Showing posts with label The Caitriona Diaries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Caitriona Diaries. Show all posts
How to create a morning routine

When I was younger, I used to wake up at 6:30am every day for school and leave the house by 7:45am. I'm not entirely sure why I would get up so early or why it took me so long to get ready but I would occasionally find myself running a little late. I kept this up throughout secondary, sixth form and up until second year of university.

These days, with working at home, I drag myself out of bed around 8am. My typical morning routine involves waking up (begrudgingly), heading to the shower, getting ready, reading, making breakfast and starting work at 9am. I keep it relatively straightforward and simple but without needing to wake up super early. 

Here are some tips to help create a morning routine that will have you ready and feeling positive about the day ahead:

01 // Work out what you value. 

First off, before you even think about what your morning routine is going to consist of, ask yourself what do you value the most? Is it time? Sleep? Food? Working this out is going to form the foundations of your morning routine. If you value time, you might choose to wake up a little earlier to ensure you have enough time to do the things you want to do. If it’s sleep, then your morning routine is going to be about making sure you get enough sleep and waking up a little later. If it is food, then it might be giving yourself time to make breakfast. Either way, it will help to form the foundation of your routine and let you know why you’re really creating one in the first place.

02 // Find out how to wake up happy. 

Waking up on the right side of the bed can make a massive difference in your day. Of course, this is just an expression but the first step in a morning routine is waking up. Therefore, waking up to the shrill of the classic Apple alarm sound doesn't sound appealing - unless you prefer to wake up like that. I’ve switched my alarm sound to ‘Slow rise’ because I can’t cope with such a shock first thing in the morning. Some people also enjoy waking up with an alarm that gets brighter to help wake you up naturally. Since, I prefer sleeping in a lighter room that won't work for me.

03 // Go with the flow. 

Every day is different. Therefore, your morning routine doesn’t need to be a rigid regime. Some things change and it’s okay. For this reason, I don't like to set times for each activity. I might have had a late night and want to sleep in a little longer or someone might be spending too long in the bathroom. If you set times for everything and one of those things don't work out on a particular day, that can mess up the whole schedule and the running late mindset follows you through the day.

I hope these tips have helped. How do you like to start the day?

Love, Aoife xo

If it doesn't feed you, don't water it. Plain and simple. If something doesn't contribute meaningfully to your life, it's not worth wasting your time on it. There are so many habits that we unconsciously develop that don't really serve a purpose for us. And for most of them, they encourage us to feel stress, anxiety, frustration and impact negatively on other aspects of our lives. 

Here are 5 toxic habits to look out for and kick to the curb to live a happier and stress free life:

01 // Negative people
We all know that negative people do not belong in our lives. They don’t bring joy and more often than not, their negativity can bring us down and get in the way of enjoying our best self. The hardest part of cutting negative people out of our lives is making the decision to do so. If you have a friend, work colleague or partner that is energy draining, then to put it politely, they need to go. My friend once told me that the difference between a good friend and a bad one is a good friend will always have your best interests at heart. That includes supporting you and making you feel good about yourself. There's no point in associating with people who don't make you feel good about yourself.

02 // Procrastination 
This is one toxic habit I dip in and out of regularly. Procrastination often stems from tasks that seem to difficult. It can often cause stress, worry, anxiety among other things. Some people say diving in the deep end is a great way of kicking this toxic habit. Personally, that always makes me want to run in the opposite direction. I’ve found completing other tasks, eliminating all the things I can procrastinate with, helps and even splitting it into smaller tasks.

03 // Stressing about things that are out of your control 
Arguably, the root of all my anxiety issues. I think it’s a natural human trait to stress about things beyond our control. One thing I've been doing (successfully) lately is taking a step back and not getting so involved into things. By that I mean, I'm still engaging in what's going on but I've realised that the weight of the issue doesn't belong on my shoulders and therefore, I shouldn't feel the need to act like it does. It's hard but once you understand that not everything is reliant on you, you can feel 10 times better.

04 // Ignoring yourself (where's your self care routine, hun?) 
We spend so much time caring for others, that we can sometimes forget to care for ourselves. I don't mean sitting on your phone for two hours, I mean moisturising after your shower or trimming your nails. The little details that we often overlook in a rush. Working a full time job can make it harder to stay on top of looking after yourself but I recommend setting up a morning routine or, if you’re fortunate to do so, dedicate a couple of hours at the weekend or even a day for yourself. I decided when I started my job, to dedicate Sundays to doing something that I wanted and would help me prepare for the week ahead. This could be spending the day reading, going grocery shopping, doing the cleaning you've been putting off or meeting with friends.

05 // Underestimating yourself
Are you aware of just how amazing you are? No seriously, are you aware of how much you’ve accomplished? How beautiful you are? How much you make a difference in people’s lives? It’s very easy for us to underestimate ourselves, which in turn leaves us with a strong case of imposter syndrome. Some helpful tips include pausing to acknowledge how far you’ve come, using positive affirmations and learning to be kinder to yourself.



Love, Aoife xo

5 things I've learnt as a graduate

It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was working on my final project at university and revising for my last set of exams. This past year has flown by. 
I’m five months into my first graduate job as a journalist and I’m loving it. It feels really weird to think I’ve now stepped into adulthood and working life.

This is my first official 9 to 5 job and also the longest I’ve ever had. Before this, I’d done one and two week internships or had part time roles which is completely different from working full-time. I've learnt a lot about myself and wanted to share 5 things with you I've discovered as a graduate: 

01 // You’re still a newbie. Yes, to some degree you’ve been hired because of your experience and potential but don’t forget you’re still new to this. Despite knowing that this is my first proper rodeo, I still feel pressure to be the best and act as though I’m more advanced than I am. Which is great but it’s important to remember I’m still fresh out of university and I need to allow myself room to grow.

02 // Time management is bullsh*t. I think one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is working and getting my work done between the set hours of 9 to 5:30. I’ve been told this is normal when you’re working. I've also been told that as a journalist, managing time is a regular challenge but you've got to work it out somehow.

03 // Make time for yourself. At university, we went from having all the time in the world to manage studies when we wanted and for extra curricular. As a newly working graduate, a big chunk of your day is spent working. One thing I’ve learnt is to make an effort to set aside time to work on myself and my wellbeing. I reserve Sundays as my "special" time to do whatever I want. It normally involves tidying my room, reading, watching Netflix and not really socialising. 

5 things I've learnt as a graduate

04 // Fake it ’til you make it. This is more helpful if, like me, you dip in and out of feeling confident about yourself and work. I have imposter syndrome so a lot of the time, I don’t feel like I’m good enough to be doing what I’m doing. So, I’ve learnt that sometimes you have to fake it to make it.

05 // This is just the beginning. I have a habit of stating the glaringly obvious but this is just the beginning. We have our whole world in front of us and how exciting is it to think of all the possibilities where we could end up. The first job we get isn't going to be the last and we're going to switch paths all the time. As daunting as it is settling into working life and having all these responsibilities, it's truly exciting to think about the future.

What's something you've learnt as a graduate?

Love, Aoife xo

Blogger Get to Know me tag Vogue

It's my 100th post on Aoife Caitriona! To mark the occasion, I thought I'd do a Get To Know Me tag but in the style of Vogue's 73 questions. Enjoy x


01. What’s your usual Starbucks order?
An iced green tea peach lemonade in the summer and soya hot chocolate in the winter.

02. What does your workstation look like?
A mess. I don't know how it happens but there are notebook everywhere.

03. Favourite Food?
Any pasta dish.

04. Favourite Author?
That’s a tricky one but I’ll read anything by Sophie Kinsella and Jodie Ellen Malpas.

05. What do you think of open relationships?
It’s not for me but you go ahead.

06. Favourite guilty pleasure treat?
Buying a new book.

07. Favourite movie?
I have two- Notting Hill and Confessions of A Shopaholic.

08. Favourite book?
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

09. Twitter or Instagram?
I’m a visual person so Instagram. But I love Twitter.

10. Desktop or Laptop?
Laptop.

11. Best advice you’ve ever received?
No one cares. I used to be really self-conscious and someone told me that no one cares about the little things like how you eat, what you eat, how you dress etc. 

12. What project are you working on right now?
My life.

13. Favourite colour?
Blush pink.

14. Why pink?
It’s a happy colour. It has positive energy and I love it.

15. Did you get good grades in school?
Yep, I did alright.

16. What's your dream job?
My dream job is to work for a fashion magazine. The ultimate goal? Editor :)

17. Do you play any sports?
I used to be on the Netball team until my friend told me I was rubbish and I should quit the team. Thinking back, I probably shouldn't have listened to her. 

18. Do you have a degree?
I do, I graduated with first class honours in Journalism last Summer.

19. What's something you learnt about yourself at uni?
That I don't know much about life.

20. What’s your favourite kind of blogpost?
Something that's fun to read. 

21. What do you collect?
Postcards or bags, if you ask my mum.

22. Describe yourself in three words
Passionate, fun and loyal.

Get to know me tag

23. What do you value most in a person?
Accountability. I think being self-aware of your actions and how that impacts others is a very valuable trait to have.

24. Who was the last person you DMed?
My friend.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?
A pair of Jimmy Choo's; they're a graduation present to myself.

26. What are you most grateful for this year?
Being alive. 

27. Favourite place you’ve travelled?
Cote d'Azur in the middle of Summer. It was magical!

28. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?
My work gave everyone a week off so I've just used it as an excuse to do whatever I want.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?
Publishing this blog post!

30. What’s the best thing ever?
The warmth.

31. Favourite Season?
Summer. Is there any other season?

32. Favourite Holiday?
The summer holidays.

33. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
Rebecca Brandon née Bloomwood.

34. Do you like surprises?
Only if they are good.

35. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?
I don’t think I’ve ever had one.

36. What surprise made you cry?
The surprise I gave my Mum.

37. What’s the best surprise you’ve given someone else?
I threw my Mum a surprise birthday party and invited all her friends, old and new. She didn’t suspect a thing.

38. Do you like muffins?
Doughnuts are better.

39. Do you cook often?
All the time; I love it.

40. What’s your favourite thing to cook?
I enjoy making a lot of tomato-based meals so pasta and chicken dishes.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?
CAKE!

42. What’s your least favourite food?
Fishy fish. I’d rather not taste the sea, please.

43. What's the last book you read?
Playing Nice by J.P Delaney.

44. What are you currently reading?
Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

45. What's your biggest weakness?
Not feeling good enough.

46. What's your biggest strength?
Getting on with things. 

47. What has a guy said or done to impress you?
One guy took me to a restaurant on our first official date. It felt really special. Speaking to my friends, I get the feeling that doesn’t always happen

48. Best thing to do on a first date?
Something physical like crazy golf or bowling so the awkward silences aren't so awkward.

49. Worst thing to do on a first date?
Go somewhere too loud that you can't hear each other.

50. What’s the best pick up line?
I’m not sure there is a best one, but I’ll laugh at them.

get to know me tag 73 questions vogue

51. What podcasts are you listening to at the moment?
The BOF podcast keeps me on top of the fashion industry and The Receipts.

52. Name three things that can always be found in your purse?
Keys, money and a random sanitary pad.

53. Favourite drink?
Iced green tea.

54. If you could play a character in a movie, who would it be?
It's not in a movie but I’d play Blair Waldorf.

55. Who’s on your current playlist?
Toni Braxton, Summer Walker, IAMDDB, Tinashe and Teyana Taylor.

56. What lipstick do you use?
Spanked by Fenty Beauty.

57. What foundation do you use?
Either a Tom Ford stick foundation or Estée Lauder Double Wear.

58. Blow dry or air dry
Air dry and use Bumble & Bumble styling creme.

59. If you had to wear one fashion brand for the rest of your life, who would you wear?
I love Dior.

60. Who is your fashion icon?
Dakota Johnson.

61. What is your go-to outfit?
Jeans, a cute top and either a pair of white trainers or heels.

62. What are you doing tomorrow?
I'm meeting up with a friend and going to a local market to buy baked goods.

63. Movie you laughed the hardest through?
It was either Bridesmaids or Girls Trip.

64. Movie that made you cry?
Remember Me.

65. If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose?
My best friend.

66. What’s would your autobiography be called?
About a girl.

67. What’s your favourite animal?
Giraffe.

68. Favourite singer?
Does anyone have a favourite singer? 

69. Person you’d like to have coffee with?
Dakota Johnson.

70. What country would you like to visit?
I'd love to visit Japan during blossom season.

71. What's something you can't live without?
My skincare.

72. Best way to decompress?
Chilling in my comfy clothes, watching a film or TV show with some good food

73. What's a song you listen to on repeat?
Peaches by Justin Beiber is on repeat all the time at the moment.

Love, Aoife xo
Where the Crawdads sing Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Its rich descriptions took my breath away and is a truly an unforgettable read. No wonder it was one of the most popular books last Summer! It’s not the type of book that I’d usually pick up but it caught me off guard and I soon found myself hooked on every word.

What's it about?


The book tells the story of a young Kya Clark, the so-called ‘Marsh Girl’, living just outside of Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. The book is divided into two parts; the Marsh and the Swamp. The chapters alternate between 1952, where we meet a young Kya, and 1969, when the town discovers a local boy has been murdered and a trial ensues. The town suspects Kya but as the book flickers between the two, and as the years get closer, you get the feeling that Kya’s world and the town’s world are complete opposites.

Where the Crawdads sing Delia Owens

My favourite thing...


One thing I love about Kya Clark is her independence and strength. I think those qualities made it easy for me to connect with her and by the end of the book, I felt like Kya’s number one cheerleader. She came from a childhood overshadowed by trauma and as the reader, you can’t help but sympathise for Kya. However, her resilience and utter contentment, makes her truly remarkable. She was dealt with a shit hand and made something spectacular out of it. I wish I had her courage!

Where the Crawdads Sing is a combination of a coming-of-age narrative and a murder mystery. If I’m honest, the murder mystery provided a thread through the novel but I found myself focusing more on Kya’s story. I loved how she developed as a character and blossomed into a remarkable young woman. Kya’s story was wrapped in eloquent and poetic descriptions of nature. Despite Kya’s bleak childhood, Owens pays close attention to the vibrant and sometimes muted colours of the marsh.

This book reminded me of when I was in secondary school reading books with heavily detailed descriptions. We were always taught to pay attention to the significance of the setting in relation to the characters and story. This book is almost solely centred around the marsh and the relationship between the nature and humans.

Final review...


Where the Crawdads Sing is a surprising but delightful read that will be at the top of my recommendations list for anyone looking to see the world from a different perspective. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s not the book I usually pick up but it was refreshing to read a story about something other than fame, fortune and the urban lifestyle.

Have you read it yet?

Love, Aoife xo

mental health 2021 goals
Mental health 2021 goals

Hey Stranger,

Long time, no see. It’s been a while since I sat in front of my laptop and just typed. I feel a little rusty if I’m honest so bare with me. To say this year has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. Amid all the painful moments there were a handful worth celebrating. I think we can all agree it's for the best to put last year behind us.

I struggled a lot with my mental health last year and ended up cutting back on a lot of the things I loved doing. I took a long break from social media and blogging when things got too much and then felt a little out of my depth when I wanted to come back. One thing I missed the most was being creative and producing content. One of my goals for 2021 is to be consistent with my content. 

A lot has happened since I last wrote a blog post. One of those things is I’m now working as a journalist. Me! This is something I have been dreaming about since I was in year 11. It’s a completely new field for me and I’m really enjoying it. Writing about more formal topics at work has made me miss what I was writing about when I was blogging. This space has been a place for me to write about beauty, fashion, books and my favourite places in London. A lot of the things that “fed my soul”, if you will, ended up closing during the lockdowns and in the new tiered system. I wasn't very good at finding alternatives, that I could to, to all those things.

The pandemic threw more than I realised and one thing I'm focusing on this year is my mental health. Last year taught me how important a good mental health is in being able to function. After all, we’re only human and we can only take so on much.

Here’s a couple of things I’ll be doing to look after my mental health this year:
  • Be kinder to myself. Funnily enough, I wrote a blog post on this and never followed any of it. I can count on one hand how many times I have been kind to myself this year. It’s quite shocking really. As the pandemic continues, I’m going to have to rethink what things I can do to bring me happiness since what I used to do has been put on pause. Taking it easier and not putting so much pressure on myself are my two priorities. 
  • Have more ME time. For the whole year, I have felt that my time belonged to someone else. I think that’s been a big cause of my anxiety. This year, I’m focusing on taking ‘protected’ time out for just me. I started doing it last Autumn and it really helped. Essentially, Sunday will belong to me. For that day, I will do whatever I want to do whether it’s catching up on my latest read, creating content or going for a nice stroll. The most important thing is feeling as though that time belongs to me and no one else.
  • Be creative. I thrive on creativity. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make writing my career. I used to bake, cook, write, read, and film. I loved it all! I mentioned earlier that I stopped  doing those things when everything got a little too much. Really, I should have kept those things going. 

Love, Aoife xo


Girl sitting in a cafe

If everything went according to plan, on the 21st July, I would have walked across a stage collecting my degree. On my feet would have been a pair of Jimmy Choo’s I had been saving up for, for this exact moment. However, no part of 2020 has gone according to plan and instead I spent the day as any other day. 

It’s been three years since I moved to Portsmouth to start my Journalism degree and it feels absolutely surreal to say I made it to the end. I haven't shared my whole journey online but you can see highlights on Instagram and Twitter (@aoifecaitrionax). In my first year of university, I felt very lonely and I struggled to make friends. Like anyone, I signed up to almost every society I had a remote interest in. First year is all about trial and error so don't be afraid to make mistakes. 


Second year came along and I was stuck living in a house that lived on drama and animosity. It wasn't very fun or healthy but I learnt a lot about myself during that time. The main one being how to stand up for myself. Academically and career wise, I was starting to get ahead and had articles printed in local news websites. When final year came around, I promised myself that this would be a year I could be proud of. And I am. Despite the ups and downs, which as a uni student you will know, I have met some amazing people who are now my friends and made memories that will stick with me for life. 


Aside from the academic side to university, there are plenty of important lessons to learn outside of lectures and seminars. So here’s what university really taught me and what I wish I knew before starting:


Use your time wisely. And by that, nothing is waiting around for you. At university, you have a lot of time on your hands when you’re not in lectures, seminars or working. Use that spare time productively. I spent a lot of time in my first year blogging and making videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, I slowed down in second year and lost motivation in third year. I regret not believing in myself more and sticking to it. I really recommend using your spare time productively by taking up a new skill, hobby, or searching for internships and grad schemes. 


Do something you’re passionate about. University is a lot more fun when you’re passionate about the subject you’re studying. I wrote essays on feminism, did presentations on the fashion industry and put together video packages which I had a lot of fun doing. I really enjoyed the work and the skills I was learning with it. There were a few late and stressful nights but I wouldn’t change a thing because I was still doing something I loved. I've spoken to my friends and other people about it who all agreed that you should be studying something you're passionate about and interested in. It will be a greater experience and you'll enjoy it more.


Make the most out of the University services. There are so many services that universities offer these days and I'm pretty sure, you're not even aware of half of them. I struggled a lot when I moved back home for lockdown and my anxiety was at an all time high. My lecturer recommended that I reach out to the wellbeing team to get some additional support. To be honest, I don't know if I would have finished university without the support and weekly session from a councillor. Most universities also offer academic support with essays or career support. We pay a lot of money attending university so we may as well take advantage of what it offers.


Neon light against flower wall

(Money management) How to have fun on a low budget. Regardless of whether you have the maximum grant or the lowest grant, we all struggle with our money at some point. In your first year, you make bad money decisions and by final year, you’ve decided to go vegan because it’s cheaper and save all your money instead. Social life is a big part of university. Clubbing at uni has never been my scene but I still went out for lunches, dinners, day trips and everywhere else with my friends. This all adds up. However, by the end of the whole experience you've learnt how to have fun on a low budget.


It's not a race but it's not a marathon either. Your grades are not everything at univeristy. Sure, they're important because you need to pass to move up a year and you want a good degree classification. But, they're not the be all and end all. Lecturers are looking for how you engage with the content. My highest scoring essays were down to referencing different scholars and sharing ideas and theories. You're not in a race with anyone because you're not competing with them. Getting a degree is something you do for yourself and a personal journey. 


Good luck! And if you've already been, what did you learn at university?


Love, Aoife xo 

Girl reading The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

The last few months have not been easy. Being in lockdown has been a challenge for us all but for some of us, it has been an even bigger battle. One thing that came out of my recent therapy sessions is that I need to be kinder to myself. I need to learn how to be confident in myself and not see my weaknesses as completely detrimental. 

    Since then, I've been on a little journey of self-confidence in learning how to identify unhealthy behaviours and make them healthier. I think we all need to not just be kinder to ourselves, but learn how to  instead. We can be kinder to ourselves by treating ourselves to a bar of chocolate or a new Dior bag. However, that's only short term. By 'learning', we can create long term healthy habits. Here are four tips that can help boost self-confidence:


Be proud of what you’ve achieved- How often do you stop and reflect on what you’ve achieved? I can’t remember the last time I did that and that’s an issue. We continue to achieve every single day and that should be recognised. I don’t think about what I have overcome or really acknowledge all the amazing things I’ve done in the past three months. And they’re a pretty big deal. I just graduated with first class honours, woah! As humans, we tend to have the habit of chasing one thing after another, never really feeling fulfilled at what we’ve already done. When you have a moment, think about everything you have done in the past week, month or even year. The most important thing is that you can smile about it and think, I did that.


Don’t put too much pressure on yourself- Do you know what’s human? Making mistakes. No one is that perfect and if they are, they’re lying. In order to be kind to ourselves, we have to allow room for errors. We’re going to get things wrong from time to time and that’s how we learn and overcome it. By putting so much pressure on ourselves, we’re missing the opportunity to learn and grow from experiences. And Rome wasn’t built in a day. Things take time and they’ll take as long as they need to.


Rupi Kaur The Sun and Her Flowers


Accepting you don’t have complete control over everything that happens- Anxiety often stems from a lack of control. In situations where we’re not in control, we often feel anxious. I get waves of anxiety that tend to last a few weeks to a few months. I guess it never really goes away but I’ve learnt how best to manage it, if you will. One thing I always get told is to focus on what I can and am able to control. This can be quite difficult in some situations especially where we feel helpless. Take the coronavirus, we can’t control that or being in lockdown but we can control how we choose to act and use our time now that we’re at home more often than not. We can control some things and we can’t with others. Finding a balance is really helpful and focusing on what we can control.


Treat yourself- I’ll admit that use those two words a lot normally. I only realised the impact of not treating yourself when I starved myself of that. Pre-lockdown,  I’d treat myself by going shopping or buying artisan doughnuts (so so good). But since we went into lockdown and I was struggling with everything including really bad acne, I stopped. I stopped feeling worthy of myself and stopped being kind to myself. One way you can treat yourself Covid friendly is to buy flowers. Flowers can make all the difference by brightening up the space and making the room feel happier. My Nan said to buy flowers for someone when they’re sad and that’s a good lesson to remember. So, whether it’s your favourite doughnut, flowers or something pink (my happy colour), remember to treat yourself and do things that make you smile. 


Love, Aoife xo