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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Comparison Is Your Worst Enemy.

Ever find yourself on a specific persons Instagram feed too much? Ever ask yourself, why can'y I look like that,? Why can't I have her clothes? Why can't I have her sense of style? Why does my Instagram look terrible? I hate my body, I wish I had her body, I wish I could afford her stuff.. etc. The list of complaints and comparisons is endless.

Recently I've gotten myself caught in the trap of comparison. I've gotten by two whole years without comparing myself or my blog to other people and their blogs. I never knew it would dawn on me but it sure has!

Comparison really is your worst enemy. It makes you look extremely negative to yourself, like your not good enough, you're not skinny enough, you're not pretty enough, you're not strong enough etc.

For me, it began by looking at some Instagram photos of girls with amazing fashion, initially I was fine, and loving their style. But I found myself checking their Instagram and blogs a lot more wondering why I couldn't have their clothes, pose like them, 'get away with' that look etc. I then started comparing my Instagram feed/theme with theirs and started picking out flaws in how mine looked and how amazing theirs is. It really brought me down and I started questioning if I 'lost' it. My blogging flare was gone and writers block hit hard. The Ciara with 1 million blog ideas was then lost for words.

I guess having a multi genre blog can result in giving half-assed efforts on each section. Sometimes I want to focus solely on fashion, sometimes only on travel and sometimes I wonder should I only talk about my scoliosis. But then I take a step back and analyse why I started in the first place. I had to make myself realise that I was blogging for the love of it and not for what others' thought of me. I had become obsessed with what others thought of me, my style, my photos etc. But in reality it was Me who became obsessed with how I looked. I know you didn't.

If I really looked at how my blog has grown I should have been so proud of myself. I'm not the type of person to buy followers for fame, I believe in building my following organically, to prove to myself that I am capable of doing it. I need to stop comparing and start appreciating. So if you ever find yourself in the trap of comparison remember to be yourself and you'll go far. 💜

 Top and Jeans: Willow | Boots: ASOS

On a lighter note, how stunning is this top? Before it came into the shop I saw it posted on Willow's Instagram Stories and I said I HAD to get it. The following day it came, and I bought it. I wore it immediately and they sold out within two days. Ever since when I wear it in store customers constantly ask me where it is and I have to say it's sold out. It really is a gem! Below I've one similar linked. I paired it with these white jean's also from willow, I've a few pairs of these in different colours as they're so comfortable. I also purchased new boots because sadly if you saw my Rome Vlog, you'll know the sole ripped off mine. I got these on sale from ASOS and I have the exact pair and similar pairs linked below.

Shop this look and similar pieces below:

Photos: Michelle Walsh
*This post contains some affiliate links, and do not cost you any extra money to shop through.*

Friday, 11 August 2017

Why I Love Caprice, Galway.

If you saw my Instagram or Snapchat (@CiaraSwalsh), you'll know I was in Caprice recently. First things first, the second this place opened I had to get through those doors because the interiors of the place are incredible and dare I say it 'Instagrammable'. Marble and wooden tabletops are my kind of heaven, and we haven't even gotten to the food!

If you read my recent post '5 Best Brunch Spots in Galway' you will remember I included Caprice, I had to because I love it so much. However, as it took me a good few months to compile that list, from trying many restaurants, the photo I used was quite old. So the lovely Vicky emailed me inviting me in to try out their new Brunch Menu and of course I accepted!

This time I opted for the French Toast and my sister got the pancakes. The french toast was absolutely amazing! The fattest slices you could have asked for! Topped with maple syrup and bacon, my mouth was watering the whole way through it. I would have gone through two rounds of them it was so delicious; but that's just me being greedy. My sister loved her pancakes. We know we will definitely be back to have them again!

Here are some other snaps from when I go to Caprice, usually if I were to go I would sit there with a green tea and their amazing apple tart and go through blog stuff like brainstorming etc. It's easy to get lost in thought in Caprice so that's why I like to brainstorm there!

Other times I would go with friends or family, their hot chocolate is another amazing drink on the menu, one day I felt adventurous and decided to go for one and my god I was not disappointed! I find it very hard to get a nice cup of hot chocolate so at least I know Caprice is my go to.

Their menu is so vast, so whether it's for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner I would highly recommend coming to Caprice, they're only in their second year and they're just killing it! I've never had a problem with staff or my order, they're all so kind and friendly in there! Definitely one of my favourite cafes in Galway.

*Thank you Caprice for inviting me in! This post is not sponsored and all views, opinions and photos are my own*

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Top 10 Things To Do And See In Bologna, Italy.

Bologna, a place I like to call home. Having lived there for a year I really experienced life like a local, not a tourist. Bologna is probably one of the biggest Italian cities that is not affected by tourists. In fact it is quite rare to find tourists there. This is why I urge you to visit now before it turns touristic like Venice. If you're going to visit Bologna soon here are 10 things to see and do.

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore is the main piazza/ square in Bologna. It's one of the main focal points to the city. It's where the "Sotto le Stelle" (Under the stars) open cinema is during the course of the whole summer. It's where you can relax with a small aperitivo and of course an Aperol Spritz and enjoy people watching. In the square there is San Petronio Basilica where people can enter, and even go on top of!

Fontana di Nettuno - Fountain of Neptune

Neptune's Fountain  is located on the side of Piazza Maggiore, right in front of the ancient public library (which has old Roman ruins beneath). Created by Giambologna (which was funnily the name of the street I lived when I was there) it is another main area of Bologna.

Portici (Porticoes)

Bologna is completely covered in porticoes, you can get around the most part of the city through these connecting porticoes without an umbrella. Something Ireland should really invest in. They are very characteristic to Bologna and some neighbouring small towns.

Le Due Torri - The Two Towers

Probably the most famous attraction in Bologna, the two towers (Le Due Torri). The taller tower (Torre degli Asinelli) is the only tower you are allowed to enter as the second one is a leaning tower. Fun fact: The leaning tower is actually more leaning than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. A great way to pump some adrenaline into your body is to climb the Asinelli Tower. The ancient wooden staircase inside will definitely challenge you but at only €3 per person and an amazing view of the whole of Bologna I believe it's worth it. If I can do it, anyone can do it (seriously).

Giardini Margherita

Bologna doesn't have a beach unfortunately. But if you want to relax one of the days, Giardini Margherita is the biggest park in Bologna. During the summer there are some games on for children, there are trampolines and you will find everyone playing in the grass or sunbathing. It's so nice to come out and relax. Don't worry it's full of bars and places to buy gelato too!

Piazza Santo Stefano e Le Sette Chiese (The Seven Churches)

Piazza Santo Stefano is my favourite square in the whole of Bologna. It's so peculiar and so different to any piazza I've seen in Italy. You can have your morning coffee or evening aperitivo in the bar on the square, warning it is fairly expensive but, on a warm evening it's so relaxing.

The church in the picture above looks like a normal church right? Wrong! There are actually seven churches inside. It's so beautiful and old inside, probably one of the oldest churches I've been in. Some parts of the church date back to the fourth century! In the middle there is a courtyard (pictured above). This courtyard is such a nice place to escape to on hectic days. It's so quite and tranquil that you don't want to leave!

San Luca

San Luca, if you look back to the picture I took from the Torre degli Asinelli of the whole of Bologna, look to the hills on the left of the photo and you'll actually see a small structure on top of one hill. See it? That is San Luca! On the way to San Luca there are (supposedly) 666 portici (porticoes) before you reach the Church of San Luca. This is in fact a pilgrimage that takes place once a year in Bologna. There are many stories and Theories but the most likely to be true is as follows: Saint Luke the Evangelist painted the Virgin Mary and to this day his painting is still kept in San Luca, every year they have a pilgrimage to bring the painting of the Virgin Mary down through the 666 porticoes to Saint Peter's Cathedral in the center of Bologna. The legend is, the 666 porticoes represents the Devil, who famously also takes the form of a serpent, which is the long winding walk way; and every year the Virgin Mary and the pilgrims trample the serpent.

Piccola Venezia - Little Venice

Bologna like Venice has it's own little canals. They are one of the many secrets of Bologna. There are more than one canal in Bologna but one of the most famous ones is this one: where the window opens to show it off.

Mercatini - Little Markets

If you travel down Via Pescherie Vecchie just off Piazza Maggiore you will enter the nicest, most traditional, and authentic street of Bologna. It is full of great restaurants (where you must eat either Tagliatelle al Ragù or Tortellini) and small markets selling, fruit, veg, fish and other organic types of food.


Monday, 31 July 2017

The Importance of 'Me' Time

We all get so caught up in life that we forget about ourselves, I know I do. You're either worrying about exams, repeats, work, family problems, friend problems, future problems etc. leaving you to neglect yourself and the stress you're enduring.

Sometimes it's better to stop trying to take care of others and to start caring about yourself. This doesn't mean to neglect other people in your life, it just means to be more mindful of the stress you put on yourself for the sake of other people.

Top and Jeans: Willow |  Shoes: Penneys

Here are some of the best tips for allowing some 'Me' time into your life:

1. Try to go for a walk at least once a week in a place you love, whether it be along the beach or in a forest, go somewhere where you can escape. Try to avoid busy cities for that walk

2. Take two hours out of the day to relax. You can read that book you've kept beside your bed for the last 3 months, wipe the dust off of it and get reading. If you're not big into reading then continue with that TV series you love, or start a new one. The goal is to get lost in something and to forget about the outside world. I would recommend, Game of Thrones, Bates Motel, House of Cards, Breaking Bad and Prison Break.

3. Play with your pet, if you don't have one I highly recommend getting one. Animals are scientifically proven to reduce stress in humans. Spending time with your pet can really help relax you and put yourself in a good mood.

4. Book a holiday. There's nothing better than getting away from all the madness than a new place to explore. Whether it be a beach destination or a city break you can finally reconnect with yourself in a place so alien to your daily norms.

5. Take up a hobby! I know that it's easier said than done but taking up a hobby can allow yourself to immerse yourself into something you genuinely have compassion for. Examples can be: baking, painting, yoga, horse riding, blogging, writing, Pilates, boxing, running, photography, the list is endless. Find something that you love and you have a passion in and just do it.

'Me' time is so important. It can prevent anxiety and depression and it really helps you to stay grounded when situations get stressful or overwhelming.


Thursday, 27 July 2017

5 Best Brunch Spots In Galway

Brunch has just exploded in recent years, I for one am obsessed with the idea of brunch. From these pictures you might tell I have a huge sweet tooth and I go crazy for some good pancakes or waffles. I've been testing out many brunch spots in Galway recently and I have narrowed it down to 5 of the best brunch spots around.

1. Ard Bia Nimmos

Get their pancakes, definitely one of the nicest I've had. Their portion size is extremely generous too. I was quite skeptical about the pancakes when I saw them on the menu as they're served with berries and ricotta cheese, but my god does it work! Ard Bia Nimmos serve brunch at the weekends so get there early as the queue is always out the door!

2. Caprice

Again with the pancakes, I told you I'm mad for them. Comparing with the portion sizes from the other restaurants Caprice definitely do have the smallest. However, this doesn't take away from the taste or ambiance of the brunch experience. Pair it with a glass of OJ and some good company and you're ready to go! Caprice have all day brunch on Sundays.

3. Dela

Dela would definitely be one of the best brunch spots in Galway. Their menu is extremely varied from sweet to savory foods and the best thing? You can choose between two types of pancakes (pictured above), one with orange and butterscotch and the other with maple syrup and bacon. Another great thing about Dela is that they serve brunch every day so people who work on weekends you can definitely get your fill of brunch during the week in Dela! Get there early for a table, although the queue moves fast. On my first visit the lovely owner allowed us to have some pancake pieces as we waited. Genius idea.

4. Corrib House Tea Rooms

Corrib House Tea Rooms was the first place I went to have brunch. I won a competition for brunch for two and that's when my obsession began. I went for the waffles and my friend went for the pancakes. Let's just say we were rolled out of there because the portion size was massive. Definitely the best waffles I've ever had. Corrib House Tea rooms do brunch every weekend.

5. Kai

Kai was my most recent brunch trip. Both dishes pictured above were to die for. The savory dish was fried macaroni and cheese, with two poached eggs on top and bacon. I would definitely go for that if I were to choose savory next time. Whereas, this time I took the blueberry pancakes. one word.. Incredible! Kai serve brunch only on Sundays from 12-3pm. They also have a queue out the door so try to arrive early.

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