Category: blogging

Mizzle – Words I Love!

I love words.  They are more powerful than we think and are an art form in themselves.

Finding a new word for me is a little like finding a treasure and then having the joy of exploring it, turning it over in my mouth and learning how to pronounce it and then finding a way to weave it into conversation.

In this new series on my blog I will be choosing a word of the week, and sharing what that word means to me.

Mizzle – a lovely moody word

Today’s word is mizzle.  Isn’t it a cool word it means really fine rain that is almost like mist?

mizzle, pronounced ˈmɪz(ə)l/t
noun
1. light rain; drizzle.
“the stillness that comes with a Cornish mizzle”
verb
1.  rain lightly.
‘t was mizzling steadily”

Mizzle is thought to be a late English word and to be derived from the word mist.

In Ireland we have lots of mizzle,and today have had some fairly steady rain interspersed by mizzle.

When I wake up to a good mizzle, I give myself permission to take it easy.  Perhaps skip exercise today and treat myself to a snuggle on the sofa with a good Netflix movie or something light-hearted.  I am currently watching The Good Place, which is fun, interspersed by Orphan Black which is anything but fun – it is a dark drama that is almost compulsive as it draws you into the world of cloning in such a believable day.

A good mizzle is also an excuse for comfort food.  Perhaps a day to make my store cupboard tomato soup, or even indulge in something naughty if I have it in the house.

Mizzle calls for gallons of tea, a good read – currently reading the latest Marian Keyes novel, Broken. Marian Keyes writes so easily that you can be excused for feeling that you know the characters personally, and in some cases relate.

Another definition of mizzle

I was interested to find another definition of mizzle as a verb describing someone who suddenly goes away or vanishes..  He mizzled into the crowd.

Hopefully I get to use the first definition more often than the alternative.  I don’t like people going missing.

Gaining Focus

Loving words is a great way to contemplate and gain focus.  If you are someone who meditates you can even meditate on the word, simply repeating it over and over until it leaks into your subconscious.

Thank you for reading my word this week.

Kerry x

Proudly Plus-sized and blogging about it!

For a long time I have been considering blogging about being plus-sized.  There is no reason why your size should stop you being fashionably fabulous.

For Christmas a couple of years ago my mom gave me a gift voucher to a fashion store.  Now, it is not polite to ask someone how much the voucher is worth. When I was in the shopping mall I popped into the store and asked the assistant if she could let me know how much I could spend.

The assistant looked at me, and didn’t even take the voucher.  She simply said “I don’t think we have anything to fit you here.”

I was speechless! Walking away from the store I felt less than fabulous and frankly upset and shocked.

Once I started to think about it I got mad.  This shop stocks fashion, shoes, handbags, fabulous accessories and lingerie.  They are also known for having a plus size department.  It was made apparent that this particular branch didn’t stock the plus size range, but that was no excuse for the rude and frankly hurtful manner in which I was addressed.

I could easily have chosen to spend my voucher money on earrings, and a gorgeous necklace or scarf.  The last time I checked my ears and neck were not plus sized.  A standard handbag also seems to fit me – in fact I like small bags.  I don’t want to sound bitchy, but really!!!

I did complain, and I did receive an apology.  It did get me thinking though of plus-size fashion, and especially the role accessories play in giving an outfit that fabulous touch. It was instances such as this that helped me to make the decision to introduce fashion and style into my blog.

Ireland’s got Curves and so do I

I am delighted to say that I will be attending Ireland’s got Curves a fabulous event which being launched by Miss Curves Ireland, SharonD.  For many of us who struggle with our weight we are made to feel less than fabulous by mainstream shops.

Many of my photographs (by the lovely Natalie Greer) show my head and shoulders (my best bits), but this photo shows almost all of me.  I am not going to shy away from showing my wobbly bits, after all they are part of me.

It is for this reason and my own experience that I have decided that I will embrace fashion blogging, as a plus-sized and over 50 fabulous woman.

Please come and visit my blog again and also follow me on Instagram – DynamicKerry – where I will be showing off my style!

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

 

Why do I blog? I blog because I love communication.

Why do I blog?  I blog because I love communication.  Years and years ago I went to college and studied communication and this has been a constant in my career and life since then.  Communication is the key to successful relationships.

Communication FabuliciousfiftyAt college, I remember studying Marshal McLuhan and his model of the global village.  In the early eighties this was all a little sci-fi.

“Global village”, was first talked about in Marshal McLuhan’s book The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of the Typographic Man.  In this book McLuhan described the internet as it is today when technology basically shrinks the world into a village.  This was in the early sixties.  During the eighties when I was studying I clearly remember a line in a text-book, which talked about the future of communication.  It posited that photographs might be able to be sent over a telephone line!

As a junior public relations officer I remember photographs and press releases being sent by courier to the newspapers or via telex after being typed into a weird typewriter thing that spat out yellow punch tape.

Fast forwarding out of history to the present and my desire to communicate and connect with people still exists.  I have worked in the industry for many years communicating on behalf of others, but many of you will know it is far harder to talk – or write – about yourself than someone else.

My blog was born after I turned 50. This was a turning point in my life and I was determined that life’s circumstances would not get me down.  I wanted to greet middle age with a wave of confidence.

After careful thought I chose Fabuliciousfifty as the name of my blog and tentatively put up my first post.  Ten people read it and I was delighted. I wanted to blog about overcoming life’s curveballs and still being fabulous and to communicate with people who might be in the same boat as me.  Over the past 18 months now and have written about all sorts of stuff from balance, to fitness and my walking journey, my struggle with pain and social isolation.

The most important thing for me is the feedback.  The little notes and messages that I receive mean that my blog is about communication – two way communication and I wanted to thank everyone who reads my blog for that.

Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards

I am really humbled and honoured that I have been nominated and then voted on by my peers and have been shortlisted in two categories in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards.

If you would like to give me a little vote the link is here.

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But most of all I wanted to thank you for reading and giving me feedback.  We truly are living in a global village now.

Thank you for reading and giving me such lovely feedback.

Kerry xx

Blog marketing – a plan to follow

 

Fabuliciousfifty blog marketing planI recently had the opportunity to talk to a group of bloggers and as part of that presentation I discussed marketing a blog.  Thank you everyone for the great feedback!

I have worked in marketing most of my adult life, so when I decided to start my blog I thought about marketing it too. The obvious route was to see how other people marketed their blogs, but then I started thinking back to what I did as my day job.

My area of expertise is in strategic marketing.  I did a little marketing strategy for my blog, which has been reviewed and re-evaluated at regular intervals. It was only on a scrap of paper mind, but I would really recommend doing this as it helps to clarify my thinking, both in terms of content and my reader.

Marketing a blog – a mini plan

When you are putting together a marketing plan there are a few essentials that are normally included.  There are various models and methods for planning a marketing strategy, but for this post I am going to focus on my favourite method.

  • Research
  • Target audience
  • Message
  • Establish objectives – set goals.
  • Actions

Research

Research is the first stop for anything.  You might have an idea of starting a blog, but unconsciously or consciously we all research.  I would advise doing more of this.  Read blogs, talk to your friends, ask questions.  Do some research on the techy side – find out which platforms work for you, which channels work for you.  (Although I have snapchat it really doesn’t work for me – it doesn’t fit in with my message).

Your research and your initial idea you give you a very clear idea of what you want to blog about, but who is going to read it?

Target Audience

Defining your target audience is I think one of the most important steps in marketing.  My blog is called Fabuliciousfifty – so there is a bit of clue in the title.  My audience is primarly woman who are a little older.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t get readers across the board.  Google analytics tells me that my readers range between 30 and 60 and do include some men!

I think that it is important to have an ideal reader in your mind.  Marketers even go as far as describing their ideal customers.

This might be a description for a product like healthy convenience foods – or a blog for busy working mums.

This is Mary, she is a working mother who has two kids and is short on time.  Convenience is key in her life.  Healthy eating is a priority, as is exercise.  She is 35 and living in Ireland.  The more detail and description you give to your ideal customer the better.

Knowing who you want to reach will help not only with coming up with content, but also with promotion and how you go about reaching your ideal reader.  It is also important for approaching brands as they will want to know who your target audience is.

Message

Knowing what you are and who you are talking to is really important and is quickly followed by your message, or elevator pitch.

My message is…

Fabuliciousfifty is a health, wellness and positivity blog which is all about being fabulous despite the curve balls life throws at us.  I have survived a very hard marriage and am constantly dealing with a good handful of auto-immune diseases, but I am determined to be fabulous.  There are days that I feel awful, but every day I try to be fabulous – inside and out.  I want to inspire anyone who is battling with health – especially those invisible diseases to find the fabulous no matter how they are feeling.

I also have a real passion for body confidence – and believe that we should all feel fabulous no matter what size and shape we are.

Goals and objectives

Your message links directly into your goals and objectives.  If we are following a traditional marketing plan the next step is to establish some objectives.  Objectives and goals are really important in all aspects of life.

I think it is important to go back to why you are blogging when setting objectives.  Some of my own objectives are to get meaningful comments on blog posts – I don’t get them every post but when I do – wow that really makes me feel good.  When I get personal emails telling me that a blog post really touched someone that means loads.

Many bloggers set statistics as goals.   Examples of reasonable goals might be 200 Facebook followers on your blog page, or 50 blog followers.  These are good goals, but, I honestly believe that we shouldn’t get too caught up with numbers.

Yes numbers are important – they are important for collaborations, and they are important for us too.  I just try and not get bogged down with them.

Other great objectives are to set a blogging calender – and stick to it.  Make a plan to post weekly/ bi-weekly or whatever, but most importantly try to stick with it.  I generally post on a Wednesday – sometimes more often but lately I haven’t been that well and have fallen a bit behind.  Within a space of a week I had skype messages, personal calls and texts saying how much readers look forward to Wednesday and that they were glad I was back.

Set objective such as an interview once a month, following and reading 4 other blogs per month – and of course leaving a meaningful comment.  Blog love is the best!

I also make research one of my objectives – this might involve a subject or a product range but I do believe that if you write with knowledge it does make a difference.

Actions

Finally the actions.  These actions are not really blogging itself, but more actions that promote and organise your blog.

  • Set up a blogging calender
  • Start a blogging idea bank
  • Put together your media kit
  • Set up a blog page on FB
  • Join in Twitter Hours -examples are #womaninspire and  #galway hour – there are many more for specific subjects
  • Join Facebook groups (I will be doing a post on these very soon)
  • Attend a blogging event such as ITWBN birthday or Bloggerconf
  • Join a blogger agency – just launched in Ireland the Irish Blogger Agency

I also set myself mini time goals and action plans for social media.  I do some social media coaching and always tell my clients to limit their time on social media.  It can be a real time suck – so my advice is to set yourself times for social media and then work hard at social media during that time.  At the moment I am working on my Instagram and have committed to uploading something every day, inputting 1 hashtag and finding new people to follow.

Thank you so much for reading this long post.  I would love your feedback and any ideas you have for marketing blogs.

 

Kerry x

 

 

Bellissimo – Everyone has a right to feel lovely

Bellissimo translated into English means lovely.  I strongly believe that no matter where we are in our lives we all should feel lovely.  Sometimes that comes about due to some kind words but sometimes it rests on us to make ourselves feel lovely no matter what is going on in our lives.

Bellisimo pretty mermaid nailsI know for me having my nails done is a big treat.  Due to some of the auto-immune diseases I have and some of the drugs I need to take, my nails are brittle, ridged and dented.  One has a fault and it cannot grow.  Every little millimetre it grows just causes a vertical split.

One of the few things that helps is having a manicure and if I go all out and have a Shellac (two-week manicure) it kind of holds my nails together.  And of course makes me feel lovely.

I was treated to a beautiful ‘mermaid’ themed shellac manicure at a blogger pamper evening held at the very aptly named Bellissimo salon in Galway.  My comment – these nails look so good I might have to scratch someone just to show them off.  Of course there might be other ways of showing them off too.

It was such a fun evening, hanging out with ITWBN bloggers having manicures and pedicures while eating delicious food supplied by the g Counter.  Honestly it was a bit like a grown-up slumber party with lots of giggling and laughing as we had the run of the salon for the night.

Trying on a long glamours dark wig!The biggest laughs of the evening came about when we started trying on wigs.  There were shrieks of laughter as we transformed ourselves into different characters by simply changing our hair.  Loads of giggles.  Wigs however are a medical necessity for many women.

A couple of years ago when I started on Methotrexate to treat arthritis a lot of my hair fell out!  I have always been quite proud of my hair and I can tell you I panicked.  Hair wash day became worry day as the plug hole filled and each stroke of the brush meant less hair on my head.

Thankfully I didn’t loose all my hair, and by using vitamins and other tricks and techniques (which you can read about here), I was able to get back on track.  I regularly trimmed my hair and waited hoping it would grow back.

Many many woman are not as lucky.  Various conditions and drug programmes result in thinning hair leaving woman feeling less lovely than they should be.

As we clowned around in the wig room at Bellissimo I couldn’t help thinking how important wigs are to so many people.  Many of the wigs available look so good, you wouldn’t realise that they were exactly that.  These wigs are well made and although synthetic would make anyone look fabulous – even if they were simply having a bad hair day.

I spoke to  Mike and Dympna our Bellissimo hosts who explained that because the salon was registered with the HSE (Ireland’s health service), there was a contribution that could be claimed against the purchase of a wig if hair loss was medically related.  The staff is fully informed and are happy to help anyone in a confidential way.   You can also have a look at the info on the website. I can promise you that anyone leaving the salon would feel fabulous!

Bellissimo in Galway is a simply gorgeous venue.  I really couldn’t think of a better name for a salon that makes woman feel lovely!

Thanks to the staff and the lovely ITWBN bloggers for having a pretend slumber party with me.  I felt Bellissimo going home.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

Finding your blogging voice

Finding your blogging voice

 

When you decide to start a blog, you might have a clear idea of what you want to write about, but, have you really found our blogging voice?

I have recently read back on some of my earlier blog posts and realised that it took a while to find my blogging voice.

It is important to figure out what it is you want to blog about and to find your blogging voice.  This is what is going to make your blog popular and have people returning to read your posts on a regular basis.

My mission, a year after starting my blog was to find out what was working and what wasn’t.  Because I love statistics this was my first stop.  I had a look at my stats on Google Analytics and on Jetpack which is a WordPress plug-in.  I also had a look at my comments and which posts had the most feedback.

If I had to describe myself I would say that I am a storyteller.  I tell stories about my quest to feel fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at us. I am a plus size lady, who has passed the age of 50 who loves life and is determined to find the positive.  I have a good few health issues, that really are curveballs for me.  Over the past few years I have learnt that in order to feel fabulous I need to consider my health and wellness holistically.  I look to my own experiences and to others to find out what it is that gives is that positive kick to overcome the stumbling blocks of life.

I would say that it took me from about 13 to 30 to find myself – to find my style and the things that I would be passionate about most of my life.  I have some pretty frightening and clear memories of some fashion disasters that followed me through my twenties, not to mention hair styles including the spiral perm on very blond hair.  I think I must have looked quite odd, and yet I didn’t think so at the time.

By the time I had hit my forties I had found my personal style.  I do still indulge in some fashion purchases and some of these are less advisable, but generally speaking I now know what suits me and what doesn’t.

Finding your blogging voice is similar I think.  In an effort to find mine I have looked for advice.

I was given a fabulous book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, and it devotes a full chapter to finding your voice.

‘Great bloggers all share one virtue in common:  They infuse their writing with a triple shot of personality.   Let your personality flow into your blogging and your readers will find you.’

Jeffrey Feldman, editor in chief of Frameshop and Huffpost blogger.

Verena von Pfetten, Living Editor at Huffington Post advises you to use the voice you have.

‘The best and easiest way to find your voice is to use the one you have. Sounds too easy?  It’s not.  That is why blogging is so popular!  First think about blogging as writing an email to a friend.  Better yet, and email to a really cool clever friend with whom you have a great and witty rapport’ says Verena.

She also advises to simply start writing.  You don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over how you are going to draft an email, so don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over a blog post.  It is not worth the effort.

Her final piece of advice is not to try too hard.  Don’t try to be anything other than exactly who you are.  It is your voice you are trying to find.

I have been blogging for over a year now, and I want to thank everyone who has read my blog, and an extra thanks for the comments and feedback.  Thanks for helping me find my voice.

I also want to do a quick thank you to the ladies at ITWBN who run fabulous events and give bloggers support.  Being part of a blogging network and reading lots of other blogs is really important and certainly helps to find your blogging voice.

I am proud to say I am a health, wellness and positivity blogger.  Here is to another year writing about finding the fabulous especially for those who are a little older and those who are facing some curveballs themselves.

If you are thinking of starting a blog – do it!  If you want any help or advise please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

 

So you have decided to start blogging …

 

#itwbnselfie

I started my blog at the beginning of the year, but I can honestly say that the real kick-start came after attending a blogging event.

That first event was the ITWBN meet-up at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway.  I was made to feel so welcome and was so inspired by fellow bloggers, speakers and the sparkling and lovely event organised by Saibh and Sinead.

A few weeks ago I was delighted to once again attend an ITWBN event at the gracious Ardilaun Hotel.  The event featured Joanne Larby, the Make-up Fairy.

Now, I am not strictly a beauty blogger, but I do love my make-up and love being fabulous so I dressed up fancy (and had my photo taken by a friendly photographer), and headed out with a spring in my step.

What a wonderful an inspiring event.  It started with a  warm welcome from my fellow bloggers, some which I knew already, and others who I had the pleasure of getting to know.  We were treated to gorgeous fruit cocktails and fragrant Solaris tea before sitting down to a spread.

The food was delicious.  Our table devoured the yummy savouries and were delighted to receive an extra plate.  Scones, and sweet goodies followed all washed down by tea.  Catriona from Solaris Tea urged us to try some of the special teas and I found myself addicted to Chai Green Tea, so much so that I had to buy a box to take home!

Joanne is glamorous in person, but is also very down to earth.  As she shared her story, I found myself inspired and was quickly jotting down ideas for posts and for increasing my readership.  Joanne built her blog from very little.  The success of her blog is a result of lots of hard work and consistency.   It wasn’t all about beauty, more about blogging and Joanne was very generous about sharing  tips for taking your blog the step further.  Question time was great, lots more scribbling from me.

No blogging event from the fabulous ITWBN would be complete without a legendary goody bag.  Snuggled up on my sofa after the event, the pencil came out again as I started planning even more blog posts based on the goodies!

Blogging can be a very solitary hobby, but by attending events and joining groups you become part of a community.  A community of colleagues that are there to inspire you.

Thank you to Saibh and Sinead for your hard work!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

 

 

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