Finding my fashion and beauty secrets!

I have always loved fashion, but as I am getting older and my shape is changing, I find that sometimes I struggle to know exactly what is right for me.  What is going to make me feel great!

I was delighted to be approached by Andrea Pflaumer – best selling author, to be part of a new online video series.

Shopping for the real you!

Andrea Pflaumer is hosting an amazing series where 20+ experts, including myself, are sharing wonderful tips on fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and wellness.

It’s called Shopping for the Real You: Expert Edition and it starts on 12 July.

It’s really easy to get involved.  Simply subscribe by clicking on the link below and the video interviews will be delivered directly to your inbox!

In this series, you will learn:

  • Dos and don’ts of fashion
  • How to boost your self-esteem
  • Beauty and health tips
  • How to achieve a healthy lifestyle
  • Saying yes to yourself
  • Identifying and choosing healthy relationships
  • Keeping your mind active and clear

You will also learn my beauty secret!  The one product that I absolutely cannot live without.

Join in with these fabulous ladies.  I will be watching all the videos hoping to get lots of inspiration.   Join me by clicking HERE

I am proud to be me

I am 55 now and every wrinkle that I have and every lump and bump I have earned.  I am delighted to be authentically me and encourage everyone to be themselves.  In my opinion that is the thing that makes women truly beautiful – Just be authentically you.

Thank you for reading and for listening – I will be sure to let you know when my interview is published!

Kerry x

Escaping to the Wild Atlantic Way

When I think about travel, I tend to think about aeroplanes and the need for a passport.  Sometimes we forget that we have some glorious opportunities on our own doorstep.  Why not consider a little staycation closer to home?

A reason to celebrate

It isn’t that I need a reason to go on an adventure, but when the Merriman Hotel in Kinvara invited me to try a midweek break, I thought it would be an excellent way to celebrate our June birthdays.

So, we packed a little bag and headed off to Kinvara which is a beautiful fishing village on the Wild Atlantic Way.  A little over an hour from home Kinvara is also the gateway to the beautiful Burren in County Clare.

There are pros and cons about the Irish Summer.  The pros are that the landscape is truly picturesque, and the expression ‘50 shades of green’ is truly in bloom.  The con is that for this lush landscape to bloom we have  a lot of rain!  I am used to rain by now, and a good coat with a hood means that I am ready to go – regardless of the weather.

The Merriman Hotel in beautiful Kinvara

The Merriman Hotel, the largest thatch roof structure in Ireland and has a cosy traditional feel, inviting you in and encouraging you to stay.  As we were on a mini break I wanted to pack as much as I could into the day.

After checking in, we headed off for a walk through the town, stopping to browse in some interesting and quirky shops.  We landed up at Sair a coffee shop gallery for a delicious cappuccino and a naughty slice of pecan nut pie.  Despite being June, the weather was crisp and after the walk I had built up an appetite for dinner.  We returned to our comfy room, and then to settle in before thinking about an evening meal.

More Delicious Food

We decided to stay at the Merriman that evening and dine at the Thatch Bar.  One of the great things about a mini break is that you can relax, enjoy a drink and know that you only have to wander upstairs to bed and that nobody has to drive home.

I cannot recommend the food at the Thatch Bar at the Merriman enough.  It was lip smackingly delicious.  I chose traditional fish, chips and mushy peas.  The batter was crisp and delicious and the fish so fresh!  The portion was huge, but that was ok because himself landed up having both his sticky spare ribs and some of my fish.  As it was a birthday celebration we indulged in dessert.   Apple crumble for him and a delicious Eton Mess for me!

Day Two in Kinvara

After a great night’s sleep and a few cups of tea in bed we came down to breakfast, which was served buffet style with a large choice of fruits, cereals and pastries plus of course a traditional full Irish breakfast.  Once again excellent food, of course washed down with a few more cups of tea.

I am not used to a full breakfast, so we decided to go for a walk before heading off.  The grey skies were threatening, but we donned our coats and took a refreshing walk down to the harbour where the views across the water were simply stunning.

Visit Kinvara on a Thursday night – there is a good reason …

If you are booking a mid-week mini break at The Merriman Hotel, I would advise booking a Thursday.  The reason is that on a Friday there is really the most fabulous Farmers Market which takes place on a Friday morning from 10 am.  You will find a huge range of delicious food items (to eat there or to take home), local crafts and a great choice of fresh fruit and vegetables.

As we were rather full of our delicious breakfast I did a little shopping for home.  I bought a sharp local cheese with a hint of chilli, some very indulgent cinnamon and spice buns, and a ciabatta, which is was yummy toasted.

Onwards on the Wild Atlantic Way

Kinvara is a great stopping off place for visiting the Burren and County Clare.  It is only another short drive to amazing beaches such as Flaggy Shore, and Fanore Beach (my personal favourite), and the iconic Cliffs of Moher.

I am really blessed to live so close to this area, and I will definitely be back on a sunny day.  Stopping first at the Merriman Hotel for their famous Sunday carvery lunch and then making my way down the Wild Atlantic Way.

 

Thank you for reading about my adventures.

Kerry xx

 

p.s  Thank you to The Merriman Hotel for having us to stay.

 

 

 

 

All Set for Summer in Sunshine Yellow

I love summer fashion.  However, I am a pain to shop with because I am not great at making up my mind. I think everything through, over and over again until I am sure that I absolutely love what I am purchasing.  When I do make a purchase though it always makes me smile!

The seasonal change-over

I have written before about how I change my wardrobe over from winter to summer fashion  (although this is not always strictly necessary in Ireland).  Adding a few key fashion pieces every season updates my wardrobe and makes me feel like everything is new, when in fact I am great at recycling and shopping my closet.  In many cases those key pieces are accessories.

Yellow Sunshine for summer fashion

A few of you who have known me a long time will know that I used to have a shop.  It was a little art and craft store and it was called An Siopa Bui – literally translated this is The Yellow Shop.  I chose the name because yellow makes me happy.  It makes me think of sunshine and it lifts my mood.

Imagine my excitement when I had a look at the Hotter Shoes spring summer range.  Bright citrus yellow – I was in my element.  I chose these fabulous citrus yellow Livvy pump with funky polka dot punch outs,  and of course the matching Lydia handbag.  It is a perfect size and the contrasting strap is a great length for a cross body bag.

My go to Summer outfit

If you see me on a sunny day this is probably what I will be wearing!  I have paired my yellow accessories with my new summer dress.  Navy is such a fresh alternative to black and this dress, rather than being polka-dotted is dotted with tiny white anchors adding to the summer feel.  The style really suits my curvy body shape and I feel so comfortable wearing it – especially accessorised with yellow.

Summer Sunglasses

When I was getting ready to go out on our adventure I popped on my specs.  A little secret here:  I am very short-sighted so I treated myself to these fab designer specs a few years ago.  The optician changed the lenses to my prescription.  Now I can look trendy and see where I am going.

Outfit details:
Dress:  Queenspark, South Africa (holiday purchase)
Shoes: Livvy in Citrus Yellow from Hotter (gifted) (available in other colours too)
Bag: Lydia in Citrus Yellow from Hottter (gifted) (available in other colours too)
Sunglasses:  Eye World Opticians, Westport

Thank you for reading and for sharing my joy for summer and yellow in particular.

Kerry x

This is a sponsored post

Melanoma Awareness – Love your skin – it is the only one you have


I grew up in South Africa and was a real water baby.  As a child I spent hours running around  in my swimsuit, in and out of the water and baking myself under the hot sun.  I even fell asleep in the sun during the Christmas holidays and burned my bum so bad that I couldn’t sit!

That was many years ago and the word melanoma wasn’t one I had ever heard.  It wasn’t until I got a funny patch on my collar bone a few years ago that I really started to consider the cost.   Thankfully the patch was removed and it was ok, it was however a real wake-up call.

Perfect timing – Melanoma Awareness

As a blogger I receive press releases on a regular basis.  I glance and them and if they are relevant to my blog I will follow up.  A few weeks ago we had just returned home after visiting a melanoma clinic for a check-up.  All was good, but we were firmly reminded that we needed to wear Factor 30 if not Factor 50 at all times – not just on holidays and in the sunny weather.

Ping! An email arrived reminding me that May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Uriage a brand I love was calling on the public to adopt safe behaviour in the sun when abroad as well as in Ireland. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland with over 1,000 new cases diagnosed year, and on average 159 people dying annually. Cases of melanoma have almost trebled in the last 20 years.

UV rays come in two forms – UVA and UVB. UVA rays make up over 90% of the sun’s rays. They have a longer wavelength than UVB, allowing them to reach deeper within the skin. They pass through cloud, glass and water. These rays are responsible for Ageing of the skin and play a significant role in the development of skin cancer. UVB rays do not penetrate skin so deeply: they cause the skin to Burn, cause eye damage and also play a role in the development of skin cancers.

Uriage has gifted me this wonderful spray which is going to make keeping safe and protected so much easier. (It is available from many pharmacies and online)

Uriage Thermal Water Mist SPF 30 has the highest concentration of minerals and trace elements (52x richer than other Thermal Water available) and is proven to be soothing and fortifying for the skin. Its high mineral content and rich compositions makes it exceptional water with therapeutic properties. An anti-pollution shield associated to UV filter for an UVA/UVB protection

Be Melanoma Aware and know what to look for

With my few brushes with skin issues I have learnt a few things.

  1. Don’t panic.  However if you have any questions or concerns get medical advice.
  2. Know what to look for. A quick google with show you images of good moles and bad moles.  Many people have completely harmless ones, but it’s a great idea to keep an eye on them.
  3. Watch for changes – in many cases moles might be on a back or unseen. I take photos to compare (which I have found is exactly what the melanoma clinic does too).
  4. Finally, prevention is always a better option. Use the right sunscreen, and cover up!

After talking about sun, I feel I might need a bit of time with a cup of tea and a search for my next sun holiday.

Thanks for reading and please take care!

Kerry x

 

 

Fat people can exercise and enjoy it!

 

Yes, I am fat.  I have struggled with my weight my whole life.  Knowing what I know now, I wish that I had figured out how happy keeping moving makes me years ago.

A few weeks ago someone asked me what exercise I did.  I answered that I jumped on my mini trampoline.  You could actually see the images in her mind as she tried to visualise me on a trampoline.  It is not that I jump up and try touch the ceiling – what I do could probably be defined as jogging in one place.  With the huge benefit of less pressure on my arthritic joints. (I previously wrote about the benefits of rebounding (trampoline jumping) here.)

My biggest fear

I am afraid of loosing my mobility.  In fact, I have lost some already and have issues with balance and pain when walking.  I use a stick for any distance, or in areas where I am unfamiliar.  At first, I was embarrassed, and ashamed that I needed a stick to walk.  In Manchester with my son and I asked him – do you mind that I need a stick to walk?  His answer (he is very straightforward):  ‘At least when you walk with Stan (the stick) you walk faster.’  To be honest at least when I walk with a stick I get out and do it!

Anchoring habits

I knew I had to get moving and at the same time I knew that I needed to incorporate exercise into  my daily routine in a way that I would enjoy it and that it would become a habit.  When I get up in the morning, my first thought is tea, and then breakfast as I have a number of medications to take that need food.  The next thing I would do is write my journal.

In order to incorporate exercise effectively I decided to anchor my trampoline sessions to these two activities.  It is no fun jumping on a full stomach, so first thing in the morning I come downstairs and straight onto the trampoline.  Sometimes I jump to breakfast TV and other times set up a YouTube concert to inspire me.  By doing this first, I get it done and am rewarded with breakfast and some quiet time with my journal afterwards.

What to wear to exercise?

For many years I used the excuse of not having workout gear.  Thankfully times have changed and there is a great range of exercise gear at companies like Oxendales in all sizes.  The truth is that you don’t need special clothes to jump at home.  Just be comfortable and wear a good bra!

Footwear is another matter.  It is really important to look after your feet – especially as you get older and most exercise requires good supportive and comfortable footwear.  I am delighted with these blue grey shoes gifted to me by Hotter.  I could walk for miles in them, and the extra bonus is that they look great with jeans or jeggings.  They  haven’t been off my feet since they arrived.

My fab footwear are called Flow Shoes and are lightweight, flexible and trendy.  They come in three colours – Sky Blue (my choice), black and pebble grey.

Check out their range online at www.hotter.com.  They have a wide range of sizes and widths and a superb delivery service.

Although this is a sponsored post and the shoes were gifted to me, the story is my own.  I hope to share more episodes of my health and fitness journey with you here.

Thanks for reading – I am off to jump!  Yes, fat people can exercise.

Kerry xx

Unplugged in Mabalingwe


It is ok to be unplugged!  To leave behind responsibilities and that fine but strong thread that ties us to the online world.  It isn’t easy though.

The lure of the African bush

When we started planning our trip to South Africa, I just knew I wanted time in the bush.  Time to get back to my roots and feel ‘African’.  It is hard to describe the assault to the senses that sunset in the bush is – it’s the smell of the soil and the aroma of smoke as the fires crackle for night-time braais (BBQs).  The gentle sun on my skin, and the sparkle that the sun creates as it touches the leaves in the trees and kisses the water.  It is the taste of a cold beer, or glass of wine and the company of good friends.  And, It is even the laugh as you look behind you and find a family of warthogs wanted to join in.

Dreams do come true and we had our bush experience at beautiful Mabalingwe, a nature reserve in the Swartberg Mountains in Limpopo Province in South Africa.

Letting go

We shopped, we packed and set off on our journey.  It is funny that the first thing we seem to do when we get anywhere is to check our phones.  And when we got settled in to our gorgeous cottage, we had nothing.  No signal at all!   Between us we tried all sorts of positions and combinations but to be honest no matter what we tried it didn’t work.  Standing on my tip toes with my head angled towards I don’t know what, I managed to send a message that we had arrived safely.  We relaxed, we ate good food, we chatted and laughed and yes, had that glass of wine or two.

Mabalingwe is an amazing place, with the opportunity to go on self-drive safari.  We got up early in the morning and headed out at a slow pace, rambling along taking in all the sights, sounds and smells that epitomise the African bush.  Lucky for us, we saw some amazing sights including my two favourite animals, zebra’s and giraffes.

Unplugged and without transport!

I told myself I was fine, not being connected.  After a couple of days of no internet access I felt quite smug. I could do this.  That was until I finished my book on my kindle and realised I didn’t have a way of downloading a new one.

On Monday I needed to confirm that the hire car I had booked would be delivered.  Now my stress levels started rising.  I couldn’t make a clear phone call as the signal kept dropping.  I couldn’t access my emails and to be honest I didn’t feel good knowing that I was so out of touch.

Eventually I asked the hotel reception for assistance and some hours later the car turned up.  Sometimes we need a reminder of how things were done before mobile phones arrived.

To celebrate the arrival of the car, we visited Vultures View – the amazing pub that is literally in the sky and offers great service, good food and views begging to be posted on Instagram.  And, we discovered, the best WiFi!

I downloaded a book, or two, checked my mail and social media accounts and realised that truthfully, I hadn’t missed much.

Choosing to be unplugged

For the balance of the week, I chose to be unplugged (almost 24/7).  It was quite freeing to know that scrolling through my phone was pointless.  Instead I read lots of books and took time to simply do nothing.

I also, treated myself to a couple of treatments at the Mbali Spa.  Self-care is a bit like being unplugged – you know you need to do it, but in the hustle of daily life it gets forgotten.  I made my choice and simply relaxed. My first treatment was a geranium and pine sugar scrub.  I felt so good after it that I booked a facial for the next day.

I must admit that every couple of days we visited the pub and ‘checked-in’.  We even got caught in the most amazing and scary thunderstorm one day, when even the higher powers unplugged the electricity.

Perhaps I need the thought of our beautiful time in the bush to remind me to stop scrolling and unplug.

Thank you for sharing my adventures.

Kerry x

 

How often do you replace your make-up?


In many cases not often enough.  I fall in love with a palette and keep going back to it.  Or sometimes I forget about something (in amongst the clutter that is my make-up table), and then find it again.

I got a harsh reminder how important this is when woke up with an infected eye and had to go ‘naked’ for a week.

Yes, I can see clearly now

A second reminder arrived on my return from holidays,when attending a routine eye screening for diabetic retinopathy.  I must admit that I had put it off and kept on postponing.  A commitment to put my health first had me booking the appointment and sunglasses in hand, I set off.

It is simple.  You receive drops in your eyes, wait twenty minutes as the pupils dilate, and then a photo is taken of the back of your eye.  Your vision is blurry for a bit and you should guard your eyes against sunlight.

Unfortunately for me something went wrong.  Within half an hour I had intense pain in my head and eye sockets and couldn’t even open my eyes without getting a wave of nausea.  Thankfully I was able to react quickly and check into A&E where I received some treatment.  It wasn’t the end of the story though as I was sent to an eye specialist the following day, to find out that there had been some eye damage which was to be treated with steroid drops.

It was scary, and a huge reminder to be grateful for the things we take for granted like sight.

I haven’t worn make-up for over a week.  I am really determined to protect my eyes.

Make-up shelf life –  how long is too long?

I did a bit of research, and what really resonated with me was to look at your make-up like food. If it smells odd, looks odd or has changed texture – throw it out.  It can also be a good idea to note the date you bought it – and then simply check back.  Storage is also important and keeping lids tightly sealed and out of direct sunlight will protect your make-up and of course your skin and eyes.

When it comes to make-up shelf life, I will be stickign to these guidelines

  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner– 3 months after opening.  This is the most critical when it comes to infections as bacteria is carried back and forth on the wand.  It goes without saying that if you have an eye infection, treat yourself to a new mascara no matter how old it is.
  • Eye and lip pencils can be kept up to 2 years, if you are using a clean tip.  Invest in a great sharpener and use before each application.
  • Powder based products such as eye shadow palettes and powder brushes should keep up to 2 years, but if it smells odd (this happened to me) then throw it out.
  • Lipsticks can last up to 2 years – unless it’s your favourite colour, in which case it will be used up!  Again, keep an eye on the product and if in doubt indulge in the latest shade.
  • Foundations and concealers have differing shelf lives, normally ranging from 12 to 18 months.

Caring for your make-up brushes and using clean sponges and applicators will extend your products and keep your make-up and your skin in perfect condition.

I have learned my lesson and am off to tidy up my make-up table.  Thank you to Isadora Ireland and The Works PR who gifted me two fabulous new mascaras that arrived just when I needed them.  (Look out for them during May in pharmacies and Shaws as they are 50% off!)

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

 

Meet Bev Hancock – the Woman who taught me to talk to myself

 

Friends are the true wealth, and I am privileged to have lots of riches.  This Fabulous Woman interview is with Bev Hancock, a truly wise woman who I have known since I was five years old.  We have shared a journey and she taught me a hugely valuable lesson.  (Well at least one!)

Bev taught me to talk to myself – kindly and wisely – you can read about my aha moment here.

Meet Bev Hancock, International Speaker and Masterclass Facilitator:

Q:  When we decide on something – that is really the first step to being the best version of ourselves and simply fabulous.  What makes you a fabulous woman?

A:  I think it is firstly accepting that you are indeed enough, that you are valuable and that you have a unique magic that would make the world a poorer place without you in it.  My greatest gift I bring to the world is to see the potential in others and to help them see a future they did not even dream of before – and to do this on a global stage.  I am big picture thinker, a starmaker and believe that if we buy into abundance rather than scarcity, we can all be fabulous. (more…)

Embracing JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out

I took a month off.  A month off blogging and most of social media.  I left my laptop upstairs gathering dust on my desk.

The time out from my normal routine led to great perspective and some exciting clarity.  I think it is a great idea for anyone.  We are constantly evolving and time out and a bit of rethinking is just what we need to get the next surge forward.

So, what exactly is JOMO?

Well, JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out – is basically the opposite of FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out.  I wrote about this a while back, as it was something I struggled with.  My health prevents me from doing quite a few things, and even when I say I will, I often have to cancel.  I always felt a bit peeved to be honest.  I sat at home on my sofa watching events on social media and wishing I was in the thick of it.

A shift in my thinking over the past months made me realise that it is ok not to be everywhere and that there is huge joy in simply staying at home and investing in my own life.  I love to paint, and to create and truthfully, I am so happy being creative that it’s a joy not to worry about what I might be missing out on and simply embrace the present.

I’ve taken up crochet again, as a tool to stop mindless scrolling and its is truly a joy to see the little piles of granny squares that will soon become a blanket.

I have also realised how often we don’t pay attention to the person we are with.

Mom, do you really need to Instagram that?

As a travel lover and travel blogger I love sharing my experiences, finding new vistas and new flavours across the world.  Recently I was in Manchester visiting family.  I was trying to be subtle as I snapped sights, while still enjoying this special time.  My son and I went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch.  We both love Japanese and this had become a bit of a tradition when we were together.  The food arrived, and I opened Instagram to add to my story.  Mom, do you really need to Instagram that?  I stopped short.  Of course, I didn’t.  I needed to spend special time with my son who I don’t get to see that often now he is living in another country.  I also needed to savour the aroma of the gorgeous food in front of me.

Taking time out

I took time out for January.  I didn’t blog, and I shared very little online.  I felt strong.  I felt like I was in the moment and took a huge amount of joy from it.  We had a little budget trip to Spain, a belated Christmas present, and keeping account of everything wasn’t a priority.  Yes, I did take a few snaps and shared some of it online, but I was also very conscious of simply feeling joy in the moment.

I love my blog

I have been writing my blog for nearly 4 years now.  I love how it has opened my world and brought me back to the joy of writing.  I have met so many amazing people and have had the true joy of connecting to people all over the world, as their lives touched mine, and mine theirs.

I am not giving up my blog, or social media, which I really enjoy too.  What I am doing is embracing JOMO and knowing that everything has a place in life.  I have committed to blogging at least once a month – less than I originally planned.  I will blog about things that excite me and that I cannot wait to share.  I am also committed to finishing my book (it has been a long time coming) and focussing on my art ventures.

Thank you all for your support, for following me and reading my ramblings.  My blog brings me Joy.

Between you and I have given up on FOMO.  If I am not meant to be there, then why fear missing out.  I’ll embrace JOMO and sitting by the fire, sipping on hot tea, reading a good book or simply being in the moment.

 

Kerry x

Creating Spaces for wonderful things to happen – my Word of the Year

It’s that time again.  A new year and 365 fresh days ahead.  It’s always exciting for me as it is time to choose a word for the year.

Seven years ago my life was not good.  In fact it was rather awful.  In amongst the fog I knew that something had to change and I had the idea that I could change my life one word at a time.

I chose my first word of the year, and I am happy to say that my life has changed so very much – for the better.  Last year my word of the year was content, and it was super effective.  I managed to overcome the urge to compete (mostly with myself).  I learnt to live in the moment.  Gratitude was a strong theme of my year as I embraced the now, and relished the beautiful feeling of true contentment.

My word for 2019 is Spaces

I have a little process for choosing my word.  The first thing I do is look at what needs changing.  The first word that came to mind was tidy.  I am really untidy.  It annoys me, and yet somehow I can’t seem to overcome it.  Based on the success of previous words I thought that this would be an ideal word to embrace.

As I went through the process of journaling and meditating on my word, it didn’t seem quite enough.  I tried it out in conversation, and it just wasn’t quite right.  All of a sudden the word spaces popped into my mind and I knew I had my word for 2019.

This year I will create beautiful spaces.

  • Space to grow
  • Space to exercise and do yoga
  • Space to create
  • Space to relax
  • Space in my waistband
  • Space to simply be
  • and I am sure Space for a whole lot more

There is a huge school of thought that you need to create a vacuum in order for good things to fill it.  Declutter and invite new and good things into your home.  I am certain that as I tidy and declutter and create beautiful spaces in my life, I am in for a wonderful new year.

If you would like to read about some of my other words and how they have affected my life pop Word of the Year into the search engine and all the relevant posts will come up.

I am writing a book about my experiences and the programme I follow.  It is making some progress but still needs completing.  Perhaps I need to create a space to finish my book.

This little concept has truly changed my life in such a positive way.  As a way of giving back I run a group on Facebook where I do live videos and other inspiration for people following the Word of the Year programme.  You are very welcome to join by following this link.

May I wish you a wonderful 2019.  I hope that the word you have chosen brings you lots of happiness.

Kerry xx

 

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