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Natasha’s career is showing real sparkle

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Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets Galway jewellery designer Natasha Heaslip whose work has adorned both royalty and film stars

For a young person, meeting the right teacher at the right time can change their path in life. That was certainly the case for Galway jewellery designer Natasha Heaslip, whose award-winning work is currently sold in galleries and craft shops from Westport to Warsaw, including Selfridge’s in London and Dublin’s Design Yard.

In her 15-year career as a jewellery designer Natasha has been commissioned to make pieces for clients worldwide, with some of the wealthiest being members of the Kuwaiti Royal family, and the most high profile being a necklace and earring for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She works in gold, silver and oxidised silver, using precious and semi-precious stones and her pieces, which include earrings, rings, bracelets and neckpieces, are beautiful.

But Natasha’s talent wasn’t always so apparent. As a teenager in Galway she was unhappy at school and wanted a fresh start. She opted to go to Sligo Grammar boarding school and today she says “it was the best thing for me”.

Natasha’s creative talent, which hadn’t been nurtured at her Galway school, was given free rein in Sligo and to this day she remembers her art teacher, Kate McDonagh, as someone who was enormously influential. Natasha’s mother, Michele, runs an interior design business so she was always surrounded by creativity and beautiful items, but until she went to Sligo, Natasha never realised she, too, was gifted in this area.

It took several more years before she realised where her real passion lay.

Between 1989 and 1992 Natasha studied Arts the then RTC in Galway and did a course in craft and design in Kilkenny with the Irish Crafts Council.

She then focused on sculpture, which had been her specialist subject in college. Here in Galway, she also worked part-time for Hartman Jewellers in Galway City’s William Street.

“I was in sales, but I realised when I was there I wanted to make jewellery,” she recalls. Coincidentally there was a six-month FÁS course in jewellery making in, of all places, Knock which she attended. The students worked mostly in silver, and it was brilliant training, she says, adding that there is nothing like it now.

“It was almost like I knew it already,” she says of the process.

 When Gary Hartman of Hartman Jewellers realised how committed she was, he did some research to find the best possible college from which Natasha could get formal jewellery-making qualifications.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Eco-tableware the new venture for BambooBaby

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Creator of BambooBaby Enda Barton with his muse, daughter Sienna.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

A native of Ballinasloe has expanded his baby clothing business and created a range of   unique tableware and cutlery – all made from bamboo. Entrepreneur Enda Barton, who set up BambooBaby during the lockdown when he lost his job, has recently taken the huge leap of leaving his job in a computer company to work full-time in the business.

While there are some companies that sell baby tableware made from bamboo, this is the first Irish company to produce tableware themselves.

“I started BambooBaby with clothing, and the idea of having a tableware range made from 100% bamboo came to me when I was thinking about what our customers would want,” explains Enda.

“This makes it particular attractive for those who are gifting because now they can order a bundle of clothes, and add a beautiful sustainable feeding set to go in with the clothes which makes a really unique gift.”

Each item has smooth edges that are gentle on little gums and easy for babies to hold, facilitating their seamless transition from liquids to solids. The plates are divided into sections to encouraging them to eat varied foods and develop healthy eating habits from an early age.

An FDA approved silicone suction base is attached to secure the tableware in place, minimising spills and messes. Though silicone is a synthetic material, it outshines its plastic counterparts in terms of durability, temperature tolerance, and environmental impact. Unlike plastic, silicone does not degrade into harmful microplastics, which means it’s better for the environment.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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National Confidence Day hope to encourage a more holistic lifestyle for children

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Alisha Weir speaks about Confidence in “I Believe in Me” – A children’s show about confidence that will be launched for National Confidence Day on May 25th

Positivity, empowerment, encouragement and hope will be the focus in schools this Thursday, when children will get to celebrate National Confidence Day in classrooms right across the country. 

A host of Irish celebrities have come together to participate in an inspirational and motivational half hour show, produced by STARCAMP with Gala Retail for the children of Ireland, with contributions from An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, Alisha Weir (Matilda in the movie by the same name), Rory’s Stories and Cillian O’ Connor, an Irish favourite in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent. “If children watch only one thing this year, let it be this”, stated Principal Sean Cummins.

Earlier this week, ahead of National Confidence Day on Thursday, STARCAMP with Gala Retail carried out a national survey about confidence and children’s well-being in children. Just under 2,000 parents from all 26 counties across Ireland with primary school aged children took part. The research uncovered that:

  • 66% of parents said that they would like their children to be more confident.
  • 97% believe that it is very important that life skills such as handshakes, resilience and the importance of losing be taught to children.
  • When asked if parents would like the school environment to be changed in any way, (they were allowed to choose up to 2 options), only 6% believe that the it is fine as is. 64% believing more life skills should be taught in school. 52% would like to see more creativity, 32% would like to see more emphasis on their holistic development, 10% would like to see more sport.
  • 75% of those whose children use devices believe that it has a negative effect on their confidence.
  • 42% of parents admit that they problem solve for their children too much.
  • Out of 7 traits that were listed that parents would wish for their child going forward, including academic excellence, sociability, creativity, confidence, resilience, sporting ability and street smartness, 40% chose resilience, 35% chose confidence, 13% chose being sociable, 5% chose street smart, 3% rated creativity as the most important trait, 2% chose academic excellence and 1% chose being sporty.
  • Further analysis from the survey showed a concern that the majority of parents share for their children. When asked about their children’s anxieties and worries, a concerning 13% of parents said that their primary school child suffered from anxiety. A further 38% said that their child worries too much, with less than half, 46%, stating that their child had normal worries in life and a further 2% that don’t seem to worry about anything.
  • 43% would like if their child’s social skills were better.
  • 85% believe that group activities (such as performance and sport) are extremely important in their child’s development, a further 14% find it important. Less than 1% state that it is of no importance.

Commenting on the findings, Aideen O’Grady, Founder of Starcamp says:

“Research clearly shows that parents across all 32 counties of Ireland desire a more holistic lifestyle for their children. An overwhelming 97% would like to see more emphasis on life skills, with a strong desire for more balance in the classroom and not for the main emphasis to be on academia. As always, excessive technology is playing a negative role in our children’s lives and sadly, the majority of parents feel that their child is not confident enough. The fact that the majority are genuinely concerned with their children’s anxiety and stress levels is quite disturbing, particularly with a group of children so young and innocent. I always appreciate these findings, whatever the outcome, because it gives us the opportunity to make changes.”

STARCAMP recently decided to take baby steps towards encouraging positivity, confidence and growth in children outside of their camp environment. This Thursday, for National Confidence Day, they have produced a special half hour show which will be available to watch in all classrooms and homes across Ireland. Over 300,000 are expected to tune in on Thursday. Over 270 STARCAMP with Gala Retail camps will take place this summer across Ireland, with almost 30,000 children attending. The theme is resilience and there is a new section on life skills. “From small acorns grow mighty oaks. If we can start with a positive little seedling like this show in the classroom or home, and build on it little by little, focus on the positive and laugh, dance and rejoice more – just imagine how our children could feel about themselves. And then, just imagine what they could achieve!”

The “I BELIEVE IN ME” Confidence Show  for Children will be available for all to watch and can be streamed on Thursday, May 25th, from the Starcamp website www.starcamp.ie for a limited time.

 

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Connacht Tribune

A time not that long ago when we had to scramble for survival

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A sketch depicting the coffin ships of the 1800s.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

Sometimes, I’m taken aback a bit, by some of the younger acquaintances that I enjoy a few scoops with. They’re kind of surprised that I’m not a fan of Donald Trump; that I’ve no problem with gay rights; and that I have sympathy for the plight of the Ukrainians who have come to Ireland to avoid being slaughtered by the Russians.

There is, I feel, some lingering gene from famine times which clicks in with me – and a lot of other Irish people too – where a little alarm bell of the mind rings and transports me back to a time of only a few generations back when the Great Hunger ravished our land, killing around one million people with at least as many more, taking the emigrant boats, mainly to America, to try and survive.

At times, it’s worthwhile to have a little historical reflection, on the greatest catastrophe to have ever hit our island when we were a colony of the United Kingdom following the 1801 Act of Union. We were a largely tenant population – the poorest of the poor – relying almost exclusively on the potato crop to feed the general masses.

Although the penal laws had largely been repealed during the Daniel O’Connell era, there were only two classes of people in Ireland during those days of the 1800s: the English and Anglo-Irish families and landlords who owned practically all of the land and then at the other end of the ladder, the far greater majority of the population, the native Irish, who had to pay rent and eke out a living from two or three acres of often poor quality land.

As bad as things were up until 1845, at least the potato crop managed to keep the people fed. Potatoes ironically had been introduced by the landed gentry about a century before that as a garden crop, with one main variety grown, known as the Irish Lumper. Disaster though was to strike through 1845 in the form of potato disease with the name of Phytophrthora infestans, which in simple wordage translated into a word that’s now part of the Irish psyche – the blight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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