Breakfast worth getting out of bed for

 

FRONTLINES:Is there ever an ocasion when breakfast in bed is not the best treat imaginable? If you’re staying at Castlewood House in Dingle, it is well worth dragging yourself out of those crisp cotton sheets for breakfast served in the dining room overlooking Dingle bay. Helen Woods Heaton and Brian Heaton’s 12-bedroom boutique-hotel-style guesthouse is number one in Ireland in the Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice awards for 2012, and the lavish breakfast on offer plays a big part in its success.

You might start with something from the fruit compote table that includes plums in star anise syrup, oranges in caramel, stewed apple and rhubarb, and nectarines in vanilla syrup. Dilliskus cheese, made locally by Maja Binder, and delicately spiced beef tick the Continental box, and the full-Irish is on offer too. With the extensive breakfast a la carte menu Brian gets to flex his culinary muscle, while Helen works front of house with a lightness of touch that makes every guest feel very welcome, but not smothered.

Squishy sofas, interesting antiques, coffee-to-go in the vestibule in the morning and candles lit to greet you on your return from dinner – there isn’t a trick this hospitable couple have missed. Double rooms from €86, Castlewood House, Dingle, tel: 066-9152788, castlewooddingle.com

Marie-Claire Digby

Soothing scents

We’re very taken with a new range of organic oils, body moisturisers and milks and candles called Lucy Annabella Organics. The Tyrone-based company was set up by aromatherapist Colleen Harte who spent a year travelling the world in search of inspiration and ingredients. The result: some delightfully soothing scents, and beautiful packaging. The Luxe range consists of 12 products including 92% organic Antioxidant Aromatic Body Moisturisers, two 100% Organic Treatment Oils, four 96% Organic Bath Milks and four Aromatic candles. Prices start at around £25. lucyannabella.com

Pimp that pumpkin

Pumpkin carving maybe something we associate with the US, but the tradition hails from our own shores. In the Irish tradition of Samhain, carved turnips were originally used as lanterns to represent the mystical light that appeared over bogs and marshes, also known as Will-’o-the-wisp. The Pavilion at Powerscourt House and Gardens in Wicklow is hosting pumpkin-carving lessons for children on October 28th. Kids are encouraged to come along in their fancy dress finery, and there will be face-painting, tasty treats, and you can bring home your unique hand-carved lantern. €10 per child, to book, tel: 01-2046000 or see powerscourt.ie/events.

Liz Murphy

Jump to it

Okay, okay, we know it’s very bold to use the C-word before Halloween, but we couldn’t resist these woolly winter wonders from Fluorescent Elephant on Crow Street in Temple Bar.

Christmas jumpers have been a festive fashion staple for the past few years, but these vintage reindeer-and- snowflake-spattered knits are the real deal – all the way from Norway. With beautiful button details, they are available in a variety of sizes and patterns. Prices from €45.

Emma Somers

Bridal bonanza

Brides-to-be on the hunt for inspiration for their big day will be spoiled for choice this month.

The Designer Wedding Show, with Irish Brides magazine, takes place in Kilmainham Hospital, Dublin 8 on October 28th and 29th. See gorgeous gowns by Pearl and Godiva, Myrtle Ivory, Temperley London (pictured), Little White Dress and The Sweet, as well as bridal make-up by Ken Boylan, hair by Davy Davy and wedding confections by Kaleidoscope Bakery. Tickets €25 per couple online at thedesignerweddingshow.ie(€1 from every ticket goes to Women’s Aid freephone helpline.)

Meanwhile, at Kilkenny’s Hub this weekend, Confetti magazine’s live show sees Franc, of Weddings by Franc, unveil his new range of bridal dresses. Franc will also be dispensing his wedding planning pearls of wisdom at the two-day event. Tickets €10 on the door (€8 online at confettilive.ie).

Alanna Gallagher

Learn how to sparkle

Dublin’s Yellow Brick Road bead and crystal company is teaming with Swarovkski to give jewellery-making workshops using its crystals.

The crafty techniques include hand sewing, hot-fixing crystals and motif creation, allowing participants to upgrade outfits, embellish headpieces or just create from scratch.

The recession is proving a boom time for Yellow Brick Road and its collection of gems have caught the eye of many, adding a bit of sparkle to a range of occasion wear from Irish dance dresses to bridal gowns. According to owner Stacey Neilson, the shop sold more than a ton of gemstones last year. “We’ve seen a marked increase in people making personalised rosary beads,” she says.

“Our tiara and rosary bead workshop was booked out last year.”

The workshops run from November 22nd to 24th at 8 Bachelors Walk, and last for 90 minutes. See yellowbrickroad.iefor details.

Liz Murphy

Fighting fat

Have you lost a lot of weight and managed to keep it off? We want to know how you did it. Email us your weight loss stories and we will publish a selection of the best in a forthcoming issue of the magazine. We are also interested in hearing from doctors, fitness experts, nutritionists and therapists with ideas on healthy, sustainable weight loss. Email weightyissue@irishtimes.com