The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s

16 October – 1 November 2014
Various venues, Belfast

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, Ireland’s leading contemporary international arts festival, 16 October – 1 November, features an array of never seen before shows and must see events from music, film and dance to theatre, including 26 Premieres, 18 Countries, 110 Events.

2014 highlights include, celebrated NY dancer Camille A Brown, in the funny yet moving show, ‘Mr. TOL. E. RancE’, the world’s most celebrated flamenco dancer, Israel Galvan, in his Bessie award-winning show of high-energy, passion and drama.  Berlin’s Schaubühne Theatre Company’s, ‘An Enemy of the People’, is a dark satire of greed and corruption featuring contemporary political and musical references with the explosive final act. ‘The Suit’ from Théâtre Des Bouffes Du Nord, Paris, is a heart-breaking tale of a woman’s infidelity to her husband during apartheid South-Africa.

The Festival’s Music Club returns with unmissable live music from soul legend Bettye Lavette, four time Grammy award winner Dianne Reeves and ‘Mysticssippi’ blues man, Harry Manx, with singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Gareth Davies Jones.

The African Savannah comes to Belfast with a FREE, family-friendly weekend. ‘Hannavas’, on Saturday 25th (12-3pm, Botanic Gardens) and Sunday 26th October (2pm at City Hall).  Come see large-scale, mechanical, African mammals, make puppet and masks, have your face painted safari-style and join the promenade style performance of animals at 2pm each day.

EMBRACE is the Festival’s new programme of participatory and creative learning activities and includes free workshops, performance opportunities, artist talks and hosted visits to Festival events.  For the full programme of events, including festival discounts, check in to


Considered by many to be one of the finest singer | songwriters of her generation, Beth Nielsen Chapman has penned hits for artists including Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Roberta Flack, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Willie Nelson. In concert her songs are interwoven with wonderful story telling, all rooted in folk and Americana traditions, adding to the emotion and magic of the experience.

Beth will perform at The Market Place Theatre in Armagh on Saturday 4th October at 8pm. Tickets are priced £20 each.

On Wednesday 8th October at 8pm, the fast paced high-energy show, ‘Phantom & The Musicals’ will take to the stage. Now firmly established as the premier show of its kind, this is  a musical coaster ride through the music of ‘The King And I’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, to Rodgers & Hammerstein and the music of the maestro Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber! Throw in the music of ‘Grease’ and Abba’s ‘Mamma Mia’, add in nostalgic classics such as ‘Calamity Jane’ and ‘The Sound Of Music’, and you can see why this show has something to offer the whole family. ‘Phantom & The Musicals’ will be staged on Wednesday 8th October at 8pm. Tickets are priced £15 each.

Then comes the hilarious drama ‘Two Nights With George’. One night with George Clooney is never enough for any woman, and Bridie Murphy is no exception. She returns to her Ballymurphy living room, bold, brash and on the voddies again and reunites with her old flame. Much has happened to Bridie in the last few years and she shares this with her confidante George, as well as a few very large Belfast Martinis. With her unique brand of humour and language that would shock a sailor, Bridie’s rollercoaster life continues and she tells it warts and all to George. ‘Two Nights With George’ will take place on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th October at 8pm. Tickets are priced £16 and £14 (concession). Tickets for all performances are available through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at

And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.


The Land of Far Far Away will be closer than you think when everyone’s favourite mean green thing Shrek bursts onto the big screen in Solitude Park on Friday 10 October at 7pm to kick start Banbridge District Council’s amazingly awesome Autumn Arts Programme.

Shrek, a terrifying ogre who loves the solitude of his swamp is horrified to find his beloved bog overtaken by all sorts of fairy-tale creatures all of whom have been banished by the loathsome Lord Farquaad.  Shrek, determined to get his swamp back, sets out on a mission accompanied by one very annoying talking donkey to find the fiendish Lord Farquaad.

Lord Farquaad agrees to give Shrek back his swamp if he can rescue Princess Fiona from the highest room in the tallest tower and bring her back to Duloc to marry Lord Farquaad so he can become King.  However as the mission unfolds things begin to take on a twist. Can the cold ogres heart be melted, what is the deep secret that Princess Fiona is hiding and will Donkey ever shut up?

To add to the cinema experience local food outlet Captain Cooks will be offering a host of hot tasty treats including burgers, hot dogs and super-chips. Other refreshments such as popcorn, sweets and drinks will also be on sale. Also don’t forget to bring along a comfy cushion too.

For further information on this FREE event contact Banbridge District Council’s Leisure and Development Department on T: 4066 0605 or alternatively log onto or find us on Facebook at


The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland next week (September 29 – October 5).

  • A Celtic Concert, The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Co Armagh, October 3. Prepare for a musical journey as local groups, singers and musicians perform a night of Celtic and traditional songs. This unique concert will feature well-loved classics and new compositions that celebrate the Emerald Isle.
  • Bread Butter and Jam Making, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, September 30. Imagine a big chunky slice of crusty Irish soda, with homemade butter and fresh jam.  Join Teresa in her big farmhouse kitchen to learn how to make all three.  Using fruits from the farm and surrounding hedgerows you will learn the essential skills for making intensely flavoured jams, lofty soda breads and creamy butter.
  • Art Bus Tour – FLive 2014, Enniskillen Castle Museums, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, October 01.  The FLive Art Bus Tour will begin with a wine reception at the 1888 Room in preparation for a whistle stop tour by bus to various exhibitions around the town. Then finish off with supper in Franco’s Restaurant.
  • Wildlife Photography Workshops, An Creagan, Barony Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone, October 4-5.  Professional Danny Gibson teaches enthusiasts of all experiences how to capture wildlife in these inspiring workshops.
  • Flamenco Fiesta – Ards International Guitar Festival, Queen’s Hall, Newtownards, Co Down, October 2. John Walsh, Ireland’s leading Flamenco Guitarist, has brought together some of the finest Flamenco musicians Spain has to offer in this unique celebration of the Andalusian traditional style of guitar music.
  • Beth Neilson Chapman, Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre, Main Street, Limavady, Co Londonderry, October 2.  You are invited to sit back and enjoy the beautiful sounds of this unique singer who has had worldwide hits.  Beth’s music has been heard on ER, Dawson’s Creek and in movie soundtracks such as Film Practical Magic’s ‘The Kiss’ which became an international mega-hit and garnered multiple awards.
  • Autumn Fair, Mount Stewart, Portaferry Road, Newtownards, Co Down, October 4-5.  Enter your home grown vegetables, flower arrangements, homemade jams and chutneys and browse through stalls exhibiting local artisan food produce and crafts.  You can also watch demonstrations of local heritage crafts and skills courtesy of ‘Hands on Workshops’.
  • A Step in Time: The Story of Irish Dance Barony Road, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Co Down, Until January 2016.  From the itinerant dance masters of the 1800s to today’s ‘masters of dance’ there is a rich and colourful story will be told.
  • Acoustic Picnic, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Gordon Street, Belfast, October 4.  You are invited to come along to listen to some great live music for free, over a picnic style lunch.  All ages welcome, and this year there will be the addition of some giant board games for families and groups of friends to enjoy.  Visitors are also welcome to browse the NI Music Exhibition.
  • The Jungle Book & Jungle Shadowplay Workshop, Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, Co Antrim, October 4. Follow Mowgli, as he journeys deep into the jungle and learns “The Bare Necessities” of life from happy-go-lucky Baloo the bear.  After the screening artist Frank Quinn will talk to the audience about the origins of shadowplay before the young participants get to create their very own shadow jungle puppets and shadow worlds!

Please note some of the events require pre-booking.

Jacqueline’s Pick of What’s On Across NI


Fancy a ‘selfie’ with an owl, the chance to get up close to unusual creatures or to find out to your surprise, that snakes aren’t slimy? All this and more at the fourth annual Safari Live event will take place on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 September 2014 (noon-five), at Crawfordsburn Country Park, near Bangor, County Down.


The Cultural Crafts with Thai Arts NI Creative programme of workshops will be delivered by ethnic artists exploring arts and crafts from across the world at An Creagan this Saturday 27th September and run for 3 weeks, 11am – 1.00pm. Workshops are FREE but have limited availability. Ages 16+.


Cleenish Community Hall will play host to a Vintage Fashion Show this Saturday in aid of the Northern Ireland Hospice. The night will also feature a raffle with a host of exclusive, high end prizes, including Sunday lunch at MacNean House and a signed Neven Maguire cookbook, cookery course for two at Belle Isle, champagne afternoon tea at the Lough Erne Hotel, a pair of tickets to see Nathan Carter when he plays the Ardhowen Theatre in October and much, much more.  Tickets cost £10 and all proceeds from the night will be donated to Northern Ireland Hospice and Cancer Research to support the vital work of the two charities. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 7.30pm sharp and guests will be able to enjoy complimentary refreshments.


The Hope and Gloria Emporium in Coleraine will host a charity event to celebrate brides-to-be and local wedding vendors from every area of the wedding industry on Thursday 25th September.  The Wedding Fayre will be a great night of fun, fashion and celebration with a wedding fashion show, First Dance Demonstrations, Hair and Beauty Consultations, the Open House of their new Hair Salon, Live Music, a charity raffles, and yummy drinks and nibbles!  With  wonderful vendors, you can plan your whole wedding at the “one-stop feel good” shop!  Vintage and Modern Wedding Dresses will be on sale too and admission is free.


Armagh City Hotel will screen the Movie Premier of of 2Late this Saturday 27th September.  2Late is a New Exciting Powerful Movie Produced and Directed by Gary Wales & Phil McAleavey Written by Adam McCaffrey (Writer / Actor, Lead Role) 2Late is about a young teenage boy ”Sam Hunter” (Adam McCaffrey) who gets bullied for being different by School Boys and his own Dad. His best friend Reece (Gary Wales) tries to look after him and protect him. His mum suspects her husband beats him. Sam can’t take anymore and makes the most important decision that no one would ever wish to make. This movie tells a moving story based on real life events that continues to happen in society, and asks the questions why this happens but also hopes to make the audience understand what part they can play in helping to combat this. Proceeds in aid of Suicide Awareness.


The River to Lough Festival is a new and innovative one-day festival that will take place at the Toome Eel Fishery on Saturday 27th September 2014 from 12 noon to 6pm. The festival will celebrate over 8,000 years of fishing on the River Bann and Lough Neagh. It will highlight the rich cultural heritage associated with this very ancient fishing tradition as well as the mythic transatlantic journey of the eel. It will also celebrate the uniqueness of other wild food that comes from the River Bann & Lough Neagh, and will encourage local, national and international visitors to appreciate the culinary uniqueness of the Lough Neagh Eel as well as other local artisan produce.


This Sunday 28th September the Merchant Hotel is the place to be for all brides to be,  as they invite you to their Wedding Showcase. Speak to their Wedding Consultants about booking your dream day! Each Wedding Showcase features two Wedding Fashion shows with wedding associates on hand to help plan your day. To register go to the app on the Merchant Hotel’s facebook page.

For more details on these and other events across Northern Ireland, news and competitions see, follow us @whatsonni and like us at Add your  events FREE OF CHARGE at

Bill Kirk Exhibition at Sync Space for Aspects

Exclusive Preview of Bill Kirk’s Exhibition of Iconic Images

This Friday, September 26th, as part of The Aspects Irish Literature Festival, Glenn Patterson will host the opening of this remarkable exhibition hosted by celebrated and iconic Newtownards-born photographer Bill Kirk, at Sync Space, Dufferin Court, Bangor.

Bill was among the vanguard of local photographers who, while global documentary photography was focused firmly on the ‘Troubles,’ offered a more complex and heartfelt perspective on Northern Ireland.

Kirk’s life has been shaped by two major passions – cycling and photography.  Cycling became a powerful and motivating force following the early deaths of Kirk’s parents due to TB. It was his own life-threatening battle with illness, alongside his redundancy as a draughtsman at Short’s, that prompted Bill to study photography at Belfast’s Art College. He was driven, he says, ‘by a naïve belief that photography could make a difference.’

As conflict erupted in the north, Bill says; “There was a lot of anxiety; everybody was anxious. We were in a fog, not knowing where we were going.’ The approach he brought to his art was inspired by photographers such as Lewis Wickes Hine (whose documentary photography helped bring about a change in American child labour laws), by Robert Frank and, of course, by Cartier Bresson. This dual commitment to social and aesthetic responsibility lies behind a body of work which is steeped in a sense of common humanity, whether its subjects are eminent local figures or random instants of life. Bill’s portraits are warm, perspective, and sometimes funny.

His streetscapes of Belfast at times recall images of Paris or Chicago. His perspective was a fresh one; and a refreshing one in the context of documentary photography during the ‘Troubles.’ Even while working for the Northern Irish Tourist Board, Bill eschewed fluffy-cloud whimsy in favour of a more sophisticated aesthetic.

For Aspects, Bill is exhibiting part of a project where he has located subjects from previous images and photographed them today, hearing the story of the time since they last met.

Sync Space is an inspirational, creative, innovative and collaborative multifunctional visual imaging studio and gallery in Bangor. Currently facilitating Sync Imaging, it is managed and directed by found and photographer Nick Patterson.

This FREE exhibition opens at 7pm on Friday, September 26 and runs until Sunday 28.


Belfast’s multi award-winning Merchant Hotel is celebrating once again, after being named the recipient of the first ever AA Spirit Award at the prestigious AA Hospitality Awards.

Held at the Grosvenor House in Mayfair, London on Monday 22nd September, the AA Awards recognise outstanding excellence in hospitality.

The AA Spirit Award, sponsored by famous single malt Scotch whisky brand, The Balvanie, was introduced for the first time this year. The highly coveted title was awarded to The Merchant Hotel, which was deemed by the judges to be a “hospitality business that really champions spirits through its product offerings and service, promotes customer awareness and knowledge and is passionate about both pre-dinner and after dinner guest experiences.”

Commenting on the award The Merchant Hotel General Manager, Gavin Carroll said:

“We are thrilled and honoured to be named the first recipients of the prestigious AA Spirit Award.  We pride ourselves on the excellence of our product offering and service; our dedicated mixologists and bar teams have curated an enviable collection of quality and often rare, coveted spirits from across the world and are committed to passing on their knowledge and passion to our customers.”

“We are proud of the role that The Merchant has played in the development of Belfast’s hospitality scene and we will continue to strive for excellence, offering five-star service and facilities to visitors and residents alike.”

Attended by world-renowned chefs, prominent hoteliers, hospitality gurus and key industry media, the AA Hospitality Awards are amongst the most prestigious national awards of their kind – widely regarded as the Oscars for the hospitality industry, they draw on the unrivalled knowledge and expertise of the AA inspectorate and other industry professionals involved in the judging process. Winners are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12 – 18 months and proving their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences. From top hotels and restaurants to the best of British pubs, the AA Hospitality Awards celebrate everything that is great in British hospitality. All the winners will appear in the latest edition of the 2015 AA Hotel, Restaurant and Pub Guides which were launched at the event.

Guests at the awards ceremony, hosted by Fiona Bruce, were treated to a sensational gourmet meal created by2013 AA Chefs’ Chef, Tom Kerridge as well as entertainment from Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Light Balance.

The Merchant Hotel is owned by the Beannchor Group, which boasts a portfolio of over 50 pubs, hotels and restaurants across Northern Ireland.

Are we too ‘Connected’ to see just how ‘Disconnected’ we’ve become?

The age of electronic connection through email and other social media such as, Facebook and Twitter has made it so easy to stay in touch that it’s like having lots of penfriends all at once.

How easy it is to post a few words of greeting and short replies. No more letters, no more long landline telephone calls, no more calling round for a chat and now in some cases, why even send a birthday card whenever a Facebook message or Text or Tweet will do?

However, whilst social networking is a great tool, there’s a profound difference between an online social network and a real one.

The number of people we call ‘Friends’ on Facebook may be big on quantity but what about quality, and is time spent online diminishing our opportunity for true social contact?

Fundamentally technology and our use of it hasn’t brought the true social relationships and connections that we all crave and need, in fact in many cases it has done the opposite leaving us feeling more disconnected than ever.

Claire Hughes, Founder of Soiree Society NI
Claire Hughes, Founder, Soiree Society NI

Local woman Claire Hughes’ research has shown that this lack of opportunity for true social contact is a growing problem, particularly for those that are Unattached i.e. Single, Separated, Divorced or Widowed.

Her solution is her new company Soirée Society NI, an events company for unattached people, coined from the French word soirée meaning ‘an informal but elegant evening gathering’.

Claire Hughes, founder of Soirée Society NI states, “We are planning a fantastic range of events over the next 12 months. Our events offer members, across a range of ages, an opportunity to form real-life connections with like-minded people. It provides the solution for those who maybe don’t know where to go to meet people, or don’t have anyone single to go out with, or don’t like the idea of organised or online dating, or who maybe simply want a new social element to their lives. Our company mantra is to provide ‘Refreshingly Different’ experiences”

To launch the company a free introductory event is being held in Cookstown on Thursday 25th September at Tullylagan House Hotel Cookstown at 8.00pm. The night will feature special guest Billy Dixon, one of the leading authorities and commentators on communication and team dynamics, who will entertain and inspire the audience with his topic ‘Let’s Get Engaged!’ Afterwards there is the opportunity to meet and relax with new-found friends with music provided by singer-songwriter Paul Hughes.

Due to popular demand, this event will also be repeated in Belfast on Tuesday 7th October at 8.00pm at Holohan’s on The Barge, behind the Waterfront on the River Lagan. Holohan’s offers a quirky cosy atmosphere for people to meet, mix and mingle, with Paul Hughes again providing the music to help ‘rock the boat’.

Claire Hughes continues, “Our ‘Live, Laugh & Learn’ theme is unique. By going back to basics, we aim to help people to develop true connections through conversation, laughter and fun….without online devices!

So far, there has been good interest from both men and women, and we always welcome ideas for new events.”

Places are filling up quickly so remember to register now to secure your place:

Whether you are looking for friendship, fun and maybe even love and romance: – set phones to silent, your status to busy and get ready to reconnect with Soirée Society NI.

Uncover well-crafted music at the Burnavon

The Burnavon, Cookstown has a real treat in store as in association with David Hull Promotions they present an intimate evening of music with Beth Nielsen Chapman, often considered the Carole King of this generation, on Friday 3rd October at 8pm.

Special guests are local star, and UK winner of BBC’s The Voice 2013, Andrea Begley and successful singer/songwriter, Ruth Trimble.

From writing hits for other artists to recording her own, twice Grammy-nominated songs, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Nashville based singer-songwriter has truly embraced musical diversity. A breast cancer survivor, environmental activist, teacher of workshops and lecturer on the magic of creativity, she’s penned numerous hits and written songs for many top artists including Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Keb Mo’, Roberta Flack, Waylon Jennings, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Bette Lavette and many more. Her music has been heard on ER, Dawson’s Creek, Providence, Felicity and in movie soundtracks, including The Prince of Egypt, Message in a Bottle, The Rookie, Where the Heart Is and Practical Magic. Mega-hit “This Kiss,” sung by Faith Hill and written by Beth, was ASCAP’S 1999 Song Of The Year, garnered a Grammy nomination and Nashville NAMMY’S 1999 Songwriter of the Year.

Among Beth’s own recordings, the ground breaking “Sand & Water,” released following the death of her husband from cancer in 1994, was performed by Elton John on his 1997 U.S. tour in place of “Candle In The Wind” to honour the memory of Princess Diana. Deeper Still was voted “Album of the Year” by BBC2’s Terry Wogan. Beth also released Look, co-produced with the legendary Peter Collins, featuring “I Find Your Love” written for the movie Calendar Girls with Patrick Doyle. Back to Love, released in 2010, spawned two hits on BBC Radio 2, and in 2012 Beth debuted, The Mighty Sky, a romping collection of songs about the wonders of astronomy that earned a 2014 Grammy nomination for “Best Children’s Album.”

On Beth’s new release, 2014’s Uncovered, she rolls out a batch of songs that have been covered by other artists, but she has never recorded herself. Most were Top 10 hits, seven of which topped the charts at #1. Recorded in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and her own “Tree House” studio in Nashville, Uncovered opens with a crystalline piano that gives way to an infectious groove on “Simple Things,” with backing vocals by Kim Carnes (of “Bette Davis Eyes” fame).

Other guest artists lending their talent to the project include legendary guitarist Duane Eddy on “Shine On Me,” a song Beth wrote with Waylon Jennings that also features backing vocals by Jessie Colter-Jennings; Vince Gill duets on “Here We Are,” a #1 hit she and Vince wrote for Alabama; and Darrell Scott sings and plays on “Maybe That’s All It Takes,” a stunning ballad that was a hit for Don Williams.

Chapman’s prowess at writing in a wide range of styles shines through on this collection. From the infectious pop sensibilities of “This Kiss” (Faith Hill) and “Simple Things” (Jim Brickman) to the strains of bluegrass and country in “Strong Enough To Bend (#1 for Tanya Tucker) and “Nothin’ I Can Do About It Now” (#1 for Willie Nelson), the true thread that runs through it all is a her great passion for the well written song. It is also clear that she has a whole lot of fun performing these songs, and has no trouble bringing them home and making them her own once again.

Tickets for this amazing concert are £20 and on sale now at the Burnavon Box Office at the Burn Road, by telephone on 028 8676 9949, or online at

Best selling chick lit authors ensure a great Girls’ Night Out

Ladies, get ready! It’s Girls’ Night Out at Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey as four of the hottest chick-lit authors take to the stage to discuss their writing on October 16th.

Cathy Kelly

Fans of female authors Cathy Kelly, Tasmina Perry, Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell will be treated to a night of romantic fiction, humour and wit.

The event is part of Conversations at the Mill, a new programme for the theatre in which popular authors have a chance to talk about their work with their fans.

The evening is divided into two sections: Katie and Jill will kick off the night at 7pm followed by a short break – a chance for refreshments or to browse through the authors’ books which will be available on the night – with Cathy and Tasmina to follow at 8.30pm. Tickets are available for both sessions or just one.

Sunday Times Bestselling author Katie Fforde will kick off the night speaking about her recent books The Perfect Match and A French Affair.

Katie, President of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, was born and brought up in London but has lived in Gloucestershire with her family for the last thirty years.  She started writing as a stay-at-home mother with three young children, after her mother encouraged her by giving her a writing kit.  There have been over eighteen novels since, and she adds also dogs, cats and some grandchildren!

Jill Mansell, winner of the Pure Passion Award, writes full time from her home in Bristol. She admits that she often puts off writing with activities like ‘watching TV, eating fruit gums and admiring the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house.’

She will be speaking about her work, including her soon to be published The Amazing Things About You. She will also speak about past work such as The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, which is set in the idyllic seaside town of St Carys, where Sophie is putting the past firmly behind her. When Josh arrives in St Carys to run the family hotel, he can’t understand why Sophie has zero interest in letting any man into her life

Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. A No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia, her trademark is warm Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.

She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.

She will be talking about her novel It Started With Paris.  At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland.

Tasmina Perry, author of eight Sunday Times best-selling novels including Daddy’s Girls, Kiss Heaven Good-bye and Private Lives, will conclude the Girls Night Out.  She is a former editor of InStyle magazine and still writes for a raft of newspapers and publications. Her novel The Proposal is due to be printed in paperback in the coming weeks.

She had always planned to be a lawyer but a chance meeting with Robbie Williams changed all that. “I’d just finished law school when I met Take That in a café in Manchester. I went up to Robbie (he looked the friendliest) and asked them if I could interview them partly because I fancied them but mostly because my secret dream – the thing I really wanted to do in life – was to be a writer.

“Two years later I had qualifed as a lawyer and Take That had become really, really famous. I heard about a job at a magazine and clutching my one and only interview with one of the world’s biggest bands – I got the job, and gave everything up I studied so hard for to be a journalist,” she said.

Tickets for the talks are available at or 028 9034 0202. Conversations 1 includes Jill and Katie and Conversations 2 will be Cathy and Tasmina. Tickets cost £7/£6 for either session or £12/£10 for both.