From a young age, I considered Mercedes-Benz as being the ultimate car brand to drive. Superior design, superior quality but I perceived them as being suited to a much older age group as I always saw lots of mature gentlemen driving huge Mercedes-Benz cars around my city.
Then, a decade ago I became a model and noticed that many top models across the globe pinned Mercedes-Benz as their brand of choice when they went car shopping with their first big wage. Then I became a model agent and fashion blogger and became utterly obsessed with new emerging talent through the World's top Fashion Weeks. The best of these weeks globally, were sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, so my impression of the brand began to change. I noticed gorgeous compact cars being released, young people driving them and more importantly, Mercedes-Benz being associated with everything I considered young, current and evolving. When Mercedes-Benz sponsored our own Cork Fashion Week two years ago and I saw the fantastic range of models up close and personal at our events, it changed my perception of the brand for good. No longer perceived as an out-of-reach brand for me, I decided to take a Mercedes-Benz out on the road to see what it was all about.
I test drove the GLA 180 CDI Urban (1.5 Diesel) this week. Working in fashion and appreciating design, I am drawn to good aesthetics and the calcite white paint with black artico leather upholstery, black 5 spoke 18'' alloy wheels had me at hello!
The clever thing I found about this new generation of compact car was that it had classic SUV styling elements from the fitted room rails, the simulated underride guard and the black, grained elements with a sleek yet sporty interior with integral seats for agile spaciousness and maximum safety.
I may not be a motoring 'buff' but I have a new baby and drive alot so safety and comfort are key to me when choosing a car. We drove to picturesque Kinsale with a happy, sleeping baby Erin in the back and I barely felt the road underneath me as we drove. The GLA is fit for off-road excursions and the robust yet compact feel while driving was one I hadn't felt in a car before. After a delicious brunch we returned to the city, where we enjoyed people waving at us from cars and giving us positive thumbs up as they admired our pristine GLA in all its glory glistening through the city. I expected to feel a little nervous parking this in tight city spaces but due to the GLA's clever, compact design and reversing camera, it surprised me in its agility and I found it to be a super car for city driving.
The biggest surprise for me was the price. Throwing all my preconceived notions about the Mercedes-Benz brand out the window, this car comes in at a very appealable base price of €36,780. I have friends and colleagues who have spent more on flashy cars from other brands that wouldn't stand the test against this progressive yet compact SUV.
In all, I am sold on the GLA. It has rubbished any outdated opinions I might have had about Mercedes-Benz, and proved to me that the brand are the best in their field for superior design, safety, style and comfort. Now I'm off to write a very important letter to Santa........
I have always been a big believer that the best designed and quality
garments never go out of fashion. If you spend a little more than
average on a good designer coat, dress or bag it will work in your wardrobe for many years as opposed to fad trends that come and go on the highstreet. That's why I admire Kate Middleton's style so much. She chooses great designer pieces but isn't afraid to show their worth and wear them again and again.
With this in mind, we visited Kildare Village for some Christmas Shopping today in search of designer bargains and ended up coming home with a full car of great purchases, not just for Mummy & Daddy but for baby Erin too. It was the perfect day for a family day out at Kildare Village with the sun shining, everything covered in frost and the Village was dressed up so beautifully for Christmas. We visit every couple of months but this is by far my most favourite time of year to shop there. Today we had a beautiful meal at L'Officina Dunne & Crescenzi, where the friendliest staff Marta and Monica (photographed below) nearly ran away wtih Erin....and she lapped up the attention!
Below are some images of my purchases and my favourite picks for a Christmas Gift Guide for all ages at Kildare Village this Christmas xo
If not,I'll settle for these gorgeous Mulberry pumps
(Leopard Print were €500 now €170, Nude were €375 now €184)
How gorgeous does Vivienne from Kate Spade look in her sparkly Emma dress
(was €810 now €486)
Close-up of the gorgeous Kate Spade Emanuelle sparkly clutch (was €300 now €180)
French Connection Wool coat with faux fur collar (was €283 now €129)
Burberry Baby Girl's coat (was €95 now €62)
All Saints Mens Denim shirt (was €120 now €45)
There were so many great shirts for men in All Saints for approx €50!
This was my favourite item today, a leather womens biker jacket in All Saints (was €408 now €198)
We enjoyed a beautiful lunch and Erin was spoiled by the friendly staff! Here she is with Monica & Martha
The sportswear for men is great and Timmy always gets great trainers when we visit. These were a steal at €59!
Our last stop was the Cath Kidson store for some homeware and a gorgeous white baby bag that was reduced to only €21 which I will feature on the blog soon.
By the time we got to the car, our little munchkin was asleep from her fun day at Kildare Village!
Being a model agent is like having over 50 teenagers that you have to deal with - not always easy considering so many different personalities. Some work really hard and appreciate every job, others expect more but work less. It has been almost 10 years ago since Vivienne and I set up Lockdown Models and it has been the most amazing journey in business ever - one that we never planned to set out to do!
Every now and then a model pops up that blows us away. These are few and far between. Kellie Forde in our early days was that girl. Humble, a team player, up for every job to build her portfolio and grow as a person and grow as a model. And that's why she did so well getting onto Sky's Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model. She has become one of our close friends now and we visit her in London when we can.
This week another of our treasured girls, Aisling Deasy made it to the final in Ireland of the Oasis Shoot, Style, Smile competition and featured on Ireland AM this morning. She has that something different, not just the right look but the right attitude. Clients love her as nothing is ever a problem, she always delivers and is a pleasure to work with. How fab is the picture above of her with Alexa Chung today in Dublin!
I believe that nothing that is worth having comes easy. And when myself & Viv see this work ethic in young wannabe models, we know we're onto a good thing! Well done Aisling xo
Aisling's final image in the Oasis Shoot, Style, Smile comp on Ireland AM
My friend Anne gave me this quick dinner idea and I make it once a week on days when I'm feeling lazy but would still like something homemade to eat. It takes 10 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to bake in the oven.
1 finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic
Passata sauce or tinned tomatoes
Sliced Mozzarella cheese
Line the end of a dish generously with washed spinach leaves.
Place whole chicken breasts on top.
Add in garlic. Cover chicken in slices of mozzarella cheese. Pour passata sauce over entire dish & bake in oven at 180 for 45/50 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Being a new Mummy, I don't have the luxury browsing hours I used to enjoy to stroll around shopping centres picking out nice outfits for myself. So I am always on the lookout for good websites with stylish, reliable brands, good sizes and a good delivery service. I found a great website that meets all this criteria and they stock a great range of great quality labels - Logonstyle.com.
They stock some of my favourite labels from Selected Femme to Darling, Vesper to Traffic People and Forever Unique to Melissa footwear. I just bought this gorgeous furry coat which has rose gold sequin detailing from the site. It is from their Darling label and I can't wait to share lots more pictures this season of being out and about in my new versatile jacket. A black furry jacket like this will work in your wardrobe season after season so I'm really happy with my new find and a great service from Logonstyle. Visit their website here. Happy shopping xo
Today, I was lucky enough to test drive a beautiful Mercedes-Benz GLA-class. Before my test drive review which I will post later this week (when I eventually drag myself away from this gorgeous car), here is my outfit post for today:
Vintage boiled wool jacket: Miss Daisy Blue
Leather detail leggings and polo neck: Zara
Today I popped into my favourite vintage store, Miss Daisy Blue, to celebrate their 5th birthday. I wore an 80s vintage red coat and vintage brooch from my own Miss Daisy Blue wardrobe and paired them with Zara jeans, brogues and a Topshop navy polka dot shirt. I love to mix vintage with high street to give outfits an unexpected twist.
I am in Dublin today for a preview of the COS SS15 womenswear and menswear collections. On arrival at COS, I had a gorgeous lunch inspired by the new collection, pictured below, made by chef Katie Sanderson. As well as being walked through the divine new collection, I managed to fit in some shopping and picked out a navy dress for Erin's christening. Off for a glass of wine now with Erin & my baby Daddy. Full SS15 story on the blog later this week xo
I am the furthest thing from a good cook you will meet. I once burnt a electric kettle by putting it over a gas stove (it was a running joke in my house for years!). So I love Roz Purcell's website as it's full of easy-to-make tasty meals and treats. And she uses really healthy/natural ingredients.
Tonight I made her delicious Turkey Chilli which is totally clean, healthy, was made in a flash and was a huge hit with my hungry hubby. Here's the recipe, I used rice noodles instead and don't have a spiralizer so did a DIY job on the courgette. Thanks Roz xo
It's a very rainy Monday today and I am just home from a visit to the doctors with baby Erin, we have the fire on, she is watching Care Bears and so made these delicious and semi healthy treatrs for Daddy & myself. Thanks to one of my followers on the Facebook blog, Aileen Lynch Kelleher for the recipe. They were a big hit in my house! xo
1 cup peanut butter
1/8 cup caster sugar (not granulated)
Maple syrup or honey (I used honey)
Dark Chocolate Chips (I used non dairy)
Mix all the above in a bowl, pop on a flat tin and into the oven on gas mark 5 / 190 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden. Leave to cool and voila!
The cute mason glasses are from Tiger, only €2 each including the straw. Very cute for milk & cookies! xo