Friday, October 27, 2006

The Week That Was

There have been a wide variety of events hosted in the past few weeks, and if I didn’t know any better I’d say it was an attempt to entice the party people out of any self inflicted autumnal cocoons that they may be considering (and I’m not talking about Eddie Irvine’s Cocoon either).

Absolut Vodka hosted a party with a summer feel, but an autumn look, in the top floor party space of Fallon & Byrne recently. The hosts had done a magnificent job at turning what is normally just a vast empty room, into stylish lounge-y interior, for the launch of the latest Absolut flavour – Absolut Peach.

Looking positively peachy on the evening, despite the rising temperatures, were Astrid Brennan and Charles Guildbaud (whose new Venu eaterie continues to go from strength to strength), Gail Ferguson and her actor boyfriend Mark McAuley, Sonia Reynolds and Paul Trainer of The Dubliner, who, while I’m on the subject of eating establishments, is busy with the impending publication of the magazines much anticipated Top 100 Best Restaurants Guide.

Rumour had it that Peaches Geldof was invited to DJ at the event but she was too busy to attend. I guess it was a school night.

A recent highlight for me was to be invited to the gala ball for the 10th anniversary of the Dyspraxia Association, which was held in the Killiney Castle Hotel. I must confess that I had no idea what Dyspraxia was, but having done a little research prior to the event I was very surprised at how much it affects children who suffer from it. Chairperson Jo Cullen also enlightened us on the evening with a most informative speech. Unfortunately there is no cure for the condition, but through therapy and assistance many children can learn to cope and deal with Dyspraxia.

Some of the well known guests who helped raise much need funds on the night were Martin King and his beautiful wife Jenny McCarthy, David Harvey, Triona McCarthy, TV chef Andrew Rudd, Ian Dempsey, stylist Cathy O’Connor, Sophie Flynn – Rogers and Helen O’Dwyer.

Former party girl Ashling McCormack was also in attendance, with her pal Catriona Hanly. A once regular face on the Dublin social scene, she now runs a successful fashion empire in Northern Ireland. Best selling author Marisa Mackle was also there and was flying out to Croatia the next day for a well-earned holiday after her marathon promo tour for her latest book, Man Hunt. Next stop, the UK market.

I went to the dogs recently (some might say I went a long time ago, but I digress) for a special night of entertainment courtesy of Daz, the soap you can believe in! They were celebrating the launch of their latest campaign, the Daz Millions, with a champagne dinner at Shelbourne Park dog track, which attracted a plethora of fun loving party people.

Fashion stylist Gramham Cruz was there, as was Roxanne Parker and her beau James Coyle, Frances Winston and everyone’s favourite jazz hands producer, Julian Benson. I was seated next to a charming girl who I later found out was Sinead Desmond, the new co-host of popular TV3 breakfast show Ireland AM. I haven’t had a chance to see her in her new role yet, hence my non-recognition of the dark haired beauty, so I hope she didn’t take offence when I asked her if she worked for P&G, the makers of Daz!

After upteen races, and even more bets, I realised that I hadn’t won anything all night, but the food and wine from the Dobbins kitchen distracted me nicely. Dog racing, you see, is pretty much luck of the draw. Even the dogs on the street know that.

Once spectacular party that certainly had me dazzled recently was the opening of Boodles, the gorgeous new jewellery store on Grafton Street. Nicholas Wainwright, who heads up the family business, hosted the glamorous evening for a select number of clients and friends a couple of weeks ago.

One of the star attractions, out of the hundreds of magnificent gems (each designed exclusively for, and by, Boodles), was the 27-carat blue-white Boodles Marquess diamond, with an equally impressive price tag of €1.2 million. Jody Wainwright, who heads up the new Dublin branch of the business (which dates back to 1798), was delighted with the new venture and, indeed, delighted to be living and working in Dublin.

Among the guests enjoying champagne and Grey Goose cocktails on the evening were Norma Smurfit, Samantha Mumba, Louis Copeland, Sinead Ryan and Joanne Byrne, Jonothan Sultan and John McKibbon, Laura Ennis and Caroline Downey.

A few evenings later I was sampling the culinary delights of Dobbins yet again, albeit in the sumptuous surroundings of their city centre restaurant, a million miles away from the Shelbourne Park franchise. I was a guest of Razvan Macici, who is the master winemaker for Nederburg Wines, the premier brand from South Africa. He was in town on the final part of a European tour, which had seen him visit Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and a host of other countries.

I need to go on a serious diet when I get home,” he joked. Imagine eating a 6-course dinner, like the one we enjoyed in Dobbins, almost every night for 3 weeks! I hear you Razvan. Among those appreciating the fine Nedurburg wines were Andy Bowse of Food & Wine magazine (he loved them, and he should know), Triona McCarthy and Paula Marron, Roisin Tierney – Crowe, Eoin Higgins and Ingmar Kiang and Sarah Jane English, who is set to marry her fiancĂ© Malachy Quinn any day soon.

The future will no doubt be bright for Sarah Jane and Malachy, and for a gathering in the breathtaking Gravity Bar recently it certainly was Bright. Financial whizz Mark Suter, and his beautiful wife Lucy, hosted a glamourous event to mark the launch of his latest venture, Bright Finance, which will offer a variety of finance services, including wealth management.

Ireland’s most well known new parents, Louis and Louise Osbourne, were there, minus baby Mia. "This is one of my first nights out since Mia arrived and I miss her so much. I think I have called my mother five times already" Louise told me. Other bright young things at the party included Eavan McSweeney and men-about-town Norman Pratt and Richie Stokes, who is set to leave wintery Ireland next month for a stint in Australia.

Well, I guess it’s always bright down under.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bright Finance

Eavan McSweeney & Richie Stokes enjoy the Bright Finance party.

Diane Henderson & Nicola Corboy at the Bright Finance party in the Gravity Bar