2015 According To My Instagram

It’s that time again where we go through the year and see the ups and downs of the last 12 months. Check out my 2014 wrap up!  2015 was a great year, lets take a look. Jan

My first trip to Iceland. Words cannot describe how amazing this trip was. I went with my father, this meant I have now travelled with every member of my family alone and it’s pretty cool. Although we have travelled together for years it’s really interesting to see each member as an individual. Iceland in snow is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. This trip sparked a complete infatuation with Iceland and I vouched that I would be back sooner rather than later.

FebI went to a Google, Irish YouTube event. This really inspired me to create more content on YouTube and my channel. I wanted to make travel videos to go along with this blog. I have watched YouTube since 2007 and love the community and love watching content.

March April MaySo something very exciting happened in March, I gained new family members which was an amazing feeling and I am so so happy I got to be a part of it. In April, we lost a member of our family. It was a hard time but am so appreciative of peoples help and kindness. We also adopted Tiffin, the Beagle pup, we started out puppy training at the DSPCA in April and most of the month was training the pup and making her new life as wonderful as possible. In May something very wonderful happened in Ireland. We became the first country to pass same sex marriage by popular vote. I was so so proud of my country, amazing day. JuneJune is my birthday month. I had planned a trip away to Croatia with a couple of friends. I actually was travelling over my birthday. Plitvice was a place that had been on the bucket list for a long long time and I built the trip around this amazing park. Croatia was beautiful but I don’t think I want to spend another birthday away from the people that love me. I loved travelling around Croatia and I will be back one day to do one epic roadtrip.


I got to use my christmas present from my sister and have a falconry experience which was so so much fun! When I got back from Croatia I decided to do something that turned out to be a bad decision. I thought I could help, I thought I could do something but it’s not up to me to make a change. It basically went how it always did but this time I was strong enough to make the decision I should have made a long long time ago. Although this was a bad month I can look back now and see the good and I can see the bad but most importantly, I can see my worth and if someone can’t see that, then they don’t deserve me.augustAn amazing thing happened in August. I won a trip to Iceland!!! I was crying I was so happy. I decided to take my wonderful friend with me and we had such a good time! We walked around the city, we went to a Kings of Leon concert, we went puffin watching, we went on the golden circle tour, we debated about veganism. It was just awesome! I am so so glad I went with her. That is now two trips we have been on in two years! Woo! sepMy third time in Iceland! This month marked something very exciting, I was ticking off two things on my bucket list. Driving in another country and travelling solo. Iceland on my own time was incredible! I couldn’t recommend it enough, no tour busses, no set times, no limits to where you can stay.  It was such a good experience. I would do it over and over again. octnovBefore I left for Iceland, my parents said when I was back I needed to get a job, that was fine and I had been looking previously. Well it turns out luck was on my side because the day after I got back from Iceland I got myself a job. It’s really interesting and I am so excited for the business to succeed. It also means I get to work in the centre of the city which is really handy and will be great when one of my friends moves back into the city.   decDecember was a lot of fun but there was also a big shock to my household. It was scary and truly showed me what to be thankful for and what not to waste energy on. With that I booked my next adventure. Thinking that money can’t give you much sitting in an account, they adventure is priceless. Christmas was lovely, I got to spend it with my family and it was so relaxing. I got lovely things and was so happy to give people I care about the gifts they had wanted. I also spoiled myself a lot this month most notably in this shop so now I have to calm down and save for more adventures.

2015 had no where near as many downs as last year and that is so nice to say. I have learnt quite a lot about myself and others and it’s invaluable. I completed 5 things off my bucket list this year which is wonderful! I cannot wait for 2016 and to see where it takes me. There are a few goals I have for 2016 so they will be coming soon!

Lastly, thank you so much for reading my blog. I just want The Start and The Bean to be a resource for like minded people. Thank you! I hope your 2016 is fantastic!

Happy Travels!

In Ireland: Makers and Brothers

Makers and Brothers

You know when you find a shop that reflects the inside of your brain, well this is mine. It’s Irish, it’s family run and the products are beautiful!

Makers and Brothers is run by Jonathan and Mark Legge. They believe in simple, beautifully designed, practical crafts and design. There is a vast array of products from kitchen implements to clothes to children’s toys.

It’s is an online retailer but they do have a pop up shop in their Shed from time to time. It is two floors of amazing things I want to buy. I love simple design and the products they sell are good quality and beautifully crafted.

Even their displays are aesthetically pretty. They have really designed every inch of this space to show their creativity to the max.

There is also a coffee shop attached to the Shed. I definitely recommend their hot chocolate. Outside is decorated with a christmas tree and lights, again something that makes you feel like they made an incredible effort to have a space that is well thought out and reflected their attention to detail.

I couldn’t recommend this place more. Definitely visit their site and fall in love with everything like I have https://makersandbrothers.com/ or visit the pop up shop, all information is on their site.

Happy Travels!

In Life: I Miss You

I have been to 22 countries and most of them I have really loved seeing and am so happy I went but there are two that make my heart ache because I am not there constantly.

I have visited these in the past two years and I miss them so much.

South Africa.jpg

I was ridiculously excited to go to South Africa because I had wanted to see animals in the wild since I was 6. I didn’t think that this country would have such an impact on me but for the past year I have thought about South Africa every single day.

I miss the landscapes, the wildlife, the ocean, the mountains, the food (I really liked the food, my family are more fancy than me) I miss PicknPay and Woolworths, I miss the oranges, I miss seeing bakkies with a braai on the back. I miss the dry heat. I miss how blue the sky and sea were, sometimes split by green mountains.

I just miss it. A tiny piece of me was left there, I will be back to get it soon.

South Africa (1)

I have been to Iceland three times this year, have I mentioned that? Maybe just a little. I have completely fallen head over heels for this island. I love everything about this country (bar the tourists) It is small enough to drive around within a week but has so much to see and do that you’ll want to stay forever!

I miss the waterfalls and the mountains, I miss the glaciers and the snow. Driving for hours and hours, finding more and more beautiful things. Seeing black sand for the first time, watching the icebergs shift and move. Hearing a glacier creek. Sitting behind a waterfall for ages looking at how amazing it is. I even miss the small amount of food I ate in my crappy van, grape Appelsín, Floridana juice, donuts in every garage, hotdogs, bacon wrapped hotdogs! I ate very well on my travels!

I miss Iceland completely, utterly, totally. I will never be done exploring this incredible country!

It’s odd to feel this way about places but it’s also really nice to know I have found places that I will go back to over and over and still love them as much as the first time I went.

Is there a place that makes you feel like this? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Travels!


In a very last minute decision I decided to go to the first ever BloggerConf event. Held in the very pretty Marker Hotel in Grand Canal Square on a very cold Sunday, bloggers gathered together to listen and engage in every aspect of the blogging world.

One thing that I thought was fantastic, was that the conference was very inclusive. It wasn’t just the big bloggers or all beauty bloggers, it was lots of different people of all ages coming together to share their stories. Although I think there was a lack of travel bloggers, to be fair I just want a room of us all together sharing stories and showing off our photos from our travels, it was a great event!

Each speaker brought something different to the table. Joan Mulvihill, the CEO Irish Internet Association, gave a really important talk emphasising  that we need to be responsible when making online content, this is something that I think is crucial when making any blog posts, Youtube videos, tweets, Instagrams, all of them. Not to say you can’t speak your mind or you have to completely sensor yourself but it is the way in which you communicate, the way in which you use the internet is very important, especially if you have an audience.

Samantha Kelly, TweetingGoddess, spoke about the wonders of twitter and  how being kind online is really important. I completely agree, I have had multiple people online respect the fact that I don’t name call or get defensive in an online debate. Talking to people like you would if they were face to face is something that a lot of people forget about when they are behind a keyboard.

Simeon Quarrie is a wonderful speaker, he is funny and engaging. He talked about cameras, one of my favourite things, as a photographer they are essential, he gave loads of vlogging advise and camera kit recommendations.

Anouska Proetta Brandon gave a talk about her photography. I remember back when flickr was used, I saw her photography and that led me to her blog. She has an incredible eye for imagery and design. Her content is always high quality and consistent.

There were other panels and talks that gave lots of information and advice. I went to this conference because I really wanted to start upping my game in the blogging world and there was one thing that everyone said to do and that is ‘find you niche.’

I know that having a niche focuses the attention but to be honest, no one is one thing or another. We are all multifaceted with so many opinions and interests and if I want to talk about science or nature or food, I will because thats what I like, that’s what I am interested in and my blog is mine.

Perhaps one day I will have a niche but the BloggerConf made me realise that I don’t want to fill my blog with ads, I don’t want to make lots of money off this blog or my YouTube and I don’t really want to be a brand. What I want is for this blog, like when I started it, to document my time, for it to be a resource for travel and to maybe start a conversation with people from all around the globe.

I will definitely go to the next one and I will probably go to lots of other conferences in the future but right now there is no pressure to make this my carer or make money. My goal is to make useful content, get better at whatever I do, be it blogging, vlogging or general digital media and to meet like minded people.

The conference gave lots of really useful information and tips. It started great conversations and was incredibly interactive, also there was goodie bag so I definitely recommend going next year!

Have you been to a blogging or vlogging event? Do you recommend it? 

Happy Travels!