Reaching The End In Friend

When the hand of friendship is withdrawn, there’s a searing sense of loss on both sides of the divide. Susan Zelouf recalls one particularly stinging separation

And there it is: even though we’re standing in the same patch of sun-drenched pavement, we might as well be a hundred thousand miles apart.” Lauren Oliver, Delirium.

There are 82 pages of quotes about friendship on goodreads.com, and by page 40, I thought my heart would break. “We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered. If AA Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh is an endearing illustration of friendship that endures, then Nicole Richie’s observation, “It’s hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it,” is a warning, a stark reminder that there is an end in friend.

This story appears in the April issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday May 1.

Do You Feel The Fear …

of Missing Out? If so you may be suffering from FOMO. MAGGIE ARMSTRONG discovers that we’ve never been more aware of what we’re not doing

A gorgeous couple arrive at the nicest café in Dublin. They’re wearing this season’s parkas and his jeans are definitely designer. They are tired and his hair is elaborately cut and styled; this means they are foreign, perhaps on a weekend break. Two flat whites arrive, two perfect fern leaves swirled onto the coffee froth. Spoonfuls of brown sugar are stirred in. They’re in the leafy courtyard – such a restful place to sit with the person you love. They take out their smart phones and grimace at them. She re-reads her messages and sends some. She presses the globe-shaped Internet icon. She looks at Twitter. Then at some news site. He scrolls, he zooms. They drain their cups and leave, seemingly miserably dissatisfied, pressing their phones into their fashionable pockets. Thus, FOMO.

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can be observed in cafés, in nightclubs, and in professional contexts. It is the belief that wherever you are, there is always something better going on and that you must be part of it. It urges you to want everything at once, and leaves you with nothing. Though the acronym was coined in 2011 in response to social media’s Frankenstein-like takeover, FOMO has always been with us. It might be a constructive thing, an embrace of the life less ordinary. After all, didn’t fear inspire humans to travel the world, to enlist in armies for a good cause, to undergo religious conversion, commit adultery; things that rend the human heart and keep things fresh. Instead it is, yes, crippling.

This story appears in the April issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday May 1.

North Stars

Our collective obsession with Scandinavian living shows no signs of waning, but what’s fuelling our intrigue? Scandi-insider Ana Kinsella explains what’s so good (and not so good) about our Nordic neighbours

It’s in our homes, in the form of Ikea furniture, Lego and even tidbits from new Danish superstore Tiger. It’s on our screens, too, thanks to popular dramas like Borgen and The Bridge. There’s no denying it: we’re in the midst of a kind of Scandi-mania at the moment.

But while we’re all familiar with the alluring clichés of the Nordic model – beautiful blondes, bicycles, knitted jumpers and bearded men – Norway, Sweden and Denmark are not without their own problems. I’d suggest trying to buy a bottle of wine after 7pm in Sweden before lauding the nation’s liveability. And recently these countries have made headlines around their own issues with immigration and integration. On top of this, winters up north are long, cold and exceptionally dark, and while we are drawn to images of stylish Copenhageners smiling on their bikes in the sunshine, the reality in Scandinavia might mean a lot more peddling through puddles and snowdrifts than patches of warm sunshine.

This story appears in the April issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday May 1.

Thought Patterns

Collaborations with Donna Karan and Chanel, super-healthy export sales, experimentation and exposure – Irish knitters are conquering the world, says Deirdre Mc Quillan

Today’s generation of Irish designers is powering a new image of a time-honoured craft. Many still draw from a rich Irish heritage while others create exciting modern interpretations with cashmere, silk and other non-traditional yarns. The combination of these skills with state-of-the-art looms have brought this textile medium right to the forefront of fashion on global catwalks. Irish knitters like Lainey Keogh and Lucy Downes show in Paris regularly while Inis Meáin is stocked in top department stores all over the world. In London designers like Derek Lawlor, Tim Ryan and Sibling draw from their Irish heritage while at home Sian Jacobs, Heather Finn, Edmund McNulty and others create for domestic and export markets. So who’s who in the world of knit?

This story appears in the April issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday May 1.

Broken By A Bully

Claire Devine is steely, smartly dressed. Nothing about her smacks of victimhood. You’d never know what she endured at the hands of a manager who decided to make her working life a misery, nor the devastating breakdown she suffered as a result ...

I thought I was over it, but look at me. I’m in bits. I still feel ashamed. For no reason at all, through no fault of my own. And all this happened over ten years ago. Just talking about it brings it all back – the torment, the browbeating, the covert harassment. I run over it again and again in my head. What could I have done better? How could I have stopped it?

It came out of the blue. Life was good back then. I had a great job in a large city-centre business, a treasured daughter, a supportive husband. Thirty years I gave to that company, 30 years of favourable appraisals, performance-related bonuses and successful annual reviews. I loved my job and was good at it. I was one of those who went the extra mile, dropping in at weekends to make sure everything was set up and ready for Monday morning. I oiled the axles, greased the cogs. Kept all the balls in the air. And although I didn’t have a university qualification, I learned quickly on the job, took every available course, prided myself on being ahead of the posse ...

This story appears in the April issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday May 1.

Honey, I Stole The Baby Furniture!

When did children’s bedrooms start to resemble something out of a B&B Italia showroom, asks Penny Mc Cormick. She visited her one-year-old godchild’s nursery and came away with a severe case of interiors envy

I had to officiate at a “naming” ceremony last month. Not for a hotel, but a young boy. You see I was nominated as his “life mother”. So far I have four life children (formerly known as godchildren) and as if the pseudo-baptism wasn’t hard enough to organise, the presents were even worse.

In the end I think I pulled off my duties with aplomb. I’d chosen to read that bit from Gibran Gibrani: “Your children are not your children/they come from you but are not of you”, and donated my cherished Makonde artwork from Africa as a gift. So far, so good. I mingled with the other life parents and we congratulated each other on not making any faux pas or indeed wearing the wrong labels. I was in Paul & Joe and trying to look more nonchalant than I felt. This was because I had decided to make an unfortunate visit to the Nursery.

This story appears in the April issue of The Gloss. Find more features like this in next issue, out Thursday May 1.