Friday 23 February 2018

The pleasure list: Forget single... this is the charity album

Craic agus ceol: Niamh Farrell of Ham Sandwich is among a star-studded line up on the Charity album Forever Young. Photo: David Conachy
Craic agus ceol: Niamh Farrell of Ham Sandwich is among a star-studded line up on the Charity album Forever Young. Photo: David Conachy
Gillette gift

If it's Christmas, it must be time for the charity single. Except this year, we're getting a whole charity album, and a jolly wonderful one it is too.

The brainchild of Sunday Independent journalist Barry Egan together with Niall McLoughlin, CEO of the Irish Youth Foundation, with all proceeds from the album, Forever Young going to the Irish Youth Foundation. So that's the good cause.

Now for the good fun: Paul Brady (in between global tours) has recorded a sublime version of Bob Dylan's Forever Young with Gavin Glass and the Dublin Gospel Choir. Ham Sandwich bring new life to Talking Heads' This Must Be The Place; Liam O'Maonlai's trad supergroup Re perform The Stranglers' Skin Deep; Damien Dempsey does Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa; Mary Coughlan does Joy Division's epic Love Will Tear Us Apart; Sharon Shannon does Fleetwood Mac's Never Going Back Again; Kodaline re-invent Michael Jackson's Billie Jean, and there's more. All our favourite songs, by all our favourite new artists. The CD is available at €10 in HMV, Xtravision, Starbucks and Centra, and to download on and iTunes. It would be a crime not to.

Give a gift of good habits and of great grooming

Christmas is a time for effervescent, even ephemeral gifts, but also for things more substantial and long-lasting - such as good habits and great grooming. Thankfully, Oral B and Gillette are making these pretty sleek and stylish too. There's the Oral B Smart Series, a Bluetooth-connected, data-storing, news-delivering power brush that is a must-have for beauty and gadget lovers.

The brush handle communicates with an innovative Oral-B smart app and can respond to personalised oral care needs and improve brushing efficiency. For a significant him, meanwhile, there is the Gillette Flexball Grooming Station Gift Set, including the Fusion ProGlide Men's Razor and Sensitive Active Sport Shave Gel, giving noticeably smooth skin in a single stroke. The Oral-B Pro 6000 Smart Series retails for €298.99, while the Gillette Flexball Grooming Station Gift Set is priced at €37.99, both in selected retailers and pharmacies nationwide. /

Artistic Christmas crackers at Ranelagh pop-up gift shop

From small beginnings - a two-day event in a local architect's office - Thats Gift has grown into a two-week pop-up Christmas gift shop, running until December 21 at the Ranelagh Arts centre, and collecting a host of beautiful, unusual, useful and delicious things under one roof. All of artistic life is here: silver jewellery by Maggie Rose, paintings by Caroline Canning, prints by Brian Gallagher, Maria Levinge and Nancy Previs, beautiful knitting kits in fantastic colours by S Twist yarns, exquisite porcelain by Orla Kaminska, notebooks and diaries by Sarah Walker, handmade leather bags by Tiziana Corvisieri, wreaths and Christmas florals by Marion Keogh, handmade chutneys, spice mixes and relishes by Pamela Coyle, vintage furniture and retro pieces from Flotsam and Jetsam, handmade cushions, chocolates and an exclusive range of handmade soaps, bath salts, organic body lotions presented in pretty hand-painted packaging. There is really no reason not to go, now.

Letting Lego go, for good

Some ideas seem to have a touch of genius to them. Often, those ideas seem to come from Jonathan Irwin, founder of the Jack & Jill Children's Foundation. And so it is with this one - the new Lego Appeal. Jack & Jill have created a new 'currency' to fund home nursing care for the children with severe to profound disabilities under their charge, in the form of donated Lego blocks.

So now is the moment to round up all those many - very many! - unused, unwanted bits of Lego, and donate to the Foundation. Better again, it is loose Lego that the charity wants, not even complete sets, so turn out drawers, empty cupboards, shake down toy boxes, and bring to one of the 38 depots around the country, managed in partnership with DPD Ireland. Alternatively, you can donate or sell the Lego via one of Jack & Jill's five charity boutiques, with the charity buying the Lego for €4 per kilo, then selling it for €8. And every €16 raised through this appeal will fund one hour of home nursing care for a sick child. Was there ever a win-win like it?

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