Thursday 21 November 2019

Society: Amy's tale icing on royal cake

Lisa Hannigan and Amy Huberman at Soundings in Dublin.
Lisa Hannigan and Amy Huberman at Soundings in Dublin.
Jessica Whelan and Gary Kavanagh at the launch of Marty Whelans book That's Life.
Ireland's youngest female captain Bernice Moran and her sister Linda.
Donal Skehan and his wife Sophie at a book signing for Fresh at Dubray Bookst, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron.
Actor Ian Lloyd-Anderson. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Cherishing a solitary slice of 4-year-old brandy infused fruit cake may sound a bit eccentric.

But we'll forgive the perpetrator in question - actress Amy Huberman - as this is no ordinary baked good.

Oh no - this is a slice of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's iced wedding cake.

Huberman keeps the sacred slice in her deep freeze - occasionally whipping it out in between nappy changes to remember "the glamour" of that pitch perfect wedding.

Huberman had the crowd at Dylan Haskin and Lisa Hannigan's Soundings session for the Bram Stoker Festival in Saint Patrick's Cathedral in stitches as she recounted being a member of the congregation for Kate and Wills Big Day.

The author and mum-of-two recalled the day a pristine, and embossed royal invite arrived on her doorstep addressed to the honourable Esquire Brian O'Driscoll.

"I took one look at it and thought - that's not the ESB bill," she said.

We learnt that all guests were required to bring proof of address. Unfortunately for Amy the only formal letter she could find was an invoice from a local pest control company. Not as glam as she hoped.

Once inside Westminster Abbey, Huberman made polite conversation with her church pew neighbours admitting she "knew the couple from OK Magazine".

Weeks later she received one of the 650 slices of Royal Wedding Cake - designed by Fiona Cairns and decorated with 900 iced flowers, acorns and ivy leaves.

This is some seriously glitzy fruitcake.

A slice sells for €4000 at auction but I doubt Huberman will be flogging hers anytime soon.

The actress was joined on stage at Saint Patrick's Cathedral by Moone Boy star David Rawle who told us a little too much about his recent excursion to the Gaeltacht.

Poet Theo Horgan was the third storyteller and recited verse and chatted about seeing Woody Allen lingering around the Shelbourne.

In between the tall and royal tales, duo Heathers strummed out acoustic versions of Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing in The Dark'.

Then everyone slipped out the doors, and, unlike the late Queen Victoria, we had been very much amused.

Hair-raising launch for musical Marty

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Everyone is here!" Marty Whelan exclaimed looking around the Trocadero restaurant.

Even the man who gave me back my hair," he added patting his silver locks.

The Winning Streak host was in flying form at the launch of his musical memoirs That's Life. "The key to making it in showbiz is simple," he told reporters. "Sleep with management." Oh Marty, you cad!

The restaurant was jam packed, Gerald Kean and Lisa Murphy made a fleeting appearance while Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan claimed to have a better moustache than Whelan.

"My tash has the edge," Colgan said. "At least that's what I tell myself."

Morah Ryan and Eurovision winner Fionnuala Sherry caught up with Mary Kennedy. "It's a great night for a great man," Kennedy said.

Positive altitude landed sisters sweet deal

By Bairbre Power

It's a long way from plane spotting in Dublin as a youngster to meeting her boss, Richard Branson, at his luxurious home in Oxfordshire this weekend but life is sweet indeed for Bernice Moran.

Ireland's youngest female pilot captain, Bernice (inset right) was awarded her wings at the age of 24 and now she captains Boeing 747's long haul out of London for Virgin Atlantic. She also runs The Be Sweet Company, an Irish luxury confectionery company and looks after three children under the age of five.

"When we were younger, we used to compete as to who in the family would present the most unusual, delicious confectionery at Christmas time and the winner invariably brought something exotic back from long distance travels," Bernice told me.

"I was flying from Cuba to London in 2012 searching for something special for the children and a light bulb went off in my head - I could not find what I really wanted, so I decided to create my own."

Bernice sent her boss Richard Branson an email outlining her idea and ambitions for a new Irish luxury confectionery brand.

"I couldn't believe he replied to my email straightaway. One scorching summer's day in July 2012, myself and my sister Linda, complete with prototype packaging, melting luxury chocolates, and melting fake tan, met Richard in his cool clean office in London. He instantly saw the merit in our idea and agreed to support the business with an immediate intros to other international airlines and we've never looked back."

Today Bernice and Linda are meeting Richard who has agreed to be interviewed with them for RTE's Nationwide. Their start-up exports 90pc and they plan to expand in 2016.

Speaking of food, celebrity chef and Weekend columnist Donal Skehan has been uber busy in London for the last week promoting his new book, Fresh. On Wednesday night, he hosted a launch at Dubray books in Grafton Street and the entire Weekend team lined out to cheer on our culinary star who started with us six years ago.

Sofie, his gorgeous wife of four months told us about their plans to move to LA for work in February and March. "And Max comes too," said Donal, referring to the couple's photogenic dog who has become a star of Donal's Instagram account, snapped on walks on the Hill of Howth and even accompanied them down the aisle when they were married.

Next year, watch out for photos of the trio on Malibu beach!

Two Lorraines host a truly Gourmet evening

By Bairbre Power

Lorraine Heskin and Lorraine Byrne have a lot more than their Christian name in common. Both are from the West and run their highly successful Gourmet Food Parlour chain.

Heskin previously worked in New York for Irish Food Distributors, while Byrne's background is in the International Air Transport Association and Canada Life.

The pair hosted a fab bash to mark the latest addition to their chain. The new restaurant, near Dun Laoghaire harbour, seats up to 80 people. The stunning decor was designed by the two Lorraines, who drew influence from their travels.

Dublin footballing hero Paul Flynn brought along the Sam Maguire. The girls served stunning canapés - wild mushroom risotto, mini sliders, Cashel blue cheese, roast red pepper and cheese, and pear fiocchi pasta. Yum!

Paul has the honour of having the 'Original Paul Flynn Burger' named after him. It is very healthy - onion-and-thyme infused turkey with a true blue cheese sauce.

Abbey sets stage for its centenary

By Kirsty Blake Knox

Politics can sometimes seem like one big stage show filled with fallen heroes and sudden plot twists.

Which may explain why Tánaiste Joan Burton seemed so at ease backstage in the Abbey Theatre's green room this week.

"I've been coming to the Abbey since I was 10, it's great to finally get back stage," she said excitedly.

The theatre unveiled its new 2016 centenary programme, Waking the Nation.

Love/Hate star Ian Lloyd Anderson, theatre maker Philly McMahon and Hilda Fay all buzzed about.

Kate Brennan will take on the lead role of Nora Clitheroe in O'Casey's classic The Plough and The Stars.

"It's a role I've always wanted to play," she said. "So beautiful and so tragic."

The production will head Stateside next year and there were mummerings of a possible run on Manhattan's Great White Way.

"I can't possibly comment on that," director of the theatre Fiach MacConghail said diplomatically. "But we will see how things go." Fiach will conclude his run as director of the theatre next year.

"I can't think of a better high to end on."

Designer gifts will draw crowd to fundraiser

By Bairbre Power

What is it about the water in Ahascragh, Co Galway, that produces such talented fashion designers?

Hat designer Philip Treacy and couturier Niall Tyrrell, both born in the east Galway village, have donated items for a 'monster' auction being held in the local hall tomorrow in aid of local Mark Dolan. Mark (3) has been assessed as an ideal candidate for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) at a clinic in St Louis, Missouri, under pioneering surgeon Dr TS Park.

Niall has donated a beautiful embroidered coat and a wrap around lace dress. Philip Treacy, meanwhile, dispatched a purple felt hat to help the fundraiser.

Speaking of couturiers, the legendary designer turned gallery owner, Ib Jorgensen is one of a number of galleries taking part in the VUE 2015 Art Fair which returns to the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery next weekend.

In association with Savills, leading art galleries will again come together to showcase new art and admission is free. HA director Dr Patrick Murphy will adjudicate the VUE Contemporary Art Prize.

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