Empty Nest  – a Syndrome or an Opportunity

On Tuesday last week I waved my son off on a journey that will propel him into the real world.  I closed the door and burst into tears.

I could not really explain the tear. They just came and the more I tried to stop them, the more they flowed.  I was a bit taken aback as I thought I had my head around it all.

From birth our role as a parent is as a nurturer.  We feed our children, keep them safe and do everything we can to make them smile.

I am a proud Mom

I am incredibly proud of the young man who is my son.  My son is a hard worker who is passionate about everything he does.  In my opinion he has unusual clarity about his life’s goals and is now on the way to a wonderful future.

He has had a fascination for computer games and programming for since his early teens and has worked steadily away in tandem with finishing school and then completing a degree in Theoretical Physics.  And, now he embarks on his new adventure as a games play programmer working on his dream game.  Yes, I am proud, extremely proud.  But, this job is near Manchester in the United Kingdom. So he is not only starting out in his new career and a whole new chapter of his life, but he has moved to another country.

Of course I will be visiting, and I have already started looking at flights and planning get-aways, but ultimately this week marks the end of my role as a mother to a child and the beginning of true adulthood for my son.

So an empty nest.  What does that mean?

In some ways I feel a fraud talking about my empty nest as he and I have lived apart for a while now between college and other things.  I did have the joy of having him under my roof for a couple of months after college which was a gift which I cherish.

An empty nest for me it marks the end of an era.  My child is now a tax paying adult!  It changes nothing about how I feel about him.  I will continue to worry about if he is eating well and meeting nice people, and that he is happy.  That part of mothering never turns off.  I do know however that as he left the nest, he is ready to fly.

I am sure that he will feel the excitement I once felt when I started out on my own and moved into my first flat with my sister.  The day I was shown my first desk at my first job, and the day I received my first pay cheque.

I have allowed myself a few days to get used to the idea that we no longer life in the same country, never mind the same house or town.  I have had a glass (or two) of Prosecco to celebrate his success and talk endlessly about how I feel, but now it is time to face up to what this empty nest means for me.

An Empty Nest as a launch pad?

I am at a stage in my life when I too can stand on the edge of the nest and decide where to fly.  What changes can I make in my life?  What destinations can I choose to fly too.

I know that many people of my age face the same challenges.  In a way it is an exciting phase for us empty nesters too.  We can play the game of reinvention.  I am putting myself in the way of opportunities.  I am determined to embrace my creative side and work on my art with the long-term aim of holding an exhibition.

You don’t get to 53 without accumulating. I have so many ‘things’ in terms of items that need dusting and tidying. So instead of shopping I am looking to spend my time and money on experiences.  I have booked to go to the National Gallery to see the Vermeer exhibition, signed up for an international craft class, and am playing short away trips.

South Africa is my destination in October and I am planning on spending time creating some wonderful new memories with friends old and new during my trip.  I will also stop off in Dubai for some special family time with my sister.

I have decided to consciously consider myself a Mommy bird who looks at her nest and instead of seeing it as empty sees it as an opportunity to fly.

As I continue to celebrate being fabulous in my fifties I hope you come back to share my journey here.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

Afternoon tea – a necessary indulgence



Afternoon tea is my favourite meal.  I know that it might not be the healthiest meal but it trumps on the luxurious indulgence stakes.

I was delighted to be invited to the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown to celebrate the launch of their afternoon tea menu.  The simple thought of it had me up early in the morning and ready to travel.

Like any true afternoon tea addict it is always a complete experience, so I started with my outfit.  It had to be my Lindy Bop Tea dress.  Feeling pretty and bubbling with excitement I set off on my journey with fellow bloggers Sinead from Yummy Mummy and Dolores from Irish Health Hour.

The mood was set with lots of girly chats and laughs and we arrived in good spirits.

A Hotel with a Heart

Some people might say that a hotel is simply a hotel, but this hotel has heart.  What a beautiful warm welcome we received.  The staff were fantastic, friendly and efficient.

As we entered the room where the tea party was being held I just wanted to swirl and twirl in my party dress.  The attention to detail was second to none and my eyes kept jumping around to take in the detail, all of which built atmosphere and excitement.

Pimp my Prosecco

Before we sat down for tea we were offered a glass of prosecco, but not just any prosecco.  This cute primp my prosecco stand meant that we could add flavourings and fruit to our glass of sparkle. As delicious as it was, I wanted to watch my intake and the great staff immediately assisted by pimping sparkling water for me.

The perfect ingredients for afternoon tea for me are great company, excellent hot tea and lots of it and of course the foody goodies.  As we sat down at a perfectly decorated table with great little details like name plates and little flowers I glanced over at the fine china and knew I was in for a treat.

The cake stands were delivered and we all simply dived in.  The bottom layer of sandwiches was my first dive in.  The classic smoked salmon and brown soda, a yummy delicious chicken with apple wood smoked cheddar (so yummy that I was looking for a second one), fresh tasting egg mayonnaise and cucumber and finally a roast beef.  I was ok with missing out on the beef (as I don’t eat red meat), and was delighted to sit back and sip at my tea.

My number one tea party food is a good scone.  These scones served with jam and cream were fluffy and light inside with just the right amount of crisp. The addition of lemon drizzle cake and a fruity banana bread was just the right balance before reaching for the top tier!

The top-tier of any tea stand is pure indulgence and this was no different.  Creamy, dreamy coconut cake, delicious vanilla cheesecake, toffee Mille Feuillee and beautiful little custard tarts which are my mother’s favourite.  The big decision – to choose or simply have one of each.

There was a lot of delicious food and I enjoyed it.  It was great fun though and between lots of laughs as we experimented with Boomerang and dived into our goody bags. Time simply flew.

Just a small note at this stage on the goody bags.  They were fabulous with lots of treats for us bloggers to try.  I will be featuring many items on my Instagram (@DynamicKerry) and my blog in the weeks to come. We were gifted all sorts of goodies from a range of sponsors.  These included the Carlton Hotel, Ultra Pure Laboratories, Human + Kind, Dr Paw Paw, Ardell Lashes, Graham Anthony, Debenhams, Nude by Nature and from local retailers including Chopped, O’Breins Wines, and Westend Retail Park.

This was my kind of afternoon, and to be honest my perfect social occasion.  I will definitely be back!

We even finished off the afternoon with a gin cocktail!  Who could say no to that?

A hotel with a lot more to offer

Before the day ended we had a tour around the hotel and I added to my wish list.  Beautifully appointed rooms just invite you to sink into soft pillows and take a rest.

The fab business centre caught my eye.  Working from home I am often looking for somewhere to hold a meeting or simply work and write when I am out-of-town.  I will be working on a different blog post over on www.kerrymanning.net all about working on the go and will definitely be including the facilities at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown.

The Carlton Hotel is conveniently located close to the fabulous Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and in easy reach of the airport.

Thank you for reading. Let me know if you indulge in afternoon tea at the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown or wherever you live.  Remember tea and cake is best shared with friends.

Kerry xx

Where have I been? A little life update

Why I neglected my blog

I love my blog, but between one thing and another, I have found myself neglecting www.fabuliciousfifty.com.  Here is a little life update.

At first I felt guilty and then I felt upset.  I then sat down to figure out why I wasn’t blogging. And gave myself a free pass for a few weeks while I got a few things in order.

A little bit about my work life

Followers of my blog will know that I had to give up full-time work a while ago.  I don’t mind saying that I found this hard.  Hard not to be doing what I was passionate about, and hard to complete a working day when it was required.

I am delighted to say that I have re-organised my life, retrained and am now combining my years of experience with new skills.

As part of this ‘new me’ I now have my own dedicated website built for me by the talented Sinead from Mini Media.  Have a look at www.kerrymanning.net, where you can read all about how I keep myself busy when I am not blogging or crafting.

You will notice that there is a section on speaking. It is a wonderful privilege to stand up in front of people and share my story and my philosophy of life.

You will also find some links to podcasts and other exciting collaborations.

Writing my book

I have also been working away at my book  I am so excited that I have now reached the milestone of 20 thousand words.  Quite a bit more to go, and it is only a first draft, but it feels good to put words on paper (in a digital version).  This is a very personal book, and it isn’t easy to write.  It is coming along and I believe that I will make my goal of finishing before the end of 2017.

I am the manager of my own health

My health continues to be a soundtrack in my life.  I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.  Perhaps I was hoping for a magic pill which would take all the pain away.

The result was quite the opposite and I felt down and despondent when I was simply told I was getting worse and the arthritis was spreading.  No magic bullet, no cure and only painkillers on offer.

My normal positivity deserted me for a little while.  Thankfully it returned and I realised that the only person who could help me was me.  I have the freedom to try different treatments, experiment with mindfulness, creativity and pacing.

It isn’t easy, and I think this contributed to me not writing much for a while.  I have no choice really but to accept that this is my journey and it is up to me how I travel.

There will always be days when I dig deep and find the energy to throw myself into exciting things with abandon.  And, yes these will be followed by days when rest will be a requirement, as will medication.

I am determined to live life to the fullest.  Why shouldn’t I?

Being Creative

Being creative is, for me as essential as my favourite liquid, tea.  I strongly believe that when you are being creative you are in a state of flow, and it is when you are in this beautiful place you fill yourself up.  So many of us are always giving and sharing and we need to fill our own cup in order to continue.

With this in mind I have been very busy with my creative endeavours.  I have been teaching my class in Spiddal every month.  This is so enjoyable, both the creativity of coming up with the projects and the special time spend sharing laughs with other creative souls.

Another highlight over the past weeks has been teaching An Grianan – the Irish Country Woman’s Association adult education centre.  What a beautiful place, I can’t wait to go back again.

I have also just completed a big batch of handmade cards for the lovely Filippa of Harvest Breeze in Westport.  Her gift shop is a true treasure trove for all the senses.  If you are in Westport, please do pop in.

A new look to my blog

I am back blogging so expect posts to become regular again.  I am also working on a little blog make-over with a little more structure to highlight the areas I love blogging about.

This is a sincere thank you for your support and for reading my blog.

Kerry xx

 

Fake it until you make it – a coping with Fibromyalgia

Fake it until you make it.  This is a mantra I find myself repeating over and over.  Especially when I wake up feeling less than fabulous.

There are mornings when I wake-up or rather get up and know that I have had little sleep, am so stiff and awkward that I walk like a puppet.  I stumble downstairs to get painkillers and put on the kettle so I can ease myself into the day. This is what it is like for me coping with fibromyalgia.

I am a very positive person so feeling less than great is hard for me.  I try to focus on the good things in life and not on fibromyalgia, arthritis and the other things that are my shadow.

It would be so easy to simply stay in my lovely fluffy gown and binge watch Netflix.  You really can 3 or 4 episodes without realising the passing of time.

Don’t wallow!

I am determined to not wallow (although there are days that I do).  My lipstick is my companion, it reminds me that you can fake it until you make it.

I recently read something that I really related to.  It was a list of things only people with chronic conditions would understand.  One of these was sitting on the bed and wondering if you really needed to shower and wash your hair.  Yes, this is a real thing.  It takes energy to do this and it causes more pain.

Fake it until you make it

I keep trying and so I wanted to share how I fake it until I make it.  How I push myself  to get going and ultimately how I normally enjoy myself once I do make it to an event.

Realistically each time I do this it does make me very tired the next day, but the joy of getting up and getting glamorous is worth it.

Off to a Fashion Show – Faking it all the way!

A little while ago I was invited to a fashion show at Bellissimo in Galway as an ITWBN blogger.  The show featured fashion from the fabulous Olivia Danielle boutique.  It was one of those days when I really had to push myself.

I got dressed in my new dress from The Curvy Gurl, accessorised and put on my make-up.  Just before leaving I got my photo taken for the obligatory Instagram/Facebook post.

Details of my outfit as requested:

Dress – The Curvy Gurl – Newry (I bought my dress at the Ireland’s got Curves show but they have a fab online shop)

Cardigan: Matalan – old as the hills but a firm favourite as it is my favourite colour

Shoes: Ballet flats from Debenhams

Necklace:  A gift from my sister!

I was also extremely overwhelmed and humbled by the response to a simple social media post. Hundreds of likes, loves and comments all which made me feel better about myself.  I am struggling with weight gain at the moment due to medications and other factors and being told I look good certainly spurs me on to try even harder.

This is how I know that Faking it until you make it works for me.  Looking the best I could already put me in a brighter mood and going out distracted me from pain and tiredness.

I know that there are many people out there, and possibly reading this that are in a position where faking it isn’t always possible.  So this is my call to ask people to understand when your friend with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia says sorry she can’t make it.  I bet she tried really hard. She is coping with Fibromyalgia.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Yes, you can be Fabulous and Fashionable over Fifty!

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I love fashion.  As a child I spent hours designing dresses for my Barbie dolls and walking them down the imaginary runway on my bedroom carpet.

As you get older there is a little voice in your head which says that you cannot be fashionable over fifty.  You shouldn’t stand out, and the best one ever – never turn into mutton dressed up as lamb!

For the past couple of years I have watched the media and read blog posts on fashion and felt simply green with envy.  A little while ago I decided that I would blog about fashion for the plus sized and for woman of a certain age.  I am proud to say that this has been a much viewed blog post.

The Galway Fashion Trail

Last Saturday I joined the Galway Fashion Trail presented by Galway Now Magazine.  It was a simply fabulous day and I can honestly say that I have learned that age and size does not determine whether you can be fashionable.

The day started with a stylish, and most delicious breakfast at the Raddison Blu Hotel in Galway.  We whizzed up to the top floor where the view was simply wonderful.  After enjoying this amazing breakfast we watched the first of the fashion shows featuring styles from Harpers and headpieces from Brid o’Driscoll Millinery and Majella Lennon.

I started my day by treating myself to two beautiful necklaces from Jewelbox.ie.  I fully intend paying a visit to the other exhibitors, Sheniel Shoes and Optique Opticians soon.

As this was a fabulous day, we were chauffeured by Bradley Renault  to our next stop. At Sarah Mason where we learnt about the hair from Sarah and about make-up from Aisling K.  I was feeling glamorous already.

The day of fashion shows and food at Swamp, Greenes Shoes, Colette Latchford, Revive Café, Brown Thomas, Choice Boutique and Willow was like a full immersion in fashion.  I found myself feeling so excited as I watched the models on the runways showing off clothes and accessories.  I fell in love with some seriously amazing fashion from House of Mowhawk an IFIA finalist.

My Big Fashionable Over Fifty Fashion take-aways

There were some big take-aways for me, as a plus-sized 52 year old.  What I learned is that you can take lessons and inspiration from fashion shows and magazines, from following Instagram and Facebook accounts and of course reading fashion blogs.  Learn and then twist it to make it your own.

These are my fashion lessons from the Galway Fashion Trail..

  1. There are always new season colours. Pick the colours that work for you and add them into your wardrobe to update them.  I love the dusky rose pink of this season and already have a fab pair of shoes and will be adding more – maybe a handbag!  The other colour that really popped for me was tomato red!  My all-time favourite royal blue also make an appearance which made me smile.
  2. Scarves are a beautiful way of making a statement. We were gifted some beautiful scarves from Swamp and Willow but also saw some amazing designer items from Louise Porter and Niamh Daniels both IFIA finalists.  I will be adding scarves to my birthday list.
  3. Jewellery is a great way of making a fashion without trying to be too trendy. Jewelbox.ie have some great fashion pieces in rose gold that shout this season.  I bought two pieces and will be featuring them in a new blog post soon.
  4. Dress lengths are great at the moment. The models showed off some amazing dresses at most of the shows that were on the knee or mid-calf.  This is such a flattering length.
  5. Don’t judge a book by its cover. When we visited Swamp I immediately thought that there would be nothing I liked.  I was wrong. There are quite a few items that are larger in size and might just be updating my wardrobe.  Lesson learnt – go into boutiques and stores, and wander around with an open mind.
  6. When in doubt, go with your instincts and wear what makes you feel fabulous.
  7. Finally I generally buy things when I really love them. I might spend a little more, but I know when I love something, it fits well and makes me feel fabulous, I will wear it!.

I really want to say thank you to Golden Egg Productions and Galway Now for hosting this wonderful event. And to all the lovely bloggers many of them much younger than me who welcomed me and made me feel fashionably fabulous.

I am a proud member of the ITWBN and the Irish Blogger Agency who invited me to be a fashionista at 52.  Thank you!

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

PS – Thank you to Sinead from Yummy Mummy who helped me with photos!

 

 

Yes, you can still be fabulous even if you have UI

 

I am determined to be fabulous no matter what.  For many woman that no matter what includes Urinary Incontinence (UI).  It is something we feel ashamed about and don’t like to talk about. A little while ago I was approached by Always Discreet to write a blog post about it.  I thought about it quite a bit, because even for me this was very bold and brave.  The reason I decided to talk about it was because it is a real issue.  It affects so many woman and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.  We should be able to access the solutions and still be fabulous.

This year I was approached by the fabulous glossy – Irish Country Magazine.  They wanted to feature me in an article about Urinary incontinence.  Again I hesitated.  I remembered the response I received after publishing the last blog post.  It was all very positive.  Woman were thanking me for speaking out.

The latest issue of Irish Country Magazine is on the shelves this week and my little case study is featured.  It is an honour to be included and ‘you know what’ I am proud to be talking about this important subject.

We do all deserve to be fabulous no matter what is going on behind the scenes.

Thank you so much for continuing to read my blog and to support me.

Kerry xx

Do more of what makes you happy

What does happiness mean to you.  It is different for each and every one of us.  The one thing I know for sure is that we deserve to be happy!

For a good while I didn’t know what happiness felt like and when, one day I was sitting alone drinking tea and eating a scone I realised that I was happy, and that I deserved to be happy.

Today is World Happiness Day and I am celebrating by doing a little more of what makes me happy.  I have been for a swim, I have cooked a yummy pot of tomato and roasted red pepper soup and I am simply being me.

This evening I will find time to make art and of course spend time with human and furry people who mean so much to me.  I have even arranged a Skype call with my son who is busy with college.

So my quotation today is simply

Do more of what makes you happy.

Imagine if we made a conscious effort to do one thing to make both ourselves and others happy every day.  I bet it would be a wonderful ripple effect and make each day a little brighter.

Thank you for reading my blog – which makes me happy!

Kerry x

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