Theatre Review: The diary of Adrian Mole 13 ¾ at The MAC Belfast

Adrian Mole has opened his diary once again at The MAC  Belfast, as Bruiser Theatre Company celebrate their 20th Anniversary. Sue Townsend’s adaptation with the company is a remount, as the company first performed this tale in 2005 . But Adrian Mole 2017 is fresh and bouncing off the stage full of vitality. Being an eighties child (I was born in 84) I was familiar with some of the book but have to admit I’ve never read the full text but I’m very intrigued to do so now.

The production begins with a fabulous ensemble piece, a song full of 80s flashbacks it’s quick in pace and full of iconic references from the Iron Lady to Meg and Mog. It comes in converbelt form almost like the generation game but minus the cuddly toy. The cast sing with such energy I struggle to see how they are still breathing. The song sets the mood of the tale which is to unfold before us, this is a young family in the 80s on the brink, there are strikes and cuts. Times are hard but people are still plodding on. Women want more than a part-time job and making their husbands tea. The storybook set opens and we are introduced to the main character Adrian who has taken refuge from a New Year’s Eve party in the safety of his bedroom.


Adrian Mole is a teenager with big plans he is going to be an intellect. He doesn’t understand the fuss and commotion in life, he’s not a fan of school discos or punk but he is a big fan of Pandora. Adrian played by Adam Dougal is an annoying know-it-all, at the start of the production I felt little to no endearment for the character but as the production progressed I found he carved his way into my heart. Adam’s performance of the awkward teenager overcoming life’s challenges, spots and all captures a bit of everyone’s youth, that first school disco, that first kiss, the anticipation and want to be a grown up. He transforms on stage from a grown man to the teenager with ease and gives a heartfelt performance.


Speaking of heart, love is a central theme to this production, from the innocent first love of Adrian and Pandora (hearts and all) to the illicit affair with the sex god next door neighbour, which included quite a few flashes of Orla Mullans ample bosom. The five cast members (Adam Dougal,Gerard McCabe,Orla Mullan,Keith Lynch and Collette Lennon) are pitch perfect throughout and full of energy. They play a number of roles to perfection but I was particularly entertained by there backing dancer performances.


The background of some of the musical numbers contained some hilarious go go dancers, cupids and neighbours twitching at the net curtains to name a few. This is where Bruiser excels in there own form of physical humour no script needed just knowing looks and groovy moves.

Overall the cast are entertaining, enlightening and engaging. The audience lapped up the innuendos and even the substandard poetry and if you don’t fall in a little bit in love with Adrian Mole then you have a heart of stone .

Emer D xx

Ps Congratulations to Adam and Collette (Adrian and Pandora) who get married shortly after finishing the production.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Aged 13 3/4) runs until 7th Oct 2017 get tickets at

Then it will be touring across Ireland from the 10th-15th October visiting Ballina,Mullingar,Lisburn,Dublin,Armagh and Derry.




Beauty Review: Tanning Thursday-The Lusso Tan Ritual

As the summer sunshine (the little bit we got in NI) starts to fade away I spend more time reaching for a bottle of tan. There are so many on the market at the moment it has hard to choose so I thought I’d do a few beauty reviews on tanning products that are made locally.

You may have read me gush recently about Bperfect on my social media sites and also spotted me with Bellamianta over the last couple of months (Il hopefully get a chance to come back and give these brands a full review) but the tan Im writing about this week was completely new to me and to honest be it seems to quickly be catching up with its Northern Irish competitors.


Lusso Tan is the brainchild of the beauty specialist who run The Secret Day Spa in Belfast. The ladies have been working with tans for years and know all the tips and tricks for getting the perfect sun kissed glow so they have come up with a 3 Step Ritual for best results.


I got my hands on Step One the primer, Step Two the tan (in shade medium) and Step Three the finishing touch boost (step one and two were gifted and I bought step three). You don’t need to use all three steps but if you love a deep exceptionally polished look the girls recommend it.

Ok so here goes Step one is the Primer which is meant to plump and condition your tan. Normally I would shower,shave and moisture the night before but because I had this primer I thought I’d skip that step. The formula is clear and goes on easy it’s a little tacky but I like the texture. Next I tried the Lusso Tan (the main event) I pour a little out on a mitt, it’s very runny and to be honest I wasn’t really expecting that so a bit ends up on the bathroom floor. But what I do like is that it’s tinted so you can so exactly where you have applied it. A small but goes a long way which is good as there is a lot of me to cover and I already look a little bit more bronzed. Its fast and easy and doesn’t seem to streak.

Heres a few pictures so you can compare:

Before ok I’m not completely see through but I’m a lot whiter than I want to be.

Straight after application getting a little tanner, definetly a glow coming through.

I give it two hours to develop and the shade does come through a lovely natural tan but I want to give it just another little tweak so I decide to use step three. (Plus if you live in your own and can only try to do your back step three is the instant bottle to chuck in your bag and get the girls to top you up before you go out.)


Final Result:

BEFORE                                        AFTER

I got a great even glow and it actually developed a bit more throughout the evening.I would recommend the Lusso tan if you have time to prep properly, work it into your beauty routine or your tanning Thursday but be careful when using as it can end up all over your bathroom but most beauty products in my hands do ;). If you try it let me know how you get on and what you thought of it.

Emer D xx


Dates for your diary: WCCFW AW17

The West Coast Cooler Fashion week is back with a clash of bright colours, sequins and textures. I attended the launch party at Bullit Hotel a couple of weeks ago and I was inspired to update my wardrobe. I find it so hard to know what to wear at this time of the year when the summer sun is fading and it’s not quite cold enough for a big coat but I muddle through.

This year for the launch I choose to embrace red, one of my favourite colours and I went for a block colour in a little Florence and Fred number however I did see a few fashionistas rocking smaller elements of this colour be it earrings,hats or shoes but as you should all know by now I’m no shrinking violet.


Photo Credit Brendan Gallagher photography.

Fashion to me is a way of expressing yourself, it’s an extension of your personality. I love to attend the fashion week shows as a form of entertainment, they are a performance of materials and models flowing up and down the catwalk and I get inspiration for my personal style as well as picking up on new trends. I’m not a trend setter but I find the shows stylists can find the best of the high street and local designers which I love to mix and match into my own look.

Here a few pictures of some my favourite from the launch and I look forward to seeing a lot more. I was particularly impressed with the In Chlomo line and I was a little shell shocked to find out this brand actually comes from a designer born and breed in my hometown. Her sequinned and textured pieces spoke to the diva in my soul and I look forward to seeing a lot more of Chloe’s work.


Photography Stephen Potter. Pic 1 Alex wears Debenhams and In Chlomo. Pic 2 Hannah wears In Chlomo. Pic 3 Nuala wears ASOS.

One of my favourite looks styled on the day had to be Aimee in the ASOS velvet blazer and that is a Jo Malone Ribbon round her neck.


And these floor length gowns from Akani and Blush modelled by CMPR models Aimee and Alex  guaranteed to be a showstopper at any event.



If you want to see more glamour and sparkle read on for the full details of this year’s event and mark it in your diary now.


Emer D xx



This seasons full show details are as follows..

The now iconic event, which is firmly fixed in the social calendar, will see four days of fantastic fashion from 26-29 October with the main runway shows taking place at a new home in St. Anne’s Cathedral – meaning longer catwalks, more space and lots of interesting backdrops for photos – both of the fashion on the runway and of the guests in their stylish looks.
As well as the runway shows at St Anne’s, there will also be the popular weekend events, including Sushi Saturday at Zen, Style Sunday and a new ‘F Words’ brunch on the rooftop at Bullitt, featuring speakers including Tiffany Brien, Kim Constable, Maria Rafferty and ‘Gluten Free Fi’ talking Fashion, Fitness, Food & being Female.

Fresh out of a summer at Vogue’s intensive summer course, director Cathy Martin is excited about the colours and textures on the catwalk. “I’m looking forward to seeing local retailers and designers showing off all the colours, silhouettes and textures which we saw at the international shows. From fiery red shades like those seen on Gigi Hadid at MaxMara, to deep Burgundy and Bordeaux colours which were prevalent at the Burberry and Mulberry shows; plus there will be plenty of futuristic metallics as seen at Chanel and Balenciaga as well as total texture clashes which took over the runway at Gucci’s super maximalist show.
“We always try to make our shows a true example of fashion theatre. And as people move towards more experiential activities, our events allow them to really engage with fashion first hand. We’ll have our usual complimentary West Coast Coolers for every guest at the show as well as a William Morris eyewear ‘Specs Appeal’ pop up, where style spotters will seek out the best dressed guests, who’ll win sunglasses and eyewear. There will also be a beautiful Versace wallpaper backdrop for photos courtesy of Noblett’s as well as other beauty, boutique and designer pop ups for guests’ enjoyment before and after the shows themselves.
“Our hair partner is the Lisburn Road’s newest salon, Monet Hair, and L’Oréal Colour Trophy winner Lee Stinton will lead the creative direction alongside Paddy McGurgan on make up, who’ll be supported by global cruelty free make up brand Illamasqua, so I’m excited to see what this creative team comes up with – they’re even talking about a fantasy hair and make up show to round off one of the St Anne’s catwalk shows. I hope that vision comes to life!”
Paddy and Lee will also be speaking at the flagship ‘Style Sunday’ event on 29 October at James Street South. The sumptuous style luncheon will close FASHIONWEEK and round off a month of activities by Action Cancer for breast cancer awareness month. The event will showcase top stylist picks from Blush Boutique in Belfast as well as the trend masterclass from hair partner Monet Hair and Illamasqua at Make Up Pro Stores. Plus, there will be an Illamasqua gift for every guest as well as West Coast Cooler cocktails on arrival.
Brand manager Laura Shiels from title sponsors West Coast Cooler commented: “Here at West Coast Cooler we are excited to continue our participation with Belfast FASHIONWEEK. Celebrating individuality and creativity is something we are passionate about and we cannot wait to see what the new season has in store. Amazing campaigns like our #WCCStyleSquad gives us a great opportunity to integrate our audience with our brand activity and allows us to interact with all of our fashion-savvy consumers”
The full show schedule is available online at along with details of this season’s trends plus links to all participant retailers and sponsors. Catwalk tickets for the main shows on 26 & 27 October, which cost £20 (or £30 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats), are available to purchase from Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609 or via the links on For reserved seats and groups of four or more, the BFW team can take direct bookings – just call 02890421509 or email to place an order and reserve seats. The BFW team will also manage bookings for all other events including Sushi Saturday (£35) and the ‘F Words’ brunch (£29) on Saturday 28 October as well as Style Sunday (£45) on Sunday 29 October, which is in support of Action Cancer. Ticket price includes a refreshing West Coast Cooler on the day.

Anchors Away as The Titanic Hotel Belfast Opens

I previously worked and lived in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, I wandered down the forgotten pathways and jogged past historic buildings not really knowing what was inside. The new Titanic Hotel Belfast is in one of these buildings.  I had passed the gorgeous red brick building beside the modern Titanic Museum not really noticing the beauty of the building until now.

Over the past few years this building has went through a dramatic and careful restoration to bring it back to it’s former glory and giving it a proper place in the story of Belfasts shipbuilding past. You see the hotel has been build on the historic drawing and meeting rooms of the Harland and Wolf shipbuilding corporation.


The building now has a modern, open,bright glass hotel entrance.  It is welcoming and in keeping with the luxury of the liners that had been designed here (with a white star mosaic layed into the floor a nod towards famous ship of its namesake).

The reception area and large bar/entertainment spaces on the bottom floor are bright and full of friendly staff. The bar areas home some gorgeous Titanic facts and artefacts including a model of the ill fated ship to view as you sip a sharp martini overlooking the stunning silver Titanic museum next door.

However these bright reception rooms hide the dark brooding Titanic story which is echoed throughout the masculine interior of the hotel rooms which I saw. The Titanic story is recalled at the telegram box which you pass on the way to the rooms, this is where the telegram was received on the night the Titanic sank. Continue further into the hotel and you will find rooms  which house some beautifully restored meeting rooms with some original furnishings, an exiquiste staircase and some spacious bedrooms with the most beautiful views over Belfasts iconic yellow cranes; Samson and Golliath.

But don’t take my word for it take a peek at some of the images captured from the opening night below, and if you are tempted to visit or have a stay all info can be found at, they have some fab special offers currently running check out this link.

I saw the hotel on a media night before the official opening but I can’t wait to return have a meal and make the most of this new gem in the Titanic Quarter, I’m sure it will home to alot of visitors to Belfast and hopefully alot of local residence can make the most of this new venue as well.

Good luck to all the new staff and management on this new voyage.

Emer D xx





Theatre Review: The Weir at The Lyric Theatre Belfast

A pub in the West of Ireland with the wind howling at the door, the perfect setting for a few stories of mischievous fairies, ominous ghosts and to come to terms with an inner loneliness and void caused by life and death traumas. Conor McPhersons The Weir has been running to sold out audiences to great acclaim since 1997.

However personally last nights production didn’t quite hit the mark with me and I was disappointed. The last production by Decandent Theatre company in the Lyric Theatre was The Pillowman another dark tale but I loved it, last night I was hoping for more of the same. That tension and pace keeping you constantly on the edge of your seat.

Don’t get me wrong the performances by the cast, did have me laughing and with goosebumps at points but it didn’t seem to build to much. Each cast members tale was a monologue, the story and the conversation didn’t go much further. The wind and tension didn’t grow, the story tumbled on. It had a very sobering effect.

Strange considering the amount of drink being poured on Owen McCarthaligh’s dark and dinghy (excellent) pub set.


Maybe this story just wasn’t for me, having grown up in the Northwest of Ireland and hearing tales of fairies, banshees and ghosts which usually had the hairs on my neck standing on end, maybe I have just become immune or maybe this production made me sad as it struck a cord in the loneliness in my own life. Either way I’m not sure if I would revisit this production.

I’m sure this production will grow (after all this was review was on an opening night performance) and hit a cord with a new audience throughout it’s run but if you are looking for a night of light hearted entertainment this is not the production for you.

Emer D xx



Restaurant Review: Souls, Belfast

Souls restaurant recently turned one and marking a successful year in business myself and a few other familiar faces where invited to an exquisite meal to celebrate.

Owner Pankaj Maini treated us to a delicious, sumptious and what felt never-ending five course meal of Naanza bites, Rasam Soup, Pinwheel Samosa, Tandoori Monk-meen (Monkfish), Rosemary Chicken Tikka, Tabakh Maaz (Lamb rack) and Gulabjamun CheeseCake. He described each dish and explained the restaurants unique menu which is Indian but influenced by the local ingredients available in Northern Ireland.

I was  intrigued and explored the Indian dishes. The Rasam Soup was a little too hot for me but the lovely Pamela Ballentine who sat with me, thought it was delicious. The Rosemary chicken tikka was my favourite moreish and much more me. However I also loved trying the Gulabjamun Cheesecake, such an unusual fusion but it was a taste explosion. The little Gukabjamun ball which sat on top of the cheesecake was so unusual I think it’s made from dried/evaporated milk definetly something everyone should try.


Souls is a gorgeous bright restaurant with upstairs seating which looks over the busy city life below. It is located on the Dublin Road  Belfast central for a pre-theatre or movie bite with the Movie House Cinema and Grand Opera House right on its doorstep no doubt I will be back for a meal some point soon.

Emer D xx


SS: Sunday Saves (#67)



Good morning, happy Sunday and welcome back to another Sunday Saves! I hope you’re all having a great weekend so far! Today I’ll be talking about running, growing with your blog and a new face mask.

1) The Running Bug (Why Running a 5K is a Big Deal)

When I first started blogging about my 5K training (which you can read here!) I was worried that people would think “It’s only 5K, why do you feel the need to train for it?” even though if someone I knew was training for the same distance, I would be so supportive. I came across this blog talking about why running 5K is a big deal and it’s so motivating for someone who has either built up to 5K or is about to start. The calorie burn, your own dedication and even being less likely to hurt yourself. If you’re lacking running motivation…

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