Get on your bike with Sunblest Pancakes The Treat of Champions

Under 14s Irish downhill mountain bike champion Jacob Dickson lends his moves to Sunblest Pancakes to help encourage families across Northern Ireland to get on their bikes.

Just in time for Pancake Tuesday, Sunblest Pancakes have launched the Treat of Champions campaign to encourage consumers across Northern Ireland to get active by giving them the opportunity to win bikes for all the family.

Sunblest Pancakes has teamed up with Belfast based Chain Reaction Cycles in an initiative which will see more than 50 bikes up for grabs and with Springtime just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to think about getting out and about with the kids.

Elva O’Connor, Sunblest Brand Manager explained; “Pancakes are a family favourite, so using our packs as a way of encouraging kids … big or small to get active together makes sense.

“We’ll be very busy in the run up to Pancake Tuesday producing over 2 million pancakes for our Pancake loving nation this week – so there is no better time to launch the Treat of Champions campaign.”

To be in with the chance of winning bikes for your family, visit and answer the question… easy peasy lemon squeezy!
The competition closes 8th April 2012.

Dancing in Belfast is Top of the World

The World Irish Dancing Championships are coming to Belfast for the fourth time in 12 years.

The week long event attracting more than 20,000 visitors from around the globe begins at Belfast Waterfront on Saturday 31March.

Three separate stages, in the Waterfront auditorium, the Studio and at St George’s Market will be in use over three days of the most intense competition. Competitors and their supporters will be kept up to date with what is happening via links from the different stages.

Launching the event at the Belfast Waterfront, the Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile said: “This is one of the events that is making 2012 special in Belfast, the final weekend coincides with the beginning of the Titanic Festival and it kicks off a really exciting time for the city.

“We are on the global map for our continued success in hosting world class events, like the MTV Awards and the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne.

“The fact that the championships have come back to us four times in 12 years proves the excellent support the organisers, competitors and supporters receive here in terms of welcome, facilities and attractions.

“Their expansion is also evident in the use of St George’s Market as a competition venue this year. This is a celebration not just of Irish dancing but Irish culture involving people from across the world,” added the Mayor.

During the week visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy ceilis, concerts language classes and music lessons.

Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne spokesman Séamus Ớ Sé said it was because of the  initiative and support of Belfast City Council and Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau that the World Irish Dancing Championships are returning to Belfast.

“We are delighted to return and look forward to the influx of those supporting the championships many of whom will book into local accommodation and enjoy the attractions that Belfast has to offer.

“While the championships themselves are the focal point of the event, the World Championships are about much more than that.

“Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne has evolved into a unique gathering of the extended family of dancers, teachers, adjudicators and friends of Irish Dancing from around the globe.

“Those who plan to be in Belfast from 31 March to 8 April should be prepared to experience a feast of entertainment. We are indebted to all those helping us put on this world class event by contributing financially, all those who will add colour and atmosphere.

“We intend to present an event of which Belfast can be justifiably proud.”

More information on the event is available on our website at

Ulster Orchestra to make waves with world première of special Titanic work

In one of the first Titanic centenary events of 2012, the Ulster Orchestra will give the world première tomorrow tonight (Friday 17 February) of Ian Wilson’s The stars, the seas in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, at its Titanic Journey concert.

The 25-minute work for orchestra and chorus by the UO’s Associate Composer marks the centenary of the sinking of the Belfast-built liner in April 1912 and has been specially commissioned by the Orchestra with the support of JTI.

Speaking before the world première of his work, Belfast-born Ian Wilson said, “This is an important commission that not only commemorates a significant world event, but an event that has had a profound effect on the city and people that built the ship.”

The piece, which is Ian’s biggest work for full orchestra in terms of its length, falls into five broad sections entitled Build, Launch, Forward, “No sun, no moon” and Towards the Horizon.

“There was a strong temptation for me to make the music programmatic and just tell the Titanic story,” Ian explained. “I resisted this as much as possible so that, while there are still clear links between various sections and parts of the Titanic narrative, any sense of telling a story, as it were, is absent. In its place is a frieze-like structure where various scenes from the story have inspired a musical response.

In the first section, Build, Ian explained that the music is noisy, busy and mechanistic, creating a sense of a structure coming together. “Launch is, suitably, fanfare-like and briefly celebratory, whereas Forward begins with a determined air which is soon replaced with – literally – a sinking feeling as the music drops to reach the lowest instrumental depths,” he said.

‘No sun, no moon’ is a setting of a specially-commissioned poem from the English poet Helen Pizzey, a beautifully evocative text which manages to be memorial without overdoing either melancholy or morbidity. The celebrated Northern Irish chamber choir, Cappella Caeciliana, will join with the Orchestra for this section, which realy is the heart of the work,” Ian said.

“The final section, Towards the horizon, was inspired by the idea that while the Titanic is physically at the bottom of the north Atlantic, metaphorically it lives on in our minds, particularly for those of us who grew up in Northern Ireland where it is very much a part of the cultural and historical fabric. Therefore the music becomes active once again, stirring motifs bringing previous sections back into life as the ship sails on into the future.”

Looking forward to Friday’s concert, the Ulster Orchestra’s Chairman, Professor Sir George Bain said, “A world première is an exciting time for any orchestra. Through our concerts, education and outreach work, the Ulster Orchestra has always played its part in the life of the community as one of Northern Ireland’s cultural cornerstones.

“The UO is therefore proud to be a part of the Titanic commemorations and very grateful to JTI for its support that has enabled us to commission this special centenary work by Ian. The Titanic has always been a part of Belfast’s story, long before the 1985 discovery of the wreck and the 1997 film. While the tragedy itself has cast a long and understandable shadow over the city, it is only in recent years, perhaps, that the true legacy of that great liner, one of innovation, ingenuity, creativity and excellence is now being realised.”

Tickets are still available for Friday’s concert, which also features works with a journey theme by Wagner, Mendelssohn and Sibelius, conducted by the UO’s Principal Guest Conductor, Paul Watkins. The concert will also see the renowned Bulgarian-born violinist, Bella Hristova, make her UK and Irish début playing Mendelssohn’s effervescent Violin Concerto.

Major Business Live tour comes to Cookstown

Free advice and support to help kick-start local economy

Looking forward to the Business Live event in Mid-Ulster are: John Meenan of Cookstown-based FSL Electronics; Brian Taylor of Cookstown’s TES; Girvan Gault, acting head of Ulster Bank’s Cookstown-based business centre; and Noel Loughran, Ulster Bank.

Stories of local, cross-border and international business success will be shared with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and aspiring entrepreneurs from the Mid-Ulster and South Tyrone areas in March as part of a major free event being organised by Ulster Bank in association with Small Business Can.

All local business people are invited to attend Business Live at the Burnavon Arts Centre, Cookstown on March 5th which will feature a panel of successful local business people, chaired by a co-founder of the influential business website

Business people who will be discussing and sharing their experiences and successes at the event include:

  • John Meenan, Managing Director of Cookstown-based FSL Electronics Ltd which has developed and sold sports scoreboards for use in all kinds of sports grounds in over 100 countries, including for the West Indian Cricket Board, and for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa
  • Brian Taylor, co-founder of Cookstown-based TES (NI) Ltd which manufactures control panel and switchgear equipment for system applications mainly within the water and quarrying industry internationally
  • Willie McKeown of Yardmaster based in Draperstown which specialises in the manufacture of steel garden sheds and storage units especially for the caravan sector, sold mainly into Europe

Business Live features 14 dates in total across the island – five in Northern Ireland – of which Cookstown is the finale.

All types of business people will hear at the event that trading outside of your home market is probably easier than many think. They will hear that the advent of the internet and subsequent advances in technology have changed the world of commerce enabling small businesses and entrepreneurs to quickly and efficiently market and sell their products to a global audience.  And that, now, exporting, once the preserve of bigger business, is accessible for business of all sizes.

The event, which is free of charge to attend, will centre around an informal panel discussion chaired by entrepreneur and co-founder of Ron Immink, and will feature the opportunity for questions, networking and the chance to engage one-to-one with experts from Ulster Bank and other organisations, including InterTradeIreland.

Sharing the panellists’ stories and experiences at the events is intended to provide motivation to other SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs, says Girvan Gault, acting Head of Ulster Bank’s Mid Ulster & Fermanagh Business Centre.

He continues: “I would encourage all SME owners in Mid-Ulster, South Tyrone and Fermanagh to come to the event, including aspiring entrepreneurs, as there will be something for everyone to learn from the discussion, and the potential to meet and network with a wide range of like-minded business people and experts, including business people from across the border”.

“Doing business cross-border and internationally will feature as part of the discussion. When you can communicate with potential customers and suppliers across the island and around the world 24/7 at little cost through the internet, it opens significant opportunities. This is one of the reasons why more and more SMEs are able to widen their customer-base and enhance their business by trading outside of their home market”.

“As an all-island bank, and as part of an international group with people on the ground in 37 countries, we feel that Ulster Bank is very well placed to help SMEs to explore and capitalise on their potential to do business successfully at home and outside of their home market,” Mr Gault adds.

More information about Business Live is available from Ulster Bank branches or at

The events are supporting the launch of Ulster Bank’s new cross border and international business proposition¹, which offers a range of supports for companies who are doing or could potentially do business outside of Northern Ireland.

The proposition includes free* subscription to Ulster Bank’s online Bankline service for international payments**, as well as the waiving of non-domestic payment processing fees until the end of 2012 for new customers with a turnover under £25million.

Customers can also benefit from the wide range of products Ulster Bank has available through its parent company RBS, including overseas current accounts, merchant services***, global trade finance and foreign exchange services. The Bank is also highlighting that the reach of its parent company, which has a presence on the ground in 37 countries, can assist Northern Ireland firms trading abroad with market insight and contacts.

Something vintage, something new, something borrowed, something ALTERNATIVE. We just can’t get enough of Quirky!

You can’t get enough…

The 1st fair rocked the Black Box. We had a benchmark to surpass…the 2nd AWF was a roaring success and that has raised the benchmark even higher!

As ever we know it’s all down to having the support and participation of our suppliers and of course you – the quirky couples – coming along to indulge in Quirky delights!

We are determined to fully welcome 2012 with a great big bang…won’t you join us?!

More updates will follow for the next Alternative Wedding Fair, 19 February 2012

Look out for our flyers around Belfast and join us on

Apologies – No online tickets!

Hey guys! Previously we mentioned about the tickets being on sale online, this is not the case this time round and we apologise for any confusion caused!

Confirmed Suppliers

  • AM:PM Cabaret Club
  • Arbee Cards
  • Afternoon to Remember
  • Bespoke Music
  • Bloomin’ Sweetz
  • Breckenhill
  • Catch
  • Challas Spitroast
  • Co Couture
  • Crumbs Cakes
  • Dazzle Me With Your Tips
  • Ember Jewellery
  • Emma Hutchinson Photography
  • Fatted Calf
  • floralearth
  • Harlequin Hoop Dance
  • Heathfield
  • Hilden Brewery
  • iMakeAnything
  • Inkwell Cartoon and Caricature
  • jBird Bakery
  • Jacqui Bennett
  • Karen Sufferin Make Up Artist
  • Lavery’s
  • Lily Cupcake
  • Lauren Rutherford Photography
  • Lifting the Veil
  • Little White Dress
  • Love 22
  • Make A Wish Foundation
  • Marryokes
  • Merville House
  • Moon Monkeys Productions
  • My Little Hat Box
  • My Little Kitchen
  • National Trust
  • Our Events NI
  • Paper Bark
  • Party Table
  • Paula McManus Photography
  • Prestige Candleabra
  • Pretty Pin Up
  • Pure Pictures
  • Remember It To Me
  • Roadrunner Photography
  • Ruby Bijou
  • SAK Designs
  • She Likes Surprises
  • Something Borrowed
  • Starlight Weddings
  • Sugar Mama’s
  • Sweets n Treats
  • Tea Boutique
  • The Adventure Team
  • The Knievals
  • Tiffany’s on the Square
  • Ulster Cancer Foundation
  • Vintage Bride
  • Vintage Rocks
  • Vintage Routemaster
  • VW Wedding Hire
  • The Windrose


Price is just £5.00!

Northern Ireland families needed now to star in new TV lifestyle series.

A new BBC NI television series, created by the team behind Slim Chance: Fix My Family, is giving you the chance to help change your family’s life.

We are looking for families with teenagers struggling to keep the peace with each other. Teenagers, has the atmosphere at home become unbearable? Parents, do you feel you have lost the respect you deserve?

Whatever the problems, and however serious the issues, we hope to help to resolve them and restore mutual respect amongst the whole family.

Has communication broken down in the family home?
Does your family share more anger than laughter?
Do you want a chance to put things right?

Think you might be interested? Want to know more about it?

Just call and have a chat with one of our team in strict confidence.

What have you got to lose?

Tel: 02890-326061
Or email us at:

Series Synopsis

Tern TV, and the team behind last years BBC One NI series ‘Slim Chance: Fix My Family’, have begun work on the second “Fix My Family”. In this series – ‘Fix My Teenage Family’ – we aim to explore a number of issues that affect Northern Irish teens and their families today.

Whatever the problems, and however serious the issues, we hope to help to resolve them and restore mutual respect amongst the whole family.

Parents have always had a rough ride, but in this modern age, it is getting tougher. Parents feel like they’re losing control in the family home whilst teenagers think that they are not being listened to. Inevitably, this results in a communication breakdown between family members.

We’re offering Northern Irish families the opportunity to take a bit of time out from the stresses and strains of daily life, and with the help of our team of experts, tackle the difficulties that are rocking the stability of the family unit the most.

Irish band makes it to Rock Band on Xbox!

Rising Northern Irish band Trucker Diablo have made their debut appearance on the hit game Rock Band on

Since Saturday the band’s song Drink Beer, Destroy has been available to download and play on the game

through the Rock Band Network Store!

Already fans have been posting videos and photos of their attempts

at the game, for example

One fan “re-created” the band in Rock Band form and posted on their Facebook.

The song Drink Beer, Destroy has in the past week been played on BBC Radio 1, Kerrang Radio and Kerrang TV

Look out for the band on the road around the UK and Ireland over the next few months including an appearance at Hammerfest!


Ricky Warwick –Thin Lizzy
“One of the best new bands from Northern Ireland!!

Cormac Nesson –The Answer

“Great album guys..Refreshingly honest Northern Irish rock n roll”

Joe Elliot- Def Leppard

“Absolutely Rockin stuff”

Classic Rock Magazine (Featured on April Edition 2011: Track 14)

This track has a huge groove that owes something to the Almighty and Thin Lizzy

Dom Lawson – Metal Hammer
“Excellent arse-kicking rawk action!”

Andy King –Total Rock
“Sounds like an anthem to youth, drinking and err… destroying! Aaah I remember those days!!

Contestants wanted for new series of Secret Fortune!

The National Lottery “Secret Fortune” – hosted by Nick Knowles – is back for a brand new series!

By putting your general knowledge to the test, you could win a great cash prize.

We are looking for fantastic Contestant Pairs to take part – a family duo, competitive couple, best friends, colleagues or simply a great twosome that will work together well and potentially win BIG MONEY.

To receive an application form today, EMAIL

Or call 02890 500 758 for more information

Standard geographic charges apply and calls may be included in your telecom provider’s call package. Calls from mobiles may be higher

The closing date for returning application forms is 17:00, 11th of March 2012.

All applicants must be 18 years and over and be legally resident and currently living in the UK.


Brit nominated, acoustic guitar virtuoso Newton Faulkner has announced a return to Belfast ahead of his new album to be released later this year. Newton Faulkner revisits Belfast at The Limelight on Saturday 26th May, having sold out The Waterfront Hall, St Georges Market and Spring & Airbrake on previous occasions. Tickets are on sale priced £17.50 this Friday at 9am from, and all usual ticket outlets.

As well as playing his classic hits, Newton will be giving fans the chance to hear new material on the tour as he showcases songs from his forthcoming LP.

He has sold over 1million albums in the UK alone. His debut ‘Hands Built By Robots’ spent over10 months inside the Top 40 Album Charts and become one of the Top 20 Biggest Selling UK digital albums of all time.

Newton is currently putting the finishing touches to his new album, taking a back to basics approach and recording most of it at home.

Sat        26-May   Belfast                  The Limelight

Independent Retail Taking Centre Stage.

On parade with Councillor Conor Maskey, Deputy Chair of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee are some of the 160 retailers signed up for Belfast’s first ever Independent Retail Week which runs from 5-11 March. Pictured (l-r) are Nazeeta Ahmed, Blooms of Belfast ; Nigel McCreery, McCreery Butchers; Claire Mullan, Tee &Toast; Uncle Jim from Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory; and Eamon Cregan from Gotto Sports.

A ‘Celebrate Independent Fashion Showcase’ will launch Belfast Independent Retail Week (BIRW) next month and ‘A Mad Hatters Tea Party’ will mark the end of the initiative which runs from 5-11 March.

In between Belfast independent retailers will also be participating in a Visual Merchandising and Customer Care competition, shopping promotions and other in-store events.

Customers will get the opportunity to win Grainne Maher necklaces, a mountain bike, a Designs Satchel, and a Swedish massage.

Retailers are getting behind Belfast City Council’s efforts to boost trade and improve service in the independent retail  sector with more than 160 signing up for the first ever Belfast Independent Retail Week.

This runs from 5-11 March and while celebrating the range and quality of the independent traders in Belfast, aims to raise their profile by highlighting quality neighbourhood shopping across the city.

Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “This is a tough economic climate for everyone but independent retailers in particular need a boost because they don’t have the resources that larger chains can call on. Many are one person or family businesses which employ small numbers but small businesses are the backbone of our economy, they are what differentiate one city from another and they are a vital service in local communities.

“We want to help them promote their service and encourage customers to recognise the importance of supporting independent retailers. It is satisfying that so many local retailers are signing up to participate in this initiative which covers not just the city centre but those neighbourhood areas in all quarters of the city.”

The Fashion Event is a flagship catwalk show to promote independent fashion designers, retailers and jewellery makers and will take place in the Great Hall from 12.30pm-1.30pm on Monday 5 March. Independent retailers will also be offered the chance to have a pop-up shop in City Hall.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Sunday 11 March is a family event to showcase food products from Belfast. Families will be invited to follow a Mad Hatter’s food trail, enjoy storytelling and children’s craft and play along the way.

Tickets for both events are free and are available from Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau.

A series of workshops are also taking place in the run up to BIRW to enhance key skills within the independent retail sector. This includes customer care, creating fabulous displays and loyalty schemes, why retailers should be trading online and using social media to drive custom.

Students from Belfast Met will be helping shops create displays and these will then be judged during BIRW. Councillor Stalford said: “By involving students we are also providing some hands on experience that will be invaluable when they come to look for work.

“It also emphasises that we are working very much in partnership with the retailers and service trainers as well as business forums across the city. We want independent retailers to know that we place value on what they provide and we are happy to support them in whatever way we can,” added the Councillor.

More information on BIRW is available on