Belfast Christmas Market 2016

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  And in Belfast, right beside City Hall, it looks a whole lot like it.  The Christmas Market returned to the grounds of the Belfast City Hall for its 12th year!

Opening from Saturday 19th November to Thursday 22nd December 2016, the gates will be open every day for visitors to explore a number of countries from across the world including Germany, Spain, France, Italy and a number of local traders.

belfast-2The Christmas Continental Market arriving at Belfast City Hall always signifies the start of the festive season and the approach of Christmas. Filled with an exciting selection of hand-painted pottery, continental food, decorations, and a wide range of festive arts and crafts from across Europe and beyond, a stroll around this market is a must to get you into the Christmas spirit.

There are now 20 additional stalls located at the front of Belfast City Hall outside the main entrance gates, featuring numerous local food and craft producers to celebrate Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016.

The fabulous City Hall gardens are transformed into a bustling Continental village providing a great European shopping opportunity in the heart of our very own famous City Centre.

While some of the stalls sell things at outrageous prices in comparison to what they would cost you elsewhere and the rampant swarms of people can be slightly irritating, some of the unique home made gifts are simply beautiful and the market provides a joyful Christmas experience like no other!

beard-oil-re-sizedOne of the quirkiest stalls new for this year is the Belfast beard company. Each year the market reserves one chalet for a local business to display their products for free. This year’s pitch winner was Laura Henshaw, with her fabulous array of luxury beard products for the suave Belfast gent.

A few of my own personal favourite stalls would have to be; Mallow Mia/ chocolate by Sera Beth, La Tartiflette and the Churros Stall.

imag2936-771x1024The Mallow Mia/chocolate stall featured Gourmet marshmallows from Donegal’s wild Atlantic alongside luxurious Chocolate by Seth Beth.

You can get three varieties of marshmallow with a Belgian chocolate dip for £3.50 and if you’re looking after your figure the gingerbread is fat free.

La Tartiflette offered amazing French cuisine including Roquefort imag2872-1024x721Mussels, Creamy Chicken and Garlic Potatoes, but the clear star of the show is Tartiflette- a mesmerising mix of cheeses, potatoes, onions, bacon and cream.

The Churros stall sells numerous mouth-watering delicacies including imag2895-1024x771waffles and crepes, but the churros lathered in chocolate really are a delicious essential!

 

 

All in all a worthwhile way to spend the afternoon even though I did not get anyone a Christmas present, I was very good to myself and came away feeling great.

Aisling

Top 10 Revision Tips

As we all know the school Christmas tests are coming up soon therefore I thought that I would share with you my top ten revision tips.

1. Make up a revision timetable, to give yourself enough time to revise for all your subjects.
2. Make plenty of notes and mind maps to summarise your notes and make it easier to learn the key points.
3. Try and do as many past papers as possible to get used to the way the questions are worded.
4. Find a quiet place to study so that noise and other people don’t distract you.
5. If you find that you can’t study effectively when your alone, try and create a study group with others so you can work together.
6. Take study breaks every 30 to 45 minutes so that you don’t take in too much information at once.
7. Remove any distractions such as phones as this will take your attention away from your revision.
8. Always ask your teachers or friends to help you if you don’t understand something so that you are not at a disadvantage.
9. Be organised and keep all your class notes and revision notes tidy so that none of them are lost.
10. At the end of the day all you can do is your best so work as hard as you possibly can to get the best results possible!

Good Luck!

And remember- they are only exams!

Katie

Belated Hallowe’en Background

With Mistletoe and tinsel starting to appear everywhere, we would like to point out that we are still closer to Hallowe’en than Christmas and in true curmudgeonly style we’d like to inform everyone of some information regarding All Hallow’s Eve.

As I’m sure many -or perhaps not so many- of you know, Halloween, or Hallowe’en, is the day beginning the season of Allhallowtide, the triduum composed of All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals which may have pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, when the gateway between the mortal world and the spirit world would thin, and spirits would freely wander the earth. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, wearing Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial celebration.

This festival was then Christianized when All Saint’s Day followed suit, a holy day to honour all saints and martyrs, both known and unknown.

All Soul’s Day then ensues, the final day of Allhallowtide when the souls of all departed Christians are remembered and honoured, as well as to let the evil spirits that rose on All Hallow’s Eve lie to rest for another year once more. 7

So after that educational rollercoaster (at least it felt like that for me when I wrote this article), I hope yo all stayed  safe over the break; i.e. refrained from partaking in illegal activities such as playing with fireworks and such like.

And finally, on behalf of all of us here on the school blog, I’d like to wish you all a

“Happy Hallow’s Eve.”

Bring on the tinsel now.

Shane

Blood Brothers Review

Did you hear the story of the Johnstone twins?

Anyone who’s just finished their GCSEs should have anyway, but for those who haven’t – first of all, you’re missing out – but secondly, the story is that of Willie Russell’s critically acclaimed musical, Blood Brothers.

The musical follows the harrowing tale of twin boys born in Liverpool to an impoverished mother with too many mouths to feed, a critical situation that leads her to make the hardest choice of all: to give one of her children away. Raised apart in two different social classes, the play follows the boys throughout their lives, up until their untimely deaths, as we bear witness to the disturbing impact social class has on the lives of ordinary people. Of course, that might seem a little spoiler-y, but fear not, it’s the same synopsis you’ll find in the opening lines of the play, sans fancy rhymes and Liverpudlian accent, of course.

Aine and I were lucky enough to see the musical in Derry this month, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Perhaps that was because we weren’t the ones driving over 200 miles in one day, or perhaps the show was just that good. I’ll leave that one for my mum to decide.

In my opinion, at least, it was every bit as incredible as I expected it to be, from the incredible acting of the cast, right down to the set design and even the musicians tucked away beneath the stage – which, by the way, did anyone else know this was a thing? Because I sure didn’t.

The cast featured the talented Lyn Paul as Mrs. Johnstone, the twins’ hard done by mother, who in 2008 was voted the “undisputed Mrs J. of all time” by a Blood Brothers fansite, corroborated by the guy in the row behind us who told us so right before informing us that he’d seen the show six times. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have to argue on behalf of the soft spot in my heart for Kiki Dee’s Mrs J. What can’t be argued, however, is the fantastic job Paul did playing the tragic Johnstone matriarch or the power of her voice which won’t soon be forgotten. Another stand out star, in my opinion, was Sean Jones, who played Mickey, who completely stole the focus in the first act with his portrayal of his character as a typical seven-year-old.

No matter who takes on the roles, however, this is a show that transcends any individual cast’s performance; it’s every intricate piece that makes it the spectacle it is, with such a simple yet thought provoking premise that I feel it would be safe in the hands of any cast willing to take up the challenge. If anyone was considering going to see it, I’d certainly recommend it, and if you weren’t, I’d recommend it anyway. And just in case you’re wondering: no, Willy Russell is not paying me to write this unfortunately, I’m just one of those irritating people in your class who always gets way too into the source material. It’s a burden I’m willing to accept.

To conclude this glowing testimonial/free advertisement, though, I can tell you one thing for sure; I’ll be eagerly awaiting the return of Blood Brothers to Northern Ireland, and hopefully after some of you have read this post, I won’t be alone.

blood-brothers1

(The theatre had a no photography policy, but I couldn’t resist this shot before the curtains were drawn. I mean, school blog priorities, right?)

bb-2

(Aine might just kill me for this one, but if I have to take unflattering photos for this, she’s going down with me.)

Music To Boost Your Mood

21 songs guaranteed to boost your mood! The weather is getting colder, the clocks have gone back- how do we stay upbeat and battle the winter blues? Our bloggers have come up with 21 Feel Good Songs to help you “Beat the Blues”

Sometimes when you’re feeling low there’s nothing better than an exuberant song to lift your spirits and put you in more favourable mood. Listening to music is a great way to get motivated and take your mind of the trials and tribulations of teenage life.

Here are 21 songs that I believe do just that;

  • I Got You(I feel good) – James Brown

Most uplifting lyric: “I feel nice, like sugar and spice / So nice, so nice, I got you”

  • Lollipop-Mika

Most uplifting lyric- “live your life to love is found or love’s gonna get you down.”

  • Make My Dreams Come True- Daryl Hall& John Oates

Most uplifting lyric- “Twist and shout my way out / And wrap yourself around me / ‘Cause I ain’t the way you found me / And I’ll never be the same, oh yeah”

  • I Feel Fine- The Beatles

Most uplifting lyric “She’s so glad, that she’s telling all the world.

  • Love on top- Beyonce

Most uplifting lyric “Nothing’s perfect, but it’s worth it / After fighting through my tears”

  • Don’t stop me now- Queen

Most uplifting lyric “I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky / Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity / I’m gonna go, go, go / There’s no stopping me”

  • The Middle- Jimmy Eats World

Most uplifting lyric “It just takes some time / Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride / Everything, everything will be just fine”

  • Float on- Modest Mouse

Most uplifting lyric “And we’ll all float on okay / And we’ll all float on okay / And we’ll all float on anyway, well”

  • Riptide – Vance Joy

Most uplifting lyric “You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams”

  • Fluorescent Adolescent- Arctic Monkeys

Most uplifting lyric” Not as daft as they seemed my love, when you dreamed them up

  • Walking on Sunshine- Katrina and the waves

Most uplifting lyric “I used to think maybe you loved me, now, baby, I’m sure
And I just can’t wait till the day when you knock on my door”

  • Happy Pills- Weathers

Most uplifting lyric “Even if they find us, were aphetic and they cant take that away”

  • The Greatest- Sia

Most uplifting lyric “I see another mountain to climb, But I, I, I got stamina”

  • Mr Brightside- The Killers

Most uplifting lyric “Destiny is calling me / Open up my eager eyes / Cause I’m Mr Brightside

  • Where is my mind- Pixies

Most uplifting lyric “Your head will collapse / But there’s nothing in it / And you’ll ask yourself, Where is my mind?

  • Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz

Most uplifting lyric “You won’t get out the county, ’cause you’re bad and free / You’ve got a new horizon It’s ephemeral style

  • Living On a Prayer- Bon Jovi

Most uplifting lyric “She says, we’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got / It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not / We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love / We’ll give it a shot

  • Send me on my way- Rusted Root

Most uplifting lyric “Well pick me up with golden hand / I may see you, I may tell you to run / You know what they say about the young!”

19)  Home- Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

Most uplifting lyric: “Man, oh, man, you’re my best friend / I scream it to the nothingness / Therev ain’t nothing that I need”

 

  • Never be like you- Flumes

Most uplifting lyric “Im only human cant you see/ i made a mistake.”

  • Wake up Boo-Boo Radleys

Most uplifting lyric “Twenty five, don’t recall a time i felt this alive / So wake up boo, there’s so many things for us to do

Illustrations of mental health- Aisling

Shawn Coss is a 33-year-old professional artist from Ohio. This year, he is participating in art event known as Inktober. During Inktober, artists from all over the world make one ink drawing a day for the entire month of October. This year, he decided to illustrate various mental health disorders.

Dissociative identity disorder

Inktober
Inktober

Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder

 

He describes his style as dark, and he didn’t want this Inktober to be any different. Before he dives into each illustration, he researches the condition to help him condense it into a singular image. Coss then typically does the drawings live on Facebook Live so he can connect with his fans. He said the hard thing about depicting these conditions is that it’s all subjective. “What I find most amusing is someone stating I’m way off on a disorder because that person doesn’t necessarily experience the same symptoms and then I’ll have another post saying it’s spot on,” he said.

OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Coss said he hopes fans appreciate his art, and if it helps them cope, “I am 100% in support of it.”

Bipolar Disorder

Bi-polar Disorder

“I hope that people can appreciate my creations,” he said. “Most importantly I hope, if anything, it affects a person on some level. This may be a new venture for me into the world of mental health…or it’ll vanish into the abyss of the internet.”

Aisling

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year 8 Welcome Service

While it seems like a long time ago, it is worth considering our new year 8 students and how well they have settled in. One of the main activities organised by the school is their Welcome Service, organised by the RE department in the school.

On Wednesday 12th of October St Louis celebrated its annual Year 8 mass and it was a chance to officially welcome the new pupils, and to acknowledge them as members of our school family. It was also a time for our first years to reflect on their first month at St Louis and how they are settling in here, after all it is a huge change from primary school where you knew everyone to a big school where you might still not know everyone in your own year! Hopefully you are coping with all the new challenges being at big school throws at you, but if not here are some tips to make settling in that little bit easier:

  • Get to know everyone in your form class-these are the pupils you are going to spend the next 5 to 7 years of class time with, so making friends with them will make school life a lot easier!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help-teachers are there to help you, so don’t hesitate to ask if there is something you don’t understand! The workload is a huge jump from primary school and it’s very easy to let yourself become overwhelmed. Instead of getting a bad note for incomplete homework, go to the teacher before or after class and ask them to explain it to you, they’ll be happy to help!
  • Stay organized-you have a lot more subjects now, and that means a lot more books to carry to and from school. Pack your bag the night before to avoid rushing around in the morning like a headless chicken trying to grab all your books for the day and shoving them in your bag, inevitably forgetting something and earning yourself a dreaded bad note!
  • Use your planner-I can’t stress this enough, USE YOUR PLANNER!! It will make staying on top of work so much easier believe me. I know you think you are going to remember what homework you have by the time you get home, trust me, you won’t. Taking a few seconds in class to write down what your teacher asks you to do will save you chasing after your classmates begging them to tell you what the work was.
  • Join an extracurricular club-joining a club will not only help you become more integrated in school life, but will allow you to make so many new friends who enjoy the same things you do! With a range of activities on offer, all you have to do is ask your form tutor and choose one that interests you.
  • Don’t stress-first year is scary for everyone at first, but hopefully by now you’ve come to see that there’s nothing to be afraid of! Our school is unique in the fact that we have such a friendly and close knit student body, and you’ll easily find somewhere to fit in. First year is a chance to get in to a routine when it comes to school work, and to make friends. Assessments are there to monitor your progress, not have you sitting over your books studying to all hours of the morning. So work hard, but not too hard!

Good luck to all first years and welcome to St Louis. Its cliché but these really are the best years of your life, so make the most of them!

Aine J

NCC- Newcastle Community Cinema

As many people may have seen the posters around the school they may know the film club are going to see Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in the NCC this week.

The Newcastle community cinema is a multi-award winning voluntary run non-profit organisation. They are current holders of the British Film Society of the Year award for the second year in a row! The NCC specialise in providing the community with a varied programme of quality cinematic entertainment. They constantly show a large variety of movies from ‘Inside Out’ to ‘Psycho’.

As it is a voluntary run non-profit organisation I think that it is amazing what they are doing as they are bringing the community together and organising an activity that costs very little and can still continue on the stormy winter nights that we will soon be having!

I think that the school taking a trip to the NCC will be a great experience and not only benefits the students but it also benefits the NCC as the revenue they will receive from the trip can go towards their community service and this will hopefully help keep the NCC open far into the future, to provide more people with the experience!

The venue was comfortable, the popcorn delicious- we will definitely be returning again and are trying to make this a monthly event, look out for the posters around the school and definitely check out their Full Moon Festival line up on Facebook. Don’t waste this valuable local resource, go on, get down there.

 

Concern Debate

As you should know debating is going strong in St Louis and the year 13/14 debate team was up and running last Wednesday night in a heated discussion with their guests from Rathmore Grammar, Belfast. The motion was

“Ending world hunger by 2030 is an impossible dream”.

Our panel, composed of Caolon McQuaid, Madden Hall, Matthew Carvill and Sophie-Ann Rooney, were proposing the motion this time as the host school, with many effective and compelling points from both themselves and the opposition, and some expert bell-ringing from Mrs Calderwood.

A close call for the adjudicators, our team lost to Rathmore, which came as quite a surprise to the team as well as some of those in the audience (I’m looking at you, Mrs Cunningham). Hard luck, guys.

Next Wednesday the team, our panel this time being Aine Cunningham, Morgan Maguire, Daniel Goodwin and Madden Hall, will be facing Friends School in Lisburn, opposing the motion

“France should allow religious symbols in public institutions”.

Good Luck!

 Shane

Senior Film Club

This week in the senior film club, we watched Pan’s Labyrinth, by Guillermo Del Toro. The movie is set in Fascist Spain during 1944, and follows the young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer who escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

I found the film really enjoyable, the well written characters, detailed set pieces and the spell-binding creatures and costumes make up for a compelling movie that will maybe, just maybe, force you to shed a tear or two through a captivating narrative that blurs the genres of dark fantasy and war-torn drama combined with subtle echoes of a more grown-up version of Alice in Wonderland. It is the perfect movie to watch for the upcoming Halloween holidays, and its mesmeric gothic style would keep you hooked until the credits. It is truly a movie that is not to be missed.

About the Director:

Del Toro was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He started making short films at an early age, experimenting with a Super 8 camera and some Planet of the Apes toys. His first feature film was released in 1993, at the age of 29, entitled “Cronos”, a film about a mysterious device designed to provide its owner with eternal life that resurfaces after four hundred years, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. Since then, Del Toro has since went on to direct movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and more recently, 2015’s Crimson Peak. He is known for his formalist style of filmmaking, including dark fantasies and a gothic approach to the styles he has made recognisable in his movies.

Katherine