Tuesday, 29 December 2009

flu in France

ok so I got carried away and sat outside in the winter sun and now im sicky bad no well.I have been spending the day in bed reading a book called a guide to happiness. It talks about humans search for happiness and so,eti,es we get this mixed up with pleasure. Two different things often what we get with pleasure does not give us happiness in the long run. Something to think about. Recoverng here with the flu.

So startng to think about next year what goals to set ,what challanges to fix wht things to get out of my life and what to encourage in. It,s always good to start the year with some good thoughts of change. Otherwise how would we ever get anything done. Time just rolls on I mean its coming up to ~twothousand and ten , do you remember where you were for ~the year two thousand? all the things you were going to do in the new millienium, has it been like that or have you drunk your way through?? always hopeing??? that some how everything is going to come together?? gotta set goals, gotta keep your eye on the ball, gotta keep your eye on the goals otherwise before you know it. Pow your on your death bed and its all over.

With that happy though I wish you bye for now. Travelling bad to Ireland tomorrow. Hope the flu has lifted by then. x

Monday, 28 December 2009

eating for Ireland

still eating almost non stop_ blue sky again. FUNNY what being in another country does for you. Today for the first time I realised that tooth picks started out as goose feathers. You cut off the end of the feather then make a little slice in it and hay presto. You can still buy them like that, sterilised thank god but weird all the same. Had a quick look on the Belly Telly website and see Iris Robinson has resigned, now there is progress for you...................who said NI is not changing?

Went to a French supermarket today lots of food as you might expect. Did I say food? again? food? food? I think a new year purge is required. but I,m not there yet. Ive been reading books while here. An interesting selection can,t say any more...need to go and eat again.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

French TV

I dont watch TV at home in Belfast so it,s wierd watching french TV the thing you really notice is the amount of Sex on it. Hardly half an hour does buy without someone getting their kit off. No matter what the story or programme and it doesnt matter at what time of the day four oclock no problem lets have a programme about half naked models so we can get lots of shots of their bare backsides.
Three oclock great lets put a programme on about anything as long as thier is sex in it. Mind you its been that long since I watched TV at home maybe thats what coronation street has turned into and I havent noticed???Im sure I would have read about it.

Took a walk among the olive trees today there is a walk around the village, they had their green nets out under the trees and were picking them one by one. Interesting to watch ,hard work but must be satisfying. There was also an antique fair on in the village lots of old french things_ or is that just the village. Have eaten my own weight in food so far. But still a few days to go so better loosen the waist bands.

Friday, 25 December 2009

food, food and more food

Something I am always asked is what do the french eat at Christmas? I cant speak for everyone but at my inlaws I ate today.

Champagne and olive cake (mother in law won prize for it at local competition)
foie gras and water cress with sweet toast with Juransson sweet white wine
Castrated cock (chapron) with cooked celery in a white sauce, chestnuts( instead of potatoes)with Chilled Chiroubles red wine
Cheese (five sorts)
Buche de Noel( a chocolate log) with Vino chocolato( chocolate flavoured red bordeaux)plus Chou a la creme
Coffee and Irish Christmas cake.

No wonder I needed a sleep afterwards.
Aparently the castrated cock_ as in male chicken makes it very tender and there are less nerves in the meat as the cock spends less stress trying to mate and chills out instead.Now there is an idea!

Blue sky today, nice to see. Crisp clear air.Joyeax noel. X chilling out now.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Joyeaux Noel in France

So safely at the in laws what are the thoughts of France since last here. Well recession what recession? never seen so many people shopping in Paris. France is out of recession and you really notice people out shopping everywhere. Someone should Tell the house of Fraser to go to Printtemp, it might sort out some buying problems it has. It,s a bit like tights heaven. Beautiful clothes from all around the globe. On arrival in Nyons it was raining- thats never happened before and today we were out and about at the market, the smell of the food is enough to make you want to move here but at fifteen percent unemployment I dont think that is a good idea. Everyone is joyfully preparing for Christmas and as it,s France that means eating and eating lots of different things in small portions.

Oysters and champagne tonight a big meal is common on Christmas eve......eat,eat,eat.I feel as if I have put on a stone already.There is a grey sky which is odd it,s usually a bit crisper. Hopefully we will see a blue sky soon......................................bye for now.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Winter Solstice

Happy winter solstice..............................

belfast print workshop open late all week Belfast

Just a reminder that the www.belfastprintworkshop.org.uk opposite The Merchant is open until 7.30 every night this week call in or phone up for some gift certificates.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Merchant winter experience

Winter Experience

Leave winter at the door and enjoy welcoming open fires and sumptuous surroundings in the luxury of The Merchant Hotel. After check in enjoy an intimate dining experience in our magnificent Great Room Restaurant.

For £190 per room you can enjoy overnight accommodation in a deluxe bedroom with full breakfast and set menu dinner for two persons in The Great Room Restaurant. This is available throughout January 2010.


mulled wine and mince pies

Happy Christmas from all at OBG!

We would like to thank you for supporting OBG in 2009 and hope to see you in 2010 for our exciting new exhibition and education programme!

This Saturday, 19th December between 4pm and 6pm we are hosting a mulled wine and mince pies reception.

There will be Christmas carols on cello and violin with Belfast musicians Tom Hughes (The Lowly Knights, NI Soul Troop) and Clare Galway (The Winding Stair).

What better way to spend a cold December afternoon than with music, art and mulled wine!

All welcome, hope to see you there

OBG Christmas period

Ormeau Baths Gallery Christmas and New Year Holiday Arrangements:

Thursday 24th December – CLOSED

Friday 25th December – CLOSED

Saturday 26th December – CLOSED

Thursday 31st December 10am - 1pm*

Friday 1st January – CLOSED

Saturday 2nd January – CLOSED

* Last admission at 12.30pm

Regular opening hours (Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5.30pm - last admission 5pm) will recommence on Tuesday 5th January 2010

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

smarter procurement programme Belfast

Smarter Procurement Programme

Helping your business open new doors

What is the Smarter Procurement Programme?

It is an innovative programme designed to help small businesses and social enterprises identify and take advantage of new sales opportunities in the public and private sectors. It aims to provide participants with the knowledge to respond to these opportunities to enable them to tender for contracts more effectively.

The programme will start in February 2010 and will combine 3 elements. These are:

· Procurement Diagnostic – to evaluate your readiness to enter into the procurement process.

· Five Procurement Workshops – designed to help you identify public sector opportunities, understand tender documentation, construct tender responses, develop consortiums and receive feedback on unsuccessful tenders.

· Individual Business Mentoring – to support you as you identify and respond to tender opportunities.

The council is investing heavily in this programme to support participating businesses to maximise growth opportunities.

The cost to you is only £100 + VAT (per participant).

To request an application form or discuss eligibility criteria contact Ruth Rea on 028 9050 0518 or email rearuth@belfastcity.gov.uk

Closing date for applications is Friday 29 January 2010

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas run down!!!

So hear we are again at that point in the year when we get to the Christmas count down. Tempers are rising energy levels are flagging shoppers are shopping and life goes on as it does. So whats going on in your life compared to last year??? What are you going to get rid of coming up to the summer solstice?? What do you want to encourage into your life in the coming year? Is it all very interesting? Christmas was always a time for me when life starts to take on a different scale of things. It is called the silly season down where I'm from as it's the time in the winter when reality is suspended and everyone lets their hair down, a time to reconnect with people and see whats good and not so good in your life, feel one year older -but not always necessarily wiser,..............As time goes on it shifts but it's certainly a time to reconnect with people, eat ,drink and be merry. Who ever merry is.

But this year as money is tight we all have to think about lots of other things as well........................what's important, what's not. Always a bit of an interesting one that.Do we really need more stuff? In some ways yes in some ways no. If you look at the Belfast shoppers you would certainnly think we do!!! and in alot of ways if you can't give at Christmas when can you give............?

Anyway lots of interesting things going on around and about the place.........join in the celebrations and participate in life after all it's going to be an interesting new year. You know it is.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

ards art collective

Sara Browns open studio open thus weekend 11-6 this weekend.
54 Deerpark Road Ardkeen, Bt22 1HG -straight down the portaferry road from Newtownards on your right hand side.

If you braved the fog to go down to Strangford on Thurday it was well worth the venture to strawberry fair. Sian had carol singers and traditional irish music-but not all together. It was a real cosy evening with lots of goodies to buy. Sian is opening everyday on the run up to Christmas and it's worth the treck. Go and have your unch in the Cuan,Spinaker or Lobster pot afterwards or before and enjoy the brisk sea air. I think they are doing santa up at castleward as well. Never been but I've heard its really magical.

Friday, 11 December 2009

walk around tour of OBG exhibition

There will be a walk around tour of OBG exhibition 160 of the University of Ulster on Saturday 12th December at 2pm by art critic and curator Professor Liam Kelly.

ni finalist for doodle for google competition.

There is a NI finalist for the doodle for google comp[etition if you vote for her she has a chance to become a regional winner and progress to the national final check on

gillian McCausland 14-16 age group
2nd down in 1st coloumn

click on image and if yiou scrool down you canread her name and read about her music heros.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

buy make sell !!!!!

Buy/Make/Sell: Global Programme

What is the Buy/Make/Sell: Global Programme?

The Buy/Make/Sell; Global Programme is an innovative programme which aims to support small companies overcome the barriers in exploring and developing business in international markets by increasing the effectiveness of how they buy, make and sell their products or services.

Who should participate?
This programme is designed for Belfast based micro and small businesses in the Belfast City Council area that:

· Are not active Invest NI clients or currently have the ability to become an Invest NI client

· Are product or service based companies that wish to develop their international trade activity.

· Have a successful business with the capacity to grow

· Are not retail businesses

How much does it cost?

World Trade Centre Belfast is investing heavily in this Programme to support participating businesses to maximise growth opportunities.

The cost to you is only £250 + VAT [per participant]. This includes:

§ 6 workshops focusing on each aspect of international trade – delivered by people with extensive practical commercial experience.

§ 5 consultancy days with an experienced business mentor who has a proven track record in the field of small business development.

Interested…. What should you do now?

We are holding a breakfast information session on Thursday 7th January at 8.30am in City East, 68-72 Newtownards Road.

To register for this event or find out further information on this programme contact Ruth Rea of Belfast City Council on 028 9050 0512 rearuth@belfastcity.gov.uk or complete the online enquiry form at www.wtcbelfast.com/buymakesell

belfast accessories swap-great idea

Belfast Women of the World: Accessories swap, Tuesday 15th Dec 2009

Theme: Accessories swap (bring at least three items - jewellery / scarves / hats / gloves / belts / shoes (in good condition) or unwanted beauty products - nail varnish / handcream / makeup / bath stuff etc.
Venue: Ballynafeigh Community Development Association (see below)
Time: 7-9pm
Date: Tuesday 15th December 2009
Bring: Christmas nibbles to share

Access: Go to the side door in Candahar Street and use the buzzer (press top left - 1 - followed by bottom right - bell symbol beside small white tab) and someone will let you in. Aternatively, just ring Stephanie’s mobile (07989 380051).

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

gallery 73 opening Christmas exhibition

gallery 73 Christmas exhbition featuring work by
Gemma gallagher,Searh Campbell and Ryan Moffet.
Opening thursday 10th December 7-9pm

73 Royal Avenue. (opposite debenhams)

in assocition with brown mcConnell clark McKee and The John Hewitt.

never been in the gallery dont know what its like but Gemma got the print award at the RUA this year.

Winter Solstice

As we are coming up to the winter solstice on the 21st of December what is on your mind?? Traditionally it was a time when you let go of things for last year and added things for the new year, a three day period in order to shift the year. So this year what are you going to do/What do you need to take out of your life ?and what do you need to add? How has the year been for you? are you still headed in the right direction? have you even thought you have a direction. Is Belfast headed in the right direction? I was walking through town this morning along the Christmas market at the city hall-(any chance it could be fair trade next year) through the shoppers. Thinking about what has gone from Belfast's high street and what remains. The big wheel is still turning at the side of the city hall. While Victoria square is not full it certainly has added another dimension to Belfast. The cathedral quarter seems to have come of age, there is much more life around than even last year and soon it will be filled with the voices of all those Christmas party's.

The assembly is still up and running, there is still a threat of dissidents and as one person told me there is a new generation attracted to "the cause" as they have never lived through the violence of the past and all they see is "ex combatants" having all the power in their areas. (sad really) that what some people aspire to is being an ex combatant.

But each little crank of the wheel brings forth a wee bit more change, a different generation is starting to come into influence. Hopefully they will bring a different mind set with them?? is that possible? I've noticed alot of friends have moved back into Northern Ireland. Friends with open minds and open hearts, aware that there is different ways of living ,that you don't have to except the "box" that NI like to sometimes squeeze you into.

Every interaction you have with every human has an effect on the wider sphere, some businesses have closed and others have opened. I notice alot of vintage shops opening in Belfast. Charity shops are doing great trade, good to see. Technology still seems to be doing well. I went into the apple shop this morning and saw the next generation of humans demonstrating just how use full it's going to be to download something or other . I sometimes wonder if they down load their brains as well???? Are they looking after their spirits?? or is that something that they don't even realise they have??

What of my shift?? Art has taken it's rightful place in the for front of my mind. However just because it's there doesn't mean I have to get rid of my principles as well? do you really have to be bitchy and manipulative to get ahead ?? I don't think so. It's useful to believe in karma no matter what you are doing. It;'s been an interesting art year. I feel more of my self, people keep telling me just how much I have changed. But I don't think I have, I just feel that I no longer have to pretend I'm anything else other that what I am. A creative person.

Sad that in order to be taken seriously in Northern Ireland you have to conceal your creativity. What does that mean for society as a whole?Do you think that creativity is needed here?? I know I do.I was trying to explain the other day that I spent 14year working on development programmes in deprived communities and they asked me if I did art workshops??? They couldn't understand how someone with an art background could be a finance specialist, could inspire people to change their lives ,could help people believe in themselves and reach out for something better, all while keeping their politicians to account.Very important that one, after all they are making decisions on your behalf, or not as the case maybe. I noticed some budget cuts , real political work,required because they never got the water rates sorted out, ho hum one more step in another direction. Whens the next election???????While all this is going on people are eating and loving ,living and dying. One more revolution of the wheel of life. As it all never stays still. Some one asked me the other day does a certain person live their life in balance?? no was the answer. But they seem happy enough with that really.

Anyway enough of these ramblings just remember that every purchase you make over Christmas has an impact on the people in the chain of purchasing, where does the profit go??? each interaction you have makes a difference try and purchase sensibly.

Do you have any new years resolutions yet ? can you see them??are you ready for the winter solstice? or are you going to muddle your way through , did you do that beofr ?? did it work??

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Fuck buttons Belfast

great name for a band -no idea what they are like on at the black box www.blackbox.com ....................................

Art college Belfast- christmas fair

WEdnesday tomorrow the art college york street are having their annual sale from 4 to 7pm come and see what tomorrows artists are getting up to today. Always good for a nosey and some mad and interesting ideas. York street new building.

strawberry fair Strangford on Thursday

Strawberry fair is a craft shop/gallery situated in Strangford run by Sian Maxwell it's an Aladdin's cave of really good taste. It's more like a store you would find in New York than Northern Ireland. Locally produced goods and lots of fair trade items show that not only does Sian have taste but she also has a social responsibility streak in her.

In the run up to Christmas she is opening Thursday to Saturday 11-1 and 2-5pm but this Thursday she is having a special opening 4.30 -9pm where you can have a glass of punch and a leisurely shopping experience. At the back of the shop she has a gallery space and is starting to get a reputation for identifying certain artists that evoke a particular kind of inner spirit. Well worth the trip down in the run up to the winter solstic.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Is Hugh Mulholland sexist???

On Thursday night I went to 7 different gallery's in Belfast for late night art. I started off in the Ormeau Baths- there was to be a honorary doctorate given to Terance Flannigan. It didn't happen as he went into a coma the very same day but as I walked around the gallery and looked at 160 years-(THATS ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY YEARS)a long time of Belfast art college history what really struck me about the exhibition that in 160 years there is only 2 women represented. I will have to go back and check again. As its 2 small pieces. Did I say SMALL PIECES.There is even a PIECE OF WEAVING designed by a man and weaving organised by a women. ???????????????????????? Does the ormeau Baths really think that this fits in with their equality policy?? Does the Art college really think that this fits in with their equality policy?.I believe Hugh Mulholland curated the exhibition ??? was he just so excited at the thought of getting back into the OBG that he forgot about all the women. Or maybe he's just sexist?????????? I wonder if the exhibition came in on budget?? or is that just another story??

There are a few other stories in the exhibition particularly in the painting section. I must go back and check again but I think that even in the classical drawing section alot of the nudes are of men. But I will have to check about that. I saw a few people writing away reporting on the event. I wonder if they picked up the bit about the women ???? probably not. Ho hum where are the guerilla girls when you need them.?????????

Engine room have a fantastic exhibition and selection of Belfast Artists, Miguel Martin in PS2 is a bit kinky, BPW is selling off the wall and a good all around art show. First Thursday out in your diary for the new year great crack and a good cross section of creativity on show.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Place AAIi awards

AAI Awards 2009 at PLACE... Book Launch: Full Irish, Tues 15th Dec... Belfast Civic Trust AGM, Mon 7th Dec... Winter Wonderland sold out... Lots of new titles in the Bookshop...

AAI Awards 2009 at PLACE
Launch Night this Thursday 3rd December, 6-9pm @ PLACE
The finest examples of Irish architecture from the past year will be on show this December and January at PLACE, the Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland. The beautiful Università Luigi Bocconi in Milan by Dublin-based Grafton Architects and the Jig-Saw house extension by McCullough Mulvin are just two of the 28 award-winning buildings on show during the AAI Awards 2009 exhibition, continuing from December 4th 2009 until January 30th 2010.

Book Launch with Dr Sarah Lappin, author of Full Irish
Tuesday 15th December 5.30pm at PLACE
QUB lecturer Dr Sarah Lappin gives a talk on the themes in her new book Full Irish: New Architecture in Ireland.

"In Full Irish author Sarah A. Lappin examines the nature of 21st century Irish architectural identity as it develops its own progressive, contemporary idiom. Illustrated with colour photographs and drawings, Full Irish includes more than 70 projects from Ireland's leading firms as well as its up-and-coming designers: Boyd Cody, Alan Jones, de Blacam and Meagher, Bucholz McEvoy, de Paor Architects, FKL Architects, Dominic Stevens, Grafton Architects, Henchion+Reuter, Hackett Hall McKnight, Heneghan.Peng, McCullough Mulvin, Hassett + Ducatez, MacGabhann Architects, O'Donnell + Tuomey, and ODOS Architects." - RIBABookshops.com

The book will be on sale at the event and Sarah will be signing copies. Admission is free but booking in advance is recommended! Email info@place.uk.net

Belfast Civic Trust AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Belfast Civic Trust is to be held on Monday, 7 December 2009 at 5.30pm in Christchurch Inst

Guest Speaker: MARK HACKETT (Hackett and Hall Architects and the Forum for Alternative Belfast)

Music and Refreshments provided. Refreshments will be served after the meeting. All welcome.

Winter Wonderland SOLD OUT!
Many thanks to all those who snapped up places at our Winter Wonderland model-making workshops, which start this Saturday. Lots more model-making activities for all ages in the new year, keep an eye on the website and mailouts for info!

Belfast late night art

Thursday night if you have missed the www.belfastprintworkshop.org.uk opening it's back again for late night art www.belfastgalleries.com tomorrow night Thursday 7-9pm

at the QFT


Events still to come in Traveller Focus Week

The full programme is available online.

Some highlights:

1 December - Art and Photographic Exhibition, Art Gallery, Voluntary Service Bureau, 34 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast 10am - 12 noon.

1 December - Launch of DVD 'Through our Eyes' with Rev John Purcell and Jake Bowers, a teaching resource for secondary schools. Canal Court Hotel, Newry, BY INVITATION ONLY

1 December - 'Our People' exhibition by artist Eleanor Phillips and local Travellers. Waterside House, Oxford Island, 2pm. Exhibition there all week, then moves to Brownlow and Lurgan libraries.

Tomorrow, 2 December - New Opportunities for Travellers. The Southern Area Action for Travellers Project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund's Safe and Well programme; Southern Regional College's Transforming Communities Project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund's Live and Learn programme; and the Belong Project, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies. The event is aimed at providing Travellers with information on these major new projects. Island View room, Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, 10am - 2pm. Contact crice@equalityni.org or 028 90 500 673.

Thursday 3 December - Derry City Council reception for Travellers at the Guild Hall, hosted by the Mayor, Paul Fleming. Parlour, Guild Hall, 2pm.

Friday 4 December - Building Better Relationships to address Conflict. A workshop for Travellers, service providers and staturory agencies to explore ways to express and address conflict within the Traveller community. A constructive discussion involving experienced practitioners in both the North and South of Ireland. Malone House, Belfast 10am - 1pm. Contact derekh@anmuniatober.org

wee Christmas drink at the golden thread


Curated by Sarah McAvera

Thursday 3rd December from 6pm – 9pm

Glisten at the Golden Thread Gallery, the 2009 Christmas show.

Come start the festivities with us on Thursday 3rd December from 6pm – 9pm with an exhibition

including work by Sinead Breathnach-Cashell, Victoria J Dean, Sara Greavu, Sam McKee, Helen O’Hare,

Mary Mc Caffrey, Feargal O’Malley & Brendan O’Neill.

So come join us for a wee Christmas drink and a one night only performance by Sinead Breathnach-Cashell

& her Festive Flashers.

The exhibition runs until December 22nd 2009.

For more information contact : 84 - 94 Great Patrick Street, Belfast BT12LU.

E: info@gtgallery.co.uk ,W: www.goldenthreadgallery.co.uk T:02890330920