Business Coach Bernie Allen Launches Free Webinar Series To Help Business Leaders Find Their Inner Confidence

Successful businesswoman and mentor, Bernie Allen, has launched a new series of free webinars to help businesses move forward following the most challenging period enterprise has ever experienced.

There can be few business people who have not been affected in some way by recent circumstances, but now is the time to push forward with new business plans in a new business world. 

But what if your confidence has taken a knock? Or, even more importantly, what if you’ve never felt confident in your own particular niche? 

With over 30 years experience coaching and mentoring business people, Bernie wants to help others to find their inner confidence and to enable them to stand out in their own niche.

The Lurgan businesswoman said: “Many people during the pandemic and, of course, prior to have found their confidence shaken at some point in their life. I spent many a year there myself.

“I want to use my experience both personally and professionally to help business leaders navigate these uncharted waters, especially those who have been adversely affected by the challenges they’ve faced as a result of Covid-19.

“I have been lucky this last year because my life’s experiences have given me the resources to face these challenges head-on. I’m very aware, however, that there are many people whose confidence will have been shaken to the core and who may be struggling to rebuild it.”

Bernie’s series of four webinars beginning on Tuesday May 4 and running through to May 25 explore everything from How To Create Your Inner Confidence To Help You Overcome The Pain Of Fear, Mastering The Art Of Self Confidence To Find Out What’s Holding You Back, How To Overcome The Fears That Are Causing You To Procrastinate and Discover The Secret To Unveiling Your Full Potential To Help You #GrowLikeAPro.

“I have always been aware of – and worked with – business people who have always lacked self-confidence and who have been forced to operate from behind a ‘mask’” said Bernie, adding: “Through this webinar series I want to show everyone how to overcome the fears that are stopping them from achieving everything they want to in business – all whilst discovering the secret to unveiling their full potential.”

Bernie’s webinars come on the back of a resurgence in popularity of her 2019 self help book How To Succeed in Business and Life..What’s Holding Your Back, published by Excalibur Press.

The book is Bernie’s personal journey from suffering a collapse in her business and personal devastation to achieve success speaking and mentoring business leaders worldwide.

“I wrote How To Succeed to help readers identify where they have been and why they have been there, or where they are now and how they got there and also to help them get to where they want to go” said Bernie.

 “In my experience, all those who succeed are the people who are prepared to do what they need to do to get what they want to get, don’t make excuses, always prepared to learn more of the how-to and are genuinely interested in helping others achieve and get out of the money versus happiness trap. And that’s what the book talks about.”

To book Bernie Allen’s webinars go to Eventbrite or for more information log onto

PAC Group Celebrates Winning Coveted Queen’s Award for Innovation

Minister for the Economy Diane Dodds and Business Development Director of PAC Group Darren Leslie outside Stormont. PAC are celebrating winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation and becoming accredited as a Platinum Level Innovator with InnovateNI. Photo by Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press For more information contact Tina Calder at Excalibur Press 07305354209

Engineering company, PAC Group, have been named as a winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation – the UK’s highest accolade in recognising success in business. 

The company, based in Belfast, received the award in recognition of the outstanding innovation and commercial success of their carbon composite Hot Drape Former technology and machines, which are used to manufacture components for the aerospace, automotive, and marine sectors. 

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is an awards programme for UK businesses and other organisations that excel in any of three categories; International Trade, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. 

A total of just five companies from Northern Ireland have been awarded Queen’s Awards in 2021, with PAC Group being the only NI winner of the Innovation category, and the first Northern Ireland Innovation category winner for three years. 

Established in 2018, the electrical and mechanical engineering company have had a remarkable growth journey, doubling their turnover and employee numbers since 2019. In 2020, the company invested almost £500,000 in a new premises in Dargan Crescent, Belfast, and now employ 40 people.

Darren Leslie, Business Development Director at PAC Group, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. It is a fantastic endorsement for our company to be recognised as world-class, and it is welcome recognition of our team’s capabilities and hard work. It also recognises how innovative our carbon composite preforming technology is, which brings significant benefits to industries seeking to lightweight their structures to tackle climate change and in response to the Green Agenda.”

The award follows PAC Group’s recent prestigious Platinum Level Innovator status from Innovate NI, the highest accolade available in the Department for the Economy Innovation Accreditation Programme, which is delivered by Invest Northern Ireland, local councils, and further education colleges.  

Holding 42 patents on the hardware and software, the company’s preformer machines have been purchased by companies such as Spirit AeroSystems, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Sheffield, and McLaren Automotive.

Congratulating PAC Group on its achievement, Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, said: “Northern Ireland has long been home to excellence in both advanced manufacturing and research & development. As we emerge from the global pandemic, innovation will be vital to our economic recovery and it is businesses like PAC Group who are leading the charge and using innovation to drive growth in their businesses.”

“Winning a Queen’s Award for Innovation and achieving Platinum Level Innovator status are major achievements and should be celebrated. To achieve the Platinum Level Innovator Status, the highest achievable innovator status from Innovate NI, is an exceptional achievement. I would like to congratulate the team at PAC Group for its hard-work, commitment and drive, which have helped it to achieve commercial success and created real value in the global aerospace and automotive industries.”

In 2019, PAC Group was awarded a contract by Spirit AeroSystems to design and manufacture a 20mx6m quartz infrared preformer for its new Aerospace Innovation Centre in Prestwick, Scotland, which is scheduled to open later this year. It is believed to be the largest preformer in the world, and represents a significant investment on behalf of Spirit to secure a step change in composite fabrication, automation, and assembly technologies of current and future aircraft.

PAC Group previously designed and manufactured an 18mx4m vacuum preformer for Spirit’s Wing Manufacturing and Assembly facility in Belfast. The preformer is used by Spirit on its advanced composite wing programme, which received the 2019 MacRobert Award for UK engineering innovation. 

The company has become an exemplar of innovation in its industry sector and a pioneer of carbon composite technology.

Elwyn Agnew, Engineering Director at PAC Group said: “In addition to the Queen’s Award for Innovation, achieving Platinum Level status from Innovate NI, is a true testament to the innovative capabilities of our team and our preforming technology. We seek to collaborate with customers to help them find cost-effective solutions to their problems. Our team specialise in thinking differently. We are constantly innovating and coming up with new ideas, applications, and solutions to help our customers reduce process cycle time, streamline processes, improve output quality, and improve their bottom line.”

“In 2020, we became Industry Partners to the UK Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub, and we are currently undertaking R&D to make our preformer technology more cost-effective and accessible for a wider range of applications and sectors. Winning a Queen’s Award for Innovation, as well as being recognised as a Platinum Level Innovator for our technology, are just fantastic achievements for the PAC team.”

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research & Development, added: “It is important to recognise the positive impact innovative companies have on the Northern Ireland economy. I am on the panel for the Queen’s Awards and it was great to see such high calibre of Northern Ireland applications. I would like to congratulate PAC Group on not only its Queen’s Award but also on obtaining Platinum Level Innovator status, the highest achievable innovator status from Innovate NI. 

“PAC Group is an ambitious company with a proven track record in following the principles of successful innovation from ideation through to commercialisation. It has used our support for R&D, marketing, and skills to achieve continued success with leaders in the aviation, marine, and automotive sectors, staying ahead of its competitors. I hope that other ambitious Northern Ireland companies will be inspired to follow in the footsteps of PAC Group, and Invest NI looks forward to supporting the company’s innovation journey for many years to come.”

For more information on PAC Group’s specialist division, visit PAC Composites, or contact their team today on 02893 364600 or

Lisa Ballard – ‘Wander Lands’ Solo Exhibition, Gallery 545

15 April – 8 May 2021


Francesca Biondi, Art Director and Curator at Gallery 545 : I am delighted to host ‘Wander Lands’ solo exhibition both online and at Gallery 545 in Belfast. The gallery will finally reopen its doors from 30 April. I would very much like to welcome visitors to see Lisa Ballard’s wonderful atmospheric paintings inspired by her travels. The works look stunning on the walls, and invite viewers to dream to be on a journey to far away or fantastic places. 

Online at – always open

Open at Gallery 545 at Blick Studios, 51 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6RY – on

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10.30am-5.30pm from 30 April

(30 April, 1, 6, 7, 8 May, no booking required)


Virtual Tour Live on Instagram @gallery545online – Saturday 24 April, 2-2.30pm

Meet the artist at Gallery 545 – Saturday 1 May, 2-4pm

‘Wander Lands’ features award-winning artist Lisa Ballard. It presents her recent body of work, a series of atmospheric paintings inspired by landscapes she encountered in Ireland and around the world and her emotional response to them.

Ballard depicted enthralling distant or closer views of beautiful natural scenes. Leaning towards abstraction, but holding on to figurative elements, the paintings are a journey taking the viewer to towering mountains, majestic glaciers, rocky deserts, trees on hills and along sea coasts. While recollecting memories of countries she visited, the artist was drawn to the temporal in the landscape, and she captured in her works her experience – visual and emotional, of being in that moment and place. Ballard used the landscape to explore her fascination with colour and light. She intuitively played with brighter and more subdued hues, and applied washes, oil and spray paint to recreate the colours observed under the light of a particular time of the day or season. She also evoked the feelings arisen in her by the landscapes and their atmospheres – a sense of peace and calmness or animated liveliness.

The paintings were created through and reflect this artistic process – a series of diverse evocative semi-figurative natural scenes, all with a unique colour palette and light, suggesting joyful or serene moods, but also expressing the pleasure of the act of painting.

This solo exhibition is curated by Francesca Biondi, Art Director at Gallery 545 in collaboration with Lisa Ballard.

Artworks can be viewed and purchased online, at virtual private viewings or in person at Gallery 545. For enquiries, contact Francesca / +44 7960 130414.

More online – a video tour and an interview with the artists are on the exhibition page.

Visiting the exhibition in person at Gallery 545 from 30th April when restrictions are eased. We would be delighted to welcome you at Gallery 545! There will be measures in place because of Covid-19 to keep visitors safe. The number of people allowed at the same time in the exhibition space is limited to 6. When visiting the exhibition, please wear a face mask /covering, adhere to social distancing guidelines, and leave your contact details for tracing purposes. Any updates about Covid-19 measures will be published on the exhibition page on our website. Unfortunately, there is no disabled access to this venue.

About Lisa Ballard

Lisa Ballard lives and works in Belfast. She is an Associate Member of the Royal Ulster Academy, has exhibited extensively in Ireland and further afield and has won awards for her artistic achievements. Her paintings have been purchased for numerous private and public collections including those of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s State Collection.

About Gallery 545

Gallery 545 is an online and pop-up gallery specialising in contemporary art of Northern Ireland and offering a special selection of affordable art works and fine art prints created by talented artists based here. The gallery celebrates the creativity of emerging and more established artists across the region and supports their practice providing a curated platform where they can showcase and sell their works. Having an online presence, but also pop-up exhibitions, the gallery brings art to a wide range of people with different tastes and budgets who love contemporary art, and makes it easier for them to access, discover and collect art works.

Find more information about Lisa Ballard and Gallery 545 at

Chris de Burgh, Waterfront Hall Belfast

Sunday 20 February 2022

Tickets on sale this Friday at 9am

In the 45th year since the release of his album “Spanish Train and Other Stories”, we are proud to announce that Chris will be embarking on an epic tour with his band to promote his brand new album “The Legend of Robin Hood.”

The tour, taking place in early 2022, will compromise of an entire performance of the new album plus many of his greatest hits. 

Tickets on sale this Friday at 9am:

Full Irish tour:

  • Killarney, INEC: 15 February
  • Cork, Opera House: 16 February
  • Galway, Leisureland: 18 February
  • Belfast, Waterfront Hall: Sunday 20 February 2022
  • Dublin, Olympia Theatre: 22 February

Sign up now for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Green Dog Walkers Scheme

Dog owners can now sign up for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Green Dog Walkers Scheme as part of its campaign against dog fouling.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding has helped to launch the Green Dog Walker Scheme alongside the Mayoress Mrs Phyllis Fielding, Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop and Ben Callan, Enforcement Officer (with dog Mayze)

The national initiative aims to tackle the ongoing anti-social problem by encouraging and supporting responsible dog ownership.

The scheme is free to sign up to and all participants will receive a Green Dog Walkers pack which includes branded dog leads, collars and poo bags.

It also encouraged dog owners to act as ambassadors by sharing spare poo bags with people who might need one for their pet when out and about.

Welcoming the scheme, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Feilding said: “I am pleased to launch this new initiative as part of Council’s commitment to addressing the problem of dog fouling which exists across the Borough.

“Through its practical assistance and awareness-raising I hope we can start to see improvements. We are calling on our local dog owners to work in partnership with us to protect both our environment and our communities from this hazardous and anti-social behaviour.

“I would like to thank all our responsible dog owners who already play their part by cleaning up after their dog and I would encourage people to pledge their support to the Green Dog Walker Scheme by signing up now.”

If you would like to become a Green Dog Walker please email your name and address to

All those who sign up will receive a Green Dog Walker collar and lead for each licenced dog they own along with a keyring torch and approximately 50 branded poo bags. You can find out more information on our website at

Heartburn & Hiccups: Why These Symptoms Could Be Something More Serious Than A Casual Annoyance

In recent years the incidence of diseases like oesophageal or gastric cancer are on the increase. Thanks to the stresses and strains of modern life – in some cases unhealthy diets, an overabundance of processed foods and excessive levels of alcohol can contribute to the development of cancer, however, in many cases no obvious causes are ever determined.

As with most cancers, if they’re diagnosed at an early stage, they’re more likely to be treatable and – in many cases – curable.

The problem is, however, that these two types of cancer tend to be more gradual than others since their symptoms often resemble those of less serious and often simply annoying medical conditions such as heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing and even plain hiccupping. For some people symptoms don’t begin to appear until the cancer is more advanced.


We’re all familiar with the Gaviscon adverts, aren’t we? The firemen putting out the fire with their hoses and everything returning to normal? Anyone watching those adverts thinks, ‘Yes, I get heartburn. That will do nicely thanks….’ A couple of spoons of an anti-heartburn medication and you’re good to go….

Think that way?

Think again….

Certainly heartburn and indigestion are now common occurrences – and increasingly so – thanks to acidic foods, fatty meals, fizzy drinks and excess alcohol, but, unfortunately, heartburn and other ‘annoying’ medical issues can be a sign that there’s much more wrong than first meets the eye.

First, let’s look at the science…

Although it’s called ‘heartburn’, heartburn doesn’t actually have anything to do with the heart. In fact, it’s not even located over the heart, but behind the breastbone. In most cases it’s caused by acid reflux, which involves the acid in the stomach travelling back up the oesophagus (your gullet), causing a burning sensation in the oesophagus.

Put simply, at the point where your oesophagus meets your stomach, there is a muscle valve called the oesophageal sphincter, which ensures that your food passes in one direction from your gullet to your stomach. As soon as you eat something, this sphincter opens up to let food pass into your stomach. For the rest of the time, however, it should remain closed so that the contents of your stomach don’t come back up again. 

If this sphincter – or valve if you like – isn’t working properly, then the contents of your stomach are regurgitated or brought back up into your oesophagus, causing acid reflux and heartburn. Over a period of time the acid can cause inflammation in your gullet, leading to pain.

Unfortunately, this pain can range from the benign to the much more serious. When heartburn becomes almost permanent and is accompanied by other related symptoms, it is then referred to as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).

At this stage it may also be accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Hoarseness
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Pain with swallowing
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Coughing during a meal
  • Drooling 

While in some people the acid reflux may not even cause burning, but may simply cause a dull pain in the centre of the chest, in others the pain in the chest can become so acute that it can be mistaken for a heart attack. 

Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)

And then there’s the difficulty in swallowing….

In many people this feels as if they’re swallowing over a lump in their throat. The condition is actually called globus or dysphagia and, while it can be accompanied by pain, in most people it is painless. Again, this symptom is often attributed to the extreme form of acid reflux – gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – but it can also be caused by oesophageal motor disorders, inflammatory issues such as tonsillitis and chronic sinusitis.

Some people with dysphagia will experience problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while others will be unable to swallow at all. 

Other signs of dysphagia, which may accompany the swallowing difficulties include:

  • Coughing or choking when eating or drinking
  • Persistent drooling of saliva
  • Being unable to chew food properly
  • Bringing food back up
  • Experiencing the sensation that food is ‘stuck’ in the throat or chest

While dysphagia can be caused by another health condition, such as a condition that affects the nervous system, such as a stroke or head injury, and can also be linked to – and caused by GORD – there is also the chance that it is being caused by a mouth cancer or oesophageal cancer.


You may be surprised by this one, but hiccups may occur when an oesophageal tumour invades the phrenic nerve or diaphragm. When these structures are irritated, they cause repeated contractions of the diaphragm, hence the hiccups!

While hiccupping is a normal occurrence, is familiar to most people and usually terminates on its own, it should be investigated if it lasts longer than a month or so, when it is much less common. In the central nervous system, the upper spinal cord, brain stem and hypothalamus can all be involved in the production of hiccups and all signs can be transmitted to the diaphragm. Gastrointestinal causes of hiccups therefore include GORD, oesophageal cancer and hiatus hernia. 

If hiccupping lasts longer than two days and is linked to other issues, such as heartburn or trouble swallowing (see below) then, you should consult your GP for further examination.

When the symptoms are more serious

So, how do you tell the difference between everyday, benign conditions such as heartburn, indigestion, hiccups and dysphagia, and more serious illnesses, such as oesophageal or gastric cancer?

Well, the first thing that you can do is take a good look at your symptoms before seeking medical advice.

When it comes to indigestion and heartburn, you’ll probably experience the following:

  • Heartburn, particularly after eating
  • Feeling full and bloated
  • Feeling sick
  • Belching and passing wind
  • Bringing up food or experiencing bitter-tasting fluids in your mouth

If, however, you experience sensations such as stomach ache, or back pain, then you need to have these investigated, since these are not symptoms of indigestion or heartburn. You may simply be constipated, but the symptoms definitely need to be looked into.

If you are suffering the symptoms of dysphagia, or if your hiccupping lasts longer than 48 hours and is accompanied by either of the previous conditions, you should always seek medical opinion. Early investigation can help to rule out more serious conditions, but your GP can assess you and refer you on for further tests, if required.

The OG Cancer NI Catch It Early campaign, funded by the National Lottery and OG Cancer, strives not only to increase the awareness of the signs of oesophageal-gastric cancers in the public but also throughout the medical and caring professions.

For further information follow #OGCancerNI, call 07568 157450 or make an appointment to see your local GP today.

All the ingredients for a perfect staycation!

Discover Northern Ireland serves up great self-catering options

It’s a land of stunning coastlines and dramatic countryside and the people are some of the friendliest you will meet. But you won’t need an epic trek to enjoy epic fun in 2021, with Northern Ireland on the doorstep.

Northern Ireland has amazing places to stay, from world-class luxurious five-star hotels to welcoming guesthouses, warm and cosy B&Bs and quirky one-off unmissable venues which have the potential to make your staycation a memorable one.

But if self-catering is what you’re after, then there are hundreds of places to choose from. In Northern Ireland, you can find adventures of all sorts, and self-catering can be the simplest and best-value way of giving you the freedom to come and go as you please.

Discover Northern Ireland has compiled a list of excellent self-catering options which have all the ingredients for the perfect staycation. Keep an eye out for the “We’re Good to Go” mark, Northern Ireland’s industry standard for tourism and hospitality businesses that are committed to operating safely so you can enjoy a visit with total confidence.

5* Willoughby Place, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh 

Willoughby Place is a 5* self-catering townhouse in the heart of Enniskillen. Built in the 1800s, the Grade II listed property has been the subject of extensive renovation to provide luxurious modern accommodation, whilst preserving its original Georgian layout and stunning period features. The house boasts three bedrooms comfortably sleeping up to six people in a mix of super king and double rooms. Features include a large reception room with an open fire and a modern well-equipped kitchen, which leads out through French doors into a charming south-facing courtyard complete with BBQ facilities. Furthermore, rather uniquely for a townhouse, the property has facilities to host a boat, and there is a public jetty at the nearby Round ‘O’, which is less than 200m away.  

5* Largy Coastal Apartments, Carnlough, County Antrim

This is luxury self-catering accommodation with magnificent sea views located in the second of the nine Glens of Antrim.  The three apartments are set in one and a half acres of gardens and woodland with a log cabin, a picnic area and a BBQ for outdoor dining. There is also a hot tub on the patio next to the log cabin for when you would like some relaxation.  The large spacious bedrooms are all ensuite, a modern kitchen is fully stocked with essentials while a welcome pack is provided for all guests. Offering garden or sea views, Largy Coastal Apartments has a terrace, along with a private beach area and a short walk into Carnlough town.

4* Ballygally Holiday Apartments, Ballygally, County Antrim

Set in five acres of a designated area of natural beauty opposite Ballygally beach, this is a family-run business which prides itself on high standards and a “home from home” environment. All apartments come with WiFi, a washer/dryer and widescreen TV, just some of the creature comforts on offer here – not to forget the safe play area for children on site. The business has won a host of tourism awards and all the essentials are provided. From here you can stride out on foot for a walk in the Antrim Glens themselves or take to four wheels and embark on the Causeway Coastal Route.

4* The Captains Cottage, Cushendall, Ballymena, County Antrim

The Captains Self Catering Cottage is a quaint but traditional-style cottage situated in a quiet location in Cushendall. This holiday home features a garden, BBQ facilities and free private parking as well as a fully equipped kitchen and large living area. This unique cottage features two bedrooms – one double (ensuite) and one twin that converts to a king size. Only a few minutes’ walk to the beach and village, this stay is perfect for a short family trip.

4* Fools Haven, Carrickfergus, County Antrim

This gem of a thatched cottage, with a historic blue plaque is over 250 years old with a strong Titanic connection. Fools Haven is where two local children, orphaned by the Titanic tragedy, were brought up. They had been sent to live there with their Aunt, when their father sailed on board the Titanic as an engineer on that fateful maiden voyage to New York in April 1912. Sleeping five with a fully modern kitchen while the outside space has a wooden BBQ hut, and a children’s playhouse, both set in a private garden. Guests receive a complimentary hospitality basket on arrival, celebrating locally sourced, quality award-winning foods.  

4* Finn Valley Cottages, Strabane, County Tyrone

The Finn Valley luxury holiday homes in the rural location of Tyrone are surrounded by natural beauty looking out onto the Donegal hills. There are four great options to choose from, all include a wood burning stove, a free pool table and games room.  A stone’s throw away from River Mourne and River Finn where there is fantastic salmon and trout fishing, Finn Valley is also a great halfway point between Derry~Londonderry & Omagh.  

4* & 5* Spice Cottages, Dungannon, County Tyrone

Four beautifully furnished and equipped cottages which have been recently converted from a former 150-year-old stone barn on a 40-acre site. They offer comfortable family sized accommodation in modern surroundings sleeping six to eight people. The kitchen/dining area is exceptionally well appointed and equipped while there is an outdoor BBQ area, new games room with table tennis facilities and various options for families and children including a stair gate, highchair, cot, kids outdoor play area and welcome pack.

5* Scott’s Barn, Magherafelt, County Londonderry

Scott’s Barn is a luxurious country retreat situated at the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains, in the heart of Mid-Ulster. The 400-year-old Barn was restored in 2009 in keeping with its traditional style whilst incorporating all modern conveniences, including under floor heating, plasma digital TV, power shower and dual powered cooker. Sleeping five, the Barn has a luxurious open plan living, kitchen and dining area as well as its own private entrance, courtyard, and gardens where visitors can relax and enjoy. Nearby facilities include hill walking, fishing, cycling and golfing. All guests will receive a welcome pack on arrival and there is a courtyard with free parking.  

4* Custom House, Newry, County Down

Opened in 2020, the Custom House building in Newry is just one hour from Belfast. With an unrivalled rooftop city centre location, luxury styling and superior amenities, the two bed apartments sleep four and includes kitchen, laundry room, smart TV & broadband, free parking, private balcony and room servicing and CCTV. There is plenty to explore within walking distance, such as shops, restaurants, shopping centres and much more.

5* The Bakers Cottages, Seaforde, County Down

Once a former bakery and fully refurbished in 2019, many of the original site features have been sympathetically restored, including the Bakers Hole well. Three beautifully furnished bedrooms sleeping six, the cottage offers views of the Mourne Mountains and the rolling fields with easy access to Belfast. The cottage is newly refurbished with WiFi throughout, wood burning stove, smart TVs with complimentary Netflix in all rooms, free standing bath in bathroom and fully equipped kitchen.

There is a private hot tub house that seats six people with a fridge, wood burning stove and bath robes/slippers provided. Sliding glass doors open out to a patio with outside seating and large lawn. A fully equipped play park will keep the kids entertained while you enjoy a BBQ looking out over the spectacular views or toast marshmallows over the fire pit.  

4* Clonlum Cottages, County Armagh

Clonlum Cottages are located at the foot of Slieve Gullion, on the doorstep of Ireland’s Mountain of Mystery. In these three newly refurbished cottages, guests can cosy up in front of a wood-burning stove to unwind after a day breath-taking mountain views and hikes. Snug, modern, luxuriously furnished abodes that sleep up to four people per cottage, at Clonlum guests can enjoy the BBQ and firepit area as well as privacy in its secluded setting away from main roads. This family-friendly staycation spot in south Armagh is surrounded by beauty and attractions such as Killeavy Castle, Camlough Lake and Carlingford village.

Northern Ireland’s Giant Welcome will be here for you to discover when the time is right to travel. For more information visit

For the latest government guidelines on COVID restrictions, visit

IR35: Have You Considered Whether The New Regulations Apply To Your Business?

If you employ contractors then you will almost certainly have heard of IR35, or as it used to be known, off-payroll working rules.

IR35 is designed to shape the legislation which determines whether or not a contractor who operates through a limited company or personal service company will be designated an employee of your organisation for tax purposes. 

Michelle Tyson director of Tyson Wilson Recruitment and Tyson Wilson Temps said it’s important for all businesses to consider whether or not the new rules which came into effect on 6th April apply to them.

She added: “From the 6th of April the way the government approaches IR35 changed and so it is essential that contractors and employers both seek to understand how IR35 and the changes may impact upon their relationship.”

So what is changing?

Michelle said: “Previously, when it came to private sector companies, the burden has been on the contractor or employee to determine the status of their own employment arrangement for each individual contract. 

“This means that before the change in IR35 rules, it was up to an individual contractor to declare their contract as falling within IR35 and therefore pay the appropriate tax and national insurance contributions associated. 

“However, the change in the rules means that from 6th April 2021, it is up to the employer to establish whether or not the person is indeed an employee of the company. If it is discovered that the contractor is actually an employee of the organisation, and subsequently is not declaring their true rate of pay, and so as a result aren’t paying the correct tax and national insurance, then the employer organisation could be liable for extremely large fines.”

Michelle added that if it is found that other than the fact that the contractor is invoicing through a limited company or personal service company, they would be a permanent employee, the employer organisation would then be liable to cover all of the costs associated with employing someone such as tax or pension contributions. 

What do you need to do next?

Michelle explained: “If you believe that how you interact with your contractors may or should change as a result of IR35, it’s important to engage with a number of next steps. 

“Firstly, it is important to determine if you are a small, medium or large organisation by HMRC’s standards, this is because the new IR35 rules will not actually apply to small businesses.”

Michelle says that once businesses establish that they’re a medium or large business, there are a number of things they should consider doing next:

  • Identify and review your current relationships with contractors and consultants.
  • Ensure that the terms under which you engage with contractors and consultants are clear and that they fairly and accurately reflect the relationship between you both.
  • If you believe that any or all of them may be indeed employees rather than contractors for IR35 purposes, you should consider changing their employment status to reflect this. You may want to explore the possibility or zero-hour contracts or casual working agreements. 

“Understanding and addressing IR35 compliance within your organisation is both important and necessary if you are someone who regularly engages with contractors or personal service companies” said Michelle.

“This will ensure that you are tax compliant, will avoid any hefty fines as a result of non-compliance with IR35 and you won’t need to take on the commitment of adding someone to your payroll permanently and full-time.”

If you want more information which can help you better understand the key components of IR35, its impact on how you do business and of course how the changes in particular might impact you can download the Tyson Wilson free guide IR35 New Rules: Here’s What You Need To Know here >> 

Alternatively contact Michelle Tyson at Tyson Wilson Recruitment on 07860636486 or 

Father the Father

Digital World Premiere: 8 April Available on-demand until 17 April 8pm to 8.45pm.

“The living have a way of haunting the dead” – Gilly Campbell   It is 1973 and Daughter is born to an unwed single mother from Downpatrick but who was her father? 45 years later she begins the journey to find out and discovers that the Derry man is not at all what she expected.

‘Father The Father’ was born out of Gilly Campbell’s need for catharsis in documenting her thoughts, feelings and questions surrounding the search and discovery of her father after 45 years of not knowing who he was, never mind meeting him.   At once sad and hopeful, this is just one story from the dark ages of secrecy that surrounded “illegitimate” children in Ireland. Giving a voice to those who are its legacy, this is a deeply personal tale of one woman’s relationship to her father and the questions she has always wanted to ask him.

Not an ode, but rather a woman taking ownership of the past, her identity and ultimately, her father.   Abigail McGibbon (Sadie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Everything Between Us (Irish Times Best Supporting Actress)) stars in this one-woman play brought to you by the award-winning Prime Cut Productions (Removed, Red, Scorch) and the MAC. Watch the digital world premiere online at 8pm on Thursday 8 April and on-demand until 11:59pm on Saturday 17 April.  

Filmed live in the Upstairs Theatre at the MAC.   How to book for and watch the Digital World Premiere, 8pm 8th April Click the BOOK NOW button and select Thursday 8 April as your date Select the price you wish to pay for your ticket using our ‘pay what you can’ model Follow the basket process through login and payment.

Remember to enter your mobile number if you wish to receive a reminder text link for the show Following booking, you will receive a confirmation email You’ll receive your link to watch the Digital World Premiere via email within 24hrs of show start time Click the link a few minutes before 8pm on Thursday 8 April, where the show will count down and premiere from 8pm – sit back, relax and enjoy from the comfort of your own home You will receive a separate link on Friday 9 April to watch the show on-demand until Saturday 17 April

Stuck In A Covid Rut? Here Are 7 Things Business Owners Can Do To Shift The Energy

A year from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and we can all be forgiven for allowing ourselves to fall into a little bit of what I call a ‘Covid rut’. 

According to Northern Ireland business coach Bernie Allen missing friends and family, not seeing our clients in person and not doing many of the things we once loved “can make it difficult to maximise downtime which in return can impact how we feel about our businesses each and every day”. 

Here are 7 things Bernie says business owners can do to shift the energy:

1. Limit Social Media 

“You don’t need to cut yourself totally off from Social Media, however if you can be disciplined enough to stay off it for just one hour per day for a week, at the end of the week you will have created seven extra hours to spend doing something much more productive” said Bernie, adding: “If you can incrementally increase this each week for the next three weeks to 1.5 hours, two hours and two hours again, by the end of week four you will have saved a total of 45.5 hours. What will you spend them doing?”

2. Practice Gratitude 

Bernie explained: “One sure fire way to inject a little positivity into your day is to start practicing gratitude. Prioritise this as something you can’t go without each day by writing down ten things you are thankful for before you leave your bedroom in the morning. 

“This will allow you to begin your day feeling great and will make sure that life doesn’t get in the way and you don’t forget about your gratitude.” 

3. Control Your News Intake

“We have all become news obsessed during the past year, consuming more news and views than ever before. However, in order to escape the ‘Covid rut’, I recommend that for four weeks you commit to watching the news just once daily” said Bernie. 

“Don’t worry, if there is something you really need to know I am sure one of your friends or family will let you know.”

4. Listen To Music 

Bernie is advising people to listening to happy music for just twenty minutes per day, she says it can have a significant impact on how you feel. 

“Don’t just take my word for it, according to science, listening to happy music releases positive chemicals into your brain” said Bernie, adding: “Namely Dopamine, which is linked to both rewards and motivation, Oxytocin, which is linked to the pleasure hormone, Serotonin, which boosts your happiness and wellbeing and Endorphins which are a natural painkiller.” 

5. Move More 

Moving more not only helps your body, but it stimulates your brain. It is a key element to problem solving and decision making, and by adding a walk or a run into your day, you can empower yourself to work things out and perform better in your business. 

6. Curtail Your Sugar Habit 

Bernie said: “There is a reason that sugar is known as ‘legal Cocaine’. It is just as addictive as the drug only it is more of a silent killer. Many people associate the main downfall of a high sugar intake to be weight gain. 

“However, it is also responsible for causing high cholesterol, diabetes and it even has links to depression. In fact, too much sugar can zap your energy and cause a dip in performance in your business.” 

7. Boost Your Energy 

“Finally, I wanted to talk about boosting your energy. If you want to escape the ‘Covid rut’ once and for all, the three best things you can do to boost your energy are to eat a balanced diet, focus on nutrition and exercise often” said Bernie.

If you would like to find out more about what you can do as a business leader or owner to keep on top of your game and not let challenges or situations change your direction contact Bernie Allen at or by emailing  

Bernie Allen’s book How To Succeed In Business & Life is out now published by Excalibur Press and available from or