Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone has a great time tonight and a fantastic 2010, personally I'm happy to see the back of 2009, it was a crazy mix of highs and lows..

Fashion wise 2009 was hugely inspirational from the Alexander McQueen's fantastical catwalk show at London Fashion week to the range of designer/high street collections such as Christopher Kane for Topshop and Jimmy Choo for H & M..We saw Danni Minogue come to the forefront of fashion, week after week on X Factor with her classy hair styles and unique outfits. Her razor-sharp sleek bob caused a surge of women reaching for the scissors and she blew Cheryl Cole out of the water every time with her combination of sexy but stylish dresses that embodied her grown up sophistication and confidence.. 2009 did see Cheryl's own star continue to rise and it must be noted that her style of teeny weeny dresses and bouncy hair has inspired many..

Vintage became widely accessible to many and was not just reserved for stylish students, the recession spawned a huge interest in charity shops and swap shops, while high street chain Penneys reached cult status in Ireland. In response to the recession women started searching for value as well as style, and realised that mixing high street, vintage and designer was the best way forward..

Women such as Lady GaGa and Michelle Obama made their fashion mark, GaGa daring to outdo herself every time with her outrageous and provocative costumes, while Michelle Obama proved that a woman can be interested in both fashion and politics..

Kate Moss continued to hold her own despite facing criticism for sporting wrinkles in her mid 30s!..Other ladies sparkled under the sartorial spotlight for their quirky looks, most notably Alexa Chung and my personal favourite Olivia Palermo..

The skinny versus curvy debate raged on as celebrity magazines continued to lambast any star who had so much as gained or lost a few pounds..not unrelated to this was the death of actress Brittany Murphy, who's skeletal frame and apparent addiction to plastic surgery highlighted the pressures women everywhere face, from the media, their peers and themselves. We also lost Michael Jackson, a king of iconic costume looks - his death was also linked to a dependency on pain killers and his life long poor body image.

We saw a return to the 80s with strong silhouttes and big shoulders came back with a bang, while platform shoes, leggings and leather dominated the high street..Statement jewellery, Blazers and men's brogues were my own favourite pieces, while I gave jumpsuits and body con a miss - beautiful but dangerously unflattering for me!

Ladies like Beyonce and more so Holly Willoughby inspired me with their ability to keep it real, dressing for their shape and flaunting their curves in flattering and beautiful outfits, not afraid to reveal legs and boobs with the greatest of confidence in their shape.

Overall it was an amazing year for fashion, a year that my interest and knowledge peaked as I spent the best part of 2009 sitting on my couch reading fashion blogs! ..Big up to my favourite ladies Blanaid and Whisty for transforming the Irish fashion blogging scene, while across the water, and provided me with endless enjoyment and inspiration.

Hope everyone has a happy and stylish New Year and the best 2010 ! xx

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Above is the very jacket I bought on sale in Zara a few days ago, glad to see Olivia P championing the military look as well, her chicness is so inspiring..I love how she's added a dash of colour to her outfit with the neon clutch..

It was reduced to €39.00 at Zara in the Pavillions Swords, love it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just posted my last three column's below, have neglected to update the blog over the past few weeks, as I've been so busy with Christmas and the new job! I plan to evolve the blog in the New Year and post my columns on the side bars linking to the Herald website, leaving the blog free for fashion posts and other ramblings..can't believe the column is almost a year old, so glad it's still going strong !

Anyway, here's one of the dresses I bought in the sales, French's simple structure and classic navy colour is right on trend with the military look of the moment and it's versatility will take me right through to summer..had a great splurge in the shops over Christmas, including a black draped jersey dress from which I wore on Christmas day, a pale peach satin razor petal cut skirt from A-Wear for just €30, studded black heeled ankle boots from Zara, a red silk dress from Warehouse with a gift voucher I received, new elbow length grey wool gloves, a knitted headband perfect for cosy ears on frosty days, a black military dress jacket with white piping from Zara, and a khaki green parka jacket from H & M for rainy mornings at the bus stop! Needless to say I am a happy bunny, Santy and everyone else was very good to me!

Had a lovely few days at home over Christmas, ate lots and lots of great food including the usual turkey spread, my mam's pate and the best Beef Wellington at my boyf's on Stephen's night..drank lots of champagne and devoured a ton of cheese, ate endless purple roses with cups of tea, ate my entire gift box of Lauderee Macaroons in front of the telly, snoozed in my slippers at the fire, walked my dog around the icy lake, enjoyed catching up with my oldest friends and listened to my lil bro dj in our local pub..heading back to the apartment tomorrow and still have New Year to look forward to..hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and have a great New Year! xx Niamh ..

It's hard to believe I'm in my apartment a year. It was on New Year's Eve last that I packed up 26 years of belongings and left the family home, swapping house rules for romance by moving in with my boyfriend. I've never been a fan of New Year but last year was a good one, as I popped Prosecco and he cracked open a can, to toast our new adventure. We celebrated with plastic cups sitting among his one suit case and my many boxes of 'stuff' that didn't make it into the hired skip during the big move.

It was a big step of course: first, moving out of home which was a long time coming, and, second, by moving in with himself. I suppose, metaphorically, moving in on New Years meant a lot to me, new beginnings and all that. For him it was practical to spend Christmas at home while still getting settled into the new place before returning to work.

Losing my job two weeks later meant that I had lots of time to potter around buying hand towels and candles, while now having rent and bills to pay spurred me into relentlessly pursuing new job options until I found one.

A lot changed in Ireland last year as we know, and we have just re-signed our lease for 2010, paying £200 less then we started on, having negotiated a good deal with our landlady in keeping with the current climate. It is a renter’s market indeed at the moment, and not surprising that landlords are keen to keep tenants at a reduced cost rather than risk an empty space.

Whatever way the market continues to evolve will be interesting .I'm certain that we could have moved on and found somewhere cheaper for next year. Indeed there are two bedroom flats available for a lot less; but it's taken till now for it to really feel like home. Plus, while moving in on New Year’s was romantic in my eyes, it's not very practical and I doubt there would be much help on offer should we want to relocate on the 31st again.

Now we can celebrate the New Year fully settled in our apartment, not sitting on boxes and with real glasses, celebrating the end of a crazy year employment-wise and excited for what 2010 may hold.

I’ve got carried away with having a salary again after six months and even bought real champagne this time!
So Christmas is upon us and the festivities are in full swing. However, while friends are winding down and rolling into work hung-over, I've been busy taking everything in at my new job.

I've enjoyed getting back into a routine of working hard and doing what I love. Between Christmas and the new job, I'm a tad excitable at the moment. One thing I do miss from the last few months though is sleeping in - especially on these cold mornings!. Ironically, I do my best work in the mornings, I simply hate the shrill of an alarm clock in my face and it's not something I've ever got used to.

While at school I was dragged out of bed sulking and was scolded many a morning for showering and rushing out the door in twelve minutes flat, usually with wet hair and no breakfast. At college I welcomed the chance to live by own hours, I learned fast that I could sleep in and still work hard, studying in my own time to achieve the results I wanted.

Working nights for many years took me totally out of the alarm clock loop until I started my first PR job a few years back. I soon realised that being as organised as I like to be, and in order to get the most out of the day and do a good job, then I had to give myself time in the morning. I preferred to be early and get a head start on the day and by the time the recession came around and I found myself back under the covers I had matured enough to even make breakfast a regular occurrence.

Now I've returned to early rises, and my boyfriend is surprised at just how much time I take in the morning - I like a full half hour to sit watching the news over breakfast. Don't get me wrong, I still hate that first minute when the alarm goes off, it's forever ingrained and I half expect my mam to appear ready to pull the quilt off me.

It's only a split second and once I'm up I'm fine, thankful and excited for my new job. There's plenty of time for lie ins over the Christmas break anyway - but if I don't stop enthusing over my job I'll have everyone else asleep as well!
Often, it takes years of drama to realise that certain friends are no good for us, a person who is simply ruining your self esteem or is toxic to be around. However, I’m glad that at 27 , I’m really lucky with my bunch, a mix of school, college and other friends who are the best in the world.

It’s hard to believe that my longest standing friendship is close to approaching it’s 25th year! 24 years of neighbourly bliss began at three years old when the Scully’s moved in beside us. However, my friend wasn’t greeted with the nicest welcome from my toddler self and when she made a dive for my favourite toy on that first meeting, well, she got a bite to remember. Mrs. Scully was horrified and whisked her daughter off to the doctors who was so alarmed at the severity of the bite he thought it had come from an animal! Woops!

I can't remember the aftermath but I have few childhood memories that don't involve her and her sisters so we must have made firm friends pretty quickly afterwards.

While I was living frugally for the last six months, the recession afforded me plenty of time to catch up with all my friends, a nice break from the usual cycle of working long hours and constantly playing catch up.

I suppose though, it’s not a coincidence that I've made some of my best friends in the last three or four years - as I really got to know myself.

We all seem to have gravitated towards the same area in town too, which helps with the mid week meetings. After hearing 'friends of friends' stories about drunken dramas and bitchiness I'm grateful I don't have any of that hassle in my life – it’s best left in the past with dodgy school photos.

Since being back at work though I've had less time during the week to skip back to Skerries or jaunt around town and am looking forward to heading home for Christmas.

The girls next door and I have a tradition we've kept still, 25 years on. I hop over their wall every Christmas morning to see what Santy brought them, still in my pyjamas. It's not quite at 6am anymore and is now accompanied with a hangover, but nevertheless it's something we look forward to.

We always have a laugh at the years gone by – and I’m slagged over the scar on her arm!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Totally want either of these wedges as well by the way, in a totally crazy shoe mood at the moment, but would play it safe with an all black outfit..thoughts anyone? They had similar ones in Office a while back, but I wasn't so sure, they're probably gone now and I'm too late..The Leopard ones are definitely more to my liking, simply with black tights, black blazer, black skirt and red lipstick. Festive indeed.
just realised the save draft option! woops to anyone that got five or six alerts to a new post on the last one as I rearranged the pics a million time!
Came across this latest fashion atrocity in the papers today...British Style Icon??!! Eh, no..

.....That's more like it!!...

Pics courtesty of,


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

...speaking of shoe boots, how hot does Olivia P look here in these stone coloured suede Louboutins...I really thought owning a Mulberry Bayswater would satisfy me for a long time to come..turns out it doesn't work like that! I want!

Loving Olivia P right now though, she always looks effortlossly stylish and radiant..she has a great eye for accessories too and has inspired me to detangle my four drawers of jewellery and rediscover all the vintage jewels I bought in San Francisco back in the day, as well as doing a 'rusty bangles from Penneys' clearout ahead of Christmas..

I'm totally having a high heel moment right now..the higher the better, and while you still won't catch me tottering around work in them too often, or venturing too far away from a bar/house/taxi, my bag fetish is slowly being eclipsed by shoes and there are some outfits that just won't cut it with flats. The Christmas season in particular calls for some seriously HIGH shoes and the festive footwear on the highstreet never fails to impress..between sequinns and studs there is plenty to choose from this party season but I reckon a simple pair of wow inducing leg lengtheners is the way to go..

These Topshop Alexus Chelsea Platform Shoe Boots are on my Christmas Wish list, retailing at 80 sterling and €120 (hang on - is that the correct conversion?!, eh no..) I think I know which side of the border mine will be purchased on. I've tried them on a few times while out and about and I love how the smooth leather chunkiness looks with more delicate fabrics like lace and silk. Also despite being scarily high, the platform does help for unbalanced wobblers like me while also elongating the leg to endless lengths..They will be perfect for Christmas day when I won't be hobbling far from the Kitchen..
After several welcome interviews in the last few weeks, I was made an offer which I have accepted with great excitement. Santa came slightly early and gave me exactly what I wanted for the New Year - a full-time job.

I'm literally covered in bruises from pinching myself with excitement and, after six months of keeping afloat with free lancing, combined with many quieter weeks where I gloomily accepted the dole, this job couldn't have come at a better time for Christmas.

As this goes to print I will be in the middle of my first day. I expect for exhaustion to hit me in my first week like a steam train, as I adjust once more to alarm clocks and early nights - but I absolutely can't wait.

The past year has been a career rollercoaster, being let go from two jobs. The first was a long drawn-out process with many whispers and stress-inducing rumours which cast a dark cloud over last Christmas. The worst case scenario – that several of us were to be let go - came immediately after the holidays, coinciding with me moving into my new apartment.

Luckily, I wasn’t out of work for long, but no sooner had I settled into my next job then I was handed the much more shocking news that they were regretfully unable to renew my contract after the initial three months.

This one hit me harder in some ways as it was so unexpected, but I soldiered on and spent the last six months building on my CV, working from home on different projects.

Armed with several references but no job I built up my freelance portfolio and did what I could, making a firm promise to myself early on - I would make the most of this period in my life and not see it as a depressing slow down in my career. Instead I made sure I did all the things people complain they never have time to do and, apart from possibly five bad days over six months, I did pretty well.

The good news of my new job, however, is still marred by the fact that several family members and friends are still struggling with their own recession troubles. I’m just glad that I can now spoil everyone over the festive season, and hopefully far into the New Year as well.

Fingers crossed with this job – that it’s a case of third time lucky for me. I’ll keep you posted!

I have learnt that I'm never happier then when I'm making lists. At work, I was never far from my to-do lists, post-its and highlighters and now working for myself I continue to carry a book with ideas and lists everywhere and am bordering on OCD with sub-lists and mini-lists and so on.

I love it.

This year being semi freelance/semi- unemployed, I relished in challenging myself to get the most out of my finances in the run up to Christmas, and took great pleasure in composing several lists a few weeks ago.

Who I needed to buy for, how much I needed to spend, what nights out were planned that I had to attend, where could I cut back and be creative with gifting? It's the first time for decorating my own place, while making sure my neglected roots are perfect at least for the festive season is also a priority I won't compromise on.

Christmas is undoubtedly my absolute favourite time of year and a lack of disposable funds and the gloomy recession is not going to stop me from enjoying it. In fact, I think we all owe it to ourselves to enjoy it more than ever this year.

No Christmas party and no kriskindle with colleagues is something I'll miss out on, but I'll also have much more time to enjoy the festive spirit. The coming weeks leave me with plenty of hours to soak up the atmosphere around town.

Being broke won’t stop me enjoying myself.

If I'm honest, it's not just the lack of a full-time job that has me being so organised - I've always been like this - but for the first time since losing my job, I am looking forward to being off, and, as always, taking the positive from a situation.

However, in the past week I've had three interviews and am pinching myself with excitement to hear back and daydreaming about the future, should I be made an offer. It's a nice dilemma to be in and I realise how lucky I am that after six months of searching for the perfect position, interviews have come along in threes like delayed buses.

It looks like I could be working hard in the run up to Christmas after all, which will mean a change to my festive finances - and a chance to rewrite my Christmas lists!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After the frugal year I've had some might say (me!) that I deserve a little Christmas treat. Call it a celebration of my new appreciation for money, and also to celebrate my new job starting on Monday - yay!

So basically after a year of hiding my visa in the back of the drawer when it comes to shopping, and making do with stuff I only really needed, for Christmas I've asked Santy for something special and thankfully he's struck a deal with me. The Mulberry Bayswater. Santy knows that after six months of free lancing combined with welfare payments, that something this amazing will be well appreciated by moi. He also happens to be friends with a little helper who works in a certain department store that sells the Bayswater beauty - and she gets a whopping discount throughout December which justifies this purchase massively. Add to this a small sum that I will put towards it myself and Santy is getting a great deal. Me, I'm getting my very first investment bag, that will last me for years and years. I know I won't tire of it as I've already wanted it for at least three years and regularly visit said store to admire its leather loveliness and fine structure. It will save me many years of purchasing high street bags and as I intend to eat, sleep and talk to it, it will be the best recessionista buy ever - and a beautiful end to a crazy year.