Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Dark Hedges

How many of you are Game of Thrones fans?
To be honest, I have never seen an episode of it before but I had most definitely heard of the Dark Hedges, which is a place in Northern Ireland where the TV show was filmed on numerous occasions.
After a little research and realising it wasn't too far of a drive from home, my boyfriend and I decided to go and see it in real life.
I was quite disappointed to see that a number of the trees had fallen down so  it was a little underwhelming in comparison to some pictures I had seen online but it was still a spectacular sight.
The trees are situated just outside of Ballymoney and I would say are definitely worth a visit, but if you are driving far then combine it with another trip such as the Giants Causeway or Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which are both quite close.

For the road trip I went almost head to toe in pieces from Sequin Cinderella Boutique. 
The cape and the studded bodysuit are new stock this week and are both priced at €49.95.
The jeans are Dr Denim and are n stock in a variety of colours and styles for €55.
My boots were an absolute bargain from River Island's sale and cost just £20stg. They are so comfy and I wear them with everything. As you can proabably tell, I am obsessed with black clothes and would wear them every single day if I could, but the studded detail really lifts this look and gives it a bit of an edge.
Nicola x


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Black, White and Browns

On Saturday night my boyfriend and I decided to go to our favourite restaurant - 
Browns in Derry/Londonderry. Browns is a multi award winning restaurant group, with several different venues, but our favourite is by far, the restaurant & champagne lounge in Bonds Hill.
The food in Browns is second to none and there is such a lovely, friendly atmosphere when you arrive. The staff are lovely and the service can never be faulted.
When we arrived we had drinks in the lounge before being taken to our seats and presented with some appetisers of seaweed crackers and gin & tonic marshmallows, which was then followed by the most delicious bacon and parmesan infused bread with an olive oil dip.
Our starters consisted of scallops and pork belly and to follow we had steak with black garlic chips - the most amazing side order I have ever tasted.
Browns is the perfect place to go if you are a real food lover or a wine connoisseur - it is a little on the expensive side so it would be more of a treat night as opposed to a weekly visit but it is definitely worth it and you will not be disappointed. 

For the evening, I decided to go for a monochrome look, wearing black crinkle palazzo pants from Topshop, A lace trimmed crop top from River Island and finished the look with a cream cape blazer which just arrived into my boutique this week - Sequin Cinderella
It is so chic and perfect to dress up an otherwise plain outfit. I can't wait to wear it over a pair of blue jeans as I love that elegant casual style. The jacket retails at €69.95 and is available in sizes 8-14.
I didn't want my shoes to over power the look so I went for a nude pair of sandals from River Island which have a perspex heel. Quite simple with just the right amount of a modern vibe.
Nicola x


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You Are Enough

Its not often that I feel compelled to write about such sensitive topics as suicide... but today I feel that I need to get my thoughts on "paper".
Since the weekend my mind has been spinning with thoughts about this epidemic that is claiming the lives of so many, why it is happening and why the hell is more not being done to help?
On Sunday my boyfriend and I decided to go on a day trip. The sun was shining, we were in the best of moods and we wanted to make the most of such a beautiful day.
Next thing I knew we were staggered back to reality when passing the Craigavon bridge in Derry, we saw the search teams setting off for their second search of the day to hopefully find Jack Glenn, a lovely young man who had entered the river almost 6 weeks beforehand. A search that has been in vain for the last month or more as his poor family walk the banks of the River Foyle endlessly day and night, never losing hope that the river will surrender their beautiful son & brother.

My heart broke for them... 
Again on the way home, another stark reminder as his family, friends and even perfect strangers gathered at the Foyle Bridge ready to set off again. Cars plastered in "Get Jack Back" - making any attempt to be reunited with their loved one.
We drove across that bridge and suddenly the low side railing caught my eye... A simple hop over and realistically, someone of any height could easily be on the other side...
This might seem like such an obvious thing, but I cannot fathom, why in this day and age there isn't a 20ft fence around each bridge, or if that isn't possible, then why isn't there rows of barbed wire on each side?
Some may argue that, if people want to end things then they will find another way, but surely eliminating an obvious one such as this would at least give them time to reconsider. 

I was overwhelmed by how the community of Derry/Londonderry and beyond had come out together to help... to campaign, to draw awareness, yet I was saddened by this also.
Why is it so easy to talk about it now and offer help, yet it is so difficult to talk about the problems that lead to this point. There is such a taboo issue surrounding mental health and whilst so many people are campaigning to end this, it unfortunately still remains.
To be honest, even writing the word "suicide" made me nervous, writing this post made me nervous... but why? I was almost afraid that I would say the wrong thing or offend someone and therein lies the problem. If I was writing about a health issue such as cancer or heart problems, I wouldn't be afraid, I'm not afraid to write about my skin trouble, or weight issues so why the hell should I be afraid to write about this when it is affecting a huge percentage of our population and claiming the lives of so many.

I started this post several days ago and since then, I have heard the news that another young man Dean Millar has also entered the river, another beautiful life lost to suicide. And whilst search teams were looking for him and for Jack, they helped another lady down from the railings. 
To me, this has simply gone too far. Our people, particularly our young people are suffering and need help.
Going for treatment for your mental health needs to be as common and as acceptable as buying panadol for a headache...
We aren't afraid to put up posters about the risks of drink driving or the risks of smoking, can't we make ads to highlight the issues surrounding mental health? TV, Radio, Social Media, Magazines, Posters... showing the avenues that people can go down for help, showing the aftermath, the families grieving, the destruction, how much they are loved and how things will always get easier. How suicide isn't the answer and won't solve their problems, It will simply put them and more onto the shoulders of others.
Can't we open centres in and around our towns and cities geared towards mental health? Rehabilitation centres for alcohol and substance abuse? Can't we stop putting money into silly statues and the like and put it to good use to save the lives of people who are struggling?  What exactly will it take for the Irish and Northern Irish governments to step the hell up and do something? Is it going to take one of their family members committing suicide in order for this to happen?
I didn't know Jack, I didn't know Dean... and I am very lucky not to have been directly affected by suicide, but this month I feel we are all directly affected. We never ever wanted lives to be claimed to start the talking point, but now that it is to the forefront of the media - now is the time to do something about it!
I once read a scary statistic... that out of a large number of suicide attempt survivors interviewed, over 90% of them said that they regretted their decision as soon as they started.
They didn't want to die, they just wanted to live without their pain. That says it all... 

Look I am no expert... I have no training in psychology so I don't claim to know what I am talking about or to be an expert in any way... but I am a human being with empathy for such suffering and I have a public forum here on this blog with many young people following so I am talking about it and thats a step...
By me talking about it and you talking about it, maybe someone who really needs to talk about it will find a way, or feel that they aren't alone.
Life is a beautiful gift... and whilst it feels like absolute shit sometimes... excuse the crudeness but we all know it does... it also feels ok sometimes... and even 'good' if we let it.
I have been to some pretty low lows and I am sure that everyone of you have too but we have also been to some pretty high highs and it is ok to experience both. Its ok to be sad, its ok to feel low, even to be at rock bottom. What isn't ok is to do it alone and not ask for help.

I'm asking all of you to look out for each other, start the conversation, even if its hard. Put your pen to paper like I have. Reach out, say "I need help" or ask people "Do you need help?".
Who are any of us to judge you? because someday we could be the ones needing help. 
Don't rob yourself of tomorrow as tomorrow may hold everything you ever needed to get past the darkness of today.
You are enough, you are so enough, It is unbelievable how enough you are!

Nicola x

Aware - Suicide helpline


Monday, March 6, 2017

Camouflage in the Rocks

There is nothing like the first sunshine of Spring to make you really, truly appreciate living by the sea. Being a lover of fashion, I always felt that I was born to live in the big city, be a part of the rat race and surround myself with he hustle and bustle, but then a day like yesterday appears and I realise that I could never be away from the seaside...

There is definitely something about the sunshine that fills you full of a new hope and a new energy. The dull of the Winter can leave you lethargic & lacking in motivation yet all it takes is that little shimmer through the clouds to reenergise and reinvigorate ourselves - to help us set new goals, to strive for something better.
2017 is a big year for me... and I plan to make it a great one, as should you.
You just have to remember, that even on the cloudiest of days, the sun is in there somewhere. You just have to look a little bit harder for it!
Nicola x

It feels like a lifetime since I did an outfit post for my blog. Besides my daily #StyleDiary on snapchat (sequincinders) and instagram (thesequincinderella) I haven't been able to get outside in the daylight to take some proper snapshots of my looks. I know that many of you have been requesting more outfit posts so that is definitely a goal of mine for the coming months. 
My boutique has taken over my life... in the very best possible way but now that the evenings are brightening and the days are getting longer, I will finally be able to get back to another love of mine which is - Fashion Blogging. 
My look for this post was laid back and casual with a camouflage feel. The oversized shirt dress was an amazing find from All Saints and can be worn buttoned as a dress or open as a shirt. Not everyone is a fan of the oversized look but I think that is something that is echoed throughout All Saints entire mantra... your clothes don't have to be skin tight and sexy to look edgy and cool!
I matched it up with my patent boots from River Island, a Moschino cuff (which I rarely leave home without) and my sunglasses from The Spoilt Bitch Club! Simple, Easy, Comfortable and Stylish.