Marian Finucane

    Saturday, Sunday, 11 - 1pm

    Marian Finucane Saturday 4 July 2015


    Children's Books

    Robert Dunbar is a children’s books columnist with the Irish Times and Elaina Ryan is director of Children’s Books Ireland and they join Aine in s6tudio to talk about childrens books.

    Robert Dunbar

    For the youngest readers:

    Emily MacKenzie: Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar (Bloomsbury, £6.99) (Ralfy Rabbit’s voracious appetite for books – he “loved the smell of books and the sounds of the pages flicking” – leads to stealthily criminal behaviour – in the best of causes!).

    Emily Hughes: The Little Gardener (Flying Eye Books, £11.99) (Simple text, riotously colourful artwork, a delightful story of a little boy and his garden).

    JonArno Lawson & Sydney Smith: Footpath Flowers (Walker Books, £11.99) (A wordless story of a little girl brightening up a dull city landscape by distributing flowers to various recipients, transforming lives in the process).

    Vivian French & Angela Barrett: The Most Wonderful Thing in the World (Walker Books, £12.99) (A beautifully illustrated romantic story of a princess and her search for the ideal suitor).

    Readers 8 – 12:

    E L Konigsburg: From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler (Pushkin Children’s Books, £7.99) (A modern children’s “classic”, first published in 1967, relating what happens when Claudia and Jamie, sister and brother, run away from their American home, ending up in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art).

    Roland Evans: The Marshlander Chronicles (Self-published, €15) (With just under 700 pages and a cast of over 70 characters, this is a novel packed with environmental concerns, depicting a battle, often quite violent, between those who wish to preserve the beauty of a marshland and those who wish to exploit it for commercial gain).

    Patricia Forde: The Wordsmith (Little Island, €8.99) (Excellent futuristic fantasy set in the land of Ark, presided over by Noa, who has decreed that language must be rationed to an approved list of some 500 words).

    Nicola Pierce: Behind the Walls (O’Brien Press, €7.99) (Events in the Derry of 1689 serve as background for a vivid reconstruction of a city under siege: superb incorporation of fact and fiction).

    Teenage/Young Adult Readers:

    Sarah Crossan: Apple and Rain (Bloomsbury, £6.99) (13-year-old Apple has to cope with the return of her mother, bringing with her the Rain of the title: her reading and writing of poetry proves to be an outlet for the various traumas of her adolescence).

    Sheena Wilkinson: Still Falling (Little Island, €9.99) (Set in a Belfast “grammar” school, the novel brings together Esther and Luke, teenagers from different social backgrounds: young adult love and its complexities are skilfully handled).

    Non Pratt: Remix (Walker Books, £7.99) (A weekend music festival, attended by a group of friends, brings about a ‘remix’ in their understanding of one another and their relationships).

    Becky Albertalli: Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Penguin, £7.99) (16-year-old Simon has difficulties in “coming out” to his family and friends – but, even more so, in understanding and accepting his own sexuality: “It just feels like I’m on the outside somehow,” as he expresses it. But circumstances change...).

    Elaina Ryan


    Chris Haughton – Shh! We Have a Plan

    Yasmeen Ismail – Specs for Rex (out now), I’m a Girl! (published August)

    Oliver Jeffers – Once Upon an Alphabet (CBI Book of the Year Award winner), also large back catalogue including The Day the Crayons Quit – sequel due August, The Day the Crayons Came Home 


    Annie Graves – The Nightmare Club series. The Elsewhere Funfair book number 9 is out now and book 10, Brain Drain Baby, coming in Sept. (Ghost written by Dave Rudden – one to watch next year). As a child I read Point Horror books, which were for an older audience, but series are great for this age when they’re flying through books!

    Alex T. Smith – Claude series and Foxy Tales series with writer Caryl Hart

    Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre – author and illustrator team whose books include Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs. New book, Pugs of the Frozen North, coming in Sept.

    Chris Riddell (current UK Laureate) – Ottoline series and, for a little older, Goth Girl series (2 books so far, 1 coming in Sept)


    Matt Griffin – A Cage of Roots. Debut Irish author.

    Shane Hegarty – Darkmouth. Book 1 out, sequel coming end July. Free short story spin off on Waterstones website for those who can’t wait!

    Eoin Colfer (Laureate na nÓg) – WARP trilogy, Book 3 just released

    Chris O’Dowd and Nick V Murphy – Moone Boy: The Blunder Years. Sequel coming soon

    Beyond the Stars (various authors and illustrators, edited by Sarah Webb in aid of Fighting Words). Collection of stories.

    Teen & YA

    Patricia Forde – The Wordsmith. Dystopia. Reminiscent of the Giver quartet by Lois Lowry, a favourite author of mine as a child – author of the Anastasia Krupnik Series, tagline ‘The Girl Who Thinks for Herself) (aimed at 8-12 y/os). Modern day equivalent might be Prim Improper trilogy by Deirdre Sullivan, aimed at teens and young adults. Diary-style confessional writings remind me of Adrian Mole books with the frankness of Judy Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

    Sheena Wilkinson – Still Falling. Realistic fiction.

    Louise O’Neill – Only Ever Yours. Dark, dystopian debut, winner of Eilis Dillon Award for a first book, new book called Asking For It published Sept.

    Jandy Nelson – I’ll Give You the Sun.

    Brian Conaghan – When Mr Dog Bites.

    Moira Fowley Doyle – The Accident Season.


    Ask the Specialist - Beauty Treatments from your Garden

    Fiann O'Nuallain join's Aine in studio to talk about health and beauty treatments from the garden.


    In general 1 tablespoon of herbage to 1 cup of hot water is the ratio required.
    Extra herbage can be added for a stronger extraction. Simply boil a kettle, pour the boiled water over the plant parts and steep for 5–10 minutes. Then the solids are strained off, after which the tea can be drunk hot or cold or used as a wash or in the ingredients of other remedies


    The ratio of herb to liquid is usually 25–30g to 500–600ml. In a saucepan (avoid aluminium saucepans if possible) bring the ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. Only the strained liquid is used. Decoctions can be sweetened with a little brown sugar, molasses or honey to make a syrup. Decoctions and syrups can be refrigerated. Most decoctions will keep for three days, and syrups will keep for several weeks.

    Decoctions can also be made by boiling in cider vinegar, beer or other liquids. A good tip is to crush, mash or score the plant parts just prior to boiling, to extract the maximum amount of the beneficial constituents. Foliage easily releases its volatile oils and other constituents to boiled water and so makes good tea/ infusions, but roots and twigs often need to be boiled for quite a while.

    Using a bain-marie, heat the oil (olive, almond, sunflower, etc.) and add your herbs. The beneficial constituents will leach into the hot oil. For a more intense oil, you can simply fill a jam jar with herbs and oil and sit it in boiling water for an hour or so every day for several days, to draw out as much goodness as possible. This is a cheat’s version of the sun-infused oil below.

    Simply fill a jam jar with as many plant parts (foliage, roots or petals) as will fit, cover completely with the oil and sit in a sunny window for a minimum of one to two weeks. This will allow the phytoconstituents of the herb to naturally leach into the oil.

    In a bain-marie, melt 2 teaspoons of grated beeswax
    to every 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil (or other carrier oil of your choice). Once the wax has dissolved in the oil you can add essential oil for fragrance or for its therapeutic value. Just one shake should be sufficient, but you can experiment to find the right amount for you. Stir the mixture well and then decant into small storage tins or jars. Allow to set at room temperature. Stores well for months in the pocket of overalls, the shed drawer or in your handbag.

    In a bain-marie, put ½ cup of infused oil and ½ cup of emulsifying wax grains. Melt and then stir to combine. Remove from the heat and pour in ½ cup of beneficial liquid (such as herbal tea, cold soya milk, etc.). Stir well and then refrigerate for 10 minutes. Remove from the fridge, stir well and then return to the fridge for a further 10 minutes. Stir well again until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. You can whip the mixture with an electric whisk at this stage if you prefer. It sets harder if stored in the fridge.

    In a bain-marie melt together 1 cup of coconut oil, 1 cup of shea butter and ½ cup of carrier oil of your
    choice (almond, olive, etc.). When everything has melted together, remove from the heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes before whisking with an electric or hand whisk. Allow to cool for a further 2 minutes and then whisk again. At this point you can chill in the fridge for 1 minute and whisk again. The chill often helps to develop a creamier, thicker butter. Decant into a clean storage container. This stores in the fridge or in a cool bathroom for three weeks.

    In a saucepan, bring to the boil 1 cup of liquid to every ½ cup of herbage. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. When fully cooled, strain to remove the solids. Then add 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerine and 1 cup of liquid castile soap and stir well. Decant into a clean storage bottle.

    The ratio is generally 1:1, i.e. equal parts wet ingredient to dry ingredient, be that 1 cup or 1 tablespoon. The wet agent can be a favourite oil, such as aloe vera gel or even fruit juice. Your dry ingredient may be leaf roughage, seeds, fruit rind or even kitchen items such as rice, salt or sugar. You can add extra wet or extra dry ingredient to create the consistency you prefer.

    Vinegar is an anti-inflammatory and is also useful for safe acid-extraction of plant phytochemicals. You
    can add herbs to your kitchen vinegar to make medicinal washes and helpful treatments for specific complaints where the vinegar is as remedial as the herb infused in it. For example, in cleansing hair and scalp of residue, the vinegar also acts as a natural antimicrobial. Empty a bottle of vinegar, reserving
    the vinegar. Put as much herbage as will fit into the bottle and then pour the vinegar back in to fill the bottle. Allow to sit for two weeks and then use as required. There’s no need to strain off the solids.


    The Holistic Gardener: Beauty Treatments From the Garden

    By Fiann O Nuallain

    Published by Mercier Press

    More information: Click Here

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