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Posted on October 1, 2019

Tinder VS Nurture: has online dating exposed human nature?

Dating

Throughout my years of attempting to navigate the bewildering world of modern romance, I’ve had many aversions towards online dating and widely used apps such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish.

Without delving straight into it or coming across as deeply judgmental, I will simply say that for the good part of the first few years Tinder surfaced into today’s dating world, I was under the impression that they were reserved for singletons who had a hard time managing to secure dates in real life – to be perfectly fair, I have no doubt in my mind that many of us shared a similar sentiment at one point or another.

It is not untrue that the growing popularity of Tinder and online dating has positively impacted the calendars of not only the socially awkward types who could never work up the courage to ask someone out on a date face-to-face. But also the calendars of individuals who simply do not have the time to meet a potential partner in ‘traditional’ ways.

Even with that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if the pros of helping those who might just have an overwhelming fear of facing rejection could possibly outweigh the cons of replacing the instant chemistry, emotional connection and sexual tension that could only be detected in the presence of a human being towards whom we have an attraction for.

I recently had an epiphany about modern relationships which made me question a lot of my views surrounding them. It came about because I recognised that I was gradually turning into a cynic about love, sex and relationships. As someone who has always had a very positive – and possibly even naive outlook – on everything that falls within the scope of love and dating (we were all Charlotte Yorks at some stage in life), I found it disheartening to see myself develop an attitude that is the antithesis of what I’ve always stood for.

This forced me to look deeper into common behaviours within modern dating and recurring patterns that I’ve been seen both in myself and the failed relationships of others. It made me question the dreadful future a lot of singletons of today and Tinder users may be heading towards.

It forced me to question whether the existence of Tinder and online dating and the increased accessibility we have to each other is a large part of the reason why men and women alike are less attracted to the idea of settling down and are instead moving more towards being sexually liberated about whom we explore our carnal desires with.

Did the burning desire to freely explore our sexual choices always exist within us and are dating apps simply revealing what we’ve always subconsciously wanted or can we hold online dating at all accountable for the fact that less and less millennials are getting married?

tinder or marriage

It’s a loaded question that has many layers, not only because there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration, but particularly because it brings in the conversation of monogamy and its biological implications. It suggests monogamy is simply a social construct that goes against human nature – an argument for which there is a lot of evidence, but a discussion for another day.

The topic at hand is the classic ‘egg or the chicken’ debate. Did the desire to be sexually free birth a large number of dating apps or did the large number of dating apps birth a generation in which the the average age of brides and grooms continue to rise?

Before we can attempt to look at this objectively, we need to look at the facts. The internet was only made widely accessible about three decades ago. In retrospect, that isn’t a very long time to fully understand or even attempt to grasp the full repercussions of having such an advanced technology be so readily available. One of the first popular dating sites came about nearly 25 years ago, and following the likes of Ashley Madison and Seeking Arrangement, it led to a lot of negative connotations.

To the contrary, the first marriage records date back to the 19th Century in Ireland and much earlier in the U.S. So how can we truly know the impact of online dating on the human psyche and the evolution of marriage? Thy say social media addiction activates the same areas of the brain as taking a class A drug, now that alone should be enough to startle us.

According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 20, 389 opposite sex marriages in Ireland in 2018, a drop from 21,262 recorded from the previous year. The average age of brides and grooms last year were 34.4 years and 36.4 years respectively.

Granted, there are a considerable number of reasons for this and I am in no way shape or form suggesting that online dating alone is the reason why the average age of grooms in opposite-sex marriage was at the highest to date last year. But it does make you question what role dating technology currently plays and the impact it will continue to have in coming years. After all, for those who do get hitched, one in four couples end up going their separate way.

Now that’s something to think about.

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Posted on August 15, 2019

How to manage relationship weight

fitness/ Health

how to deal with relationship weight

Shout out to the person who tweeted that because relationship weight is as real as it comes. In fact it is something that I am currently battling with and not because I’m rejecting it completely. But mainly because I am struggling to discern whether or not I secretly adore my new curves.

Regardless of the case, the one place I’ve always detested adding a few kilos is around my waist so for that reason alone, I decided my new predicament warranted a bit of research into why being in a new relationship is a culprit for weight gain.

According to various studies, entry into a romantic relationship is associated with obesity in a lot of couples. Now before we get ahead of ourselves, I think I should point out that it’s not all doom and gloom since it doesn’t apply to each and every couple.

Generally speaking, the kilos a budding couple puts on is often due to a result of the transition from on relationship status to another. A change in relationship status be it getting into a new one or the breakdown of an old one can result in a change of health behaviours – both positive or negative.

Happy couples in particular have an increased risk of picking up unhealthy behaviour due to date nights out or overeating during a (genuine) Netflix marathon. In a nutshell, dieting is derailed in the early stages of a new relationship.

However, it is also said that cohabiting couples are more likely to experience weight gain within two years with women having a higher chance of becoming obese within a year and the men’s odds increasing within two years.

So what does that mean for us? Shall we just chuck any diet plans we had in mind out the window seeing that we’re going to pile on the weight anyways? I think not!

Here are some guidelines for you and your other half to help keep both of your waistlines under control (disclaimer: if you so choose to) 🙂

1. Fakeaway for two 

cauliflower pizza

It can be quite the challenge to revert back to your own meal planning routine when you begin to share your time and schedule with someone else. But just because you’ve stepped off the path temporarily, it doesn’t mean things need to remain that way.

The usual date night plans of dinner and drinks eventually will decrease overtime and rather than falling into a habit of replacing it with takeaways, a healthier option would be to make dinner at home.

There are plenty of tasty recipes you can enjoy for fewer calories and a fraction of the price you’d pay at a restaurant. The result? You’d be keeping your waistline happy as well as the aul bank account! If you’re feeling brave, here is the cauliflower pizza recipe.

2. Exercise together 

Diet habits tend to take a back seat when you’re besotted with someone and when this happens it is only natural that a regular exercise regime also gets derailed.

Whether you’re an avid gym goer or not, getting into the habit of exercising with your partner is a great way to stay on top of the relationship weight.

You can lift each other up when one person is feeling dissuaded and it’s also a great form of bonding. What sort of exercise? Power walking, swimming, gym classes, there are plenty of options!

3. But not exclusively

deal with relationship weight

While it is great to have someone to encourage you to workout when you’re not feeling particularly motivated, it is equally important to remember that you shouldn’t exercise exclusively when your other half does.

Yes, couples that sweat together stay together (at least according to the ‘gram), but you are your own person and just because they need a rest day, it doesn’t mean you should follow suit.

Let the positive behaviours influence your gym schedule, not the negative ones!

4. Meal plan

protein pancakes

I’m an absolute divil for wanting fresh food and meals so I will hold my hands up and say that I am guilty of not making meal prep a priority for the week ahead. But the amount of money I’ve spent on salads or sushi for lunch when I don’t meal prep is a lot more than I’d like to admit.

So I of all people would know that meal prep is absolutely everything. When you plan your meals ahead it means you can avoid buying the cheaper and often unhealthy option for lunch or dinner. 

It also means you’ll do a weekly food shop and consequently not spend as much of your hard earned cash on food when you’re out. Here is a simple protein pancake recipe.

5. Get more shut eye (this is when my age starts to show)

Getting a night of solid sleep really does make a difference particularly because the hormones that govern hunger and appetite can be affected when a person doesn’t get enough sleep.

While this can be difficult to accomplish when sharing a bed with someone (for more reasons than one) a good way around this would be to spend some time in your own bed (alone) to get a good nights sleep.

Like most things in life, there are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration when trying to make sense of why finding love carries the potential for packing on a few kilos. Some people embrace the change while others are less welcoming to this type of change.

Whatever category you fall into, just remember that you need to do what’s best for you because whether you like it or not looking good is feeling good! 🙂

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Posted on July 9, 2019

Spend a romantic night away at The Address at Dublin 1

Dating

I’ve recently had the pleasure of waking up to a rather picturesque view from my king size bed at The Address at Dublin 1. After a much needed overnight stay in the 4-star hotel which overlooked the long-standing central railway station of North Dublin, it quickly occurred to me that Dublin has a plethora of hidden gems that often go unnoticed during the hustle and bustle of city life.

So today I wanted to give some credit where it’s due and highlight some of the things I enjoyed about having a romantic night getaway in the heart of Dublin City Centre. It goes without saying that if you watched my Instagram stories during the time while I was away then you will have already seen a glimpse of what this contemporary hotel has to offer. Nevertheless, good staycations are always worth mentioning especially after my Instagram poll last week revealed that nearly 90% of voters have never stayed in The Address at Dublin 1.  

So without further ado, here are some things I loved about The Address at Dublin 1 and 5 reasons why you should consider spending a night away in this luxury hotel 🙂

1. Location

Being from Drogheda means that things can get a bit boring in my end of the woods (disclaimer: ignore what you read in the Indo please). The Address at Dublin 1 is a perfect escape if you’re looking to be right in the centre of the big smoke.

The hotel is located right across from the side entrance of Connolly Station and it is only seconds away from the red Luas line. If you’re completely new to Dublin or the Emerald Isle then it helps to add that one of the cities main shopping areas, Henry Street is no more than a five-minute walk from the hotel. 

 

2. City Views

After checking in at the front desk, the hotel receptionist was kind enough to walk me to my club room. When I first opened the door into the bedroom it was rather dim as the lights weren’t turned on. One of the first things he showed me was how to open the curtains using a high tech touch panel that responds to a simple hand movement and the second the curtains started opening I was in awe of what was before me.

The view of the city from the 6th floor was genuinely stunning which I probably don’t have to say because the photos really do speak for themselves. We were lucky enough to have been given a room so high up. But if you end up staying on one of the lower floors then worry not as all guests have access to The Club Lounge on the 7th floor so the view can always be enjoyed from there. 

 

3. The Club Lounge

The private elevator half way through the corridor on the ground floor can take all club room guests up to The Club Lounge on the 7th floor. The private area has complimentary pastries all day as well as a coffee machine and a selection of teas to help you kick start your day. It also has a smart TV system and freshly stocked fridge and dare I say… an executive chair.

Club Room guests can use their pre-programmed key cards to get  complimentary rooftop lounge access to indulge in refreshments throughout the day. If you don’t get so lucky to have a picturesque view of the city from your room then you’re guaranteed to get it from the rooftop lounge.

 

4. In-room technology 

The high tech amenities in The Address at Dublin 1 would turn anyone into a tech junkie. The technology in this 4-star hotel is innovative, smart and above all else, incredibly simple to use – take it from a gal who used to get confused about which remote to use at home! The Club Rooms have the latest in-room touch panels for controlling the lighting, temperature and as I previously mentioned, the opening and closing of the curtains.

It also has everything between a work desk and coffee machine (for the workaholic) and complimentary Wi-Fi and a flat screen TV (for the proud hedonist). When I stay in a hotel I always like knowing whether or not I’ll have access to an iron so if you’re anything like me, it helps to note that there is an iron and an ironing board in each room and the ensuite toilet is filled with organic products from Voya.

5. Food & Beverages

The Address at Dublin 1 really does spoil guests with good quality food and drink. The night of our stay we had dinner at McGettigan’s Cookhouse & Bar where I ordered fish & chips as a main (no surprise there) and fresh profiteroles for dessert. The food did not disappoint in the slightest which is precisely why I was not at all surprised by the extensive buffet selection we got to indulge in the following morning breakfast.

Guests can choose anything from a full Irish to wholesome options in the healthy section. If breakfast isn’t included in your booking then worry not as the Club Lounge offers a selection of complimentary bites such as fruit salad, croissants and a selection of yogurts with freshly brewed tea/coffee throughout the day. 

If this isn’t enough reason to visit The Address at Dublin 1 then I don’t know what is! It truly is one of Dublin’s little gems, snuggled away in the heart of the big smoke! 🙂

For bookings or inquiries, be sure to have a look on www.theaddressatdublin1.com 

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Disclaimer: This was a complimentary stay, but all views remain my own. 

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Dating women in their 20s VS dating women in their 30s

Dating

Yes, you read that correctly and no, I haven’t started swimming in a new dating pool…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I guess I should address the second burning question some of you might have: what brings such an intriguing debate to a blog that typically explores topics surrounding dating and relationships from the perspective of a black female from a small town on the Emerald Isle?

The answer is pretty simple.

In my days of interrogating men of varying backgrounds and interests (as you do) there was something startling about their views that I took notice of fairly quickly. The majority of men I would have had heated discussions with about the dynamics of male/female relationships all shared a common denominator: a staggering number of them had similar sentiments about dating women of a certain generation.

Years ago, this topic would have not peaked my interest in the slightest. But now that I am gradually moving into a new age bracket, I’ve naturally developed a growing curiosity towards it. But rather than discussing the development of my dating life throughout my twenties, I thought the best way to tackle this would be to get an honest opinion from someone whom I have often turned to for genuine dating advice.

Without further ado, here is an anonymous blog contribution from a 30-something year old Irish male who will share his thoughts on the matter 🙂

So I have been asked to write down some of my thoughts on dating and my observations on the scene. I myself am no shining example of a human but I would stick myself somewhere in the middle of that list. 

On to the topic at hand, the first thing is finding a woman to date: do you do it old school and analogue or digital? Nowadays we are spoiled with options.Trying to get a date growing up was scary as hell but also fun. You could walk up to a girl and start talking, be polite or maybe a bit cheeky, whichever works and then ask for her number. You would try your best not to sweat, panic or mumble while she more than often was actually quite sound and understanding. Regardless of whether or not they were interested, they respected the effort. 

Well that’s all in the past and as we all know digital communication has taken over everything, and now single again in my mid-thirties I was left with the challenge of getting to know this new form of interaction. Tinder seemed like the most logical starting point so I set about doing my research into how it works to get myself off on the right foot.  

As most of you know …

The first option beyond which gender you would like to match with is age, which is exactly what is being discussed in this blog. So what are the differences between dating women of varying ages from the point of view of a 35-year-old man. After a number of dates with “women” (girls) in their mid-twenties I learned something awesome. I experienced something of what it would be like to be an old rich guy who got a divorce and now has his new trophy girlfriend. I was literally able to have map out holidays, redecorated the front room, plan out the next day in work all in my head while also keeping up with the conversation at hand. Needless to say, the idea of banter did not exist. For me this is a must.

The next age range was roughly 27 to 32. But I will skip this one for now and focus on 32 plus. 

What can I say, sophisticated, witty, well-dressed are just some of the observations any man with a half an eye could make. The sad truth is that I noticed there was a desperation to the dates. Sometimes it came across as knowing what they want, but often I had the impression that they were like that guy in the night club at half two in the morning just trying to chat everyone up because he’s panicking at the idea of going home alone again. I get it, I have been to too many weddings over the last couple of years and they are like the bouncer of our lives telling us to drink up and go home, and most likely alone if it is that late. 

I think these were the first generation of women who truly had close to the opportunities men had and along with this were also sold a lie. 

Like everyone in the 80’s/90’s was sold the lie that if you got a degree you could do anything. Women of the same age were told they can have it all. Has anyone had it all? With the ever-increasing acceptance of social behaviours and career opportunities I think some of this generation thought they could simply focus on career and then pick up a man once they had achieved what they wanted. Now with the unfair situation of the ticking biological clock the pressure is on and how can a healthy relationship develop in this constraint while also trying to hold down a career and figure out a mortgage.

So (my favourite word and greatest indicator of my lack of intellect), to the remaining group…

I could focus on the positives of which there are many or I could focus on the negatives. But the truth of the matter is it is not the difference in age, it’s the difference in narrative that they were sold. I found this generation to be fully aware of the impossible challenge of having it all. They understood that finding an acceptable partner to try and make a life with is not a past time but a job in itself and every jobs require sacrifices. Unlike the generation before them they knew what they wanted and how to get it. Surely this is the narrative that should be sold, to men included, you cannot have it all but if you are lucky, work hard, choose wisely maybe you can get what is important to you.

Until next time,

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Posted on March 4, 2019

10 ways to get a text back on Bumble

Dating

Anyone who has ever flirted with the idea of using online dating as a means of finding a partner would undoubtedly corroborate my words: it is slim pickings out there. While I have been quite fortunate with the vast majority of dates I’ve had (which contrary to what some of you may think have been few or far in between) I still recognise that the world of modern dating has become an absolute minefield.

If you’re not yet familiar with my sentiments towards the likes of Plenty of Fish and Tinder, then I implore you to read 12 things I’ve learned from being on POF and then watch my YouTube video titled 5 things Irish guys should never say to a black girl on Tinder (gotta love a shameless plug in).

A less popular dating app, yet one I would consider to be of better quality than the aforementioned two, surfaced the modern dating sphere towards the end of 2014. Social networking app, Bumble can be used for business purposes (Bumble Bizz), finding new friends (Bumble BFF) or for dating (Bumble Date).

While I do feel that it ranks quite high in the echelon of dating apps, it often gets a bad rap for being a ‘feminist dating app.’ Why? Because in all heterosexual matches, it is up to the woman to message the guy first.

Make of this what you will, but I personally think it is an excellent idea. It is one of the reasons I was drawn to Bumble in the first place. Putting the power in the hands of the woman means we don’t have to worry about getting bombarded by the weird and creepy messages that many of us would have experienced on other apps. I also think it can be pretty beneficial to men who are shy and a bit inexperienced in the dating realm.

Of course, I can’t speak for men but when I’ve asked male Bumble users about their thoughts on this set up, the general consensus seemed to be that women didn’t make a huge effort in the first text. This wouldn’t exactly start things off in an exciting way and would often lead to the usual small talk which let’s be honest, many of us are jaded by at this point.

Worst case scenario for the woman?  Not getting a reply at all.

Bearing this in mind, I’ve decided to compile a list of creative ways women can get the ball rolling on Bumble.  So without further ado, here at 10 ways you can get a text back on Bumble in 2019 🙂

1. Always start with a question that isn’t ‘how are you?’

Using the info you pull from their bio is always effective *wink* *wink*

2. Hone in on that common interest

Can’t fault a gal for not showing a bit of passion!

3. Massage that male ego

Men and their egos, huh?

4. Fetishise him

Just kidding. But speaking of fetishes

5. You could also shake things up a bit by instilling paranoia

Turns out we went to the same college – boring.

6. Make up a chat up line by pulling from his profile

Cheesy, but it works!

7. ALWAYS acknowledge pet animals

This seems like a given.

8. A bitta banter never hurt anyone

To which I responded ‘nothing but the best’

9. The Neil Strauss ‘neg’ approach

For those of you who don’t know, a neg is akin to a back-handed compliment.

10. But try not to take it too far ladies as it might lead to him cutting off all ties…

And another one bits the dust.

What are some of the things you’ve done to try and get a text back on Bumble? I would love to know! tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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Posted on January 18, 2019

How to be more period positive with BeYou patches

How To

A menstrual period can be the defining factor for womanhood in the eyes of many females even though some women absolutely despise theirs. Others, embrace their first bleed and believe it to be a central part of their identity as a woman. I always fell into the second category of women. Well, at least until recently… 

Growing up, I had what I liked to call ‘the perfect period.’ I used to menstruate at the same time of the same day of every month – it was like clockwork! My period lasted about five days and I thankfully did not suffer from any obvious menstrual pain. I did (and still do) get severe back pain and often subjected my loved ones to the occasional emotional outburst.

Fast forward a few years to when ingesting the mini pill became a regular part of my daily routine and my so-called ‘perfect period’ was no longer referred to as such. My flow became the absent father of periods which came and went as it pleased.

Thanks to progestin-only birth control, I now have irrational pregnancy scares at random because I don’t have a consistent reminder from Mother Nature to tell me I’m just being my usual over reacting self – the joys of synthetic hormones!

While both my menstrual cycle and flow now differ to my much-loved period of the past, I’ve managed to maintain the positive attitude that I’ve always had towards my monthly bleed. I think it is important to have open and shame-free conversations about menstruation and embrace the most natural thing a woman’s body can do! 🙂

How can we promote period positivity?

BeYou is a UK brand that I’ve recently teamed up with. The period-positive brand aims to break the stigma attached to periods by encouraging open dialogue around a topic that is still pretty much taboo for some people.

BeYou developed a pain relief product containing two natural ingredients which helps ease the muscular tension that can lead to period cramps. Using BeYou period patches can help women have a more positive experience every month which in turn may promote a positive attitude towards menstruation and the conversations surrounding it.

The two active ingredients of the patch are Eucalyptus oil and Menthol which get absorbed through the skin and help ease the muscular tension which causes period cramps.

3-step guide to using your BeYou period patches

Be You period patch

Note: The patches have a strong menthol scent as this is one of the active ingredients that will help ease your pain!

Be You period patch

Note: You can wear it in work, during a commute or even a night time. You can have it on for about 12 hours before you even contemplate using a new one!

Be You period patch

Note: I found it very helpful to remove my patch in the shower, it is fast and painless!

 

I am currently wearing one as I edit this blog post and I have to say, using a natural product that smells feminine, is easy to use and does what it says on the tin is such an empowering experience.

It makes me more proud to be a woman to see brands like BeYou join in on important conversations. I can’t thank them enough for getting me involved 🙂  

Where can you get yours?

You can purchase your BeYou patches on Beyouonline.co.uk

If you are tempted to give BeYou period patches a try, then you can find out more about how to get a free month supply after you sign up to a monthly subscription (T&C’s apply)

Final thoughts

I’d like to finish up with a confession that will hopefully propel the conversation of period positivity even further. A confession that will remind women of the importance of having a healthy attitude towards periods and to encourage young girls to embrace what Mother Nature gave us. Here it is…

Hello, my name is Filomena and sometimes, I like the smell of my period. Some of you might find that gross, but I said it and I’m not taking it back 🙂

Do you have a period confession? If so, share it on Twitter using #ShameFreeMenstruation and let’s help BeYou keep this conversation going! This year is about breaking whatever is left of this bloody stigma – no pun intended.

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*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes. But all views remain my own.

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bakerdays letterbox cake

product review

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, some of you might already be thinking about what to get your loved ones this year and the unnecessary burden that is put on both couples and singletons alike during this money driven holiday can often leave some people at a complete loss. But thanks to letterbox cakes delivered by bakerdays*, some of that pressure can be alleviated for you with little effort on your part 🙂

How does it work?

  • Step 1: Pick the occasion
    Decide on whether you want to send someone a cake for their birthday, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day or even a simple thank you cake – it’s entirely up to you!
  • Step 2: Choose your desired size and design
    While there are a number of designs to choose from on the website, you can decide to customise your cake to make it truly personal. You can then choose one that easily fits into your letterbox (as I did) or select a medium – large cake.
  • Step 3: Pick the recipe
    Some of you would be happy to know that bakerdays caters for food intolerances. You can choose a dairy/wheat/gluten free cake of your desired flavour: red velvet, chocolate chip, Victoria sponge or fruit cake.

The Delivery

The delivery for my letterbox cake was fairly quick, I didn’t have any issues with the waiting time at all. But what I will say is that the parcel needs to be signed for.

I know the idea behind it all is that it fits into a letter box. But at the same time, we don’t want all the hard work put into design and decoration to go to waste! So a signature is necessary upon receiving the cake.

The Cake

I ordered a Victoria sponge so it did taste like a classic Victoria cake. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh and fluffy it was though (considering it had to make it’s way all the way from the UK to Ireland).

The cake I chose was covered by a layer of hard icing and the design (which I gave them free reign over for the most part) was fit for purpose – the office!

There was also a greetings card that came with the cake, adding even more of a personal touch to it 🙂

My Final Verdict

bakerdays letterbox cake

While I am a firm believer of giving gifts that are specific to a person, I also think that if there is one thing we can universally agree on, it is that everyone loves cake! The fact that bakerdays caters for people with food intolerances too is just the cherry on top! 🙂

So I think this would be a perfect gift to get your second half or even just a friend! It’s a cute way to show someone that you’re thinking of them!

To order your own letterbox cake and for prices, visit bakerdays.com  🙂

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*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review. But all views remain my own.

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5 reasons I received a Google alert for my name in 2018

lifestyle

I never in a million years would have thought that my blogging achievements in twenty eighteen could ever amount to half of the accomplishments I had with Enhance What’s Yours in 2017. In fact, I spent the early days of twenty eighteen (excuse the overuse of this millenial slang), crippled with the anxiety that I may had set the bar too high for myself in the previous year.

I mean, when an open letter that took less than fifteen minutes to write makes international headlines, how could I possibly envision myself topping that? Hell if I know how, but I did! And when I reflect upon the year I had with my blog and the opportunities that I’ve been afforded through a brand for which I have taken many sacrifices, I can’t help but look back with a greater sense of gratitude.

The gratitude I feel towards the brand I’ve created far exceed any sentiments I felt towards my blog accomplishments in previous times. That’s not to disqualify any of my past achievements or to say that they are less significant. But it is mainly because I feel that the knowledge that I accrued in my second year of freelancing has helped me recognise that luck can only get you so far.

You also have to be willing to do what others won’t.

So without further ado, here are some of the main reasons why I received Google alerts for my name in 2018 🙂

1. My TV debut for ground-breaking Channel 4 series

As many of you know from the series of blogs I’ve published around this topic, I was part of the diverse cast for a two-part Channel 4 documentary called Genderquake. Filming for this ground-breaking series took in the beautiful city of Brighton in October 2017 and the show finally aired in May of 2018.

Genderquake explored gender and sexuality in today’s world by having ten strangers from all parts of the gender spectrum cohabitate for a full week and have spirited discussions about sexual identity, gender and everything in  between!

Shortly after hitting the screens, Genderquake was nominated in the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards for Representation of LGBTQ, Non-Scripted which is more than any of us could have asked for or anticipated!

Knowing that my voice was part of a show that incited so much public interest both online and in real life is a great source of pride for me, particularly because I was so apprehensive about taking part in the first place.

Looking back now, I am so proud of my contribution on the show – taking the edits out of the equation of course! I met some truly wonderful souls and beautiful people who challenged my ideologies in ways that continue to intrigue me till today.

Twitter was also pretty gentle with me which was more reassuring than I care to admit. I had people from all backgrounds jump to my defense and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive 🙂

If you haven’t seen Genderquake yet, be sure to catch up on Channel 4 here.

2. Live TV appearance on Genderquake: The Debate

Following the release of the two-part documentary, Channel 4 aired a live debate in which myself and a few of the other cast members were invited to attend. The debate was hosted by news presenter Cathy Newman and saw a number of famous faces on the panel such as Caitlyn Jenner, Munroe Bergdorf, Germaine Greer, Ayo Caeser and Sarah Ditum.

While I had already been on television at this point, it was all still very new to me. To say I was hyperventilating at the thought of being on live TV would be be a complete understatement. Thankfully, I managed to answer Cathy Newman’s questions about my experience of being on the show with as much grace and elegance as the merlot I consumed allowed for.

Once again, a very proud moment for my inner nerdy introvert. You can see my response in this Twitter thread here.

3. Brand Ambassador role for Huawei Mobile Ireland

Huawei P20 Lite Review

While I did not receive a Google alert for this, I do think it is worth mentioning. I was given a brand ambassador role for Huawei Mobile Ireland which resulted in me creating exciting content and taking part in a sponsored campaign – not to mention getting a deadly new phone! 🙂

While I have done content placement and other sponsored content in the past, I had never been asked to work on a continuous campaign such as the one I did with Huawei Ireland. To put the cherry on top, the tweet I shared about the Story Sign app created by Huawei, performed incredibly well with an engagement rate of 3.9% and a reach of nearly 10k.

The media views I received in that one tweet even outperformed some of the ads shared by other influencers with twice or trice my Twitter following. I think all too often brands get fooled by influencers who appear to have a large following so knowing this gave me a completely new perspective on how to negotiate future collaborations with brands and it helped me see the value of my brand and what I have to offer.

4. Publication of first byline for thejournal.ie

This might not seem like such a big deal to some people. But for me it is everything.

Throughout my many years of navigating my way within the Irish blogging scene, I have always identified more as a writer than blogger: it’s the one thing I was always sure of. In my eyes, writing for an Irish news site is about more than just massaging my ego. In a weird sense, it validated my work as a writer.

I had never pitched an article before. But after my success, I hope to share more of my thoughts on dating, relationships and female sexuality to a wider audience in the future. Seeing my byline on thejournal.ie really gave me a high. Almost like runners high, but for writers – yes, I’m making it a thing!

If you have yet to read my article about making consent sexy – for the sake of both men and women, be sure to read it here. 

5. Featured in iNews for viral open letter

iNews feature about viral story

Last but not least, I was recently featured in inews.co.uk where I was given the opportunity to share an honest account of how online trolling can affect a person’s well being. While I did write a blog post on how to deal with bad publicity, I had never really delved into the darker side of how I felt after the events that transpired online.

I finally mustered the courage to do exactly that in an interview with former HuffPost UK Editor, Poorna Bell for a feature in iNews. Much like many of my other endeavours and interviews, I was on the fence about this.But the award-winning journalist dealt with my story with great delicacy and care. Poorna was aware of the sensitivity of the topic during the whole interview process – even when she was trying to get to the core of what really happened.

I have so much respect for authentic journalists who strive to uncover accurate accounts of real life stories and I genuinely cannot thank Poorna enough for sharing mine in such a raw way.

To read my feature about the very real impact online trolling can have on a person’s well-being, click here.

A massive thank you to everyone who has been supporting me from day one! I wish each and every single one of you a sparkling New Year! I look forward to re-shaping my brand and blog for 2019 🙂

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    I am absolutely thrilled to announce that my blog, Enhance What’s Yours has been Shortlisted in the Blog Awards Ireland 2015, for Best Health & Wellbeing and Best Blog Post. I have no words to explain how grateful I am to even be nominated, let alone shortlisted! I honestly can’t…
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Posted on December 3, 2018

Skate and date with Dundrum On Ice

Dating

Whether you’re planning a first date with a new love interest, keeping the spark alive in a comfortable relationship or looking for ways to rekindle an old flame, a prerequisite for any successful date consists of two things: sparkling conversation and good old fashioned fun! 🙂

The Skate and Date initiative with Dundrum On Ice offers exactly that (if not more) by providing a top quality seasonal ice skating experience for ice skating lovers of all levels.

From the amateur skater to the self-proclaimed pro, anyone who is even remotely interested in this winter activity can enjoy this fun experience along with an enticing two-course meal in Cookes restaurant across the way.

How does it work?

Dundrum On Ice  has partnered with Cookes Restaurant to give you the ultimate festive date this Christmas in Dublin’s much-loved Dundrum Town Centre.

The 500 meter square rink is opened until the 13th of January of next year, giving you ample time to organise an adrenaline-fueled date followed by a romantic sit down meal.

Tickets for ice skating cost €16 pp and when you present it to the lovely staff at Cookes, you have the option of enjoying a two-course lunch for €15 pp or a 2-course dinner for €18 pp – an absolute steal!

What if I’m not in a couple?

Lone wolves, worry not! This deal isn’t confined to just couples – we live in a democracy after all! 🙂

Singletons can equally enjoy the benefits of this Skate and Date deal by organising a fun day out with a group of friends.

And if you really want to share the love this festive season, you can give the gift of skating this Christmas with a Dundrum On Ice gift voucher for an amount of your choosing.

Now back to the romance….

One spicy reason to take advantage of this Skate and Date initiative is to increase chemistry in your relationship. According to scientific research, moments of anxiety and adrenaline rushes can lead to heightened sexual attraction – well, that’s one way to make a date memorable!

Other fun facts about ice skating:

  • Ice skating developed from the old school dance, the Waltz.
  • The ‘layback spin,’ a move that requires a great deal of flexibility is one that females tend to have more success doing in comparison to men *cough* women are better than men *cough*
  • Gemma Collins went down one dress size after signing up to Dancing On Ice – now if that isn’t enough of a reason to go, then I don’t know what is!

At the very least, Skate and Date will get you and your other half out of the Netflix-and-chill rut you might be in! 😛

Will you be strutting your stuff on the ice rink this year? I would love to know! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako and be sure to book your Skate and Date tickets here.

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Posted on November 26, 2018

The truth about going viral

Uncovered

iNews feature about viral story

Having a tweet or funny video go viral is something that most creatives could only dream of. The thought of having hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the globe repeatedly share something that started off as an idea in a content creator’s mind is the ultimate way to massage one’s ego, right? I’m afraid not.

As many of you know, an open letter I wrote about my experience of being racially sexualised by Irish men received a lot of traction when it was first published. What I thought would open important discourse surrounding interracial dating in a country that I now consider my home, resulted in me being a target for online trolling and abuse.

Receiving hateful messages online after my open letter went viral became such a regular occurrence that it led to me closing my comment section on YouTube and becoming a complete social hermit.

While I did write a blog on how to deal with bad publicity, I never really delved into the darker side of how I felt after the events that transpired. It was just too emotional.

Last week, I finally mustered the strength to do exactly that as I was interviewed by former HuffPost UK Editor Poorna Bell for a feature in iNews.

iNews feature about viral story

The iNews feature highlights the impact of having a story go viral in the wrong and unwanted sense. It was the perfect opportunity for me to share a raw account of how trolling can affect a person’s well-being.

I will admit that I was hesitant at first, but the award-winning journalist dealt with my story with such delicacy and care. Poorna was aware of the sensitivity of the topic throughout the whole interview process – even when she was trying to get to the core of what happened.

I have so much respect for authentic journalists who strive to uncover accurate accounts of real life stories and I genuinely cannot thank Poorna enough for sharing mine in such a raw way.

To read my feature about the very real impact online trolling can have on a person’s well-being, click here.

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Posted on November 18, 2018

INGLOT’S New All Flawless, All Covered Collection

Makeup

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Inglot’s new revolutionary collection. The All Flawless, All Covered Collection offers high quality and innovative products at reasonable prices.

With 10 lightweight yet highly pigmented foundation shades and 8 creamy high-coverage concealer shades, this brand new collection enhances beauty by offering full coverage without giving a cake or mask-like effect.

What you need to know about Inglot’s All Covered foundation | RRP: €38.00

  • Flawless Skin Effect.
  • Buildable Coverage with a Natural, Radiant Finish.
  • Effortlessly Covers Skin Imperfections and Discoloration.
  • Optically Smoothens out Skin Texture.
  • Care Ingredients such as Vitamin E (aka “The Youth Vitamin”) moisturise the skin and improve elasticity whilst HD Pigments ensure an impeccable, stunning finish.

Inglot’s All Flawless, All Covered foundation in shade 19 and 20.

What you need to know about Inglot’s All Covered Under Eye Concealer | RRP: €20.00

  • Effortlessly Covers Dark Circles, Imperfections and Discolouration.
  • Creamy, Water-Resistant and Long-Lasting Formula.
  • Saffron-Extract (aka “Red Gold”) and Vitamin E (aka “The Youth Vitamin”) moisturise the skin and visibly improve its Elasticity).
  • Beautiful for Contouring.

Since there are only two shades available for dark skinned women in this range, I had to combine the two darkest shades to find the right one for my skin tone. Thankfully, the combination of shade 20 and 19 suited me perfectly and I now get to experience the full effect of what the products from this range can do to hyperpigmentation – something I suffer from as a result of having acne.

Although mixing two shades of foundation does require a little more effort in the mornings, it is certainly worth it! These products are giving me a real confidence boost at the moment as they offer serious coverage without feeling heavy at all on the skin! 🙂

Do you have a go-to foundation? I’d love to know what it is! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako  🙂

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Currently available nationwide or you can purchase online.

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5 podcasts for the empowered woman

Favourites

If I had to choose between watching reruns of Friends and spending an evening catching up on some of my favourite podcasts then I wouldn’t hesitate in picking the latter. Filling my mind with enriching, educational and empowering podcasts, trumps (small t) the overeating and unnecessary sugar consumption that often accompanies my Netflix binges.

After subscribing to a healthy dose of podcasts such as Ted Talks Daily, Girls With Goals – to name just a few – I have found a lot of solace in hearing different stories and lived experiences by women who probably aren’t very different to me.

The hosts of these podcasts speak comfortably and confidently, I don’t get the impression that they are afraid of exercising their right to be heard – something I’ve been struggling with lately.

Each podcast offers open and honest discussions about everything from career to spirituality to…vaginal discharge – you know who you are!

So without further ado, here are my top 5 podcast recommendations for the empowered woman – a label I’ll let you define for yourself 🙂

1. Almost 30 Podcast

Almost 30 Podcast is probably one of the first podcasts I started listening to and now that I am pushing thirty, I think it’s safe to say that it is one of the few that I can resonate the most with. I consider myself to be quite a spiritual person, someone who values self development. Personal growth is one of the main themes running in this podcast, along with wellness and entrepreneurship.

Notable episodes:

  • Ep. 129 – How to become a Rich B*tch: The Language of Money , Dealing with Debt + Negotiating Everything with Nicole Lapin. Listen here.
  • Ep. 142 – What is White Privilege? Waking Up to Our Unconscious Biases with Thais Sky. Listen here.
  • Ep. 154 – The Sacredness of Being Single With Lindsey. Listen here.

 

2. Guys We F*****

Although Guys We F***** is a fairly new addition to my subscription list, I have a lot of appreciation for the few episodes that I have listened to. The anti-slut shaming podcast celebrates female sexuality while not solely focusing on the presumed obvious (sex). But if you are a sexually liberated female who doesn’t believe a woman’s body count is directly linked to whether or not she respects herself, then this one is for you.

Trigger alert: be prepared for a lot of cursing. And I mean, a lot.

Notable episodes:

  • Am I Just F****** Crazy? with Amanda Knox. Listen here.
  • Did Kevin Spacey Touch Your D***? Listen here. 

3. It Galz

It Galz is a one of a kind Irish podcast hosted by two incredible women who never shy away from speaking their truth. The recently renounced feminists have honest discourse around the Irish blogging industry, pop culture and the fickle nature of online dating. The fact that my girl Mai does the soundtrack for this show is just the cherry on top! 😉

Notable episodes:

  • Ep. 53 – The Reality of Online Trolling with Fiona Hamilton. Listen here.
  • Ep. 55 – The Rage Against The Dating Machine. Listen here.
  • Ep. 57 – Bitches With Boundaries. Listen here.
  • Ep. 58 – Female Empowerment…or Exploitation. Listen here.
  • Ep. 63 – F*** Feminism…? Listen here.

4. Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations

Just when we thought queen Oprah gave us everything she possible could she went and launched this podcast for us. This is genuinely one of the most thought provoking podcasts I have ever come across. The conversations are pulled from the Super Soul Sunday show and some interviews are recordered exclusively for the podcast. If you like deep and truly philosophical discussions then this one is for you!

Notable Episodes:

  • Brene Brown: Rising Strong. Listen here.
  • Mitch Landrieu: A White Southerner Confronts History. Listen here.
  • Elie Wiesel: Living with an Open Heart. Listen here.

5. The High Low

The High Low podcast nourishes every single fiber of my being – no exaggeration. Okay, maybe I’m slightly exaggerating. Nonetheless, I think both Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes are the epitome of class and grace in a woman and they embody everything I aspire to be as a writer.

Both women have such an eloquent way of speaking and before you say anything, I should note that I would think the same if we removed their middle class English accents out of the equation #JustSayin

Every time I listen to an episode of The High Low I learn a new word – if you know me personally then you would know that learning new words mean a great deal to me as I’m a bit of a word nut! 🙂

The High Low gals have intellectual conversations around current affairs and pop culture and since I have yet to find a disappointing episode of this mind-stimulating show, I will refrain from narrowing down my suggestions to just one or two episodes.

Each and every single episode has offered me something I wasn’t even aware I needed. Yes, I think Dolly and Pandora are a powerful duo but I also believe they are both inspirational in their own right.

I genuinely cannot recommend this podcast enough!

Listen to The High Low podcast here.

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If you have any podcast recommendations, I would love to know what they are! Feel free to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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