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Christmas

Yolanda Hadid took to Instagram last night to share gorgeous behind the scenes photos of her and her family’s Christmas day and we spotted more than a couple of familiar faces.

The mother of three posted pictures of a warm and intimate Christmas, spent with her children, their partners, Yolanda’s partner and her ex-husband. Gigi, Bella and Anwar’s significant others were also present, making it a big crowd in the Hadid household this year!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Yolanda’s photos are a hilarious and heart-warming snapshot of a family Christmas, as she and her two girls and Dua Lipa pose in silly festive glasses, make gingerbread houses and open presents. She captioned it;

'One day, we will look back on this time and talk about what we learned, how we grew and how grateful we were to have each other…… #Christmas2020 #Family'

Dua Lipa and Anwar Hadid had been rumoured to be dating since the summer of 2019 and confirmed these rumours when they moved in together some months later. It seems she certainly has the Hadid family seal of approval anyway, as she is included in the cute, comfortable family photos Yolanda posted. The singer also posted her own snaps of the night with Anwar, captioning it ‘A Christmas Story’.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by DUA LIPA (@dualipa)

New parents, Gigi and Zayn make an appearance too, seen opening the sweetest little pink baby-size snowsuit, presumably for their daughter. No sign of their baby girl in these sets of photos, but the couple have shared a few more over the holiday season.

The pair gave birth to their daughter in September, announcing their news on Instagram;

‘A whole new kind of busy & tired,’ Gigi wrote ‘but she’s da bestie so she got Christmas decorations early’

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

Zayn shared the sweetest photo to announce the birth, that had all of us tearing up.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Zayn Malik (@zayn)

‘Our baby girl is here, healthy and beautiful

to try put into words how i am feeling right now would be an impossible task. The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding. Grateful to know her, proud to call her mine, and thankful for the life we will have together x’

Gigi recently shared a picture of their first time taking their daughter out for a stroll in the snowy streets of New York. The pair are notoriously private about their personal lives, not showing their daughter’s face in pictures and not even sharing her name with the public yet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

We’re loving the family atmosphere and shenanigans, and only hope there's more behind the scenes pics to come!

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The most wonderful time of the year is here and all we I want to do is eat our weight in Celebrations and watch The Holiday on repeat.

We can finally watch our favourite Christmas movies without being judged so we gathered up our top festive films that you need to watch.

Christmas just doesn’t feel right until you’ve watched all of these merry movies.

  1. Home Alone

Did we watch this John Hughes classic when it was on Film4 in July? Maybe… Home Alone is one of the most beloved Christmas movies and we’re not surprised. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin, who is accidentally left home alone and must protect his house from thieves Harry and Marv- our favourite movie villains.

  1. Elf

“Buddy the Elf, what's your favourite colour?”

We recently re-watched Elf and completely forgot just how hilarious it is. Will Ferrell plays the hopeless Buddy Elf who leaves the North Pole and heads to the Big Apple to find his birth father. This movie is bound to leave you grinning from ear to ear.

  1. Love Actually

Hugh Grant’s dancing scene. Emma Thompson sobbing in her bedroom to THAT Joni Mitchell CD. Mr Bean taking a decade to wrap the necklace. Colin Firth’s sweaters. The race through the airport. Bill Nighy singing.

This movie is everything. A timeless classic we’ll never get tired of.

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

This movie always reminds us of childhood and fills us with nostalgic feelings. It is the ideal film to watch on Christmas Eve, no matter how old you are. Kermit and co. will remind you of the true meaning of Christmas.

  1. The Holiday

Jude Law in his prime. The Holiday is relatable and heartbreaking and absolutely charming. It also makes us dream about moving to a cottage in the English countryside (pre-Brexit, obviously.)

  1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

It ain’t Christmas without the 2000 version of this Dr. Seuss’ tale. Who knew a movie with Gossip Girl’s Jenny Humphrey and Tanya from Mamma Mia could make us feel so festive?

  1. The Santa Clause

Look we only ever watch this movie to find out if anyone else fancied Bernard the Elf because he was the light of our lives in 1994. In all seriousness, this Tim Allen movie is a childhood favourite and always makes us feel super merry.

  1. Miracle on 34th Street

The 1994 version, obviously. We just can’t get enough of this heartfelt remake of the 1947 Christmas movie. Starring Matilda herself, Mara Wilson and the late Richard Attenborough, this is another Christmas hit by John Hughes so make sure it’s on your list this December.

 

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Plates are empty, the dishwasher is full, there's a Christmas film on the telly and your Dad is already nodding off in his armchair. 

The hours and days after your Christmas dinner has finally digested are traditionally a time to feast of turkey sandwiches – and lots of them. 

However, we'd all like to think that our culinary skills have progressed a bit over the past year, and what better way to put them to the test than by creating scrumptious dishes from the Christmas leftovers? 

And to help, we've rounded up some of our favourite leftover turkey recipes that are both simple to make and oh-so tasty. 

Enjoy! 

Turkey Bubble & Squeak 

 

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Creamy Turkey Pot Pie Mac and Cheese

 

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Leftover Turkey Chilli Con Carne

 

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Creamy Turkey & Potato Soup

 

A post shared by Dianne (@deliciousasitlooks) on

Enchilada Bake With Leftover Turkey

 

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Turkey Tetrazzini

 

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Asian Inspired Turkey Soup

Leftover Turkey Paella

 

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Leftover Turkey Spicy Miso Ramen

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Dads are gas, and Dads on Christmas Day are especially gas.

While the rest of the family tend to evolve and mature as each year passes, there's something particularly steadfast about our fathers' behaviour on December 25.

Whether you're five or 25, you'll proffer the same presents, hear the same jokes, and endure the same digs.

And in honour of the dads in our lives, here are just 10 things every one of them does on Christmas Day.

1. Puts on the new jumper your mam bought him, and admires himself in the hall mirror when he thinks no one is looking.

"I'll cut some dash at mass, I'd say."

2. Pretends to know what he has supposedly bought for his loved ones.

"Ah, you know your mother looks after that."

3. Acts as if his one and only contribution to Christmas dinner has kept the whole meal afloat.

"Where would we be without these carrots, lads?"

4. Creates a very neat pile of the presents he's received and then disappears upstairs with them.

"Sure, I don't know myself with all my new loot."

5. Tries to make you laugh at mass before getting a bollockin' off your mam.

"Don't mind your mother, you know I'm hilarious."

6. Examines everyone else's gifts and acts as if he's discovered fire.

"And you're telling me every step you take is measured on this watch yoke?"

7. Examines every chocolate he removes from the tin, and insists they're getting smaller each year.

"In my day you could barely fit your gob around a caramel barrel,"

8. Insists there's feck-all on the box this Christmas, but manages to cram in a solid 14 hours of viewing.

"I'll watch it, but I won't be happy about it."

9. Reminds everyone about the best Christmas present he ever received as a young lad… for the 30th year in a row,

"A Raleigh racer, and Jesus, she was a beauty."

10. Invites the neighbours in, and then disappears after he's thinks they've outstayed their welcome.

"Jaysus, would she be as quick getting through a bottle of Baileys in her own house?"

 

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The countdown to Christmas Day is officially underway. There are mere days to go until December 25 arrives; a day filled with merriment, family, twinkly lights and turkey.

I’ll be rocking the matching pyjamas, singing along to Last Christmas and toasting to 2020 as my nearest and dearest gather at Nanny’s house.

As excited as I am for the holidays, it is important to remember that this time of the year isn't merry and bright for everyone, especially for people who are struggling with mental health issues.

Mental health disorders aren’t going to take the day off or magically vanish when you sit down to watch Love Actually. I wish they would, but they don't.

There’s a lot of pressure placed on society to act like all is well just because the holidays are here. For those with anxiety, depression, OCD and other mental health disorders, it can feel impossible to simply put on a ‘brave face’ for the sake of the extended family. 

We try our best to keep up appearances but I think it is very important to remember that you shouldn’t feel ashamed or disappointed in yourself if you find the holidays difficult. Having a mental health disorder is a constant battle. You can’t just pop a plaster over it and carry on with your day.

Living with anxiety has taught me that there will be good days and there will be bad days. It is a disorder you manage, not banish, unfortunately. Another thing, and possibly the best thing, this disorder has taught me is that there is help out there. Never ever be afraid to reach out to a friend or relative if you're feeling particularly bad. 

You may feel like you're 'ruining' Christmas, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There is never a bad time to reach out and seek help, Christmas or not. Your best friend will be there to hug you on the bad days. Your sister will help you find a counsellor. Your dad will listen when you're ready to talk about what you're experiencing.

As hard as it can be, you must hold on to every ounce of hope.

Matt Haig sums it up perfectly:

“You will one day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Matt Haig (@mattzhaig) on

Remind yourself of Matt’s words when you’re struggling over the Christmas break. I understand that it can be unbearably hard time for a heartbreaking amount of people, but don’t lose hope.

As Matt said, life is always worth it.

You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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Christmas is officially one month away! We have yet to start our shopping and the stress of what to buy our other half is weighing us down. Finding the perfect gift for someone is a nightmare but some people have taken the stress out of Christmas by making a deal with their beau. According to new research commissioned by FUJIFILM, over half (53 percent) of women this year are planning not to gift to their partner this Christmas. 

Delving into the insights provided by over 1,000 women in recent weeks, the rationale for not giving to their other half at Christmas can be summarised under three main headings:

  • Money: After purchasing gifts for children and extended family, on top of forking out for the festive food, there is just no cash left to buy for their other half according to 48 percent of participants.

  • Inspiration: What do you buy the person who ‘has everything’ or simply ‘does not need anything’? This was the response of 27 percent of participants who are planning on ditching the Christmas gift for their partner this year.

  • Time: With women taking on the lion’s share of the Christmas preparations, it’s hardly surprising that 25 percent say that they simply won’t have time to purchase a gift for their other half on top of everything else.

The Christmas countdown is on and while some people (13 percent) will have started ticking off their gift list as early as January this year, not everyone is as organised. However, the common theme amongst this year’s savvy buyers is to shop local, with over 77 percent avoiding online UK purchases for fear of problems getting product guarantees honoured in the future or returning items in the new year due to Brexit. 

Parenting Expert Laura Erskine, has some advice for those of you who put yourself and your partner last on the Christmas list this year:

“Choosing not to buy your other half a gift this Christmas may seem like the easy option this year, especially when done on the basis of a joint pact. However, I would advise couples to think very carefully about what this says about the health of your relationship.”

“When a relationship is under strain, the lack of a gift or indeed a poorly thought out gift tend to take on symbolic proportions where the recipient believes their partner doesn’t care for them as much as they used to. This is particularly true when you witness the giver gift to family members at the same time. Likewise, when your other half nails your gift, irrespective of how much money was spent on it, you tend to feel loved and connected to your mate.”

Gift giving to your partner at Christmas time is an important part of the celebration and does not have to cost a lot of money, require a huge amount of thought, or take up too much of your time.  The FUJIFILM Imagine mobile app is everyone's secret weapon to blitz their Christmas list in record time, but with all of the sentiment and none of the hefty expense! 

The photos locked away on our smartphones hold the secret to some really amazing Christmas gifts. Simply choose photos depicting special moments shared between you and your partner, the kids or even the family pet and use them to create personalised presents they will treasure forever. You can order through the FUJIFILM Imagine mobile app, online, and on touch screen kiosks in store nationwide. Choose from personalised photo books, canvas art, phone or tablet covers and much, much more. Then, wrap it all up with personalised gift-wrapping paper to really bring a smile to their faces this festive season.

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Christmas is an expensive time of year. The list seems never-ending, going on forever. We need to buy a gift for our sister, best friend, work wife, parents and even the dog.

Oh and don’t forget about bae.

Or maybe you could if you plan on being guilty of the cheapest dating trend.

Scrooging is a dating trend that’s growing in popularity and it is not pleasant.

Ever get dumped just before Christmas and wonder what went wrong? Things seemed all fine and dandy and then bam! You’re single again and hoping to God you can get a refund on the surprise weekend away you booked as a gift to beau.

Well, according to Metro, scrooging is essentially dumping your other half so you don’t have to buy them a Christmas present.

Yes, you read that right.

Apparently, one in ten are guilty of this dating trend and men are more likely to do it. Not surprised, to be honest.

Relationship expert for EHarmony, Rachael Lloyd, told Metro, “We know that relationships can often become less of a priority in the run up to Christmas. It’s also a time when dating significantly slows down. 

“However, it seems particularly miserly to end a relationship simply to avoid buying your partner a present and indicates that you weren’t ready for a romantic commitment in the first place.”

Staying single just seems like a much easier option.

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Gift wrapping is serious business, and cannot be taken for granted.

Whether you can't wrap a present to save your life or are the Wrap Queen of 2020, these cute 'n' chic ways to package your parcels this Christmas are the bomb.

Y'all are welcome, if you wrap gifts like these then you'll earn some MAJOR brownie points…

jimmy fallon television GIF

1.  The Car

All you need is brown paper, some string and a mini-tree (cut part of a bush and spray paint the tips white). Honestly this is just too adorable, the present outside of the gift is just as good as inside.

Image: Pinterest

2. Animal style

Why give a regularly wrapped gift when you can create a zoo of animal presents with some coloured paper, googly eyes and markers.

Image: Pinterest

3. The Colour-Me-In

Why give them store-bought wrapping paper when you could let their inner Picassos shine through?

So much paper is wasted when it comes to wrapping gifts, it would be lovely to create something artistic with the material.

Image: Pinterest

4. The Music Sheet 

As Madonna once sang; "Music…makes the people…come together…yeah."

This applies for wrapping presents too, FYI. Try using music sheets to package your gifts, and you'll be the new musical diva of Christmas.

Image: Pinterest

5. Santa Paws

This one is a slightly unusual tactic to take this festive season, but maybe it's worth a shot? Unless PETA hear about it…*winces*

Surprise a loved one with a wrapped up kitty kat this year, unless Santa Claws rips her way out first.

6. Marvel at the Marble

Some gold and black paint on white paper mixed with watery dark tones can create a marble effect like MAGIC.

It's honestly looks so sophisticated, we can't even cope. 

Image: Pinterest

7. The Chalkboard

Get yourself some black wrapping paper and white makers to create the chalkboard effect, and you could even write a cute lil' message especially for your loved one to read.

If its a sibling who you constantly squabble with, you could also just write: 'Santa prefers me.' 

Image: Pinterest

8. Flower Power

If you've got a penchant for origami, this is the gift wrapping idea for you.

We're going to assume that most of you don't, in fact, have an obsession for origami.

Nevertheless, you can craft flowers by watching some decent Youtube tutorials, or just using cut up coloured sugar paper layered on top of one another, and using black fringed paper for the centre. 

It's probably harder than it looks, but it could be worth a try…

Image: Pinterest

9. Calendar girls

Why not mark the special occasion by…literally marking the special occasion. On your present. Genius or what?

It also helps the environment from unnecessary waste if you decide to use this year's calendar for wrapping your gifts. EUREKA.

Image: Pinterest

10. Fairy lights 

Light up your loved one's lives (yes, we actually said that) with this adorable gift wrapping idea.

All you need for this one is some brown paper and markers, and add glitter to spice it up. Simples.

Image: Pinterest

We're definitely going to try and tackle some of these gift wrapping ideas, they'll add a creative and personal touch to anyone's Christmas.

monster lol GIF by Nickelodeon

Enjoy gals, let these be the guidelines for your future career as a Wrap Goddess.

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Christmas shopping is hard! And especially this year. When we can’t gift weekends away or sometimes can’t even get to the shops themselves, it’s hard to find presents that are really meaningful. You want to get your loved ones something that they’ll use, something that’s thoughtful and special just for them.

And what’s more special than a gift bearing their name?

These personalised ornaments are some of our favourite pics from Irish shops selling gorgeous artisan Christmas decorations that adds you to allow that little personal touch – a name, a message – even an inside joke! There’s one for every relationship – check out our picks below!

Ornamentshop.ie ‘Snow Family 3 Personalised Christmas Ornament’ (RRP €14.95)

This Christmas ornament is the perfect Christmas decoration for those families looking to make Christmas that bit more memorable. This type of ornament is popular with all demographics, particularly those who value a sentimental touch! We guarantee you will have a more memorable Christmas experience! Whether you hang this personalised Christmas ornament on the Christmas tree, on the mantelpiece, or anywhere else around the house, this unique personalised Christmas decoration is sure to add to the Christmas spirit – reminding everybody what Christmas is all about – friends & family.

What better way to kick off the Christmas festivities than with a special personalised ornament, reminding everybody what Christmas is all about – loved ones and family.

Justathought.ie ‘Mr & Mrs Reindeer Hanging Decoration’ (RRP €25.00)

Made from pine and engraved with the any words you like, this gorgeous, chic decoration is classy and sentimental. Married or engaged couples will love this little reminder of the year that they tied the knot. Thoughtfulness and gorgeous home ware all wrapped into one!

Foryou.ie ‘Personalised Christmas Holly Ceramic Star Decoration’ (RRP €19.00)

This decoration would look adorable proudly hanging from your Christmas tree, whether its for nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers or sisters! It would even make a thoughtful secret Santa present!

You can personalise this cute ceramic star decoration with up to 3 lines of 15 characters per line, to let someone know your thinking of them this Christmas.

Ritadalyornaments.ie ‘Black Door ornament’ (RRP €14.95)

Based in Tullamore Co. Offaly, for twelve years Rita has been supplying happy customers with affordable exquisite Christmas tree ornaments which are personalised with care, love and attention. This black door ornament is a great ornament for a person or family who loves their home or a new home. You can add the door number or names or addresses or ‘1st. Christmas in my/our new home’.

Trim The Tree ‘Rocking Horse’ (RRP €12.95)

The epitome of Christmas spirit; Trim the Tree have been sharing their passion for Christmas through hand-personalised memories that will hang on the Christmas tree with pride forever, since 2005. The personalised gift is one to treasure. Each decoration is designed to hang on a Christmas tree and is personalised by hand with your requested family names or messages for that personal touch.

Justathought.ie ‘Personalised Set of Four Polar Bear Decorations’ Regular price (RRP €30.00)

We think these ones are our favourite! Perfect for family friends or close family, these gorgeous ornaments are the perfect addition to any Christmas tree. These polar bears are wooden and will arrive packaged in an organza bag.

Foryou.ie Personalised ‘Merry Christmas Rustic Wooden Star Decoration’ (RRP €19.00)

The Merry Christmas Rustic Wooden Star Decoration is ideal for creating a shabby chic feel around the home at Christmas. The wooden decoration can be personalised with a one line up to 15 characters and Merry Christmas is fixed text. So gorgeous!

Bumblebeecreations.ie ‘Bannister Couple Christmas Ornament’ (RRP €13.95)

Personalised ornaments make a truly wonderful gift and keepsake. Something that is meaningful is something that will be kept forever, taken out year after years and admired.

Namesforgifts.ie ‘Bone with hanging Heart’ (RRP €12.95)

Christmas is special time of the year. A time of family and friends. A time of giving and sharing. A time of love and laughter. And a time of colour and sparkle. So doesn't your pooch deserve a little treat too?

Each ornament is of high quality with a gloss finish. With so many designs, each one varies in size but fits perfectly to hang comfortably on the Christmas tree. Each piece is personalised, ranging from one name to twelve. They are so popular, each one has a story to tell, and they have become a collection item in many homes.

Gifts.ie ‘Navy Christmas Santa Personalised Stocking’ (RRP €12.95)

This is what every child in Ireland wants to see when going to bed on Christmas Eve; their own personalised Santa Stocking hanging from the mantelpiece – to avoid confusion with siblings or just to feel special!

Their first name is embroidered in rich red viscous thread onto the white fur of the Luxury Christmas Stocking, making a specialised Christmas present just for them!

Ornament shop.ie ‘Friends/Sisters 3 Personalised Christmas Ornament’ (RRP €14.95)

The perfect personalised gift for a special trio. A lovely piece for your Bridal Squad to remember your special day, or for your special bond as sisters, this ornament captures the closeness of your friendships.

All ornaments are hand personalised and dispatched within one working days and comes with a complimentary festive gift bag and red satin ribbon

Bumblebeecreations.ie ‘Elegant Red Door Ornament’ (RRP €13.95)

There is nothing more personal than a name – personalised ornaments make a truly wonderful gift and keepsake. This ornament is perfect for a family name or address, for neighbours, new homeowners or even flatmates.

The personalisation process is as easy as possible.  Using the unique crystal labels they are able to personalise with clarity and consistency.

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The old-fashioned Christmas pudding is gone out of style. With our rocky-road and dark chocolate shop-bought alternatives to a time-consuming dessert, we seem to have concluded there is no place for the humble pudding in our cupboards anymore.

But isn’t this the year, of all the years to revive that tradition? The sticky swirl of the wooden spoon in the bowl, the whispered wish into the folds of sugar and candied peel, the fumes of the brandy nearly knocking you off your chair? Even with the shops and restaurants reopening last week, we will all take the lessons of lockdown with us into this season. And one of those lessons, was taking time to appreciate smaller, homey moments. One of my strongest childhood memories is stirring my wish into the Christmas pudding with my mother on one side and my sister on the other. The smell, the excitement, the sense of the build up to Christmas, waiting to see if the pudding wish had worked, all became part of our own traditions.

So, whether it’s with your kids, your grandchildren or your flatmates, now is the time to re-learn a dying art – the tradition of making an old-fashioned Christmas pudding (wish included!) in ten easy steps.

Ingredients:

375g mixed peel                                             

150g sultanas

125g glace ginger chopped                            

75g dried apricots chopped

2tbs orange rind, finely grated                       

250ml orange juice

80ml brandy                                                   

150g cream flour

150g self-raising flour                       

½tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp ground cinnamon                        

1 small cooking apple

1tsp ground cloves                                         

1tsp ground nutmeg                           

1tsp ground ginger                                         

75g macadamias chopped                  

250g unsalted butter cooled               

220g brown sugar                                          

3 eggs lightly beaten                                      

2L pudding steamer

½ cup glace cherries                                       

1 wish

Step 1.

Using butter, grease a metal pudding steamer and then line it with grease-proof paper or baking paper as well. Double-lining the base prevents the mixture from sticking to the side of the tin.

Step 2.

Peel, core and roughly chop cooking apple. Place chopped apple, glace cherries, mixed peel, sultanas, glace ginger, chopped apricots, orange rind and juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the fruit feels softened, but not allowing the mixture to bubble. Put aside to cool to cool for 40 minutes. (Take a Christmas tunes break!)

Step 3.

Add 80ml of the brandy to the fruit mixture and stir to combine. (We like to use Three Barrels Brandy, let us know what you use!)

Step 4.

Next, sieve your dry ingredients into a large bowl. This is the bicarbonate of soda, self-raising and cream flours and our spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

Step 5.

Combine this with the macadamia nuts, butter, brown sugar and eggs, making sure it is totally combined before adding in the fruit mixture. Most recipes call for caster sugar, but I find brown sugar makes it that bit fudgier and delicious!

Step 6.

Combine fully and using a wooden spoon, make your Christmas wish! Any wishes made over the Christmas pudding are set to come true in the new year.

Step 7.

Carefully add the mixture to the lined and greased pudding steamer. Ensure its top is smoothed over and secure the lid. Cover over the top of the cake with a double sheet of baking parchment with a small, thumb-sized hole in the middle of the sheet. Apply the lid firmly, ensuring it is sealed.

Step 8.

Place steamer in a large saucepan and make sure to only fill halfway up the side of the steamer with boiling water. Cover the pan and boil gently for 31⁄2-4 hours over a medium heat, topping up with more boiling water as needed.

Step 9.

The pudding is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the steamed pudding from the pan and leave to cool.

Step 10.

Keep the top sealed, wrap with parchment paper and string and a layer of tin foil, if you’re feeling extra cautious! Pop it in the fridge and wait for the eruption of flavour on Christmas day!

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More than 20 members of the same family living on three continents and separated by thousands of miles were brought together for one very special gathering by Domino's this week. For years the Matthews family, whose roots are in Dublin’s Walkinstown, have come together at Christmas for a reunion – no matter where in the world they are living. However, because of Covid-19 the family in the UK, US and Australia, like one million other Irish diasporas, couldn't make it home this year.

Domino's, the nation’s best loved pizza company, heard about the Matthews family’s passion for pizza and stepped up to the plate to organise simultaneous deliveries to the entire family all over the world allowing them to share their pizzas using the most ever-present technology of 2020; the video call. With stores across Ireland, the UK, US and Australia Domino’s was primed to be the perfect partner to bring them altogether. In celebration of this, Domino’s is offering one lucky Irish pizza fan a chance to win a delicious virtual pizza party by entering Domino’s Instagram competition which launches today over on @Dominos_ROI .

Speaking at this year’s virtual family reunion, Ruth Matthews Dodd said; “We have this lovely tradition of getting together in the house in Walkinstown for a big family dinner every December. It’s been so long since we’ve all been together and so much has happened in this last year. I miss my son Enda in Australia, my niece Lorna over in the UK and my brother Ronán in the US too and I just can’t wait to hug them again. Our family in Ireland is spread over Dublin, Kildare and Wexford so we haven’t been able to meet up properly for a long time too. It was just so great to see everyone at the same time, in one room, sort of, and to share pizza together. I can’t wait to see them all in person and argue over the last slice!”

Melanie Howe, Domino’s Pizza Party Patron said; “It’s been a really challenging year for so many and we’re lucky to be able to bring families together for some of their best moments despite such unreliability this year. Even when the world is making hugs impossible, you can rely on Domino’s to deliver piping hot, fresh pizza from dough to door, all over Ireland and the world. We’re hoping more people will get together safely with family and friends over video call and ‘share’ a pizza, safe in the knowledge that at Domino’s, we got this.”

To order pizza or to find your nearest store just visit: www.dominos.ie or download the Domino’s app.

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It’s really easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. There are flashing, glowing and glimmering advertisements everywhere, screaming out at you that this, and this alone, is the perfect gift for him/her/your sister/your dog/your sister’s dog!

In the midst of all this hubbub – and especially with shops reopening for the first time in six weeks – getting swept away by Christmas shopping is understandable. But this year, more than ever, we need to think beyond ourselves.

There are hundreds of charities in Ireland and abroad who haven’t been able to meet their fundraising goals this year. This is due to many things, like less footfall in the streets for collections, not being able to pack at tills, not having permission to run events. And it’s all due to COVID-19. This virus has robbed us of many things this year. But this Christmas, don’t let it rob us of our charitable nature as a nation.

Below are many worthwhile and inventive charity options to donate to and alternative ways to support this year. They have had to get creative, and it’s only right to support them in this time of dire need for so many people.

Eddie Rocket’s and CHF Temple Street

 ‘Onwards and Upwards’ to help Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street this Christmas! 100% of the purchase price from all sales are donated to the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street, the perfect Christmas present for little book worms.

In a year that has been full of challenges, this Christmas Eddie Rockets want to help and show their appreciation to all the amazing children in Temple Street. The management and staff have teamed up with Temple Street Hospital and author Don Briggs to support his new magical children’s book ‘Onwards and Upwards’ and help raise much needed funds for our very special hospital.

100% of the book purchase price from sales goes directly to the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street (Eddie Rockets have underwritten all production costs to ensure the entire monies raised go to the charity). The book is available from Temple Street Hospital and Eddie Rocket's websites now for the purchase price of €10 (plus €2.50 post and packaging). It is also be available to buy in all Eddie Rocket’s diners.

Purchase here

Purchase here

An ideal Christmas gift for 3 to 8 year olds, ‘Onwards and Upwards’ tells the story of four friends who get a tip off that there is a rocket ready to take off from a clearing in the woods. There follows an exciting space adventure around the planets, meeting an alien and a safe return back to earth late at night.

‘Onwards and Upwards’ is Don Briggs third poetic picture book for the charity – the previous two have so far raised in excess of €52,000 for CHF Temple Street. All three books are beautifully illustrated by Foxrock based artist, Naomi Peppard. “Onwards and Upwards” is available now for €10 with 100% going to Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street. This is a special limited-edition print run of only 5,000 copies!

IKEA and Barnardo’s

IKEA has launched a soft toy collection designed by children, for children and all in aid of Barnardos this year. The limited edition SAGOSKATT range returns as children across the world submit their designs through IKEA’s international drawing competition to be made into soft toys.

Available until February 2021, all proceeds from the sale of each toy in Ireland will be donated to IKEA’s national charity partner, Barnardos. Last year's SAGOSKATT collection saw nearly €50,000 raised in the UK and Ireland

The full price of each toy goes to Barnardos Ireland, a charity that protects, supports and nurtures Ireland’s most vulnerable children  This year’s range includes Llama, Ladybug Mouse, Globe Man, Eggplant Car, Sweet-shaped toy and Brown Bear, all available from an affordable €5    

IKEA has turned kids’ imaginations into reality as over 71,000 children worldwide, aged under 12, took part in IKEA’s international drawing competition, now in its sixth year. Children submit their best artwork of imaginary characters, to be in with a chance of having their designs realised and sold by IKEA for other children to enjoy.  The six winning children’s sketches were turned over to a team of expert designers to produce the playful, colourful SAGOSKATT range. 

 “IKEA believes that every child has a right to play and to develop in a safe, secure environment, yet millions of children across the world are denied this fundamental right. Through the affordable SAGOSKATT range, IKEA hope to make play more accessible. And with the full price of each toy going to Barnardos Ireland, this is the perfect gift with a conscience this Christmas,” said Nina Hughes, Range and Product Design Manager Children’s IKEA. 

 “The impact of Covid-19 and the economic downturn has hit vulnerable families the hardest, with many of the children and families we work with having limited resources and really struggling,” said Suzanne Connolly, CEO of Barnardos.

“The support of partners like IKEA and the generosity of the Irish public helps us raise vital funds to reach and support Ireland’s most vulnerable children. As Christmas approaches, we’d ask everyone to consider the SAGOSKATT toy collection as a Christmas gift, and help us provide vital services to over 21,000 families and children in Ireland, who need us most now, during these uncertain times,” she added.

For more information on the collection, which will be available to buy from IKEA for a limited time only, visit: IKEA Barnardo's campaign

Emu Ink and Depaul’s Families and Young People

Homeless Stories: What is lockdown like without a home?

A beautiful new book, written and illustrated by children who are experiencing homelessness across Ireland during the current pandemic, was launched by Irish publishing company, Emu Ink.

In ‘Homeless Stories,’ children, aged 5-13, have shared moving accounts of life in emergency accommodation and direct provision during the Covid crisis. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to Depaul’s Families and Young People’s support services.

One such recipient of that support is ten-year-old Kasey, who illustrated the book’s front and back cover, and wrote about her experience of living in emergency accommodation with her mam and little sister during the Covid-19 lockdown. After two-and-a-half years living in a hotel room, they are finally getting ready to move into their own home but are waiting on a move-in date.

Speaking about why she wanted to share her story, Kasey said, “We moved into the hotel when I was seven and we didn’t know how long we would be here. I’ve had three birthdays and two Christmases living in the hotel now, but this Christmas could be our first in a new home.

“I wanted to tell my story because if there’s another family who move into our hotel room when we finally get to move out, I wanted them to know that they’re not alone and even if it feels scary or sad to begin with, it won’t be forever. My family’s story in this book has a happy ending and I hope everyone who shared their story and any other family who share our story, will find a happy ending and a home too.”

Depaul provides vital accommodation and community supports for vulnerable families who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.

Founder and CEO of Emu Ink, Emer Cleary, first read Kasey’s story when she responded to the publishing company’s call to children to get writing during the Covid-19 lockdown. Emer said: “It felt important to give children like Kasey a voice this year because families like hers have had a very different experience to the rest of us. I’m sure many of us are growing tired of staying at home but for these children, a home to stay in is all they want – a front door, a back garden to play in, a kitchen to bake in like their friends.”

Every child who wrote a story or illustrated a piece for the book will receive a special goody bag from Emu Ink, with treats from Starbucks and The Irish Fairy Door Company, who generously supported the project.

Starbucks has provided treats and vouchers for family days out. In addition to Emu Ink’s investment in the project, Starbucks has also funded the printing of the book to allow all proceeds to go to Depaul.

The Irish Fair Door Company has donated a ‘No More Worries Kit’, to help ease anxieties, and a fairy door to every child, so they might feel less alone in their temporary home and take the fairy with them when they leave.

Homeless Stories is on sale for €12 here.

Simon Community Dublin

Simon’s “12 Challenges of Christmas” is a series of fundraising tasks participants can take on in a safe and socially distant way throughout the month of December and the level of participation is completely discretionary. Try one, two or all twelve to make up for the 50% shortfall this year in fundraising due to COVID-19.

Like most charities, the bulk of the homeless service provider’s fundraising income is generated over the Christmas period, with 50% of this revenue coming from special events which cannot take place due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Community & Events Manager, James Phelan said that as most of the organisation’s Christmas activity is based around singing and music, they are in a particularly difficult situation this Christmas:

“Every year, dozens of choirs and singing groups host ‘Sing for Simon’ carolling fundraisers for us in their local communities…The scientific evidence on singing and coronavirus transmission means we simply cannot host these events safely this year…We have launched the “12 Challenges of Christmas” campaign to try to make up the fundraising shortfall from our dozens of cancelled Christmas events and would really appreciate all the support we can get.”

Simon’s “12 Challenges of Christmas” is a series of fundraising tasks participants can take on in a safe and socially distant way throughout the month of December. Try one, three or even twelve! Do as many as you’d like and host where, how and whenever you like – the choice is completely up to you. From Christmas light competitions, to virtual bucket collections to Santa Dashes, there’s a challenge that everyone can do. For more information on the twelve challenge of Christmas, click here.

If you would like to support people experiencing homelessness this Christmas, please make a donation to www.dubsimon.ie.

NCBI

NCBI’s (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) are setting up the first-ever charity Pop Up Shop on Grafton Street in Dublin, having secured for free access to 110 Grafton Street for the month of December.

This is a massive opportunity for NCBI as their 115+ shops throughout the country are a vital source of funding to enable them to deliver life-changing services to people who are blind or vision impaired.

With COVID-19 dominating 2020, it has been such a challenging year for everyone. COVID-19 has also robbed the over 55,000 people living sight loss in Ireland, of their sense of touch, which is vital for people who are blind or vision impaired and has led to increased feelings of isolation and vulnerability, this will help make up the revenue lost (in excess of €1m) due to our shops closing during 2020.

Being positioned on Grafton Street ahead of Christmas will allow them to:

1. launch our Re:Newed for NCBI brand specific for Grafton Street

2. showcase the breadth of our high-quality designer stock (donated from Irish designers including Lainey Keogh, celebrities and public)

3. challenge customer perceptions of pre-worn and vintage clothes, in true sustainable spirit.

This will be no ordinary charity shop as Re: Newed for NCBI was inspired by the London version that Harrods' developed, which was curated by Stella McCartney and runs every year for March with NSPCC.

 We know that sustainable fashion is as important to you as it is to us. Especially at this time of year, where there is much waste, raising awareness about the brand-new Grafton Street pop up shop is a huge priority.

Jack & Jill “Six Gifts of Christmas”

Christmas is a time of giving and a time of receiving.

And what better way to get into Santa’s good books than to purchase a gift from the Six Gifts of Christmas for Jack & Jill? Support the wonderful nurses providing home nursing care to 377 children with highly complex medical and life-limiting conditions around Ireland.

Jack & Jill’s frontline home nursing care and end-of-life care is more important than ever, given the lack of respite options in the community for the children it supports. Buying a Jack & Jill Christmas Gift is simple and easy – visit their online store, select the gift you desire and it will be delivered straight to your door! Alternatively, just drop by one of Jack & Jill’s nine charity shops in Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow.

Some top gift ideas to help Jack & Jill jingle all the way are “What does Santa do, when it’s not Christmas?” children’s book, a Jack & Jill teacher’s certificate, a Jack & Jill Bricks4Care and plenty more, all available to view here.

For Carmel Doyle, CEO, Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, buying one of Jack & Jill’s Six Gifts of Christmas means that families can continue to receive vital home nursing care not only at Christmas, but into 2021:

“Whether it’s our Santa book, wrapping paper or our Gift of Time card, there are lots of ways to show our Jack & Jill children that you care. Across the country, Jack & Jill mobilises a crew of 700 nurses and carers to support parents who are looking after their children at home right around the clock. Our in-home nursing care support operates seven days a week, including at Christmas and New Year. By supporting our Six Gifts of Christmas, you are supporting our vital work for extra-special children around the country and there really is no place like home for a Jack & Jill child, especially at Christmas-time. That sense of community is what keeps Jack & Jill going.”

Of course, you can also make a donation direct at https://www.jackandjill.ie/how-you-can-help/donate/ and now via Revolut! Jack & Jill is extremely happy to announce its brand-new partnership with Revolut which means people will be able to choose the Revolut app to set up recurring donations, spare change donations, or simply make a one-off donation to the charity of their choice.

Circle K and Children’s Health Foundation

The fundraising drive across Circle K’s company owned store network will see at least €40,000 raised in aid of the children’s healthcare charity this year.

Children’s Health Foundation raises vital funds to support sick children and their families in CHI hospitals and urgent care centres – from funding vital life-saving equipment and providing essential patient and parental supports, to making ground-breaking, paediatric research possible.

Children’s Health Foundation is the new name for CMRF Crumlin and Temple Street Foundation, which came together in January 2019 to become one foundation supporting all CHI sites to ensure every sick child has the very best chance. The National Children’s Hospital Foundation in Tallaght will soon also join Children’s Health Foundation to become a single, unified family supporting all of Ireland’s sick children. 

Circle K, Ireland’s largest forecourt and convenience retailer, has today launched a new charity fundraising initiative called ‘You Give, We Give’ in stores nationwide, excluding Circle K Express sites.  For the month of December, all customers who purchase a Simply Great Coffee in a Circle K store (excluding Circle K Express) will be invited to donate 10c extra to the price. Circle K will match every donation made and at least €40,000 in much needed funds will be raised for Children’s Health Foundation by the end of the month. 

“Covid-19 has had a detrimental impact on the charity sector this year and organisations like the Children’s Health Foundation need our support more than ever, so we are delighted to extend our help to such an important cause. The work of Children’s Health Foundation is vital to funding the services CHI hospitals and care centres provide to young patients and their families.” Said Eadaoin Keane, Senior Marketing Manager at Circle K Ireland.

To find out more about the ‘You Give, We Give’ initiative and how to get involved, click here.

Tesco Ireland and Temple Street light up for Christmas

Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street is calling on people across Ireland to support this Christmas by donating here.

Christmas may be different this year but Santa still took time out of his busy schedule to join little patient Michael, age 7, outside CHI at Temple Street today to officially switch on the CHI at Temple Street Christmas lights and mark the beginning of the festive season. Santa showed great example by wearing his mask and social-distancing at this special switch-on.

The thousands of sparkling lights on the façade of the beloved children’s hospital will help to keep the magic alive at Temple Street, especially for those patients spending time in the hospital this Christmas. Families need a lift now more than ever and the hospital is doing its utmost to create a special atmosphere.

Each year Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street’s charity partner Tesco Ireland and their staff support the Temple Street Light Up event by bringing lots of goodies and cheer to all in the hospital.

Although the COVID-19 crisis does not allow for Santa to visit the wards this year, Tesco are continuing to support patients, families and staff by delivering joy to our hospital. Tesco have kindly donated over 200 goodie bags for patients and hampers for medical teams and wards.

Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the Children’s Health Foundation at Temple Street says; “Each year the lighting up of Temple Street marks the start of the festive season, and whilst it is different this year, we want to continue to bring the spirit of Christmas to all those in the hospital. We would like to say a big thank you to our incredible fundraisers and supporters nationwide who have supported us throughout the year and in particular Tesco Ireland for their continued support, and for helping make Light Up happen tonight.  Thank you all so much.”

To support sick children in CHI at Temple Street this Christmas click here.

Meagher’s Pharmacy and Peter McVerry Trust Wrap Up Homelessness

This Christmas, Irish company Meagher’s Pharmacy is asking its customers to come together and embrace the season of giving by supporting its #WrapUpHomelessness campaign. This campaign enables vulnerable people and families that have fallen into homelessness to step into a brighter future for 2021.

Meagher’s Pharmacy has been in partnership with Peter McVerry Trust for a number of years and has already donated €136,618 through various fundraising initiatives. This money has facilitated the kit-out of 16 beautiful new homes and has supported 20 people transitioning out of homelessness.

And now Meagher’s Pharmacy has increased its efforts to give back and set itself the ambitious target of €50,000 to raise over the festive season. Help Meagher’s Pharmacy help those experiencing homelessness.

Shoppers can support the #WrapUpHomelessness campaign in several ways, both in-store and online. Options include

  • Making an online donation, which can be made here.
  • Opting for an in-store gift wrapping service and making a voluntary donation to the Peter McVerry Trust collection box.
  • Selecting the gift-wrap option on www.meagherspharmacy.ie and donating €2.50 per item wrapped.
  • Purchasing a piece from The Giving Keys range, a collection which is hand stamped, assembled and packaged in Los Angeles by those transitioning out of homelessness. Giving Keys start at €25 and are available both in-store and online here.

Tesco Ireland and Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street

Tesco Ireland is proud to announce that Benji the teddy bear will be available to purchase in Tesco stores nationwide and online for just €5 from Tuesday 1st December in aid of the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street.

Benji, revealed for the first time by Ryan Tubridy on this year’s much-anticipated Late Late Toy Show, is a gift that gives more this Christmas.

Named by seven-year-old Michael Connors from Wexford, Benji will be available to purchase in Tesco stores across the country from Tuesday 1st December for €5. Earlier this year, Tesco ran a colouring competition for the children visiting Temple Street to enter for a chance to name the Christmas 2020 teddy bear. This year, Michael Connors, aged seven, from Wexford was the winner. Michael visits the children’s hospital once a month, and he chose to name the bear Benji after a puppy he had when he was younger.

Proceeds from every Benji sold will help Tesco and the Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street get one step closer to their €1.2million target. Once reached, that money will go towards the purchase of a new much-needed CT scanner for the children’s hospital.

Rosemary Garth, Communications Director, Tesco Ireland said: “The team at CHI at Temple Street do fantastic work for children 365 days a year. We know how much that CT scanner will help them with their work and we’re asking customers to help us reach our fundraising goal by purchasing Benji in store or online. As we come to the end of what has been an unexpected year of ups and downs, we hope that Benji brings some light and smiles to people across the country.”

At the beginning of the year, Tesco announced that it had raised €5million in five years for CHI at Temple Street. Donations from the five-year partnership allowed the children’s hospital to purchase 270 pieces of vital equipment to support doctors and nurses in helping children from all across Ireland. Since then, Tesco has committed to raising funds to purchase the new CT scanner in 2021.

Each year CHI at Temple Street treats over 145,000 children from across the country and operates the busiest A&E department in Europe. For thousands of children, CHI at Temple Street is the only hospital in Ireland in which they can be treated. Through the charity partner programme, Tesco colleagues and customers can help little people from all over Ireland get better and be real-life heroes to children attending the hospital.

Glenisk and Self-Help Africa

Earlier this year, Ireland’s leading yogurt brand, Glenisk pledged its commitment to a sustainability-focused initiative with Self-Help Africa, committing to plant over one million trees in Ireland and Africa. With the help of donations from the public and contributions from Glenisk, 750,000 trees have been planted so far in Africa and the planting of trees in Ireland will commence this December!

Glenisk is making it even easier for shoppers to do a good deed and to support the environment while they shop – from November 19th to December 9th, €1 from each pot of Glenisk BIO Organic Yogurt sold at SuperValu will go directly to the One Million Trees campaign. As well as helping out this important initiative, this Glenisk yogurt is the perfect addition to your basket this season and with Christmas just around the corner, it is the perfect time to stock up the fridge with dairy deliciousness while doing your bit for charity.

Alternatively, donations of just €5 can be made directly to Self Help Africa which will plant 10 trees in Africa and 1 native tree in Ireland. GPS coordinates will be provided once the trees are in the ground, meaning that you can see directly where your impact will be seen. This is also an ideal alternative stocking filler idea for eco and sustainability-conscious consumers.

Heinz and Barnardos

In news that will have Heinz Beanz, Barnardos and Christmas fanatics across the country jump(er)ing for joy, Heinz has today announced the launch of its first official charity Christmas jumper ahead of National Christmas Jumper Day on the 11th December.

The Heinz ‘Beanz Meanz Crimbo’ jumper will be available exclusively through Heinz’s exclusive online shop in Ireland here for €25.00. But shoppers best get them quick as only 500 are available in sizes medium and large.

All proceeds of the Heinz Christmas Jumpers will go to Heinz’s official charity partner in Ireland, Barnardos, so that they can invest in vital funds to support those most vulnerable in the run up to Christmas. Proceeds will go towards Barnardos essential work, including:

  • €2 could provide a nutritious breakfast for a vulnerable child in one of Barnardos Early Years Centres
  • €10 can provide breakfast for a vulnerable child for a week
  • €5 could provide a hot dinner and access to specialised care in their after-school club.

Emily O’Kane, Marketing Manager Kraft Heinz, said: “This has been a very different and difficult year for many of us and here at Heinz we’re extremely aware of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on Irish people, including children that are already in very vulnerable circumstances.

“The team at Barnardos do fantastic work to reach these children and it’s great to be partnering with them once again this Christmas, not only to help increase their efforts in raising vital funds, but also to bring an extra bit of Beanzy joy to households across the country.”

Every day, Barnardos works in communities across the country to build better futures for vulnerable children and their families. Last year alone they worked with over 21,000 children and their families. Barnardos provides warm nutritious meals in our breakfast and after school clubs, they give children a safe environment to play and learn in and we work with families to rebuild relationships that have been broken.  And importantly, their support programmes are based at the heart of local communities. 

Jervis Shopping Centre and SVP, Jigsaw and ICHH (Inner City Helping Homeless)

It’s that time of the year again and Jervis Shopping Centre, Dublin’s most iconic shopping destination, is pulling out all of the stops for Irish families. Now open from 9am-9pm from December 1st-23rd , the centre has gone above and beyond with increased safety measures this Christmas to make the Jervis Shopping Centre Christmas Shopping Experience safe and comfortable for everyone.

Jervis Shopping Centre shoppers feeling generous this year can donate to Dublin Town’s ‘Tap for Good’ Christmas fundraising appeal which is running throughout Dublin City this Christmas. Stop by Jervis Shopping Centre’s Charity wall installation on the ground floor where shoppers can ‘TAP’ their contactless payment card to make a €3 donation to three local charities – SVP, Jigsaw and ICHH (Inner City Helping Homeless).

Parents can keep the kids entertained with Santa’s socially-distanced Magical Grotto, spectacular decorations, unmissable festive fashions and a host of unique gift ideas for all ages. Some of the Centre’s family favourites include MINISO, Curry’s PC World, JD Sports and Tesco F&F. Mingles and Off Beat Donuts are also on hand to provide delicious treats for youngsters and adults alike.

Aviva and St. Francis Hospice 'Tree of Life'

Irish charities are struggling to cope due to the coronavirus pandemic and we may see up to half of all Irish charities close before the end of the year. Smaller locally based charities like St. Francis Hospice are particularly struggling to survive. Despite this tough landscape there are reasons to be hopeful, Sile Seoige has teamed up with Aviva Insurance Ireland to help raise awareness of the St. Francis Hospice ‘Tree of Life’ ceremony and hopefully encourage the wonderful people of Ireland to donate to the charity this Christmas.

Aviva Ireland, national partner of St Francis Hospice, alongside campaign ambassadors Síle Seoige and James Downey call on the public to donate €6 for St. Francis Hospice ‘Tree of Life’ this Christmas.

Thursday 26th November 2020: This Christmas, Aviva Ireland has teamed up with its charity partner, St. Francis Hospice, to promote the ‘Tree of Life’ ceremony in Raheny and Blanchardstown hospices. The ceremony is to remember the individuals St Francis Hospice has cared for and those who were lost to Covid 19. To mark the partnership, Aviva has erected a 20ft tree in the stadium which will be in place from Wednesday 25th of November as a marker for the hospice this Christmas.

Today, broadcaster and wellness advocate Síle Seoige, alongside former Irish Rugby player James Downey launched this year’s Christmas appeal, calling on the public to support this worthy cause on behalf of both St. Francis Hospice and Aviva by logging onto www.aviva.ie/tree-of-life and sponsoring a light on the tree for just €6

At the launch Síle Seoige, said: “This time of year can be tough for so many who have lost loved ones during the year. The Tree of Life is a beautiful way to remember those who have lost their battle with a terminal illness. I am delighted to be able to play my part in supporting St. Francis Hospice, with thanks to Aviva Ireland. As someone who has had cancer myself, I am so grateful to be healthy and well today and I know all too well the great work charities like St. Francis Hospice do.’’

This year, the Tree of Life ceremony will be a virtual event to remember those who St Francis Hospice has cared for, both past and present. People can view the ceremony on the St. Francis Hospice website and Facebook page from 7.30pm on December 10th and watch as each donation lights up on the tree in memory of a loved one or for somebody experiencing difficulty in their lives.

 Aviva is also donating €10 from every new home insurance policy purchased in December directly to the charity to further contribute to its Christmas appeal.

Fintan Fagan, CEO of St. Francis Hospice said: “It’s been a very difficult year for all charities with many of us unable to run our usual fundraising activities. All of us at St. Francis Hospice are delighted to have a charity partner like Aviva Ireland who is willing to go the extra mile and help us raise awareness for our virtual Tree of Life ceremony this year. The annual ceremony means a lot us here at St. Francis Hospice, it gives a lot of people the opportunity to remember a loved one in a safe environment alongside others who have experienced a similar loss. We hope we can continue to give people the same sense of comfort with our virtual ceremony this year.”

Roe & Co Whiskey and The Useless Project

Roe & Co Irish Whiskey announced plans for the first ever Roe & Creators Virtual Pop Up in collaboration with The Useless Project. The first virtual pop up is set to take place on Saturday 5th December and run for three weekends across the month of December on the Roe & Co Instagram page (@roeandcowhiskey). The virtual pop up will provide shoppers with a unique virtual experience that aims to support local Irish brands and businesses while providing unique gift options, just in time for Christmas!

At a time when supporting local has never been more important, the Roe & Creators Virtual Pop Up, will bring together nine Irish businesses from across Ireland on one unique platform, providing a one-stop-shop for consumers to buy local Irish gifts this festive season. Since day one, Roe & Co Irish Whiskey has celebrated Modern Ireland and this exciting new Creators Pop-Up will help continue the crusade to support emerging creators and champion Irish brands.

Roe & Co are partnering with The Useless Project to bring this new platform to life, giving small local Irish businesses a much-needed space to showcase gifts this Christmas. The Useless Project, who have collaborated with Roe & Co in the past, are a leading voice in the area of sustainable living. Having become known for their virtual flea market in recent months, the unstoppable duo, Geraldine Carlton and Taz Kelleher, are delighted to launch the first Roe & Creators Virtual Pop Up.  

Speaking about the launch, Geraldine Carton from The Useless Project said: “We are so buzzed to be involved in such an exciting project. Right now, it is more important than ever that we support Irish talent and it’s great that Roe & Co are giving us a platform to do exactly that!”

Co-Founder Taz Kelleher goes on to say: “Every time we spend money, we have the power to vote for the kind of future we want to see. By becoming a conscious consumer, we get to decide which businesses thrive, and that’s a really empowering thing.

Roe & Co will be collaborating with local Irish businesses across the three weeks many of which only started their businesses in the last year! The first pop-up will take place on December 5th and will include Kopper Kreations, an industrial home wares brand from Dublin that uses reclaimed and recycled materials to create unique and eye-catching home wares. Sustainability is at the heart of the Kopper Kreation ethos and all products are handmade and finished to enhance the natural qualities of the different raw materials.

Another brand joining us for the virtual pop-up is ELN, a Belfast born up and coming street wear brand that transcends seasons and can be restyled and re-worn again and again. Each piece is sustainably and ethically sourced and is created to last, both in quality and design. Finally, ELN and Kopper Kreation will also be joined by Nutshed. Based in Tipperary, Nutshed use single origin runner peanuts, which have the tastiest characteristics for the perfect roast, to make delicious NutShed products packed full of peanuts and just a pinch of sea salt.

There will be more businesses announced over the coming weeks so make sure to keep an eye on Roe & Co’s social media channels for more information.

Focus Ireland

Focus Ireland, with the help of broadcaster Mairead Ronan, has launched an appeal for donations to help support the 1,117 families that will spend this Christmas in emergency accommodation. Becoming homeless is every family’s worst nightmare, but sadly the numbers of families without a home has been steadily rising over the past number of years. Over 2,500 children in Ireland will spend this Christmas living in emergency accommodation.

As part of its Christmas appeal, Focus Ireland will highlight the issue of the hidden homeless and to help drive awareness and encourage donations, has created an installation on South William Street Dublin. The space is designed as a typical 12×12 foot hotel room and shows what life is like for a family living in emergency accommodation. While the city will be filled with socially distanced shoppers, Christmas lights and festive window displays, this installation is a reminder that for many families Christmas won’t be spent at home, but in a cramped space used as a kitchen, bedroom and living room for all the family.

Focus Ireland believe that everyone has a right to a place they can call home. This Christmas, the charity needs the Irish public’s support to ensure this vision can become a reality. Focus Ireland want to shine a light on the hidden homeless in Ireland, the 1,117 families and approximately 2,642 children that will unfortunately be spending this festive season in emergency accommodation.

This year to date, Focus Ireland has helped over 760 families find a home including 1,633 children. The charity is working hard to support these children and relies heavily on public donations to ensure it can carry out the full extent of its work. While the charity does receive State funding it still has to raise over 40% of its annual budget through fundraising.

John O’Haire, service manager at Focus Ireland said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected charity efforts all across Ireland. At Focus Ireland, we have continued our efforts throughout the pandemic to work towards our goal of everyone, particularly children, having a place they can truly call home for Christmas and beyond. We have seen an increase in demand for our services as the harsh realities of the impact of Covid-19 come to light.

Child homelessness in Ireland has increased by 253 % since July 2014 and with the help of the Irish public, we want to change these children’s lives and ensure they have a safe, permanent roof over their heads. We really appreciate the support the public have given to us over the years and hope that this year they can continue to support Focus Ireland.

Broadcaster Mairead Ronan commented, “This installation is a stark reminder of what the reality of homelessness and emergency accommodation is like. It is so important we support organisations like Focus Ireland that support these families and help provide them with a place to call home.”

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