Saturday 17 August 2019

The pleasure list: A splash of Christmas colour for your garden

Just because Christmas takes place in the deep midwinter is no reason to give up on a splash of colour outdoors - it's all a question of planning, of how, when, where and what.

For help and advice, try turning to The Garden House, near Malahide Castle, first opened two years ago, somewhere that has rapidly become a favourite spot for the many of us who would rather tinker about outdoors than in.

Recently, a second Garden House, at Airfield Estate, opened. And for those looking to learn, former model turned gardening expert Marie Staunton will deliver a series of relaxed, fascinating classes, on the 20, 21 and 27 November, on the easiest, most productive way to put together Christmas containers, demonstrating how to create bright, festive pots that will add a dash of Christmas style and colour to gardens, patios and window sills. Perfect as gifts too - if you get growing now.


Marvel heroes return

The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas is little short of an Aladdin's Cave, glittering with the best, most beautiful and exclusive gift ideas, many from the world's most luxurious brands, including Hermès, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Céline, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin. A veritable treasure trove of fashion and fabulousness.

The brain child of BT fashion director Shelley Corkery, The Marvel Room is an irresistible riot of clothes, bags, perfumes, toys, jewellery - much of it Irish, from Brown Thomas-supported designers such as Lucy Nagle, Davina Lynch, Sphere One by Lucy Downes and Maria Dorai Raj - edited down into one capsule-sized collection of deeply desirable items.

The idea is to spare customers time and effort, while also providing inspiration by creating a kind of magical wonderland where some things are functional, some decorative, but everything is beautiful. Worth a visit, if only to marvel.


Start early for crafty and charming festive fare

Yes, it's early to be talking about Christmas presents, but it is also true that, leave it late, and you will get little of any good, and for that little you will work hard.

The smart way to seasonally shop is to do it soon, and at one of the growing number of excellent craft and design events held across the country. For something really stylish and original, the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork, is hosting the annual Glucksman Craft + Design Fair today, offering inspired gifts from leading Irish designers. This is, after all, the year of Irish Design, so what better gift than something unique from designers including Ceadogan Rugs, Chloe Dowds, Kinsale Pottery and Nicola Brown, presenting work for a range of budgets, in textiles, jewellery, willow, ceramics, glass and woodturning.


Going wild in Wicklow for local food and cocktails

Ireland's largest wild food dinner, now in its 20th year, takes place on November 21 at the Brooklodge and Macreddin Village. Wild & Wicklow starts with a Wild Foods masterclass, led by Evan Doyle, bringing together knowledge and information on a year of harvesting, gathering and hunting sustainable wild food around Wicklow, including delicious sea lettuce, ramsons, wild deer and more.

Later, a wild berry cocktail reception in The River Room is followed by dinner at the Strawberry Tree restaurant, where all food - except perhaps the potatoes - will be wild and gathered or sourced locally. Make a night of it with a stay at Brooklodge, and the chance of breakfast until the later-than-usual hour of midday.


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