It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year : Reflecting on 2018

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Hello you lovely lot! I’m pleased to say that Christmas is only a matter of days away and I literally cannot contain my excitement. Don’t worry, this post isn’t another Christmas gift guide or ‘Lookbook’ but rather, just some festive chit chat before THE day.

Christmas is always a special time for me as I get to reconnect with my friends from back home in Ireland and reunite with my family for yet another Christmas meal consisting of endless laughter and fun.

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Prior to the festive period, I decided to shoot some content with Alisha during my stay at Kilmorey Lodge in Chester. I had a 4 day weekend so I wanted to use this time to relax, prepare my mindset for the new year as well as take some time to reflect on 2018. Oh what a year! Filled with many memories that I’ll treasure forever.

This particular weekend, was a time for me to take a breather, look back on a great year and plan for 2019. Although I did manage to tick off travelling off my bucket list, I could have committed myself more to reaching the desired goals set out earlier this year. But not to worry, we bounce back again in 2019!

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I’ve learnt to appreciate life despite the outcomes and the ups/downs and truly just live in the moment. 2018 has been a year where I’ve purposely surrounded myself with positivity. From workplace environments to friendships and social media, I’ve removed myself from things and people that contribute or have the effect to impact my mental health negatively.

2018 has in no doubt, been a wonderful year - I’m grateful for the gift of life, my friends and family.

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I’ve decided that this will be my last post in 2018 as I really just want to spend the next week or two celebrating and being part of the festivities rather than worry about the “next blog post.” My use of social media will probably be limited too with less on my feed with the possibility of sharing some lovely moments on my Stories. At the end of the day, it’s about finding a balance, which I’ve discussed, here. Because let’s be real here - we’re not cutting out social media completely during this period!

Anyways, I’m wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance. Thank you for your lovely support in 2018 and I look forward to bringing you some fresh content in 2019!

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2018 Life Update

Hey guys! Just a quick chit chat on what I’ve been up to and some highlights of 2018. Enjoy!

I've travelled and lived my best life to be honest really. Back in January, I went to Berlin with the craziest bunch of friends. Fast forward to April, I was sipping Pina Coladas by the beach in Corfu, Greece celebrating a friend’s 25th birthday. It was definitely one of my favourite holidays in 2018. Creating our own mini party in the hotel lobby, mingling with tourists and a very memorable boat ride were just one of the many highlights from that trip. Fast forward again to June, I was riding camels and strolling around Le Jardin Majorelle in Morocco.

I also left my old job in May after the most horrendous 12 months working there. I'm now working for Virgin Trains on their Corporate Affairs team and I couldn't be happier. I’ve got the most supportive, down to earth manager, a great team (we’re practically family now!) and a great working environment. Like, I didn't think it was possible to actually look forward to going into work every morning and afternoon. I'm looking forward to growing within the team and utilising every resource available to develop and possibly expand into the wider department. I'm extremely grateful to God for answering my prayers and placing me in an environment where I am loved and don't have to compromise with myself. Oh and the best thing about this job? I've actually got the opportunity to get my creative juices flowing wherever possible - cheers to that!

As far as blogging goes, I started the year on a high creating content, becoming more active on social media, pumped up with enthusiasm and motivation but it eventually all came to a stand still. If I'm completely honest with you, the whole process of building my personal brand became an effort. Working full time drains me and most days I just want to lay in bed. ALL DAMN DAY. Do I feel like I'm done with blogging? Where do I go from here? Am I cut out for this industry? The questions that continuously boggle my mind. 

* UPDATE * I’m feeling super pumped, inspired and motivated for the New Year. Let’s get this blogging thing back on the roll!

Turning 25 made me realise that sh*t has definitely gotten real. Back in my teenage years, I remember mapping out my entire life like for example, settling down and building a family by a certain age. I can confirm that my life has completely geared towards a different direction and you know what, I'm grateful regardless. I'm proud and happy of how far I've come, where I am at the moment and where I will be in the future. I've learnt to live in the present and not worry so much about the future. Yes, I have plans, visions and goals but it's about finding a balance so I don't forget to live in the moment too.

So, where was I? When I turned 25 in July (still accepting birthday presents, btw) I thought about creating a 5 year plan filled with realistic and attainable goals. So my sincerest apologies that I was off the radar. I'm just trying to get my mojo back! Self-learning and self development is key so I'm broadening my horizons, perfecting my skills and learning new ones. The aim is to produce quality and meaningful content that will resonate with you lovely readers. I've spent the last weeks scribbling in my content calendar, contacting photographers and scrolling through various platforms to gain content inspiration for the New Year. Ooh, for the first time in a while, I'm actually excited!

I'm so done with following in the footsteps of what everyone else is doing and feeling like it's mandatory to spend countless hours on social media. I wrote about how I’m controlling this, here. Yes, do the work, remain consistent (still struggling with that!) but my understanding is that success doesn't come overnight. I've learned to accept that and I'm finally in a place where I can say: 'You've got this girl. Everything's actually going to be ok.'  As a millennial, growing up in a generation and "culture of impatience and instant gratification" (Study Breaks, 2017) , there's a certain level of expectation that everything I do needs to be fast, easy and convenient. Accomplishments take time and a degree of patience is required. I'm currently enjoying compiling thoughts and ideas, taking some downtime and just appreciating the beauty of life, no matter what it may throw at me.

On a final note, I appreciate each and everyone of you who have continuously supported me on this long journey :)

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Being Unapologetically Me.

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When I relaunched FASHIONENTH, I promised myself that I would start expressing myself, sharing real experiences and making this platform a place where conversations can be generated and people can seek inspiration. I've taken quite some time to really gather my thoughts and recent experiences for today's article titled 'Being unapologetically Me'. The first quarter started on a high, I must say but admittedly, life has thrown some challenges my way which God has given me the strength to overcome. I went through a season where I found myself in complete isolation, compromising my values in certain environments and completely demotivated. Some of the difficulties I faced have been a result of the ongoing battle of being accepted particularly in workplace environments as a young professional (black) woman. However, the purpose of this post is to simply shed light and provide encouragement for anyone who has been going through a state of turmoil. You are not alone and I hope that this article can help you in your current circumstances.

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I scroll through my social feeds daily, stumbling upon stories and conversations that black millennials are discussing. Many of those centred around the topic of growing up as a black woman, forced to conform to western ideals of beauty and compromise their values and beliefs due to the fear of rejection and living up to certain perceptions. In an era, where such discussions are flooding social media platforms, I've found myself enlightened by these recent occurrences and gained a deeper understanding of the type of society I live in. I grew up in a small town in Ireland where I was completely oblivious to the issue of racial prejudice because honestly, I didn't really experience it so for me, the subject of race was one I always avoided due to MY lack of awareness. At some point, I felt like I was immune to or exempt from societal realities of racial prejudices. The dissertation I wrote in my final year of University on 'Black Masculinity' allowed me to touch on the historical and cultural context of slavery, social oppression, and a dehumanising institution. It was an invitation for me to explore political and social matters that have existed from the beginning of time.

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The truth of the matter is that I'm not immune to these senseless acts of ignorance and negative perceptions. As millennials of colour we are pushing boundaries and excelling in our chosen career paths. We (or maybe some) of us find ourselves altering our personalities and who we are in professional and even academic settings to avoid being labeled or living up to society's portrayals of us. Personally, my recent experiences in such environments have affected my ability to express myself emotionally, often concerned about the comfortability of others by just being me. This is particularly common in professional environments where colleagues are automatically intimidated by your presence. The current social and political atmosphere has been an eye-opener. I'm extremely proud that black women are fighting back and unapologetically being themselves.

This is what I've discovered:

Be yourself and be proud of who you are.

Don't allow yourself to be fuelled by the opinions of others. I've been so worried about being accepted, liked or appreciated which has tampered with my identity, undermined my work and efforts and somewhat crushed my self-esteem. But here's the good part - I've never been so aware of my identity in Christ right until now. Knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ lifts that burden. The below verses are a constant reminder:

"I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14)

"Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close." (Psalm 27:10)

"...so don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries." (Luke 12:6-7)

WOW! You don't need to be liked and accepted by everyone. You don't need the approval of others. God has created me to be me, He loves me unconditionally and accepts EVERY part of me. It's so easy to lose sight of this but going back to the Word helps me see things in a completely different perspective. My identity is not rooted in my race. Yes, there will be obstacles that I'll need to overcome but I'm going into my environment with a fresh outlook, being the best that I can possibly be, succeeding in my endeavours, showing love and kindness whether I am rejected or not. In all honesty, it's so easy to be thrown off course from your goals and ambitions due to office politics etc but do not let anyone undermine your abilities and have an emotional hold on you. Be unapologetically you.

* UPDATE * This article was written during a time I worked in a Marketing agency - my first career job after graduating from University. What should have been an exciting period in my life at that time turned out to be the most disappointing and negative experience ever. It triggered my anxiety and depression. I am now the happiest I can ever be in my current workplace. It was definitely God sent. You can read more about my new role and company, here.

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Photography by Ebun

Wearing// COS jacket, REISS jeans, ZARA shoes, Rayban glasses

3 Things I've Learned About Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day was probably one of the occasions that I hyped up the most – spending countless weeks planning getaways and date night ideas with my other half, splurging cash on gifts, a new lingerie set and the perfect LBD to mark the occasion. It pains me to think about how much coins I could have saved over this period! Kudos to all the brands and companies raking in substantial amounts of cash flow through their relentless marketing efforts.

As the beginning of February ticks down to the 14th, I find myself surrounded by couples who hold the day in high esteem as well as singles who share their hate for the holiday of love. I mean, each to their own but I neither love or despise V-Day. In the past, I’ve shared Valentines Lookbooks, tips, etc on how to mark this occasion with a significant other and I truly enjoyed it. In this post, I’ve decided to share 3 things I’ve learnt about Valentines Day as a single bee.

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Valentine’s Day is NOT just about romance.

Appreciate your loved ones and extend love to those who need it. I don’t believe that love should only be celebrated on one day of the year or for the celebration of love to be limited to romantic love. Platonic love and the love we express to our friends and families are equally as important and worthy to be celebrated, just as much as romantic love. We learn to genuinely appreciate love for what it is rather than a force filled day that reeks of consumerism.

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Self-sufficiency.

I’m proud of the independent life that I'm continuously trying to create for myself. Your season of singleness enlightens and allows you to take pride in the person that God has created you to be – which means not needing a relationship to rescue yourself from the fear of loneliness and isolation. The way I’ve combatted this is by appreciating and enjoying my own company, to treat myself occasionally on spontaneous dates and spoil myself responsibly. This all stems from the moment you feel secure in yourself and are able to turn your love inwards too.

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Social media can impact one’s emotional well-being – only if you allow it to.

Romantic posts and Instagram photos pretty much circulate social media on the calendar’s most romantic day, with the potential to heighten the feeling of loneliness and possibly jealousy. Even when I celebrated Valentines Day in my previous relationships, I always found myself in a state of comparison – comparing other people’s experiences and material possessions to mine. It can be a really difficult emotion to deal with and can make you feel that people are rubbing their happiness in your face. If Valentines Day erupts those emotions in you then the best thing to do is to suspend all social media activity for the day. Close it down and just walk away. Also, remember that not everything portrayed on social media represents a perfect relationship. There are matters people battle with behind closed doors so enjoy your period of singleness, nurture yourself and just do you!

“You have to be a happy you before you can create a happy ‘two’ “

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The New Year Purge: Freeing Yourself From Excess

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I feel so blessed to be alive and well and to be able to enter the new year with my loved ones. I'm not huge on sharing personal goals across my social platforms so don't worry I won't bore you with a list of to-do's in today's post. Instead, I want to engage in conversation with each of you regarding an issue I experienced in the previous year - Excess, which I think could really inspire you. With the new year upon us, and the resolution-making frenzy in full effect, many of us (myself included) will be decluttering our personal spaces but what, and how much, do you get rid of?

After reading Issue 16 of The Gentlewoman, I came across an article discussing how "these are times when emotion and sensation are more representative proxies for the modern state of being - a receptiveness to experience that is the true luxury of our era." Under this article, the six motifs that were mentioned include: Devotion, Excess, Entrainment, Anonymity, Surrender and Fascination. Excess really caught my attention as I pictured my self in the author's shoes, who sees "the world as divided into the excessives, who suffer from that fear of empty space - generous types with volatile tempers who believe More is More - and the measured, who appreciate midcentury modern, purge their wardrobes..." Today we live in a consumer culture where we always need to be buying more. It could be due to social influence, peer influence etc but whatever motivates us to do so, we continuously fill our lives to the brim with items we think we need. For a split second, think about this - do we really need all this excess?

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“Knowledge is learning something new every day.  Wisdom is letting go of something every day”

Our needs, wants, possessions etc can become excess. A valuable lesson I learnt in 2017 is that having more in our lives or buying into the concept that more is better can mean we miss living in the moment. I found myself constantly waiting for my life to be complete with more and striving for a day that does not align with where God wants me to be. I was in a state of deferred living, always assuming that what I have now is not enough. I decided to escape from this predicament by starting with the simplest thing to rid myself of - all my unwanted items. For those of you who know me personally, you'll know that my wardrobe has always been doing the most! When I decided to donate 80% of my items to charities in my city (20% went to my younger sisters), it was definitely refreshing letting go of all the unnecessary clutter. I'm aiming towards a journey to simplicity and less. Over the last year, I started to accumulate more in my life. More material possessions, more commitments, more financial responsibilities and more hassle. Alongside this, I felt like less of my time was, my time. And even when I made time to focus on my own work, it normally resulted in procrastination as I no longer had the motivation or the willingness due to everything else I had committed myself to. Here's to not being afraid to say 'no thanks,’ guys!

In an age where being 'busy' is glorified, I was in motion a lot of the time but wasn't really making the most out of my life. I had bought into the concept of more and that more would be the answer. I had lost track of any goals I had committed myself to, and most importantly, I did not dedicate my time to friends and family.

In this period of reflecting, I've started to identify more of what I truly want in life. It's also a period for me to uncover those things I would rather be without. This can also be applied to relationships etc.

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Here are just some of my reflective thoughts:

Seek out books, seminars, workshops that will challenge my thinking, help me build my brand and aid in my personal development.

Take action. The time is NOW. Not tomorrow.

Peel back and eliminate what doesn't matter.

Extract myself from commitments I have no interest in being at or cause some sort of convenience to my daily schedule. The other option is to also seek help and advice with these commitments. I'm always up for helping someone and adding value in any way I can so I will try to remain diligent in this, without getting myself into a state!

Feel less guilty about saying 'no thanks.' 

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Wearing// H&M Blazer (similar), H&M Jumper, Mango Jeans (similar), Mango Boots (similar), Primark Beret (similar)

Remove distractions and excuses I'm making to myself. 

Focus more on the things and the people that are important to me. Tomorrow is not promised - show love and kindness to others, reach out a helping hand, devote time to family and friends.

Invest in experiences - be spontaneous! Don't let others dictate what you can or cannot do.

Accumulate fewer material possessions and use my disposable income to travel, attend events, dine, and occasionally top up on key pieces in my wardrobe that I can wear throughout the year. You can read more on how I’ve achieved this, here. After all, less is more.

I'd love to know if this post has encouraged you in some way so please feel free to leave a comment below :)

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Dublin, Ireland

Shot by @o.shea.o

A Day Out In London.

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The idea of spending a day in London excites me but a part of me has always found it quite daunting. After all, London is a big city and everyone is constantly on the go and to be honest, I can't keep up with it. I'm not afraid to admit that I cannot deal with the hustle & bustle but I'm slowly getting used to it. When I met Alisha Dandy in London for this shoot, I realised that Sundays in London are simply the best. We were shooting around Somerset House and there was just a tranquil vibe circulating the atmosphere. Who would have thought that I would be able to walk into a quiet cafe in London or not get trampled on by pedestrians whilst walking on the street? Maybe I'm just an amateur and need to get over myself but I don't want to believe that I'm the only one that feels like this. Anyone?

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For many of you who follow me on Instagram, you're probably aware of how much I've been living in this cardigan from COS. Good knitwear is simply something you really can't have too much of. Made from a heavyweight wool-silk blend with a speckled quality, this is the perfect boxy, rectangular shaped knit for the cold weather. For maximum comfort, I've paired with my 'not so Gucci' mules from Ego.

* UPDATE * Two years later, I still own both the cardigan and mules - still intact too! However, the trousers certainly don’t fit anymore!

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Photography by @alishadandy

I'm looking forward to discovering more of London, perhaps even doing some sightseeing and checking out some cool spots! I'd love to hear your recommendations, let me know in the comments below :)

Until next time,

Eunice

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Welcome To FASHIONENTH

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Well hello everyone! Welcome to FASHIONENTH. I can't believe that my blog is finally up and running and that I have fuelled enough confidence to share my passion with you all, again. Before I start, I 'd advise you to grab a cuppa if you haven't already as this is quite a lengthy post but interesting, I promise! I've got so much to share with you guys and I hope that my journey can really inspire anyone who is currently looking to step out into the blogging industry or build their own brand. So shall we?

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I graduated from Birmingham City University in July 2017 after studying Fashion Business & Promotion for 3 years. Graduating was definitely one of my many highlights of 2017. I managed to get a job as a Social Media Executive here in Birmingham. I was truly grateful, and still am, but I knew that there was something missing. (A LOT was missing as my first career job completely flopped - you can find out why, here.)

During my final year of University, I completely gave up on blogging and abandoned my previous website for months as well as my social media platforms. I no longer had a passion for it and looking back now, it wasn't only because of the final year stress and workload, but I genuinely didn't have the heart for it anymore. Everything just seemed like an effort and I completely lost all motivation. As you are all probably aware, the blogging industry has become overly saturated and my main fear was not being good enough, and that people just wouldn't care about the content I created. I was driving myself insane with all these random thoughts and the saddest part about it is that I spent all that time contemplating, thinking 'what if..' rather than just stepping forward and giving it a go.

Starting my job as a Social Media Exec ignited my passion for all things social and digital. Deep down I knew that I didn't just want to work full time in an office, go home, and repeat. My style has evolved over the last few years and what better way to document my style journey than to produce visual and written content! You see, I've got long-term goals I hope to achieve through my new platform, as well as valuable skills to learn and gain along the way. I've had to combat the idea of not being good enough and align my thoughts with my goals and ambitions. I'm so glad that FASHIONENTH has gone through a complete makeover and please expect to see some awesome content!

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Photography by @alishadandy

In relation to the overall design, I've decided to go for a fresh website theme. My vision was to create a platform that would be of a minimal aesthetic, and easy to navigate. The new look definitely goes hand in hand with my own personal style revamp. I've decluttered my wardrobe and invested in some key pieces that I would describe as 'sophisticated with an edge.' Those of you who know me personally will know that I've spent the last few years experimenting with the wildest colours and outfit choices. Working full time in a corporate environment office has completely influenced my style choices. I'd now rather invest in basic key pieces that I can pair together with pretty much anything! You know, just simple and easy to throw on in the mornings - effortless.

I'm really working on my brand image at the moment, making sure that it remains coherent and consistent across ALL platforms.

I hope that you guys are just as excited as I am about my website :)

I would love for you to voice your opinions, excitement, constructive criticism, whatever it is! I'm also interested to know what type of style-related content you'd love to see! Please comment below.

Until next time,

Eunice

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