28 August 2015

Day Tripping Around Trim Castle


As a child my family's annual summer holidays were always spent in Galway city. My mum would take me and my brothers and sisters to stay with her sister - my aunt - to this lovely seaside city in the west of Ireland for one week every summer without fail. Galway had it all to miniature me - Leisureland, slot machines, McDonalds and the beach. And I remember those summers with sepia-toned fondness. But aside from other occasional day trips closer to home I didn't explore Ireland that much as a kid. And as soon as I became an adult holidays became synonymous with catching a flight somewhere warmer and more exotic than Ireland.

However, after living in the UK for the last 5 years and only getting to breeze through Ireland on rushed trips home to see family and friends Ireland seems very exotic to me now. Added to that my interests have expanded beyond theme parks, fast food and building sand castles! So since moving home exploring more of Ireland has been high on the agenda.


I'd heard of Trim Castle but thought it was just a small humdrum castle until I read a really great post on it on the fantastic travel blog The Art of Exploring. So one Sunday afternoon a few weekends ago when I randomly found myself in County Meath for an afternoon I decided to pop along to see it.

It’s an Anglo-Norman castle dating from the twelfth century (the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland no less) plus it featured in Braveheart - had I known this before it may have convinced me of its superiority in the castle rankings. I think what makes it all the more impressive is its setting on the outskirts of the lovely and unassuming little town of Trim – with more hanging flower baskets than you can shake a stick at! Call me silly but I half expect castles and their hometowns to be matched in size and grandeur. But it's hard to imagine the cute pint-sized town of Trim ever having been home to the fierce battles this castle no doubt attracted.


This is shamefully one of the first castles I've explored in Ireland but I'm currently spending a week travelling around the south of Ireland with my husband and baby and am happy to report that I've already added several more castles to the list.

So if you find yourself in the vicinity of County Meath then make sure to stop off at Trim Castle and feast your eyes upon this lovely castle and accompanying town.


17 August 2015

Dublin Street Art


One of my favourite things about Dublin is the splashes of street art that are peppered around every second corner - from whole buildings covered in crazy feats of someone's imagination to the shop shutters that only reveal their art when they're rolled down after closing time. It gives cartoonish flourishes to corners of the city and puts a smile on my face whenever I spot them. Edinburgh (my home for two years) had only a small smattering of street art by comparison and there was a kind of  reserve surrounding its beautiful and very well-preserved architecture. Dublin on the other hand is a little rugged with its fair share of lovely but crumbling buildings which are revived by these colourful additions.

These are just some of the examples I've managed to take snaps of so far but I so often don't have my camera with me or else am out with my little boy Hugh so just get to admire these pieces of art in passing. So the goal is to discover and photograph more of them. And in Dublin that should keep me pretty busy for a while.

13 July 2015

The Headed Mannequin

So I know people haven't exactly been waiting with baited breath or anything but given that my blog is becoming more lifestyle focused I thought I may as well start showing my mug around these parts occasionally. Making the name The Headless Mannequin a bit of a misnomer - but I'll still be throwing in plenty of headless pics too so it should be alright :)

I've never really addressed my wish to remain anoynmous on the blog before. When I started out I was mainly posting outfit posts - meaning a whole lot of pictures of me - and I knew I'd drive myself mad criticising every shot with my face in it and thinking my grin was too goofy, my nose not straight enough or whatever - and ultimately take the fun out of the whole thing. So it just seemed easier to focus on the clothes. And while I still plan on featuring what I've worn the blog has definitely taken a more lifestyle focus so it seems like I'm omitting an important ingredient by keeping a certain distance.

So here's a quick snap of me in all my 5-month pregnant glory (hence the gaping coat) on one of my last strolls around Edinburgh in late January. There I go - already criticising the very first photo I upload of myself! I probably won't be popping up in every second picture going forward and photobombing the hell out of this blog but I do hope to be a little more present - and a little less critical.

Phew - glad we got that out of the way! After 4 years of blogging and keeping such a profile it's been kinda nerve wrecking stepping out from the shadows.

7 July 2015

Happy Four Years (of Erratic) Blogging To Me

This blog turned four years of age this week. That's four whole years of me uploading snippets of my outfits, daily life and other odds and ends of interests on an admittedly erratic basis. My life has undergone some major changes during this time - I've gotten married, changed career, done a masters, lived in 5 different cities in total and had a baby. Crikey! And I've captured all of these events to some extent on this blog - with each blog post pressing the pause button and encouraging me to look at things from a slightly different angle.

So as per tradition I wanted to reflect on the highlights of the year gone by - not all of which have made it onto the blog as it's been a pretty busy year.

Personal Highlights

There's no competition for the number one highlight of the past 12 months - or even the last 32 years - having my baby boy Hugh was the most amazing experience ever. To be honest I was a ball of nerves as well as excitement during the pregnancy - I sometimes viewed other mothers as saint-like creatures whose perfection and devotion I worried I'd fail to match. I was constantly measuring myself against this invisible yardstick and was terrified I'd come up short. But now that I'm one of those mothers I realise that most of them were probably just as nervous as me and were winging it in the beginning. You have to fake it till you make it! So there are bad days where I don't make it out of my pjs and Hugh bawls the house down for half of the day but I try and remind myself that they're just par for the course. But there are so many lovely moments when he smiles up at me and that one smile alone is enough to make it a good day.


The other major change this year was moving home to Ireland after 5 years living in the UK. Most of this time was spent in Scotland which I really liked but I did get unbearably homesick a lot. I missed my friends and family and the ease and familiarity of being around people and places you know so well. And I really missed Dublin. There's a real buzz and friendliness to this city and even though parts of it are a little crumpled and rough around the edges it's still pretty handsome. I was 6 months pregnant when we moved home so I was too stressed to fully appreciate the move but now that things have settled and Hugh is here I find myself overcome with waves of happiness every so often that I'm no longer having to commute between two lives.

Outfit Highlights

It's been a very quiet year outfit wise. I didn't really ever get a handle on pregnancy style - largely because just as my bump started showing I finished work and we were moving so I couldn't really justify buying new clothes. And now just as I'm able to fit into my old clothes and consider buying new ones all I want to wear is comfy things that I won't be too upset about Hugh potentially puking on - ah the glamour of motherhood!

Foreign Highlights








Last year was like one long babymoon as I went on quite a few holidays. I had just been made full time at work and knowing we wanted to start a family soon we indulged a little. In order from above were trips to Budapest, Romania, Iceland and Prague. Aside from Iceland they were all very wallet-friendly destinations and all very different too - Budapest had such beautiful architecture and an amazing nightlife, Romania had gorgeous countryside and more Dracula kitsch than you could shake a stick at, Iceland was like a jaw-dropping geography field trip and Prague was like stepping into a pastel-coloured fairytale. I'm hoping to still do short posts on some of these destinations as I kept notes on favourite spots and sights so hopefully I'll get around to them.

Scottish Highlights




Ah Scotland! We had some great times. I got to call all three of your cities my home at different points and you served up so many amazing castles to explore it would have taken a life time. And Edinburgh - my final stop - was such a cool city. Now that we're into the summer months and Edinburgh is in full festival mode I miss it especially - the city pulsates with creative energy at this time of the year. I'm going back to the north of Scotland in a few weeks though for a friend's wedding and really looking forward to revisiting it and seeing it through the eyes of a tourist this time round.

The Best of the Rest

In my downtime (back when I had some!!) I read, baked and crocheted quite a bit this year. I had pretty bad pregnancy insomnia in the later months so these activities were perfect for when I was dead-eyed at 4am/5am and needing something to pass the hours.


And that's a wrap on year four of blogging. I feel like I've moved further away from style into lifestyle blogging the past while and for that reason my sporadic posting makes for a pretty jumpy narrative. But as always I hope the next year will see me blogging more frequently. And ironically now that I have a baby and far less time I feel like I might actually be a little more organised because of it!

PS: If you care to read previous blog birthday recaps you can find them here, here and here.