Sunday 17 December 2017

The Edge: Ann Marie aglow with love after Key West

Aglow: Ann Marie Nohl
Aglow: Ann Marie Nohl
Rosanna Davison: On the table, not under it
Fundraiser: Marianne Cunningham and Ashling Kilduff at Marco Piere White's restaurant in Donnybrook last week.
Lisa and Keith Duffy
Teodora Sutra
A deux: Red and Norma celebrated at Chapter One
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Lets call it Happy Mondays. For last Monday, Ann Marie Nohl was looking especially happy, positively glowing even, at the launch of Neven Maguire's new cookbook, The Nation's Favourite Healthy Food, in the hip new place she is involved with, Eathos on Upper Baggot Street.

I can reveal the precise reason for the glow emanating from the nation's favourite petite blonde restaurateur.

Well, there are two reasons. One is physical and the other is possibly metaphysical. (Is it too early on Sunday for metaphysics? For your diarist it is never too early for metaphysics, neurochemistry, the biology of love and all that.)

But back to my two-part hypothesis of Ann Marie Nohl's golden glow. Firstly, she has just returned from a surprise break in sunny Florida with her beau Ken Edmondson.

Surprise, I say, because Ken, who is an architect of some note, whisked the beautiful blonde away unexpectedly to Key West last month.

They were also in Marbella earlier in the summer. But jetting to Marbella to the Irish beau monde is a bit like going to Ranelagh for a pint these days. Wouldn't you agree?

"He is an amazing man. A great architect, too, " Ann Marie, who possibly has designs on a bright future with the fabulous Mr Ed, told me, adding that they were in Marco Pierre White's restaurant in Donnybrook last weekend for a suitably romantic meal (Geraldine Fitzpatrick, the tres glam co-owner of Marco Pierre White's with Marco, is just back from a holiday in Marbs.)

"Ed designed the restaurant," Ann Marie cooed of Marco Pierre White's in Donnybrook, proud of her BF who she started dating precisely five months ago.

How do I know this? Because Ms Nohl - who once fed and watered Gabriel Byrne (he and Ann Marie, legend has it, once went on a date), Jim Sheridan (who was also in Eathos at the launch of Neven's book on Monday night), Johnny Ronan and Louis Walsh et al in her Expresso Bar Cafe on Mary's Road during the boom (now sadly long since closed) - told me her good news five months ago. And, what do you know, I revealed it in this very column.

So, Ann Marie and Ken are very much in love, which is the reason for the blonde's metaphysical glow. Be that as it may, love's not-so-young-dream are not as yet living together. "No. I live in south county Dublin and he lives in town," Ann Marie told me, adding that last year she was actually living in Notting Hill for a year doing consultancy for restaurants in London.

To square a social circle, Neven went to Saba on Clarendon Street for dinner after his book launch on Monday with Sonia O'Sullivan, who launched the cuddly Cavan man's fabulous book of recipes. and her husband Nic Bideau.

Minister for Fun Rosie dances on tables

Enda Kenny paid a visit to these very offices on Tuesday evening. Your diarist took time out of his busy schedule to meet the leader of the country. Alas, when your diarist was introduced to An Taoiseach by Stephen Rae, our Editor in Chief (and he-who-signs-my-exes), I missed my opportunity to run my grand idea by Enda.

Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin. . .

An Taoiseach should waste not a moment and appoint Rosanna Davison immediately as the Minister for Fun. It would get people on Enda's - and indeed his political party's - side.

It would also be. . .fun.

My in-depth analysis is based on my detailed conversations with the former Miss World 2003 upon her return from the Oktoberfest in Munich. On Wednesday, Rosie told me she was at a party for - count 'em - 50 blondes. The Teutonic hooley, she added, was hosted by a German haircare brand and was a media and networking event for blonde women in business. "They certainly know how to let their hair down. We were up dancing on the tables!" she revealed. I asked her the question on the lips of the country (okay, it isn't the question on the lips of nation - it's late September and things are quiet.): was husband Wes Quirke there to catch Rosie if she fell off the table in her vertigo-inducing high-heels?

"I left Wes at home as he isn't blonde or a woman! Dancing on tables," Chris de Burgh's daughter added, "is part of the tradition at Oktoberfest, I think!"

Are you reading this, Enda? Text me and I'll arrange a meeting between your people and Rosanna's people and we'll get the ball rolling on the top secret, Project Rosanna Minister For Fun. Remember where you read it first.

Fashion legend Ashling quietly seeing her new man

She's one of the leading and most influential fashion movers in Ireland.

I speak, of course, of Ashling Kilduff, long the creative brains behind The Design Centre, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre in Dublin. The beauty co-hosted the 6th annual Fashion Exposure for charity at the Stephen's Green Hibernian Club on Friday with her pal, the equally beautiful Fiona Foy-Holland.

Ashling and Fiona were also at the political bash in Marco Pierre White's restaurant in Donnybrook on Tuesday (I'll get to that.) Ashling, who is always vibrant and stylishly turned out, seemed to have an extra spring in her step that night in D4.

Might it have something to do with the little matter, noticed in certain social circles, that stunner Ashling has been very quietly seeing dashing young businessman Richard Keaveney for the last couple of months - and that things are going very well between the well-matched pair?

Well-matched because she is ridiculously stylish and he is similarly chic.

But back to the big bash on Tuesday night: it was a special fundraising dinner for Dublin Senator and Fine Gael candidate for Dublin West Catherine Noone. The host, who wore a 'Fine Gael blue' dress by Synan O'Mahony, was accompanied by her boyfriend Barry Flanagan and her parents who travelled from Mayo to support the official launch of her campaign. Michael Noonan was guest speaker on the night attended by everyone from ballet dancer Monica Loughman (with boyfriend of the last few months Simon Arnold), to legal-eagle Garret Cooney, stylist Marietta Doran, and the aforesaid Fiona Foy-Holland with her VBF, the incomparable Ashling Kilduff.

Danny has life of Reilly in House

People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones, don't you know? Last weekend in the VIP glasshouse area of House on Leeson Street, there were plenty of the beautiful people throwing shapes instead. On Saturday night,  Mr Grumpy himself, chef Dylan McGrath was in for a quick visit. Only a quick visit? Did he leave the oven on at home or something?

On Friday evening, pop star turned actor turned tyre guru Keith Duffy and wife Lisa were in with their family at a friend's party in the glasshouse. Keith possibly threw the most shapes of the night. But then he is the best mover in Boyzone, isn't he?

Also in the hugely popular venue with the in-crowd, as my granny used to say, was Danny O'Reilly, the lead-singer with the internationally feted Irish rock combo, The Coronas. Difficult to say whether Danny boy, an ex of Laura Whitmore, took the long way to the bar in House, but he arrived around 11pm with a gang of friends and stayed until late. I can't categorically tell you whether he had a Corona beer but by all accounts he enjoyed himself.

Siobhan, Teo and Irma jet to Africa for great cause

Next month - October 22 to be precise - some of our most popular models, TV stars and luminaries are off to Africa for a good cause. I am resisting the urge to call them cause celebs. In any event, Siobhan O'Connor, Diana Bunici, Madeline Mulqueen, Teodora Sutra and Irma Mali are jetting out to Kabwe Zambia for ten days.

It is to help build an emergency female shelter for orphaned girls, "and to provide the maximum amount of funding to help to keep the shelter operational into the future," says Siobhan O'Connor, who is also co-producing a television documentary Catwalk to Kabwe - to "raise awareness for the Irish charity Zamda Ireland" - with her boyfriend John Norton of Straywave Media.

"Zamda provide direct aid to a number of projects in Kabwe, Zambia. Their main focus is on the forgotten street orphans. The charity provides food, clothes, medical care, emergency over- night accommodation and education for these children," Siobhan told me. "It has been a mission of mine to get the right girls to head over to help the little girls aged 6 to 12 in Kabwe. It'll be a girls-helping-girls affair."

One of those girls, top model Teodora Sutra, told me that she "has for a long time now wanted to get involved with a charity where I could physically help, not only financially, with the work they do abroad. So I am extremely excited to go over to Zambia to experience exactly what goes into building a shelter, and meeting all the children who will benefit from it."

Rachel holds Donegal sporting summit

While the Irish models prepare to jet out to Africa, Brian McFadden (who used to be happily married to top model-turned-TV star Vogue) flew into Dublin from London last Friday on CityJet.

A diarist's life is always a bit up in the air, so I have to know all things airplane.

Anyway, CityJet are supporting Taste City Fusion, a new food and drink festival - starting on October 22 and featuring Kevin Thornton, Sunil Ghai and others - from the team behind Taste of Dublin. There is good synergy here as Sharon Bannerton handles CityJet's PR and her sister Avril is the creative energy behind the aforesaid Taste of Dublin.

There was a taste of GAA last weekend in 37. On Saturday evening Sky Sports GAA presenter Rachel Wyse was in the Dawson Street hot spot with a small group including two Donegal sporting deities - ex-Donegal manager, Jim McGuinness and Donegal player Michael Murphy. Esteemed RTE rugby pundit Brent Pope was also there with some pals.

Good sports all, I can assure you.

Simply Red and Norma dine on memories

There's Tapioca. And there's Ross Lewis's Tapioca.  Hang on - this isn't an error and I haven't landed by mistake in this page of my social diary as opposed to inside Appetites in LIFE magazine.

One of our national treasures, Red Hurley, was in Michelin-starred restaurant Chapter One last Wednesday, celebrating a significant date with his beautiful wife Norma.

Presented with the menu and seeing the aforesaid pudding on it, Norma said she didn't want Tapioca as it brought back memories of boarding school. Martin Corbett, co-owner of the restaurant on Parnell Square, soon convinced her of the culinary virtues of Mr Lewis' more modern Tapioca.

Former boarding school babe Norma, who had started the evening at 9pm with a glass of champagne with her husband in Chapter One's bar, also went for oysters to start followed by Achill Island lamb.

Her other-half Red - who reminisced about his days singing at the nearby National Ballroom back in the day - ordered terrine of rabbit to start followed by halibut. The happy couple finished up a little after midnight with a cheeseboard (for him) and mousse (for her), washed down by Irish Coffees.

I assume Red didn't have to sing her to sleep that night - as the sweet memories of a certain boarding school pudding soothed her to a peaceful slumber.

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