Orange Obviously

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

Friday, 26 October 2018

Erasmus in Rome - Week 3


Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in posting my Week 3 update. Life has been crazy and hectic here.
I'm really excited about bringing this Erasmus Diary series to you!
I got great feedback from the first post - I'm so happy you enjoyed reading all about the realities of me settling into Erasmus life.

This week, it's much more lighthearted and shorter than my introduction post!!

My Room

I said in last week's post that I would show you a little preview of my accommodation! I say preview because right now it's still pretty basic! I need to make it homely with candles, flowers, pictures etc - all with good time!

As student accommodations go, I reckon I've pretty much hit the jackpot with this room.
My hopes before moving were to have a bright room with a balcony! Not only did I get just that, but it's very spacious with some stunning Italian furnishings!


I can't wait to fill that white board with photos, souvenirs & memories!

I just love the colours in the room - whites, browns and yellow tones!




I live on a street filled with busy shops and restaurants. It's always really noisy but I feel really safe in this area. (I'll take you on a tour of the area in another post when I've discovered all the best parts).



What I got up to..

I felt a lot more settled and happy in myself this week. I've made a great group of friends who constantly want to meet up, go for pizza and make the most out of the Erasmus year! It's been non-stop fun since Day 1!!!

I went to the beach this week with Erasmus students and friends. It's the best feeling to go to for a swim in the sea at 26 degrees in mid October, I could get used to this life!






This week I also got to know my lovely housemates a bit more. We're a nice mix of Italian, German/American, Romanian and Irish 20 somethings!! We had a lovely dinner together and stuffed our faces with Carbonara (which is a typical Roman dish)!



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I've found it kind of a struggle to do outfit shooting since I've been here. While the backdrops have been phenomenal, I haven't always had someone to be there to take pictures for me. So, persistent as I am, I've set off on different occasions to the Colosseum and asked kind strangers to take my picture! In the case below I had my phone set to timer, propped up between a pillar and my water bottle to make sure I got shots of my new outfit lol. You've gotta do what you've gotta do, right? :) 



My Erasmus goals/rules to live by..

I want to get as much out of this year abroad as I possibly can, so it's only logical that I've created a list of goals/rules to live by for the year ahead.
I want to make it my business to achieve all of them and hold myself accountable so I am publicly sharing how I hope this year will go!

I've literally taken pictures of how it is in my notebook. 
Scribbles.
No edits.
Hopeful that it will all come true. (I've colour coordinated, so it has to!!)



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Next week, I will share all about my trip to Napoli, Pompei and Sorrento so stay tuned for Erasmus in Rome - Week 4!!

Thanks again for reading,
Clóda :)
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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Erasmus in Rome - Week 1 & 2



Ciao from beautiful Roma, Italia.
It's so surreal that I'm writing this sitting in my tiny kitchen in Rome, because I actually live here!!!
If you didn't already know, I have moved to Rome because I am spending my Erasmus year here.
I fell in love with Italy when I visited as a child - the relaxed lifestyle, the landscape, the weather, the fooooooood! So it seemed like the perfect choice in first year of college when I had to pick a language, that it would be Italian!
Fast forward to now - my third year in college and I have been living in Rome for just over 2 weeks. 

So basically, I've decided to create this little blog series dedicated to documenting my Erasmus at Roma Tre (my new college), life here in Rome and everything in between. I feel like when I look back, it'll be a really cool way to see how I developed throughout the year with my studies and as a person etc. And I just feel like it will be entertaining to see my changes, reactions and thoughts this year.
I have no intention of sparing any details. I won't sugar coat this experience and pretend everything is like one big holiday. I plan to be honest and tell you the good, the bad and the ugly realities of living and studying abroad for a year!


The Move & Settling In


If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen on my stories that I was struggling big time to whittle down what to bring with me. Of course, I wanted to bring EVERYTHING!! So I had to settle for a few big suitcases filled with mainly clothes and shoes and my guitar. As well as that, I packed some of my favourite products such as fake tan (necessary) and my favourite shower gel because I knew I wouldn't be able to buy them here. I got some really good advice from people on what to pack and how to pack - vacuum packs were the best way to go!! I fit so much more items because of them! Luckily, luggage weight wasn't an issue for me going through the airport and now I'm sad that I didn't bring more shoes with me, but I guess I had to be realistic with the amount that I brought! :(

I was lucky enough to have my Mam with me for 3 days to help me move my stuff over and get me settled. We stayed in a lovely apartment for the few days in a beautiful area called Piramide which is close to the college. The location made the initial move super handy because I had my orientation day, appointments with the college and my Erasmus Welcome Week pretty much as soon as I arrived.


The accommodation hunt was a struggle at first. I had set up a viewing for a room and told the landlord I would take it, but the night before the viewing he gave the room to someone else. I was shocked but apparently that's what they do here - whoever pays first gets the room. So I was without somewhere to live and beginning to panic because I only had a few days to find something. I viewed another place which was totally unsuitable and tried to remain positive but I was secretly freaking out. I suppose when we're thrown into those situations, we naturally think the worst!!
Then a website called UniPlaces became my saviour. How it works is you view rooms on the website, request the room you want and the landlord approves you as a tenant. But how I knew it was legit was the fact that there was a booking fee of  €150 to the website as well as my particular room being viewed and approved by UniPlaces.
I applied for an apartment that I knew I would love because it met all my expectations. All I wanted was a nice bright room with a balcony that was walking distance to the college. Low and behold I woke up the next day to an email from UniPlaces stating that I had got the room and I felt such feelings of relief and happiness at the same time! And my Mam actually happened to be leaving that day so she was at ease knowing I had somewhere to live that I loved!!

I have to say, the reception I got from Italians in my first week was nothing only welcoming and helpful. The man who owned the Air BnB apartment we first stayed in was extremely helpful. He gave us the best recommendations for food, sites and even drove me with all my luggage to my new apartment when Mam had left. Nothing was too much bother for him and he was just so kind to us! It was so refreshing to know I at least had him to turn to if I had any problems.
So I got my ideal room and it's exactly how I imagined it would be!! The bonus is that I have loads of space and there's all these quirky little decorations in the room which give it such a cosy, Italian feel. In next week's blog post I'll give a little tour around my apartment so watch this space..

I'm really lucky that it worked out for me because I know some friends here who had very bad experiences with UniPlaces in that their apartment wasn't as described so just be careful if you book something on UniPlaces that it has been viewed and approved by them!



Experiencing Culture Shock


I'm a lover of travel. I get out of Ireland anytime I can because I just crave learning about new cultures, meeting new people and trying new foods. I genuinely believed that moving here would be a breeeeze for me because I've travelled to New York and Africa alone, I've been on a J1 and to several other countries on holidays. But this is another ball game. I read a quote last week and honestly it puts my situation into words perfectly : 'Move to a new country and you quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good, are two very different things'.
It's just a simple quote, but basically describes exactly how I'm feeling.
I'm the ultimate tourist and I love to travel so I thought moving would be a walk in the park but then I remembered, this isn't just a week in the sun and a quick visit to the Colosseum. I live here, I had to organise accommodation, college, and many other things which come with living in a new country.
Almost straight away I had to get a Codice Fiscale - Fiscal Code, which is basically a tax number or security number that secured my place in the apartment as well as forking out money for a year-long metro card etc so with all the fun comes all the responsibility.

There is more than one way of experiencing culture shock but I think everyone does at some point or another. For me, the biggest difference to home was trying to figure out the college timetable. It didn't matter what I clicked into on the Roma Tre website, I couldn't find any times or venues for my various lectures. Well I freaked (again), and I texted so many Erasmus people I had met during the week and everyone was in the same boat. Yet I felt like the only one sitting in my bed on the Sunday night - the day before I was to begin college - not knowing where to go or even if any of my lectures were on. Suffice to say, I shed my first tears lol and felt like a failure for not figuring it out . Only for a lovely girl that I met here who had a link to the different lecture times, I would have had a breakdown. 

I also had problems with figuring out how to buy metro cards, how to use vending machines etc. and just felt totally out of my depth during my first week here. It's so weird because in those moments your mind is spinning and you make yourself think that you shouldn't be here because you can't do the simple things right. By now, I'm slowly adapting but I guess I am a bit of a panicker when things are new and foreign to me. I need to learn to go with the flow!
I'm totally out of my comfort zone, but that's the best place to be, isn't it?


College and Erasmus Life

So I suppose I should talk a bit about why I'm here - I'm studying Sociology and Italian Culture in a new language in a completely different University system.
Yes, my lectures are all taught through Italian.. Do I speak good Italian? No
I can grasp about 60 % of what the teachers say in lectures, and can understand text etc. but my weakest link is definitely my spoken Italian. It's very limited and I'm not confident at all.
Thankfully, there are language courses being offered at Roma Tre and I have already began to take them so I can only get better!


Other than all of the settling in, culture shock and general responsibilities, the life of an Erasmus student is a good one.
 The weather has been fabulous most of the time. 
The food as you all know is bloody phenomenal. I'm drowning in Pizza, Pasta and Gelato - and this is exactly how I imagined life in Italy would be.




I tried red wine for the first time - my French friends recommended I start on a semi-sparkling wine like this one^ and I actually enjoyed it. I reckon I'll be a wine drinker yet!!


The city is so so so incredibly beautiful. I can't even put it into words. I'm constantly looking around and taking it all in and have to pinch myself that I am lucky enough to call Rome my home for a year.
When I first saw both the Colosseo and Fontana Di Trevi, I was just completely and utterly in awe of how HUGE they were. My God, pictures really don't do these monuments justice. They don't even look real. There are just so many wow moments and I am out here trying to live my best Lizzie McGuire life!! (If you know, you know haha).







I have already made soooo many friends from France, Germany, UK, Portugal and many other countries, most of whom are also Erasmus students. It's an amazing feeling to instantly click with strangers because we are all in the same boat and totally at ease being in each other's company. It's hard to explain but I feel like some of these incredible people who I have only known for 2 weeks are like my best friends already. They're making this experience so much better because I always have someone to hang out with, or text or plan things with and that is so comforting.







There is a fantastic organisation called ESN - Erasmus Student Network. They are a voluntary organisation across the world who dedicate their time to making sure we have the best Erasmus possible.
Already they have organised several nights out, city tours, international picnic, trips to Hotsprings and Wine Festivals as well as some other really exciting trips to come!! They truly are making this the best experience possible for us - at a discounted price - the most important factor for a student haha!
I'm just feeling so lucky that the ESN exists because already they have filled my first two weeks with so much joy and brought me so many new friendships.


I also have to thank my fellow blogger gal, Ciara, who has pretty much been my rock over the last year. Ciara also went on Erasmus to Italy a few years ago, lived in Catania last year, has an Italian boyfriend and is completely in-the-know when it comes to all things Italy. I have sent her sooo many voice notes, and panic messages at all hours of the day and she's just been the best and continues to check up on me daily. I'd be lost without you Ciara so thank you for making this experience better for me!!

So Week 1 & 2 have been a whirlwind to say the least. I have had moments of panic, moments of mayhem and moments of pure contentment.
All in all, while it might only be a 3 hour flight from home, it's still a huge change. I am having the time of my life as I figure out my way around this  crazy city and immerse myself into Roman life.

I can't wait to bring ye along with me this year as I document it and I really hope you will enjoy my Erasmus Diary-esque series.

As always feel free to message me with advice, questions and requests re this series because I can't wait to hear your feedback!

Thanks for reading,
C. x
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Monday, 4 June 2018

Why I haven't blogged in 3 months

Hi,
This feels weird and wonderful writing here again.

I'm actually quite emotional writing this first sentence, like it's hit a nerve and I don't know why. I feel like I have become estranged with my own blog.
If you hadn't noticed, I haven't put up a blog post in over 3 months.

I'm figuring out a few things in my life and it's made me realise that I need to write. Ever since I was a child, I loved writing stories and scenarios and English in school was my strong point. Even though I'm not the most articulate with my words and I don't use the biggest words in the dictionary, I just feel release when I do personal writing.
Somewhere along the way in 2018, I forgot that and it contributed to me feeling confused, guilty and lazy. 

The Blogging Scene in Ireland 2018

I love my blog, and I love what I have created. I love my blogger friends and I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've received since I set it up. I love that I have inspired many people and that you are interested in my content.

But it can be really hard to juggle everything. This year I was full-time in my second year of college. I stepped up as chairperson of a society. I went home to Tipperary every weekend and taught guitar lessons. I scheduled in weekly blog shoots with my gal Ailbhe. I hung out with my friends, enjoyed my nights out and breezed through everything! I love to keep busy. I can't function if I'm not busy.

But somewhere along the way, the blog got thrown to the side, and I'm actually upset writing this because as much as I love my blog, I couldn't bring myself to prepare, edit and publish blog posts.

People don't realise that when you're a blogger, you own a brand. I am the owner, editor, photographer, writer, social media manager, performance reporter and inspiration behind my whole brand, Orange Obviously. Blog posts take hours. And I love it. But when it's not a career for me, it's so hard to put my all into it. I've had a few sponsored Instagram posts and that's amazing but the reality is, it's not a career for me right now, and that makes it a struggle to make time for it. There is a huge pressure for smaller bloggers to 'keep up' when it's not a full time thing for us. Standards are always being raised and algorithms affect our efforts.

I've always been a believer in "You do you, girl!" and that other people's mishaps shouldn't affect my work. But the scandals around the Irish blogging scene this year have really disheartened me and pushed me away from the thing I love.
Many people now tarnish all Irish bloggers with the same brush because a select few have ruined it for the rest of us.

There is absolutely incredible Irish bloggers out there who are real, authentic, creative and passionate about blogging. They blog for their love of writing and because of their innate creativity. They blog because they want to constructively use their own corner of the internet to inspire and spread knowledge of their niches.

However, it is extremely frustrating when you build yourself for a few years as a blogger with your own website and authentic image and people abuse the industry.
There's so many occurences of influencers listing themselves as 'blogger' in their social media bios and yet there's no trace of a blog or website. What is their purpose? Are they in it to be gifted by companies or gain a following by falsely listing themselves as bloggers?
In my opinion, it is totally unfair on actual bloggers who have a blog. The word 'blogger' derives from 'blog'. If you don't have one, how can you call yourself a blogger? Just because I can kick a ball doesn't mean I call myself a footballer.
It is literally taking the mick out of people who have worked really hard on creating their blogs.

And to the bloggers in Ireland who have photoshopped their bodies to disproportionate lengths, to the point they're unrecognisable. To the ones who have lied to their followers in order to make a quick buck off a company. To the ones who have imported white label products and put their own name on it, and sold it for way more to their misinformed and unassuming followers.
Deceiving followers, lying to people, photoshopping to make some quick cash.
It is shameful. Such shameful and disgusting behaviour. Social media is pressurising, I get that. But there is no excuse for that carry on! Not when you make a career off the people who trust and follow you.

It is reflecting a really bad light on the rest of us who are real, honest and authentic to our following 'cause we are in it for the love of it. Unfortunately, most bloggers are being painted with the same brush.
 Every time I go online, someone is giving out about bloggers. I've even been in conversations with friends about how they are 'sick of bloggers these days'. 
At times it makes me want to give it all up and not be associated with it.
But it's so true what they say, there will always be a few who will ruin it for the rest!!!

While I don't exactly support the infamous Instagram page Bloggers Unveiled because I think they take it too far at times, they have brought a lot of things to our attention on just how much fakery and lies are being created by certain Irish bloggers.

For so long I followed a really popular blogger in Ireland who lost weight and toned up in just a few short months. I wondered and wondered why it didn't work for me. How come I wasn't toning up as quick as her, and it made me feel conscious of myself and my appearance. It turns out she was photoshopping her body the whole time to make herself appear 2 sizes slimmer on social media when it was all a lie.
I'm lucky I have thick skin, and I quickly copped on to her photoshopping, but it made me think of how many impressionable young followers she was deceiving and how damaging her lies really were.
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For 3 months I have avoided blogging because I worried. 
Would anyone even want to read blogs anymore after the carry on in the industry?
Is a blogger just someone to gossip about with your friends and nothing more?
Would anyone trust me given the behaviour of dishonest bloggers?
I had no interest and took no pride in writing my blog anymore. And isn't that just disgusting? The effect that some people have had on me and how I view the industry stopped me from doing something I love and in the long-run left me confused about why I do what I do.

But I have had time to think and I am so proud of what I have created. Time and time again I have been commended for my authenticity and positivity and the high quality content I produce.
I still don't know what career I want, but I know the blog will help me get me to where I need to be someday. 
To be honest, I'm not me without my blog. 

But my message to you is, please don't lose faith in all Irish bloggers. Please don't throw around the term 'bloggers' with your friends and fuel the fire even more.
If you follow blogs and read blogs, remember why you do. Remember which attributes you love about your favourite bloggers and support them. Like their pictures, give a comment if your admire something. You've no idea how much it means to see the hard work pay off.

If you follow someone and they constantly bring negativity to your newsfeed, hit that unfollow button. Don't continue to follow them and then gossip with your friends, or else it just continues to spread negativity. 
Do a bit of searching and follow the honest bloggers.
 Follow the real bloggers.
Follow the authentic bloggers who bring positivity to your feed.
Follow the bloggers who make you feel good about yourself when you see their posts.
Follow the bloggers who blog because they love it.

They are the ones that are keeping this industry alive. They are the ones that daily, are restoring my faith in this industry. They are the ones who are bringing a change and revolutionising blogging in Ireland.

Blogging is not dead in Ireland. Watch.  It is being re-born!
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Sunday, 18 February 2018

My Top 5 Foundations

Hey lovelies, happy Sunday!!

As you can tell from the title, this post is a run-through of my Top 5 Favourite Foundations.

So my love for these foundations is totally based on the fact that I have oily/combination skin which is acne & blackhead prone. So if you have a similar skin type, these foundations may suit you also!!

I've been dying to write this post for ages because I always want to learn about new makeup myself and these are my absolute trustees so I hope you will love them too!

Daytime Foundations

1. Catrice HD Liquid Coverage


The Catrice HD Liquid Coverage foundation is my absolute baaaaaaby!!! Like my ultimate fave foundation in the world.. It would be a daytime foundation as I only ever wear the lighter shade of 003. For people with spotty skin like me, I have to say it covers evvvverything without feeling overly heavy on the skin. It definitely lasts all day - I've often worn it for up to 20 hours and with powder top-ups it stays on!
 I've worn this foundation in all kinds of weather from rain to scorching heat in America and I just adore it. If you want an affordable but absolutely fantastic daytime foundation then this is my absolute No.1 that I recommend! I also love the fact that it is a dropper style foundation because you can decide how much you want to put on your brush.
And get this... It's €7.50!!!!! You can purchase it in Penneys and many other chemists! 

2. Flormar Perfect Coverage Foundation

The Flormar Perfect Coverage Foundation is my 2nd favourite daytime foundation. I tend to wear it when I have tan on because it is the darker of my everyday foundations. I went to a Flormar stand to find a lighter shade and found that there is very little options of shades available. But I do however mix it with my Catrice HD foundation as mentioned above when I want to acquire the perfect colour match to the shade of my tan ha!! Does anyone else ever do that? I'm always mixing my foundations!
I really like the fact that there is an SPF in the foundation and it is super longlasting!!
The coverage is also excellent and it is super affordable!


3. JOKO ALL in ONE

This foundation is one that was sent to me from a PR company. It is the only foundation I own that isn't specifically for oily skin/full coverage look. I find this foundation is more for a dewy & natural look. So on days where my skin is clearer or I want lighter coverage I will wear this foundation or mix it with my other ones. You can buy it here on Visage Beauty Store!


Nighttime Foundations

1. Urban Decay All Nighter


This is my absolute favourite foundation to wear on nights out or for occasions when I'm wearing tan! It literally does what it says on the tin - lasts all night. It's the only foundation I will wear on a night out, and I sinfully have fallen asleep with it on a few times and it has lasted quite well!!
The shades are stunning - I use shade 5 with tan. It feels so velvety on the skin and is completely full-coverage. It hides all redness of spots and just gives a flawless finish!
It has lasted me so long - nearly a year, so longevity for the price of €36 is impressive as it is only 30ml!! Can we also take a moment for how pretty the packaging is?? By far my prettiest foundation!


 2. MAC Studio Fix Fluid


 I'm sure at one point or another everyone has heard of the MAC Studio FIx foundation as it is famous for it's coverage and longevity on the skin. It certainly does give a flawless finish which is always important for nights out! It is however quite a heavy foundation - you can feel it sitting on the skin. Nonetheless it does it's job and will forever be one of my favourite nighttime coverage foundations!!


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So those are My Top 5 Foundations!! I'm always intrigued to see what other people with similar skin types like - so please let me know your fave foundations whether they are daytime, nighttime, drugstore or high end.
In fact I'm on the lookout for a new Nighttime foundation, so all recommendations are welcome!


*Disclaimer - all opinions are 100% honest and 100% my own opinions.

Clóda
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