Category: Uncategorized

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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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?

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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😊

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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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Game of Thrones Locations to See in Antrim

Heya!

If you know me you know I don’t watch the wildly popular show, Game of Thrones. However, I’m a big supporter of it bringing a lot of tourism to Northern Ireland. It’s given a lot of well deserved recognition to Belfast and some of Northern Ireland’s areas of outstanding natural scenery which previously (in my eyes) were overlooked for Irish vacation destinations.

So while I’ve been a big fan of Belfast and the county of Derry, I only got to visit some of the Antrim GOT spots this week. I am not embarrassed to admit I’m an absolute tourist and my inner American pops out when it comes to castles and ruins. I LOVE them. I studied the sociology behind it and could go into it for hours as to why Americans have such romantic notions of Ireland’s landscape but I’ll just leave at the fact I am one of them and I’m in no way ashamed. Ireland’s beauty and history is a marvel to me.

So! With that said, we went to Dunluce Castle and the Dark Hedges. Right near the Causeway, which we have already visited within the last year so we didn’t go again. However we drove right past it and through Bushmills.

DUNLUCE CASTLE

Dunluce is an hour outside Belfast and well worth a visit. I believe it was £8 for our tickets (I’m still using my student card, it’s valid until September. Even past then, I’ll keep using it). It’s mainly ruins but a pretty vast amount and it’s fun to just explore. Maybe this is only fun to me and other castle loving freaks. It’s a beautiful backdrop for photos since it’s right on a cliff in the countryside and overlooking the sea. You can learn about the background and history of Dunluce through posted signs around the grounds and a pamphlet given to you at the information desk. Parking is available right there and is free. There’s a little cafe too for a nibble if needs be.

THE DARK HEDGES

The Dark Hedges are around 25 minutes away from the Giant’s Causeway. They too are in the middle of the countryside in Ballymoney and pop up pretty randomly. One side of the road is a large estate and modern farm house and the other is the hedges which was full of people walking the length of them. They’re surrounded by open fields, making them all the more intense looking. Apparently this is where they ride horses up and down in GOT. Sorry for my lack of knowledge regarding the show and its relation to these spaces.

I enjoyed both spots! It’s nice to make a little day out of it. You can see more GOT scenic spots here.

Hope you go!

x

Monaco Photo Diary

It’s been a week since I got back from the south of France and luckily the sun has followed me back to Belfast so I’m still feeling the whole ‘holiday-mode’ vibe. As I said in my last blogpost, the Saturday was spent travelling to Monaco from Toulon, exploring Monaco, and travelling back. The train was only two and a half hours and the views out our windows were pretty spectacular so there was always something to see.

Monaco itself was absolutely stunning. Definitely a place to put on the list if you haven’t considered it before. Ever since I saw the Disney channel movie ‘Monte Carlo’ with Selena Gomez, I’d dreamed of going! That was at least ten years ago. To be honest I never thought I’d make it there until I was way older because it’s known for being so pricey, but the way to do it is to make it a day trip. You can see it all in a day because it’s small enough and super walkable (just bring sneakers/runners for all the hills). Nice is only 25 minutes away by train and it is definitely cheaper to stay there. Food and drinks were only about 20% more than the south of France prices which isn’t too bad considering the cheapest apartment we saw advertised in Monaco goes for 6 million euro and the restaurants have iPads for menus…yes, absolutely absurd, I know.

Two cups of coffee plus a crepe was €12. The next place we ate we got huge portions including big drinks for about €60 all together I think. I spent about another €12 on postcards and magnets for friends and family.

The views are unbelievable and make for an incredible backdrop. There’s a photo opportunity pretty much everywhere. So here are all of the photos from Monte Carlo/Monaco! They speak for themselves. It was the highlight of the trip?

*Dress: Zara.

Sunglasses: Oliver Peoples.

Handbag: Charming Charlie.

Sandals: River Island.

Hope you enjoyed!

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I’m Moving & Life Update

Hello, hello. It has been awhile!

What’s Been Going On

(Maiden Moose Photography)

A lot has been happening! Since my last post I’ve been in Germany, finished and handed in my thesis and have done what feels like a million hours of study and exams. I’m two exams away from finishing university and starting to see the light! So when these exams are done, I’m indulging in a big dirty takeaway and some fine wineeee. I’m also going to a music festival in Belfast, woohoo!

It will be very strange saying goodbye to Maynooth.. This general area is where I’ve lived the last three years and have made millions of precious memories and built a lot of character! However, three years was just enough.

Here are a few photos from the camera of south campus. Part of what drew me in when I was just seventeen looking at Irish universities online. The last one is of my beautiful friend Caoimhe posing playing her flute (pictures for her recital pamphlets!) in the South Campus secret gardens. I love that photo of her. She’s another thing I’ll miss!

I also did a lovely fun photoshoot with Dom and Eben of Maiden Moose Photography in the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. I’ll have lots of photos featured in the post all about it coming up! But for now here’s a small sneak peek. Check them out on their Instagram account in the mean time.

I’m Moving!

Now, this is also exciting. This is just an exciting phase of my life. Bare with me.

Guess who’s moving full time to Belfast?! No more weekends and just time off there, I will actually be a Belfast resident! We got a lovely spacious apartment not all that far from city centre. This has left me endlessly scrolling through IKEA’s website and Pinterest for fun cheap ways to decorate. Last weekend involved day trip to IKEA to have the craic and look about and found plenty of inspo. If you wanna see interior aesthetics I’m loving right now check out my last post, here.

Moving involves a whole new set of challenges that are obvious when starting fresh somewhere, establishing a career, etc. Real life adulting (ahhhhhh). While I basically started a whole new life across the ocean at just eighteen, this is the real deal now being out of university with a degree and experiencing the world…dare I say the 9-5 world. We’ll see how it goes.

If you are doing exams I hope they went well/are going well. You can do it, persevere! 

And to anyone else who read this far, enjoy your day! 

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