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I'm Heather McGarrigle and this is my blog - a colourful celebration of culture, crafting and creativity in Northern Ireland and beyond.

A colourful weekend ahead

With Belfast Independent Retail Week coming to a close and the Festival of Colours exploding into the city once again, there are simply too many fabulous things happening this weekend! Try as I might (and I do intend to try!) I won't be able to see and do half the things I want to.

At a time when the retail industry is struggling to keep its head above water, it was a joy to pick up this pretty little booklet earlier this week.

Belfast Independent Retail Week really has been a wonderful opportunity for our local shops to showcase what they're doing and this brochure is crammed full of businesses doing just that.
You can read the brochure online to see all the things going on this weekend, but here are my Top Three:

Stray Jewellery's Vintage Day

Sat March 10 (Normally open Mon-Fri 11.30am-5.30pm; Sat 10am-6pm)
Belfast's self-proclaimed "cutest little trinket shop" is throwing a vintage party with music and makeovers and a prize for everyone who turns up wearing vintage clothing or jewellery.
This pretty wee shop celebrated its first birthday last month and I still haven't visited, so I think tomorrow will be a great day to pop in for the first time.
 
 
The launch of ReFound's latest pop-up shop
Sat March 10 - Sat March 31
(11am-6pm daily; 11-7pm Thursdays)
9 Wellington Place
I have been eagerly looking forward to ReFound's next pop-up shop for a while now! The artists' collective founded by Jill O'Neill has been breathing new life into old furniture for about five years and has 'popped up' at random intervals across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. This will be my first ReFound visit and I'm genuinely excited; these guys are the reason I now view old chairs and tables as potential 'projects'.
The Fashion Souk Market
Sat March 10
(10am-4.30am)
The Fashion Souk Boutique, In Shops, Church Lane
Another champion of upcycling, the Fashion Souk has hosted countless fairs, pop ups and workshops encouraging us to revamp our wardrobes without wastefulness. This is its first shop and it is offering 20% off all purchases during Independent Retail Week. Its monthly fairs will continue,with Souks planned for April 14,  May 12 and 26, June 9 and 30, July 14 and August 26.

These are my picks of what's happening as part of Independent Retail Week, but it really is worth picking up a copy of that brochure - simply to remind yourself of all the great homegrown independent ventures still doing their own thing and going strong, despite the depressing prevalence of boarded up shopfronts.

Another bright, vibrant event I'm hoping to take part in for the first time (poppin' a lot of cherries this weekend!) is the Festival of Colours on Sunday March 11 at the King's Hall.
Organised by one of my favourite arts organisations, ArtsEkta , Sunday's event forms part of the global celebrations of this Indian festival, also known as Holi, currently taking place across the world to welcome the arrival of Spring.
The colour powder party between 3.30pm and 5.30pm is obviously the much-anticipated highlight of the day. Little bags of coloured powder will be available to buy on the day for just a quid each and I really hope I can convince a few people to come with me on Sunday and be part of the rainbow.
With music, dance, food, arts and stalls, it's set to be a beautiful day suitable for all ages. Yet another fabulous celebration of multiculturalism and diversity in Belfast which looks just as fun as ArtsEkta's Belfast Mela, which I blogged about last year.
Check out the full programme of events and the video below of last year's festival. Hopefully see you there on Sunday!
Heather and Polly do Holi

Heather and Polly do Holi

A fatal cut?