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

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

How To Live Your Best Life

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

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

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

Importance of Positivity

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

Stop Caring What Other People Think

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

Find Your Passions

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

Do Things For You

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

The Secret

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

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

Until next time,


Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Portrayal of Women on TV & film

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

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


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

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


Women On Italian TV

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

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

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

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

I would love to hear your opinions!

Thanks for reading.

Clóda x

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

5 Tips on Trying To Find A Balance

Happy November 1st everyone... You know what that means. It's totally acceptable to play Christmas music, talk about Christmas, start planning for Christmas etc.

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Wow, so I haven't posted on my blog in 2 months. That makes me the worst blogger in the world right? Wrong.
I beat myself up so much in my own head for not blogging more frequently or for the lack of postings and publishings across my social media. I assume people will deem me lazy, inconsistent or just a bad blogger who can't even do the one thing she loves. When really these are all silly thoughts in my own head. Perhaps they are feelings of guilt for not posting or just generally wishing I had more hours in the day to do all of the things I love.
I have to remember that while I love blogging and everything it has done for me, it is a hobby at the end of the day!
Life has taken over. 
2nd year of college has taken over.
Socialising has taken over.
Being a part of societies on campus has taken over.
They name just a few of the things which have occupied my time in the last 2 months! 

I have always lived a crazy-busy/hectic lifestyle and I wouldn't have it any other way. 
I've always kept busy. Since I was a child I've been a dabbler and thrown my hand to anything that seems interesting. You name it, I've tried most hobbies and pastimes at one point or another.
That's just in me, it's a part of me. I'm a lover of life and always seek more.
I always try to see what I can get out of life and how far I can push the limits.

Although I do take on a lot, at what point does it become too much?
I had to question myself a few weeks ago - am I actually being productive??

I was doing more socialising than actually taking care of my responsibilities.
Late nights means late mornings and low concentration levels in lectures.
I wasn't looking after my skin or listening to my body.
I stopped making extra time for things I love like blogging, creating content and even going to the gym!

Put all of that into the mix + the feeling of guilt for not blogging +  making time for family and friends - and of course me time!!
It came to the point where I had so much to do that I did nothing at all, and there's no way that's productive or a way to live your life!!

So I decided to make little changes. I'm still working on them and will be for a while, but I'm going to quickly share 5 things I've been doing while trying to find a balance.

(1) Prioritise

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One of the biggest things I've learned is how crucial it is to prioritise. While it's all well and good to enjoy turning 21 and being back to college lifestyle, I had to decide what my actual priorities were. Is going on nights out for the craic more important than my responsibilities/deadlines/uncompleted tasks??
Occasionally yes, but once or twice a week just can't happen until I get my life back on track haha!
At the end of the semester, will I be happier for having gone on a load of nights out and ignoring what I really had to do - or happier that I at least gave my studies & responsibilities my best shot?!

(2) Take care of yourself

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It's great to take on a load of activities, but check in with yourself and see if you're actually OK. Luckily enough, up until this week I hadn't really been stressing! I am now because I feel everything is catching up on me. I'm gonna try some downtime and meditation before I go to sleep and I hope it will make some difference.

The little things like actually looking after my skin have totally gone out the window! I was removing my makeup with wipes most nights because I was shattered and just wanted to fall into the bed. I was ruining my skin. So I'm making conscious decisions to cleanse my face properly and moisturize. (Future me will be thankful).

I felt kind of messy going around campus in a tracksuit, no makeup and wet hair all the time, which isn't always a bad thing. But it's nice to feel nice going from lecture to lecture so I've again made conscious choices to get up a bit earlier, pick out a nice outfit and put on a bit of makeup!
It's a small thing, but this week I've instantly felt that little bit better being more done up!

It's been hard to make as much time for the gym as I usually do, but it's so important to keep up a healthy lifestyle when you're very busy. You can't have one without the other. Meal prep and scheduling time for exercise is the key but now I just need to implement that into my lifestyle!

Also sleeeeep. How many times have you read that one? It's so true. I'm such a night owl but this past week I've been in bed before 12pm. I'm so fresh and ready for the next day and it gives me the extra time in the mornings to get done up and ready for college - hense feeling better about myself.
I'm starting to see that everything has a domino effect!

(3) Stay Positive

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When possible, stay as positive as you can.
Things can get too much at times, and things will probably go wrong at one point or another. But the important part is how you react to the stuff life throws at you!
Try to keep going, keep smiling and stay enthusiastic.
If you act negative, you attract negativity.
If you act positive, you attract positivity. Simples.
 Things always have a way of working themselves out.
Keep your chin up, keep the end goal in sight and stay positive :)

(4) To-Do Lists & Diaries

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Stationary should be your best friend!!!
It's nice to take notes on your phone, but you can't beat the magic of putting pen to paper.
I would be lost without my daily planner. It was only €2 in Dealz back in January, but it is my life!!
It's such a simple idea to keep a planner and schedule your days. With everything else going on, you can forget things like taking a call, going to a meeting, or grabbing a coffee with a friend. 
On top of that a To-Do list is essential. Whether it's a daily list or a weekly one it's a great way to keep on top of things and get your jobs done!
I don't know if it's just me, but I get such a sense of pride and productivity when I tick something off my list and get everything in done!

(5) Watch motivational videos

You know those videos you see on Facebook of people giving motivational speeches and talks and you might think it's all a bit spoofy?? Next time, really truly listen to what they are saying!
They motivate me so so much and definitely boost my mood when things start to fall apart or I struggle to balance everything.
Gary Vaynerchuck has to be one of the best motivational speakers I've ever listened to!
One video/story/message that resonates with you can totally shift your outlook on the day ahead and in turn, potentially change your life.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you were able to take something from this post and that it will help you in some way.

Much love,


Thursday, 31 August 2017

20 Irish Fashion Bloggers who are SLAYING the game!!

Hey everyone, happy Thursday.
Today I'm back with an appreciation post for my fellow fashion bloggers in Ireland.
If you're looking for some newness on your Instagram feed, or you simply want to see who is absolutely KILLING it in the fashion game in Ireland then stay scrolling

Ciara O' Doherty

This lady just oooozes style and class! I'm so obsessed with all the looks she puts together.
And no doubt, they are always on point because Ciara is a Fashion Stylist, frequently appearing on Ireland AM! 
Not only all of that, but she recently launched her stunning new brand Taylor and Rose which is a collection of gorgeous hair vines, crowns and earrings. Like literally one-of-a-kind to die for jewellery. I think she got it just right! There is such a gap in the market for accessories like these!

Penneys To Prada

Emer's style is a college-goers DREAM!
I don't know how but she even manages to make a hoodie and a pair of vans look so stylish!!
Also the bargains she finds in Penneys will have you wanting everything in her wardrobe. Her style is just so approachable and effortless and everyone could take something from her!
 Emer is doing so well RN and was even featured on Irish Independent Style!! Yaaaassss girl!!

Rebekah With Love

 Rebekah is Ireland's answer to Kimmy K if you ask me!! She is suuuch a mega babe and dresses so amazingly. Like I would look like a spud beside her honestly.
Her eye for striking colours and textures will have your jaw dropping flicking through her Instagram!
If you don't follow her for fashion then check out her makeup collection and the gorgeous looks she creates daily!! This gal works her ass off to create fab content so give ma girrrl a follow!

In The DEEtales

If you like to wear black and white, then you need this monochrome goddess in your life!!
She just never fails to pull a stunning outfit together!! She makes everything she wears look so expensive!
Like she just all-round SLAYS! This girl is doing amazing and is working with Aussie Hair at Electric Picnic this weekend!! Ahh goaaaals! Keep it up Dee!
(Also for some giggles & major sass, follow her Twitter : click here ) 

Sho Style

I've been following Shona for over 2 years now and I've always been obsessed with her "Sho" Style!!
So much so that I now pick out things in Zara and the likes and be like yasss that would look amazing on Shona! She is  probably the most shtylish sista to come out of Roscommon ;)
This gal is going places. Just recently she was working on the social media for Born Fashion which is an incredible opportunity! And I'm sure it's only the beginning for her!!

Niamh Love Life

If you are not following this KWEEEEN then what planet are you on??
One of the most stylish Irish bloggers going and reppin' us girls down in Munster!
She brings sports luxe mixed with prints, colours and layering to a new level of awesome!
Like I envy her eye for high street styling :(
I genuinely believe she is one of the most hardworking bloggers in the industry right now!
Not only is she in her dream job at Charlotte Tilbury, she is constantly curating gorgeous content for her followers and doing shoots for her blog!
Niamh deserves every opportunity that is coming her way! At the beginning of the year she became a brand ambassador for L'Oreal Colorista and just this week she flew over to Missy Empire HQ in England to pick her favourite looks for Autumn Winter!
Like she is some sort of superwoman I swear! Keep workin' it Niamh and I can see you achieving your dream of going to New York!

Terrie McEvoy

This woman is just going from strength to strength!
She'd make any girl want to up and leave everything, and just travel the world in bikinis and a pair of shorts! She has such an amazing fashion sense and always pulls off the "nice top and jeans" look!
Like where does she find those nice tops!!!
She's also suuuuch a dote on Snapchat. Like all round she's a lovely, positive, ambitious lady! The fashion sense and the travel goals are just extra bonuses!
She might live halfway across the world, but Terrie is certainly taking Ireland by storm.
Since she's come home in August, radio & TV stations have nabbed her up left, right and centre!
I just can't wait to see what's next for her!

Dominique Nugent

I don't know where she pulls them from, but everyday that I log onto Instagram Dominique has a new outfit on! And a gorgeous one at that! Her love for all things frilly and puffy has no bounds and I love that! She always manages to find the coolest/quirkiest online stores!
If you need outfit inspo for nights out, holidays, or occasions - this is your go-to-girl!!

Michelle Alice

Ok.. Just scrolling through this girly's Instagram has reminded how much I adore her sense of style. Her mix of effortless everyday street style and chic has me in awe!!
And when you see her feed and her photography you'll be hitting the follow button instantly!!
Another lady who is absolutely killing it right now with so many opportunities coming her way!
She recently attended Castlepalooza (I think it's called) with Vodafone!! Like that is insane! You go girl!

Sinead's Curvy Style

Sinead is easily one of the trendiest ladies in the South West!!
She never fails to pull an amazing outfit together and just SLAY in it!!
Sinead is working so hard and doing incredibly! She is working with so many different brands and also does frequent fashion segments on the likes of TV3 Xposé!! She is also absolutely gas and so down to earth on Snapchat so definitely check this girl out!

Emma Noodle

You will die at the colour explosion and general gorgeousness of this girl's Insta feed!!
Like wow!! After spending the summer travelling she wore the most incredible clothing with stunning backdrops! She's always the first to find out about discounts on the likes of Missguided, so make sure you're following this Cork gal for all the inspo!

 Emma Zoey Roche

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Did someone say the queen of #OOTD's in Ireland?? I just cannot get enough of Emma's feed!
Her signature pictures are generally half-body or chest pictures like the one shown above!
She always has the most up-to-date trends (usually her being the one starting them)!
Her mix of high street clothes with gorge Gucci accessories will leave you wishing you had her wardrobe!

Niamh Cullen

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Does anyone else agree with me when I say this girl is just popping up everywhere - and rightly so!!
I always find myself clicking onto her Instagram when I need some outfit inspo or just generally wanting to see what she's up to now!
Niamh also will give you hair envy for days - she's always so creative with her hair and constantly looks so lustrous.. Like tell me your secret girl!!
She also reworks and ties up a lot of her clothing, starting up a trend with her followers called "Tie It Up like Niamh". And you can't deny everything looks better tied up haha!

Rosie Connolly

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I know you probably all know who Rosie Connolly is but she is definitely one of my biggest style inspirations! Literally every single day, she comes onto snapchat and whether she is wearing a hoodie or a dress - she always makes it look good!! She has the best hauls from Zara & ASOS wishlists! Rosie will provide you with inspo for days!

 Ciara S Walsh

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Ciara is a great blogger buddy of mine! I'm so grateful for the friendliness in the Irish blogging scene for bringing this gal to me! We are so in sync! Haha even a few weeks ago a few of us met up and did a shoot together and me and Ciara both showed up in gingham unplanned! I love little moments like that!
If you love all things girly and classy, this is the fashionista you need to be following! She is moving to Italy, so you can just imagine the stunning outfits and backdrops that are to come!!
Also, v proud of my girl, she was mentioned in a SheMazing article as one of their top 10 Instagram Influencers to follow! Yasssss Ciara!!

Retro Flame

Erika Fox may be halfway across the world, heck she could be on the moon and all of us Irish gals would still be following her and supporting her to the last! And of course we would all be dying to get our hands on her threads! Between herself and her sister Kaelin - both running the empire that is Retro Flame, they constantly ooze distinctive classic styling. They shop unique brands, high street and designer. They have the perfect mix and we can all agree that they work their asses off to produce quality fashion content for all of us!

  Love Lauren

I literally do love Lauren Arthurs like I am such a fangirl! She is one of the few people I have post notifications on for on Instagram!
Like while lots of people can post pictures in their outfits like it's nothing, this girl is beyond creative and talented when it comes to expressing her style!
Her photography skills and how she curates themes for her Instagram aesthetic takes serious dedication and hard work! She is a brand's dream and her style is just second to none! She is carving a serious path for herself and I'm so happy to see her do well because she's such a lovely girl too!!

Freya Broni

Like seriously Freya, can you not be on FIRE all the time and give the rest of us a chance :(
Ahah seriously though this girl just slays all day everyday. If it's not her hauls that have me reeling, it's her shoes & handbag collection! I just want to give her my money and let her be my personal shopper! It's clearly not just me noticing her either, because she recently did a collab with none other than Missguided!!! Are you able?? Can't wait to see what else is in store for Freya!

Taking it up North for our girl Ashlee. She looks like she's straight out of a Pretty Little Thing Lookbook or something! I just can't cope with her threads. You'll know exactly what I mean if you take one stroll through her Instagram. Serious girl crush vibes! Check her out! :)

Louise Cooney

And last but certainly not least, Louise Cooney from Limerick! This absolute girl bloss is taking 2017 by storm!! Her effortless, girly style along with her love for pink/pastel tones make her feed so aesthetically pleasing! Louise has recently left her job to be a full-time blogger and all I can say is hard work, talent and of course style is taking that girl places! Make sure to keep an eye out for her because she is only getting better and better!

And with that, I conclude my post on the 20 Irish Fashion bloggers who I think are working their butts off, creating amazing content and deserve all the recognition in the world!
If you don't already follow some of the above bloggers I hope this will spice up your Instagram feed!

I could mention so many more amazing bloggers in Ireland but I would be here all day! If you like these kind of posts be sure to let me know and I will continue to spread the love!

Chat soon,

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Hiit to Fit with Sonny Hunt

Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog!
So today's post is fitness related! As you may know if you follow my social media, I have been doing Sonny Hunt's female Hiit to Fit plan over the summer months!

Even though I promised myself I wouldn't, I put on the "college stone". It's inevitable in first year I reckon :(
My diet had just gone so bad, without even realising. I would go to the gym for about 40 mins, do loads of cardio, then come home and have a HUGE dinner as well as a load of sugary treats. I also got really bad for snacking late at night. I just completely let myself go to be honest!
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't beat the sugar cravings and I also wasn't doing the right things at the gym.

I headed away to America for the summer and no longer wanted to feel shitty about my body. I didn't fit into a lot of my clothes especially skirts and dresses which I had fit into 8 months previous. 
I decided I needed professional help to motivate me and get me on the right track!

This is where Sonny came in!!
I started following Sonny on Snapchat when Laura Dempsey (a makeup artist) had done his Hiit To Fit 8 week programme. The results she got were great, and from following Sonny a year later across all of his channels, I knew he was the real deal.
So I bought his 8 week blue plan and didn't look back!

In Sonny's plans he does detailed workouts with video footage so you can follow along. He creates a food plan personalized to you! He is in regular contact to advise and help in whatever way he can. None of my silly, amateur questions or complaints about feeling energy-less and sore were ever too much! He was always there with a positive reply and got me motivated again!

The 8-Week Plan

I was so determined to get my body back on track. I wanted to feel confident for my summer in America and also start prepping my body for my 21st birthday in September. 
One really good thing I've taken from the plan is that I am now setting myself fitness goals and working to achieve them.

For the first few weeks I worked really hard. I did the exercises as set for me each week!
If it was a busy day or I got home late, I still made time for my workouts - often finding myself doing warm-ups outside at 11pm! Dedication haha!!

The food plan literally was the best thing for me. Oh my god! It really brought to my attention just how much I had been over-eating in college.
Having the tailored food plan changed my outlook on my lifestyle completely.
I now know the type of foods I should be eating, how much of each food group I should be consuming and at what times of the day etc.
I became really disciplined because of it and did a lot if meal prep!

 I actually began to love clean eating believe it or not - because I love how it made me feel.
I noticed my body actually began to feel a lot healthier. Digestion was easier and overall I just felt a lot better and nourished! I was definitely not bloating as much either

As the weeks went on, the workouts got much harder and the fact that I was exercising in crazy hot weather for the whole summer, it was constantly hard. But that's a good thing!

It got harder and harder to be consistent with the programme as I was on a J1 and just all over the place. Also I worked in Ben & Jerry's for the summer which didn't help. So foodwise, I found it harder to stay on track the longer I was in America. But I tried when I could and I did all of my workouts. And to be honest, being in the situation I was in, I'm just glad that I kept it up as much as possible! 

Under the circumstances of being on the summer of a lifetime all the while being in a hot country, I'm really happy with how I did! 
Sonny is a fantastic personal trainer and certainly got me into a different way of thinking. I now have a really good mindset about working on becoming the best version of myself!

I see little changes in myself. I can see some definition in my legs and a little bit around my waist which is an incredible feeling! Achieving my goals is going to be a long term thing but I am at the age now where I want to invest in myself and my health and I will get there little by little. So if you are interested in going on a fitness journey, know that it is a journey. It won't happen overnight, but if you work hard long-term, it will happen!

What's Next?

After taking a few weeks break, I am now doing the next step-up which is Sonny's Orange Plan for females. This plan is a collaboration with Sonny, so expect a lot more fitness related posts across my social media!
 Now I am using a lot of free wights. The intensity levels are much higher.
I assumed I wouldn't be able for it. The thoughts of using weights was soooo scary to me. I never thought I would be the girl who spends more than an hour in the gym and uses weights but here I am a week and a half into the new plan and I am loving it!!!
Feeling myself get stronger and even gradually use heavier weights is so addictive. I am really enjoying going to the gym now. It's no longer a chore, it's a part of my lifestyle now!

It is 5 weeks until my 21st party, so I cannot wait to feel good about myself in my dress that night. Time to get to work!!
I'll keep ye updated!

For more info on Sonny's plans and training, check out his website here
Sonny's Instagram: click here

As always let me know if you have any questions about the plans and let me know if you enjoyed this post!
Clóda :)


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Why Everyone Should Take A Year Out

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

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

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

So why should you take  a year out?

You're Unsure About Your Choices

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

Don't follow your friends!!!

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

Improve Something or Learn Something

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

Make some €€€€€

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


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

My Year Out

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

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

What did I do?

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

I immersed myself.. in Everything!!

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

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

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

I fundraised for charity..

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

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I travelled to New  York!!

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

How did I turn out?

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

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

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