Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A New Beginning

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I guess I owe you guys an explanation...
My blog has been quiet of late, in fact it has been quieter than usual for a few months now, maybe even the last year... Not because I have lost interest or don't want to do it, but because sometimes life gets in the way.
My blog is fashion & beauty related but as I consider most of my readers to be my extended circle of friends, I thinks its ok to talk to you guys as such, so here goes...

The first and biggest issue that has caused me to stop posting pictures on my blog is a very superficial one, one that most people wouldn't believe... but I have been incredibly insecure in myself this past few months, not in myself as a person but in my physical appearance. Its a ridiculous problem when there are people starving in the world, but when you are experiencing it, it is very, very real.
I guess it all started when my skin became really bad... at 28 years of age this is not a problem I thought I would be dealing with, I thought I had left it all behind in my teens but no, it reared its ugly head and returned with a vengeance. I tried everything - lotions, potions, doctors visits, changing my make up, my skin care routine, you name it and I have tried it. It is something that I wish I could tell you I have conquered but I'm still struggling to get it cleared up. It has affected me so deeply that when I take blog photos, I have felt that they are "ugly" or that they highlight the problem and I just delete them without posting. This insecurity has also progressed into my entire body image causing me not to like what I see when I look in the mirror. Dieting, stressing about what I eat, feeling guilty when I eat that bar of chocolate... I do not have an eating disorder but I sure as hell can relate to people who do. I do not crave being skinny, I crave being confident and this is harder than any weight loss programme. Some of you have mastered it regardless of your size, some are still struggling, but we are definitely our own biggest critics. 
As I sit here and write this, I already feel more confident and stronger in myself... not because the problem has disappeared, but because I am sharing it with you guys. I am guessing that at least 90% of girls and a high percentage of men can relate to what I'm saying and to how crap a lack of confidence can make you feel, particularly when you do put yourself in the public eye by blogging. I can only hope that by showing you guys that even bloggers who post hundreds of pictures of themselves looking confident online can feel insecure. In fact I would go as far as to say that even Victoria Secrets models have parts of their bodies that they hate. As one of the biggest advocates for body image and feeling beautiful in yourself, it pains me to not practice what I preach but I am only human, I can only feel what I feel. We all need to learn to ignore the body shaming losers on social media and in magazines, to stop comparing ourselves to others and to learn to love ourselves.
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The next and I suppose the biggest distraction for me in regards to my time management has been my Fashion & Textiles course. I finished up a few weeks ago for good and although I enjoyed every second of it, it was two of the hardest years of my life.
11535822_391619657710813_7662053834907899185_nI was doing something I genuinely loved but due to this and an incurable perfectionist streak, I wanted to excel. I spent every waking minute working on assignments and striving to achieve top grades in every one of them, so much so, that other aspects of my life simply had to take a back seat. In the wake of losing my beloved Grandmother, perhaps this wasn't such a bad thing, it gave me a distraction and kept me going through my grief. I finished with 15 distinctions and an overall distinction for the course, I have two fashion collections completed, have shown my work at several big shows, won many awards and achieved everything I set out to achieve... but when it was over, there was a nothingness, a catapult into the grief that I had been pushing to the back of my mind and a vicious crash back to reality... and so everything struggled, including this blog.
When it comes to the grieving process, I don't think anyone really understands what anyone else is going through. You can sympathise, but never fully see what goes on in the depths of someones mind.  To society, there is a time limit for grief and then you are expected to jump back into the everyday... return to normal and never shed a tear. Life does go on, but it goes on very differently... that is where I have been struggling. 
IMG_2288With the death of a grandparent - few people seem to understand the connection that you can have with them, unless they have experienced it for themselves. If one more person had said to me "awk but she had a good life" or "she had a good innings", I think I may have punched them in the face. It seemed as if this was a viable excuse to forget the grief and rejoice in the fact that she lived so long... but no! Her living longer meant me loving her longer and each day with her makes each day without her even harder. Time doesn't heal, time just teaches you to live with your sadness.  There will be good days and there will be bad days... on the good days I struggle with feelings of guilt - is it ok to laugh after losing someone that you loved so dearly? Is it ok to feel happy again? I know that along with myself, many of you will relate to this and wonder the exact same thing, but the truth is that yes its ok to feel these things. Its ok to feel sad when you are sad and its ok to feel happy when you are happy. I still struggle with this everyday but I am learning to feel what I feel and accept that that is ok. Always remember that there is no rule book to life and no rule book to grief - it just is! Its crap and it sucks and if I didn't have a younger audience I would use a few more choice words to describe it but its part of life and just because one life ends does not mean that yours should too. You are strong and so am I and we can do it - I promise you! xx

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It is only today, my first proper day off since Christmas, that I can sit down and reevaluate my life. I have sat for a very long time today thinking about writing this post and I have written and deleted it so many times. Today is the first day that I feel confident and content - (maybe because its the first time I have had a full nights sleep in a very long time) but I feel better in myself and more ready than ever to achieve world domination - or at least to get back to my blog - baby steps and all that.
I have an amazing family, a wonderful boyfriend and many fantastic friends. I am very lucky to have my health and although I have lost a huge part of my life, I have also gained... 
gained faith, gained strength and gained a new outlook on life. 
My career as a designer is taking off and through the support of my readers - all of you, I have already achieved so much, but still have room for more.
I am sorry that I have let all of these things get in the way of bringing you guys the content that you enjoy, but I am back... excited and raring to go!
I invite you to rejoin me on the journey that is The Sequin Cinderella...
Just don't forget to be home by midnight! :) 
<3 <3 
Nicola xx

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lisa Dee Fitness Online Bikini Body

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For many of you who have been following my fitness journey on social media, you might have noticed that I have become a little quiet about my progress of late. The truth of the matter is that I gave up. I let the stresses of college finals and coursework get on top of me and turned to junk food for comfort. I didn't have time to squeeze in my exercises or prep my food so instead, I simply turned to quick fixes and takeaways.
When I look at the above progress picture, which was taken only two weeks into my 6 week online bikini body program with Lisa McDevitt, I get really annoyed at myself for falling off the band wagon. When I was in the midst of the program, I felt amazing. I also became really inventive in the kitchen too and was experimenting with many ways of making a breast of chicken and some kale a lot more appetising. With the right blend of spices, I actually surprised myself and really enjoyed the food. Its a perfectly balanced nutrition plan which includes every food group. Lisa doesn't believe in depriving yourself of carbs or fats, she has everything listed in moderation with the healthiest options in each food group included each day. This was the most important element for me as I have tried "no carbs" and "calorie counting" before and these just didn't work for me, this plan is just straight up wholesome foods, no gimmicks or trickery.
I must stress that I never began this program to lose weight, I began it to become healthier and change my lifestyle, the physical changes were just an added confidence boost. This was by no means a starvation diet, we were allowed 5 meals a day and only half an hour of exercise. Definitely much easier to follow than some of the crazy fad diets that I had tired in the past. Lisa herself was also always on hand to help and advise if you had any queries. 
I think the thing that hit me the most was the crazy emotional attachment that us girls have to food, chocolate in particular. To put it simply, when I was stressed and tired, chocolate made me feel better...
For five minutes!
Ten minutes later, sitting with my bloated tummy, I felt like crap... so I ate some more...
Its a crazy vicious cycle that provides a short term solution to a craving or a lack of energy.
I did plan to pick up from where I left off with the program but I now plan to just start from the beginning and give it another go. I just have to look at my picture above to see how well that I did and the incredible results that I achieved. I highly highly recommend Lisa's 6 week online bikini body program. You don't need any equipment or previous experience, you just need to be determined to achieve your goal. There is still time to sign up to the June program which begins this Monday the 8th June. All you have to do is get in touch with Lisa yourself on her Facebook page - Lisa Dee Fitness and you could be on your way to starting your journey to a healthier you. 
Nicola x



Friday, June 5, 2015

The Jewelled Safari Collection

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Last night saw the launch of my new fashion collection - "Jewelled Safari" at the NWRC exhibition.
 I was extremely proud to see my work hanging on display and to hear the wonderful comments from everyone who visited the show. After many testing times and sleepless nights, all of the hard work paid off in the end and culminated in a collection that I truly love.
This incredible photo shoot was taken by the extremely talented photographer Brendan Diver of Photos From Ireland, for which we braved the crazy elements to achieve some amazing shots. From sun to wind to rain to hail, we experienced it all but in many cases it worked to our advantage as I had my very own wind machine which displayed my clothes in such a cool, funky way.
My hair and makeup for the shoot was created by Tara Henderson International and although the wind roughed it up a little, it held out perfectly throughout the entire evening.
If you want to see my collection for yourself then pop in to the North West Regional College anytime from Monday to Thursday next week between 10am and 3pm - they will also be on display at the Fashion Tea for MS in the Halfway House, Tooban, next Saturday the 13th June.
I am super excited for what the future holds for my fashion collection and if you are interested in purchasing a piece of my work for yourselves, then keep your eyes peeled this Summer for the launch of my online shop and bespoke ordering service!
Nicola x

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Walsh Brothers Shoes

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For any of you that follow my social media sites, you will have seen my many posts about these beautiful neon Skechers that I received thanks to Walsh Brothers Shoes. I have never been one to exercise on a regular basis but recently I have been working with personal trainer - Lisa Dee Fitness - so it was the perfect time to find a funky new pair of shoes to aid me on my journey.
I absolutely love the colours in these trainers and even more importantly than how they look, they are extremely comfortable! They have a memory foam sole which almost makes it feel like you are walking on air. Also, if any of you have fallen arches or suffer from foot pain in any way, these might just be the answer you are looking for.
If you want to purchase a pair for yourselves or find out what else Walsh Brothers have to offer, check out their website - www.walshbrothersshoes.ie. You can also find the exact link right to purchase these beauties right HERE.
Keep an eye on my next post to follow my fitness journey with Lisa Dee!
Nicola x
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