Fashion & Lifestyle Blog


Shopping Vintage

                 Wishing I could squeeze my baby bump into this pretty vintage summer dress!

On a trip to New York four years ago, I ventured into some vintage boutiques in Soho and Greenwich Village. It was like opening a treasure chest of magnificently made garments from the 40's to the 80s, garments that are copied today but not as well crafted. The average price tag for a dress was over $500 so it wasn't within my budget to invest in one of these timeless, historic garments at the time. I looked up similar boutiques closer to home and saw stunning garments from William Vintage in London, who dresses many A-listers such as Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet for British red carpet and Hollywood events.

Not long after I came back to Ireland, I heard about the opening of a vintage store in Cork, which was soon followed by the opening of another two great vintage stores. Excited to see what local vintage had to offer, I visited the Miss Daisy Blue store, expecting it to be a beautiful window shopping experience....but one out of my budget league.Since the store opened, I have gathered some amazing garments and created a little vintage wardrobe of my own, that didn't break the bank, thanks to the unrivaled buying skills of the store's owner Breda.

I called in there today with my 7 month baby bump and came home with an original maternity dress from the 60s in lime green as well as a 70's floor length maxi dress - photos later. Dresses are priced from approx €60 upwards and the store has casual wear right up to really special occassionwear upstairs from decades past. Breda has even had a top Hollywood actress visit the store during a stay in Ireland, under the radar from media as she knew that stores like this are a rare find for fashion lovers and word has spread about Breda's boutique in fashion circles beyond the Emerald Isle!

As someone who appreciates the history of fashion, I am fortunate to have a boutique of this calibre and beauty on my doorstep. Looking forward to sharing my new dresses with you soon here. In the meantime, here are some shots of the new stock in store today xo

My favourite garment instore - a lavendar floral print vintage swimsuit

Stop Skinny Bashing

I have spoken before about how I was diagnosed with Scoliosis of the spine at age 9. Treatment in the 90s was to wear an uncomfortable fiberglass back brace which ran from under my breast bone down to my pelvis, right around my body. To encourage my spine to straighten up during puberty growth, I wore this for 4 years, 24 hours a day while it scarred my body and made it often impossible to sleep. 

When new braces were moulded onto me to wear, they would cut into my skin and I would have to rub my bleeding skin down with surgical spirits each night until it toughened up and got used to the structure and pressure of the new brace. My parents were told that this illness meant that there was no guarantee until treatment began, if I would grow and develop like other children. I did, thankfully. I grew spectacularly. I was 5 ft 8 by the age of 14. Towering over any boy or girl of my age. And although healthy, I was bone thin due to a mix of my natural DNA and wearing my tight brace which pulled in my waist, sides and back. 

I had to be excluded from swimming and some PE classes in school, always singled out sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else participate,feeling like an outcast. Due to how other teenagers viewed and commented on this brace jutting out from underneath my school uniform making me look like a Transformer ready to morph, I preferred to stay at home, study and prepare for better things when my back was better. I had a small group of amazing friends who always looked after me and the most supportive parents in the world who encouraged me to stick out the treatment as they wanted the best possible outcome and future for me. But most amusingly of all, I was subjected to Skinny Bashing by other females for many years, something that disgusts me today when I see it online or hear it in public.

If I had a penny for every female during and after those years who took it upon themselves to casually comment (expecting me to find it endearing!) on how I was a 'skinny bitch' 'too thin' 'shut up you, you're skinny what would you know about weight issues' ...I could go on.

As females, we exist in a culture where we applaud curvy women, yet think it's totally acceptable to pass comment on women under a certain scale size in a negative way. Irish model Roz Purcell was  cruelly attacked on Instagram by a flock of over opinionated women last year for putting up a picture of her lean body. She is a beautiful, healthy girl who doesn't drink, is a training athlete and runs one of the best food blogs in Ireland. Actress Keira Knightly has spoken out about how her naturally thin shape and metabolism has attracted negative comments from women through the years. 

So why is it deemed ok to comment on a healthy, happy woman's appearance if she's skinny in a negative manner? If I were to be so rude as to reply and tell someone they were, in my opinion, a little overweight, I would be the worst person in the world!

Why comment at all? Who are we to judge each other based on appearance alone? 

Modern culture, media, scantily clad pop stars are very often blamed for sending out the wrong message about being thin. I think we are using those mediums as an excuse when it's everyday women in public, face to face, or on the internet thinking it's acceptable to comment on other women's physique that sets the bad example, is the root of the problem and breeds this type of shape bullying.

Whose business is it what shape or size I am? Who are you to judge me whether I am a size 8 or a size 20? As women, don't comment on men's size. 'He's a fine size', 'he's beautiful as he's curvy'..? You never hear those remarks from women about men or men about men!  So why are women doing it to each other as women? Perhaps they are vocalizing their own personal insecurities in knocking other women for how they look?

I am thankful for every single day I wore that brace now. It showed me through the words and actions of other females, exactly the type of person I was sure I didn't want to become as an adult- ignorant and judgemental. 

Those 4 years shaped me as a person, made me ambitious, driven, mature and compassionate to anyone facing challenges. They made me study hard so I would have better opportunities than the 'cool' girls in school who bullied and sniggered and drank on street corners at weekends. I stayed in, studied hard and focused on all the positives. 

Thanks to my parents support and investment in my health all those years ago, I am not only tall at 5 ft 10 but I am compassionate. Compassionate to women who are subjected to judgemental comments by other women on whether they are skinny or large. When I come across it still today, I put it down to ignorance. You don't know what's going on in someone's life, you shouldn't judge another person based on appearance alone, drawing your own conclusions for why they look the way they do. It's time women stopped judging each other on appearance and supported and encouraged each other more. Life is short and everyone is fighting their own personal battles.

If you told the 9 year old me back then that I would be scouted at 17 to be a model, become a finalist in the Shell Young Entrepreneur of the Year and by 23 open my own award winning Irish Model Agency providing employment for over 50 models sized 8-18 aged 6-60, I would have retreated back to my bedroom in disbelief, reflected on the skinny bashing I would have encountered that day.....and studied hard in the hope that some day, it might happen! Xo

Body shaming needs to stop! 


The Perfect Symmetry

I have blogged in the past about my frustration around any cool or stylish mobile phone covers usually offering no decent protection and the robust covers with great protection all being masculine and ugly. So when I heard Otterbox had a new range of covers coming out that were both stylish and robust, I was skeptical to say the least. I have both an iPhone 5 and a Samsung Galaxy so over the past fortnight, I tested covers on both. I am murder for dropping my phones, breaking my screen and squishing them at the bottom of my handbag loading lots of heavy books, ipad and diaries in on top of them. While I'm on the run between jobs I have dropped and shattered the screen on my phones so many times. But after testing the new Symmetry Series covers, I am sold! Through complete and utter vanity...or fun, I have even been matching the cute pastel shades with my daily wardrobe. I'm not a selfie-addict, but if you are, these are the covers to be seen taking your selfie in the mirror with...if you want to gain some serious style cred.

Good bye to my old rubber bunny ear cover, my jewel encrusted golden glam cover and flip-off to the flip top Orla Kiely cover I once loved that frayed apart at the seams....I am officially a fan of the sleek, stylish and ridiculously protective Otterbox Symmetry covers!
Available now at Vodafone, 02, Carphone Warehouse, Metero and 3 Mobile xo

The moment you love your Symmetry phone cover so simply have to buy shoes to match!
Not your average phone cover...not your average cup of tea
 My Symmetry Family - for Samsung <3
Matching nails & Symmetry case? Why, of course.
Now if only someone would make me a dress to match this print, my life would be complete!


I Work Out

I was diagnosed with Scoliosis at the age of 9, meaning I needed treatment for a curvature of the spine before I hit puberty to avoid any future health or growth complications with my spine - a story for another day! I wore an uncomfortable fibreglass brace around my torso for four years 24/7 and was the lankiest, most awkward teen there was. I presumed that if I was blessed enough to get pregnant 'when I was big' I would be on bed rest and it would be the longest nine months of my life. With the support of a fantastic Obstetrician, I was encouraged to continue my usual gym visits to Educo Gym where I only spend 10 minutes, 3 times a week lifting weights. I moaned initially as I presumed pregnancy was surely my one time to have a 'get-out-of-jail card' to avoid working out but with only 11 weeks to go until baby arrives, I can't recommend maintaining your fitness and the health benefits that it brings highly enough.

Working out under close supervision at Educo and lifting much lighter weights than pre pregnancy, has enabled me to strengthen the muscles in my back (particularly around the curvatures) and legs to deal with the growing weight and shifting gait the baby causes as it grows. So far, I have avoided any back, sciatica or muscular problems and am able to function and work fulltime, business as usual. As well as yoga, which I will cover in a separate post, I fully attribute having such an enjoyable and fit pregnancy to the training I have received to keep me strong. The days I go to the gym are the days I have the most energy. I know working out during pregnancy isn't for everyone but I feel really grateful to be enjoying my first pregnancy without my Scoliosis getting in the way. I have no doubt that it's going to get increasingly hard to drag myself in there as I expand over the next 11 weeks but I also feel that it will be a huge factor in my mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing towards the end.

''Training throughout pregnancy has amazingly positive effects on the body.  Our tailored programmes are focused on keeping the body toned and lean and I have been thanked by many women for helping to make their labour shorter and more manageable. Recovery time after birth is faster and I have seen many of our past clients bounce back into shape in no time'' says Mark, one of my great trainers at Educo Gym

Thank you Educo for helping make my pregnancy so enjoyable and making me feel so well!  xo

Coachella Style 2014

Harley Viera-Newton in Topshop. Pic:
Whitney Port at Guess Hotel at the Viceroy Palm Springs. Pic:
Chiara Ferragni. Pic:
Goth-chella with the Jenners
Kate Bosworth rocks chunky sliders
Jared Leto embraces print clashing
 Pic: Leslie Kirchoff for
Pic: Leslie Kirchoff for


Maternity Jeans

So my go-to clothes have always been skinny jeans and Converse. When I found out I was pregnant, I presumed that I could wear a band and stay in my trusted comfy jeans up until the third trimester at least. WRONG.
In the first trimester, I experienced lots of bloating and my regular jeans were really uncomfortable. I invested in the elastic button bands from Mothercare, that you tie onto your button and pop through the button whole. They act as an extension to your waist size. But they just made my jeans fall down and I was pulling at them every time I got up out of a chair. Too annoying!

In the second trimester when my bump made an appearance, I trotted off to the high street in search of maternity jeans thinking they'd do the trick. First I bought a black pair of skinnies from Topshop's maternity range but being a size 12 and 5 ft 10, I find it hard to get good fitting long leg jeans as it is and the Topshop style just kept falling down so I was tugging them up constantly like a breakfast-roll-eating Builder's Bum!

All the styles I viewed in Next were bootcut so I ordered a pair from ASOS maternity online. Although I happily buy most of my clothes online, I wouldn't advise it for maternity wear as once you're into your third trimester, you really need to try things on before you buy them to make sure they are flattering. I had to send the ASOS jeans right back, they made me look huge and were too low rising. My last stop was H&M. Their sizing was tiny so in order to get extra length in the legs, I had to go up a size. But the H&M style had an over-the-bump band which seemed really comfy when I tried them on instore. After wearing them an hour at home I had to take them off, the only comfy part was the band over my bump but the waist was digging into the end of my bump and really hurt when I was sitting down. So I gave into leggings and dresses and resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't see myself in a pair of denims until after baby arrives.

....Until I heard from another expecting mother about Beautiful Bumps. I presumed maternity shops stocked 'safe', non modern styles but out of desperation I called to the store and left with full bags. It was so refreshing to see current season colours, up-to-date trends and some really gorgeous clothing to make you feel beautiful as you grow your baby bump. My favourite find was a pair of ankle length Mamalicious jeans for only €49 that fit like a glove. They are a beautiful soft, stretchy denim and have just the right amount of room on the waistband for me to expand by little bumpkin over the next 11 weeks. They have a grey over-the-bump band which is super comfy and stretchy and doesn't fall down so no tugging necessary!
I picked up lots of other gorgeous dresses for upcoming events and weddings at Beautiful Bumps so I'll post pics here soon. Click on the store's Facebook page here and browse their labels and gorgeous stock. More outfit posts soon from my new maternity wardrobe from the store xo


Fashion with a Purpose

I was honoured to be invited to MC a super glamorous fashion show last night in aid of a new extension in Brooklodge school, Glanmire at The Castle. As I was dressing to leave for the show, Timmy was zipping me into my gorgeous new dress and the zip burst...or rather my growing baby bump split the zip. Thankfully I had a stretchy black dress from Love V Boutique that saved the day for me as nothing else in my wardrobe was fitting! It was my first rude awakening that I may no longer get away with bigger sized high street clothes for the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy so I have booked into visit Beautiful Bumps store owner Lisa Dundon tomorrow to see if I can find some nice maternity wear with room for my little baby to grow as big as she likes comfortably!

Last night's fashion show was full of energy, a really fun audience to present to, gorgeous models from our Lockdown Model Agency and lots of money was raised for the school on the night. It makes celebrating new fashion collections all the more special when it's for a good cause.

Of all the backstage selfies and photos the models have posted on Facebook & Twitter, thankfully there are no pics online of me plodding around backstage in my leopard print slippers before I went on stage in my heels. The joys of pregnancy! xo

Above 2 looks from Diffusion Wear Boutique here
Striped and colour block summer dresses from Blush Boutique here
Moi with talented Fashion Stylist and fellow blogger: Natasha Crowley
Love these crazy models <3
Natasha with our Backstage team of dressers


Paddington Bear for Baby Gap

My beautiful friend, Jan from kids blog Stylelovebugs saw on my blog that I was preparing for our new baby's arrival and sent me the cutest huge Paddington Bear teddy for our new nursery this week. He reminded me of old, authentic teddys and came complete with his traditional mac, hat and wellies.

Our new bear couldn't be more on trend as Baby GAP have a Paddington Bear childrenswear collection instore now. Inspired by the story of the beloved bear abandoned at Paddington Station, the adorable collection is a twist on classic baby clothes designed for both boys and girls from newborn to 24 months old. Shop the collection and avail of some great reductions here Paddington Bear at Baby Gap.

Smells like Teen Spirit

This month marks the twentieth anniversary of the passing of one of my all-time favourite singers, Kurt Cobain. I was an awkward, nerdy 16 year old teen with no clue about fashion labels who felt I didn't fit in with conventional, commercial trends, the pretty girls in school or the traditional expectations of the time. Then along came this Seattle band whose sounds I could relate to, whose style was unconventional, unorganised, yet acceptable. It was officially ok to be a moody teenager.

I didn't care about labels or fashion and was ignorant to style in general - until grunge and anti-fashion became the new fashion, thanks to Nirvana.  In the early 90's, Nirvana displaced Michael Jackson in the Billboard charts, a move that was inconceivable to most. 'We weren't on a mission, we just wanted to make a great record' says Dave Grohl on the Teen Spirit single. The iconic song, produced by Butch Vig, saw first time director Samuel Bayer hired due to his reel being so poor in quality that the band liked the authentic, punk and uncorporate feel to the look of what he would produce. The song and it's music video appealed to teens who didn't fit in. Kurt's message was for a specific group of tormented people and he wanted to reach them through music, making the Nevermind album somewhat of a perfect storm. On the Nevermind album, Grohl says that he 'hears a sense of purity and honesty that I haven't heard in a long time'.

That individuality and purity was lost for along time in fashion and business in general in Ireland. Although I have worked in corporate circles through the past decade, I have never succumbed to the uniformed, old fashioned approach of corporate dressing, which until very recently was without character, without personality and bland. I still have my Converse days at the office but if I'm meeting a client I dress appropriately. If I am presenting a show or attending a ball, I enjoy pulling out all the stops in the best evening wear I can find. I have given seminars on how corporate dressing has changed and in general, how first impressions do last, so I believe old fashions and old trends need to change to embrace the new generation who are filling our footsteps in the workplace. Nirvana changed the perception of perfection in the fashion industry in the 90's and it has lasted and grown stronger with time. Imperfection is perfection. And as the old saying goes, clothes do not make the man. I admire influential women in our industry such as Kelly Cuttrone, who has never fallen into the corporate or commercial fashion trap and although she is one of the most powerful women in Fashion PR in America, always dresses in plain black & flats. Here is a snapshot of how some of the world's biggest fashion houses have been influenced to this present day by the anti commercial message that made Nirvana and the grunge movement so iconic x

 Dries Van Noten, Spring 2013
 Marc Jacobs, Fall 2006
 Max Mara, Fall 2014
Preen, Fall 2008


Oh Baby Magazine Shoot

Modelling for Oh Baby magazine, 6 Months Pregnant:
I was delighted to be invited to model maternity wear in a shoot for the May edition of Irish mother and baby magazine 'Oh Baby'. I had a really great day and adored the vary of looks that stylist Natasha Crowley pulled for me.  Natasha always picks things I would never put together but always gets it right and opens up my eyes to broadening my fashion risks. The only challenge was trying to bend down to tie my shoes between outfit changes but Andrew, the hair stylist from The Edge and Kate Noonan makeup artist both reached my pinkies for me when necessary and helped. They allowed me shoot at places I love to visit at the weekends (House Cafe at Cork Opera House and Himalaya Yoga Valley) so it all felt very natural. I can't wait to see the magazine in May, I'll share it here when it's out. Thanks to Bille, Egle & the team today for such a lovely day.....and more pics for my baby's album xo

London trip with my bump & the girls

London Antics - 6 months Pregnant:
I headed to London with Viv and the girls last weekend for my last girlie break before baby arrives. We had dinner at The Ivy, Viv and I met with Elite Model Agency to work on some exciting plans we have with them for our own model agency and we attended the annual Pia Michi Fashion Show at the Millenium Hotel in Mayfair.

I was hesitant to go initially but everyone made the trip so easy - from my fantastic friends always making sure I was comfy and not too tired to great airport staff, even being offered cushions in The Ivy. We all wore dresses from The Dress Bar in Cork so it was fun to represent the store in the UK with some of the most glam people at the Pia Michi show.  I met Michelle Heaton who was telling me that she had just had her second baby and she looked phenomenal.  I also met Nicola McLean who had so much practical and fun advice about birth and parenting, I loved hearing her stories about her two beautiful boys and her husband was every inch the proud Dad!

My usual 5am girlie nights out have changed to Cinderellaesque midnight events with pregnancy but I feel so grateful to be enjoying a great pregnancy that allows me to go to so many events, work alot and travel. Here are some images from our trip for my baby album xo
 Green ball gown from The Dress Bar
 All of us after the ball in our Dress Bar dresses
 Off to dinner at The Ivy with Kate & Sabby from The Real Girls
My dress for dinner at The Ivy was from AX Paris
 Sabby, Kate, Myra and Sandra looking beautiful dressed by The Dress Bar
 Talking babies with Nicola McLean
 Sabby with Lizzie Cundy

 Sabby with Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten
 Talking CBB with Casey Batchelor

Vivienne talking Pia Michi with Taz
All hair: Sabby from Kopper Hair / All Makeup: Kate Noonan
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