Saturday 20 January 2018

The Pleasure List: Calling all you mums in work

Busy life: Author and mother Emily Hourican, will join discussions on work/life balance and managing childcare in the Next Step workshop. Pic. Gerry Mooney.
Busy life: Author and mother Emily Hourican, will join discussions on work/life balance and managing childcare in the Next Step workshop. Pic. Gerry Mooney.
Francis Brennan's book

The first event specifically geared towards working mothers takes place in the Science Centre in UCD next Saturday, October 10. Next Steps is for women returning to work after maternity leave, those looking to change career or up-skill, and those planning on starting their own businesses.

The day begins with a panel discussion, featuring politician Lucinda Creighton, journalist and author Emily Hourican, Niamh O'Dwyer, owner of Organic Little One baby food company, model and Sarah Keane, lawyer and CEO of Swim Ireland, all of whom will discuss work-life balance, managing childcare, top tips and life hacks that help them through their day, followed by a series of hands-on workshops conducted by LinkedIn, Mumager and

Next Steps is organised by, Ireland's largest online parenting community, in response to a recent survey conducted by the site, around issues of going back to work post-baby and childcare costs, which discovered that only 10pc of those polled described themselves as happy with their situation. Those are not good odds. To find out more, and have your say, pop along on October 10.

Timeless and accessible, Irish jewellery gets arty

Irish jewellery design is having a moment, neatly poised between the commercial and the artistic world. Designers such as Una Burke, Angela O'Kelly, Eimear Conyard and Eoin Lyons are creating pieces that are beautiful and unusual enough to belong in galleries, but also wearable enough to belong around the necks and wrists of women; like the leather jewellery created by Una Burke, recently worn by Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Daphne Guinness and Jennifer Lawrence. Burke has contributed four pieces to the current jewellery exhibition at Solomon Fine Art, running until October 24 and showcasing the best of established and emerging talent. Also to be seen is Rudolf Heltzel, with a stunning new Tourmaline Butterfly IV pendant.

Heltzel rarely designs figurative work, but in this series, he has taken wonderful pieces of tourmaline, to create something as delicate and lovely as a living butterfly.

Meet Neven, Mary and Bressie at Kilkenny's top food festival

This year, organisers of the Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food, now in its ninth year, are expecting a whopping 25,000 visitors. That's up from a starting crowd of just 1,500 in 1996, proof of the great efforts and imagination that have gone into making this such a success. Savour Kilkenny takes place over the Bank Holiday Weekend, October 22-26 on the city's Parade Plaza by Kilkenny Castle, with MCs Edward Hayden and Siobhan Donohoe.

Most events are free, and festival highlights include Neven Maguire with RTÉ's Mary Kennedy; The Happy Pear brothers, David and Stephen Flynn; Mark Moriarty, recently named Best Young Chef in the World at the S Pellegrino awards; Rory O'Connell of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Niall Breslin (Bressie) will share his personal story in Feed Your Mind & Eat Yourself Calm, exploring nutrition and its effects on good mental health.

There is also a chance for the next generation, with Junior Master Chef 2015 at Kilkenny Cookery School, and lots of surprises along the way.

Francis's road trip to happiness

After It's The Little Things, Francis Brennan's Guide to Life, comes Counting My Blessings, the author's Guide to Happiness. This is a memoir, telling the story of the endlessly sunny and charming Francis Brennan (above), with a heap of witty anecdotes to illustrate his core message - choose happiness.       Throughout, he counts the blessings of his childhood, family, career, travel, friendships, spirituality, home life and public life, busily reinforcing what matters to him and what has sustained him in life. Through this he makes the excellent point that happiness, like so many things, is a personal choice, something you can, and should, learn and practise. As part of the publicity for the book, Brennan's publishers are branding a truck, in which he will travel across the country to book signings, as well as swooping down on random towns, spreading cheer and delivering goodie bags. Count us in!

Counting My Blessings: Francis Brennan's Guide to Happiness is in shops now, priced at €14.99.

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