges and fundraisers right here in Northern Ireland – in particular, the Miss Northern Ireland chosen Charity, The NI Children’s Hospice. All in all it’s been a life-changing and incredible experience that the new title holder should just relish and I wish all entrants the very best as competition is tough – there are a lot of beautiful and talented young girls in Northern Ireland!”

To enter, girls should send a photograph with their name and address to the Open+Direct Miss Northern Ireland Contest, 381 Beersbridge Road, Belfast, BT5 5DT. Competition rules can be checked out on the Miss NI website www.missnorthernireland.co.uk or on Facebook at Miss Northern Ireland Contest. The official website also outlines full details of the competition heats and the full range of prizes available.

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