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Good & Bad Days in Quarantine

May 25, 2020

So it’s been a lifetime since I’ve sat down to write a blog post, something I used to do all the time. It’s the reason my job is what it is, I started my blog because of my love for writing, fashion, and documenting things. I’ve kept diaries all my life and I can definitely express myself better with written words that I can get across on video sometimes.

But times have changed, and I changed with them. People prefer watching videos than reading, that’s what the numbers on my Google Analytics tell me anyway, so I decided to put my time where it’s more valuable – in Instagram & YouTube (that’s where you’ll find most of my updates these days).

Quarantine is a strange time for everyone, a lot of us have found time to do things we haven’t in ages. The blessing of Quarantine. I’ve been journaling quite a bit. Writing about my experiences, my feelings having come home from New York in the middle of this crazy time, my hopes for my career, for the future.. when I don’t even know myself what is going to happen over the next few months. It’s allowed me to find so many positives in this strange time. It’s allowed me to get my head around everything I’ve learnt since moving to New York alone in September, and it’s helped me get through days when I don’t feel so good.

There is definitely a weird mix of good and bad days in Quarantine. When my social and personal life is so quiet I have no choice but to feel those feelings I sometimes just wake up with. It could be something as small as a bad dream that sets my mood for the day. Or it could be something rational that has stayed on the forefront of my mind longer than it does on other days. I think what I want to get across in this blog post is that it’s ok to have those days, and it’s totally normal. I want to practice what I preach and do that “self care” thing we all talk about, which for me is writing. My hope for Quarantine is to come out of it better than I came into it, which means going through the hard feelings, feeling them, accepting them and hopefully learning from them. One thing is for sure, I’ll never take normal life for granted again after all this, I’m sure none of us will.

Good days

Ok let’s start with the positives – which you may have heard already if you watched my YouTube video talking about what I’ve learnt in quarantine (click here to watch) or in the podcast I did with Georgie Crawford for the Good Glow (click here to listen)

In general – after moving to New York, and experiencing the sometimes lonely times that come with moving country alone, I am very grateful to be home with my family. I live alone in New York, and with work slowing down a lot due to COVID I just couldn’t imagine trying to fill all day every day by myself. It would be really hard. I’m someone who’s naturally happier around people, chit chatting and just being in the presence of others. I’ve learnt that since moving. So in that sense I know I made the right decision in coming home, to be around people I love for 8 weeks (so far) of quarantining.

The downtime – how incredible has it been? I know for a fact I would never have taken this time off… I would not have allowed myself to sleep in until 9 mid week. I would not allow myself to not have plans on the weekend. Fear of being bored. Fear of not being productive enough. Fear of “if I slow down how will I speed back up?”. I was living life at far too fast a pace, putting a lot of pressure on myself to always be busy. I hadn’t written in months, read a full book in about a year, caught up with some friends in too long… it has given me time to pick up activities I haven’t done since I was a kid: knitting, baking, running in the fresh air.

Speaking of which, Quarantine has definitely made me appreciate the simple things in life so much more. I’ve realised in order to be happy it’s really just making time for the simple things that I need to do (which in normal life I stupidly don’t, too busy rushing around). Taking the time to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, going for a long walk on a nice day, listening to or reading a book, spending hours on the phone catching up with friends, finding a good song I love enough to listen to on repeat, playing with my dogs (to be fair I always made time for this, but maybe not enough). These are the things keeping me going at the moment, among other simple things. I think for a while I thought I needed more to be happy, but it’s really that simple.

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Bad days

Ok I have focused a lot on the positive sides of Quarantine, and there are so many. I’m sure I’ll look back on this time and be so appreciative of all the reflecting I did, and the growing as a person that happened as a result. I do believe we grow from the hard times, the times your out of your comfort zone (which for me has been nearly a full year now but what can ya do? lol) but I want to mention some of the things I find hard about this time too. Mainly to share it and get it out of my head, and also so hopefully any of you reading this who feel the same will know you’re not alone.

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I found a note in my phone I wrote on April 16th:

So we are currently in the weirdest time of our lives, a pandemic that none of us could have seen coming. Would I have still moved to New York if I’d known my year would be this disjointed? This is my third trip home in 7 months, and this one is for a long time. 

I moved to New York with the hopes that it would be a new, exciting, happier chapter for me & although it definitely was at first. The novelty wore off when I realised how hard it would be to move country & do it all by myself. To make choices that really are going to affect me forever. To be away from the people I have spent all my life cultivating amazing relationships with. 

I think back to this time last year & how trapped I felt. I needed to go, I needed to experience this on my own, maybe to learn how much I love and appreciate home but also just to live freely for a while where no one knows me, in the city where I learnt years ago that anything is possible. 

I went there with the highest hopes that things would fall into place. Not stupidly though, I had done my research, I had saved and planned. I’ve lived there before, I sought advice from my friends and most of all I followed my gut. I knew as much as I could have known & it felt like I was definitely making the right move. But now 7 months into this journey I don’t know if it was. 

I recorded a video reflecting on my first 6 months in New York last month and it was a lot for me to share, very personal, everyone has their own opinions on what I should do. Some people say stay longer you’ll learn to love it, others say go home you’re happier there. It’s not an easy decision to make.. I’ve spent so much time and money to move my life there I feel like I will give it more time but I guess the magic I remember from before isn’t there for me now. Maybe I’m older and I appreciate being around the people I love more, maybe that’s not the lifestyle I really want anymore, maybe it’s just been a lot of changes and I need to give it time.. I’m not sure. I’ve learnt since coming home I’m definitely happier when I’m with people, living alone was probably not the best decision for me. 

I stopped the note there, it was probably a lot to think about and consider. It’s kind of the thoughts I’ve had to deal with since coming home, as well as thinking about how much money is literally going down the drain in my apartment I’m still renting in mid-town Manhattan. When these thoughts come into my head and stay, it’s not gonna be a fun day. I’ve trained myself to not over think them most of the time, there’s nothing I can really do right now. “There’s no point in worrying about things you can’t control”.

It’s a month since I wrote that note, and I’ve realised even though it hasn’t been plain sailing or easy. I had to go to New York in Sept, I was dying to. And my gut told me too. I have faith it’ll work out one way or another with time. If NY is really not meant to be this time, how bad, I’ve learnt how much I love home too, so I won’t be sad to come back here. But I do think/ hope when I get back, with all I’ve learnt before and during Quarantine, I’ll be able to be happier there.

I’ve no idea yet when the travel ban will be lifted, I’ve booked a flight back at the end of June. I really hope that I can go back then, hit the ground running, and make the best of what’s left of the summer. The summer I had dreamt about having there for so long.

Another thing I want to mention, but not dwell on (lol), is the fact I’m 27 and am back at home, having lost months in this year. That does get me down sometimes, as much as I’m enjoying being home. I want to be out meeting people, socialising, being independent, progressing my career and life, and I can’t do any of those things. It seems unfair, as silly as that seems to say. I know we all feel a bit like that at the moment. It’s unfair that people have lost their jobs. It’s unfair that other countries lockdown is being lifted before ours. It’s unfair that so many people have been sick and so many have died. This whole thing is a bit unfair isn’t it?

Perspective is so important here though, think about how much we have the opportunity to learn in this time. I feel like I have. I feel like I’ll be coming out of quarantine knowing myself a lot better, feeling more comfortable in my skin, and being aware of the changes I need to make in New York to be happier and feel more settled there.

On the podcast I did with Georgie the other day, she said it was “a gift” to learn these things so young without having been sick. That struck a chord with me.

This time has really given us all time to reevaluate our lives: small changes we could start making, things that make us happy, the type of people we want around. We’re lucky in a sense because if we can learn these things and implement them we’ll end up living a far more fulfilling life than the one we had been rushing through before Quarantine. I know that’s the case for me anyway.

For now, we have to deal with the fact that some days are shitty. We have to try and find positives where it feels like there is none. We have to be easy on ourselves and allow ourselves to feel sad about our current situation. It’s ok to feel worried too, I know I do. Talking about things does help, I try and vent to friends, and let them know I’m here for them when they need to vent. Writing stuff down helps me too. Or listening to uplifting podcasts. Or even taking a bit of escapism on Pinterest, looking at pretty pictures and reading motivational quotes. Sounds silly but these things do help. It’s such a weird time, I’d thought about writing something like this for a long time, but it’s such a complex time it’s hard to mention all the feelings. I’m sure I’ve missed some and look how long this post is already! Lol.

If you made it this far I hope it made you feel a little better, and less alone, 

All of our plans have been messed up, the rug was pulled from underneath us with this pandemic, everyone is struggling in different ways – but we’ll figure it out. Things will go back to normal eventually – a slower normal, where we’re all a bit more compassionate and understanding I hope,

Anyways, I’ll stop babbling on now, 

Hope you’re all keeping safe,

Lou xxxx

Lifestyle

What I’m Thankful For & Celebrating This Year

November 28, 2019

Hey guys,

How are you all? Happy Thanksgiving!!! Can you believe I’m nearly 3 months in New York now? Where has the time gone! So much has happened, so much has changed, I’ve already learnt so much… I feel like I’ve so much to fill you all in on! It’s been forever since I’ve had the time to sit down and write a blog post like this – I’m excited to reflect on everything I have to be thankful for after probably the craziest year of my life to date!  

There has been lots of ups and downs this year but for the day that’s in it I’m going to focus on the celebrations I’ve had the past year and the things that are worth celebrating. I’m partnering with Moet for this blog post – so I’m going to reminisce over some of the Moet Moments I’ve had this year & some that are yet to come. 

When I think about what I’m thankful for it’s quite simple for me really: Family, Friends & Work Opportunities. First of all, if you follow me on Instagram or YouTube you’ll know how important my family and friends are to me. This year has been a very tough year for my family, it’s made me appreciate them more than ever. I’m very excited to get home for Christmas to spend time with everyone & also to have my brother & sister coming back to NY with me this year for New Years. There will no doubt be lots of Moet Moments over the festive season 😉  

Friendswise – there is nothing like moving country to make you realise how good you have it. I have the best friends in the world in Ireland and it broke my heart to leave them. Especially being single the past year, it’s really just made me realise how lucky I am to have the friends I have. When I got my visa to move to New York we celebrated over a bottle of Moet, a memory & feeling of excitement I’ll never forget. Today, two of them arrive in the US where we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving together in my Aunt & Uncles in Connecticut – we will most definitely be cracking up this bottle of Moet together later on 🙂

And then I have to take a minute to appreciate all the new friends I’ve made since moving to New York, I’ve been here such a short time and I’ve already made some friends for life! How crazy is that? The difference a couple of months can make. We’ve shared many a Moet Moment together already, too many some might say haha!   

When I first moved country my sister bought me a bottle of Moet to celebrate moving into my apartment & the start of a new adventure. Me moving here was made possible by what I do, working as a blogger & content creator with the best group of followers/supporters behind me. I’m very excited for all the new opportunities that are here for me in the US. I’ve had some incredible opportunities this year – I had my own edit with Nastygal, a collection of my favourite summer pieces with H&M, I’m the face of the Adidas Sleek runners in Lifestyle Sports and I travelled to the Venice Film Festival with Armani – among many other things… I’ve had so many things happen I would never have thought possible & it really is a dream come true for me! Things that are worth celebrating, worth raising a glass to and acknowledging before the time is gone!  

Moving on from myself – my best friend bought a house with her fiancé, my other bestie got an amazing new job, my cousin just got engaged, my brother passed his driving test, my dad graduated… the list of things to celebrate is endless. There’s always a lot to be thankful for and it’s actually so therapeutic to sit back and make a list of them. I love to mark an occasion with some bubbles and to spoil my family/ friends with something special when they deserve to celebrate. The personalised Moet Chandon bottles are the perfect present – whether it’s for Christmas or otherwise. It’s the world’s most iconic champagne & it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, so it’s a really special present. Who doesn’t love something personalised? It’s so thoughtful & having something personal written on it just makes it extra special!  

You can get the bottles personalised exclusively in Brown Thomas Dublin for free with the purchase of any Moet bottle (whether it’s a mini or a Magnum). Click here to learn more about it.   
 
If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving I hope you have the best day with family and/or friends, and if you’re not I hope this blog post has inspired you to take a minute to appreciate what you’re thankful for today, and what’s next on your list to celebrate 😉 

Louise xx

*This post is sponsored by Moet Chandon

Lifestyle

Mothers Day Gift Guide

March 27, 2019

Hi guys,

Just a little reminder that Mothers Day is this Sunday- the 31st! If you are looking for a present to treat your Mum I have picked out some of my favourite pieces online below. There are lots of different ideas in there so hopefully you will find something that she will love!

I hope you all have lovely weekend and spoil your Mum.

Chat soon,

Louise x

*This post contains affiliate links meaning I can make a small % commission if sales are made as a result of this post. It does not affect the price of the item

Lifestyle, Travel

A Weekend in Mallorca with Toyota

February 25, 2019

Hi guys

I’m just back from a great weekend in Mallorca with my best friend Dearbhla and Toyota. They invited us over to test drive the new Corolla Hatchback Hybrid car and to explore the island in it!

I have to say, before the trip I would have thought a Corolla was an older persons car and not the most stylish/ sleek car out there – but I have to hold my hands up and say with the new design, Toyota have definitely proved me wrong.

We arrived on Friday and picked up our car from the airport – I was instantly impressed by the gorgeous style, shape and colour of the car. This for me would be a huge factor in choosing a car. I also love a car that is a good size for getting around a city. I’m in and out of Dublin City Centre nearly every day for different meetings and events, so I need a car that’s an appropriate size & is easy to park (but I also look for a car with 5 doors, as 3 doors can just be a pain!) and I have to say the Corolla Hatchback really did tick all of these boxes. I’ve been looking at cars for a while on websites like allcarleasing.co.uk to try and find the perfect model for me, but I was really impressed by the appearance of the Toyota before I had even driven it!

I was the designated driver for the weekend which I was very excited about as it was my first time driving a hybrid car and my first time driving on the right hand side of the road.

From Palma airport, we took the scenic route to our hotel – the Park Hyatt Mallorca which was located on the other side of the island. It’s a beautiful island and You can easily buy a villa in Alcudia which we drove through. I’m pretty tempted to get a villa out here after our visit since I loved it so much. It gave me a chance to get familiar with the car and how it felt to drive. It also gave me a chance to get used to driving on the right hand side of the road and to get used to all of the roundabouts haha (there was a lot of them!) The Corolla Hybrid Hatchback is automatic so very easy to drive (I definitely would have conked a few times if it wasn’t) – it has a heads up display with a great GPS system. This was my lifeline for the weekend. If you wanted to get one, considering a PCP agreement might be a good idea. If you want to learn more about it check out Money Expert. They have some great information that’ll help you make the right decision for you.

On Saturday we head for some paddle boarding lessons in Port de Pollenca – I had been here once before 15 years ago on my first ever family holiday to Spain! It was so cool to be back. We got a gorgeous tapas style lunch in Tolo’s and then visited the old castle town of Bellver a successful day of exploring and a lot of time spent in the car.

I learnt it has lots of amazing features, some of my personal favourites are:

  • the rear view reserving camera
  • The USB for Charging your phone
  • Bluetooth

One other important thing to mention is as it’s a hybrid car it’s very quiet and smooth to drive – it has a petrol engine but an electric motor that self charges each time you slow down / stop the car which means you never have to plug it in – so handy! As it’s half electric it also means you’re not always burning petrol, like you are in regular cars, so it’s much more fuel Effecient (aka you don’t have to fill up your tank as often… aka you save money!)

Sunday we just hung out at our hotel, which I have to say was probably the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at, before heading back for the airport for our flight home.

I can’t thank Toyota enough for having me on this trip, it was amazing to get some winter sun with my best friend and also to get the opportunity to test drive the Corolla in Mallorca (at a quiet time of year, which made for a v relaxing driving experience. The roads are actually surprisingly good in Mallorca too for such a small island!)

I’m excited to see more of the Toyota hybrids on Irish roads over the coming months, they are very reasonably priced starting at €207 a month & you can learn more about ordering one here.

Hope you enjoyed this blog post & that you found it helpful if you are on the look out for a new car,

Lou xx

A big thank you to Toyota for inviting me on this trip & for partnering with me on this post 🙂

Lifestyle

My Winter Skincare Saviour

December 27, 2018

Hey guys

I hope you are all having a lovely Christmas break. I always forget how relaxing it is, how much everyone just switches off and takes time off. It’s needed at this time of the year and it’s so nice. I think every year I appreciate it a little bit more.

As much as I have been enjoying the break, my skin hasn’t really had much of one with all the nights out, the heating in the house and the cold weather, so I have been trying to treat it to a little rehydration 2/3 times a week.

The NEUTROGENA® Hydro Boost skincare range is amazing for rehydrating the skin – I’ve been using a few different products from the range for over 6 months now so I wanted to share with you my experience and my thoughts on one of them.

If you have been following me for a while, you will definitely have heard me talk about or seen me use the NEUTROGENA® Hydro Boost Hydrogel Recovery Masks before. There are 4 masks in the range: Purifying Boost, Hydro Boost, Radiance Boost and Ageless Boost.

What’s great about the NEUTROGENA® Hydrogel Recovery Masks are the ingredients, the results and the price. The range is inspired by innovative technology from Korea and tested with dermatologists to give you results in just 15 minutes, so it’s a really quick but effective addition to your beauty routine.

Each mask contains the equivalent of a 30ml bottle of concentrated serum (a month’s worth), so it leaves your skin moisturised and hydrated all day long (which is so important in the wintertime).

They also come in two parts, with separate sections for the upper and lower face, the segments adhere smoothly to the contours of your face and focus on areas that really need the extra hydration. It’s the perfect addition to your wintertime skincare routine as it’s so quick and easy, but it gives your skin what it needs too.

The masks are super convenient size-wise, I find them great for travelling and they are so affordable as well (only €4 in Boots). Click here to shop or to see more about the masks online.

There is also NEUTROGENA® Instant Boost Facial Cream Masks in the range, these are small little pods with 10ml of cream masks inside. Their size makes them great for travelling and using on-the-go. For someone like me who doesn’t always have time to book in for a facial, it’s great that they give the instant benefit of a facial in 15 minutes.

I have to say my personal favourite is the NEUTROGENA® Radiance Boost Hydrogel Recovery Mask (the pink one). I just find my skin to be bright and soft afterwards.

Let me know if you try them out and what you think, I know you’ll love them as much as I do.


Enjoy the rest of the break,

Back soon with more,

Lou xx

*This post was sponsored by NEUTROGENA®

Lifestyle

Gift Guide: For Him

December 13, 2018

Hi guys,

I am back with my second gift guide and this one is 50 gift gifts for him. Does anyone else find boys so much harder to buy for? Especially Dads! 

I hope this gift guide helps you find a gift for the men in your life or gives you some inspiration.

Chat soon,

Louise x 

*This post contains affiliate links meaning I can make a small % commission if sales are made as a result of this post. It does not affect the price of the item