Irish Brand Alert: Mungo Murphy Seaweed Co.

Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co. very kindly sent me some product samples to test out including sea soap, a face mask scrub and their lovely seaweed bag. All ingredients are natural.

I’ll get into why I really appreciate this brand. They’re pretty cool.

The brand name is a tribute to the farmer himself, Mungo Murphy, who lives with his quirky pets including a one eyed rabbit and a tailless cat. His passion for farming and seaweed seems to be what made the company bloom.

A CONNECTION

My mother hails from the deep Bronx of New York City but moved to Connemara when she was 13 with her parents who are Irish born. She brought my brother and I there nearly every year or every couple of summers growing up to visit our grandparents on their farm. It’s an extremely gorgeous setting with true rural charm. So when I found out Mungo Murphy Seaweed products are made and based just down the road from my sweet second home, I instantly was like ‘this is a match’ for Redhead American! Supporting Irish to me is already so excellent but Connemara hits really close to my heart!

SOCIAL PRESENCE

The company is a very interesting one because they’re a jack of all trades. On their Instagram they display their rural Irish life, like their local cuisine, their lovely pup, AND beauty/bath products. To me, this is a very well rounded account. By showing various aspects of where they are based and what they’re passionate about, they’re really drawing in a loyal and connected audience who are more likely to engage with them.

THEY DO TOURS

Their farm can be directly booked for visits (€20-50) and is also a tour destination for tour companies like Connemara Food & Pub Tours and My Ireland Tours. Visit their website to find out how to book yours!

THEY SHARE RECIPES

On their website you’ll find recipes for really lovely looking meals. The sea grass, mint and marjoram yeast bread looks very much like something my dad would love. I might make that at Christmas when I return home. There’s plenty of fishy recipes for those who enjoy seafood.

THE PRODUCTS WORK AND ARE AFFORDABLE

The products themselves are just lovely and work really well. They make fantastic gifts for someone who loves Ireland or even natural bath products! I should also mention they’re insanely affordable, ranging from €5.95 for a sea bag to €60.00 for a pair of their gorgeous Abalone Shell earrings designed by Kate Dune.

L

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11 Lessons Three Years Abroad Taught Me

From September 2015 until this past Tuesday, I was an international Bachelors of Arts undergraduate student at Maynooth University in Kildare. When I was 18 I took a one way flight to Dublin and started a new, extremely important chapter. It was just something I wanted to do and I can’t explain much more than that. I’m not quite sure what I’d be like if I didn’t. I am not going to go on about this like it was all roses and now I’m fantastic, haha, it was much, much harder than that.

With living abroad, there is some seriously unbearable days and moments where you crave the comfort of home. But when you go to your actual new home after a shit day, your building’s community washing machine is locked and will continue to be locked with your wet clothes in it for two entire weeks until the janitor eventually fixes it. You lose the entire set of clothes and then can’t wash other clothes for those two weeks. You proceed to enter your kitchen and find your roommate has taken the last of your milk and is most definitely stealing your food. Living with new people is a shock to the system, especially when you don’t mesh with them.

The hardest experience I had along the way (there were plenty) was when my first boyfriend dumped me out of nowhere, told me he was using me and didn’t care for me at all (charming, I know) after I decided to stay in Ireland for the summer. I spent that whole summer trying to find a job and couldn’t. I was lonely and sad and quite simply, heartbroken. At the end of the summer I had to repeat a few exams from first semester of first year and I put all my energy into my studies and passed. At the time I was so embarrassed I didn’t tell anyone. I nearly left it all and went home! Looking back, I’d give younger Laura a big hug and say it’s okay to mess up and then slap her and ask why the hell she invested time into someone so obviously cruel. But again, we mess up, I’m human. My advice is to look at the tough stuff which can be like the simple examples above, or something much more serious, as an opportunity to learn.

I’ve learned some fairly valuable lessons from my university experience abroad and thought I’d share them in honour of closing this chapter! I also hope this helps anyone who may find themselves in this position.

1. You are your best friend. Friends come and go and at the end of the day, you only have yourself so you may as well take really good care of yourself. I used to take myself to lunch or coffee in the village once or twice a week when the budget allowed.

2. Be selective. You’re in charge of the way you feel so choose who you surround yourself with carefully. Bad friends are a waste of time. That’s harsh but when I look back at younger me, I become frustrated about how much I let ‘friends’ push me around. To reiterate, friends come and go! Not everyone is meant to stay and that’s okay. Wish them the best and carry on. I have a good attitude about this now but maybe about a year ago, I didn’t. Don’t go out with bad boys or bad friends. Just don’t.

3. Some people are just people to party with. A tough lesson it took my first two years to learn. They might be good fun and you have your laughs together but they’re not there for you when something goes wrong.

4. Don’t blow all your money. You seriously do not need a GHD everything. I don’t really know why I thought I did. Also, if I could do those three years again I’d join babysitting apps and/or some kind of hospitality agency that would allow me to earn and be choosy with my hours.

5. No one loves you more than your family. Treat them kindly <3

6. Call home when you feel down and then do something productive to distract yourself. Do something small to make yourself happy. For me, sometimes it’s self care like a face mask and painting my nails.

7. Make exercise regular. Motion is medicine and you’ll be able to settle into a place more if you have a regular routine and feel good about yourself!

8. Know when to say ‘nah, not for me.’ Walk away from stuff that doesn’t feel right. You don’t need to stay anywhere you don’t feel good.

9. You won’t gain any success by comparing your very special unique self to someone else’s looks, grades, economic background, etc.

10. Keep trying. Nothing comes naturally (well maybe some things do). Effort is necessary in all aspects. I did quite well at university in the end but I can openly admit I could’ve spent a lot of more of my free time in the books.

11. Don’t worry. Easier said. I wasted an insane amount of time worrying about boys, what people thought of me, how I looked, whether I’d get a job, etc. It’s really natural to worry but I always remind myself it all works out. I encourage you to not give a damn about this stuff. By being yourself you attract what’s meant for you.

You will change and grow and learn more about yourself than you ever thought! Wishing those going to university far away or moving abroad the very best on their adventures😊 Congratulations on making a very exciting choice. You will thank yourself later!

L

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My First Belfast Fashion Week

Hiya’s.

Trousers from River Island & top is ASOS. Booties are Primark from last winter. 

HAPPY FALL

It is fashion week season! Happy fall/autumn depending on where you are from! My friends keep telling me it’s sooo American to say fall but to be honest I say either. It’s time for big chunky knit sweaters and boots..and this season, really fun funky trends which I’ll talk about later in this post! I work near the high street shops and I have my eye on so many beautiful autumnal pieces😍 especially after the BFW press launch! I find autumn to be an inspiring renewing period in general. I get more done and just feel happy and cozy as the weather changes and pumpkin lattes resurface on all of our social media screens.

FASHIONABLY A COUPLE MINUTES LATE 

I was invited to the press launch for Belfast Fashion Week run by the fabulous Cathy Martin and happily attended this past Friday at the Fitzwilliam Hotel on an extended lunch break I took. After stepping out from my 9-5 office job, I waited on my cab which ran seriously late to the point I considered starting to jog over. Finally the cab rocks up, I jump in, listen to the driver talk about Belfast’s new bus system as I read over the press email and slap on my high heel booties. I ran in (minutes late which made me a nervous wreck because I was told to be on time) and to my surprise, the runway show itself started fashionably late…Thank god. We had time to chat and get our bearings. It was photographers, models, press, bloggers, etc. I happily chatted with bloggers I knew and met new ones for about twenty-ish minutes. This is all overwhelming but fun. VERY luckily, just because of where I was standing and socialising, I ended up right up and close with the runway entrance. Belfast Fashion Week is sponsored by West Coast Cooler so naturally I had one in my hand (It’s a wine cooler for my American readers). Annnnnd it dripped all over the floor because it was so warm in the room the condensation just slid right off my glass and onto the ground. To give you a mental image, all the guests were standing and the runway was a path cleared in the crowd. The water droplets were about a foot and a half from models and their precious high heeled feet. This is only a teeny tiny glimpse into a day in the life of Laura Murphy (and a rather glamorous one!). My friend Caoimhe said if she made a comedy show about my life she would make millions.

Me taking advantage of the prime lighting with a cheeky selfie in the Fitzwilliam, amongst the swarms of launch peeps

BOSTON TO BELFAST

If you know me you’ll know when I was 16 I got swept into modelling and did a few Boston Fashion Week shows back in 2013. It was exciting and glamorous and I guess when I left modelling I never thought I’d be at a fashion week event again. Yet here I am! And I’ll be at the runway shows in October here in Belfast. The Boston bloggers blogging at BFW in 2013 are the OG bloggers of Massachusetts and even New England. I still follow them. Check out Georgina and Elissa.

Here is my beautiful and fun friend Hama rocking her silver dress! Check her out on Instagram here.

TRENDS FOR FALL 2018

  • Tartan, plaid, check prints (think Clueless vibes)
  • Pops of colour – mustard yellow, royal blue, poppy reds
  • Power Suits (like Hillary Clinton but more 90s and much more cleavage)
  • Red lips
  • Puffa jackets
  • Polka Dots
  • Snakeskin
  • Animal print

THE LOOKS & MODELS 

It was a fantastic event. The models were gorgeous and really wore the pieces well. Apologies for a lack of quality images. My iPhone clutched hand was shaking and the other hand was holding a vey slippery beverage. I had a blast and wished I could have gone out for lunch with some of the bloggers after but alas, bills must be paid and bosses mustn’t be pissed off.

Want to attend #WCCFW in Belfast? Read more and book your tickets at: http://www.belfastfashionweek.com/

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Irish Brand Alert: Tantastic

I’m as pale as they come. If you don’t know, Irish girls love love love their tan. When I first moved to Ireland the girls I made friends with were like ‘where is your tan Laura?!?’ Amongst other things like ‘you can’t wear flip flops to the club’ and ‘do you have a dress with you?’ Haha, so American upon arrival. I’ve really settled in well here…maybe too well some may say!

If I’m going out out, I’m using tan. I do it the day before. And the day before that, I shave and moisturise to prevent the tan from settling into pores leaving dark little spots. It makes such a difference and Tantastic advises this on their bottles as well!

My favourite out of the 4 tans was the liquid! It goes on so well and gives you a colour immediately then sets in over the course of the day. I wear shade medium so you know it’s not too dark for you if you’re pale and wondering if it’ll be too much.

Tantastic is a Belfast based company. Which is supporting super local for me because I live in the city😊👍🏻 The brand is super popular with Irish gals and here’s why!

The best things about Tantastic:

1. It’s Irish ☘ Support local, guys! Tantastic can be found in pharmacies across the UK and Ireland.

2. It doesn’t smell like tan. It smells good actually. The lotion smells really nice.

3. It dries quick. There’s no need to feel like you’ve to stand around for an hour, preventing you from getting dressed and going out.

4. You don’t have to wash it off a few hours later. Wash it off 7 hrs later or leave it on depending on the type of tan (liquid, spray etc).

5. It hydrates your skin instead of drying it out.

6. Vegan for all the vegans out there! I’m not vegan but I always am happy to use a product that is.

7. It’s controllable. Usually I shy away from the shade medium as I’m seriously pale but medium was perfect and not an overbearing colour like other tans.

My top tips when using this tan is make sure you’re using the recommended mitt and also make sure you apply generously!

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The Sweetest Gift for your Friend Far Away: BFF Box

My best friend since I was 16ish is named Sarah. We found each other in choir class sophomore year of high school and she made me try Nutella. The rest was history! She’s the person I’ve been closest to since then and she’s always had my back💓 We typically text every few days and are always laughing. We are lucky we’ve stayed such great friends!

With 3,000 miles between us, it’s sweet to remind each other how much we appreciate one another. That’s why I think the BFF box is such an adorable way of showing a friend you care. I think the box design and packaging is so cute and the contents are even cuter!

This box comes complete with a card in an envelope, a shot glass, face mask, lip balm, bath bomb, two pins and chocolates.

The box smelled amazing when I opened it earlier. I know Sar would love it too.

It’s such a unique, brilliant idea for a gift! I love the concept.

*Sarah and I back in 2015❤️

*Thank you to BFF box for sponsoring this post!

What do you think? Would your BFF love it too?

x

 

Irish Brand Alert: Crann Co. Sunglasses & Watches

I’m really happy to have worked with Crann. Co who are a fantastic up and coming brand who are Irish owned and operated. They sell hand made wooden watches and sunglasses made from Irish wood. If you dont know Gaeilge, ‘crann’ is Irish for tree, hence the wooden aesthetic. All their products have and Irish name. I’m all about repping Irish brands and this is a cool example of a brand that has taken a product and made it truly Irish. So naturally, I love it.  It’s the little cultural touches that make it special!

Plenty of Irish bloggers are rocking their pair online. So here’s little ol’ me in mine. I love how lightweight they are. Also am a big fan of the tortoise shell. Not a sunny day, but a warm overcast one requiring some sunnies.

*I’m wearing the Bo frames in these photos. Sunflower field is outside Ballymena, Antrim. It costs £2 to get in and walk around the maze is £1 for a sunflower of your very own. See more on my Instagram here.

“During my time living and traveling south east Asia I had seen wood items for pretty much everything but what really caught my attention was the sunglasses and watches because I’m a watch freak! I love the idea of them being handmade from Ireland and just beautiful simple and timeliness. From over three years ago I guess I have been building up the courage to start a new business. I think building a brand is hard but it’s so rewarding and Crann is no different. For the brand I wanted to make match my love of nature, travel, being Irish and sustainability… Yes, it’s a weird mix but I believe that’s what makes a brand stand out, being different and standing for something. I come from a marketing and business background so I love building something fresh and new but the product side is something very new for me. I needed to learn a lot about product design and development so it took me quite some time before launch testing suppliers and designs until I had every product right. As every item is handmade and I wanted each item to be  unique so getting this right was had but I’m so proud of what we have created!”  

– Crann Co. creator Eoin

Check out Crann Co online:

Website

Instagram

Slán (sorry couldn’t resist),

Amazing Irish Road Trip: Causeway Coastal Route

The Causeway Coastal Route is an incredible stretch of beauty along the north coast of Antrim. There are various loops to pick from for your scenic drive and we did the Carnlough to Ballintoy one. We did veer off a couple of times so I think we covered some extra ground.

If you follow me on Instagram you know I have placed this route up there on my favourite Irish drives list with Connemara National Park. A different kind of beauty but just as gorgeous. Absolutely amazing on a sunny day. We were so lucky with the weather.

We drove and drove and drove. Well Hughie did and I sat there and pointed out the window at pretty things (thanks Hughie😉).

After awhile we decided to stop in Ballycastle and grabbed food. I have a friend from here and she said it won best seaside town so I had been looking forward to seeing it for a little while. It’s a charming town with a lot of great things for small kids like trampolines and a playground with some serious views. We ate at the Marine Hotel’s restaurant and it was lovely! Two happy bellies. You can see below it was a windy day and my denim jacket prevented some Marilyn Monroe moments.

Ballycastle

*dress is from the tall section of Boohoo. Denim jacket, I’m not sure sorry! 🙁

Very very very worth seeing! I wish we had more photos! I focused more on footage of this trip that I’m not really sure what to do with. Have an amazing time if you decide to go! Let me know how if you like it😊

X

Irish Brand Alert: Don’t Kill My Vibe Jewellery

I’m on a mission to give Irish brands a special amount of exposure on Redhead American. I love supporting Irish. It’s not always easy on a graduate budget but I have good intentions for the future. Don’t Kill My Vibe is brand that stands out to me for it’s bold designs! They were featured recently in Lovin’s ‘Eight Irish Brands That Every Fashionista Needs to Check Out.’

This brand describes itself as ‘the love child of two fashion designers.’ The styles range from loud festival pieces to classy statement pieces. Such an amazing selection and really affordable! Not as important as the product but I feel the need to note that packaging is really cute too.

*The designers. Follow them on Instagram.

They super kindly sent me some jewellery to show you! Below is the Lil Hoop Gold Bangle and Delicate Disc Ring.

Some of their jewellery on the website has cute little expressions. This one’s is, ‘Shake yer lil hoop ;)’  

Loop de Loop Earrings Gold

These are all available in silver too!

Some pieces by them I love:

Blue Candy Shop Hoops

Make A Wish Silver Necklace

The Mercury Fringe Pendant

Go check them out on their website here!

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July Favourites

Hello and happy August!

Overall, I’ve had an amazing two months here in Belfast! I feel like I say this in nearly every post but, time flies so fast and it’s hard to believe it’s another month gone! I lost a little motivation this month with the blog and took some time off. Conveniently, I was also locked out of my account and “broke my website.” It’s fixed now though, thank goodness! I had a phone call with someone I had been looking to connect with for awhile which put me back in the blogging game and reminded me why I’m doing this and why I started. The phone call resulted in something you’ll see later this month or next!

Anywho, July has been a fun month and I thought I’d share some of my favourites of all sorts. It’s really the little things that make me happy. I’m going to pick a thing, a food product, a past time and a place.

  1. FOOD – Halo Top Ice Cream

    My friend Niall told me about Halo Top ice cream and one VERY lucky day I saw it at Tesco, where it hasn’t reappeared since that week. So, I jumped on the bandwagon and then started seeing it all over Instagram. It’s popular for a reason. I got cookie dough which is only 360 calories for the entire tub with limited sugar and high protein. It takes the entire guilt out of ice cream. I went through two tubs that week and have been scanning my local Tesco’s frozen section in hopes of it being stocked again ever since. This is their website.

  2. THING – Indian Block Print Co. Stationary

    I LOVE stationary! It’s something I get nearly every Christmas from my mom. I’m always drawn to the stationary aisle of Marshall’s and TK Maxx (TJ Maxx in the US) and can’t remember a time where I wasn’t doodling or writing in some sort of journal. Indian Print Block Co. really caught my eye because it wasn’t just a notebook with a design, it’s a design with background and meaning. Usha, the creator behind the company, is an amazing example of someone honouring her roots. Something I like to think I do too with my parents being Irish. Indian Print Block Co. is based in Birmingham, England, where Usha operates her business from her home while juggling being a mother and a wife!
    “When I was a teenager, my parent used to take me to India every few years for a family holiday… and the highlight of every holiday was the road trips that we took to Rajasthan. My dad would take his open top Jeep, and drive for about 4 hours from Harayana, where dad was from, to Rajasthan, where my mum came from. We used to drive through mountains, deserts and old forgotten towns, and I would know we were near Rajasthan when I started seeing local women in their bright and block printed outfits… I always loved these trips and was mesmerized by the whole Indian culture thing, as someone born and raised in the UK, It was a world away from what I was used to. I always knew I wanted my kids to experience a bit of that culture from back home, but unfortunately both my parents passed away before I had my two girls…So I did the next best things.. I brought a little of that culture and designs into their lives in the UK, through my business ‘The Indian Block Print Company’… by using traditional Indian stamps in all my designs and products. Maahi, my 4 year old, already loves my notebooks, and wants to take them in her bag to school when she starts in September.. and Zia, who is 8 months old, loves sitting next to me and looking at the bright colours products and gemstones that I use. I still want to take them on road trip to India when they are older, but until then, I will try and bring a bit of the culture and colours that I love into their lives through my business.” – Usha for RedheadAmerican.

    Links for Indian Block Print Co:
    Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etsy

  3. PAST TIME – Marriage Games

    An absolute hoot! Marriage Games is raved about online by many and has great reviews. I won’t say too much and give it away but it’s a fun way to pass time with your other half and/or another couple.

  4. PLACE – Tollymore Forest Park

    A follower suggested checking this spot out. It’s about an hour’s drive from the city in Down and almost like being in another little world. I compared it to Narnia on Instagram (C.S. Lewis is from Belfast!). We took the red path and it was fairly easy going. Very pretty.

    Hope this post opens your eyes to something or somewhere new!  Have a wonderful August!
    x

Hidden Gems in Northern Ireland

Thanks to my lovely followers for NI suggestions. Without your suggestions I wouldn’t have stumbled upon some really lovely places.

Basically, one person suggested the Gobbins. So I gave it a quick Google and thought ‘yeah looks great’ and we got in the car in the afternoon and went. To our surprise, it’s a three and half hour intense hike along the cliffs that require boots and helmets and bus to and fro the information centre. Do your research, guys!! However, and ever-so fortunately, the woman at the information desk directed me to a few more casual spots that my flip flops could handle.

Portmuck Harbour

Twenty minutes away from the Gobbins is Portmuck Harbour. A pretty little place hidden at the bottom of a very teeny tiny narrow Irish road that opens into a parking lot set right near the sea. There’s some stairs that lead up to a point where you can grab some nice photo ops. I love some of these photos so much and will probably cherish them forever. I had a really great day.

Skenaghan Point – Brown’s Bay Beach

And the second spot only less than ten minutes away is Skenaghan Point, Browns Bay in Islandmagee. It actually is right near the actual Gobbins walking path. One day I will do the Gobbins! But it certainly wasn’t that day in that new ASOS top. We went up a little path to the right of the water and you could stay on path but somehow we veered off into a field of sheep who scurried away from us as we walked up towards the cliff’s end. Stunning views and a lovely little walk. One of those spots that makes me go, “Ahhh I love this country.”

So! Those are two spots I hadn’t heard of, no one suggested, and no tourists really seem to go. Hope you enjoy if you visit!

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