Category: Fabulous women

What is your definition of Fabulous?

 

Fabulous means being the absolute best version of yourself.  It means tapping into yourself and understanding exactly who you are and them adding a bit of oomph!

Be fabulousA dictionary defines fabulous as being extraordinary – it is a superlative, but a good one!!

When I started my blog I chose the name and the meaning because I was striving to overcome quite a few things that had landed in my way.  I was rebuilding my life after a marriage breakdown, dealing with depression, kick starting a career at fifty and dealing with a couple of auto-immune diseases that meant that pain was a constant companion.

Be Fabulous.  I said this to myself on a daily basis.  I was tapping into the idea that if you act the act and talk the talk it will become reality.  Every morning I get up, I do my hair (which was a challenge when it started to fall out), and do my make-up.  I learnt new make-up tricks and started treating myself to new products.

My wardrobe became my friend as I started to put together outfits that made me feel fabulous.  I have some great favourites like a cobalt blue chiffon jacket that makes me feel good on a bad day.

For me this seemingly superficial attention to detail was a great trigger to feeling better. By taking care of myself on this level I started to pay more attention to the next level down and took time to give my skin nourishment and to start putting a walking plan into place.

Slowly the sense of fabulousness filtered through to a deeper level where I take time to nourish my mind and body on a daily basis.  I make sure I have time each day to simply be.  To sit and think.

I have a huge amount of work to do in my life – not least of which is my tidying and decluttering journey which is my current voyage.

A tribe of Fabulous Women

A huge joy for me this past year has been starting a group on Facebook of Fabulous Women.  Here I have met so many wonderful ladies who all define fabulous in a different way.

The constant is that we as fabulous women lift each other up and celebrate our uniqueness in a positive way.  Fabulous women are kind, they are caring and they are fierce when needed.  These are women who are determined that life circumstances will not get them down, and that when they rise, they will hold out their hands to the other women in their circle and lift them up.

What does Fabulous mean to you?

For each of us feeling fabulous means something different.  We are not all into hair and make-up, and we are not all into hiking.  This is what makes it such fun – we are all unique.

My wish is that we can all take a minute a day and tap into what makes us feel fabulous.  And if you, like me need to act it and talk it until it is a reality – then that is ok too.

 

I would love to hear how you define fabulous.  Please feel free to contact me and let me know.

If you would like to join the group on Facebook you are very welcome!  We are now over 1500 Fabulous Women!

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

The Art of Kintsugi – embracing our imperfections

kintsugi fabuliciousfifty

I am 52.  I have wrinkles. I have lived. I have actually been through a lot – we all have really.  No matter what we have been through we are essentially beautiful.

Anyone who reads my blog will know that my personal philosophy is to strive to be fabulous despite what life throws at us.  I wear make-up and do my hair, I like wearing nice clothes and looking pretty. It is not about vanity, but rather about celebration and determination.

The one thing that I have never done though is to hide my imperfections.

I was scrolling through Facebook recently and saw this fabulous meme about a Japanese art form called Kintsugi.  Basically broken pottery is mended with gold – highlighting the flaws and making them beautiful rather than hiding them.  It is also about celebrating an object rather than trashing it.

broken pottery fabuliciousfifty

I found this explanation on www.lakesidepottery.com.

Kintsugi Art Metaphor: “Mending Broken Pottery With Gold”

What Can We Learn From a Broken Pot?

Kintsugi, as the practice is known, gives new life or rebirth to damaged or aging ceramic objects by celebrating their flaws and history. One can consider how we might live a kintsugi life, finding value in the, missing pieces, cracks and chips – bringing to light the scars that have come from life experiences, finding new purpose through aging and loss, seeing the beauty of ‘imperfection’ and loving ourselves, family and friends even with flaws.

What do we do with something that breaks.  We throw it away.  In Japan, the philosophy is to embrace imperfections (Wabi Sabi) and this is the source of the art of Kintsugi.

I don’t often write about my own cracks and breaks.  I do have them though, many of them.  Some from age, and others from circumstance.  These cracks are what makes me.  It is our experiences and life that we have lived that makes us the beautiful humans that we are.

Let us embrace our imperfections.  Celebrate ourselves with our cracks and breaks in sparkling gold.  I don’t mean that we should dwell on the negative, but rather acknowledge it and how much stronger it has made us.

Signing off as a beautiful kintsugi vase, showing off my imperfections.

Kerry xx

 

Celebrating my birthday with Joy

I have always loved celebrating my birthday.  I guess it is really just a great excuse to get together with family and friends and celebrate life.

There is always reason to celebrateAs I get older (and I will be 52 in a few days time), I try and reason with myself.  You are too old, too tired, not well enough, it will be too much work, and then something happens to remind me why we should celebrate our birthdays.

Last week I listened to Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sheryl Sandberg is a fabulous woman in my opinion, and has shown just how strong she is following the death of her husband just over a year ago.  In this speech she is very honest and quite emotional about the shock of dealing with his sudden death and how she has coped.

She talks about finding joy and meaning. “Dave’s death changed me in profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void — or in the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning.”

Choosing joy over sadness can be really hard, but the rewards are immense.

I urge you to listen to the speech which you can do here.  Her honesty about pain and hurt is so real, but so is the message that we can continue on.

Now what has this to do with cake?  During her address Sheryl Sandberg says “I used to celebrate my birthday every five years, and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always.”

We do not know what is ahead of us, but what I do know is that my riches in my life are in people, my friends and family.  A birthday party – why not?  It is a great excuse to celebrate life and to focus on gratitude for what we have experienced this last year.

I have decided that this year I will simply open my home, and spend quality sofa time with wonderful people.  It is an open invitation to if you would like to join in, please message me.

I have chosen to celebrate on 6 June which is a day early, but as it is a bank holiday it will be lovely and relaxing.

I urge you to use any excuse really to celebrate and spread joy.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Be Brave – take the first step

Be brave, take the first step

Being brave is huge!  It means different things to different people really but it is really a very powerful emotion that can propel us forward in a really good and positive way.

What does brave mean to you?

For some people attending an event or a function is brave. For others it might be attempting something that they never thought they could do.  We all have our comfort zones and when we take a step outside of this lovely comfortable place we are being brave.  For me it is stepping out into the unknown.

I am being really courageous this year.  Due to my health, I have had to start again.  Literally.  Imagine almost 52 and having to find a new career which will fit in with my current life.  It isn’t easy, but I am reading and learning and hopefully will be able to work part time very soon.

I have also had to be extremely brave and face some of my exercise demons.

This time last year I was living in Westport, working as the Head of Marketing for a financial services company and generally living it up.

Now my life has changed and I am living in Galway and trying to get my body as strong as possible in ways I can control.  I think this is really important as I cannot completely control the arthritis or fibromyalgia (never mind the other issues), but I can control my fitness levels.

I was brave in February when I did a 10km walk for charity.  I felt this way again when I did the Darkness into Life walk earlier in May.  I felt terribly brave when I went to my first yoga class.  Granted it was a yoga class for people with joint pain, but it was still hard to walk into a room and realise that you might be the biggest person in the class and more likely the least flexible person.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am lying on my back with my legs up against the wall, and trying various poses.  It is still a long way from the downward facing dog, but I am proud that I am taking these little brave steps.

Every day we have a choice, to be brave and take that step out of the comfort zone or stay cuddled in the warmth of the known.

I do both.  One thing I have learned though is that every time I take a brave step, the reward is there.  It isn’t always immediate, but it does come.

Please feel free to stop by and tell me your stories about being brave.  It honestly doesn’t matter how small the step, it is a step in the right direction.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

Fabulous Women delight in each other’s growth

'A Flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms'

When a flower is blooming, it doesn’t worry about the flower next to it, neither does it compete with it simply blooms. This is a wonderful sentiment and one that I really need to take heed of.

As woman (even from a young age) we are always very aware of our peers. How they look, how they are doing and how we are doing in comparison. I don’t know about anyone else but I always seem to come up short.
We have so many lessons we can learn from nature.

For fabulous women there are two sides to this very relevant quote:

A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms

The first is that we should delight in each other’s growth and celebrate each other’s victories.
A couple of months ago I started a group on Facebook called Fabulous Woman. It was something that I did because I was looking for a tribe. I was seeking positive woman who were not bitchy and who wanted to lift each other up rather than breaking each other down.

I can’t begin to express the joy that this group has given me personally. In a space of two short months it has grown to over 800 members with many members active on a weekly basis. As I am lucky enough to have two home countries membership has grown not only in both Ireland and South Africa, but across the globe. It is so wonderful to see support pouring out across the miles, and fabulous women friendships being formed.

This wonderful bunch of fabulous women is just like a full field of flowers all blooming together and celebrating life.

The second part is one I really need to take note of.  We are all individual and unique.  It is so easy, especially on social media to wonder if you are good enough or if you are doing enough in terms of diet, exercise or even fashion.  We are constantly bombarded with messages of what we should and shouldn’t  do.

I think we spend far too much time competing with others – and sometimes they are not even aware that we are competing.  I often find myself using my energy on something that isn’t productive.  Something that doesn’t make me bloom.  We need to nurture ourselves.

I also seem to be a worrier.  I am told if there was nothing to worry about I would find something.  I have had to learn, and am still learning that other people’s problems are exactly that, they are not my problems.

So today let us remember this Wednesday quotation:

‘A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms’

Thanks so much for reading and for the support.

Kerry x

If you would like to join the Fabulous Woman Facebook group – please feel free to request or message me!

Celebrating Fat and Fabulous with Ashley Tipton of Project Runway

 

Ashley Tipton Fabuliciousfifty

Project Runway has always been one of my guilty secrets.  Of all the reality shows this is the one where I sit quietly with a cup of tea and absorb.  Warning – don’t talk to me or interrupt – this is my program.

Season 14 kicked off and I was even more excited to meet Ashley Nell Tipton, a big beautiful woman who wanted to win to launch her own plus sized range.  This was a woman living my dream.

Ashley is all about self acceptance and loving you.

Her mission: to represent for full-figured women and to enable them to have options to express their style and individuality through fashion just like women who wear “standard” size.

Project Runway Season 14

Throughout the challenges on Project Runway, Ashley designed for the standard models and early on she began to shine. It wasn’t about designing plus sized fashion, it was about designing beautiful garments. I loved her quirky taste and very wearable fashion sense.  I wanted to buy her clothes already.

Early on in the season during a team challenge some of the other very trendy girl competitors tried to ‘throw her under the bus’.  It was ugly and quite obviously planned.  I was delighted when Kelly Osbourne called them on it!  Bullying is never ok in my book, and despite showing vulnerability, Ashley showed them by winning challenge after challenge.

Fabuliciousfifty Project Runway winnerAshley Nell Tipton’s finale show stole my heart.  I was metaphorically ordering everything that came down the runway, other than the shorts, because I am beyond wearing shorts really!  I didn’t love this fashion because it was for plus sized woman and was being modelled by plus size models.  I loved it because it was fresh and wearable.  It had style and was simply fabulous.

The finale show was themed around Mexico City in the 50s and featured the most wonderful head pieces full of flowers.  If I get invited to Ladies Day at the Galway Races this year, I will make myself one of these!

All the fabrics were hand dyed in unique shades of my perennial favourites of pink, aqua and violet.

I have to admit that I created my own spoiler.  About ten minutes before the Project Runway winner  was announced I picked up my iPad and started googling to see if I could buy something from Ashely’s collection.  I immediately found out that she had won, but to be honest it didn’t take away from the joy of watching the results.

Clothes and confidence

When it comes to clothes and fashion I believe that it is all about how you feel wearing the clothes.  If you feel fabulous you will exude confidence and that will make your inner beauty shine.

On the other hand if you are uncomfortable or conscious of a bad fit you will feel awkward and this will filter through to the rest of your demeanour.

I am so excited that Ashley has secured a deal with JC Penney to produce a line of clothing for them. The clothes are expected in Autumn and Winter this year.

This way all the fabulous girls will get to wear gorgeous clothes!

Fun, funky and fat.  Why not just say it like Ashley does and not be apologetic about it.

Thanks for reading and celebrating a truly fabulous woman.

Kerry x

Human Kindness – the Story of the Yellow Handbag

The Yellow Handbag and a story of kindness

 

This is a little story about a yellow handbag, but really it is a story about human kindness.

I was visiting London just after Christmas and was delighted to receive a beautiful yellow handbag as a gift from my sister. I was excited, and immediately changed everything over.

The next day I packed up my things to catch a train to Birmingham where I was attending a craft exhibition at the NEC.  I felt really smart heading off with my new handbag and a borrowed backpack.

I need to stop here and draw a little picture of where I was in my life at the time.  I was suffering from severe depression and had made a decision (on my own) to come off the anti-depressants.  While I was over in London my Dad was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and I was trying to process this.  Life was a little hard, to be honest but I was still determined that all would be well.

On the second day of the exhibition I packed up early and had a quick breakfast in my hotel in the centre of Birmingham before catching the rush hour train from Birmingham Central to Birmingham International.  I boarded the train with my backpack, my yellow handbag and my bag of goodies from the exhibition.

What I didn’t realise was that my body was going into withdrawal from the anti-depressants and that quite honestly I was cracking up.

It is a short distance from the station to the exhibiton.  Considering the day ahead, I walked along and then  I stopped and stumbled and nearly fell over in shock.  I didn’t have my handbag with me.

Passport, money, phone,  train ticket, air ticket, house and car keys, everything.  I felt physically sick.

I stumbled along to the organiser’s office where I told them what had happened.  They offered me a seat and the use of the phone.  By this stage everything had closed in on me.  I was crying uncontrollably.  The shock added to everything else that was going on in my life, the worry about my Dad and the loss of my handbag had flattened me.

I had no idea how I could even get back to London, never mind Ireland.

I walked back to the station and asked about my ticket.  “You need to purchase another ticket to London”, I was told.  I walked back to the NEC – I didn’t know what to do.

Human Kindness from a friend

On returning to the exhibition I tried to focus and realised that I needed money of some sort to at least get back to London and to my sister.  Thankfully Sara from Crafters Companion, who was exhibiting, knew me didn’t even hesitate – she loaned me 50 Pounds.

I tried to enjoy the exhibition but by this stage my heart was not in it.  I felt broken.

Walking back to the station, yet again I really didn’t know what to do.  Something led me back to the enquiries office where I had been turned away earlier.  The man on duty clearly saw my distress and told me to go down to Platform 7.

Human Kindness from a stranger

There I met the kindest man who took my missing handbag seriously.  He called everyone he knew.  He traced the train down to London where it was on a siding being cleaned.  He spoke to the cleaners.  He left no stone un-turned.  He checked every station along the way.  He checked lost property.  I just sat there with my crumpled tissue feeling lost and desperate.

Eventually he had exhausted all his options and we called the police.  There had been a number of incidents where handbags had been stolen they told me.  They took down the report.

Just as I sat down the phone rang.  ‘Stay here,” he said.  Minutes later he walked in with my handbag.  My beautiful handbag.  ‘Check it please,” he said.  I did and nothing at all was missing.

Human Kindness from a woman I never met

The story was that one of the staff members on Virgin Trains had seen me get on the train at Birmingham Central with the yellow handbag and seen me get off at Birmingham International without it.  She was near the area where I was sitting, and rescued my handbag and brought it back to Birmingham International where she knew I would be stranded.

This was quite a few years ago, but I have never forgotten the kindness of the man who helped me search for the bag and the woman who had cared enough to bring it back to me.  I don’t know if it is possible, but perhaps through social media I might find this angel and be able to thank her properly.

If you have a kindness story, I would love to hear it.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

 

 

 

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