A Content Creators Perspective

During my time on placement I had the opportunity to work with PR managers across Europe and one thing I learnt was that YouTubers and social media influencers are increasingly becoming one of the most important ways to communicate with your target audience.

I was so intrigued that I have even decided to base my dissertation on their influence on consumer decision making – I will let you know come May if this was a wise decision!!

But why this growing interest?

The exchange of information between influencers and their followers is very powerful as those people who create their own content are becoming the third party endorsement that many brands need.

I will admit that on many occasions I have purchased products based on the fact that someone on Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube has recommended them or use the products regularly.

Content Creators

With interest in people who create their own content and who have built up their own loyal following coming to the forefront I thought it would be exciting to interview an up and coming beauty and lifestyle content creator. On my time in placement I became friendly with one of the outgoing interns Uche.

Uche has her own YouTube and Instagram sites and the content is beauty and lifestyle based, with 25,200 Instagram followers


and 101,973 YouTube subscribers


Uche is also an official ASOS Face + Body Insider.

Six quick questions with a lifestyle and beauty content creator

1How did you first begin creating make up and lifestyle content?

 I started watching university videos during sixth form which really sparked my interest in YouTube, I later went on to create content as I was bored during my first year at university.

2. How was this received by your family and friends? Did they understand what you were trying to achieve? 

 I didn’t tell anyone for years, honestly unless people are interested in it it’s not something people tend to understand or is easy to explain to people that ‘don’t get it’. 

3. Can you explain the process of creating your own content from the creative idea to finally sharing it on YouTube and Instagram.

 It’s a rather lengthy process, having a large following helps now as people are always suggesting the type of content they want to see which obviously makes everything much easier. Before then I would go with trends or what I loved myself. Once you have an idea it’s then about filming and bringing the idea to life, editing and finally posting it for everyone to see. 

4. What social media influencers do you follow?

 I tend to gear towards people with great personalities so Jackie Aina, Imogen (Imogenation) etc or really talented individuals who teach me something every time so Claire Marshall, Samantha Ravndahl or people with both like Jamie Geniveve!

5. What brands would you like to work with in the future? 

 A brand I haven’t worked with yet that I would love to is Nars for sure!

6. Have you any advice for anyone who is considering creating their own content on YouTube and/or Instagram? 

 It’s not as easy as it looks to post great content that’s high quality and also engaging so be prepared to put in time and money, if you stay committed, patient and consistent you will flourish. 

From chatting with Uche it is clear that it is much more than just posting a video on YouTube or picture on Instagram you have to ensure that your content is authentic, you have a passion for what you are doing and that you are committed to put the time and work in.


Uche can be found here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uchjn/  and YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/uccch1


Caoimhe Fitzpatrick is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @caoimhef_95 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caoimhe-fitzpatrick-0b8682110/


Football Fanatic

Not many things will get me up early on a cold wet and windy Sunday morning in January but football is the one thing that will.

I have been playing Gaelic football since I can remember for my local club St Marys Burren.

My family has always been involved with our local club from playing to supporting. From a young age I have always been interested in sport from swimming to Irish dancing to netball to gymnastics but football has been the one sport that I have always had a passion for and enjoyed playing.

I would encourage anyone to join a football team or to take up a sport or even re-join one as the benefits are life long and worth every session training in the cold and wet!!

 Four key life benefits that playing sport brings:

  • Working as a teamCF20It goes without saying that working as part of a team is key when playing football and most team sports for that matter. This is a quality that is rhymed off at many job interviews but playing football instils the skills working and communicating within a team and how your strengths can be part of something greater and work with others to achieve a common goal.


  • Exercise mental and physical health

An obvious one but training 2- 3 nights a week with a match at the weekend does bring your physical fitness levels up and there is no better feeling than feeling fit – all the shuttle run sprints are worth it come championship in the summer.

An aspect that is often over looked is mental health. Sport plays an incredible role on the state of your mental health. The positive effects playing sport has is often forgotten or down played, anytime I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed with work or university as soon as I put on my football boots I become focused and determined to do well in training it helps take my mind off whatever is making my feel stressed or anxious and helps me realise that there are other things going on in life and not to get bogged down on the negative aspects.


  • Social Aspect:

One of the best things about playing football and sport in general is the friendships you make along the way. I have been playing football with some of these girls since primary school!


The craic that you manage to have even when you doing hill sprints up the side of the Mourne Mountains just shows how strong the bond with your team mates can be. It is something that shouldn’t be undervalued the friendships you make with people in your local club and parish, some of the best nights out our nights with my team mates whether it be our annual dinner dance or club fundraising nights.



  • Being part of something bigger

The GAA is a fantastic organisation to be part of. With a GAA club set up in most countries around the world it is a large organisation that still has the feel of a grassroots organisation with the local clubs the heart and soul of the GAA. My club St Marys Burren motto is “Ar Aghaidh le Cheile” which means forward together. This motto is something that is strongly practised within the club and whilst playing as part of our team. Playing support has instilled a sense of commitment and belonging to something bigger.


My advice (although slightly bias)  for anyone reading this is to consider taking up a sport, it is never too late or for those who have fallen away to consider re-joining you cannot put into words the advantages that sport brings to your life so why not get stuck in!!

Caoimhe Fitzpatrick is a Final Year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at University of Ulster. She can be found on Twitter: @caoimhef_95 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caoimhe-fitzpatrick-0b8682110/

The Travel Bug

The term ‘travel bug’ is something which I have discovered is very real. The moment you have the opportunity to wander aimlessly around a strange destination, is the moment you will be bitten. Is it the people you fall in love with? Or the fact you can do whatever you want, when you want? For me, it is a concoction of desires whipped up into a great, big mixing bowl; and Thailand is my first delicacy.


It wasn’t hard to pick Thailand as a worthy contender for my first trip. The cheap food, booze and stunning beaches is something which people worldwide are drawn to. Some of my University friends have been before and gave me advice and recommendations on the areas and activities. The possibilities are endless. Kayaking in a crystal clear blue lagoon, snorkelling with sharks and hiking massive mountains, have always been on my bucket list.


Discovering the culture was one of my favourite parts. It’s a whole different world to what we live back home. The hustle and bustle of Bangkok was the first taste of this month-long holiday. I had never seen something so chaotic yet so wonderful. Seeing the street sellers, massage ladies and smelling the local delicacies was something I’ll never forget. The constant smiles of Thai locals and their effort to sell you anything and everything always makes me laugh.


Scorpions, cockroaches and spiders for 1000 baht? Seems like a tasty bargain to me. Toasting under the intense heat, they were calling my name. “When in Thailand,” I thought. After tasting the crunch and spray of blood I knew I had made a huge mistake. But that unexpected aftertaste of crispy bacon made this one of my favourite moments.


Around the corner from the food vendors and restaurants, was the apparent madness of Khao San Road. It certainly lived up to its expectations. I’ll always remember the smell of buckets upon buckets of alcohol and crowds of dancing people who had similar traits of happiness. This reminded me of New York City being the ‘city that never sleeps’. The loud noises, bright lights and weirdly unique people – this lifestyle was wonderfully mad.


Although I loved the chaos of the city, it was time to unwind on the scenic beaches. There’s nothing better than feeling the sand beneath your toes and the sun on your skin. This place was paradise! I had seen Thailand on TV and on social media videos but it’s even more beautiful in person.


I was excited to wake up at the crack of dawn, relax on a boat and float over to Maya Bay. Supposedly one of the most stunning beaches in South East Asia, this dream island is the one from the movie “The Beach”. I could see why this place was so popular. Being one of the first people on the island was surreal. The limestone rocks looked like they were perfectly chiselled and the wooden long-tail boats were picture perfect. The crystal-clear water was so inviting and the cheeky monkeys’ stealing belongings was  like being in an outdoor paradise comedy show.


Visiting the elephant sanctuary was up there with one of the best days of my life. We learnt about the cruel elephant trading that happens around the world and this sanctuary is one step closer to combatting this, as the proceeds go towards helping these big, friendly giants. It was amazing feeding and bathing them and swimming under a freezing waterfall whilst the two youngest elephants were play -fighting. To end the day on a high, I attended a cooking school where I whipped up 6 delicious Thai cuisines from scratch. When I arrived back to the hotel with a full stomach, they luckily upgraded me to the most extravagant room. As if that day could get any better!


After travelling to 7 cities and islands, the urge to cancel my flight home was stronger than ever as the final day was approaching. We ended our journey in the same place where we started – Bangkok. This time, we splurged out our remaining cash on one of the most spectacular rooftop bars you could ever imagine. Looking over the city allowed us to reminisce about our memories of the past month, there were too many to even count!



Spinning around a plastic world globe is something you see in movies. My next trip will be 100 times more exciting as I’m travelling the world with one of my best pals. Australia, New Zealand and South America are definitely on the list. But who knows where we’ll end up!


Usually a bug’s bite is something that would irritate and annoy you. But the travel bug is a bite like no other. Go on, there’s a whole world out there to discover.

If you want to know more about the experience, please feel free to contact me.


Cal McIlwaine is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Facebook – Facebook Account / Twitter – Twitter Account / LinkedIn – Linkedin Account


Holidays of a lifetime

For most people, myself included, holidays are the highlight of the year. A lot of time and money goes in to planning and paying for the perfect get away to create experiences we will never forget.

I’m extremely lucky that in the past couple of years I’ve had two of the best holidays I’ll probably have in my life.

 Vietnam and Thailand

Planning started about six months in advance when we gathered a crowd and planned the dates. Then it all became real when we finally booked our flights and had something to look forward to! We headed off to Bangkok for the start of our six week trip not really having a notion what to expect.

At the Top Gear spot on the Hai Van Pass

Beforehand we had planned a route and had a rough plan as to how long we were staying in each place. First up was Hanoi. Hanoi was absolute mayhem. It is constant madness with so many motorbikes about that you could barely cross the street. While we were here we went to Ha Long Bay for the hyped up Castaway Tour which is a must do if your ever in that neck of the woods! From here the plan was to go to Hue and stay for a couple of days.

After arriving we quickly realised it wasn’t really our cup of tea, so found locals who ran a bike touring company. So we rented bikes and had a guided tour through the Hai Van Pass to our next stop Hoi An. The Hai Van Pass, which some might recognise from Top Gear, was hands down one of the best days of my life and will take a lot of beating!

Was quite proud of my handywork at bandaging

Next up was Nha Trang where we rented our own three story villa. For the equivalent of around £10 a night it really is true that you can live in luxury for the next to nothing! From there we planned another bike tour to Da Lat. Unfortunately for myself this one wasn’t as successful as the first for me as I ended up putting the bike into a ditch. I’m still maintaining that it was the bikes fault and not mine, but it sort of put a dampener on things! Pretty sure the place we ate that day also served us dog instead of pork, but the less said about that the better. From there we went to Mui Ne and then Ho Chi Minh and got ready to meet up with the other 10 of our group that were flying to meet us in Thailand.

We had 6 different stops in Thailand and so was a lot to squeeze in with a lot to do at each one. It consisted of a lot of boats and buses to get from island to island. Everything was planned around the full moon party in Koh Phangan, which I think should be on everyone’s bucket list. Absolute chaos.

My favourite place was probably Phi Phi, where you would think half of Ireland was there at the time. The elephant sanctuary and white water rafting in Chiang Mai and the Slip N Fly in Koh Phangan were probably the other highlights.


West Coast of the States

Never having been to America before I was absolutely buzzing to be heading off here for 3 weeks. The plan was to do San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Yosemite.

Probably looking a wee bit too happy than I should have been after the incident

However, the bad luck from Vietnam seemed to follow me when I was held at knife point in a bar in San Francisco. It really wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my first night out in the states, but that’s what I got. Don’t think I put my mum’s mind at ease either writing “Lol some boy just put a knife to my throat” into the family Whatsapp. On the upside it’s a good story to tell (because I’m not dead) and was usually greeted with “Welcome to America” by anyone we told.

We also had to fork out twice for our rental car as, being as stupid as we are, we didn’t realise you needed a credit card to put on file. Eventually we got sorted with the company saying, “You’re lucky you’re Irish” as the reason they helped us out.

Not everything was all doom and gloom but. In fact everything else we did was unbelievable. We did the usual touristy stuff like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the San Diego Zoo.

The highlight for me was definitely Las Vegas. We were there the week before the McGregor Mayweather fight, and so the buzz around Vegas was unreal. We went to Wet Republic when DJ Tiesto was playing which is something I’d say everyone should go to if they get the chance. Seeing all the different hotels was absolutely mad and people really don’t lie about how hot it is (all the time) there. After Vegas, Yosemite was the perfect spot for a chill out, with the dogs at our AirBnB greatly assisting in our recovery.


All in all two absolutely once in a lifetime holidays (which have left me skint) that I don’t think will be topped. But I have learnt that you probably shouldn’t ever go on holiday with me as something bad is bound to happen!

Wonder what’s going to happen next year…

The car that our Irish charm got us… not much but did the job

Daniel McGrenaghan is a Final Year Public Relations student at the University of Ulster Jordanstown. He can be found on Twitter @danielmcg132

Amsterdam Top City Break Destination…as voted by me!

Amsterdam Top City Break Destination…as voted by me!

Although many people view Amsterdam as the ideal place for a mad weekend away, it is also suitable for a fun city break with friends or your other half! For my boyfriend’s 21st, I was getting fed up of looking up places to go and with the loan almost being non-existent at that stage, I decided to book a city break deal for Amsterdam! At first I was quite sceptical from all the crazy stories I heard, but how wrong was I! It was hands down the best city break I’ve ever been on, fact! Although we went in the winter season we were still not limited to what we could get up to! Here’s a little insight into the top things to do when visiting the ‘dam!

If you’re searching for top tips on visiting ‘coffee shops’ this is not for you! That’s not how I roll…

Shop ‘til you drop


If you’re hoping to go on a massive shopping spree when on a city break, Amsterdam will certainly not disappoint! There is everything a girl could possibly dream of, from Ted Baker to Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters to Zara! Not to mention, the super amazing cosmetics stores offering everything under the one roof!  Brisking through the narrow cobble streets, walking in and out of the row of stores that lay in front of me, my heart was complete. It was of course my favourite way to spend my first day in the city! On a further note, if you’re all about those candid Instagram foodie pics, there are endless bakeries and pastries shops offering the most picturesque cupcakes, donuts and macaroons!

Visiting the ‘I Amsterdam’ Sign


If you didn’t get a picture in front of the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign, did you really go? It is one of the top attractions to visit when in Amsterdam, but be aware, getting a pic of just yourself in front of the sign is rather hard with at least 20 other people trying to do the same thing, but it is manageable!

We were fortunate enough to have been going in the Christmas season, so that meant beside the sign was the Christmas markets, and wait for it… an ice rink! On a downside, I can’t skate but I made the most of the wooden chairs in the rink to hold onto!


Amsterdam Ice Bar

When visiting the city, it would be rude not to visit the renowned ice bar! Unlike me, be sure to wrap up warm because although you get a thermal coat, the rest of your body is literally -10 degrees! Everything and I mean everything is made of ice, the tables, the seats and even the glass for your drink! I think we must have lasted about 15 minutes in the ice bar with it being so cold, but I would still go back (with more layers next time!).

Visiting Madame Tussauds

If truth be told, I wasn’t fussed on heading to Madame Tussauds, but Mark was dying to go so I thought why not! Much to my surprise, it turned out to be a second to none experience, and of course we were both mind blown as to how alike the wax figures were to our favourite celebs! To top off our Madame Tussauds experience I got a pic beside Justin Bieber, because why not, it’s Justin Bieber! *love struck emoji*

I would definitely recommend Madame Tussauds if you really want to be in total awe as well as getting endless cringey photos beside celebs including Adele, Taylor Swift, Bob Marley and even Barack Obama!

I’m all about them wining and dining evenings

When opting for a city break in Amsterdam, probably your biggest dilemma of the whole trip is deciding where to eat! With rows upon rows of restaurants, we were totally spoilt for choice! There are of course popular American diners such as Hard Rock and Frankie and Benny’s which I’m a huge fan of! Not to mention, the city is full of contemporary bars to spend the evening sipping away on cocktails or perhaps, if you are hoping for something more lively like I did, the place was packed with buzzing Irish bars offering top class live music! But we aware, if you’re like me and look about 16, Amsterdam is not like any Spanish holiday resort, you will need to bring ID everywhere you go, even if you are just going for an evening bite!

Hands down, Amsterdam was most definitely the best city break I have ever been on and wouldn’t think twice about going back! If I were to go back here are a few of the places I would visit next time:

  • Anne Frank House
  • Heineken Experience
  • Body World
  • A’dam Lookout

Shannon Grogan is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn on https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-grogan-09712510b/ 

Travelling 101

After finishing off a fantastic placement year at Smarts Communicate, I decided that I needed a big summer blowout before dedicating my life and soul to the Ulster University library for all that final year would entail.


My best friend Jess and I booked to travel to Thailand and then Bali on a bit of a whim late on a weeknight. After getting over the initial panic of almost booking to travel for a year and a month instead of just a month, we soon forgot about the trip and got on with our jobs until the trip slowly crept up on us. It is safe to say that we were absolutely petrified, and did question if we could ever make our way across South East Asia and back successfully.

When it comes to travelling I have never claimed to be a professional and would say I’m actually quite the opposite due to my occasional forgetfulness. Team that with Jess’s lack of direction and we were proving quite the team. However, against the odds Jess and I managed to:

Catch 8 flights,

Make 9 boat trips,

Visit 6 different islands.

All without losing anything more significant than the contents of my stomach due to some questionable driving on occasion.


I have briefly surmised what the experience has taught me:

Just appreciate it

Take time to take it in. When travelling from place to place I never wanted to sleep because I was constantly trying to take in my surroundings while listening to new music Friday on Spotify and battling my tiredness. These moments allowed for reflection and appreciation. You will learn a lot about yourself while travelling and I learned exactly how fortunate I was. However, on the contrary, I did also learn that I need to buy the travel socks that old people wear to help their poor circulation, as my feet, knees and ankles now double in size on long-haul flights, who knew?

It’s kind of all about the people you meet

I think that when it comes to travelling, it really is what you make it, so always make an attempt to spend time getting to know the people you meet along the way. Everyone has their own interesting story and outlook so make time to listen to it. We met some really great people and between Jess and I, we have tried to keep in contact with most of them, promising to meet up again in the future.

Plan… but don’t plan too much

The best thing to do is to make a rough list of the things that you really want to do, the once in a lifetime kind of things and aim to complete them. No need to try and jam pack 5 activities into one day because you won’t give yourself time to enjoy them and will stifle the fun. Furthermore, there will always be an alternative route, it may not be the comfiest or the fastest or indeed come with the luxury of air conditioning, but my point is don’t stress if things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes the beauty is in taking a few extra hours and travelling the scenic route.

You don’t need to spend much to have fun

Everyone assumes that they can’t afford to travel, and granted, it is pretty expensive by the end but cheap really can be cheerful sometimes. Some of the nicest meals I had cost little more than a quid and the most hilarious nights were spent in some of the most tragic hostels fully furnished with insect infestations of course. It was cool to stay in nice resorts as they are pretty inexpensive but don’t get too hung up on that. Save your money to spend it on experiences while your there.

Lastly and in my opinion, most importantly:

Pick your travel buddy wisely!MR2I never really anticipated how vital this element would be but my trip really would not have been the same without Jess and nowhere near as fun. We worked well together as we had a good understanding of each other and respected each other’s views, opinions and space. We were able to pick each other up, laugh with each other and at each other, never letting anything get too serious.

My advice for anyone considering jetting off to explore pastures further afield is to book it, pack a bag and go! Don’t hesitate and allow for any self-doubt.


And a bonus tip: If you are ever in Bali, you need to check out La Favela, trust me!

Megan Rea is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-rea-a52437111/

Ireland to Australia… by BIKE!



Yup that’s right, who would be mad enough to cycle from Ireland to Australia? Definitely not me!! My good friend David Stanbridge, AKA Stanner’s has always had a keen interest in traveling and adventures, what better adventure to go on than cycling around the world!

This blog really won’t do Stanners’ trip much justice, I think a book would be more appropriate. Maybe that could be his next project after he finishes cycling around the world?

Anyway… here it goes. In 2016 Stanner’s thought a lot about taking this trip and then decided to start planning it.  He spoke to the bosses at work and they were willing to grant him a career break so in December 2016 he put the wheels in motion and sold his car – this was 3 months prior to his departure date.

After numerous good-bye parties and lots of tears Stanners left his home town of Islandmagee in Co Antrim on Monday 3rd April 2017 at 4.45 am. His father cycled with him to the boat in Larne and continued to cycle with him all the way to Newcastle Upon Tyne which is 360 km (I’m not sure my legs would even take me that far…rather you than me Stanners!).

He then cycled to Dover where upon boarding the boat and waving to his family from the top deck he spotted two other heavily loaded bikes: this couple were also headed to Australia! Imagine that, there are other people in the world as crazy as Stanners. Within the first month of cycling Stanners hit Slovakia and covered a total of 2400 km! All in one month! From Ireland to England to Netherlands to German to Austria to Slovakia. He experienced temperatures below freezing whilst sleeping in a tent and cooking meals in pots and pans like I’m a celebrity, get me out of here (without the fish eyes and kangaroo balls etc).

By the early part of May Stanners had reached Turkey and this is where he would be for the next month, cycling from one side to the other to reach Iran.

He encountered many different things while in turkey, he learnt a lot about the Turkish history and had a Turkish bath at Cagaloglu Hamam – the last Turkish bath to be built in the Ottoman Empire, so Stanners says anyway! This was one of his camping spots during his travels through Turkey, who needs a tent anyway?


Stanners spent his birthday in Turkey – on the morning of his birthday he received a video link form his dad with pre-recorded birthday messages from all friends and family. He watched this at 3 am after waking up for a pee during the night. He said he didn’t cry but I don’t believe him! On the day of his birthday he also reached the highest point of his trip at that time – 1500 m.

In June Stanners crossed over into Iran. After making it to Tehran, Stanners soon discovered the roads weren’t very safe; the traffic wasn’t overly heavy but there weren’t many rules on the road.  The lines weren’t very clear and at junctions they disappeared altogether, thus it became like the area after a toll booth where a super wide area of cars are all darting for one narrower section of road.  Meanwhile Stanners is trying to stay out of harms way. After a late night and early morning rise the sun soon got the better of him – he cycled to a car park where he came across a guy driving a truck and despite the language barriers he discovered that the fella was heading in the same direction that Stanners wanted to go. He clipped his bike securely onto the back of the truck and climbed into what should have been the passenger seat.  However, there was no seat just a flat area covered with a carpet, needless to say no seat-belt either. As the journey progressed the man got a little too comfortable, sitting completely side ways with cruise control on and no way to break if he needed.  At one point, whilst still driving, he proceeded to pull out a gas cooker, hooked it up to the engine and began to melt some sort of ‘substance’.  Stanners was concerned for his life at this point as he laughed nervously and asked him if he was still okay to be driving while smoking ‘that’. Anyhow Stanners made it out alive and the nice man bought him lunch before they headed their separate ways.


Skipping on and missing a ‘few’ countries not to mention a hell of a lot of stories, (like how Stanners managed to get himself invited to weddings and how he survived through an entire country without money – he arrived at the Iran border with no cash and not realising you weren’t allowed to lift cash in Iran.

Stanners is now in Aisia and will spend Christmas in Vietnam, his goal is to make it to Oz by February 2018.

Stanners keeps his own blogs which have a lot more detail for anyone who is interested and wants to keep track of his whereabouts and how hes getting on – it really is worth the read.

Website: www.solostan.com

Facebook: @Solostantravel

What a man and what an inspiration to anyone wanting to travel. I’m one for an adventure and enjoy travelling myself but I think I’ll clock up my air miles rather than cycle! See you in 2018 Stanners and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at home. We miss you!



Jenny Martin is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. You can follow her on Twitter @Jennymartin95 or on Facebook: /jenny.martin.12979431