I used to love shopping the high street but years of working in retail combined with knowledge of the effect of fast fashion on the environment extinguished this love.
Recently I was in town shortly after payday and there were sales everywhere. Despite the fact, I had cash to splash and there were “bargains” to be had, I didn’t buy anything.
These days, I tend to think my purchases through a bit more and I’m also trying to buy more goods from small local businesses.
Browsing Instagram one day, I saw an ad flash up for an amazing jumper with the old Telecom Eireann logo on it.
I love a bit of nostalgia and I can fondly remember the Telecom Eireann logo plastered everywhere from the phone book to the old phone in my granny’s house where I spent a lot of time as a child.
From looking up people’s numbers in the phonebook, to prank calls and chats with my childhood best friend who got a phone for confirmation, the old landline brought me endless amusement.
With my heart set on buying the jumper, I clicked through to find it was a local business, Damn Fine Print in Stoneybatter.
I had no idea they sold clothes as well as art and I decided to buy one of the crewneck jumpers. It cost €35 which I thought was a really good price and as I was able to pick it up from their studio, I didn’t have to pay delivery.
The jumper was ready in just under a week and I was delighted when I tried it on at home. It’s a lovely vivid blue with a soft fleecy lining and feels really cosy.
The colour was true to the image I’d seen online and I got lots of compliments on it.
One friend even decided to order it for herself in green after seeing me post it to my Instagram story #influencer
I really think it’s worthwhile finding local brands and labels to support where possible.
Obviously, the jumper was only printed in Ireland and was made abroad so it may not be 100% sustainable but it’s still better than purchasing a cheaper high street jumper that everyone will have.
I’ve gotten lots of wear out of it already and I know it will be in my wardrobe for years to come if I look after it.
We took these photos on a casual trip out to Donabate beach and it wasn’t planned so I’d little or no makeup on.
However, I think this enhances the casual look!
I’m also wearing denim shorts from a kilo store in Amsterdam, Adidas Gazelles and a River Island bag, can you tell I like blue?
FYI, this wasn’t a sponsored post and I wasn’t asked or paid to promote any items featured. There are no affiliate links either. The items I’ve marked as presents were from my boyfriend and family – not gifted by companies.
Hope you all enjoyed this post, if you’ve any questions, feel free to leave a comment below by clicking the grey speech bubble on the bottom right.
We lived on a farm, drank our own cows’ milk, picked blackberries and crabapples and wrapped our sandwiches in old bread wrappers instead of tinfoil. It might sound grim but it was a very thrifty and sustainable lifestyle.
Now, we were far from perfect, country living means driving pretty much everywhere and of course, we ate meat (apart from my very brief stint as a vegetarian).
There were aspects of my upbringing that I didn’t like, as a teenager I wanted all the latest trends from the chain stores but my mother did buy me new clothes and shoes when I really needed them.
When I left home and lived with other people, I was shocked by how some thought nothing of throwing out food or clothes.
I didn’t know how to recycle properly but I tried to recycle as much as I could and also dispose of my old belongings in a responsible way.
Nowadays, most people (myself included) are a lot more informed about living a sustainable life and how our wastefulness is killing the planet.
I get very anxious when I think about the harm caused to the environment by our incessant dumping, polluting and use of toxic substances.
I cringe when I see workmates casually flinging coffee cups and dirty cartons into the recycling bin without a care.
I often hear things like “oh I never thought of that”, when I mention that I’m trying to cut down on using plastic etc. I try not to preach as that just alienates people but I think we all need to be living more sustainably for the greater good.
While I don’t see myself having children any time soon (if ever), it does bother me that the next generation will be greatly affected by our actions now.
And it’s not just about people but also animals and plants which don’t willfully damage the earth but still suffer the consequences.
Here are a few simple changes I’ve been making to my life in order to live more sustainably. I don’t see myself becoming a vegan, or giving up driving or travelling completely but I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint.
Minimising plastic waste
When I go grocery shopping, I buy loose fruit and veg as much as possible or in a rigid plastic or cardboard container as that can be recycled. Soft plastics (anything you can scrunch up in your hand) are no longer being recycled in Ireland so I’m trying to cut down on them.
I also always take a shopping bag or rucksack – there’s no need to buy a plastic bag, I’ve approximately 70,000 of them at home.
Another way to cut down on plastic is to bring a lunchbox for meat or fish from a deli counter.
Buying in season/locally produced food
When I’m food shopping, I try to buy as much Irish produce as possible. This can be very hard in supermarkets, for example, Tesco tends to sell fruit and vegetables which have travelled from every corner of the earth.
If you can afford to shop at a butcher, greengrocer or farmer’s market now and again, these are good places to pick up fresh local produce. Obviously, these options aren’t available to everyone, particularly if you live in the countryside or have very little money for food shopping.
Zero waste markets and shops are popping up in several cities now, I found an excellent one in Phibsborough called Noms where you can buy food, household products and beauty products.
Using public transport or cycling
Again, this one is tough for those who live in the countryside and is more applicable to city-dwellers.
I used to always drive to work until my car died but now I only drive at the weekends when there are limited trains. As I work shifts, there’s no public transport that would get me to work early enough so I have to take a taxi in but I take the train home.
I also started cycling late last year, something I was very nervous about because cycling in Dublin is no joke but I am a lot more confident now. Dublin Bikes cost only €25 for a yearly subscription, making them much cheaper than public transport.
Separating waste correctly
Yes, it’s a pain in the hole but I’d rather that than a hole in the ozone layer! I now have three bins in my apartment, one large one for recycling paper, rigid plastic and cardboard, a smaller bin for food waste (I use compostable bin liners in this) and an “everything else” bin.
All recycling should be clean and dry so that means washing out cartons and containers and letting them dry. I tend to do this while washing the dishes so it’s just part of the routine.
It took a while to get everyone using the bins correctly and taking three bins out can be laborious but in the long run, it’s not a big deal.
You can find recycling guidelines on Repak’s website.
Switching up your toiletries – soap bars, toothbrushes, tampons
Bars of soap are definitely more awkward than hand soaps and shower gel but they do the same job, and you can use them to shave with and there’s no waste left over.
I store my bar of soap in a plastic box to stop it melting all over the shower.
I haven’t tried toothpaste tabs or shampoo bars yet but these are definitely on my list. I also now use a bamboo toothbrush and the only issue I have is that toothpaste tends to stick to the brush and you have to clean it regularly.
Recently, I bought a Mooncup, hoping that it would be a good investment but I actually haven’t been able to use it, I think I bought the wrong size.
If you can’t use or afford a menstrual cup (they are pricey), you could try using non-applicator or cardboard tampons to minimise plastic waste.
In the long run though, a menstrual cup is much cheaper. Another option is resuable period-proof underwear (yes such a thing exists and is apparently very effective), check out Colette’s review of them here.
My number one hobby is fashion so it may seem a bit hypocritical for me to be talking about being sustainable.
Fast fashion is a massive contributor to pollution but there are so many sustainable alternatives such as swap shopping, using the clothes you already have, charity shopping, vintage kilo sales and upcycling.
Markets are another place to get your sustainable style fix, you can even find designer items here.
I haven’t cut out fast fashion completely but I buy about 60% secondhand and 40% new clothing at the moment.
In this post, I’m wearing a vintage denim dress that I bought in Amsterdam, a €1 belt from a charity shop, my DKNY rucksack was €6 from a charity shop, but my runners are from Asos and my earrings are from Penneys.
Another way to shop more sustainably is to buy one high-quality item which will last longer. I got almost three years out of my last pair of Reeboks.
Reusable straws, coffee cups and water bottles
These days, I will always say “no straw” at the bar unless they have paper straws.
Paper straws are annoying when they go soggy but they’re less wasteful and I’m thinking of buying a metal one.
I almost never buy coffee in a disposable cup as I can’t bear the thought of them going in landfill. I do have a reusable cup but I don’t really use it as I usually bring my own coffee to work.
I have a Nespresso machine at home but I find the capsules quite wasteful (though I’ve seen compostable capsules in Noms). I try to use my moka pot more as the grounds can be composted.
If you are a Nespresso fiend, you can get recycling bags from your local store/concession.
I drink loads of water but almost never have to buy bottled water as I bring my water bottle everywhere with me.
Recently, our workplace got rid of plastic cups which I think is a great move. I’ve a metal bottle which keeps the water nice and cool.
These are just small changes and I’m aware that I’m very privileged to be able to make these. I live in a city with public transport and lots of shops, I have disposable income and I’m an able-bodied person. I know not everyone has the same opportunities or advantages as me.
I’m not perfect and I still need to improve my own efforts but I hope this post has provided some food for thought.
Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on sustainability.
I also wore lace-up Topshop flats- leave the heels at home if you’re going on the lash in Amsterdam, the dress code is pretty casual and there are lots of cobbled streets!
We took it easy on Saturday night, staying at one bar all night, sipping on Aperol Spritzes and cocktails.
It wasw easy to get home after a night out, with late trains and buses as well as Uber – although we did have a slightly unsettling encounter with an angry Turkish Uber driver!
We had to check out at 10am on Sunday so we were up early once again.
As our flight wasn’t till late that night, we availed of the handy storage lockers at the hostel. They were €5 per locker but we could fit two or three bags into them so it wasn’t too pricey.
Two of my favourite things ever are pancakes and rap so when we ended up having breakfast in Moak Pancakes, a pancake cafe with a rap music theme, I was in heaven.
With a flower wall, neon signs, rap lyrics on the steps of the stairs and tip jars named Tupac and Biggie, Moak appealed to every fibre of my being.
I couldn’t quite afford The Golddigger (€100 pancakes with 22-carat gold leaf served on Versace plate with gold Versace cutlery and a glass of champagne) but the more affordable Blue Magic Deluxe for €11.50 was delicious.
The name Moak comes from “Mokum”, a local name for Amsterdam.
When we left Moak on Jodenbreestraat, I realised we were only around the corner from a kilo store so I had to check it out.
The stock was amazing and I was grabbing items off the wall in a frenzy to try them on.
Vintage stores can be very hit and miss but the majority of the stock was in really good condition, including the shoes.
I spent at least 40 minutes here but eventually narrowed it down to a long denim dress, a pair of high-waisted denim shorts and a tapestry print skirt.
I’ve been renting since Methuselah was in short pants. Or at least that’s how it feels. I moved out of my family home in Roscommon when I was 18 and I’m now 31.
Renting brings independence and freedom but with it comes the responsibility of paying the rent, bills, cleaning/general drudgery, dealing with law-breaking landlords and horrible housemates.
I always tried to inject a little personality into my rented rooms, whether it was my carefully chosen posters from the college poster sale (James Dean and Garfield) or my Marilyn Monroe cushion and Breakfast at Tiffany’s canvas print (cringe) and a ‘Bang Head Here’ sign!
I’ve lived in 12 rented properties, one friend’s floor, and two wooden cabins when I worked at a summer camp in Pennsylvania but my current apartment is the first time I’ve had my own lease.
It was an exciting and scary move from casually renting a room and although I didn’t have another person to move in with me and split the rent with at the time, I jumped at the chance.
The apartment consists of two bedrooms, one double, one single, a large living room/kitchen and a bathroom.
When I first moved in, it smelled musty, opening the ancient sash windows required brute strength and it was lacking in character.
In time I found a roomie and I starting making my apartment feel like home.
My kitchen looking very clean but also drab!
My delightful living room furniture
I made a few small changes, such as buying plants, canvasses in the charity shop and a mirror from H&M to give it a more homely feel.
This mirror was €14.99 plus delivery but I saw a very similar one for about €11 in New Look.
I took my own photos of this mirror but unfortunately, my editing programme cropped it really weirdly and it didn’t look right.
It’s often a case of make do in a rented place as most have uniform drab furniture and haven’t been painted in years but a print on the walls or a throw over an ugly sofa can give the place a facelift.
My sofa is hideous and worn so I put a throw on top along with blue velvet cushions* I got in Penneys and another cushion I nicked from my family home. We got the throw from my boyfriend’s sister’s apartment after she moved.
Like many other renters, I don’t have much left once I pay my rent and bills so I look out for cute homewares in the charity shops.
I found these two little canvasses for €3 each and put them up in my bedroom on hooks that were already there.
For the living room, I picked up three other canvasses for roughly €9.
They are a bit crooked as the hooks aren’t all at the same height but they give the place a little character and as they are quite muted colours, they suit the overall tone of the room.
I also found this seashell dish for just under €3 which I thought would be perfect for storing jewellery.
When my jewellery is stored away, I often forget to wear it so this is handy to grab earrings out of.
I also got several plants which I adore. One of my cactus plants came from my old office while the other two I bought in Lyon Loring in Stoneybatter. I’m also trying to grow an avocado plant on the windowsill.
Succulents are the best plants for an apartment as they’re not too high-maintenance.
My apartment has large windowsills so I use these as a focal point. On my bedroom windowsill, I have a white rug* and palm tree light* from Penneys, along with some plants, candles and jewellery dish.
My boyfriend moved in with us recently so while it’s great to have someone to share the rent and bills with, I also had to make room for his stuff and give up some wardrobe space!
I found this pretty Newbridge Silverware box left down by the bins one day so I salvaged it to store belts in. I used to hang them on the back of the bedroom door but they took up too much room there.
The bathroom was another area where we needed more storage, with three people’s towels all over the place!
We only had one hook on the door and one rail but I found these over-the-door hooks* in Penneys which proved to be the perfect solution.
All the towels are from IKEA.
Having two sets of bed linen has been an adult aspiration of mine for some time but I somehow never got round to it.
I found this beautiful set in Penneys and it looks lovely on the bed (I don’t have time to iron bed linen so excuse the creases).
The flower lights at the top of the bed are also from Penneys but they aren’t much good unless the room is totally dark.
I think this was about €25 for a double with matching pillowcases, can’t quite remember! I bought a pale pink fitted sheet to go with it for about €6.
I decided not to put in full photos of the rooms as I’m not quite happy with how they look yet. The apartment could definitely do with a lick of paint and we nearly always have a clotheshorse out so, at the moment, I’m focusing on small areas!
DISCLOSURE: This is not a sponsored post but all of the items marked with an asterix were bought with a voucher gifted to me by Penneys. They did not ask for coverage or to feature items I bought in this post.
All other items, including Penneys items not marked with an asterix were bought with my own money. There are no affiliate links within this post.
I hope you all enjoyed this interiors post and if you’d like to see more of my apartment, leave me a comment below by clicking the grey speech bubble icon.
The Aussie native paid homage to Irish design by wearing a custom multi-coloured Helen Steele creation and called for a round of applause for her dress when she took to the stage.
Diversity was evident on the catwalk with models of different heights, shapes, sizes and colours strutting their stuff in a confident fierce manner.
The Helix resounded to the sounds of Kanye West, The Carters and Lizzo as the models sashayed down the runway.
With a one-year modelling contract with 1st Options up for grabs on the night, it’s no wonder they were bringing their A-game.
The deal went to Jack Deignan, a proud moment for him and his family as a fashion insider told us his mother had flown in from Hong Kong for the occasion!
Also impressing the audience were stunning five-foot powerhouse Tara Ellis Cantwell and statuesque beauty Benedicte Akambu, who previously won the 1st Options modelling contract and is now signed to them.
While high-street brands River Island, Oasis and Penneys featured in the show, the majority of the clothing was from local vintage stores and independent designers.
These included Tola Vintage, Dublin Vintage Factory, Rebirth of Cool, The Harlequin, Nine Crow St, White Noise, Wise Guy, Charlotte’s Love and Heartbreak Social Club.
The show was a testament to the strength of Dublin’s independent fashion scene.
The attention to detail in styling, curating and casting the show was evident throughout the night.
Magee tailoring and Collar and Cuff suits were paired with Folkster’s dainty occasionwear for an elegant look with Dizzee Rascal’s Dance Wiv Me playing in the background.
It wasn’t all skyscraper heels as models went barefoot and let the clothes do the talking for Charlotte’s Love to the sassy sound of Lizzo’s Boys.
While The Carters’ Apeshit hyped up the already excited crowd as models showed off Selfmade’s one-of-kind painted and print designs.
Standout pieces included Folkster’s embellished jackets, a shin-length Nine Crows fur coat modelled by Benedicte Akambu, a see-through red plastic mac styled with leather look leggings also from Nine Crows, an adorable Tola Vintage red and yellow check skirt styled with a turquoise Lacoste polo shirt worn by Qichen Hu and a black Wise Guy t-shirt worn as a dress on Katie McGowan.
Dylan Bradshaw provided the hair styling and Inglot were the makeup artists on the night.
The show was sponsored by some big-name brands including Just Eat, Bank of Ireland, Broderick’s, Spin 1038 and Carter Beauty.
Some well-known faces were spotted in the audience including YouTuber Grainne Binns looking incredible in white over-the-knee boots, black mini dress and a white faux fur coat.
During the show’s interval, we got a sneak peek at some of the up-and-coming Irish talent in the Project Young Designer competition.
The designers had to come up with a concept based on the theme of the show and interpret this into their piece.
It was judged by fashion maven Ella de Guzman, owner of popular Dublin consignment store, Siopaella.
NCAD student Heather Gilroy was awarded the prize for her innovative design combining a heavy roll-neck jumper with a light white floaty skirt over lightweight trousers and runners.
Heather’s design was inspired by the paintings of Louise Bourgeois with motherhood being the main theme.
She designed the outfit in the hope of modernising and bringing to life the work of Bourgeois through the means of clothing.
Her design will be showcased for all to see in Siopaella’s Temple Bar store.
An honourable mention has to go to NCAD’s John Mangru’s beautiful baroque corset and skirt modelled by Anna Lattimore, inspired by his love of extravagant renaissance paintings.
Recently I was looking back at some photos of myself in my early 20s.
I felt a twinge of sadness that I’m no longer that age and more than a few regrets as I thought about things I could’ve done to improve my life and wellbeing back then.
But I’m also relieved that I’m no longer dealing with things that plagued me in my 20s, such as struggling to get by on a low income, worrying about my career prospects as well as dealing toxic friendships and dead-end relationships.
I also travelled on my own several times which built up my confidence massively.
I’ve yet to do any backpacking or round-the-world trips but who knows what opportunities may come yet?!
My fashion and style sense really hasn’t changed that much but I’m a lot more into charity shopping and vintage clothing these days.
My style is still pretty colourful but I don’t wear heels as much (partly because I wrecked my ankle) or really short tight dresses anymore – not quite as slim as I once was either – but I’m happy regardless!
In my early 20s, I was obsessed with labels and brands but these days my wardrobe is a mix of second-hand, vintage and high-street clothing.
My outfit below is an example of this. I was gifted this black faux fur jacket by PrettyLittleThing and I absolutely love it.
It’s a statement piece that switches up any outfit.
I wore it with Topshop mom jeans, New Look boots and a t-shirt from Etsy.
My accessories are all cheap and cheerful, a vintage belt which was €1 in a charity shop, earrings from AliExpress, a Penneys necklace and a beret I bought for €4 in Topshop.
I don’t and maybe never will have a mortgage but that’s OK. I’ve been renting since I was 18 and last year, finally got a lease in my own name – sharing with a roomie obviously.
In the current rental climate, I feel very lucky to have a safe place to call home.
A lot of my friends are settling down now, getting married and having kids but I don’t feel under pressure. I would love to get married one day but for now, I’m very content with my relationship.
As I’ve matured, I’ve developed a more balanced approach to friendships and relationships.
I used to put everything into a friendship or a relationship regardless of whether that person cared for me in the same way. My self-esteem was so low that I thought I needed these people.
When my dad died suddenly in 2014, something inside me snapped and I cut ties with some toxic people. Life is too short to spend it around people who bring you down.
I don’t have lots of friends but the ones I have are reliable and I’m in a long-term relationship with someone who has been there for me through the good times but also some really tough times. He even took the photos for this post!
I’m aware that I’m still very young and my life is bound to change so much yet but I’m happy with where it is going.
If you’re struggling with any of the issues I’ve mentioned, I hope this will give you hope. And if you’re near the end of your 20s and dreading the 30s, honestly it’s nothing to be afraid of!
Outfit cost breakdown
Jacket – Prettylittlething but was gifted – Please note they did not ask me to blog about or review it but I absolutely love it!
Thank you to Burrell PR for the generous gift. You can find it here – not an affiliate link.
KLAXON: They are now down to €18 so I bought a pair in a five. They pinch my toes a little but the only six left were discoloured and a bit big for me!
Topshop Jervis is probably my favourite place to browse as the merchandising is always amazing, they’ve a huge range of stock, including a good vintage selection and they even have a Nine Crows concession now.