Guest columnist Cathy Owen is discovering that ‘Green’ is the new black… Generally, as a style advice columnist I simply share my favourite pieces based on a theme or season, it’s not rocket science! However, it’s becoming more and more apparent to me, and society at large, that we can’tRead More →

By Alan Meban Amidst a lot of recent talk about getting a large political deal ‘done’, I was reminded about a quote from Clive James: “The thing you need to know about parenting is that you can’t get it ‘right’, you can only get it ‘done’.” Certainly, my history ofRead More →

By Alan Meban I don’t remember much about the first house I lived in other than the rather jolly bin lorry driver who sucked his thumb. In hindsight, he was probably just copying what three-year-old me was doing, the results of which can still be seen if you spot thatRead More →

By Alan Meban There’s a small chance that you heard me on the radio over the new year telling Dearbhail McDonald that I’m not really into resolutions and would continue not to make any this year. I unknowingly misspoke as I very definitely am making a change in 2020. LikeRead More →

It’s Christmastime… there’s no need to be afraid…Or is there? Isn’t there so much to do? So many countless gifts to buy for family, friends, teachers, tutors, childminders etc.  What many of us think of when we anticipate the Christmas preparations are the lists of presents we have to buy,Read More →

Mum-of-four Rebecca Reid is asking what Christmas really means to families… Every family has their own Christmas traditions, but every now and then they get shaken up a little. Going right back (we are talking over a decade here) our usual festivities got shaken up as soon as the babies startedRead More →

Ni4kids columnist Alan Meban admits that he’s not a big fan of Christmas… My overall humbug attitude towards the season is mostly centred around the surrounding nonsense that stresses people’s wallets, relationships, travel plans and wellbeing. A bustling Christmas market really doesn’t lift my spirits in the same way as beingRead More →

By Alan Meban One of the theatre productions in this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival explored the issue of toxic masculinity. As a reviewer, I was watching an actor who had grown up in Cork, tell his story of being steeped in a particular sporting tradition. As he rose throughRead More →

By Alan Meban “Be sure your sins will find you out” was an oft-repeated mantra of my mother’s. Throughout my childhood, the phrase would be uttered whenever I’d been caught doing something wrong, or when her maternal early-warning radar suspected something untoward was happening, and also at random intervals toRead More →

By Alan Meban I’ve been known to leave books or leaflets lying around the house in the hope that our child will pick them up and read them. It’s a passive, less directive way of piquing their interest in something that would be immediately shot down if I verbally suggestedRead More →

I’ve been writing this column for over a decade and every time September rolls around I wonder where the year has gone but this year it’s different… Life happens so intensively and so rapidly we don’t get many chances to reflect on it. Parenting is a long and important partRead More →

Here we are again in September, and like many parents, Ni4kids’ columnist Alan Meban’s thoughts are returning to children’s education, exams and employment. On one day this August, three press releases hit my beleaguered inbox. The first heralded the latest set of Labour Market Data to be published by NorthernRead More →