Marie Louise McConville: Hoping to pass on my love of reading to three-year-old Abbie with a trip to join the library

Marie Louise is hoping to pass her love of books and reading on to her three-year-old daughter, Abbie by introducing her to the library
Marie Louise McConville

I just love a good book.

I don't know about anyone else but during my pre-parenting years, there was nothing I liked more than curling up on the sofa under a blanket with a great read or climbing into bed early with my book.

I know it may sound boring to some but I just loved it.

Of course, I became a big fan of books and reading from a very young age because my daddy and my grandfather took me to the local library when I was young.

I used to be giddy with excitement when I knew we were going to Andersonstown Library where I became a member at a young age.

There was just something special about being there, with the shelves and shelves of books and the little seats and my coveted blue, laminated library card. I just adored it.

I remember getting lost for hours reading and that stood me in good stead when at school and university because I just loved books and often had my head buried in one.

Following my studies, I remained an avid reader although since becoming a parent my time is limited so when I get into bed at night, I immediately fall asleep.

While my reading has had to take a back seat for now, over the years I've always been keen to make sure I pass on my love of books to our children and so, this week, I started by taking Abbie to join our local library.

I can't describe how wonderful it was to walk back into a library and be surrounded by the world of imagination presented by the books on offer.

After signing her up, Abbie, who is three, and I spent time looking through the children's books and she was just so excited.

We then took a seat and went through some of the books she had chosen before the wonderful librarian, who was so kind and helpful, gave Abbie her new library card and helped her check her books out.

That night, we snuggled up in bed and read three stories about mermaid rescues, the biggest muddle puddle in the world and the Wizard of Oz.

It was great to share the experience with her.

I can only hope she falls in love with reading as much as I did - a world of adventure will await her.


The countdown to Christmas is well under way so, if you're planning your annual trip to see Santa with the kids, why not check out the pink-themed gingerbread grotto at Belfast's Christmas market?

Every year, the operators of the market donate the grotto to the Lord Mayor's nominated charity and this year, it's Pretty ‘n' Pink, Northern Ireland's only registered breast cancer charity, which brings practical support to those with breast cancer and their families.

Children can visit Santa at the grotto until December and for £10 will receive a present and a picture with Father Christmas.



If the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping in Belfast is leaving you feeling tired and weary, how do you fancy winning a voucher for a relaxing pit-stop at one of the city's top restaurants?

Havana Bank Sq, based at Berry Street, is often described as a hidden gem, tucked away in the city centre behind the recently developed Bank Square.

Opened in 2013, Havana Bank Sq serves food daily from 12pm and opens late Monday to Saturday – perfect for Christmas shoppers.

As well as a delicious lunch menu, A La Carte menu and Pre-Theatre menu on offer, the eatery also boasts extensive gluten free/ vegetarian/ vegan options.

With live music every Friday and Saturday night, there's also Cocktail Masterclass packages on offer.

And, if you're stuck for a Christmas present for someone, why not give them a Havana Bank Sq gift voucher?

I have three £40 gift vouchers for Havana Bank Square to give away to three lucky readers.

If you fancy winning a voucher, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is Tuesday, December 4, 2018

(Q) On which street in Belfast is Havana Bank Sq located?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

The winner of the Alice: The Musical competition is Ross Tarrant, from Craigavon

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