Today i am sitting down(virtually) with Ciara from CiaraSwalsh. I am thrilled to have Ciara feature as the first in my interview series. CiaraSwalsh is one of Ireland’s leading blogs combining both fashion and travel. She has spent a year living in Bologna in Italy during Erasmus and i reckon this travelling fashionista has lots more bright things on her horizon…..
Q1- Tell us about your blog and the inspiration behind CiaraSwalsh?
For as long as I could remember I loved looking at fashion magazines, I watched all shows to do with fashion. I was obsessed. I always wanted to create a fashion magazine of my own but then I heard about blogging and I knew I had to start. With regards Travel, I’ve always loved it. My boyfriend is Italian and I spent a lot of time in Rome before my Erasmus experience. That year I realised how amazing other cultures can be and that’s when my travel bug began. Since then I’ve took advantage of my Erasmus experience to see Italy. Now I plan to see everywhere!
Q2– You set up your blog in May 2015, what would be your advice for anyone aspiring to be a blogger?
My advice would to just go for it. Put all the thoughts of “people will laugh at me” out of your head and do what you love to do! It took me a year to pick up the courage to start CiaraSwalsh. Since starting it my life has changed for the better! Just make sure you are prepared to start one, know what you are going to write about, have the image of your Blog already created in your head and go for it!
Q3- What is your favourite travel destinations and why?
Out of all my travel my favourite so far is the Isle of Capri, I have never seen any place so beautiful in all my life! But I also loved Budapest so much, such a magical city full of beautiful culture and architecture! And of course Rome! My boyfriend would kill me if I didn’t mention it ahaha (but I actually do LOOOVE Rome)
Q4- Where are you currently and what is your favourite thing to do/see in that area?
I am currently in Galway, Ireland. My favourite thing to do here would be to hang out at Spanish Arch on a Sunny day or take a drive out to Connemara!
Q5- What are your must have fashion and beauty picks for any trip?
Fashion-A good pair of denim shorts that you can match with tonnes of outfits
Beauty- Aftersun, I would have died without it this summer, my skin gets so dry when I sunbathe
Fashion-Durable chic ankle-boots
Beauty-Concealer, In winter my skin is a lot more tired so concealer is a must cover those blemishes and dark circles.
Q6-Tell us about your year living abroad in Italy. Would you recommend this experience to others?
Living in Italy was the most amazing year of my life and it has opened my mind about how different each and every society is. I lived in Bologna which is centre/north of Italy. I have fallen in love with this country, mainly because every city is so diverse it’s like going to a different country each time. The north and south are completely different! I have been to tonnes of Italian cities by this stage and there are still a tonne to see! If anyone ever has the opportunity to live abroad you have to jump at the chance! It was very handy living there because travel to other countries was easier, for example I went to Budapest last February and the flight was only an hour and a half!!
Q7- What is the most amazing thing you experienced in Italy throughout your time travelling there?
My most amazing experience in Italy, wow tough question.. It’s hard to answer because I’ve had so many amazing experiences! One time I got to visit to gardens of the president of Italy which are closed to the public, I climbed Mount Vesuvius (which is an active volcano!) I went on a boat trip around Capri including going under the Love Arch in Capri, which was truly magical. If I was to say outside of Italy it would have been the dinner I had along the Danube River in Budapest. The view from the small cruise was just Wow!
Q7- Did you have withdrawals upon returning back to Ireland after a year living in Italy?
Yes and I’m still going through these withdrawals to be honest, it’s not hard coming home believe me and it’s the price travellers have to pay for doing what they love. But these withdrawals aren’t too bad because I know I will return very soon!
Q9- Why in your opinion, should everyone visit Ireland?
Before I went on Erasmus I don’t think I could have answered this question. Being away from home for a whole year made me realise just how much I love my country. I was a proud Galway girl when we won Galway 2020 and the fact I could watch it all on Facebook Live made me so happy. Everyone needs to visit Ireland because our nation is one of the most open and friendly nations in the world! Our scenery’s are breathtaking and the ‘craic’ is unique to our country! I wish I wasn’t Irish so I can experience it all and fall in love with Ireland from the outside in!
Q10- What are your top travel tips?
Stock up on portable battery chargers, wear comfortable shoes; before you travel to a country make sure you know at least some of their culture norms to avoid confusion upon arrival. Make sure you travel with someone who has the same interests as you, there’s nothing worse having a conflict whilst travelling. Check out Air B&B you can find gorgeous places there which are pretty cheap! And most importantly, have fun! It’ll probably be your only time in that country so make the most of every minute.
Q11- Do you prefer to travel solo, with a partner or friends and why?
Having done all three I have to say I have to travel with a partner, who is my boyfriend and he shares the same love for travel as me. If you notice I have travelled a lot with him this year so far; perks of a long distance relationship!
Q12- How do you fund your travels along with study and keeping up with current fashion trends too?
Saving! I also find the cheapest deals; the trains can be cheap if you watch out for offers. I just planned a lot and set aside money for leisure and money for living. Also when you go on Erasmus you get a grant which helped heaps!
Q13- What destinations are on your list that you really want to visit and why?
Wow I could honestly fill up the whole page with this answer so I’ll say my top 10, Thailand, Maldives, New York, Australia, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Iceland, Japan and Russia.
Q14- What are your travel/blogging goals for the future?
For my future I can really see myself focusing a lot more on travel. My year abroad has really pushed this addiction on me and I really want to take CiaraSwalsh to amazing places, but of course I’ll always keep my fashion posts too! Can’t live without a bit of class!
Thank you so much to Ciara for being such an inspiration. Go check out her fantastic blog and her channels below. Want to see your story/interview featured here? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.