The Hot List: Cook up some new holiday traditions
If your Christmas dinner has gotten stuck in something of a rut, then it's time to jazz up your festive culinary repertoire and begin some new traditions. To help develop your festive feast, top chef Clodagh McKenna is hosting an evening of inspiring ideas this Thursday (December 4) in Arnotts on Dublin's Henry Street.
The evening kicks off at 6pm with Christmas cocktails and canapés while Clodagh demonstrates some of her favourite recipes, including a starter, turkey accompaniments and a moreish dessert. Afterwards, attendees can enjoy the dishes demonstrated on the night as part of a three-course dinner. BOOK: Tickets cost €55 per person. Email info@clodagh mckenna.com or call (01) 805 0594
Robots and rabbits
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, especially in Dundalk where festive celebrations began yesterday with the two-day Festival Of Light And Culture. The wildly entertaining Titian the Robot is back in town, meeting fans in the Dundalk Town Centre and The Marshes Shopping Centre. New to the festivities this year is an animal farm, open in the Demesne, where visitors can meet giant rabbits and pygmy goats and pet sheep and llamas.
Best of all, entry is free. There are Christmas markets, of course, and a festival train running through the town to help transport those shopping bags. The finale tonight is a fireworks display at The Marshes Shopping centre and the arrival of Santa on a giant truck.
The It-toys for Christmas come and go each year, but for those looking to pick up gorgeous children's gifts which are just that little bit different, pay a visit to former Habitat and Conran designer Jane Carroll's new shop in Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
The store is an Aladdin's cave of cuteness for little ones, brimming with Jane's range of bright bedlinen and quilts for prams and cots, her award-winning helmet hats, handmade clocks and her new range of greeting cards. There is also a great range of traditional toys and children's clothing, too. BUY: Unit 2, The Blackrock Centre, Main Street, Blackrock. Opening hours are 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday. janecarrolldesign.com
A new Winter's Tale
When you think of Christmas music and animation, The Snowman is what usually springs to mind but this year there's something equally magical to experience. A Most Peculiarly Wintry Thing is at Dublin's Ark Theatre today at 2pm and 4pm before the national tour continues to Castlebar, Sligo and beyond until December 21. The show - a mix of music, animation and audience interaction - is the work of renowned Belfast composer Brian Irvine, who has written several film scores, and was specially created for primary school children and their families. The show's four musicians, Matthew Bourne (piano), Matthew Sharp (voice and cello), Alex Petcu (percussion) and Paul Roe (clarinet), make this an unforgettable exploration of all that is snowy. BOOK: Tickets for today's performances are €12/€9. View the tour dates at musicnetwork.ie
A wise woman knows that it is not necessary to invest in a brand new outfit for Christmas. Instead, she can dig out last year's little-worn sparkly dress and give it a different spin with the addition of some new killer accessories. Irish company Fabucci, run by sisters Deirdre and Fionnuala O'Hara, is your one-stop-shop for shoes and handbags most fabulous to update your winter wardrobe. Brands stocked include Amy Huberman's collection by Bourbon Footwear, Fiorelli, Guess, Olga Berg and on-trend Spanish handbag label Pepe Moll (pictured). The emphasis of the sisters' sartorial offering is on both glamour and comfort, with covetable heels, wedges, flats and myriad accessories to suit all wardrobes available. BUY: Visit fabucci.ie. Delivery is free to Ireland.
Enjoy some craft work
Get yourself along to Dublin's RDS to catch the National Crafts and Design Fair. What's there? It would be more appropriate to ask what isn't, as more than 500 artists, designers and craftspeople show their wares. Expect to find everything from candles to fragrances, photography, jewellery, knitwear and linens, as well as ceramics from the likes of Wicklow's Jenny Kelly Pottery. Make sure to swing by the Food Emporium here, too, where homemade cakes, artisan chocolates and cheese and a lot more will provide much temptation. BOOK: December 3-7, RDS, Dublin 4. Tickets priced from €8 are available at the door and also from ticketmaster.ie