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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Living It Large, Volume II: Crash Dieting: An Update

As promised, I shall keep you updated on the trials and tribulations that have made up my past week, as I attempt to maintain a healthy diet, overcoming almost some obstacles.

All was going well. I  had replaced my eleven cups of tea with some green stuff with various minerals in it. Anything chocolate was substituted with something that has "Oaty" in the title. Dinner was tasteless and my evenings were miserable. I assumed it was going well. 

On Saturday night I made the wise decision to replace my usual tipple of cider, with a less fat therefore healthier, vodka substitute. This was an A+ health-aware decision, I'm sure you'll agree. However, as a result of this sensible decision the following, regrettable actions were taken.

Damning virtual evidence of my failure is in abundance, thanks to my dear friend, Sarah. She's no longer my friend.

The horse is so very high and return is almost incomprehensible.  

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Living It Large, Volume II: Crash Dieting

For the first time in my life, I am attempting to lose weight. Maybe second...following a charade of a diet that lasted two weeks earlier this summer. After losing a riveting three pounds I went on a three month-long celebratory binge. So I'm pretty sure that doesn't count.

For anyone that knows me you will  be well aware of my diet. Bordering on malnutrition, my day-to-day sustenance is comprised of crisps and potatoes. After all, that is what Padraig Pearse would have wanted. After recently discovering that Mr. Pearse, was not in fact a dietician, but an Irish rebel I am pretty disappointed that I sacrificed six inches of height and good skin for no reason. 

Until now I have lived a rosy, guilt-free life. I filled my days with Supersize McDonald's meals and breakfasts of butter, up until the harrowing day when I was abandoned by my oldest friend, Mr. Metabolism. Like a comfort blanket, I clung onto him for dear life, but he was right, I took him for granted. So he left me. All alone and growing the wrong direction.

For weeks I waited by the phone. He never called.

But with the help of Whitney Houston and her inspirational words, I know I must face the world alone, sans my fried friends. With the self-control of a child or fat person, I will update my blog with how horrible my healthy lifestyle is, and hope that it will be an encouragement to achieve. Otherwise, I'll just lie about it...

Lettuce, the poor man's burger.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Shoes = Happy. Yay!

I came home to a lovely surprise today. I got post, and that in itself is amazing... I love a good letter. What can possibly be more exciting than a good letter? Oh yeah, THESE TOTALLY BEAUTIFUL SHOES, MAYBE.

With thanks to the best boyfriend in all the lands x
(Image from

Monday, 25 July 2011

Faith in Fashion

Fashion is a form of self-expression. How we dress is a statement of our identity and the self-image we wish to project to the world. For many Islamic women, the approach to fashion is a different experience than one in the Western world – one that is often misunderstood and a subject of much controversy.
In order to preserve their modesty, Allah states in the Quran that women must “reduce [some] of their vision and… not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears”Influenced by this, clothing must cover the entire body and only the hands and face may remain visible.
Other guidelines determine dress, including the material chosen and the loose-fit necessary. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or attracting attention. It is this statement that conflicts with my personal opinion of what fashion is, and strives to be.
The Islamic hijab
Speaking to Nur Zahidah Azhar Shapawi, General Secretary of UCD’s Islamic Society, and Sarina Kajani, a key player within the UCD Fashion and Design Society, I aimed to learn more of what the hijab (dress code) means to an Islamic woman in a Western world, and whether it is possible for them to achieve individuality.
Abiding strictly by the Islamic dress code, Malaysian-born Zahidah trusts that the “hijab means modesty and identity” and importantly, protects women from exploitation. Despite this, Zahidah believes that Muslim women “portray modesty, yet are fashionable. The Muslim woman dresses appropriately and not extrovertly”She does not feel she has to expose herself in order to receive attention or gain recognition, and because of this, she achieves more and “is the most fashionable”.
Irish-born Sarina Kajani is a Sh’ia Ismaili Muslim – a modernised denomination of Islam, particularly in Western cultures. Kajani explains: “The world is ever changing and [although] the ideas and values from a mainly Eastern culture are upheld, there are some things that need to adjust to modern-day life.
“Personally, I don’t wear the [hijab]. I don’t need to. I think it’s a beautiful piece of clothing and can come in amazing designs with intricate details,” she says. “There are different styles, designs [and] materials, black hijabs with pretty sequined designs [and other] ones with floral and printed patterns.”

An avid fashionista, Kajani plans to open a retail unit over the summer, following both her parents into the fashion industry. Her business venture will be influenced less by her Islamic background, and more by the demands of the modern industry, but she notes: “Aspects of Islamic culture are integrated into the modern fashion world. Harem pants, long wavy skirts and even headscarves [are] all Islamic-inspired.
The West inherently misunderstands fashion in the Muslim world. Far from representing oppression within the context of male-dominated society, the hijab is seen by the women who wear it as more than just an expression of their identity, but an expression of intensely personal values. Kajani sums it up in a way that seems paradoxical to the contemporary Western assumption: “It is self-expression.”

Featured in The University Observer, April 2011

Homegrown and Homesewn

The following is a fashion feature written and styled by me, from The University Observer, March 2011.

The Irish fashion industry boasts a selection of vibrant and impressive young designers. Within the competitive industry however, the resurrection of labels and influence of international fashion houses can stunt the growth of rising talent. International chain stores dominate the Irish market and make it wholly difficult for new talent to emerge and thrive. But, unique pieces can be acquired at the same cost or cheaper than these stores’  equivalent, less unique and less inspiring version of a trend. Featured here, is a showcase of some homegrown and interesting, ready-to-wear pieces that will hopefully encourage you to buy local, buy Irish and buy beautiful.

This spring will see the launch of a young designer’s showroom at Om Diva, a quirky and colourful vintage store located on Drury Street. The space will enable young fashion graduates to manufacture and sell their designs, without the market restrictions enforced on designers working for larger companies. Collections by Áine Kilbride, Tokiki and Acevedo will feature alongside other rising stars. Independent designs are also available in stores like the newly opened Beaux Bows and Lucy’s Lounge. They can be acquired at markets such as The Loft in Powerscourt Shopping Centre and Designer Mart at Cow’s Lane. Shopping for pieces here, will not only benefit our economy and our fashion industry but will enable you to achieve a far more individual and inspiring look.
Sophie wears Acevedo, available in Om Diva and Lucy's Lounge.
A rising star within the Irish fashion industry is Áine Kilbride, a graduate of the reputable Grafton Academy. Kilbride - winner of the 2010 DCU Young Designer of the Year competition was twice a finalist in the Nokia Young Fashion Designer Awards. Her designs include blouses, shorts and skirts with intricate detail that are inspired by the idea of Modern Heartbreak, in an array of materials including leather, silk and chiffon.
Aileen and Sophie wear Áine Kilbride, available in Om Diva.

Tokiki, another Dublin-based fashion label was established by Carolyn Moore in 2002. Her beautiful, limited-edition, handmade pieces boast simple, feminine shapes in vibrant prints and fabrics, sourced by Moore throughout Asia. A Tokiki concession was launched in 2006 for Topshop Studio in Dublin – an exclusive venue used to showcase the best of Irish design. 
Sophie and Aileen wear Tokiki, available in Om Diva. Aileen wears pin by ArtySmarty, available in Lucy's Lounge.
Chupi, is another young designer who has had collections featured by the high street megastore. Inspired by her grandmother’s beautiful dresses, she aims to “make clothes to make you feel like dancing”. This aim is achieved as her designs include pretty dresses in bold colours, perfect for nightwear.
Sophie and Aileen wear Chupi; Sophie wears necklace by Courtney, available in Lucy's Lounge.
A surplus of talent and creativity exists on our small island, and it is budding with innovative designers. If given the chance to thrive, they certainly make the future of the industry look bright. So, be part of it and treat your wardrobe to something new and refreshing. Break the mould, not the bank with Ireland’s own.

Styled by me. 
Modelled by Aileen Johnson and Sophie Lioe.
Photographed by the amazingly talented Kyrstin Healy.

Friday, 22 July 2011

My dear Watson...

The final instalment of the Harry Potter film series sees the young stars embark on a new career, destined to live and act forever in the shadow of their onscreen wand-bearers, which have made Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint household names.

Emma Watson however, looks most likely of the three to cast aside the shackles of Hogwarts. What in 2001, would have seemed highly unlikely of the fresh-faced, frizzy-haired Hermione Granger, Watson has taken the fashion industry by storm. She has, in the last two years alone, established herself as a rising fashion icon, not dissimilar to TV stars like the Olsen twins and Alexa Chung did previous to their industry successes.

Twice Watson has been chosen as the face of iconic British fashion house, Burberry. Her first campaign, working with creative director, Christopher Bailey was for the brand’s Autumn/Winter campaign in 2009, and  she then remained their poster girl for the following Spring/Summer collection. 

Last August when Watson’s infamous Mia Farrow-inspired, pixie crop haircut hit the web, it caused a sensation and received in excess of 40,000 hits. The 21 year old star increasingly graced every fashion magazine’s best dressed list and her red carpet gowns became even as important as Potter’s fate.

But it was in July 2010, that Watson truly cemented her status as a fashion icon when she decorated the cover of Vogue.

In March of this year, she helped launch Pure Threads, a clothes line featuring a series of environmentally friendly dresses, alongside Italian designer Alberta Ferretti.

Emma Watson has truly cast away the shadow of her nerdy onscreen counterpart and no matter her fate on the big screen, looks likely to furthermore establish herself as a fashion icon within the British fashion industry.

Money’s on an Emma Watson clothes line within the next two years! x

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

2 Fast 2 Glorious

I've never felt the urge to learn how to drive. This is most probably due to the fact that I can't ride a bike or even walk without crashing into something. I have not been blessed with co-ordination. Also, I'm poor, which impinges on this massively.

However, it was not until yesterday that I felt the unbelievable need for a motor. When I saw these bad boys.
 It's a car. But it thinks its going to the debs. AMAZING.

Pictures from here.