Tag / Opera Lane

Collaborations Mamahood Places Style

Winter Brunch

What a year it has been… not just for us but for lots of people around us. We will both look back on this year and wonder how the hell we did it! It’s time to take a breather over the Christmas break and look forward to an exciting new year ahead where there is a lot more change to come for us both.

This year we found our feet with Dreaming Always. It took us a while to define ourselves and to figure out the direction we wanted to go with our features and events.  We are surrounded by the most inspiring group of women who support us and encourage us in the most incredible way. We have created a little community of women who look out for each other, who celebrate each other’s wins as if they are their own, who keep each other motivated when the going gets tough and who have created opportunities for each other and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve.

A few weekends ago we had our last Meet-Up of 2017. It was our third event that we have done in collaboration with our friends Julie and Natasha from Opera Lane. It was a beautiful morning… it almost felt like the first real winter’s morning we have had in Cork. The sun shone brightly but the cold was certainly there and as our guests arrived into the newly opened Dockland Restaurant, you could see that everyone had taken the cold weather opportunity to take out their faux fur and chunky knits.

Everyone seemed to get the festive memo and it almost felt like the first Christmas party of the season… even though it was only 10.30am – perhaps the mimosas had something to do with that!

 

Everyone tucked into a delicious brunch while Natasha, the Personal Stylist for Opera Lane, shared some festive looks she had styled from Opera Lane stores. Natasha offers a free personal shopping/styling service at Opera Lane and seriously as soon as you finish reading this, go and immediately book this service. We have both had personal styling sessions with Natasha in the past and loved them!

We have mentioned before that we started hosting our Meet-Ups as we wanted to bring an element of self-care to our events. Women taking time out of their busy lifestyles for themselves. It was such a treat to take a couple of hours out on a Saturday morning to enjoy the company of some amazing women, eat delicious food and soak up all the style advice. At the event, Leona spoke briefly about how we are huge advocates for self-care and how sometimes women are guilty of putting themselves last on the list. We believe it’s so important to take some guilt-free time out for you even if it is a quiet coffee on your own, a nice massage or meeting up with some friends for brunch. This is not ground-breaking information but we know that we are better mothers, partners, friends, daughters when we invest quality time in ourselves. The problem is that life, jobs, kids all get in the way and make it harder to prioritise ourselves over everyone else. The practice of self-care has almost become a skill and it is a skill we are determined to improve in 2018.

We harp on about our love-hate relationship with social media a lot. Depending on our moods it can really lift us or really annoy us. Social media has been the catalyst for these Meet-Ups we host but you just cannot beat meeting and connecting with people in the real-world. We truly believe that nothing beats human contact and the emotional connections you make with people when you can look them in the eye and listen to their story. We always joke that our meetups can sometimes be like a giant blind date with people coming for the first time and essentially meeting a room full of strangers. At the same time there is a comfort there and you know you are going to be ok because you’ve already bonded over Instagram.

Our Meet-Ups have really taken off this year. It has kind of surprised us a bit, to be honest, but the connections we have made and feedback we have gotten has blown us away and really has spurned on to do a lot more of them in 2018.

It seems we have found a sweet spot with these meetups – they allow people to network in a casual way, everyone is welcome and there will ALWAYS be an element of self-care to them.

We are so excited for 2018. We have big plans. We were supposed to launch our own brand of products in 2017 but we just didn’t get a chance so 2018 is hopefully our year. We want to meet more amazing women and work with more brands that we love.

We really just want to keep doing what we love and we hope to meet you along the way,

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you,

Thank you for being here,

Love,

L&Nx

Images by Gillian Horgan

Venue | Dockland

 

 

 

 

Collaborations Style

Enough

Home for the Summer

You are some kind of wonderful.

So many of us are driving ourselves crazy each and every day and we don’t even really know it. Striving for perfection. The perfect job. The perfect home. The perfect figure. The perfect child. The perfect family. The perfect life. Those perfect people that we follow every day on social media. Yes, you know them – the ones that just seem to constantly have their sh** together. The ones that never have a bad day. The ones who make life look so easy… so effortless… so candid… so happy… and there you are wondering if you can even get out of bed to face the day. It is 7am. Your toddler is jumping up and down on the bed and keeps hitting you accidentally in the head. Your thumb is obsessively scrolling, scrolling, scrolling… watching these people who have feeds filled with perfection. There is always perfectly fresh, perfectly crumpled bed linen and morning walks to the organic farmer’s markets completed before you have even managed to dish out the cold lumpy porridge. There is always new shoes and clean kids in beautiful organic brands featured. There is always healthy snacks for the kids that eat everything. There is always glowing skin, big bright smiles and perfectly manicured nails and lots of perky bottoms. There is always “perfection.” Some days you just love seeing these beautiful images and inspirational captions. There are days when our own minds can drive us mad wondering how other people just seem to have it all. Nobody is as perfect as their Instagram feed makes them look. Nobody.

dreaming alwaysLeona and Nessaleona and nessadreaming always leonadreaming always homeLeona and NessaLeona and Nessa

Not everyone is posting the perfect images to make us feel crap. Sometimes the perfectly thought-out, curated and styled images are posted to make people feel better… to allow them to escape. Capturing these moments takes us away from the everyday norm to a place where we can hide from floors covered in spaghetti bolognese and bed sheets encrusted with dried baby formula. More often that not there is a very frazzled, very un-glamorous woman standing behind that iPhone lens.

Be who you are unapologetically. You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

Dreaming…

L&Nx

Images by Anna Groniecka

Nessa – Dress (ON SALE – here) | Shirt (here & similar here) | Trainers

Leona: Dress (Similar – here) | Jacket (Similar – here) | Trainers

 

Places Style

Hot Pink

Dreaming Always Cork

When we ask our family and friends if they could look after the kids/cannot make a play-date because we have a “style shoot for the website” planned, we are convinced they picture us being very glamorous surrounded by hair and makeup artists in a fancy hotel suite sipping champagne. We would like to tell you that we always leave the house in our perfect not-baby-food-stained #samebutdifferent outfits but we would be telling you a lie. A massive lie.

Dreaming Always Leona Dreaming AlwaysLeona and Nessa Style Style Details

We don’t generally enjoy loitering around random walls dressed similarly but on this occasion we met with our photographer, Anna, and we had our fair share of fun posing in hot pink.

But let us set the scene for you…

On a wet and rainy Sunday morning, we both rushed late as usual to meet each other at the only hair salon that we could find opened on a Sunday. Yes, we were both planning on having blow-dries done for this very, erm, natural shoot. After being refused a blow-dry for wearing hair extensions, one of us had to dash to boots to panic-buy dry shampoo because who goes to the hair salon with fresh, non-greasy hair?! We then proceeded to change into our bit of hot pink in the glamorous surroundings of the shopping centre bathrooms. Mortified, we sped through said shopping centre looking like we were handing out flyers for a marketing promotion in matching outfits and hopped in to our cars to go and meet our photographer. In between shots, sitting in our cars side by side to avoid being completely drenched with our windscreen wipers on full, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of the situation… but then we laughed and laughed and laughed.

Always DreamingOur Dreaming Always Style

Why the hell do we do this? For those laughs. For the time out from being just our kid’s mamas. For the few hours of escapism. For the love of dreaming.

The two not-so-very-natural-style-bloggers,

L&Nx

These outfits are one of the looks we chose during a personal styling session with our friend and stylist Natasha Crowley at Opera Lane in Cork. See all the details about the service here.

Nessa: Skirt | Jacket | Tee | Shoes

Leona: Trousers | Jacket | Similar Tee | Shoes

 

Images by Anna Groniecka

Shot at Goldbergs Cork

Collaborations Mamahood

Supporting Each Other

Mamas

Everything that you can imagine is real…

Every now and then we have to stop and think about what made us want to create this little love of ours – Dreaming Always – and sometimes we find ourselves questioning why we do what we do. From time to time, we also question if it’s all even worth our time and head-space and then a little bit of magic happens and we remember why it all started – for like-minded mamas which inspire us to come together and make us remember why it is that we do exactly what we love to do.

Cork Mama Meet UpMama Meet Up CorkDreaming Always Cork

Our most recent Mama Meet-Up was an evening affair which involved no little people and prosecco and it was our second collaboration with Opera Lane – a gorgeous shopping destination in our home city of Cork. We chose The Montenotte Hotel again for this event and hosted the meet up in the stunning Presidential Suite which is perfect for an intimate gathering and has the most amazing views of the city. Similarly to our last meet-up, our friend Natasha, Opera Lane’s personal stylist, presented some gorgeous summer evening outfits to our guests. We both love hanging around Opera Lane browsing some of our favourite stores like H&M, Topshop & Office and plan on booking Natasha for a (free) personal shopping trip over the summer. We were thrilled to be working with them once again.

Mama Meet UpEvent in CorkIrish Meet UpView from Montenotte HotelOpera Lane Stylist

We are currently planning some more Mama Meet-Ups in both Ireland & Dubai. Nessa is planning on hosting some in Dubai once the weather cools down and everyone returns to the desert after their summers back home. In other news, we are so excited to be back together for almost two months in Ireland very soon. We find it hard to do our events without each other but it is just so incredible being surrounded by so many interesting women at each one that we always end up inspired and motivated to plan some more! Our dream is to have much more regular Mama Meet-Ups where we meet more and more gorgeous mamas and we are constantly thinking about venues that suit our style and brands that just get us. Our Mama Meet-Ups are usually casual and relaxed affairs… but we do welcome high heels and sometimes our kids!

Dreaming AlwaysLeona O'Sullivan BreenOpera Lane DetailsDreaming AlwaysEvent DetailsDreaming Always Mamas

Day after day we are reminded that neither life nor motherhood is plain sailing and after each Mama Meet-Up, we are genuinely so chuffed and flattered that people actually show up and even more so that our favourite mamas come to support us and each other. With fabulous people like Natasha and Julie from Opera Lane added to the mix, we are reminded that everything that you can imagine is real.

So thank you. Thank you for being a support to us and for being a support to each other.

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams,

L&Nx