Tag / Zara

Mamahood Places Style

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Family Holiday

It was probably a good thing that I waited a few weeks since we got back from Sri Lanka before I wrote this post. I arrived back to Dubai from our week away exhausted and vowing I would never travel again! Yes I know…totally dramatic…. but I was a bit shook. Our journey to the airport involved a crash on the Sri Lankan highway that left us stranded at 6am at the side of the road with our toddler and no idea how we would get to the airport in time for our flight home. I have always said I would travel as much as I can with Emie-Rose but I have to say our trip to Sri Lanka made me a little more wary of the situations you can find yourself in when travelling. Whilst it is amazing to explore new places and to mix with different cultures, it can also be a little daunting to be away from home comforts, especially with kids. It’s nice to know where the nearest hospital is should you need it and it is comforting to know that you can ask someone for a bit of help and that they will understand you should you require it. Becoming a parent has made me very sensible. I have had my share of bad luck with travelling in the past and as a result I can be quite anxious. After calming down and almost forgetting about the lack of relaxation we had for the week there, I can say that I am really happy that we did experience the beauty of Sri Lanka.

Holiday in Sri LankaSri Lankan HotelTravels to Sri LankaSri Lanka BeachSri LankaArabella BreakfastBeach in GintotaGintota BeachSri Lanka InteriorsFather Daughter Sri LankaFort Printers Sri LankaSri Lanka Family Travel

Most people travel the length and breadth of Sri Lanka… we stayed around one tiny area of the country. We travelled for about 2 and a half hours down south once we landed into Colombo Airport. Our gorgeous hotel, Arabella on Boosa, was in Gintota which was about 15 minutes in the local transportation choice – a tuk tuk – from the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Galle Fort. We spent two days pottering around this pretty little town where the streets are lined with colonial villas and hotels. The weather was really bad when we were there – major rain showers – so we spent a lot of time ducking into boutiques and coffee shops. Everywhere in Galle Fort is really gorgeous. I was seriously impressed. We visited the most beautiful boutique hotel here – an 18th century mansion called The Fort Printers. In my pre-Emie-Rose life, it is where I would have dreamed of staying! We stayed for 6 nights in a beach-front hotel called Arabella on Boosa, which was incredibly Instagram-perfect – monochrome with splashes of green everywhere. We stayed in two different rooms – a garden view room and the suite. Obviously the suite was so much better with a toddler as we had way more space and it also had a couch so it meant we could actually chill out in privacy there during the witching hour/when the toddler tantrums reached a peak. The decor was just gorgeous and the staff were really friendly. The food at our hotel was so good – everything was so fresh and so tasty! I loved the Sri Lankan food in general. It is worth visiting for the food alone! There is such a relaxing boho vibe going on there… signs for yoga classes and small boutique guest houses and hotels with ‘secret gardens’ everywhere.

Hotel in Sri LankaWijaya BeachMelissa Odabash Mel Dress

We visited another gorgeous stretch of beach recommended by our hotel – Wijaya Beach in Dalawella for some wood oven pizzas on the beach. We really got to relax for a few hours here as the water was less choppy than by our own hotel. The beaches in Sri Lanka are beautiful but from what we experienced the water is pretty rough and dangerous, particularly for kids. It is also worth noting that everyone gets around Sri Lanka in tuk tuks – teeny little vans with no seat belts so if like me you are terrified of travelling with your child not in a car seat then it is probably worth renting your own car and bringing your own car seat. The roads are crazy there. Our hotel offered a car seat in their transfer van from the airport which was just so handy. These little things make travelling with kids that bit easier.

I didn’t really know what to pack to wear in Sri Lanka as I was told it would be really sticky and humid. Whilst it was definitely warm, we were totally not prepared for the rain we had there. I packed lots of light and airy maxi dresses which worked well there. It’s definitely not a place for high heels so make sure to bring lots of flats. I was totally chuffed to collaborate with Melissa Odabash for my trip to Sri Lanka and I was so happy to wear one of their new Apres Beach dresses, which you can see here. I loved the long sleeves and the best thing is it didn’t need to be ironed which is amazing when travelling. We haven’t done a giveaway on Dreaming Always yet but we will be doing a giveaway for one of these gorgeous Melissa Odabash dresses – their off the shoulder Faith dress which you can see here – over on our Instagram over the weekend.

Will I be travelling with my 2 year old again soon? I am already planning our next trip… in my head for now.

What are your experiences of travelling with kids? Have you been to Sri Lanka?

It is good to be back posting on here,

Nessa x

Where we stayed: Arabella on Boosa

Who we flew with: Emirates

What I wore: Dresses from Zara & Melissa Odabash





Social Good

Style with Interiosity

Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart and nourish your soul…

As some of you might have seen on our Instagram recently, Leona went Stateside to Austin for the Spredfast Social Summit. This social media conference brings together over seven hundred social media leaders from every industry. It was a crazy cool experience for her hanging out with her fave person, Michelle Obama… well, admiring her from afar… in a room full of people… but AMAZING all the same.

A few days after she came home she did a video chat on our Instagram Stories that proved really popular with you guys about what she learned about the future of social media. One thing that really stood out to us and affected us was that there is going to be a huge move towards the idea of social good. Companies have a responsibility to take positive stands on the mega powerful tool that we know as social media. Basically brands and “influencers” are going to be swayed to focus more on how they can be a force for good. Rather than simply pushing your brand’s product or agenda, how can you positively impact someone’s life through your social media channels? Michelle told the Summit that, “real, good leaders operate from a place of truth.” We really couldn’t agree more Michelle. Social media seems to be flooded with insincerity and a lack of truth these days. She also told people not to be afraid of their unique voice. Don’t use it in a way that hurts or puts people down but find a way to have a voice. There are certain people on social media that we adore. We check their accounts every single day. They don’t all have big followings and they aren’t all extremely stylish individuals with great lives. They are the ones that speak passionately about a cause that is close to their heart, the ones that are not afraid to have an opinion, the ones that just make us want to do more and the ones that have more to offer than constantly unwrapping designer purchases. The ones that actually positively impact people’s lives through their social media channels.

Winter StyleLeona and NessaLeona Dreaming AlwaysDA Style Interiosity CorkStyle Nessa HurleyStyle by Dreaming Always

Speaking of being honest… we have to say it again that we always feel really ridiculous doing style posts. They just don’t come naturally to us AT ALL! We have definitely said before though that we do like to do them as a total escape from our everyday lives, especially with our pal Brid who just makes us laugh the whole way through. We won’t win any modelling contracts any time soon but if you like anything about the looks, you can find some of the items of similar versions below.

Who do you really admire on social media? Send some good people our way!


Leona – Jeans | Tee | Shoes | Coat

Nessa – Skirt | Similar Jacket | Similar Boots | Similar Top


Images by Brid O’Donovan

Mamahood Places


Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.

I got pretty mixed reactions from people when I told them quite suddenly that we were moving to Dubai. Looking back I definitely got way more shocked and perplexed expressions than anything else. A few people said I was really brave, others said I was inspiring. I just thought it would be a new adventure for us as a trio. I don’t think I really ever let myself think too hard about the move. In the end it all happened really quickly and we found ourselves landing into Dubai Airport with our little girl homeless. I will never forget the stress of the last two weeks before we left Ireland. It was absolute chaos. Emie-Rose had just started walking. She was constantly hurting herself – falling, walking into walls, hitting her head off tables, falling down stairs – and she needed a crazy amount of attention. We left our packing too late. We had to organise so many things. In the midst of packing our house up and running after a hyperactive baby who had just found her feet, I dropped a glass container on my foot in the most awkward place possible and I was told I would have to keep my foot elevated for two weeks. Four days before we were due to fly to Dubai. Everything was just so chaotic and it hasn’t stopped being chaotic since we got here. Nobody said it was going to be easy but I never expected it to be this hard.

Dubai 1

I started working two weeks after we arrived. I have never felt so nervous starting a job. I was terrified. I was worried about working in a new market that I wasn’t familiar with. I was traumatised at the thought of leaving Emie-Rose all day. I was lucky enough to work my own hours in Ireland since she was born. I was totally in control of how I managed my day and how much time we spent together. You definitely don’t appreciate what you have until you face a new challenge. So many women all over the world have been through it but you always feel like you are the only person going through your own issues. Whilst I didn’t feel homesick, I felt lonely. I felt like no-one could possibly understand how I was feeling. I had a fair few of those awkward teary-eyed moments in public when you know people can see that you are randomly about to burst out crying and you pretend you have something in your eye. People have been so kind. When you’re feeling vulnerable, people being kind can make you even more emotional. We are so lucky to be staying with family whilst we find our feet and organize everything out here in the desert. We have been living out of suitcases for the last five weeks and we will be doing so for many more weeks to come. Are we settled? No. Do I dream of sitting in my favourite local cafe back in Cork chatting to my girls? Yes. Do I miss the cold weather? No. I definitely miss knitwear though.

Don’t get me wrong. Our move hasn’t been a totally negative experience. First world problems and all that. We chose to make the move. We were lucky enough to be able to up and leave with no ties. We craved a new kind of adventure. There are lots of amazing places to visit here and so many new things to discover. I love the huge diversity of cultures here. I find it so interesting learning about different ways of life. My eyes have already been opened to a whole new world of possibilities. I have had so many interesting conversations with new people since I got here. People really look out for you here. Dubai is the most child-friendly place I have ever been. Saying that perhaps it’s a little too child-friendly here at times with strangers asking me if they can take a picture with my baby girl or randomly picking her up without asking me first. We wake up to sunshine. We have spent more time at the beach in the last five weeks as we have all year at home. We are together.

We haven’t put a date on when we might return home. It might be tomorrow, it might be in six months, it might be in two years or even ten years. The two most important things in life for me are family and happiness.

If we aren’t happy, we fix it. If we need to be with our family, we go to where our family is.

Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later,


Images by Claire Stafford

Dress & Sandals | Zara Kids

Playsuit & Sandals | Zara



Feeling Fancy

We both used to be very dressy people by nature. Both of us were that friend in the group who got overdressed for every occasion. Actually we kind of originally bonded over our love for really unique pieces, particularly from our favourite vintage store in Cork, Miss Daisy Blue. As we mentioned before we end up buying the same thing a lot, completely unknown to each other, and turn up wearing it at the same time. Like recently when we both picked up the matching bags in this post separately from TK Maxx and turned up for drinks over Christmas with them.

Since becoming mamas we don’t get to dress up half as much as we would like to. Dressy occasions involve major planning these days. We tend to wear the same few knits and jeans day to day. Our lack of opportunity to get dolled up doesn’t stop us from scrolling through our favourite stylish Instagram accounts where we are inspired to just buy the sequinned skirts and lace slips or whatever it may be that makes us feel fancy again.

NYE StyleStyle 2016Dreaming Always 2016 Leona and Nessa DreamersMama Style

There is always an opportunity to pull out something that makes you feel fancy and if that opportunity is just meeting friends for lunch, coffee or drinks, we say go for it, be the overdressed one in the group.

Go play dress up,


Leona – Skirt Jacket & Shoes

Nessa – Jacket & Shoes & Dress – Zara – (Similar here)

Images by Sarah Blake










Looking Back

Dreaming Always with Sarah BlakeDreaming Always with Sarah BlakeDreaming Always Nessa HurleyBugaboo Dreaming AlwaysDreaming Always Cork Sarah BlakeDreaming Always Mamas and Papas

If only we knew then what we know now…

Whilst we were pregnant we spent our days obsessing over all the things we needed for the baby. We spent a small fortune on all of these essential matching items only to have our babies and realise that the panic to get the nursery perfect was all in vain because they don’t actually sleep there and you just live on the couch with your baby on top of you. Why didn’t we just invest in a fancy new couch?

We roar laughing when we think back to our obsession with finding the perfect buggy, changing bag and the most Instagram-worthy cot. Nessa had an obsession with finding a rose-gold buggy. Yes, she googled it and hunted a limited edition one down. Emie-Rose prefers her simple holiday stroller. Obviously she looks way cooler in her rose gold one though…

We spent our evenings online searching for the perfect grey and white wardrobes for our unborn children. Fast forward to a month after baby’s arrival and we are dashing to H&M for their super handy crossover vests – seriously they are the only things you need! – because newborns pretty much just wear vests and baby gros for at least three months and that comfort and practicality is key. No need for that mini denim jacket then?

Dreaming Always Shoot by Sarah BlakeDreaming Always Sarah Blake Photography Cork

You think you know but you have no idea…

We spent nine months preparing for our little one’s arrival and when they arrived everything went out the window. These tiny little creatures alter your life in the most unbelievable way. They come along and need you like nobody has ever needed you before. Their vulnerability is heartbreaking yet they are the strongest little people ever. The day that they are placed into your arms, they teach you. They teach you about perspective. They teach you about strength. They teach you about love. They teach you that nothing else matters – and suddenly a rose-gold buggy or an Instagram-worthy cot seem utterly meaningless.

Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.


Images by Sarah Blake

Buggies | Mamas and Papas & Bugaboo






Some Days


” In a world where everyone is over-exposed, the coolest thing is to maintain your mystery…”

Some days you peer into the screen if your iPhone, iPad or laptop and all you can see are other people’s perfect lives. Life has become about the story you sell of yourself on the Internet. Whilst we think we are connecting through social media, sometime we are actually disconnecting from our own sense of self.

Some days we are more concerned with how our lives look than how we actually feel. Some days we are too busy documenting our lives to really enjoy things. The very best things in life cannot be captured by status updates.

Social media has pretty much changed our lives. One of us works in digital marketing. We have met some of our closest friends and favourite people via social media. It has given us so much inspiration for so many aspects of our lives. We spend hours on our phones everyday. We complain about feeling stressed and anxious because we don’t have time. We don’t have time to do this and to do that but we do have time to trawl through Instagram a few times every single day. It’s actually hilarious when you think about it properly.

Both of us are obsessed with Instagram. We adore how visual it is. We love meeting the coolest people on there. Instagram for us is a modern day photo album. Yes, we put ourselves out there, we over-expose ourselves and make it too curated. We treat it like a little photo diary and want to be able to look back at the pictures we have taken of our babies and our little adventures. We are always glad to have stopped and taken a moment to photograph a special memory. We also know it feels so good to put down the phones and just be.

Nessa HurleyLeona and Nessa Knitssocial media 2H&M KnitsFriends 2Style Shoot Knits 2Grey and Peach KnitsLeona and Nessa ShoesLeonaNessa
In short, we love being online but sometimes offline is where we find the greatest peace of mind. We just need to remember that more often and disconnect. If only for a few hours…
Knits – H&M | Jeans – Zara & Stradivarius | Boots & Shoes – Zara








Similar but Different

dreaming always

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for everything. Unfortunately, we are mamas. We don’t get to sleep. So we just laugh a lot.

We have very similar taste in just about everything – clothes, interiors, food, gin, people… We often buy the same thing without knowing it but end up styling it so differently. One sleep-deprived day we got a notion to include a style section on this website. We are not fashion bloggers (Nessa might have been one in a previous life) nor are we trying to keep up with the latest trends. Our goal for these style posts is to create similar looks from two different perspectives.

We didn’t stop laughing during this shoot with Magda Lukas. We felt totally ridiculous and wondered how we thought it might be a good idea to shoot discretely next to the entrance to Blarney Castle in the middle of tourist season. We hang out at this little cafe a lot though – the old blarney post office – and thought it would be a good idea to bring our favourite places into our shoots. We are working on our nonchalance for the next one.

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Dresses | Zara

Images by Magda Lukas Photography