Archive: August 2013

Jason Clarke Releases Third Single 'Smoke and Mirrors'

27 August 2013

It’s been a busy couple of months for Belfast singing sensation Jason Clarke.  Following the release of his summer single LOVING YOU in June, the young singer travelled to Norway after being invited over to write songs for an international recording label, before returning home to perform an acoustic show to a sell-out crowd at The Merchant Hotel.  Despite his busy schedule, Jason is set to release his third single ‘SMOKE AND MIRRORS’ this month.


Described as a cross between The Script and Paolo Nutini, Jason’s new single ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is a far cry from the slow and mellow tone of ‘Loving You’.  The upbeat tempo is in stark contrast to the dark story the lyrics portray.


Jason explained: “It’s a song about wanting to get past being friends/lovers and becoming committed to one another and the frustration of going round in circles. It’s not a sad song though, and I think the fast tempo reflects that.”


Hot off the heels of his successful acoustic gig in August, which sold out within an hour, the rising star will also play a headline gig at The Empire this autumn.


Jason said: “I wanted to play to an intimate crowd and I genuinely never expected it to sell so quickly.  A lot of people contacted me to say they couldn’t get tickets so I think it’s the right time to play in a larger venue, to a bigger crowd.  I’ve released three singles and have lots of new material that I want to share with fans so the timing just feels right.”


Jason began to build a fan base last year when his debut single ‘GOTTA GO’ received over 30,000 views online.  Following that, his own unique spin on Shakin’ Steven’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ - which he filmed at night on Belfast’s Royal Avenue - ranked up over 10,000 views last December in a matter of days. 


He said: “I’ll definitely be releasing another Christmas cover this year again as a lot of people seemed to enjoy last year’s video, but this time it will be something more light-hearted with a bit of a twist in the video!”


With play list placement and studio appearances across all key stations in Great Britain, Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland markets, combined with his drive and soulful distinctive voice, Jason has high hopes of cracking the music scene in the UK and beyond.


‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is available to download from 9th September on itunes, Amazon, and other online stores


Watch the lyric video online here


15 August 2013

The change of season from summer to winter is never a welcomed one, but there is one silver lining - the return of West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK of course, which brings all the cosy winter fashion must-haves to help see fashionistas through the cold and miserable winter months. 


Enthusiastic fashion fans were out in force at the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast today (Thurs 15 Aug), for the launch of the city’s sixteenth FASHIONWEEK event. The brunch event showcased a selection of looks from participant retailers and designers while director Cathy Martin outlined key looks for the season ahead from Ireland’s favourite fashion event.


This season’s events will run over four days from 10-13 October across various venues in Belfast but with the key catwalk shows returning to the iconic Ulster Museum in Botanic Gardens.  Following on the success of spring/summer shows, the contemporary and minimalist atrium at the historic building will once again be transformed into a fashion haven as hundreds of fashion fans gather to celebrate winter style.


Karen Anderson, brand manager for West Coast Cooler, which sponsors the events said: “The winter months can always be a bit gloomy, but at West Coast Cooler we believe that your winter wardrobe doesn’t have to be gloomy too, so I’m looking forward to another fast-paced and exciting autumn/winter FASHIONWEEK.”


Cathy Martin, director of FASHIONWEEK added: “We have a very busy schedule this season – and we have teamed up with Belfast City Council’s Restaurant Week to share some events, which is great for the city as a whole – but ideal for foodies and fashionistas.


“I can’t deny that it is a difficult time for many of our retailers, particularly independently owned stores, but West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK allows designers, retailers and fashionistas to come together and celebrate all things fashion. It’s a great marketing tool for retailers, and our fashion hungry audiences certainly love it!”


She added: “In terms of trends to look out for this season, the key colours and patterns include deep reds and burgundy, pale pink hues, plaid and leopard print.  Texture is important too and we can expect to see leather, velvet, lace and chiffon as well as lots of embellishments.  As for shapes, design and cut - the turtleneck and poloneck are both back, and new this season are sexy thigh high splits on skirts and dresses as well as large oversized coats and capes.”


The city’s independent retailers and boutiques will kick off FASHIONWEEK on Thursday 10 October with CRUISE, Liberty Blue, Blush, Helen McAlinden and Diamond Dolls in Banbridge all confirmed to take part. In a move off the runway this season, leading designer Una Rodden will also host an exclusive and intimate fashion installation that evening, where her fashion will become art, in an alluring display of fabric, textile and texture.


In the first of the Restaurant Week collaborations, James Street South restaurant will host a ‘Fashion Friday’ lunch demo on Friday 11 October – with chef Niall McKenna demonstrating how to cook a number of carbohydrate-free meals (including sushi making) served with a light lunchtime cocktail – perfect for those going back to work.


Then it’s off to the Ulster Museum that evening for the ever popular High Street catwalk show, which sees the return of Next, Jigsaw, Mexx, CastleCourt, M&S, Oasis, Heaton’s and George at Asda - among others.


Saturday 12 October sees a busy, jam packed itinerary of chic events.  The popular Fashion Souk at Spire’s Mall will be selling vintage and previously owned pieces from 10am - 2pm, swiftly followed by a delicious Fashion Tea at the Merchant Hotel where designer emporium CRUISE will showcase their high end collections from Victoria Beckham, Armani, Vivienne Westwood and Marchesa, among others. This up-close-and-personal look at the season’s top end designer collections is an intimate and indulgent way to enjoy fashion at its most elegant.


Saturday evening will play host to some unique creations from our local talent with the popular designer night.  This season Nor Lisa, Goddess and Swift, Ruedi Maguire and Grainne Maher, among others, will all take part; dazzling crowds with their creative and quirky designs which never fail to impress the crowd. Lucky students from across Northern Ireland will also feature on the catwalk with selected outfits from the secondary school competition Junk Kouture, which challenges students to create fashion art from junk and recycled materials.


Also on the Saturday schedule is the ever popular highlight of the Diet Coke Design Award, which is back for the fourth year running. The award seeks to reward aspiring design talent - from design students to style fans with a passion for fashion.  Three stylistas will be shortlisted to have their ideas and sketches made up by designer Una Rodden and showcased on the catwalk at the finale night’s show on Saturday 12 October, where judges will decide which lucky fashionista will go on to win a mini scholarship to the London College of Fashion plus a shoot with photographer Khara Pringle.


On the Diet Coke Award, Cathy said: “Entry forms are available to download from the Belfast FASHIONWEEK website and entrants don’t have to be designers or from a design background, in fact our first winner was a bank employee who just loved fashion. We’ve been assessing some of the competition entries already but people can enter right up until 13 September and we’d encourage anyone with a passion for fashion to enter.”


Last but by no means least is Style Sunday, which will take place this season at SHU restaurant on Sunday 13 October from 1-5pm in association with Mencap.  This glamorous four course gourmet luncheon accompanies trend forecasts, a mini fashion show and seasonal style tips from some of the country’s top style experts. It is very often sold out within days of being launched.  Tickets cost £45.00 per person. Places can be booked directly through the restaurant on 028 9038 1655.


As well as hosting the launch of FASHIONWEEK in its iconic and stylish lobby space, the Fitzwilliam Hotel will also embrace all things fashion with a specially designed cocktail and nibbles offer for those seeking a stylish pre- or post-show venue.Siobhan O’Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing for the hotel, said: “The Fitzwilliam Hotel is looking forward to embracing fashion at its finest throughout FASHIONWEEK, which coincides with our celebration of Restaurant Week. We will be collaborating on a number of exclusive events, as well as launching our own FASHIONWEEK-inspired cocktails, the perfect accompaniment for fashionistas everywhere.” 


Once again, hair partner Andrew Mulvenna and his team will be tending to the tresses of all the models throughout the week and if previous seasons are anything to go by, we can expect to be blown away by his creativity.  Andrew said, “This autumn/winter I’ll be focusing on four key looks for women. 


“‘The Lady Undone’ is a quirky asymmetric version of Dusty Springfield but with a fresher look; ‘The Woman Warrior’ is all about volume - high at the sides, with hair pulled back from the face, channelling the power blow-dry which was really popular in the 90s; ‘Church Girl’ is a sweet angelic centre parted look in the style of grace Kelly only sleeker and more modern.  Lastly, we’ll be exploring with ‘The Tuck In’ which is the practice of creating a shorter look by tucking length into collars as well as making use of braids to create necklaces and collars.”


Throughout the week, breast cancer charity Pretty‘n’Pink will collect funds at all shows to support women who need to feel better about themselves after undergoing debilitating breast cancer surgery or treatment.


The full show schedule and design competition details are all available online at along with details of this season’s trends plus links to all participant retailers and sponsors.  Catwalk tickets, which cost £20 (or £25 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats), are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609 or via the website. Ticket price includes a fabulous goodie bag and a refreshing West Coast Cooler.

Twobirds Bridesmaid Comes to Blush

08 August 2013

Mollie King, Geri Halliwell and even Lady Gaga have all been spotted wearing them…and now beautiful Belfast bridesmaids have the chance to wear the ever popular collection from Twobirds Bridesmaid, which is being stocked exclusively in Blush Boutique, Lisburn Road.

Planning a wedding is such an exciting time, however those of us who are in the midst of wedding preparations know it can sometimes be difficult to find bridesmaid dresses that suit each bridesmaid’s shape. With Twobirds, bridesmaids can wear the same dress, long or short, in over 15 different styles by simply twisting or folding the material into the desired shape. Even better, the dresses come in an array of beautiful colours to fit in with you wedding colour scheme.

Twobirds dresses are also great for lucky ladies who are attending formals. We always dread that someone will turn up in the same dress but hopefully this won’t happen as Blush is the only stockist in Northern Ireland, and even if it does, you can change the style of your dress in a couple of minutes!

For those of you who haven’t seen Twobirds dresses, be sure to give the girls at Blush a call to make an appointment so they can show you the different designs and colours, as well as help you tie and wrap the dress to your chosen style.


Blush Boutique

166a Lisburn Road


028 9066 1101

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