Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Guest Post | 4 Common Misconceptions of Blogging | #IrishBlogCollab


I ended up working with Lara also for this week's #Irishblogcollab post. We both wrote about the same topic. The both of us needed to iron out some wrinkles. I really enjoyed working with her on this one! Check out her fantastic blog, The Love Song of Fashion.

What is blogging? According to a dictionary it is:

“blogging [verb ♢ blaw-ging]
1) to express or write about a topic on a blog
2) to maintain or add new enteries to a blog” 

In today's world, blogging has become a popular medium for people to share their opinions on things that they like or dislike – whether it be products, controversial topics, whatever! I've recenty gotten into blogging and so far I'm really enjoying myself but I can't help but stumble across a number of certain beliefs that people have in relation to bloggers.


BLOGGERS ARE LOADED WITH FREEBIES: 
Oh good gracious me, if I took a shot for every statement I've read about bloggers – in particular beauty bloggers and fashion bloggers like myself – I'd honestly be on the floor. This is so NOT true. I know you are all going to say “Well no shhhh Lara, you only started, obviously you're not going to get any free stuff” but I know of bloggers that didn't start receiving so-called “blogger mail” until their 3rd year of blogging! So yeah, not all bloggers are blessed with mailboxes full to the brim with free stuff from companies.

BLOGGING IS EASY:
No, no, no, no, no, no, NO IT IS NOT. Blogging isn't just about “ah sure, just write a little bit down and set the timer on your camera to take pictures”. Believe it or not, it actually is a long process. It takes a while to write a post because you got to write it, make sure it sounds right, spellcheck, spellcheck again ammend. With pictures, you have to make sure that the lighting it just right and that the picture isn't blurry. Oh and guess what? When you finish doing up a post, that isn't the end of it! You gotta get your fingers ready for posting links up on every social media you can in order to get your post out there. So when you think you're done, PSYCH! YOU'RE NOT!

ALL BLOGGERS SPEND RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY ON EXPENSIVE STUFF:
Not true AT ALL. It may look like we do but in reality, they were either given to us as presents or bought as a once off thing, I mean, guuurl, have you not heard of “treat yo'self” ?

BLOGGERS ARE FULL OF THEMSELVES:
Wow. Just because we may blog about aspects of our lives or take a large amount of pictures of ourselves does not mean we are self-obsessed. Honestly, I'm probably one of the most insecure person you know and I take a lot of OOTD photos. That's because I want the focus to be on my outfit, the beautiful patterns and the way the colours harmonise NOT my face or body. So far, bloggers I've talked to are some of the most humble people I have ever met. Hats off to all you gals and garçons!


I know there's a hell of a load of other conceptions floating about but that's all that was in my head. Have you heard these before or any other myths? What's the weirdest conception you've heard? Let me know in the comments! 

#IRISHBLOGCOLLABLADIES

Marie - The Beaut Mum
Maeve - Thrift O'Clock

Guest Post | Mindfulness for Beginners | #IrishBlogCollab


This week's #IrishBlogCollab post is a guest post on another blog within the group. I was paired up with Aoife.  She was kind enough to share her tips on mindfulness, have a read and check out her blog Aoife in Wonderland.

When I was in secondary school, I remember being brought into what was called 'the religion room' – a room with natural light, a red carpet and the odd chair or two sitting around. Occasionally our teacher would bring us in, get us to sit in a circle with our eyes closed, and put on some music full of nature sounds, and a guided meditation. Some used to lie on the floor, and although it didn't always work (with such a large class) there was something relaxing about it, and afterwards, we'd all feel sleepy. Having a cd telling you to breathe was slightly odd, and my mind always wandered off. I didn't give it much thought, meditation didn't interest me. It was only after I finished up in school, that I slowly developed an interest in mindfulness – a form of meditation that didn't require a dark room and stillness – but quite the opposite. I downloaded some apps, some guided meditations from youtube – and set out on a little discovery. Now that I've been practicing mindfulness more and more, I'm finding I can concentrate better, that I'm more aware of my surroundings, myself, and thoughts. Admittedly, I found mindfulness difficult at first. I'm usually quite busy, so I don't always feel like I have time to 'sit still and breathe' – even though subconsciously, it's what we all do. I felt a bit silly trying it at first, I didn't have the patience, I couldn't concentrate on the task at hand, my mind kept wandering – and despite reading up on the research into the benefits of mindfulness, I was convinced that it wasn't going to work for me, but the more I practice it, the easier it's becoming. I'm learning to apply it to different situations, and I'd definitely recommend giving it a go! Here's a little guide to help you get started.

What is it?
It's a form of meditation that teaches you to focus on the present moment, and on your breathing – it teaches you to be aware of yourself, actions and surroundings.

How do I start off?
Unlike regular (or, stereotypical) meditation, mindfulness doesn't require you to sit still in a quiet room with your legs crossed on the floor. The best way to begin practicing mindfulness is to incorporate it into your regular daily routine, by being aware of what you're doing and why you're doing it you can eventually learn to stay focused on the present moment, meaning your thought process becomes more organized. If you're washing the dishes – pay attention to the water, what your hands are doing, if you're out for a walk – pay attention to the trees, nature around you, and how your body reacts to new environments. It might sound funny, but it gets easier in time, I didn't find the benefits straight away but after time they slowly became more visible.

Is there anything I can use to help?
I'd recommend downloading a mindfulness app – I've tried a few but my favorite has been 'Head Space' – it's free from the iTunes store. It gives you a little challenge of '10 minutes for 10 days' and eases you in to the whole idea of being more mindful throughout the day, and gives you tips on getting started in the form of cute little animations, it also tracks your progress. There are mindfulness guides on youtube but I think they're a little bit distracting, and some run for too long, but you might find that they work for you. I prefer something short so I don't get too distracted.

When is the best time to be more mindful?
It varies for everyone, realistically there's no right or wrong time but I like to listen to my app when I'm getting ready for college – it's a nice way to perk up and start the day off on a positive note. Alternatively, I listen to it for a few minutes on the bus on my daily commute – either in the mornings or evenings after a stressful day. It's good to clear your head! - now that I'm getting used to practicing mindfulness I'm going to apply what I've learned when sitting my upcoming Summer exams in College – you can do it whenever you need to unwind, or take a break – it can also get your sleeping pattern back on track.

What next?
That's pretty much it – it's as easy as focusing on yourself and your breathing, overtime, it gets easier. Take a little time out each day to try it, you never know, you might find that it works for you!

Have you tried mindfulness before? Are you going to try it out? Let us know in the comments below!

#IRISHBLOGCOLLABLADIES
Marie - The Beaut Mum

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Thinking for Yourself | Living Freely


"If we were all the same, the world would just be boring" - how many times have you heard that? As clichéd as it sounds, it is by far one of the truest statements I have come across. Today I'm not going to talk about those who are aesthetically gifted compared to those who feel they are not, but rather being able to think and live for yourself, freely.

There are many reasons why we would follow the crowd; behave, think, talk the same. Our friends, our peers, classmates, age group the social norm? The fear of being a person outside of the social norm expected for you is enough to consume someone, rob them off who they really are. I used to be that person, I used to sing to the same hymn sheet. If there was any a time where I couldn't, for some reason, partake in this "norm", I'd feel guilty about it, I'd convince myself the fault was mine. The truth is, I look back on this now, and I nearly feel silly. But that is how I felt, that's how it was.

Over the course of a summer, I looked at this, how certain things made me feel, how I could change them. There is no magic remedy, no wise words from anyone to convince me that the Catherine that I am is perfectly entitled to be whoever the hell she wants to be. I had to say that to myself. Until such time that I was able to do that, I was at sea with the world and the people in it. I started blogging, doing things that I enjoy, meeting new people and now I can say that yes - who I am is fine, how I think and look at the world is A-OK, I'm not perfect, but there's nothing wrong with me. It took a bit of convincing.

I wish to outline, that in no way shape or form am I indicating to something more serious, this is simply a "human" thing, there are no labels attached it. I just believe that reminding yourself who you are, and to not let yourself be swarmed up in a pool of fake façade is a fundamental part of remaining true to yourself. It might sound a bit wishy/washy, but I don't make any apologies for how I think or say things anymore, I did that for long enough.

Why did I feel like this? There are a few things I can think of. The most straightforward way of explaining it simply; I grew up quite quickly for my age. I've talked in the past about how I've dealt with living with a disability or "the alternative road" as I like to put it. And honestly, I've no problem whatsoever with how things panned out. Of course, there were chapters I wouldn't wish to relive and I'm glad I have a lot of it behind me. But it's all experience. It's given me a way to relate to people I don't think I would have been able to otherwise, a certain determination that not one single thing can in this whole-wide-earthly world knock down. It's given me a lot. With that though, comes (possibly) having to mature quite fast, and it's not something that everyone understands, particularly my age group. It certainly doesn't make me better than anyone else by any means, but I did feel oppressed at times to say or do things that I really wanted to.

I started blogging, and hands down that was one of the best decisions I've made in the last few years. It's a platform that I CAN say things that matter to me, I can do a lot with this space and shed light on things that I care about. Not everyone may like it, and I can imagine a lot of people that may know me may not like this post. And that's ok, it doesn't bother me. I felt bothered for long enough, my quota has reached it's ultimate capacity for a long while yet.

In the beginning though, I was nearly embarrassed to say, "Oh yeah sure I've a blog, Breathing Silver Linings, yes sure throw it up on Google and you can read a bit". A lot of people know I like to write, a lot of people like what I write, why should I feel embarrassed by it? There are people that don't read it, and then there are people who do. It's encouraging and it's helping me to stay motivated with it and I'm excited to see how it goes.

Other things that help? Going for walks, taking pictures of pretty sunsets, being around people that I care about, laughing, writing - all things that I enjoy.

I wasn't lying


This has been one both one of the hardest things I have written, and possibly not one of the most eloquently put either. But up until last year, I would have wished that someone would have said some of these things to me. It's my aim with this post to say to you that whoever you are, or whatever you do, no matter how accepted, or unaccepted you feel - you are 100% you. And whatever that is, there is nothing wrong with that. It's your life, and living it in the shadow of others isn't doing anyone any favours. There will be people who will understand you, and there may be others that will scratch their heads and wonder about half of the things you say or do. Leave them scratching, but keep smiling. And in the end, everyone will want to know what your secret is.


"Mol an Óige agus tíocfaidh sí"
Praise the young, and they will grow



Thursday, 23 April 2015

April Playlist | #IrishBlogCollab | Week 3



This week's #IrishBlogCollab post is all about music, so I'm going to keep it short and sweet! It's no secret that I'm a big music person. My music taste can vary, but I tend to keep to the alternative side of things. 

Yes, I did put in "Girl, Put Your Records On" because it reminds me of summer when I was younger - the sun actually made an appearance and we ALL have guilty pleasures ok? I'm still a good person.

I have been loving All the Luck in the World, O Emperor - since meeting them a couple of months ago and The Coronas last album, hence they're all making a decant appearance in the playlist below.

What have you been listening to?


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

9 Things My Parents Taught Me | #IrishBlogCollab | Week 2



Another week, another #IrishBlogCollab post. I thoroughly enjoyed last week's one and seeing every one of the ladies come together and have a gander at each other's posts was really enjoyable. I have a feeling that this post will be of interest to a lot of you, particularly my fellow Irish folk.

Whether you would admit it or not, we are so easily influenced by our parents/guardians/grandparents. They have raised us, fed us, clothed us and protected us along for the duration of our lives so there is bound to be room for a certain level of recognition there is there not? My parents have of course equipped me with the skills and know-how to get around my life, and indeed many a life lesson - but of course there is other essentials that are vital to keeping your two feet on the ground. I am proud to say I have yet to commit the "leaving the immersion on" fiasco - so I seem to be listening to a lot of what is being said! Read below to see if you can relate to any of what I have come up with.

"I WANT TO SEE EVERY MORSEL OF THAT DINNER GONE"
Ah, the dinner is one of the most important times of the day for nearly every Irish household. It's the general consensus that you can do just about anything or go anywhere as long as you have had your dinner of course. It is generally thought that no harm will come your way as soon as "you've got some food in your belly to do you the night".

"LEAVE THE GOOD BISCUITS FOR THE VISITORS"
As you can see, food is a common commodity when it comes to Irish parents. There is "the cupboard" or a part of the cupboard that is set aside for the finer cuisine of life designated to people who probably who won't even arrive. You don't question the cupboard, but it is in your best interest to backtrack fairly lively if you find yourself absentmindedly wandering your way to the sweet waft that demands your senses - your Mammy wouldn't be impressed.

"GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME"
Many Irish parents, including my own - do not believe, and even condemn the notion of rushing anywhere. Hence, giving yourself "plenty of time" will make sure you reach your destination, rush free and on time - win win?

"MAKE SURE TO CHECK IN AS SOON AS YE'VE LANDED"
The famous check in merely involves a quick phone call to the folks as soon as you've "landed" somewhere, particularly of foreign lands. The conversation will have to include a step by step description of your journey, what time you "landed", what you had to eat that day (couldn't be travelling on a hungry belly now could you?), what your plans are for the following day and is the accommodation nice (and a description of the place, of course). And until as you have that information to hand, there really is no point in ringing in the first place. Failure to successfully complete the "check in" is a shortcoming of character and "cop on" on your side, I'm afraid to say.

"ALWAYS GIVE THE SALUTE"
Giving the "salute" on the roads, more importantly within your own community is a vital part of keeping the peace amongst villagers (that may be a slight exaggeration). I have seen my mother and father give the salute thousands of times over the years and I do it subconsciously myself, too. A car pulls in to let you pass, salute, a pedestrian pulls in to let your car through, salute, you pass someone you know on the road, what do you do? You give the salute.

It comes down to basic manners within your own community. I would rather be known for falling into ditches on my walks out rather than being known for not giving the salute - if I'm being honest.

"NEVER GO OUTSIDE WITH A WET HEAD"
"Do you want a creak in your neck?" is closely followed by this statement. It's fairly self explanatory, but it has been something that was lamented to me for years - I now find myself saying this to my own friends and other family.

"WHERE EVER YOU'RE GOING, BE SURE TO WEAR PLENTY GEAR"
 Any time I have walked out the door with only 3-4 layers on, my mother has always been on the case before I set foot outside. Coats, jackets, fleeces, hats - you name at get fired from the utility. I rarely encounter this now. I usually bring an extra layer or two more than needed to keep the peace and ask "Do you think this will be warm enough?" Everyone's happy.

"HAVE YOU CHECKED THE WEATHER BEFORE YOUR GALAVANTING?"
"Intermittent clouds/scattered showers/patches of mist and fog/gale force winds" may stop you in your tracks fairly lively. Unless you are seeking to insult your parents' intelligence, it would be in your best interest to check the weather before you even THINK of going anywhere.

"WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU WON'T PASS YOU BY"
My parents have always been encouraging and supportive alone the way, of course. Though with this, they don't like to add any pressure on, "sure what's the point of that, tell me now?" is what's usually said in our house. As long as you've tried your best in everything, that's all that matters.

Wasn't that a lovely note to finish up on?

I thoroughly enjoyed putting together this week's post! Can you relate to some of these? What have your parents taught you?

Don't forget to keep up to date with us using the #IrishBlogCollab hashtag.

#IRISHBLOGCOLLAB LADIES:
Zoe - I Believe in Romeo
Denise - Dee-Termined to Glam and Glow
Cathryn - What Kate Loves
Cat - Mentally Beautiful
Marie - The Beaut Mum
Lara - The Love Song of Fashion
Eimear - Chirps from a Little Red Hen
Maeve - Thrift O'Clock
Sharon - Behind Green Eyes

Friday, 10 April 2015

Spring Essentials | #IrishBlogCollab | Week 1



Hi all, 

You are going to experience fabulous-ness of a whole new level over the next 9 weeks, Myself, along with 9 others are collaborating on all of our blogs as part of #IrishBlogCollab. It is probably one of the biggest Irish Blogger's Collaborations going so we want to make it a good one! I will leave all of the ladies links below.

As the title suggests, this week we are picking things which are very much needed during the Spring time. It's widely known at this stage that I am not a beauty blogger - but a little bit of the warpaint never does me any harm. I'll get cracking on with business.

SCENT | GUESS - DARE
This was featured on my March Favourites - and there's definitely a reason. It's light, airy, feminine and perfect for Spring. Plus, the packaging is A+, a win-win all round.



LIP | RIMMEL COLOUR RUSH - DRIVE ME NUDE
I reckon this is perfect all year round, but particularly for this time of year. For ages I was all about the dark lips and the vamp-y make up but lately when I have worn make up - I'm going for that "Clean/fresh/barely there/makeup no makeup look" that a lot of people are trying to achieve. I'll let you in on a secret, that type of make up is nearly harder than anything else. But this stuff makes it easier. It's love and hope in a tube.


HIGHLIGHT DEM CHEEKBONES | SLEEK & No7


WHAT TIME IS IT? | SEKONDA
I cannot for the life of me walk around without wearing a watch. I'm very fussy when it comes to what watches I wear. I found this one to be a solid everyday piece that was fairly inexpensive from what I remember. It's bright but not too busy in terms of size.




Those were my Spring Essentials, what are yours?


#IRISHBLOGCOLLAB LADIES
Cathryn - What Kate Loves
Marie - The Beaut Mum
Maeve - Thrift O'Clock


Saturday, 4 April 2015

Guest Post | How to Get Organised Like A Girl Boss | By Lizzie



Now when it comes to organisation I’m known to be perhaps a little OCD. I have lists for everything, and when I’m not diarising my own life, I’m helping to diarise others. I like to think of it as a bit of a superpower that I possess, but getting life in a neat and tidy order can really pave the way for a more harmonious life. One I hope that means less frustrating moments of forgetfulness, and more concentration on success, whatever that means. So like with all superpowers, with great power comes great responsibility, and I hope that sharing my organised words of wisdom will help you to get what you want out of life without sweating the small stuff. 

Preparation is Your Foundation
Like with most things in life, preparation ensures there’s no bad performance, so before you even think about your next move, get prepared. What do I mean by this? Well no word of a lie, but every Sunday evening I organise my entire weeks outfits, style each one, line them up, and post it note them with the day I’m going to wear it. Yes, this is just the basic of my organisation problem. But doing this has enabled me to save an incredible amount of time in the morning. Rather than staring at my wardrobe in a tired daze wondering what on earth I’m going to wear for work, I can now spend my time making sure my hair and makeup is just right, and then eating a nice healthy breakfast that will set me up for the day. Starting each day like this just sets me off on the right foot. And rather than thinking or worrying about anything frivolous, I can concentrate on work, and ensure I do my job to the best standard possible. It seems a bit strange, but you’ll be surprised how much is can change your life. 

Make Your Diary Your BFF 
If you don’t have a diary, how do you honestly survive? My diary is like my BFF, and it gets some serious action. I diarise everything. From important events, to meeting up with friends, and even things I would like to achieve on the day. So although there may be a huge pile of work for me to get through by the end of the week, cutting it up into bite size daily activities, will ensure it all gets done and I don’t feel stressed. It’s a magic trick that has helped me manage my entire life, so that no matter how much work I have on, I can still have a good work/life balance. Diarise everything, gym classes, meetings, friends, and those little things like sending off some post that’s been sat around or putting on the washing. Every morning I look at my diary and know what I need to do and need to achieve my the end of it. And guess what, it all gets done! 



Love Lists 
Just like my diary, I also love lists. I have lists for everything; dinners for the week, house chores, work, blog, and even for my pampering sessions. When all that I need to do is neatly organised in a list it feels achievable. And there’s no sweeter satisfaction than ticking or crossing something off a list. It’s a pleasure that truly never gets old for me. But when you’re feeling under the pressure and your mind feels cluttered, a list can help give clarity. I always carry around a little notebook of things I need to do, just in case something pops into my head whilst I’m out and about. Do it too and you’ll be amazed about how much your productivity levels will increase. 

No matter what you want to achieve in life, I truly believe that being organised can help you get there. Because as they say, a dream is simply a goal without a plan! 

Lizzie is a UK Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger based in Peterborough. After spending 5 years within the fashion and beauty industry, Lizzie now enjoys sharing her thoughts and experience on all things, from fashion to fitness With a life goal of a owning a shoe collection that could rival icon Carrie Bradshaw, Lizzie believes that shoes can help give women the confidence to conquer the world. You can follow her blog here.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

March Favourites

Another post so soon? Consistency is a great thing isn't it? I don't usually write up favourites for the month, but I have read some pretty cracking ones over the last couple of days and I decided I would do my own one for a change. I'm not one to be buying every month til my hearts content but these are some of the things that I have been loving lately.

I GOT MY HAIR DID
This, by far has to be my favourite thing I'm going to talk about. Literally every second person is getting their hair chopped off. I use to sport the bob for years back in the day and I've been growing my hair out for the last 2 years. I got so sick of the length and high maintenance. 

I got it cut about 1-2 inches above my shoulder - and it is hands down the best decision I've made in a long time. It's strange now to brush my hair and to only go so far - but I'm getting used to it again. It'll be interesting to see how many different thing I can do with it - I'm hopeless at styling it, It's so much lighter, and it looks a lot healthier. Let me know if you have followed suit on the trend!

PLANNER
I have been on the lookout since well before Christmas to try and find a weekly/monthly planner that would suit, and unfortunately I wasn't able to. I'm very fussy when it comes to things like this, but I only wanted something simple. Often the weekends in the weekly section were a lot smaller than the rest of the days which didn't suit - I get most of my work done at the weekend!



Instead, I found a cheap notebook from Tesco I had lying around and laid it out the way I wanted it to. I made some templates for the months, printed them off and stuck them in. Currently I'm laying out the weeks by hand - it's a bit time consuming but it'll work out fine. It's not exactly Kate Spade eat-your-heart out quality, but it's practical enough for me. I have a lot of deadlines, appointments and of course blogging stuff on the go, so one place where I can store everything is convenient.

GUESS - DARE PERFUME


I was kindly gifted this for Christmas just gone by. I am a big fan of Guess perfumes. (Guess - Seductive in the gold bottle is my absolute favourite) I'm a big perfume gal, what can I say - I like to smell nice? This is a lovely little bottle of stuff, it's a lighter scent than would I am usually used to. It's perfect for Spring time and for school as it's not too powerful. I've used a fair amount as you can probably tell, so it's definitely doing the trick!

LA ROCHE-POSAY LIPIKAR XERAND HAND REPAIR CREAM
LABELLO CLASSIC CARE LIP BALM


Over the last couple of weeks my hands have been driving me mental. I had a bad reaction to a certain handwash and shower cream. Usually my skin is as tough as nails but my hands decided to play up on me - they were flaking away to nothing, A friend recommended me the hand cream and it has been a miracle worker. It wasn't too expensive (about 5 euro), it's paraben free and pretty much fragrance free. I put this on a couple of times a day and it helps to keep them in order. It isn't too greasy once it soaks into the skin. I'm quite sure I won't be using any other bottle of stuff for the foreseeable.

Likewise with my lips; cold weather combined with central heating isn't a charmer for them. I reverted to an old classic I used when I was younger, and being honest - I'm not sure why I stopped using it in the first place. The Labello Classic Care is a firm favourite of mine.

THE CORONAS - THE LONG WAY


I raved about this in February's Album of the Month - I have hardly listened to anything else since, I can't seem to get enough of it. Read my review to find out all of my thoughts on it.

TWEETDECK
Who doesn't love a handy app or website to make all this blogging work easier? If you are tapping away at the twitter machine a lot this may be a useful tool for you to use. It's very handy for twitter chats of if you have to do a bit of multi tasking. I find it best to use it on my laptop - it has nearly replaced how I used twitter previously. It is changing my life one tweet at  time.

And there you have it! Let me know if you think it's a good idea for me to keep going with these monthly favourites. It was surprisingly a lot more entertaining putting it together than I would have thought!

That's a wrap for March, what have you been loving this month?