The Diary: Christmas party season is upon us
They were celebrating Thanksgiving Stateside on Thursday while in the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, we dipped our toe into the festive season with Christmas lights, fab food and a corporate 'Casino Royale' evening. Eithne Fitzpatrick, owner of the Hotel, looked tres chic in a green Fran & Jane dress.
Guests on the evening included TV3 personality Sybil Mulcahy who is a new Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel neighbour. Sybil was house hunting for ages, but when friends heard about a local house for sale, they were on to her at speed and, happily, Sybil and her husband and three kids have all moved in and the house is decorated just in time for Santa.
On glam in festive red, I chatted with Sybil and the renowned Irish soprano, Elizabeth Woods, who performed a selection of opera classics and Christmas favourites on the night. Elizabeth, who has sung in operas in Ireland, London, Barcelona and Lisbon, wore a stunning aqua dress with a beaded tulle bodice, which was custom designed by Synan O'Mahony, the super-talented Irish couturier.
The hotel hosted over 50 corporate guests who happily sampled some gorgeous food upon arrival, including cranberry brush cocktails, festive mulled wine and warm mince pies followed by a four-course dinner, prepared by head chef Sean Dempsey.
After dinner, there was some casino action with LED glow casino - games including Blackjack, 3 Card Poker, Roulette and Texas Hold 'Em. With a roll of the dice, and a nod for good luck from Santa in the corner, I came up trumps. I hope my winning streak continues at Leopardstown at the races after Christmas because I have my eye on a pair of shoes in the sales.
It promises to be a very busy weekend as the party season kicks off and there could be some retail therapy at Kildare Village, where a new Kurt Geiger Boutique has opened with (you've guessed it) fab shoes. However, tomorrow night, I'll be pulling down whatever brain power I can muster when Kevin Byrne and Kevin Byrne, joint owners of the Mayfield Eatery in Terenure, are hosting a charity quiz night for My Lovely Horse Rescue, a charity special to the hearts of singers Cathy Davey and Neil Hannon who will attend the event. Entry costs €20.
Catherine's time warp for 'Lords and Ladles'
It's been a rather gruesome few weeks for celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio. The bella Italian is busy filming new RTE cookery series, Lords and Ladles, with Derry Clarke and Paul Flynn.
While, in theory, the show may sound rather grand (each week the trio visit different country heaps such as Ballywalter Estate, Tullynally Gardens and Westport House to whip up gastronomical treats), the reality is a little more grim.
"I have been schlepping through forests, skinning rabbits and gutting pheasants," Fulvio said. "So I am way outside my comfort zone."
Despite all this, Catherine insists filming has been a hoot. "I love it," she said. "But if I never see animal innards or aspic again, it'll be a day too soon." I hear you.
Speaking of foodie thrills and spills, legendary chef Marco Pierre White was in town this week for the Lovin Dublin live show. The stage show celebrated Dublin town and the Irish food scene. White was his usual charming self and managed to upstage fellow speakers Jamie Heaslip and TV stud Niall Breslin. "Forget Heaslip," one food blogger whispered. "Marco has a Michelin star and mahogany eyes."
Ice skating, here we come!
Well, I've had my first turkey and ham of the season, enjoying the traditional festive fayre at the Gibson on Wednesday night when they launched their Christmas Food Market.
I've been listening to Christmas music since August which is all very understandable really, because that's when I start planning Mistletoe magazine, which published yesterday with the Indo and Herald.
It was lovely to see it all come together, which is why the creative team were out and celebrating at the Gibson on Wednesday night.
The Hotel manager, Nicky Logue, lulled guests into the spirit of Christmas with homemade mulled wine and cider in the Christmas market-themed Gibson courtyard, built especially for the festive season.
Lorraine Keane (pictured right with Nicky Logue) arrived with her VBF and Monkstown fashion designer Deborah Veale, who is still receiving compliments for the beautiful outfits she designed for President Mary McAleese for the Queen's visit here.
The Gibson chef, Chris Duffy, pushed the boat out with a Bavarian marinated roast hog on the spit and there was hot goulash if you didn't fancy turkey.
I spotted 2FM DJ Ruth Scott and her pal Kara Heriot from UTV Ireland, whose Dublin HQ are literally next door to the hotel.
It was lovely to meet the talented vlogger Melanie Murphy, who has just graduated from college and has found herself with a self-made job, chronicling her life and beauty loves on YouTube - she is stacking up over one million views a month. Melanie told me she hopes to meet the Saccone Jolys, the Irish YouTube sensations who moved from Cork to London and are home at the Button Factory tomorrow to meet up with Irish fans.
Guests enjoyed the Manila Strings who donned Santa hats and worked the tables, taking requests - everything from Perry Como and Elvis to One Direction. It was a fun-filled night and before we left, we all made plans to return for ice skating at the Point Village on Ice, which starts next week.
Helen decks the halls at the Dylan
"I want it to look like a great big multi-coloured, paint-splattered Christmassy delight," fashion designer Helen Steele said proudly, staring at the kaleidoscopic Christmas tree sitting in the foyer of Dublin's Dylan Hotel.
Helen has designed the hotel's official Crimbo tree -baubles and all. "I wanted it to feel like I had tossed a tree out the window of my house into a multi-coloured snow storm."
When she's not swagging out hotels, Helen is best known for making frocks and tops for It girls around the globe: Rita Ora, Cara Delevigne, Jourdan Dunn, Ellie Goulding and Pixie Lott have all worn her threads.
But her next big project is illustrating a children's book and designing a new range of cosy winter accessories. "Scarves, hats and gloves in lots of mad colours," she explained.
Coinciding with the unveiling of the tree was the Irish Museum of Modern Art's annual Christmas bash.
Patrons and painters raised glasses of Prosecco and creamy egg nog as they toasted another successful year.
Director of IMMA Sarah Glennie caught up with artists Dorothy Cross and Isabel Nolan, while former rugby player Denis Hickey tucked into festive canapés.
"2014 was fantastic but 2015 will be bigger and better," Glennie said.
BOD and Norton steal the show at literary awards
From Brian O'Driscoll recalling 'dodgy' encounters in hotel car parks and Jeffrey Archer shaking his tail feather on the dance floor to Paul Durcan reciting poems about heavily pregnant reverend mothers and knitted egg cosies: the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards was an eventful night to say the least.
The literary showdown took place this week at the Doubletree by Hilton and attracted some of the biggest names in Irish writing, including John Boyne, Eoin Colfer, Cathy Kelly and the delightful Christine Dwyer Hickey.
There was a flurry of excitement when BBC host Graham Norton arrived, followed closely by former MP Jeffrey Archer.
"I'm delighted but embarrassed, given that I was up against people who actually write for a living," Norton said.
Paul Galvin arrived sporting his trademark Grigori Rasputin beard and mumbled something about dictionaries.
Cecelia Ahern was glowing in a black Tory Burch frock and nearly fell off her chair when she scooped the Most Popular Fiction Award. "It's my eighth time being nominated so I am delighted," she squealed.
BOD dashed through the doors in the eleventh hour but had a good excuse for being fashionably late what with the arrival of BOD II et al. "My wife is at home minding the kids right now," he said as he collected the award. "And I can't believe how grown up that sounds. Amy, I love you."
Rachel Allen and George Hook worked the room while Keelin Shanley manned the floor. The evening ended with plenty of sauce and a good deal of dancing. "Writers don't get out much so we like to make nights like this count," John Boyne laughed.
Watch out for the winter snow queens
The glam Mary Greene from Divine Boutique joined forces with Sarah O’Keeffe and Nula Curran to coordinate a fabulous night of fashion and fundraising at the K Club in Straffan last week.
Over 220 guests were greeted with champagne before they set eyes on the winter wonderland which had been created in the Smurfit suite.
After dinner, Brendan Courtney cranked up the glamour, hosting the catwalk show from Divine Boutique in Maynooth.
Brendan was in top form and had the ladies in stitches, especially his glamorous mother Nuala.“I had such fun picking the clothes so I decided to cover all my Christmas options, from Lady Lux to Winter Wonderland and Snow Queen,” explained Mary.
After the show, there was a rush among the fashionistas in the audience to find out more about the keenly priced Cameo range from Divine, in particular, Mary’s dress and a powder pink A-line dress with this year’s favourite feature...pockets!
The make-up duo at the show, Paula Callan and Derrick Carberry of Callanberry, simply couldn’t get off the premises without explaining how they achieved their snow queen look which captivated so many of the ladies present and the answer was.... silverfoil eye make-up.
Guests included: Yomiko Chen, Sarah Morrissey, and from the Xpose team at TV3, Debbie O’Donnell was there with Aisling O’Loughlin.