The Pleasure List: Debut novel for talented Natasha
They say there is a book in all of us, and one woman about to spin a story is striking designer Natasha Rocca Devine whose new book The Industry is about to hit the shops. A designer and journalist by profession, this is the first time Natasha has put her hand to creative writing, and the daughter of former Miss Ireland Michelle Rocca and former Ireland and Arsenal footballer John Devine is excited about her first foray into fiction. She said: "I studied journalism, have written poems, documentaries, written and edited for magazines, scripts and ran my online production company. On the creative side, I designed graphics and most recently designed a hybrid book, Awareness."
So what can we expect from the first novel from Natasha, a 29-year-old who is currently single and living in Dublin. The Industry tells the story of Alanna, a Kerry-born singer, songwriter and dancer who leaves her family, friends and life behind to follow her dream in London. Training in a top dance and performance college, she rehearses, writes music and fights her way through each term and to the top of the class. Meanwhile, she becomes immersed in the world of bright lights, parties, fame and fortune.
Debut author Natasha said: "It was such a pleasure to write The Industry. I adore writing and had learned a lot from my first book Awareness, although fiction was a different experience. My only challenge was time as I had a full-time job in publishing so I had to manage my time efficiently."
Spend an afternoon in chocolate heaven
It's universally acknowledged that the only way to survive a diet is to promise yourself a delicious treat at the end of all the denial. The prospect of a Butlers Chocolate Cookery Demo could be just the thing to keep you motivated while you pound the pavements.
A two-and-a-half-hour demonstration on how to create exquisite chocolate cakes and desserts as you learn the essential techniques of cooking and baking with chocolate is given by Ballymaloe-trained demonstrator, Yvonne Carty.
You'll discover the taste and attributes of different types of chocolate, and learn how to prepare chocolate creations at home. And you'll enjoy tastings of everything made during the demonstration with a glass of Prosecco.
A Butlers Chocolate Cookery Demo costs €40, and upcoming demos include Valentines Day Cookery Demo (February 1), Mother's Day Cookery Demo (March 8), and Easter Cookery Demo (April 5).
Places must be booked in advance.
The Kate effect inspires bridal jewellery collection
Back in 2011, around 35 million people worldwide tuned in to watch William and Kate say 'I do'. Lovestruck women across the globe rushed to create a copy of Kate's romantic dress before walking up the aisle.
And it seems the 'Kate effect' is still working its magic when it comes to weddings. Paul Costelloe's stunning Bridal Jewellery Collection for 2014 is inspired by possibly the most famous bride of the past 10 years.
The 'Kate effect' is a term used to describe the phenomenon which occurs when Princess Catherine buys a dress, and every copy of said dress disappears from the rails.
The Costelloe bridal jewellery collection inspired by Kate has a gorgeous vintage feel to it, making it perfect for any bride yearning for a bit of nostalgia
The collection includes sterling silver drop earrings in vintage crystal for €145, and a sterling silver ring with white crystal marquis captured in an ornate stone set band for €145. There's a sterling silver multi-strand pearl necklet with a Victorian crystal and pearl spiralled centre piece for €450.
The collection will arrive in jewellers nationwide at the beginning of February, and is available online at www.paulcostelloejewellery.com.
Exhibition reveals tragedy of forgotten Congo warzone
Photographer Richard Mosse's exhibition, The Enclave, is set to return for a celebratory tour in Dublin and Limerick following a highly successful stint at the 55th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale.
Throughout 2012, Richard Mosse and his collaborators, Trevor Tweeten and Ben Frost, travelled in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, infiltrating armed rebel groups in a warzone plagued by frequent ambushes, massacres and systematic sexual violence.
The resulting installation, The Enclave, is the culmination of Mosse's attempt to radically rethink war photography. It is a search for more adequate strategies to represent a forgotten African tragedy in which 5.4 million people have died of war-related causes in eastern Congo since 1998.
The Enclave will show at the RHA Dublin from Thursday, January 30 until Wednesday, March 12, and in Ormston House in Limerick to mark the City of Culture events from Friday, March 28 until Monday, May 5.
Take a peek at Irish duo's new brainchild
The baby shower is one piece of American culture we've embraced wholeheartedly. Now no baby is officially imminent until babygros and balloons have been offered up in its honour. If the mum-to-be is someone special in your life, you may want to consider the newly launched Huggy Bloom range of designer Irish nursery furniture as a gift.
Furnishings include a cotbed, dresser and cot top, and prices for what has been described as "a classic investment piece at an affordable price" range from €135 to €736. The furniture collection is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Claire Finnan and Jennifer Shaw, the duo behind the successful annual Pregnancy & Baby Fair exhibition. The pair made TV history in 2009 when they first pitched the Pregnancy & Baby Fair concept on RTE's Dragon's Den, and became the first entrepreneurs to get the backing of all five Dragons. Three years later, their exhibition was voted Best in Ireland with many large Irish and international brands and retailers showcasing at their event.
Claire and Jennifer realised there was a gap in the market for a high end luxury nursery brand which focused on using Irish design talent, and Huggy Bloom was born. The furniture is available nationwide through retailers Tony Kealys and Bella Baby.
Garden gurus to give green-fingered advice
If anything is guaranteed to make you feel that winter is drawing to a close and spring is round the corner, it has to be gardening classes. Donning a pair of gardening gloves will have you thinking of daffodils, crocuses and tulips in no time.
Gardening classes for beginners at the National Botanic Gardens will begin on Saturday, February 1. The course will include a series of eight classes held on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings over a four-week period.
Night classes, which will be delivered by a series of horticultural experts, will commence at 7.30pm and finish at 9.15pm. Saturday classes will commence at 10am and finish at 12.30pm. For evening classes there will be a gardener available in the auditorium from 7pm to answer specific queries or identify plants or plant problems.
You must book in advance, and the course costs €100 per person (Proceeds to the Irish Museums Trust).