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Posted on August 7, 2020

Post-lockdown fashion with Femme Luxe

Fashion

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been putting a lot more effort into my sense of style since lockdown restrictions have lifted. In the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of finally seeing the beautiful faces of my friends and family members and I have to say, I found every possible excuse to get dolled up for the occasion.

Thanks to Femme Luxe Fashion I didn’t have to look too hard to make that possible. As you might have read in my last fashion post about Femme Luxe, it is an influencer-inspired fashion brand that provides budget-friends statement pieces for your wardrobe. 

So whether you’re meeting someone for a friendly coffee or have a date lined up, Femme Luxe has plenty of affordable options that will still make you look glam 🙂

Black Sweet But Psycho Print T-Shirt

RRP: €13,95 €6,95 (51% OFF)

This Black Sweet But Psycho Print T-shirt was unsurprisingly my top pick for my post-lockdown wardrobe! I love a good statement tee, especially when it is as bold (and accurate) as this one. It is available in black and white so you can pretty much mix and match to your heart’s content. I’ve matched it with ripped shorts but also jeans. The good thing about a statement print tee is you can style it however you like! 🙂

White Thigh Split Shirt Mini Dress 

€38,95 €19,95 (49% OFF)

Anyone who knows me would tell you that I love an oversized shirt dress. So much so that in the lead up to my 27th birthday I went around looking for a men’s shirt to wear as a dress with high heels – I know, Carrie Bradshaw was clearly an influence on this fashion choice at one point or another.

Dare I say it, this White Thigh Split Shirt Mini Dress would give Carrie a run for her money. The tie front detail and split on the side really give it a girlie but sexy chic look. If you like to be a bit more colourful, then fear not as it is available in navy and khaki as well. 

Grey Crop Loungewear Set

€45,95 €19,95 (57% OFF)

This Grey Crop Loungewear Set can be dressed up and dressed down, thanks to the skin tight fit and material. It sits so beautifully on the lower half of the body and the elasticated waistband helps give an illusion of an hourglass figure – a girl’s gotta take it where she can! It is quite warm on as well so you don’t have to worry about feeling too cold with a crop top 🙂

Black Satin Cuffed High Waisted Joggers

€40,95 €20,95 (49% OFF)

I have yet to match high heels with a pair of joggers. However, the more I see it on other people, the more the idea is becoming attractive to me. These Black Satin Cuffed High Waisted Joggers are perfect for those who are well versed in creating a glam look with a pair of joggers. They have a high waisted design and a cuffed leg in a luxe satin material – you really can’t go wrong! Cherry on top? They’re available in blush, lilac and stone. Speaking of stone…

Stone Off The Shoulder Knitted Loungewear 

€49,95 €24,95 (51% OFF)

This Stone Off The Shoulder Knitted Loungewear Set is ideal for a laid back look that is low key luxe. It has a gorgeous off the shoulder long sleeved crop top with matching shorts. I love the material and overall comfort that comes with this look. It is also available in lilac and blue.

So there you have it, my recent fashion picks from Femme Luxe Fashion. Let me know which of these looks is your fave! 🙂

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Disclaimer: This blog is a collaboration with Femme Luxe. However, all views remain my own. To shop for other affordable items such as Joggers, Loungewear and T-shirts, be sure to have a look on femmeluxefinery.co.uk.

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    Femme Luxe is an influencer-inspired fashion brand that provides trendy pieces for affordable prices. As we enter a new phase of lockdown, I've decided to share some of my fashion picks from the brand. I'll be honest...in the earlier days of lockdown, I spent very few of my weekdays dressed…
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Posted on August 5, 2020

Tandem skydive in aid of SOSAD Ireland

lifestyle

The last few months have been rough for all of us. Between trying to navigate life through a global pandemic, seeing a worldwide outcry for racial equality as well as any other hardships we’ve been forced to endure since, it can be hard at times to know what to do to help each other as well as ourselves. For that reason I’ve decided to do a charity skydive for SOSAD (Save Our Sons And Daughters) Ireland in hopes of raising awareness around the issue of mental health.

SOSAD Ireland is a registered charity based in Drogheda that helps improve the lives of people affected by depression and suicide. It’s a charity very close to my heart so I wanted to give something to a team that works tirelessly to help keep our minds happy and healthy.

I created an everydayhero page last Friday afternoon to raise funds for the tandem skydive and the last couple of days has really opened my eyes to the sort of support network I have built through my blog, writing and connecting with people in the media space in Ireland.

I’m genuinely overwhelmed by all the positivity and support so far and still gobsmacked by the fact that we hit my fundraising goal in just two days! Words cannot describe how grateful I am to everyone who has donated or even spared a thought for this initiative.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all. 

Although I have hit my fundraising target, I will continue to fundraise for SOSAD until the week before my parachute jump on August 23rd so if you can donate or share my everydayhero page, I’d greatly appreciate it. 

In these uncertain times, I think the services provided by SOSAD are more important than ever before and the more awareness that is brought to this cause, the higher chances that the people who require SOSAD services will get the help that they need.

Thanks again to everyone in advance and I hope you’re all staying safe x

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Posted on July 24, 2020

Proving my femininity

Body Confidence

proving my femininity

If you’ve been following my Black Lives Matter journey on Instagram then you would know that I have made a number of contributions to the movement. Between publishing a blog about the importance of having healthy racial discourse and playing a part in the creation of the Black Irish Lives issue for The Irish Times Magazine. I have not been shy about highlighting racial issues both within the Black community and outside of it.

One of my recent contributions to the wider conversation about Black Lives Matter puts a focus on black women specifically as sometimes I get the impression that the black female voice gets silenced more than others.

In my article for Rogue, titled ‘Proving my femininity: when will black female bodies be enough?’ I shed light on how I navigate body image concerns by tackling unrealistic beauty standards for black women.

Under the male gaze and societal views, black women tend to fall under two categories: we are either fetishised, sexualised and exotified or criticised for not being feminine. While I have been subjected to both, I focus on the latter in my guest post for Rogue as I touch on perceived femininity, body types, female body hair and more.

Rogue is an all female collective which publishes content for women within a subscription model. I personally feel that the team has created a safe space for women to talk about delicate issues which is why I felt comfortable starting this conversation on their platform.

For as little as €4/month you can access all articles on Rogue and expect four new pieces to your inbox every Sunday. 

To read ‘Proving my femininity: when will black female bodies be enough?’ be sure to subscribe to Rogue 🙂

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Posted on July 22, 2020

Black Irish Lives: The Irish Times Magazine

lifestyle

black irish lives

The first Sunday of July 2020 will always be one to remember because on that very morning I drove down to my local newsagent to pick up a copy of a special edition of The Irish Times.

Not only was I excited to get my hands on an issue that centres on black writers, black voices and the black community within Irish society. But I also wanted to bear the fruits of labour.

In the weeks prior to the release of the ‘Black Irish Lives’ issue of The Irish Times Magazine, I had spent a good bit of time interviewing talented black people in Ireland for the ‘People to Watch’ segment of the issue.

Working alongside RTÉ presenter Zainab Boladale for the shared byline, I got the opportunity to discover amazing black talent in a variety of industries. From music artists to gastronomy lovers, the black talent in Ireland really has no bounds.

Among many others, I interviewed European junior champion, Gina-Akpe Moses and discovered that she has her eye on winning Olympic medals in the future as well as Drogheda-based drill rapper, Offica, who is not green to creating hit singles.

Working on a project that positively highlights how well the black community has integrated within the Irish society brought me great joy. It was an absolute honour to take part in something so monumental in Irish history and I enjoyed every second of amplifying incredible black talent!

A massive thank you to Rachel Collins and Emma Dabiri for creating the Black Irish Lives issue of The Irish Times and if you didn’t manage to nab yourself a copy, you can have a read of the ‘People to Watch’ segment here.

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Posted on June 17, 2020

Anti-racism: 5 resources that promote healthy conversations about race

lifestyle

george floyd i can't breathe

If you’re wondering why I’ve published this blog post under the category lifestyle rather than race, it is because I believe that people should have continuous conversations about race and racial discrimination. I think it’s a discussion that should be part of people’s everyday life and not just when deeply disturbing circumstances lead to the world opening its eyes to the fact that racism is in fact a global issue. 

I’d imagine that at this stage, anyone who considers themselves to be in true allyship with the Black Lives Matter movement has been putting in the work to educate themselves on black oppression and racial injustice across the world. With that in mind, I’ve tried to avoid compiling a list of endless resources. I would also hate to have crucial information slip ones fingers.

As an alternative, I have decided to put together a variety of resources that I have found to be profoundly moving. I also found each of these resources to be an important catalyst for constructive discussions about racial issues. 

Black Lives Matter

At some stage of the Black Lives Matter movement, I felt that the conversation in Ireland descended into white Irish people saying they were also mistreated under English rule. There was almost a battle with black people to determine who suffered the most. I think conversations based on the premise of who has had it worse don’t help either side. Pain is subjective and people have different thresholds for it. 

Instead, it would serve us better to look at it from the point of view that if two parties share similar sentiments in how they feel or once felt discriminated against, then shouldn’t that birth empathy and compassion? 

Wouldn’t it be more useful to acknowledge one another’s pain and say: “What can we do as a team to prevent the next group of people from enduring a similar struggle?”

The list below will hopefully open your eyes to having constructive conversations about race and racism. It is not exhaustive of course, but I think they each offer a perspective that is imperative for real change.

1. Why I, as a Black Man, Attend KKK Rallies, TEDxNaperville by Daryl Davis

This TEDx by Daryl Davis speaks to my fundamental belief that people are not inherently racist. There is no such thing as a racist gene because racism is a taught behaviour. It can be unlearned. Daryl offers a solution to dismantling racial discourse which involves boldly confronting the enemy in order to determine the source of hate, find common grounds and ultimately, prove that we are all human. Davis shows us the true power of leading by example. After watching this TEDx for the first time, I thought to myself, “if he can convert a member of the Klu Klux Klan through open and honest conversation, imagine what we can do?”

2. When They See Us (Netflix)

when they see us netflix

Every second of Netflix’s When They See Us left me with a gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach. Creator, co-writer and director Ava DuVernay, tells the gripping stories of five teenage boys, labeled the exonerated Central Park Five, who were convicted after being falsely accused of rape. For non-black viewers, it is a window into the systemic racism in the U.S police force and for black viewers, it is another painful reminder of the damaging consequences of existing within a society that is deeply rooted in racism. 

3. Dublin InQuirer: As the Black Lives Matter Protests Continue, It’s Important for Black People to Look After Our Mental Health

black lives matter protests

If you follow me on social media, then you would know that I had to take a step back from the digital when the story of George Floyd first came to light. It conjured up all sorts of feelings for me which I go into greater details of in the article I wrote for Dublin Inquirer. In this piece I address the importance of protecting mental health, being mindful of people’s grieving process as well as the hope I have for the future of Ireland. 

4. Political Horror Film: Get Out

This Jordan Peele film exemplifies the sort of racism that is cloaked under overcompensation and the eagerness to prove that one is not racist. It also highlights negrophilia, a phenomenon prevalent during 1920-1930s Paris when the collection of African art and listening to black music were all signs of being fashionable. Jordan Peele is notorious for leaving easter eggs in his films and every single time I watch the film Get Out, I discover something new. Get Out is one of my all-time favourite social thrillers and a brilliant catalyst for discussions on covert racism and white fascination with black culture.

5. Instagram’s #ShareTheMicNow Campaign

Started in the U.S by authors Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Glennon Doyle, business woman Bozoma Saint john and fashion designer Stacey Bendet, #ShareTheMicNow is a campaign born from the suppression of black voices. The initiative aims to magnify black female voices and stories by having black women take over the IG accounts of white women with a big following in order to help foster conversations about race. 

I find this campaign particularly heartwarming to see because I think there is only so much studying a person can do. In order to really face the problem of racial injustice, you have to speak to those who have actually experienced it. It isn’t enough to read about black people, you have to engage with us and listen. 

I will be taking over Fionnuala Moran‘s IGTV tomorrow evening at 8.30PM so be sure to tune in.

As a final note, I would like to add that much like any situation that lends itself to exploitation, there are going to be people out there who are looking for clout and equally, there will be brands out there who are seeing the global outcry for justice as a PR opportunity. They are capitalising on black people’s pain. 

Be wary of performative online activism and know that there will always be a small minority of people who are self-serving during a time of worldwide pain. However, that is not to take away from the bigger picture. What’s important is that the right message is being delivered and what’s even more important is that it is being put into practice.

Well done to everyone who is using their platform and their voice. Keep fighting the good fight in whatever way you know how and I look forward to chatting to you on Fionnuala’s Instagram tomorrow at 8.30PM 🙂

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Quarantine fashion with Femme Luxe

Fashion

femme luxe white t shirt

Femme Luxe is an influencer-inspired fashion brand that provides trendy pieces for affordable prices. As we enter a new phase of lockdown, I’ve decided to share some of my fashion picks from the brand.

I’ll be honest…in the earlier days of lockdown, I spent very few of my weekdays dressed in my pyjamas or overly casual wear as it didn’t motivate me to be productive at all. So when the opportunity came for me to choose a few fashionable pieces from Femme Luxe for this review, I knew exactly what type of clothes I would go for…

life's a peach femme luxe

White Life’s a Peach Slogan Crop Top – Tinley Regular price€13,95 € Sale 8,95

This ‘Life’s a Peach’ Slogan Crop Top comes in both black and white. I decided to opt for the white as I feel a white Tee with a cute slogan is a statement piece for every gal’s wardrobe. This classic cropped style teams perfectly white ripped denim shorts or a pair of jeans. But if you dare to be bold, then a bit of faux leather wouldn’t hurt anyone 🙂

khaki-ruched-front-long-sleeve-leggings-loungewear-set femme luxe

Khaki Ruched Front Long Sleeve Leggings Loungewear Set – Rosa Regular price€47,95 Sale €21,95

This loungewear set was an absolute no brainer for me as khaki is one of those colours that’s always complimented my skin tone – regardless of how dark I can get in the summer. Not only did I find the long sleeve with the ruched front to be both warm and comfortable. But I also thought it sat perfectly on my cleavage.

The matching skinny leggings were a bit on the big side for me as I didn’t find the fit true to size. Thankfully, I was able to roll it around my waist and still make them feel comfortable.

grey-black-oversized-hoodie-shorts-loungewear-set femme luxe

Charcoal Oversized Hoodie Shorts Loungewear Set – Ariyah Regular price€47,95 Sale €20,95

I don’t have a lot of gangsta moments, but my immediate love for this was certainly one! This comfy Charcoal Oversized Hoodie with Shorts Loungewear Set comes in multiple colours. Unlike the khaki loungewear set, this two-piece tracksuit is sleeveless, but it has an oversized (gangsta) hood to keep you warm.

The matching drawstring pull shorts has a contrast stripe which could be paired with your favourite runners…or house slippers 🙂

Wine-belted-bodycon-midi-dress femme luxe

Wine Belted Bodycon Midi Wrap Dress – Angelica Regular price€38,95 Sale €19,95

Since some of weekends consisted of getting dolled up for a lovely Zoom night with the girls, I thought it was paramount to get some dressier pieces too. This Wine Belted Bodycon Midi Wrap Dress made the cut for obvious reasons.

It is body hugging yet classy and both the mid length and front detail adds to its elegance. The off the shoulder cut and sleeves make this dress even more sophisticated.

tan-ribbed-wrap femme luxe

Tan Ribbed Wrap Bat Wing Bodycon Mini Dress – Bailey Regular price€38,95 €18,95

Last but not least, we have thus stunning Tan Ribbed Wrap Bat Wing Bodycon Mini Dress. It has beautiful horizontal ribbed pattern with a wrap front and bat wing detail. Regardless if you’re on a Zoom call or not, this statement piece could be teamed with some killer heels for maximum impact.

Overall, the styles that I chose from Femme Luxe and the affordable prices have made me a force to be reckoned with – at least during quarantine! As someone who generally gets my fashion pieces from high end stores, I haven’t seen much reason in spending a ridiculous amount of money on fancy clothes that won’t even get to make it past my 5 km radius.

femme luxe fashion

Which of these looks is your favourite? Do let me know! 🙂

Disclaimer: This blog is a collaboration with Femme Luxe. However, all view remain my own. To shop for other affordable items such as trousers, jeans, black lace bodysuits or corset dresses, be sure to have a look on femmeluxerefinery.co.uk. 

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Posted on April 1, 2020

How to stay fit when you’re stuck at home

fitness

With everyone being urged to stay at home in order to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19, we have to be a bit more creative in how we go about our day-to-day activities – especially if that used to include going to the gym on a regular basis.

I am a self-proclaimed gym bunny so naturally, I’m finding the lack of this aspect of my routine at present to be particularly tough. However, my newfound love for jogging everyday has been quite helpful both physically and mentally and it has even motivated me to do some at home exercises afterwards. 

If you’re in need of some workout inspo to keep you busy and fit (ish) during quarantine, then look no further as I have compiled a list of some of my previous fitness blogs below. 

Without further ado, here are some ways you can stay fit during the coronavirus lockdown:

10 resistance band workouts for abs

at home workoutsRead full blog here.

8 ways to motivate yourself to exercise

at home workouts

Read full blog here.

5 simple exercises to help ease lower back pain 

at home workouts

Read full blog here.

9 ways to eat healthy on a budget 

protein pancakes

Read full blog here.

5 exercises for toned legs 

Read full blog here.

I hope you get a chance to try a few of these exercise and if you have any suggestions for how to spend quar-time then be sure to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂 

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Disclaimer: Please note that while I did take an online course in sports nutrition, I am not a qualified PT. I am simply a health enthusiast who has an interest in anything health and fitness related. Be sure to consult a qualified trainer before attempting any of these exercises.

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Posted on March 20, 2020

5 coronadate ideas to try during lockdown

Dating

coronadate

Dating during a global pandemic is likely not on the top list of anyone’s priorities at the moment and in the last week, it has become glaringly obvious that COVID-19 has consumed the minds of both the fragile and the unimpressionable.

However, even in the midst of a global outbreak and the domino effect of national lockdowns slowly trickling across each nation, it is not impossible to continue maintaining social relationships.

Nor is it impossible to test whether or not that spark you thought existed between you and your right-swipe was in fact an indicator that there are decent singletons out there – all it takes is a bit of creativity and an open mind.

coronalove

Without further ado, here are some fun coronadate ideas to try while you’re in quarantine 🙂

1. Never Have I Corona’d

never have I ever drinking game

Playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ over Skype while drinking a Corona is a sure way to stick the middle finger up to this deadly virus. Okay, maybe not entirely. But it is a fun way to take the tension off while getting to know your coronadate under such unusual circumstances. 

2. Connect ‘Quar’ 

connect four online

Connect Four online is always more enjoyable when you’re playing (or winning) against someone who is in the running of being future bae. It will give you both a sense of one another’s competitive streak to determine whether playing Monopoly is something that will have to be banned in the future.  

3. Netflix & Sync

coronadate ideas

Thanks to the Netflix Party extension on Google Chrome, daters can still have movie date night by getting together virtually and connecting through mutual interests in TV and film at the same time. The best part about this extension is it comes with a chat room so you can live text to your heart’s content! 

Another fun date idea for movie lovers is heading to an outdoor cinema night organised by The Big Drive Inn.  The Big Drive Inn are currently running a series of films for people to watch in the comfort of their own cars. They have some guidelines put in place about vehicle separation, but it doesn’t mean you can’t roll down your window to throw your date a packet of Haribo! More details about this outdoor cinema on Eventbrite.

4. Virtual Sweat Sesh (Get your mind out of the gutter, thanks)

Just because the gyms are closed, it doesn’t mean you have to forgo breaking a sweat. Doing home workout videos while sharing your screen on Skype is a good way to keep each other fit while improving your downward dog pose. Also, it’s only a matter of time before anything doggy will come in handy again (permission to have your mind in the gutter granted).

5. ‘Cor’ With Friends 

coronadate ideas

This is of course called ‘Words With Friends’ which is a crossword-puzzle app available on both Android and iOS. The game is similar to Scrabble and it allows players to add their friends (or dates) to compete against each other. Serious #Wordgasms with this game!

Overall, there are plenty of multiplayer apps and online games available to download if you just look hard enough – and if that tickles your fancy. But if you’re really serious about using your ‘quar’ time to build a connection, then just send out an ‘I can’t wait to see you’ care pack of toilet paper, that’ll get serious brownie points! 🙂

So there you have it, some lighthearted coronadate ideas that can hopefully help quell any uncertainty you might be feeling during this incredibly trying time. Just remember that self-isolating physically doesn’t have to mean self-isolating emotionally. Relationships don’t have to get cancelled.

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to send them my way @FilomenaKaguako 🙂 

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Love Is Blind on Netflix: what the dating show actually got right

Dating

Love is Blind Photograph: Netflix

Netflix’s Love Is Blind has become one of the most-talked about reality dating shows in the last couple of weeks and with good reason. The hit series challenges the age-old idea of whether or not love is truly blind through a social experiment that is both cringeworthy and compelling at the same time. 

The premise of the show is to test whether or not any of the male and female contestants can fall in love sight unseen. The contestants are separated by gender and can only communicate with one another when they go on dates in self-contained pods in hopes of getting a wedding proposal after a series of dates. It is only after the engagement that they get to see each other in the flesh for the first time – exactly one month before they walk up the aisle. 

Love is Blind Nextflix Cameron

Love is Blind Photo: Nextflix

All newly engaged couples then take a romantic trip to Mexico where they get to test their physical connection prior to letting any exterior factors such as friends, family and work schedules impact their relationship. After reaching these relationship milestones in a short space of time, they then have to decide at the altar whether or not the answer to the question of being united by holy matrimony will be ‘I do.’ 

The show sounds repulsive to those who do not have an affinity for trashy reality TV. In a previous life, that very well would have been me. But there is something addictive about Love Is Blind that combines elements of some of the biggest reality shows in the past such as The Bachelor and The Circle, both of which I failed to watch with the same degree of gripping intensity.

Without further ado, here are some of the things that Love Is Blind actually did get right:

1. Self-contained pods 

Love Is Blind Photo: Netflix

The irony that each of the contestants are physically attractive is not lost on me at all. However, I do feel that removing physical appearance from the equation does spark on a conversation of what drives attraction. It also raises the question of whether or not someone can still fall for a person who isn’t their usual ‘type.’ 

The whole idea of the pods helped the couples build an intimate connection with one another that I feel barely exists in a world of swiping right and left. As someone with an interest in trying to understand what drives people to one another, this element of Love Is Blind is what drew me to the show to begin with. 

2. Interracial dating 

Love Is Blind Lauren and Cameron Photo: Netflix

Black female contestant Lauren did not make it a secret that she had never dated a white guy prior to her engagement with scientist Cameron. There seemed to be a good deal of emphasis placed on this fact and I reckon if we all took a shot every time Lauren was shown on screen to say ‘Cameron is my first white guy,’ we’d all be fairly langered. 

All jokes aside, there was something that stood out to me when Lauren told her best friend about her first experience of dating outside her race. She said she never felt the need to ‘play down’ her blackness when she was around Cameron. This shows the importance of acknowledging the cultural differences that can come from being of a certain race as well as the pressures the one can feel when trying to navigate within an interracial couple.  

3. Meeting in-laws and pet dogs 

host of hit series on nextflix

Love Is Blind hosts Photo: Netflix

Each engaged couple also got the opportunity to meet one anothers friends, family and labrador pets with the mind that the get-togethers would give them a glimpse into what reality might look like should they say ‘I do’ at the altar in the short weeks that followed. 

While I do believe it was important that the couples got a chance to get to know each other on a physical level during their romantic trip away, what I thought held even more significance was the fact that they weren’t deluded into thinking that it was going to end there. 

4. Atlanta, Georgia

Love Is Blind Contestants

Love Is Blind Contestants Photo: Netflix

At the time of filming Love Is Blind, all contestants were living in Atlanta, Georgia and it wasn’t a coincidence. The producers of the show supposedly wanted to make it easier for all of the contestants who would end up engaged and then later married – how thoughtful!

This element of the show is very different to other dating shows that I have seen in the past where participants can run the risk of falling for someone that lives in a completely different country (Maura and Curtis). 

5. ALL OF THE DRAMA

Love is blind drama

Love Is Blind Gianannina Photo: Netflix

The one thing I can whole-heartedly say about watching Love Is Blind is that it is a completely different experience when you watch it with subtitles. From ‘dramatic music starts’ to ‘sobs quietly,’ the words describing the predicaments each of the contestants find themselves in (particularly in the finale) adds to the entertainment immensely. 

Overall, the show is the epitome of trashy reality meets glamzilla while managing to still provide some important dialogue around dating in the modern world. I could go on to discuss some of the things that are wrong and deeply concerning about Love Is Blind, but there really is no need to point out the obvious 🙂

Love Is Blind reunion special will premiere on March 5th on Netflix’s YouTube channel. Find out more here. 

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Posted on January 28, 2020

Big Bus Tours Dublin: 5 reasons to add it to your Irish bucket list

Travel

big bus tours dublin

It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that the city of Dublin holds a very special place in my heart. Between the vibrant buskers showing off their talents on Grafton Street to the beautiful pieces of street art that spontaneously pop up around town, the city has a plethora of charm and hidden gems that have yet to be explored. 

The Big Bus Tours Dublin offers a lively hop-on, hop-off bus tour experience which allows both locals and tourists alike to explore many aspects of Dublin through a lens which heightens the appreciation for the city’s cultural profile and rich historical background – trust me, I would know. 

big bus tours dublin

I recently had the opportunity to do some sightseeing with The Big Bus Tours Dublin. Needless to say, my love for the big shmoke has massively increased since seeing some of the city’s biggest attractions on an unexpectedly sunny day.

It took a Big Bus Tours experience for me to come to the realisation that after all the years I’ve spent socialising in the city centre’s swanky cocktail bars, nothing can quite compare to the feeling that comes from re-discovering the beauty of Dublin – warts and all. 

So without further ado, here are 5 reasons to add The Big Bus Tours Dublin to your Irish bucket list:

1. Value for money

the big bus tours

There are a number of ticket options available with The Big Bus Tours, each of which offer great value for money. I was gifted with a Premium ticket (€23.20 online) which includes a 2 day hop-on, hop-off tour, 2 free child tickets with every adult ticket, a guided walking tour, a panoramic night tour and free entry into the Pearse Lyons Distillery.

I found this to be an absolute steal, especially since both the night tour and Pearse Lyons Distillery tour alone would cost over €15.00 each. A package deal with the Big Bus Tours is definitely the more reasonable option to me because of all the other added benefits.  

Alternatively, if you are someone who simply wants a bus tour, then you can choose to opt for a Classic ticket (€17.60 online) as The Big Bus Tours tailors to a broad range of sightseers. Other ticket options include: a Deluxe ticket (€29.60 online) or a combined Classic + Guinness Storehouse ticket (€48.00 online).

Note: You can save 20% on selected tickets when you buy online rather than on-street. For information on ticket prices and packages, have a look on the Big Bus Tours website.

2. Hop-on, hop-off

the big bus tours dublin

The Big Bus Tours puts the ball in your court because with a hop-on, hop-off tour, you get to dictate exactly where your journey begins as well as when it ends. If you’re wondering how that works, allow me to give you a low down on the whole thing. 

Step 1: Download the free Big Tours Bus app after purchasing your ticket and use the live bus tracker to find your nearest hop-on stop.

Step 2: Enjoy the views of the city from The Big Bus Tours bus and hop off at any stop to visit your favourite Dublin landmarks.  Buses run every 15 – 20 mins so you can hop back on at the same stop whenever you like.

 

Step 3: Finish the tour at your own pace and time but bear in mind the last whiskey tour at Pearse Lyons Distillery is at 5pm!

When I did the day tour, I hopped on at St. Stephen’s Green and stayed until the second last stop. My day tour lasted about 1hr 15mins but it didn’t feel like it at all! 🙂

3. Free whiskey tasting

Free entry into the Pearse Lyons Distillery with a Premium or Deluxe ticket gives guests a full guided tour with a whiskey tasting at the end. As someone who is not green to whiskey tours, I have to say the Pearse Lyons Distillery really hit it out of the park. 

Our tour guide Sheila was very educated on all things whiskey, her love and passion for the Pearse Lyons Distillery overall was beaming throughout the tour adding to everyone’s excitement for tasting the product. 

pearse lyons distillery

The guided tour lasted for about 50 minutes before finishing with the much-anticipated tasting. Safe to say, I had a few Robin Scherbatsky ‘dayum! that’s smooth’ moments throughout the tasting with my favourite one being the 12-year-old single malt Founder’s Choice. 

pearse lyons distillery

Cherry on top? We even got the opportunity to try Mil Gin – it is heavenly!

Since we are on the topic of free drinks, I should also note that Big Bus Tours ticket holders get a free glass of Guinness at Nancy Hands Pub at stop 26 and 28 – I did say value for money, didn’t I? 🙂

4. Dublin after dark

The free Big Bus night tour is included with a Premium and Deluxe ticket as well as an upgrade to Classic Ticket holders. With the night tour, there is only one starting point (O’Connell Street) as it is a panoramic tour, meaning you cannot hop on or off.

Driving over O’Connell Bridge which is said to be the only traffic bridge in Europe that has the same width as its length, the evening tour guide proudly points out some fantastic pubs and bars around town so you can plan the rest of your evening. 

5. Cultural ‘wokeness’

big bus tours dublin

I sometimes get asked about what to do in Dublin by friends who live abroad. On such occasion, I often find myself almost reiterating the same itinerary I gave to a friend who asked previously.

But after my experience with The Big Bus Tours I feel that I can now give people more specific information about where to go and what to do. More importantly, I can stop them from falling into tourist traps.

As for non-tourists, it can be very easy to get caught up in a rut of doing the same activities or getting too comfortable in a routine. I think The Big Bus Tours can break that cycle by providing a fun day out! 

So there you have it, my top 5 reasons for why I think adding The Big Bus Tours Dublin to your Irish bucket list is something you will not regret!  🙂 Buy tickets online here. 

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*Disclaimer: While this is a sponsored post, all views remain to be my own.

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Dating trends to leave in 2019

Dating

dating trends

Whenever I listen to one of my single friends update me on their latest dating woes, I can only thank God that I no longer have to wrestle with the possibility of a recent right swipe being something I’d later regret. It would seem that the trials and tribulations of modern dating are becoming increasingly tiresome and at this rate, I have the impression that a single first date horror story would be enough to make someone with a perfectly healthy libido want to commit to a life of celibacy. 

Between Tinder users openly admitting to already being in a relationship and people going MIA when the details of a first meet up are finalised, there seems to be a growing disillusionment in the dating scene between men and women alike that doesn’t appear to be subsiding any time soon. 

So for my first blog of 2020, I wanted to draw from some of these very real experiences and discuss a few of the trends that have become the norm in 21st Century dating. I will admit that I am guilty of having committed one or two of these dating faux pas back in my single days, so know that I am in no way shape or form trying to be sanctimonious here. However, it is a new year so the least we can do is make an effort to put these habits behind us.

Without further ado, here are some of the dating trends that I think have absolutely no place in 2020 🙂

Pulling a Houdini

Commonly known as ‘ghosting,’ this trend is something we can all admit to either having fallen victim to or having committed ourselves. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, it is damaging for both parties. Karma has a way of giving professional ghosters a taste of their own medicine and as for the person on the receiving end, not only does it negatively impact their self-esteem, but it also impacts their attitude towards dating. Be grown and leave the magic to the professionals.

How have you been-ing

I’ve employed this phrase to describe the texts that usually start to prop up during the peak of cuffing season and then again in the lead up to Christmas. There must be something about the end of the year that makes people more inclined to want to rekindle past relationships. If it’s a genuine conversation or possible closure that is needed for the person asking ‘how have you been?’, then that’s fair. But if it’s boredom, then don’t bother because you’re only wasting your own time and theirs. 

Haunting 

Much like the last trend, haunting is the term used to describe the presence of an ex in your digital life. The difference being is that they exist silently. They continue to follow you on all your social media accounts, watch every Snapchat story as soon as it goes up and they consistently linger on without actually engaging in any conversation. It’s pretty what some professionals would consider to be light stalking. Keeping tabs on someone through light stalking is never a good look on anyone, leave haunting in 2019.

Fake date planning 

This is when someone makes a plan to meet someone for the first time only to have zero intention of actually following through with it. In the week leading up to the date they consistently send texts to share their excitement about meeting up in person only to go MIA the day of the actual date. Naturally, they commit trend 1, 3 and 2 almost instantly after planning a fake date. 

Penpaling

Now that technology has allowed us to have so much more access to one another, people are becoming more aware of their options. As such, they would rather play the field before committing to meeting someone in real life. If you would rather send endless texts before meeting up with someone, then that’s okay once you’re honest about wanting to explore your options. Time is too precious to waste so it’s always a good idea to make it clear what kind of dater you are.

Let 2020 be a year of growth and mutual respect for potential love interests by leaving these god awful dating trends in the past what do you say? 🙂

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Posted on December 16, 2019

12 Dates of Crimbo makes Jenny Greene’s Best of The Week!!!

lifestyle

12 dates on jenny greene's best of the week

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, my 12 Dates of Crimbo series has come to an end. The good news however is that shortly after it ended, I was lucky enough to be invited to Jenny Greene’s weekday evening show on RTÉ 2FM to discuss all things festive dating – I know, who would have thought that consistently posting a new date idea for 12 days straight would pay off like this? I certainly didn’t! 🙂

I called into the RTÉ radio studio last Thursday 12th December for my first live radio appearance in the longest of times and to say I was nervous is a bit of an understatement! Thankfully Jenny Greene’s team quickly put any concerns I had to rest. They are the loveliest group of people and it wasn’t long until I started discussing my 12 dates and sharing some of my own funny dating stories on the national airwaves!

jenny greene 12 dates

The following day (Friday 13th), I found out that my little segment made Jenny Greene’s best bits of the week. It was amongst some fab contributions by comedians Alison Spittle and Joanne McNally to make The Best of The Week.

As you can imagine, I was over the moon to discover this especially after being forced to sit down and listen back to the sound of my own voice – something I seldom do. All in all, not the worst Friday the 13th!

If you want to listen to my chat with the stunning goddess that is Jenny Greene, have a listen here

My segment starts from 1:21 🙂

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