A FASHION blogger who has discussed everything from her favourite wardrobe staples to the difficulties she faces as a young woman in today’s new world, has amassed almost 20,000 followers.
Niamh Webb O’Rourke, from Kilmallock, began writing her blog, Love Life, in the summer of 2013, having just finished her Leaving Certificate.
Instead of going straight into a full-time college course, the 18-year-old decided to take a year out to explore all the options open to her – to try out new things and tease out which direction she wants to follow in terms of her career.
“It’s been a learning curve. I started off trying to post every day but I found a way that suits me. I post two or three times a week and it’s really in-depth content - a lot of effort goes into each post rather than just trying to get up a post,” said Niamh.
The 20-year-old works part-time in Schuh in the Crescent Shopping Centre. She has graduated from Limerick Senior College in fashion buying and merchandising and is studying at London School of Styling.
Through her Love Life blog - the name was inspired by the Live Life motto of the late Donal Walsh from Kerry whose story affected her deeply – Niamh provides up-to-date information on the latest beauty must-haves.
The blog also provides tips on how to make the most of your features and get the best out of your beauty regime.
In terms of fashion, Niamh keeps her finger on the pulse and provides regular posts on the hottest new looks around. She also gives advice on dressing for your shape, and features snappy interviews with people in the fashion and beauty industry.
While much of her updates relate to fashion and style tips, her latest blog – which was posted this Tuesday night – was a new departure for Niamh. She opened up about a struggle many young people face – coping with anxiety.
“It’s a topic that not an awful lot of people discuss,” explained Niamh, who recently returned from London Fashion Week.
“I think a lot of people forget that a picture says a thousand words but you can put on a smile and mightn’t be feeling it,” said Niamh, who also has 11k followers on the photosharing site Instagram.
“You feel judgement. Obviously I have put myself out there to be judged – I completely expect it but I see it with my own group of friends – we all have worries but when you put yourself out there everything is kind of doubled up. You are more under the microscope.”
While Niamh has always been a bright and bubbly girl she has felt that over the last two years, she has become more insecure, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings.
“I suppose it’s since I have been thrown out of my comfort zone. I took a different path after school – I didn’t go straight into third-level education. Even two years ago it was almost never heard of that you wouldn’t go straight to college.
“I remember mentioning it in school and it was a shock to a lot of people. It was a shock to my own parents but they were so understanding about it and supportive.
“You don’t have the comfort of getting up, going to lectures. I was thrown automatically into the deep end. You fend for yourself – and I suppose not being 100% prepared for that triggered an awful lot of it,” she explained.
Niamh is hoping that by opening up about her anxiety she will – even if it’s only in a small way – help other young people who are experiencing similar difficulties.
“If I’m sitting at home with my parents and family, I have no problem. If I’m with my group of friends I have no issue at all – it’s when I’m in an area I’m not comfortable or familiar with - you feel trapped and there is no exit.”
On her blog post she stated that “nowadays, [when she is not working] 99% of the time you will find me sitting in my bedroom on my laptop or just sitting there staring into space.
“I do try not to put myself into situations but I have to say I have some amazing friends who will pull me out and they know if I’m uneasy to get me out of the situation.”
“There is a wall and you build it up. No matter what you are going through, whether it is a mental health problem or just a rough patch in your life just remember there is always someone to turn to, and always someone willing to help. Breaking off the first piece of that wall you have built up is the hardest, but just keep knocking at it and the rest will fall down in one swoop. Your health really is your wealth!” she said on her blog.