Monday
Oct262015

q&a with Trish Deseine

 

1.     Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

Good grief! It takes a lifetime to answer that.

 

2.     Where are you from, where are you based ...

I was born and raised in Co. Antrim, lived in Paris for 25 years, have a house in the Languedoc & am living in Ireland (West Cork) for the moment.

 

3.     Talk about your work ...

I’m a food writer, cookbook author and broadcaster. I write for The Gloss Mag and for Ardkeen Quality Stores in Waterford.

 

4.     What are your future plans ...

The next few months are taken up with book and TV promotion. After that I’m not very sure, there are always a couple of projects on the go.

 

5.     How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...

I’m inspired by what happens when people share home-cooked food together around a table. And how and why they do it.

 

6.     Describe your space ... 

An old bakery near Beziers, high ceilings, white walls. Light and peaceful. I love it here.

 

 

 

7.     How are you feeling today ... 

 Poorly! I have a bad cold.

 

8.     A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Plenty of good butter.


9. Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

You’ll be grand girl.

 

10.Your work life philosophy is …

Driven by flavour and pleasure.

 

11.What is your favourite smell ...  

Wet Irish hedgerows in October.

 

 


12.Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now …

Many things. Today so far the shuffle has given me Flume, Ratatat, Dionne Warwick, Bach, Nick Cave & Daughter.

 

13.Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

The best meal (so far) was a Michel Bras’s restaurant about 20 years ago. Nothing has surpassed it since, though Alain Passard comes very close. Favourite three ingredients, butter, chocolate, miso.

 

14.Three things or products that have changed your life...

France, love, chocolate.

  

15.How do you relax ... 

Walking in West Cork. Cooking for friends when there’s lots of time.

 

16.What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Watching a film, reading a book in front of the fire in West Cork.

  

 

17.What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ... 

I love arriving at the Pont de Millau in France. You feel like you are flying driving over it, and going south, it means I’m only an hour away from my little bakery.


18.What do you most value in your friends ...  

A sense of fun. A love of words and beauty.

 

19.What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

I’m reading a book by IIlaria Boancossa about the painter Marlene Dumas.

 

20.Share some words of wisdom ...

“Fashion stifles taste.  It makes us seek out not what we love but what distinguishes ourselves from others.” JJ Rousseau. (Talking about food.)

--------------------------

Trish it was a great pleasure to have you at our place for the Salt and Sparkle Q&A.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable 

Monday
Oct262015

q&a with Tori Sheppard from Causeway Coast Vineyard  

It gives me great joy to welcome the incredible Tori Shepherd who is the Director of Women's Ministry at Causeway Coast Vineyard and a lady with the most beautiful voice, both when she speaks and sings.  I had the pleasure of getting to know Tori when I worked with her last year at Causeway Coast Vineyard.  Causeway Coast Vineyard host will a women's conference 7&8 November called Be Brave.  You can follow Tori and the CCV women's team on Facebook and Twitter.  Tori you are so welcome here at Salt and Sparkle.

Who are you, what’s it like being you …

I am Tori, I am mother wife friend, I am ministry leader, songwriter and singer, worshipper.

Where are you from, where are you based …

From little town outside of Conyers outside of Altanta Georgia, USA.

I am living now in Coleraine Northern Ireland


Talk about your work …

I direct the womens ministry for Causeway Coast Vineyard  (CCV) - this looks like empowering women and helping to connect them of their unique design and destiny

What are your future plans ... 

I am not the kind of person that has a super five year or ten year plan, my future plans are to live in joy and freedom and loving others as much as I can and loving my family and being the kind of person that spreads love around, that is kind of me.  I don’t have huge plans, I just really want to make a difference, and be the kinda person that makes difference in the world.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

many people would think I am an extravert because in my job I do relate with people and that is what I do day to day, I find inspiration in an intervertived kind of way, alone in my thoughts, and i can find it anywhere where I can be with my thoughts and with God.


Describe your space ... 

Just moved into a new house and one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in our new life, we have a house now that has space, so the children can be in one part of the house and I can be in another, and we are enjoying space, I have now a front room of the house that is my office, and I find myself in tears most days because it feels like such a gift to me

How are you feeling today ... 

Today my mother got out of hospital and I am over here in Ireland, and today I feeling that I wish I could jump on a plane and be with my mother

I wish I was wonder women in a glass plane, I have always wanted to have it, my sister and I argue all the time, we both want the glass plane. 

Instead I have been able to come home and be with my children and we have been laughing tonight and sitting on the sofa and it is helping my heart.


A non-negotiable in your life is …

Time with my husband.

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

Probably some of the most life changing words I have ever heard was a long time ago when I watched the movie Chariots of Fire, anyone who has been around me for any length of time knows I love this line


Eric Liddell, 'I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.'

 

When I run I feel pleasure, that quote helped me understand the way that God loves me and that he has planted things in me and my design and it means it is okay that I love it because he has made me that way.  It took me years to come to the understanding to be able to say, when I sing I feel his pleasure. That I am a singer because he made me that way made me that.

I am a singer, when I sing I feel his pleasure.

To be able to say this, is so transformational to me.  It is that whole understanding that I was made for His pleasure and that He has given me gifts that when I use them I feel good.  I am not just one thing I am other things to, but it is so helpful to me to be able to definte some of those things, and know that they are okay, because I was created this way.

Your work life philosophy is …

There is no such thing as balance!

What is your favourite smell ...  

Peaches.  Fresh peaches. Peaches are the fruit of Georgia.  I am a Georgia girl through and through.  They call girls from Georgia peach.

 Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

Terrrible question for me, because i am queen shuffle, and eclectic to the core i love so many things, I loveJoanne Hogg, and uncountable stars it is the thing that I can’t stop playing right now.  I can’t stop listening to it.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

Has to be Southern food, it would have to be some kind of meat, any meat, but the vegetables are what feature, turnip greens with pepper sauce, and cornbread, and broccoli casserole and wheat potato casserole, pecan pie and iced tea.

Cream of mushroom soup because of the casseroles, cornmeal and tea

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

One thing is that I wear boots almost every day, so riding boots are my staple clothes item, and they have helped me to be able to put aside heels, which is a help. That part changed my life.

iphone - don’t know what I would do without this

How do you relax ... 

I love sofa time with my family

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

My happy place is when people around me are happy, I love it when the people I love are happy, when I am with the people I love are happy

Laughter is a key feature in our house and when there is laughter and we are laughing i am gloriously happy

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I feel like I won life’s lottery when I moved to Northern Ireland, and my favourite thing to do is the County Antrim coast drive and stare at the sea.

Staring at the sea, this is the thing I love to do on a beautiful day as it restores my soul

I spend most of the time crying when I stare at the sea because it is so beautiful.

What do you most value in your friends ...  

I have really good friends and their kindness to me is overwhelming to me

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

My favourite words are I love you, I think that’s my favourite.  Right now I am reading Half the Sky by Nicolas Kristoff, and that is breaking my heart

Share some words of wisdom ...

I think the best thing that I could say to anyone is just that when we can remember who we are, who we are designed to be.  I believe that God speaks to each of us quietly and gently and he tells us who we are and how much he loves us, and when we know who we are there really isn’t anything that can get in the way of beautiful things happening in our lifes, because we see the world with those eyes we operate with that in mind, and we don’t have to worry about what others think about us.

Tori, it was our pleasure to interview you today.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Sep212015

q&a with Seán Maxwell from Fir Beard and Body

It is wonderful to welcome environmentalist and founder of Fir Beard and Body Seán Maxwell to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Fir Beard and Body is Ireland's first eco-centric men's grooming brand - these products smell beautiful, I particularly like Driftwood which feels to me like a comforting hug in a bottle.  I was introduced to Seán by Sara O'Neill.  Seán's passion for nature and our environment is infectious, and delightful, not to mention inspiring. He believes in organic, local and sustainable.  A visionary and leader in his field, Seán's creativity and synesthesia is exciting, his artistic ability to blend scents and oils into products is wonderful.  He believes deeply in the conservation of our landscape.  You can follow Fir Beard and Body on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and purchase their products, and follow Seán on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

Seán Maxwell, 34. Nature lover, wilderness explorer and budding entrepreneur. Younger brother to a bunch of misfits and son to two very ‘young at heart’ parents.  Being me is pretty tiring, I’m a handful - ask anyone. I’m in a constant state of exploration and I really like getting my hands dirty (and I don’t just mean metaphorically). 

Where are you from, where are you based …

I’m from the fair city of Armagh. As small a metropolis as it may be it’s a great place to call home although I’ve lived more years in other people’s backyards than I have in my own it never turns me away and having recently returned from a short stint in Europe via the Pacific coast of America I am already feeling like a son of the city again.

Talk about your work ...

Up until a year ago I was heavily entrenched in the corporate world, then without very little warning along came a perfect storm of change which gave me the inspiration to ditch the workstations and the conference rooms for something more.

Scent and more specifically, how a scent plays a huge part in memory has always fascinated me so my work is very much based around that.

Right now I’m cataloguing a portfolio of scents and aromas that are from and/or evocative of this great island we live on and along the way trying to incorporate these into various products, keeping the heart of it clean and organic.

Just a few months ago I launched Fir Beard and Body – an alternative men’s grooming brand, they always say ‘start with what you know’ and having had a beard aka face forest since I was old enough to shave I thought that was a good enough place to start. I like to consider my work as a bit of nature therapy for men.

As well as Fir I am working on other products behind the scenes on a daily basis; mixing, testing, batching, looking for the perfect blends not just for beard care products but for a whole other range of everyday items. Earlier today I was pouring a batch of candles which are now happily curing and smelling intensely autumnal.

As well as being an entrepreneur I am also a student of environmental management and policy and a regular conservation volunteer for Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership andMourne Heritage. These areas of outstanding natural beauty rely on the work of volunteers to maintain and protect the wildlife and landscape.


What are your future plans ... 

Branching out into different areas bringing evocative scents to different people.

My own grand vision for the future is to have a national park to manage and a small batch organic kitchen to experiment in. Simple really ;)

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

I don’t have to look far for inspiration, this land is steeped in history, myth and legend and not just from stories of people, nature has a huge part to play. I’m lucky enough to live within a few hours drive of some of the most spectacular vistas, coastlines and forests in the world.

I get to meet inspiring people all the time in my volunteer work, people whose passion greets you like an old friend and who are committed to conservation and education so that future generations can be just as inspired.

An amazing community group that inspires me is ROGHA who have the creative talent to channel their passion into craft and art and each of the artists and craftsperson’s work has its own unique take on the landscape that surrounds them and the history it is steeped in.

Describe your space ... 

That depends on what I’m doing. Research is done amongst trees and old stone all year round in the rain and in the sun, there is always something new to see and to experience so I’m outside a lot.

Blend trials and batch production is done in my converted attic with plenty of light and large windows, fresh air and natural light are really important to me wherever I am.

It’s a little clinical but the worktops have some occasional knickknacks - driftwood art I whittled during moments of procrastination with study, unusual rocks and stones I’ve found on my travels.

Old NI tourist board ads that I’ve picked up in craft fairs and landscape photography that I particularly love adorn the “study” section of room. 

How are you feeling today ... 

Organised with a little hint of crazy.  Planning Christmas this far in advance is not something I’m used to but with a number of new items ready for release and a new term of study just around the corner there is a lot to do and I’m yearning to go for a walk in the rain.


A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Nature. I have found that when my access to green things and having a clear sight of the sky is restricted I don’t function well at all. 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

Don’t learn to be happy, put your time into finding happiness instead.

Your work life philosophy is ...

Put in the effort and you’ll get it back ten-fold.

What is your favourite smell ...  

Wow that’s a loaded question for me it could be any number of things at any given time but my all-time favourite smell is hawthorn blossom. The intense aromatic woods aroma that you get in those few short weeks of annual bloom is incredible, perhaps it is because it is such a fleeting scent that it is so captivating to me.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

Murmuring in the background at the moment is the Nature podcast, but just an hour ago I was listening to some Joni Mitchell. My music tastes are varied but I always gravitate to songs with meaning. Artists like Nina Simone, John Martyn and Eurythmics are regulars in my home.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

By far my favourite meal is my mum’s coddle, if you don’t know what that is I implore you to find a recipe and give it a try, its a pretty traditional irish dish so there is nothing fancy to it at all but you cannot beat it on a cold Autumn evening when the nights are drawing in.

Tomatoes, peppercorns and cinnamon – if I’m cooking or baking something that doesn’t have at least one of these things in it I’m doing so under duress. 

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

Solar powered portable battery charger, it’s a literal life saver.

Backpack reservoirs

Downloadable OS maps 

How do you relax ... 

Gardening and spending time outdoors on a trek or camping. Time well spent with friends and family.


What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

Finding incredible vistas or scrambling through tree lines are my definitive happy place. When I can’t access these I take a mental journey to the shores of Llyn Idwal, a lake high up in the Glyderau mountains in Wales. 

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I love getting out and about in Ireland and the UK, I really think there are few places in the world that offer such diversity as our own plot of land, the landscapes, the wildlife and the people are all incredibly different and it’s something I embrace.

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Honesty and a sense of humour. Everything else is negotiable. 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – a quote from John Muir, Scottish born American conservationist.

Currently I am re-reading a collection of poems from Robert Frost.  My favourite piece being The Road Not Takenthe last verse reads - 

‘’I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference”


Share some words of wisdom ...

If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

 --------

Seán it was great to have you at our place, thank you for taking part in the Salt and Sparkle Q&A.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable


Monday
May112015

q&a with Cathy Martin

It is delightful to welcome Cathy Martin to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Cathy is dynamic, powerful, inspiring and interesting, not to mention very glamorous.  

The director of Belfast FASHIONWEEK and owner of CMPR, a media relations and events company. I first met Cathy when I interviewed her for a film I made for Channel 4 News several years ago, and since then it has been a pleasure to watch her success.  

During a lunch several years ago Cathy said to me, 'Nicky what are you doing for you, with your talents? You're doing a lot for others, but what are you doing for you?' At the time the comment slid into my head, and then stayed in my memory, gently nudging me to remember, I need to do things for me, with my talent.  

This short comment, during a quick lunch has been one of the most profound things anyone has said to me in my career. Thank you for that Cathy, and it is wonderful to interview you.

Cathy will soon be speaking at the Belfast Tedx at Stormont, she is a person worth listening to.

 

1.     Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

First and foremost I am a mummy to Valentina, a daughter to my lovely mum Mae, a sibling to six and a cousin to many. I’m also a colleague to Lucy, Leeza and Chris and a friend to quite a few people who are my rocks and my laughing partners in this wonderful thing we call life.

2.     Where are you from, where are you based ...

I’m from the Lisburn Road in Belfast, but I now live and work in Holywood, which I absolutely love. It is a wonderful community and a pretty place to live.

3.     Talk about your work ...

I have quite a few hats. First and foremost I am a PR consultant and advise clients across many sectors on promoting their businesses and projects. Secondly I own and manage Belfast FASHIONWEEK, which has been running for over ten years now.

4.       What are your future plans ...

I just want to be happy. Workwise, I have no ambitions for a massive company, I quite like being small and manageable – as well as personal.

5.     How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

I find inspiration in hard working people, honest people, those who are respectful and those who are creative. I love nature and music as well as a well written piece of poetry or prose and I am a big fan of art and nature.

6.       Describe your space ... 

My workspace is very modern and fresh, open and contemporary, with bright artwork and lots of light and mirrors. My home is grey and more traditional with a large fireplace and lots of art and photographs.

7.     How are you feeling today ... 

I always feel happy and blessed. I have a lot to be thankful for.

8.     A non-negotiable in your life is ...

I dislike lies and thieves, secrets and disrespect.

9.       Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

It’s nice to be nice.

10.    Your work life philosophy is ...

Work hard, play hard.

11.   What is your favourite smell ...  

I have many! Coffee – although I don’t drink it, and bread – although I don’t eat bread! I also love a rich chocolatey smell, and the cinnamon smell of Christmas, plus, lastly, I love the smell of faint aftershave on my other half’s neck.

12.   Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

I listen to a lot of opera and classical music which would probably surprise people.

13.   Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

I love sea bass in butter and rock salt with fine green beans, broccoli, courgette or any other greens done in butter with a tiny bit of garlic. I could actually eat that most evenings for dinner!

14.  Three things or products that have changed your life...

Having my daughter Valentina has changed my life. But losing my daughter Rosie to stillbirth a few years before Valentina came along changed it much more. I had a very serious infection and in years gone by, probably would’ve died giving birth, so I am grateful for every day I’ve been given on this earth and have made some decisions recently to allow me to live this wonderful life to the full.

15.   How do you relax ...

I love to laugh in the company of good friends. We eat, drink and dance usually!

16.   What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

I love having fun with Valentina – at the park, in our home, wherever. But equally, I love being alone on a beach, reading a book and enjoying the warm sunshine, the breeze from the sea and the noises of nature.

17.   What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I’d love to visit more of Asia… The mountains and cherry blossoms of Japan, plus the beaches and islands of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. I’d love to go back to Australia and sail the Whitsundays or snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.

18.   What do you most value in your friends ...  

Loyalty, a sense of fun and adventure, plus they need to have a good ear. I talk a lot! And they also need to understand that my job means I won’t make every social occasion, but it can mean some fun ones for them!

19.   What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

I used to read at least a book a week, and then I became a mum. It’s harder now to read even a magazine at home, so I look forward to holidays and a blast of literature.

20.  Share some words of wisdom ...

Never cut what can be untied…

 Thank you for spending time at our place Cathy.  You can connect with Cathy on Twitter, Facebook andInstagram or check out her website.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Monday
Oct062014

q&a with Siobhan O'Sullivan 

Siobhan pictured on the left at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast 5th Birthday Party.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ... 

Siobhan O Sullivan, busy but fun!

Where are you from, where are you based ...

Kerry Sunset

I’m from a beautiful town in South Kerry called Caherciveen and now living in Belfast. 

Talk about your work ...

I am the Director of Sales and Marketing in The Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast city centre. Working here four and half years now and love that everyday is different and brings new challenges and opportunities.


What are your future plans ...

Retire to the coast

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

Everyday by the people around me and the experiences and the challenges they face and conquer.

Describe your space ... 

Northern Coastline or Helens Bay by the sea.

How are you feeling today ...

Very proud lady after Kerry Winning the double at the All Ireland

A non-negotiable in your life is ... 

My Family

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

’ain't no changing who you are, the day you try is the day you die… Stand tall, smile bright and let people wonder why you laugh, Be yourself, everyone else is taken ... never look down on anyone, unless you are helping them up…


 

pictured Ladies day that The Fitzwilliam sponsored in Down Royal in June with stylish Rebecca McKinney

Your work life philosophy is ...

Life is too short, enjoy every minute!

What is your favourite smell ...

Cinnamon  

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

Love Music so anything from the 80s to Snowpatrol. Currently listening to the radio in the office.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

James Street South and favourite ingredients are Gin Rum and bubbles

Three things or products that have changed your life...  

The gym, Friends and Mascara 

How do you relax ...  

Taking time out from the city with friends in the country with great food and drink

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

being at home with Family in Kerry

What is your favourite journey; where in the world would you like to visit ...  

Going to Australia on holiday in October and next on my list will be New Zealand and Thailand.

What do you most value in your friends ...

Honesty and truth. 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

Life is too short live everyday as if its your last! Currently reading by John Grisham Sycamore Row

Share some words of wisdom ...

 

‘Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground’

 

Thank you for joining us Siobhan in our q&a series, it was super to talk to you.

 

Follow the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast and Siobhan on Twitter.

That's if for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable