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From the mouths of babes; the wishes of children in Northern Ireland has proved to be more inspirational than anyone could have anticipated. For the past four weeks, children from across the province have been casting their final 2016 wishes into the Phoenix Wishing Well at the MAC, Belfast. From Obama remaining President, eating pizza every day, making it rain candy, to the selfless wish to give the homeless somewhere safe and warm to stay this Christmas; local children have provided some of the most imaginative and sincere wishes possible.

The Phoenix Wishing Well has received hundreds of wishes to date, with only a few days left to get involved. From all the wishes cast, Phoenix Natural Gas has promised to make one of these festive wishes come true. So, the hunt for a real unicorn might be on!

Geri Wright, Communications Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas said, “We have been overwhelmed by number of funny, wacky and wonderfully innocent wishes received already. Undoubtedly the most popular wish made by children across Northern Ireland so far has been a trip to Disneyland to meet their favourite characters but what struck me particularly was the number of children wishing to help others this Christmas. I’ve also particularly enjoyed some of the more unusual requests – everything from unicorns to super powers.

“The Phoenix Wishing Well is located on the ground floor of the MAC, Belfast, within the Phoenix Wishing Wood. The wood was created by a team of local artists to provide a sensory experience at the MAC for little ones and families alike. We wanted children to be inspired by the magic of the woodland and get creative with their entries, which they have done. It has surpassed all expectations. After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are looking forward to making one family’s Christmas wish come true this festive season.”

Here are some of the other wishes that children across Northern Ireland have made:

  1. I wish… to make the world nice and to make it snow
  2. I wish… for food for all the people that don’t have any
  3. I wish… that no one is alone on Christmas day, or ever, but especially Christmas day
  4. I wish… to be a superhero
  5. I wish… it could be Christmas everyday
  6. I wish… for the Syrian war to stop
  7. I wish… for 100 dogs
  8. I wish…to be the government
  9. I wish…I could fly
  10. I wish…for a baby sister this Christmas

The MAC’s Christmas show ‘Pinocchio’, which is sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas, will run until Sunday 1st January 2017 and this will also mark the close of the Phoenix Wishes competition. Full competition details available at: #PhoenixWishes



Midas Jewellers store front
Midas Jewellers, Lisburn

Local Lisburn-based independent retailer, Midas Jewellers, is celebrating 40 years in business. Following decades of procuring the finest diamond and precious stone set jewellery to ensure that people’s milestone events are truly memorable, Midas Jewellers is celebrating its own ruby anniversary.

Beginning his career in the industry as a part-time employee of this family-run business, Jim Conlon, alongside his wife Lynne, went on to take over the business and fast-track its success as a leading retailer for fine jewellery – a passion the husband and wife team share.

After a period of leave in 1990 to travel America, Jim returned to the business in 1991 as a full-time Sales Assistant, progressing to Manager and eventually Partner. From here Jim would then buy-out his fellow business partners to become the sole proprietor of this long-standing jewellery institution.

Excelling as a retailer for four decades is no small feat given the troubling times and challenges faced by independents. This lasting success is something Jim and Lynne Conlon share immense pride in; attributing much of it to the business’s openness with customers and the committed efforts of its long serving employees.

“As a jeweller, the most important thing is to take care of your customer and offer complete honesty. At Midas Jewellers, we pride ourselves on sourcing some of the finest diamonds and gemstones, working with only the world’s best and most exclusive diamond dealers who share our commitment to ethically sourced, quality gemstones and precious metals. The purchase of any piece of jewellery can be a significant investment, therefore we must reassure our customer that they are purchasing the best quality piece for their budget.

“Our customers travel from across Northern Ireland and we have many local families who have stayed loyal to us for three generations now. It’s a privilege to follow and be part of a family’s story, seeing Midas jewellery being passed down lovingly from generation to generation.

“It is thrilling to reach such a significant milestone and I believe this is down to our ability to understand our customers. Our mission is to maintain the standards that have seen Midas Jewellers get to where it is today and continue to be a part of our customers’ very special memories by providing them with a varied collection of the finest jewellery available.”

Midas Jewellers continue with their ethos of providing quality products in all the other brands they stock such as Thomas Sabo, Links of London, Trollbeads, Raymond Weil and Citizen, to name a few, making them the ideal place to find a gift for someone special.


Ariana Clothing designs flattering Autumn & Winter Collection

Ariana Clothing designs flattering Autumn & Winter Collection

Ariana Clothing Local Belfast-based womenswear brand Ariana is proud of its Autumn/Winter 16 collection. It hosts flattering and expertly designed pieces, created to cater for those who want great quality, beautiful clothing at affordable prices. There is something for everyone’s personal style in this collection.

Each distinctive Ariana piece can take the wearer from day-to-evening with ease, using smart, contemporary and forward-thinking designs that enhance your silhouette and ensure you stand out from the crowd.

This collection features beautifully designed dresses, tops and coats in stunning jewel prints, striking jacquards, quirky animal prints and retro-inspired tailoring.  With colour palettes spanning from rich cranberry, autumnal mustard, deep indigo to rich chocolate and chic greys, this effortlessly chic collection will appeal to all style conscious women.

Utilising hints of the seasons key trends Ariana has created a modern wardrobe with touches of cutting edge style that any woman can wear.  Ariana Clothing has everything you need to look stylish and chic this Autumn/Winter.

The Ariana collection is designed in Belfast, Northern Ireland and available in local boutiques and throughout Europe. Check out its website for more details on the collection and a list of stockists:

Retro 60s Geo prints shift dress £150 2331a

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LCCC Celebration of “Legacy and Learn to” at Hilden Brewery

LCCC Celebration of “Legacy and Learn to” at Hilden Brewery

Photo by Aaron McCracken/HarrisonsLisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) recently hosted a luxurious celebration to conclude the month of “Legacy and Learn to” at the Tap Room Restaurant at Hilden Brewery, as part of the Year of Food and Drink.  Several leading food bloggers and writers, as well as local press gathered to taste, smell and devour an outstanding menu that combined some of the best local produce within the area.

The evening kicked-off with a cocktail reception sponsored by the award-winning, Ruby Blue Vodka, Irelands first potato vodka producer.  Their signature serve consisted of its renowned potato vodka with premium lemonade, a crisp slice of apple and a sprig of thyme, and was a refreshing start to the evening.  This was followed by a tour of the famous Hilden Brewery guided by Seamus Scullion who founded Irelands oldest independent brewery in 1981. He introduced guests to the production of their range of craft beers and the workings of the brewery.

Photo by Aaron McCracken/HarrisonsComing in out of the cold guests were seated in the beautiful Tap Room restaurant, welcomed by Cllr Uel Mackin and guided through a bespoke four-course menu by their host and local girl, Denise Watson.  Each course was specifically designed by Head Chef Dave McCarthy, to showcase the produce from the local suppliers which included, Hannans Meats, Tempted Cider, Tynedale Goat Kid, Abernethy Butter, Brambleberry Jams, Draynes Farm Ice-cream and of course Hilden Brewery.

In his closing comments, Cllr Uel Mackin, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee at LCCC, said “These are but a few of the amazing food and drink producers we have in the council area, we as a council are immensely proud of these thriving local businesses and we are determined to support them in their growth and development.”

The evening was a huge success and guests were thrilled with the array of beautiful food and drink they enjoyed, the local producers will be very busy in the coming months as word of their excellence spreads.

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Roast parsnip and white bean soup, smoked paprika cream, with Hilden Brewery's Molly's Chocolate Stout wheaten bread.

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons