i comes to Ireland

11 02 2011

I got sent this press release today and decided to post it because I’m interested to see how it will do in a tough market. Given the recent demise of other newspapers in Ireland I can’t see why they would choose to enter the market. I wonder if it will just be the UK’s version sold in Ireland or if it will be an Irish version of the paper.


“i to launch in Ireland due to popular demand”

i, the UK’s first new national newspaper for 25 years, is to launch in Ireland on Monday 14th February, due to popular demand.
Created by The Independent, i is designed for readers who want a concise, quality daily paper for just 30 cents.
Launched in England, Wales and Scotland in October 2010, i has since been inundated by requests to be distributed in Ireland.
The requests reflect the appetite for i, which recently moved into the second part of its launch activity with a UK TV advertising campaign featuring Dom Joly and Jemima Khan.
i is currently sold in England, Wales and Scotland, from Monday to Friday, and from this Monday it will also be available in Ireland.
i is specifically targeted at readers and lapsed readers of quality newspapers, and those of all ages who want a comprehensive digest of the news in printed form. i will now provide an essential daily briefing for those in Ireland, combining intelligence with brevity, and depth with speed of reading.

Simon Kelner, editor-in-chief of i, and the Independent said of the new launch:
“At the Independent and i, we pride ourselves on listening to our readers and it has been great to have been inundated with such positive feedback about i since its launch in October.  The demand from Ireland is a testament to the paper’s success so far and we are pleased to be in a position to respond.”

Andrew Mullins, managing director of i, The Independent and the Evening Standard said:

“The latest expansion in Ireland demonstrates the impact that i has had so far. By continuing to exceed expectations, i proves there is a place in the market for a paid-for, concise quality daily.”




Life is like eating cupcakes…

10 02 2011

Stay with me on this.

You might be thinking “How is life like eating cupcakes?”

Let me explain.

Cupcakes look delicious: the icing, the sponge that you know is beneath that icing, the burst of flavour and sudden rush of sugar to the system, but like much in life, once that initial pleasure is gone you realise it wasn’t as good as you thought it was going to be.

Sometimes you crave a cupcake for hours, days or even weeks, but you manage to get one and sink your teeth into that sugar filled goodness and, before you know it you feel sick because of the amount of sickly sugar you just ate. There are other times when the cupcake does the job and you feel contented with your belly full of cake, and this is much like the things in everyday life. Sometimes you work hard for that dream job or save all your money for a bag / a car/ a house, but once you have it they can leave you feeling happily contented or realising that the thing you have been craving isn’t all you dreamt it would be.

There are some people who like a plain cupcacke, no decoration just your basic ingredients with no frills. Then there are others who know what they want and don’t deviate from that goal of getting that cupcake. Then you have those who want to try every flavour by every company and change their mind about what flavour they want every time they’re asked. Do these not remind you of people you know?

What I think I have learnt from this, although I think it needs further consideration, is that  I should think twice about turning random thoughts into blogs in future.

What’s in a name?

27 01 2011

When I tell people my name outside Wales they usually respond with “WHAT?!” When I first left Wales as an innocent (“yeah right” some of you may exclaim) 18-year-old I went by the name Harry because the day I moved into our cramped student digs in East Anglia and introduced myself I was told “Well, you’ll have to change that because we can’t say it.” So Harry stuck and there was more than one occasion that I turned up for work through a bar staff temping agency that I was told “Oh, we were expecting a boy!”

These days I go by my full name and it gets butchered by people who haven’t heard my name before. When I moved to Ireland however the tables were turned and names like Aoife, Caoimhe and Caitríona had me flummoxed. I had to get people to say them for me and then I repeated them over in my head before I called any of these people.  So now I do have some sympathy for those poor people who see my name and call me Gdgasdtadiagdqwiwq. (They’re lucky they don’t have to call up and ask for my friend Llinos!)

Something interesting came up this week which led to me thinking – should a name be pronounced the correct way or the way the bearer of the name sees fit? A perfect example is Llywelyn: more often than not it’s pronounced Loo-El-un when the correct Welsh pronunciation is Llyw- el-in (Ll as in Llanelli). This week I heard of someone called Siân saying their name as Si-ann (si as in Simon). I was all ready for the “That’s not how you say it” rant, but then I thought, If she wants to say it that way then it’s her choice, isn’t it? I know more than one Irish person who grits their teeth when they hear the American singer Ciara say her name like it’s a large family car made by Ford, but should someone go up to her and say “Come on love, now that’s not how you say your name, so stop it!”

What do you think – would a rose pronounced any other way smell as sweet?

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

25 01 2011

Film fans: here’s the lowdown on the 2011 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival


Kevin Spacey, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Ken Loach, Richard Ayoade, Guillaume Canet, Harry Shearer, Timothy Spall and Aiden Gillen confirmed for the 9th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival


The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Ireland’s foremost celebration of cinema, will inspire and provoke; move you to laughter and to tears this February, with a captivating selection of some of the most exciting cinema in screens across the capital from 17th – 27th. The 2011 programme  features over 130 screenings plus a myriad of special events, panel discussions, public interviews and industry masterclasses, with special guests at the festival including Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Kevin Spacey,  Richard Ayoade, Ken Loach, Jim Loach, Guillaume Canet, Harry Shearer, Timothy Spall, Aiden Gillen, Eva Birthistle, George Nolfi, Fiona  Glascott and Andrew Scott.

Launching the festival programme, in a packed Tripod venue on 25th January in Dublin, were award-winning actors Maura Tierney (ER, Liar Liar), who is currently in Dublin for rehearsals of God of Carnage at The Gate Theatre, and Charlene McKenna (Raw, Dorothy Mills). “I’m incredibly honoured to unveil this years’ film festival programme – It’s a world class line up,” said Festival Dirtector Grainne Humphreys at the launch. Tickets for the festival are available via the website at www.jdiff.com, or from the ticket office in Filmbase in Temple Bar 01 687 7974, or download the new iPhone and Android App for full programme information.

Opening on a high with Richard Ayoade’s (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh) eagerly awaited directorial debut Submarine, festival audiences will be treated to a succession of Irish premieres, including: George Nolfi’s action-packed The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon; Emilio Estevez’s second film starring Martin Sheen, The Way; the tense thriller Unknown, starring Liam Neeson and Aidan Quinn; the visually stunningly Anton Checkov’s The Duel starring Fiona Glascott and Andrew Scott; the new Woody Allen film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger; Irish film Wake Wood from the legendary Hammer Films starring Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle and Timothy Spall; Ken Loach’s thriller Route Irish, set on the most dangerous road in Iraq, and his son Jim Loach’s first feature Oranges and Sunshine as well as two of the shortlisted films for best foreign language Oscar, Incendies (Canada) and Life, Above All (South Africa).

This year Jameson will launch their Jameson Cult Film Club in Ireland, welcoming Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey to Dublin for a special interactive screening of The Usual Suspects. “This is our ninth year as sponsor and we look forward to a great festival in 2011.” Said Emma Donnellan, Marketing Director with Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard. “We will showcase Jameson Cult Film Club – a  series of special screenings which take place in unexpected non-cinema locations – for the first time in Ireland. We kick off the series at the festival with The Usual Suspects and we are delighted to welcome the Oscar winning actor and star Kevin Spacey who will discuss the film after the screening.” The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival will be supported by a fully integrated €1.5 million marketing campaign, including TV, on-line, cinema, print and outdoor advertising, experiential marketing as well as an intensive PR campaign.

Commenting on the programme, Festival Director Grainne Humphreys said: “I’m incredibly honoured to unveil this years’ film festival programme – It’s a world class line up, with premieres of the best of international cinema, seasons of new work from Romania and Latin America, a fantastic line up of new Irish cinema, some classic films back on the big screen and a very special line up of guests.

One of the hallmarks of the festival has been the discovery of new talent and this year, an expanded world cinema section, which will showcase provocative new features from new and emerging filmmakers from around the world. Our opening film Richard Ayoade’s Submarine is one such discovery, and it’s a packed programme of films, panels and special events, over the 11 days until our final film François Ozon’s wonderful new comedy Potiche, my advice to all Irish film fans – book early and often.”

Each year Grainne Humphreys spotlights a number of international seasons. This February the focus is emerging Romanian cinema, highlights including the fascinating The  Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu and the bittersweet comedy Hello, How Are You? The hugely anticipated Latin Cinema Season includes Diego Luna’s (Y Tu Mamá También, Milk) skillful directorial debut, Abel, and the extraordinary Preludio, shot in a single take and exploring the development of love. French cinema is also well represented, with a screening of Little White Lies, directed by the multi-talented Guillaume Canet (The Beach, Tell No One) and François Ozon’s multi- Cesar nominated sparkling comedy-of-manners Potiche, starring Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu as the Closing Gala.

Supporting Irish film is an integral part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, and this year the Irish programme includes 18 new features and documentaries and 20 short films. The  

2011 Irish Talent Spotlight casts its gaze on the work of director Juanita Wilson, animator David O’Reilly and actor Aiden Gillen. There will also be a focus behind the scenes of the industry with a number of events: Screentest is a series of careers related panel discussions; a Screenwriting Panel discussion held in association with Dublin City Libraries, and the new screenwriting competition Untitled. Exploring the blurring boundaries between cinema and computer games, the Off The Grid event will also bring gaming ‘industry legend’ Charles Cecil to Dublin for a masterclass in interactive storytelling.

The festival celebrates the intrinsic role of music in many films with a captivating 90th anniversary screening of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse accompanied by a live score by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the National Concert Hall. Many documentaries  in the festival will also turn the lens on music, with Upside Down,  the story of Creation Records, the label that brought us The Jesus and Mary Chain and Oasis; Good Cake Bad Cake: The Story of LiR, the band  tipped to succeed U2; Kinshasa Symphony, a stereotype dispelling view of the Congo through the eyes of L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste and Ballymun Lullaby, the inspirational account of Ron Cooney’s  Ballymun Music Programme.

The Discovery strand of the programme showcases fresh new work from emerging  

filmmakers from around the world, these screenings often being the only opportunity Irish audiences will have to see them. The series features films to suit every mood, including the striking Circus Fantasticus, a tale of life after war, told deftly without words; Russian psychological drama How I Ended This Summer, which won Best Film winner at the BFI London Film Festival; Johnny O’Reilly’s highly anticipated The Weather Station and the multi-award-winning Polish drama Erratum.

Paying tribute to some of the best in classic cinema, the Out of the Past season promises to be a firm favourite during the festival. The season will showcase re-issues and restorations, including a 50th anniversary screening of West Side Story; a spine chilling interactive experience of the The Tingler; Ocean’s Twelve with a post screening Q&A with Scriptwriter George Nolfi, and The African Queen, with Script Supervisor Angela Allen in attendance with anecdotes and the inside track on the making of the film!


Documentary afficionadoes will be spoilt for choice with the fantastic array of films on offer, many with attending guests: Mark Cousins with his innovative film The First Movie, in which children on the Iraqi/Kurdish border were given cameras with which to create their own films; The Simpson’s Harry Shearer with his exposé of the reaction to Hurricane Katrina The Big Uneasy and the new 3D documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, from maverick Werner Herzog with a post-screening satellite Q&A. The festival will also host the Irish  premieres of Turner Prize winning artist Gillian Wearing’s Self Made, and Steven Marshall’s thought-provoking Holy Wars, which explores the  conflict between Islam and Christianity, through the eyes of Irish Islamic convert Khalid Kelly and American Christian Aaron D. Taylor.

If all of that were not enough (and there are many more films in the programme that are not mentioned here!), the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival are bringing the festival to the streets, with actors from the Gaiety School of Acting re-enacting famous movie scenes on the streets of Dublin; to your pockets, with a brand new dedicated iPhone and Android app, and to your hearts.

Commenting on the Festival CEO Joanne O’Hagan said: “Once again the festival is going to be one of the highlights of Dublin’s cultural landscapes.  We are very pleased that all of our funders have continued to support us in these difficult times, and we are delighted to welcome new sponsors and supporters to what is Ireland’s biggest and best film event.  We know that the festival will be a great foil to the constant political media coverage, and bucking the current trends both domestically and internationally we have a good news story to tell – Ireland is awash with film talent and the festival is where to be this February.”

Skin Savvy

25 01 2011

 I’ve been using moisturisers since I was 14 because I have patches of dry skin on my face harking back to my childhood when I suffered from terrible eczema. I also have very sensitive skin and have tried expensive products that feel like putting acid on my face, so no matter how expensive the cream I always return to my faithful Nivea Crème. I put a layer of it on my face before bed and I awake with my skin feeling fresh and less dry. 

As a nation we spend thousands on beauty lotions and potions to make ourselves look younger and more attractive, but I read today that researchers have found that eating your fruit and veg is not only good for your insides, they can make you look good too.

Researchers at St Andrews and Bristol University in the UK found that people with a yellow skin tone were seen as the most healthy and attractive people. They found that carrots and plums are rich in carotenoids which give your skin this yellow glow, making you appear more attractive and healthy. The fruit and veg that bring on this yellow skin hue include carrots, plums, mangoes, apricots, sweet potatoes and spinach. 

I’m not sure if yellow skin is more attractive than pink skin and if you eat too many carrots you could be more orange than yellow (although you wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Dublin.) What about Afro Caribbean skin – I assume that doesn’t turn orange. 

My own personal view about beauty products is that the state of your skin is down to genetics and diet and no amount of whatever amount the latest beauty cream you use you can’t stop the aging process. What many of these products do is fill in the valleys on your face so there’s less of a shadow and so less of a visible wrinkle.

Let’s face it – a pot of cream is never going to make you magically look younger and if you don’t believe me listen to the scientists who dispute many of the big brand claims –  http://t.co/Fn1HSOh

Last tango in Buenos Aires

9 01 2011

This is my last day in Buenos Aires. I went to visit Evita’s grave and had a tango lesson.  I’ve had a great time here and can’t wait to come back.

Dechrau 2011 / Starting 2011

3 01 2011



I´ve less than a week left here and I can truly say that I´ve fallen in love with Argentina.

The people are so kind and will go out of their way to help you, and the food is to die for – from the delicious grilled meats at the parrilla to the empaniadas which are sold almost everywhere. The countryside is breathtaking, like the lakes around Bariloche which you can swim in on a hot day and still be surrounded by the snow capped Andes. There´s just something about this country, it´s so laid back compared to home and all the stress I felt before I left is back in a forgotten baggage department in an airport in Europe.

It´s great to start a new year somewhere different – we certainly celebrated the New Year Argentinean style, drinking Dr Lemon and Gancia and dancing with young men before dragging ourselves home at 7am and crawling into bed before the midday sun.

Tomorrow we take a 24 hour bus journey from Esquel to Buenos Aires (forget your UK/ Irish coaches; these are like flying 1st class with chairs that become beds and champagne before you go to sleep). Then on Sunday I catch my first flight. I´ll be honest and say I don´t want to head home, especially when the weather here is in the 30s and at home the thermometer is near freezing. I can feel the post-travelling blues already creeping in.

Perhaps I´ve reawaken the traveler within me – 2011 should be an interesting year.