Orange Obviously

Clóda Scanlon, 21, Irish Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, UCC Student, Cork City.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

24 hrs in Galway



Hey everyone, I don't know what it was about this week, but it felt like it was never going to end!
Perhaps it's because I'm back to college and have a bit of routine in my life again!!

But anyways I'm back again with my new weekly blog post! I'm really excited to finally have a structure to the blog and bring weekly content!
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So as you can tell from the title, this is a short Travel Diary - 24 hours in Galway city. I hadn't met up with my blogger besties in a while and Ciara was home from Italy for Christmas so it was the perfect excuse to have a girly getaway!!
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Nox Hotel 

Image result for nox hotel galway

A few months ago, I was kindly invited to have dinner and a stay for 2 in the Nox Hotel Galway. I finally had the excuse to head up to Galway for the day so decided it was perfect timing to stay!
Myself and my friend Ailbhe from The Red Brunette headed up for the night (and typically arrived by bus during Storm Eleanor hahah)!!
It was a hilarious start to the trip but we were never happier to step foot inside the cosy hotel!









As you can see from the photos, the decor in the reception area is absolutely stunning and so  luxurious! We were lucky enough to arrive when their Christmas decorations were still up! I mean is that not the Christmas tree of dreams?!!! (heart eyes!!)









When we arrived to the room, we were spoiled with the loveliest goodies! A box of pyjamas, Lily O Brien chocolates, luxury sleeping masks, and a 'dreams' notebook. Such a lovely and thoughtful welcome!



The room was gorgeous. So modern, funky, clean and spacious! You can't tell from the photo but we stayed in a huuuuge king size bed! Like we could easily have fit another 2 people in there hahah! Such a comfy sleep!




Gorgeous paisley prints, metallics and artwork brought the room to life! I love how each room has a different theme or vibe! And although I'm not a coffee drinker, there are Espresso machines in each room which I'm guessing is quite the luxury for coffee lovers!






The fab view from our room! (with Storm Eleanor in full swing)

Dinner & Drinks in Fork Restaurant




So on top of the invitation to stay the night in the Nox Hotel we were kindly treated to dinner & cocktails in their stunning Fork Restaurant!
 And my god was it incredible! I ordered the Confit Duck Leg and to say it was divine was an understatement!! I would nearly take the bus back up to Galway just to eat there again!! And don't even get me started on the Elderflower Gin & Tonic - wow wow wow!!
I cannot recommend Fork Restaurant enough. The service was impeccable and the staff were so helpful and friendly!
If you want to take a gander at the delish menus available, you can check them out here.


It was fair to say after that dinner that we were in the definition of a food coma!!
The next morning we filled up on a yummy continental brekkie ahead of our day with the girls!


I just want to take a moment to say how much I recommend Nox Hotel if you're ever looking for accommodation in Galway. From the amazing decor, the unbelievable food, incredible service and seriously affordable prices - I know exactly where I'll be staying the next time I'm in the city!
A special thanks to Nox also for inviting me and Ailbhe to stay! We loved every minute of our stay!

(*Disclaimer - I was invited to a complimentary stay to review the hotel but all views and thoughts in this blog post are my own)




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A day spent with my blogger gals <3



Sooo, the No.1 reason we came to Galway for the day - to catch up with our blogger besties!
These girls are absolutely incredible bloggers and are such amazing friends!!



When I am with these gorgeous girlies I can 100% be myself. I can talk to them about ambitions, hopes and dreams without feeling stupid because I know the support and belief we have in each other. Everything from blogging chats to life chats, I don't know where I would be without them.
And on top of that we motivate each other so much! You have no idea how excited we get when we shoot together and put our creative brains together.
(Until our mystery tour to Italy hehe)
I would highly recommend checking out all of their fantastic blogs:
Sho Style
The Red Brunette
Ciara S Walsh



Hot Chocolates in 56 Central.. (I was delighted that they had an almond milk option)








As you can tell we had a full-on photo shoot that day (because Galway is so ridiculously Instagrammable)! We even ticked another location off the bucket list by getting a snap with the famous Galway Wings mural!!!






We finished off  the best day of catchups and shooting in the stunning Tribeton just off Eyre Square. Apparently it's an old warehouse turned bar & restaurant! Stunning interiors, a great menu and most importantly the tastiest cocktails - the ideal situation!! Would highly recommend!



So as you can see it was a jam-packed, relaxed but fun 24 hours in Galway!
There's always something to do in this amazing city.
Stroll the streets of buskers, eat in the most aesthetic restaurants and just enjoy everything Galway has to offer!

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe even visit some of these places if you travel to Galway. I would love to hear your thoughts on these kind of travel posts within Ireland, so let me know if it is something you would like to see more of.

Have a great week!!
Until next time,
Clóda X

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Monday, 8 January 2018

Oh Hey There 2018!


Happy New Year everyone! I love the New Year to have that excuse to get motivated, get on track and beat the Christmas blues! I've never sat down at the beginning of a year and set goals for myself or physically wrote down my hopes and plans for the year ahead.

Taking inspiration from some of my favourite bloggers like Erika Fox and Ciara Walsh I've decided to not only write down my goals but to also share them with all of you!

Only in the past few months from joining the AIESEC society on campus and being the head of the Marketing team I've learned the importance and results gained from goal setting.
If I write something down - pen to paper or typing here in a blog post I'm far more likely to achieve my goals!
Another thing which I've been watching videos on and reading up about is the Law of Attraction. (Here's a great video about it : click here). That if you visualise something that you want in your life so often and so deeply, and work hard enough to make that happen, it will manifest itself into reality! And ever since I began to apply that idea into my life, I've been doing little things to make sure they happen. So here I am writing down my goals/plans for all aspects of my life in 2018, and this post will be a constant reminder to myself of how much I have achieved and how much I have left to do.

And hopefully you can take something from this post whether it's motivation to work harder at a passion, inspiration to start something new or even to set goals for yourself to make sure 2018 will be a great year!

College



This semester I have less hours in college, so I really want to use the spare time effectively to better my grades. 
  • I want to do at least 15-20 mins of extra Italian study each day. I am going on Erasmus in Italy for a year from September, so I really want to make sure my language is improving immensely before I go over there.
  • This semester I only have 3 modules in Sociology which is my Major so I want to try and make sure I attend as much hours of lectures and tutorials as possible.
  • I also want to be better with my time management and prepare assignments on time and not be running across campus in sweats trying to hand them in with 5 minutes to spare haha! We will have to see about this goal though because I work best when the pressure is on hahah
  • I want to continue working hard in my roles in the 2 societies I am a part of on campus - Marketing in the AIESEC society and Committee Member on the Fashion Society.

Health & Wellbeing


Living the college lifestyle has taken it's toll on me in the last few months. Drinking, very little exercise and such a crappy diet. I want some of that to change this year - not only do I want to do it for health reasons but I also want to have a positive body image heading over to Italy.
  • I want to exercise every single day, even if it's literally only a 10 minute walk, a plank and some squats.. I would like that to be the very minimum that I do each day.
  • I hope to go to the gym/do some cardio at least 3-4 times per week
  • I want to drink way more water. My water intake went way down in the last few months. I would be happy if I drank at least 2 litres a day!
  • I want to eat cleaner and leaner this year! As I said my diet has just been chronic in the last while so I really want to eat good food and feel good.
  • I really want to be extra conscious when I'm hungover that I don't do the dog on it with chicken rolls, fizzy drinks and what not just cos I'm lazy haha.
  • With regards to mental health, I'm quite a happy/positive person but I want to make sure it continues this way and look after my mind this year. I want to start going to free Mindfulness classes on campus, use the Headspace app more and do things I love during downtime!

Travel


For the first half of the year I need to save save saveeeee for my Erasmus so I can't see myself doing many foreign trips - bar a trip I have organised to go to Prague with the girls in March. But I still want to bring travel content to my channels because I love to discover new places! I'm thinking I can bring affordable travel content about places I visit in Ireland? For example, next week's blog post will be "24 hours in Galway".
But nonetheless, I have created a bucket list of where I hope to visit in Ireland and where I hope to travel to once I am living in Italy.
- Giant's Causeway, Co. Antrim.
- Climb an Irish mountain.
-Cork travel guide...
-Prague, Czech Republic.
-Rome, Italy (where I'm hoping to study next year. Pray I get a place there!!)
-Anghiari, Italy. (This little hilltop town is the reason I fell in love with Italy. When I was younger we went on a family holiday to this stunning town in Tuscany and it's a dream of mine to return again)
- Venice, Italy.
- Austria.
- Greece.
- Amsterdam.

*I don't expect that I will get to visit all of the above destinations but a girl can dream eh? :)


Personal Goals


So these are nothing to do with anything and are just getting thrown loosely under the branch of my 'Personal Goals' for 2018!

  • I really want this year to be the year that I begin driving! I have only done a few lessons ever, my provisional license has expired twice now, and I feel so behind all my friends. So I really want to complete all my lessons, pass my test and treat myself to a road trip.
  • I don't read books. I just never got into them, could never finish them. I always got bored, began to daydream or it just took too long. But tbh if I ever want to improve my writing skills and my critical thought, I've figured I need to get some books under my sleeve. I am setting myself the totally realistic goal of reading only FOUR books this year - one per season hahaha! I'm thinking books about fashion, motivation and photography. If anyone has any recommendations hit me up!
  • This year I want to get less paranoid about stuff and stop worrying about situations which I cannot control. I want to be more free, let be what will be, but also fight for what I believe in and what I want!
  • And lastly I want to work hard this summer, get a job, save money and be able to go to Italy carefree, money in hand and ready to have the best year of my life!!

Blog goals/plans for 2018


Of course, last but certainly not least - here are my aspirations for my blog this year! I really want to up my game and productivity in every sense of my blog. I have so many ideas and 2018 will be the year that I believe in my potential as a blogger and finally bring some consistency and structure. 

(1) Blog Content


  • With the less hours in college this semester, spending a summer at home and beginning a new adventure in another country, I want my blog content to be so much more consistent. In fact I have never brought consistency to the blog and now I'm finally making it happen. I want to schedule and post at least one blog post per week. If I have inspiration for more then I will write more, but for now this is looking super achievable.
  • I need to realise that my blog posts don't always have to be really lengthy ones (although once I start typing I struggle to stop haha).
  • I want to continue my content to be mainly fashion styling posts, chatty posts, lifestyle and some travel content & product reviews.
  • I want to review each month to see what worked, what you all engaged with and enjoyed the most etc so I can continue to produce content that ye want to see!
  • I have also decided with my fellow UCC blogger gal Ailbhe to schedule a time slot each week for outfit shooting and I think having this much consistency is going to bring much more and much better content!

(2) Vlogging/YouTube


  • I want to get better at speaking on snapchat. I shy away from it at the best of times but for now I'll work myself up and try to speak to the camera at least one day a week. (we'll see how it goes)
  • I say it all the time but never actually do it. I really want to dip into YouTube this year. It won't be as regular as blog posts but I have some ideas up my sleeve that I think could be really cool!
  • I really want to do more collabs with fellow bloggers/vloggers this year. I want to make a conscious effort to support, engage and follow fellow Irish bloggers I love.
  • I would love to get into fashion related YouTube like try-on hauls but also some lookbooks.
  • I also want to come up with a few series' which are my own and are authentic eg the move to Italy.

(3) Blogging Bucket List 2018


(You'll be glad to know this is the final section)
  • In 2017 I grew just over 1000 followers on Instagram and was so chuffed with myself. Sitting at over 8k followers now, I would hope to reach a following of 10k on Instagram before 2019!
  • I know this is a touchy subject for some people, but I want to make more money from the blog this year. So far I've only ever done one sponsored post on Instagram with a brand which I have used and loved since I was a teenager. I am blogging for 3 years now and a goal of mine is to start making some money on the content I create and the things I love. Of course I would only ever say yes to opportunities that I know will suit me, suit my blog, go with my content and that I think my following will also enjoy! There are so many opportunities and collabs I have turned down purely because they are simply not for me! With the hours put into shooting looks, writing posts, managing social media, planning themes/aesthetics for Instagram and many more things that I love doing as a blogger, it would be so rewarding to get some sponsored collaborations in 2018!
  • I want to up my content/photography skills majorly this year. I feel like I'm getting better and better all the time. I want to improve my flatlay shots!
  • I want to continue to increase my traffic to the blog. I would love if I had more regular readers - real organic amazing followers who engage with and support me. That is the dream. That is why I continue to do what I do. When I get messages from young girls telling me how a blog post of mine inspired them or encouraged them, it makes this all worth while!
  • And lastly but not least I want to really truly believe in myself and my potential as a blogger this year. I feel like I've never fully went for it because of that little voice in my head telling me I shouldn't, or wondering what people will say or having a fear of pushing myself. When really it can only get better!


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I hope you all have an incredible year. 
It's a clean slate. 
It's time to try something new.
Time to improve.
Time to push yourself.
Time to believe in yourself.
Time to make it happen.
2018 is your year!


Clóda x
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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

How To Live Your Best Life


Happy Hump Day!! 
Between being knee deep in assignments and getting stuck into college work, it's so important to have an outlet and a place to just unwind. With it being UCC Student Union's Mental Health Week a few weeks ago, I thought it was a opportunity to write this post which has been itching at me for a while now!

I got great feedback from my last post where I shared my 5 Tips For Finding A Balance so I thought this was the perfect follow up!
I hope you can take something from this post, and as always, enjoy!!

(Shots are from a recent shoot I did with an incredibly talented photographer Emma Smyth, check out her Instagram here )


Importance of Positivity

It's something we hear day in day out, but it can't be said enough! With all the bad stuff that goes on in the world and all the negativity out there, it's so incredibly important to try your best to stay positive!
Having a positive and optimistic attitude especially during stressful, upsetting or confusing times is vital! One positive thought can totally turn your day or someone else's day around and perhaps get you out of a difficult situation. Things go wrong in life, that's no surprise, but remaining positive means you're already one step ahead!! Take life with a pinch of salt and always always try to put things into perspective!

Stop Caring What Other People Think

There can sometimes be a very small-minded nature amongst Irish people especially in small towns where everyone knows everyone else's business. Often I think it's the case that we care too much about what people will think of our actions and hold ourselves back.
This in turn can stop people from living their best life or stop them from pursuing their passions.
For years I spent so long caring what people around me thought of me and put off doing the things I really wanted to. I would say I 80% of the time I don't care what others think of my actions/what people potentially say about me and my blog. I'm still working on getting over that 20% and I will.
The day you stop caring about what other people think of you is the day you start living your life fully!!


Find Your Passions


One of my favourite quotes is actually the quote I put under my picture in my secondary school's yearbook : "We weren't born to just pay bills and then die" and it's such a brilliant statement. It's very easy to fall into the basic routines of life : get an education, get a job, pay your bills and never bother to find your passions.
And while all of those things are necessary, that's not the happiest or most fulfilling life I could imagine. Something I've noticed about a lot of young people is that they lack ambition or motivation to push themselves beyond the norm.
If someone is reading this and feels they could definitely get more out of their life, please do. 
Push yourself.
Dabble.
Join a club.
Take up a sport.
Travel.
Give to Charity.
Find whatever it is that makes you want to jump up out of bed in the morning. Really, truly get the most of your life! You have a short existence on this earth. It's so true that what you put into your life is what you will get out.



Do Things For You

At the end of the day, you decide for yourself how you live your life. Don't be afraid to go it alone sometimes.. You learn so much about yourself and about the world when you do things by yourself. One of the best things I ever did was travel to New York and Africa alone. The friends I made and experiences I gained were just unforgettable! 
Stop relying on other people. Don't hold yourself back just because your friends won't do something or go somewhere with you. Learn to rely solely on yourself and you'll never be disappointed!!
You can only get the best out of yourself and the best out of your life if you actually take care of yourself. Respect yourself, treat your body kindly, relax, binge-watch your favourite TV show, set goals, exercise, do mindfulness. Do whatever you do in order to be happy!

The Secret

Do you want to know the secret to living your best and happiest life? Love yourself. Like seriously, love the life you've been given and do everything you can to use the talents you've been given. Be true to yourself always. And most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities - whether that's in a career, education, sports, music etc. Once you start to fully believe in yourself as a person, everything starts to fall into place - and you wouldn't believe how much happier you'll!!!


I hope you enjoyed this piece! I love writing on these kind of topics!

Until next time,
Clóda 
x

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Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Portrayal of Women on TV & film

Hey everyone, today's blog post is very different to the kind of topics I usually cover. I will be talking a little bit about how women are represented and portrayed in the TV & film industry.
This is as part of a gender equality action project for a Sociology of Gender module which I take in college.

Many people chose to do surveys, posters, scrapbooks etc. but of course I am using the resource I have at my fingertips - my blog! 


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The topic which I chose to discuss was the portrayal of women in the TV & Film industry because it's one which really interests me. 
My whole inspiration behind choosing this topic was the eye-opening speech which Reese Witherspoon gave at the 2015 Glamour Woman of Year Awards. 
She talked about her own experience in the film industry and how in so many of the movies we watch that it is scripted for a woman to turn to a man asking, "What do we do now?" in a moment of crisis. This totally undermines women and their capability in real crisis situations. Seriously, give women more credit than to plug them all as being naïve and less adequate than men!
 It was only when Reese made that point that it made me realise just how badly and how unrealistic women are portrayed to be on-screen. In a lot of films written and directed by men, it seems there is such little regard for women!
Across all genres of films, we see too many examples of how women and girls are undermined - they are the "ditsy"/"stupid"/"blonde" stereotypical characters! Isn't it so wrong that this is the way female characters are portrayed in so many films. For any kids watching, instantly they believe women to be incapable of handling themselves in tough situations or that women are less smart or that they are just walkovers!
How in this day and age is this still a thing? Do writers think that this image is funny? Do they actually believe it to be true? How are Oscars and awards being handed to production companies and writers and directors who show a totally ridiculous image of women on-screen!
I never would have realised that this was the case if it wasn't for Reese's speech. As usual, these kinds of things are hidden messages in a storyline, but these messages carry through to society being unequal in terms of gender. Movies are not real-life, but if a lot of people (especially youth) think that what they see on TV is true, what expectations are being set??
I thought this was such an interesting topic because TV has such a huge impact on our daily behaviour from a young age. If we want there to be gender equality, shouldn’t it begin with the likes of TV and the content we absorb every day! There needs to be a change!

On the bright side, if you continue to watch Reese Witherspoon’s speech, she goes on to say how she fought for equality in the TV industry and decided that she had to be the change! She began her own production company called Pacific Standard Films with the aim to tell real stories about real women! The industry tried to shoot her down, they tried to convince her that she would fail and that there was no market for female-driven material!
In the first year of production they picked 2 bestselling books written by women, with strong/fascinating female characters at the centre of the story! These books were none other than the very popular Gone Girl and Wild. Those two films grossed to half a billion dollars worldwide in one year!
I mean... I think those stats just speak for themselves! Storylines about women which are real, honest, and an appropriate expectation of what women are actually capable of. No more of the silly undermining nonsense! This is the way TV needs to go to strive for better equality!


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Women On Italian TV

Image result for women in italian tv
We see the disgusting, crude objectification of women and girls on TV every single day - take music videos for example! They just seem to get raunchier and raunchier. It's like a competition of who can wear the least amount of clothes. About 20-30 women all worship one "alpha" male in these videos as if he is a God or as if they need to throw themselves at him. 
That is not real life .. why are they doing this??? 

Luckily enough in Ireland, women on our TV shows are treated respectfully for most parts. This is shockingly in contrast to the way women are presented on Italian TV.

Image result for corpo delle donne
The above image might appear to be very pornographic, but in fact this is a woman on a game show in Italy. She fetches things, and follows orders from the male hosts. Basically her job is to just stand there with as much of her body on show as possible. She is just a sexual object!
How disgusting is this???
How is there no law implemented on this kind of TV? The men are totally dominant in all of these shows. And if women are lucky enough to land a role as a host on a show, they usually have to have huge boobs and long legs, as well as a "perfect" face.
This has led to widespread plastic surgery amongst female TV hosts in Italy. I have never actually seen so many examples of hosts from country with huge silicone breasts, ridiculously fake lips and can barely crack smiles with the amount of work they have had done to their faces.
It's such a false and surreal world. Imagine being a young girl growing up in Italy, and every time you switch on the TV, girls are walking around in nothing but push-up bras and thongs, the news readers can barely crack a smile because their lips take up half their face etc...?
Or even worse, imagine a young boy growing up seeing this dehumanizing, "desirable" image of women! How could he ever treat all girls equally or know any different?
This vulnerability and exploitation of women on Italian TV must leave scars. It must affect their self esteem.
 It's just so so wrong that this is how Italian tv producers get their "hits" or "views".
Luckily with documentaries such as il Corpo Delle Donne they are starting to create awareness, but unfortunately for Italian women, equality on TV doesn't seem to be improving.

I wonder will things change. Will gender equality ever become a thing across TV & film worldwide. Well for now, awareness and taking a stand is the best option, so that's why I decided to write this blog.

I would love to hear your opinions!

Thanks for reading.

Clóda x
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