Orange Obviously

Clóda Scanlon, 20, Irish Blogger & Vlogger, Cork City.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Why Everyone Should Take A Year Out


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Hey everyone, happy Tuesday!
With this year's Leaving Cert results coming out tomorrow, it has me thinking back to 2 years ago when I was in the same position and worried about my future!
First of all, the Leaving Cert is very important but know that it is not the most important thing in the world!

Throughout 6th year I had it in my head that I was going to take a year out! I didn't know what I wanted to do, and I also wanted to make money before heading to college. I had my doubts at the start, but when I look back, it was so worthwhile!

I often get questions asking if taking a year out was a good decision - usually from people who are on the fence about it! All I can say is, if it is itching at you at all to take a year out - absolutely 100% do it!! If you think about it, 1 year is very short and goes very quickly. There is literally no harm in one year's break! You've been in school for like 15 years now, so if college isn't for you at the moment, that's totally normal!

So why should you take  a year out?

You're Unsure About Your Choices

Were you like me and filled out the CAO but knew deep down you hadn't a clue what you wanted to do or if that course would even suit you? You just did it because it's the done thing to do during 6th year! If you really don't know what you would like to do or if you're unsure about college, gap years are fantastic options. You could get work or experience in the field that interests you and see if it's for you? Trial and error will become your best friend in the next few years!

Don't follow your friends!!!

Year after year, people decide on a college or course based on what their friends are doing! Please don't let this be the sole reason why you choose a college! I know it's daunting but you should NEVER base any major life decisions on what your friends are doing! Fact of the matter is, they will still always be your friends but you have to learn to live independently! Plus, it's important to branch out and make new friends too - how else are you going to experience the world and experience other cultures! When you move on from the secondary school phase you will realise that essentially you rely on yourself for a lot of things!

Improve Something or Learn Something

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Often, people will take a gap year as a time to get better at something they already do - whether that is a talent, hobby, sport etc. It's finally a time where you have very little commitments. Use this time wisely to perfect that hobby or to immerse yourself in something new.
Get fit, join a club, audition for a musical.
Do the things you've always wanted to do but never really had time for. Set goals for the year ahead and enjoy it as you overcome challenges to reach that goal!

Make some €€€€€

Up until the now only jobs you've probably ever had were weekend jobs, part-time jobs or summer jobs and you blew all your wages on the sesh at the weekends or on Penneys etc. haha!
Other than that, I imagine your main source of income would have been your parents! 
One of the reasons why I really wanted to take a year out was to make some money OF MY OWN!
I lived rent free at home, food on the table, had my own job and made my own money which meant I could spend independently and began to be more careful with money as it was my own and it was hard earned! Then when you save up enough money, you can treat yourself. Was there a designer handbag you always wanted? Do you want to set yourself up with a car and get driving?
Chances are you probably couldn't afford it all if you went straight to college!

Travel

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Whether it's buying yourself a weekend  away in Kerry, or off for a week in the sun, or even exploring a new continent - this is your time! You can save up for the year by working hard and rewarding yourself with a holiday at the end of the year! I caught the travel bug last year and believe me when I say it's an incurable sickness!! Work hard and then play hard!


My Year Out

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With all of those reasons in mind, I'm going to tell you my story!
As I previously mentioned I had always planned on taking a year out of study after 6th year so it didn't come as a shock to me or anyone around me when I declined my CAO offer!

This wasn't going to be a year of laziness for me! I wanted to immerse myself in every single thing possible! I wanted to have the most jam-packed, exciting year of my life - But how would I do that? I started to plan plan plan.

What did I do?

I set up interviews and applied everywhere for jobs, and thankfully got one in a local ladies clothes shop! It couldn't have suited me more! Also, I thought I wouldn't go completely without education and auditioned to be in a part-time music course in BIMM Dublin! Surely enough I got accepted! So I worked in the shop during the week and got the train up to Dublin every Friday to attend my course!
This was fantastic because I had the best of both worlds. I was working in my first ever real job while also studying Vocals, which I loved!


I immersed myself.. in Everything!!


Well this would be typical of me anyway! I am such a dabbler and I'll turn my hand to most things and I'm not afraid to try new things! From the get-go, I was already looking for ways to improve myself and improve my blog. 
In September 2015, my friends all headed off to college, while I was heading off to London to be a part of Outbox Incubator. Because of my blog I was one of 200 girls across UK, Ireland and Europe to come and stay in a house in London with other girls interested in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Maths). I spent a week in a house in London with other amazing young women. It was a huge step in getting my blog off the ground and one of my first ventures as a blogger!
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It wasn't all easy sailing..

At first I found it so strange to be working and having actual adult responsibilities while I watched all my friends go out all the time and live the college lifestyle! I quickly pulled myself out of that nonsense though and realised the opportunity I had to have a really incredible year that I couldn't have if I was in full-time education! I knew my time would come.

Although it was probably one of the greatest years of my life, I also went through some of the roughest patches I've ever been through! Only for the fact that I was on a year out, I don't know what I would have done! I wouldn't have coped properly had I been in college!
Within the space of 2 months, I went through a break-up, my best friend died, and I found out that the shop I was working for was closing down!! It seemed to be just one thing after another! But they say that things come in 3's so I knew it actually couldn't have gotten worse! And thankfully it didn't. It was a rough start to 2017 and to be honest it probably took me about half the year to recover from.
The reason why it got better was because I forced the situation to get better. I couldn't just let myself fall into grief and pain forever.
I became selfish, in a good way. I began to do things for me! I would put my own feelings first before others for once. In the least cockiest way, I started to revolve my whole world around me and I built up my world. I bought myself nice things, I got my nails done every month, I bought the camera of my dreams.. AND I bought myself a holiday to New York!! (But we will get to that)

I fundraised for charity..

After much self-healing and lots of time, I decided to get out of my own bubble and give to others. I began a fundraiser for charity. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and raised over €5000 for the Irish Cancer Society! It was an incredible feeling giving to such a great cause and to see people in my parish being so supportive of the cause!
I did all my fundraisers throughout my year out and in October, only a few weeks into college, I summited Kilimanjaro with 20 other Irish people.
It was not only physically, but mentally excruciating. But the views, the craic, the people I met, the journey made it all worth it. And knowing at the back of it all that the charity would benefit! It was just a once in a lifetime achievement for me. My proudest moment to date!


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I travelled to New  York!!


I remember the day I booked the flights to New York. It was during the time that everything got really hectic/eventful and I just thought, I have to do this!!
My friend Philip was living there at the time, so I knew I had someone to stay with!
And so I did it. Aged 19, no regrets, on the plane to New York alone.
I knew I would love it, but I never realised that when I stepped on that Aer Lingus plane that my perspective on so many things would change forever.
I learned more about myself in those 3 weeks than in my whole life. It's such a powerful thing - spending time by yourself. Travelling halfway across the world by yourself. 
I walked the avenues of New York and went to all the sites, for most parts, alone. I had nobody to rely on, nobody to answer to. I could just be me in this big crazy city! For the first time in months I was really truly happy. I felt so free. I was so tiny in this huge city and I loved it. I loved the buzz. The people. The lights. It was everything I imagined New York would be, and it was exactly what I needed!
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I 100% caught the travel bug when I stepped on that plane and now I can not stop thinking about travelling the world and experiencing everything! 
The confidence, and the light and the strength that grew in me when I was in New York is still standing to me today, 14 months later. I will never forget what New York did for me. I genuinely believe I am a different person because of that trip.  I feel like I can do anything and go anywhere. It was unforgettable!

How did I turn out?

Honestly, taking a year out was the best decision I have ever made. I believe that timing is everything and everything happens for a reason.
I was soooo ready for college by the time it came around! I felt mature, capable and beyond excited to live in Cork city! I also got the time I needed to figure out what course I wanted to do, and where I wanted to go!
If you do take a year out, or even if you don't. Stop being afraid. Don't think that you're too young to travel. Don't feel like you can't push yourself to do all the things you dream of doing. Don't feel like you constantly have to have somebody by your side. You have GOT this!! Travel!! See the world! Meet new people! (There is truth in all those inspirational Insta quotes!)
Most importantly, begin to love yourself, cherish yourself. At the end of the day, the only person who you can guarantee to always be there for you is YOU!

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Best of luck to everyone getting your results tomorrow!
Much Love,
Clóda X

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

How to find the Debs Dress of your Dreams

It's that time of year again.
The Leaving Cert is long gone and Debs season has begun!

Some people will have planned their dress for months or even years(in their head), but if you leave everything to last minute like me, you might want to read on..

I have everything in here from not spending a cent, to completely splashing the cash.

 Here are my 3 best tips for finding the debs dress of your dreams 

1. Know your priorities - Is it your own debs or are you going to someone else's??
I think you always want your own debs dress to be your most special - so if you're going to a few debs' or you're in TY or 5th year attending as someone's debs partner, then you probably don't need to spend a leg and an arm for just one night.

However if it is your own big day, you might want to put in a lot more effort. I was only ever at my own debs but personally it was a big deal for me to have a WOW dress that I could always look back on and love!

2. PlanEven if you are very last minute with buying a dress, at least have an idea of what you would like. Start Pinteresting and googling and checking out what style, shape and colours you want. It makes narrowing down the perfect dress a lot easier.

Shopping online is often an option, but always have a backup dress in case things go belly up with delivery or the dress isn't what you expected.

A really good tip I would have is to go to dress shops and try on lots of different styles, cuts and colours. What something looks like on the hanger or on a photoshopped model may not be the case when you actually try it on. So if you love something that you've tried on, don't jump right in. Have a look through online websites. 7 times out of 10 you will probably find the exact same dress for a much cheaper price online.

3. Suit Yourself - In my opinion the biggest mistake that people make every year is following the crowd when it comes to debs dress shopping.
Know your figure. Know your sizing. Know your skin tone. Know what suits YOU!
So many girls give in and buy the tightest fitting dress or sparkliest dress they can find 'cos that's the trend or because all of their friends are wearing them.
If it doesn't suit your figure or you know you will be uncomfortable for the night, don't buy it!
By all means follow trends, but it's more important to flatter your figure first and feel comfortable in what you're wearing than trying to keep up with your friends!


Cheap & Cheerful

It's such an expensive time. You had all of your nights out after the LC, possibly a holiday, you're buying all the ice creams around you, you're going to festivals. It seems like you're burning a never-ending hole in your pocket.
You also may not have a job. How are you going to afford your debs dress??

Well here's some ideas..
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You could borrow one! Remember the fab one that your older cousin, or neighbour or friend wore before? If you know them well enough you should definitely ask if you can borrow their dress. More times than most they'll be happy to see the dress that just sits in their wardrobe being put to use!
No money? No problem!! (But obviously get them a little gift or voucher or something to say thanks)
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If that's not the case for you, and you can't borrow, weigh up your other options.
Go check out a few different charity stores. You could find some really cool vintage pieces or you could find a cool top and skirt to put together as a two-piece!
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Buy second-hand. There are groups on Facebook called "Dresses, Debs Dresses for sale" and you could get a gorgeous dress for half the price it was bought for - which could also be in perfect condition. Definitely worth taking a look at!
Another fantastic forum for purchasing debs dresses second hand is on Depop. It's an app where you can buy and sell clothes. It's completely legit once you pay through the app :)
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Hit up the sales! There's sales everywhere right now. Debenhams always have beautiful brands on sale during the summer. Also River Island can have some hidden gems in their sales - well worth keeping an eye on!


My Top Picks


Missguided

This red beauty is so on-trend right now with the bardot bow detailing. 
Can you believe it's only €48 right now and there's also 20% off?? Go go go!
Buy the dress here


If your tummy is a problem area for you, but you still want to wear a fitted dress and feel sexy AF, then this dress is literally made for you! It would be amazing with dramatic eye makeup or a bold red lip!!
Buy it here


I just think that the shade of blue of this dress is so stunning and different to the typical debs dresses! It's simple but super trendy too!
Buy it here

SheIn

So just before I show dresses from this site, know that it is a discount fashion store. Delivery can definitely take 4-6 weeks (or more) to get to Ireland and sizing can be funny. (I promise I have heard success stories about them though)

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If  you want to be the ultimate senorita or love to make a statement, this beaut is right up your street and only $37! It also comes in purple and a forest green colour but I personally loved the navy!
You can find it here

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I adore this little number. I feel like it's a colour and a shape that would suit a lot of people! Talk about princess vibes!!
Shop it here

I'm obsessed with the colour of this dress, obviously!! It's so chill and boho but soooo pretty!
It's only $22! Shop it here

Virgos Lounge

This online store is amazing for finding one-off pieces that are just magical!!

Arizona Dress
It's certainly a bold dress to wear! But with the right sass and slicked back hair you'll be looking a million dollars! Shop here

Julia Dress
I just think this dress is incredible! I've noticed they always re-stock it because it's just such a show stopper and it's timeless!! Buy it here.

Selena Dress Red
What I love about Virgos Lounge, is that you can tell when dresses are from their brand. They use a signature leaf jewelled pattern in a lot of their styles and it is just beautiful!
You can shop this beauty here.

Rosie's Closet

Rosie's Closet is an Irish boutique I stumbled across when looking for my own debs dress. It's a bit on the pricier side, but their speciality is debs dresses so you can be assured they are spectacular pieces!
Now I'm not sure if you can buy their dresses online but you can make appointments with their store in Newry to try on and purchase dresses.

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They have gorgeous two pieces for something a bit different!

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They have dresses to suit everyone and have a good size range too!

Chi Chi London

This is the ultimate girly girly store to buy your debs dress. If you want to look pretty and feel like an absolute princess, this is the place to go!!

1. How beautiful is this dress?? It would suit everyone!
2. It's only £73!!!
Find it here

Like I mean.... Where was this beauty when I was looking for a debs dress :(
Very much fairytale vibes!! I'm OBSESSSSSED! It's also suuuch a steal at £100!!
Shop the dress here

I'm LOVING this number!! It's just so glam, so elegant!
And how incredible is it with sallow skin and dark hair? WOW!
You can buy it here

What I also love about Chi Chi is their range of shorter debs dresses! Dare to be different!
Shop the look here

Curvy Style

Sometimes it can be hard to shop when you don't know of some places with your size available. I'm listing some shops online which do curvy ranges and you might just find your dream dress!
Ones to check out: Debenhams, Asos, Missguided, Rosie's Closet, Chi Chi Clothing, River Island & Lipsy to name a few!

I'm just sooo obsessed with this dress from Chi Chi Clothing! It is so elegant and expensive looking! If you want to get your legs out, but still look classy, this style is beaut!!
Shop the dress here

In case you haven't already noticed I'm a huge fan of blush and rosy pinks this season! It's just such a flattering, girly colour!
This dress is from Littlewoods this time under the Little Mistress collection, which I love!!
I love the chest detail and the wrap to sinch you in at the waist!! Fab!
Shop the look here

Love love love this one from River Island!! The embellishment is beautiful!! And it's black too so very easy to pull off with a good tan and the right accessories!
You can buy it here
(This same dress is also available in smaller sizes but be quick 'cos it's limited edition)!

Littlewoods

It's one that perhaps not everyone would have thought of, but has some absolute gems nonetheless!

I just adore this peach dress! Everything about it!!
I love the embellishment, the netting. So classy and so trendy too!
Buy it here

This gorgeous gúna is from Littlewoods Petite collection. I love it! That lilac shade is so pretty with soft blonde curls!! You can shop it here


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I hope you can take something from this blog post whether it's tips, advise or inspiration on brands and styles!
I know I would've loved to have read an article or blog post on picking the perfect Debs dress 2 years ago! So I just hope this has been helpful!

I hope you all have wonderful debs, and enjoy every minute of picking your dress and accessories!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below,
Clóda x
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Frills, slits & rips


Hey everyone, how glorious has the weather been this past week?
Ideal weather for outfit shooting. I should have been studying for my final Italian exam tomorrow but just had to get these shots hehe.

So today's shoot was a collaboration with DV8 Fashion. This was my second collaboration with this fabulous online shop which stocks so many brands for both ladies and menswear!

DV8 were kind enough to let me pick an outfit of my choice which I could shoot for the blog! 








Of course I chose a top with frills. If you follow me on Snapchat you will know that I have an obsession with all things frilly and puffy lately. It's all about the romantic era and classic styles this spring summer.
I adore this crisp white number which you can buy here. I think the asymmetric detail on the top with the bardot sleeve on one arm is just stunning! 





Isn't that one delighted head in the nice weather haha!!







I was absolutely weak for this skirt when I spotted it on the DV8 website!!
The shade of blue is the perfect summer denim, and with this wonderful weather I had no excuse not to get my legs out!
Why this skirt is so great for me though is because it's such a challenge for me to find skirts to suit my figure. It's no disguise that I am curvy around the hips and bum. It's always a tough one to find a denim skirt which is fitted on both my bum and my waist. 
It's as if this one was just made for me!! The material is so soft and stretchy - perfect for big-bottomed ladies like myself haha! Another great aspect is how the length is longer on the back allowing for extra room.
But I love how it's not only just suited to my figure, it's trendy and fashionable too. 
The slit detail and the ripped/fraying hem just make it even prettier. 
I can't wait to pair it with so many different clothes and create new styles with it!
You can purchase the skirt here.




 By the way... is anyone else WEAAAAK for my western style belt???
I've been having a bit of a statement belt frenzy lately - and for good reason!!
I can't believe I nabbed up this beauty for just €9 on none other than Boohoo!! It looks so much more expensive I reckon!
You can find the belt here.




I absolutely love these photos. They create such a mood or vibe (as my friend Lauren behind the camera said). I would have deleted this photo this time last year for being too dark.
Following and taking inspiration and tips from one of my all-time favourite bloggers & photographers Anouska Proetta Brandon, I have learned to not only appreciate but love pictures with unusual shading and lighting. It definitely captures a mood!






Today's look was shot in stunning Fitzgerald's Park in Cork City. 



And of course the final and most important part of my outfit.. I'm never fully dressed without a smile!!

I hope you enjoyed this fashion segment and photography just as much as I enjoyed styling the look for the collab and shooting the outfit!
Credits to my bestie Lauren for being the woman behind the camera today, and a big thanks to DV8 for wanting to collaborate again!

**Disclaimer: DV8 sent me the top & skirt as a gift as part of this collaboration. I chose them myself to match my own style. All views in this post are 100% my own.**

Until next time..

Clóda x



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