27th June 2016 by Paula Lyne
When she’s not flexing her linguistic muscles as a Spanish teacher, hosting crafting and up-cycling parties or road-running in Sligo, Tríona O’Donnell can generally be found hunting out the best of design, style and food from all over the West of Ireland for her fashion and lifestyle blog, modaFix.
We caught up with her to find out her blogging backstory, to check out her summer style must-haves… and to find out where to get the best coffee out West!
Initially, it was a friend who suggested I start a blog as I was always being asked about my outfits when out and about. At the time (3.5 years ago) I didn’t really know what a blog was and couldn’t understand why I should share my daily style, but I guess it’s something people just like to know.
Another reason I started blogging was due to the instability of teaching in the current climate. I think in a recession one has to get inventive . Your creativity is forced to shine through. modaFix is a way of expressing my personality, interests and skills. It’s my passport to exploring other avenues.
When I started, modaFix was primarily fashion-focused. I enjoyed sharing the stories behind garments. There’s always a story. However, I get really nervous and awkward having my photo taken. I sometimes think I was more stylish before I started sharing my outfits online!
These days, the blog isn’t just solely fashion, it’s evolved to more of a lifestyle blog. Of late I’ve been enjoying writing more experience-based posts, as I feel more people can relate to them: setbacks, challenges, motivational blogs, trying to get fit…
My style totally depends on my mood. I would never plan on outfit in advance. I always get ready in a last-minute frenzy as the final result will always be most true to and reflect my personal style. I’m not afraid to test the boundaries. I love to experiment with looks and I love how I can reinvent myself daily. Any time I try to pare back my wardrobe and stick to neutral tones, I find I break my own rules and I’m drawn to the more unusual, stand-out pieces that match absolutely nothing else!
I keep my hair and makeup simple, but always wear a pop of pink lipstick and my signature accessories look is layers of interesting gold pendants.
For spring showers my fedora is my go-to, and for summer there’s nothing like a fresh white garment. This jacket cost €25 in Penneys and I’m wearing it a lot.
I’d also recommend having a comfortable monochrome jumpsuit in your closet for evenings when you couldn’t be bothered shaving or tanning your legs!
I tend to wear my favourite items to death. I used to hoard so badly, but lately, I’ve been trying to convince myself that clothing serves a purpose and I’ve become better at letting go. I sell a lot of clothing on Depop now. I like the idea of passing my pieces on to people that will value them. I also like how I can still see my favourite garments displayed on my page!
I went down the academic route with my career – linguistics, interpreting and now teaching – but I always fantasise about what would have happened if I’d gone down a creative route. I attended art classes outside school for years, and I used to make my own beaded and upcycled jewellery as a teenager. Neighbours and friends would commission me to make pieces and one summer I even had a jewellery stall at Spitalfields Sunday Up Market in London.
Upcycling is a hobby I have been revisiting over the past few years and I’ve set up creative re-fashioning workshops and jewellery-making parties for kids birthday parties and hen parties. Irish Design features heavily on my blog as it’s something I value and appreciate and regularly promote.
To this day, Cuba is the most impactful place I have been. I visited ten years ago as a 21st birthday present from my (very generous!) brother. Jumping off cliffs and snorkelling in Trinidad and seeing kids play baseball on the streets of Havana were my favourites. Then after university, I spent three months travelling around South America: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, Chile. We travel to Spain every year and this year we’re renting a car to travel around the coast, but I feel like it’s been quite a while since I’ve been on a big adventure.
I always love to observe street style on my travels. I pick up ideas everywhere I go. I like to buy accessories and shoes at markets or buy clothing handmade by locals.
I’m always promoting the West so you’ve come to the right place. I love Sligo and I love my lifestyle here. We are blessed to be surrounded by such beauty and creativity! For great coffee try a flat white at Kate’s Kitchen or Shells Café.
For tapas, patatas bravas and crabmeat, Knox is where it’s at. For pub grub try Donaghy’s. Bistro Bianconi does a great pizza, or you could splash out at Montmartre. My current favourite chill-out spot is Austie’s Bar & Restaurant, in a perfect location by the sea at Rosses Point.
Well, now that I’m on my summer holidays, I’ve been looking for teaching posts, which are few and far between when you want to live by the sea in Sligo. I’ve been updating my CV and writing cover letters every day. Job-hunting can be stressful, so I’m back running the roads too. I enjoy long runs to the beach as the sea seems to wash all the blues away. I love a beach walk for time to think, with an iced vanilla latte from Shells in my hand.
Kate’s Kitchen is my other regular haunt for a flat white and I write the fashion editorial for a handful of local and regional magazines there. Some days, I meet friends or family for lunch, go for a bite to eat with my boyfriend Julian, take nice photos of Sligo and share my thoughts and musings online. Sometimes I get lost in my thoughts as I consider packing in the auld teaching to see where modaFix takes me next!
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