Category: Belfast

4 Places to Stop Outside Belfast (Co. Down)

There’s a lot to see in Northern Ireland. Taking it all in is an ongoing adventure I force my boyfriend into exploring alongside me at least once a month (bless him – he secretly likes going though). I love cruising around with the radio on knowing I’m going somewhere to just roam about and take photos and be in nature in Ireland. I’ve said it before, it’s soul fuel for me!

We have ticked plenty of charming places off the list at this stage and yet there’s still so many to see. We have gone to MOST of the big touristy destinations. The one lacking being the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge (a couple posts back though you’ll see we were in the village where it’s located which is a VERY worth a visit).

This past weekend my original idea was something pretty close to Belfast. So we picked the Bangor area. We stayed in a little seaside B&B there last December and really enjoyed our time but didn’t explore the surroundings which is something a little different and definitely not as popular. There’s some seriously cool homes out that way that I enjoyed pointing at and imagining life in. I also felt particularly lucky that I saw at least twenty gorgeous dogs throughout the day. Not joking when I say I got even luckier with eight of them being sausage dogs!!! One of my absolute favourite breeds.

Places in/near Bangor

Helen’s Bay – We drove along Helen’s Bay on the main road right by it and it was pretty! But it’s also apparently a lovely beach to walk. I’ll have to go back.

Bangor Harbour – Right in the town and extending outwards, there’s a walking path for yourself and your favourite furry companion, a playground for kids, and if head into the town centre, some really great bars and restaurants.

Crawfordsburn Village – A very classy unique little village composed of a main street that’s lined with some of the nicest cars I’ve seen. If you’ve been to Cape Cod I’d compare Crawfordsburn as the small scale Chatham of Northern Ireland except no ocean. It’s tiny and there’s not much to do but it’s really really pretty and totally unlike any place I’ve seen in all of Ireland. I wish I had taken a photo of it but give it a Google if you’re interested!

Crawfordsburn Country Park – We came here kind of by accident. While driving I spotted a little sign where it looked like people were going for walks and I suggested we go there on our way back. When trying to find it, Google Maps took us here and we rolled with it. And I’m so glad we did because the foliage in the forest was spectacular. It made for some colourful shots. However, I don’t believe my Canon or even iPhone could do the vibrancy justice. It was so bright and beautiful!

So, if you like day trips and you’re in NI maybe seeking somewhere a little different, here ya go! (:

Let me know on Instagram where some of your favourite lesser known spots are!

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Feel Good Vintage Vibes & Belfast Photoshoot

A bit of glamour came into my life last month when Una of UW Brow Studio Belfast asked me if I’d model for her ‘Feel Good’ photoshoot collaboration with photographer Katrina Taggart. It was a fun filled evening with the girls who made me feel extremely comfortable in Katrina’s studio, located on the Lisburn Road right next to Bob & Bert’s coffee. I was their doll for the evening! They dressed me up and styled me and we had a blast.

Vintage Vibes

I do everything really simply and naturally. Makeup, outfits, jewellery…everything! So it was a huge treat to sit and be pampered to hair and makeup and some really fun clothes that I’d never normally select myself. We went for a vintage look.

The Photoshoot Package

If you’re a Belfast lady or are trying to think of a fun gift for one, here’s the craic! The package valued at 95 per person starts with you being greeted with prosecco. If this doesn’t make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, the girls will (: They are both so lovely and passionate about what they are doing. Once in the studio, Una will do makeup for an hour followed by a shoot directed by Katrina after. You’ll be given plenty of direction and can pick any style of shoot that you want! Perfect for Christmas presents for yourself or a friend! 

Check them out and book your session here:

Katrina Taggart Photography

UW Brow Studio

*Post in collaboration with Katrina Taggart Photography and UW Brow Studio

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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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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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Botanic Gardens Belfast

Hello!

Another Botanic Gardens visited and this time just a short walk from my new home! Well I’ve been twice now but the first time I didn’t photograph too much and really soaked up the moment with company! David and I went a bit Instagram mad this time. The Belfast Botanic Gardens are much, much smaller than Dublin’s. However, they’re just as beautiful! If you like one, you’ll like the other. If you like gardens or plants or any nature at all, you might appreciate them.

There’s one main building, the Palm House and then the Tropical Ravine (very steamy) which is a minute’s walk away. They’re so nice to walk around.

My good friend from university David came to visit me and this was on his Belfast to-do list. He’s very good to photograph with because he’s big into his social media and is extremely creative! I’m always impressed by his posts.

Palm House

 

Tropical Ravine House

We also went to the Ulster Museum which is beside the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Park and admired it’s many displays until we got hungry enough to leave and head over to Town Square for some lunch. Town Square is a fabulous spot as well whether it’s for a coffee, a cocktail or a full on meal. We got a killer day of sunshine since Ireland’s currently facing another heat wave. Something the Irish can’t handle is heat!! Despite breaking a serious sweat, it was a lovely afternoon! (:

Check out David: @dvidmaguire on Instagram and Twitter. He also has a beautiful Dublin Instagram: @DublinMyDarling.

Have you been? 

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Belfast Buzz & Giveaway

 

The Craic in Belfast

So it’s coming up on a month in Belfast, Northern Ireland!

The apartment is really coming along the way we want it to be! I’m loving it more and feeling more comfortable and at home in it everyday. I also love the public transport in Belfast. The bus flies into town, only taking five minutes to get to city centre, otherwise I’m walking a nice 25 minutes which still is pretty great. And the bus drivers are typically nice here?!? I swear the drivers in Dublin would bark at you or say nothing at all. People are generally friendly here in Belfast. Another bonus, which to me, is a big one.

The weather was very generous and we got two weeks or so of pure sunshine. However, it’s back to drearier days now. I don’t mind though! I’m away to France on Thursday and I’ll soak up the sun there (;

I’m still job hunting but keeping busy by socialising with friends, making new friends (I’ve met some lovely ones so far!), networking and running errands. I’m also taking this time to dive into things I’ve been wanting to devote some time to like lifting weights, baking & cooking, and reading. Life is pretty good.

And blogging of course! There is much more to come for RedheadAmerican.com!  (; I’m very excited to share more plans this summer.

Giveaway Time!

Speaking of which, have you entered my giveaway on Instagram? I’ve teamed up with Crann to giveaway these Irish wooden sunglasses in the style ‘Gra.’ Aren’t they fun? They’re comfy too.

‘Gra’ means love in Irish. ‘Crann’ actually means tree, hence all their products are Irish wood, which is brilliant, so local! I do love to support local where I can. I always have ever since my dad opened up his own glasses store in my hometown about ten years ago. It’s so important to support local businesses. And I mean in any scenario, skip Cafe Nero or Starbucks and hit a new cafe run by your town or city’s residents!

Anyway, back to the giveaway! You can win these if you’re in the UK or Ireland for free. Who doesn’t love free stuff?! All you have to do is comment on my Instagram post tagging a friend, make sure you and your friend are following both me and @Crann.Co and then comment on @Crann.Co’s giveaway post with me in it for an extra chance to win! Closes June 29th. Winner picked randomly that day.

My Instagram: @redheadamerican

Crann’s Instagram: @Crann.Co

Best of luck. Go enter for a chance to win!

Sunday Adventure: Belfast Castle

Happy Sunday!

Hope you had a lovely weekend and you’re prepped for the week ahead…I’m handing in my final year thesis this week so a day to unwind and take my mind off of it was well needed. Hughie and I went to Belfast Castle estate finally! It was really beautiful and a glorious day for it…until it rained but that was later on after we had left. Typical Ireland. Can’t complain though, it’s been a gorgeous few days for the island.

There are cat symbols (as seen in on the ground decoration I’m standing on) and little cat statues around the estate garden. They symbolize good luck to the visitors!

Even when you’re in front of the castle, you have an incredible view of the water and Belfast and it’s surrounding areas. There was a cute girl taking communion pictures at the castle, such a good idea! Very picturesque.

The castle is set on Cave Hill. There is several trails to hike on the mountain, some of which looked quite steep and challenging. Asthmatic me took the flattest one but it was still great and offered a nice view.

Story of my life. Sees dog. Must pet dog.

Glad I went and would love to make a habit of going here for walks and work my way up (and bring my inhaler, haha) to the more challenging ones. We spent the rest of the day walking about and ate at District in Stranmillis.

Outfit Details – simple for walking about!

Earrings – The Beady Mama. You can shop the Etsy shop here.

Top – Dunnes

Leggings – Primark

Shoes – Converse

Have you been to Belfast castle or Cave Hill?

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