Derry woman Jessica Ireland is a TikTok favourite for videos on budgeting, cooking and family life

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A Derry woman has been gaining thousands of followers on TikTok for her realistic portrayal of day-to-day life with her family.

Jessica Ireland, nee Smyth, has gained over 60,000 followers on the popular social media platform, in which she posts everything from what she eats in a day to grocery hauls, skincare, cleaning her home, what she teaches her children, cooking, budgeting and much more.

The mammy-of-two children, age four and one a half, is originally from Eglinton.

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She spent over seven years in the United States, where her husband hails from, before returning again to her home city.

Jessica pictured with her family.Jessica pictured with her family.
Jessica pictured with her family.

"I went out to university in America – to Utah. I was there for about seven and a half years. I had some family out there, through my dad, which is why I ended up in that part. I met my husband, so stayed for a wee while, but then Covid hit, I had my first child and wanted to come back home.

"I wanted to come back to Derry, as, in my head, I thought that if we were going back, we were going to be fully going home. People said to me about going to England etc, but I really wanted to go back to Derry.”

Speaking to the Journal, Jessica told how her TikTok page came about ‘very randomly’.

"Over Covid, everyone was kind of bored and I started doing this drawing account. I would draw on my iPad and record it. I saw other people do it and thought I’d give it a go.

Jessica Ireland.Jessica Ireland.
Jessica Ireland.

"It really took off and got something like 100,000 followers in a few months. People were very curious about who I was, as all they were seeing was my hand. I then directed people to a new account, which is the one I have now and said if it got a certain amount of followers I would do a face reveal. It got 5,000 followers in a couple of days and I began to post more on this one.

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"Personally, I didn’t want to do the drawing stuff anymore and wanted to do more stuff about me and my life. It can be quite hard to grow numbers on social media, but the other account gave me the starting point of 5 or 6,000 followers. I got the rest myself, but having that initially gave me help getting my videos out there.”

Her current account, she said, ‘basically shows my day-to-day life’.

"I don’t show my kid’s faces but they’re in the videos. I try to make it more about me and my perspective and the kids and their personalities etc are more from my angle. I also like to do a wee bit of cooking and budgeting and show whatever I’m doing that day.”

Jessica pictured with her husband.Jessica pictured with her husband.
Jessica pictured with her husband.

Jessica set up the page in 2021, but told how she posted sporadically for the first year and a half. She began posting more regularly in the last three to six months and it has ‘really taken off’.

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"I feel like I’ve really found my feet in the last few months. My views are far better than they ever have been.

"I used to post so many videos a day, but I’ve stripped that back now, the reason being that I enjoy it because I can do it and be a stay-at-home mum. But, when I was posting so much I was on the phone a lot and I didn’t want to be. I have found since stripping the videos back that it’s doing even better.”

Jessica, who is the sister of Paralympian Jason Smyth, is hoping to increase her followers to 100,000 by the end of this year, but added that, ultimately, she wants to just continue to grow and post what people like.

"A year ago, I didn’t know where I’d be now. If you’d have told be a few years ago I’d have 60,000 followers I’d have fallen off my chair! But, it’s always something I wanted to do. I always wanted to start a Youtube page when I was at uni, but I was far too embarrassed about the thought of anyone back home seeing me! Even now, I wouldn’t post some of the things I have on TikTok on my Instagram. But I think Tiktok gives you that wee bit of confidence.”

Jessica outlined how she posts things that she, as a mammy, wife and Derry woman, would like to watch.

“ There’s a lot of curated content out there and people posting unrealistic lives, which I certainly don’t have. I like to watch people similar to me and my life.”

You can follow Jessica on TikTok