Category: lifestyle

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

 

Talking about the importance of Body Confidence

I am body confident.  But, it hasn’t always been that way.

The irony is that when I had no confidence I actually was within a normal weight range, was much younger, and probably on the surface had a lot going for me.  Inside though my confidence – or lack of it messed up so many relationships, fuelled an unhealthy relationship with food and contributed to depression that was my black dog for many years.

Now I am 52, overweight, a few grey hairs, a few wrinkles and I have body confidence.

What really changed to give me body confidence?

What really changed?  I have given this a lot of thought.

I have waded through photographs of myself taken over the last 50 odd years looking for answers.  The only answers I got were that over the years my body has got less perfect (when measured up against the norm).  If the answer wasn’t in physical appearance then where was it?

I started to think about the people in my life at various stages.  It was at this point that some answers started to appear through the mist.  Where were the people who loved me unconditionally?  Where were the people who believed in me wholeheartedly?

It is very important to make a statement here.  Each person’s belief system is unique and individual to them.  Belief is the subject of another blog post in the future, but what I really want to emphasise here is that it wasn’t about the people who supported or believed in me, it was about my perception that they did.

Even if someone loves you unconditionally and supports you – and you don’t feel it or believe it then it doesn’t count as far as body confidence goes.

You need to know that there are people around you that support you.  It needs to be obvious support.  Compliments, affirmations lots of positive feedback.

Of course this is only part of it.  A huge part of body confidence comes from within.  That within needs feeding though.  It needs feeding by others and by you.

The media  and other voices and how they affect and body confidence

The media is constantly showing us unrealistic beauty.  We know it is airbrushed, but regardless this feeds into negative self-confidence.

It is more than just the media though.  People who are around you can affect the way you feel about yourself, especially if your self-confidence is low.

I have to share a little story about just that.  I was visiting my sister in Dubai – which is hot!  She said I must definitely bring a swim suit.  Well I hadn’t worn one in years.  I bought one online and felt very self-conscious wearing it.  I wrapped myself in a sarong and towel and headed outdoors for a dip.  The only ‘person’ around was the cat!  Well you know what cats are like – he looked me up and down and I felt awful.  Because, my inner self-confidence was in shreds.

Be that person that builds body confidence in others

My request today is that you decide to be the person that builds other people up.  This is more important even than remaining neutral.

Young girls are having issues with body confidence all the time.  They compare themselves to others, to people on TV and on social media and are made to feel that they are not good enough.

Although I know that self-confidence must come from within, I strongly believe that feeding anyone with a diet of compliments, positivity and unconditional friendship will go a long way to building body confidence.

I am so grateful to the people in my life, from boyfriends (and yes I mention this first as you need a lot of body confidence to get naked), family, friends and colleagues who have spent the time to like a photo on Facebook, and tell me I am looking good.  The times when someone has complimented me on what I am wearing or told me how a blog post I have written has helped them.

Feed your friends a diet of positivity.  They will really appreciate it.

I know for me once I heard it often enough I started to believe it and that is when the shift happened for me.  There were other tools I used including counselling too. It is never simple, but it has to start somewhere.  Receiving a compliment is a great place to start.

This body I stand in today is mine, and I am proud of it.  Every dimpled cellulite bump, wrinkle and pound.  Even my freckles which I have been trying to get rid of for years.  I have body confidence but it took a long time to get it.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share so we can spread this message about body confidence around the internet.

Kerry xx

Get up and Go – I am excited!

Sponsored post

Get-up and Go – how many times have you asked for a little of that.  I know I have.  Days when I am tired, or simply not motivated.  I hear a voice in my head – Kerry, just get up and go.

Well it seems that the call has been answered.  I am delighted to be attending the Get up and Go event in Sligo on 21 and 22 April.

I will be spending two days in a beautiful setting in County Sligo listening to some of the most inspiring speakers and most importantly tapping into my own get up and go.

Get up and Go with Passion and Purpose

The Theme for 2017 is Get Up and Go with Passion and Purpose.  It was chosen to inspire everyone to think about what you are truly passionate about and to discover how to create purpose in life by living true to your passion.

Spend two days listening to wonderful inspirational speakers in their own unique style of ‘get up and go’. Speakers and topics range from business, adventure, entrepreneurship, confidence, education, health and well-being. All with the intention to inspire, motivate, encourage and empower the audience to ‘get up and go’ in life, especially in areas where they might be ‘stopped’ or stuck.

‘Our speakers this year show us how, as ordinary people, we can courageously step outside of our ‘comfort zones’ to pursue what is important to us, and be a demonstration of life lived in accordance with passion and purpose”, said Eileen Bennett organiser and publisher of the now famous Get up and Go diary series..

Do you suffer from FOMO?

I am one of those people who suffer from serious FOMO (fear of missing out).  There are often great events on in Dublin or abroad, that I simply can’t get to for one reason or another.  This time there is a unique opportunity to listen to some amazing speakers at an affordable price point and within reach.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Sligo is a spectacularly beautiful location on the Wild Atlantic Way, with scenery that has inspired artists for years.  I will be snapping images for my upcoming art exhibition as we travel north for a two-day event that promises to shift thinking.

This is really an event with a heart.  It is a not for profit event with four charities that will receive support.  I am guessing that there will be many more people who will be benefiting from simply attending, listening to the speaker and tapping into their get up and go.

Hope to see you there, and watch this space for a report back.  I have my notebooks ready and know I will return inspired.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with the Irish Blogger Agency.  But, to be honest I would have written it anyway, it is an event that is just up my street!  I am counting the days.

 

How to be Fabulous

Fabulous is probably my favourite word.  When I was on the cusp of turning 50 I had really mixed feelings – do I duck it and pretend to be 49 for years, or do I embrace it.  I decided to go with the latter and to be fabulous at 50 and beyond.

how-to-be-fabulous

Words are very important to me.  I am writing a book about how single words have changed my life, and the word Fabulous would have to be included.  This time last year I had a breakdown – a hard-earned one, and I can honestly say that embracing the fabulous has been a huge part of my journey.

I have been through a lot.  A broken marriage, depression and numerous health issues which are still ongoing.  The one thing I have learned is that the only person you can be is you.  And it is your obligation to be the best you that you can be.

My favourite quote is this one from Dr Seuss.

Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is youer than you.

When we are authentic we are fabulous.

So how do you embrace your Fabulousness.

There are 6 principles of fabulousness that I have figured out.

Positivity

Being positive is another of those skills that you have to practice.  Like any form of exercise it can be hard and frustrating at first.

The first time on the treadmill is hard, the second is harder, you feel awful, sore and sweaty, but ultimately you get it and start to feel fantastic.  I only started walking (as a form of exercise) in my late forties.  The first walk was so short, but after a short while I was clocking up the miles and I felt better.

Positivity is like that.  Tap into positivity.  Find your self daily affirmations – I am fabulous – and spend time around positive people – both online and off-line.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a wonderful thing.  We all aspire to be better than we are and tapping into inspiration stretches us and makes us want to put the effort in to be a better version of ourselves.  I find inspiration in my daily life, I also find it online by following people who I admire.

How many ‘friends’ do you have on Facebook?  How many people do you follow?  Follow people who you admire, and aspire to be like.  Read books, listen to the radio and podcasts, put yourself in a place where you are inspired.  But remember what you goal is – to be the best version of yourself.

We have a wonderful group on Facebook called Fabulous Woman – I go into the group every day, and sometimes more than once a day and get inspired by ordinary woman who are aspiring to be fabulous.

Motivation

This is another biggie for me.  Motivation.  Where do you find the motivation to do what you do every day, and then where are you going to find the motivation to do even more?

Motivation is your reason for acting on something.  Your reason for getting up and changing things.  My motivation is simple – I never want to go back to being a quivering scared woman in a marriage that was hurting me.  I want to be the best mom I can to my son and I want people to know that everyone deserves to be happy.

That is a big vision, I know.  We also need to break it down and talk about daily motivations.  Perhaps you need some incentives on a daily or monthly basis to do nice things for yourself.  That sounds funny just saying it but woman generally put everyone first before they do something for themselves.  Your motivation is to be the best you that you can be and I promise you this that everyone around you will benefit from you being fabulous.

So set yourself some goals and set up some treats and incentives.

Creativity

I believe that everyone is creative.  Some people paint or draw, and others might be creative in the kitchen or through crafts.  I have been teaching crafts for many years and I just love the light that comes on when people are being creative.

It is simply fuel for the soul.  We spend so much of our lives giving to others but we need to refuel.  Eating well, drinking water and exercise are all important but being creative is essential.

You don’t need a lot of money to get started.  Simply start in your daily life.  Rearrange furniture or ornaments, write in a journal, tap into your creative well.

Add it into your mix and you will become even more fabulous.

Networking

Networking is an essential pillar of fabulousness for me.  When you say networking to some people, a switch goes off.  They are not in business, don’t have a business card and are not interested in getting up at 6 in the morning for a meet-up where business cards are swapped.

Networking is simple and it has been done since the beginning of time.  You know that person that is connected to everyone?  You know if you call them they will know someone who can help.  She is a supreme networker.

We network in our daily lives every day and through this we create our circle – our network.

The thing to remember about networking is that it is relational not transactional.  Networking is not about making a sale or a deal, it is simply about getting to know more people.

I love meeting new people, and simply getting to know them.  Conversation is a great way of building relationships.

When you meet someone – tell them about you – not about what you do.  Tell them what makes your heart sing.

Talk to people everywhere and build your network – you will be remembered for who you are that real authentic you.

Am I that one on Facebook who wears a crown  and always talks about being fabulous, or am I a personal branding specialist?  You will probably remember the crown but then at some stage when someone needs a personal branding specialist you might tell them about me.

We can use networking to surround ourselves with positive people who will motivate us, inspire us and spark our creativity too.

Appearance

Now, I know that I like pretty party dresses.  I feel great if my hair looks great and I do love make-up.  But that is just me.

For many years I didn’t embrace this side of me.  I suffered from depression and cried so much that there was little point in make-up.  I felt really ugly and fat because I listened to the criticism around me.

One day I made the decision to be fabulous and I need to tell you that I had to fake it for a while.  Every day I got up and got dressed.  I did my hair and accessorised.  I took a make-up lesson and made a commitment to wearing make-up most days.

I feel that this is me – at my best, my most fabulous.

When I was all ‘dolled-up’ I felt better. I felt like the best version of me possible.

I just want to make a point here, that if you feel the best that you can be wearing jeans and a check shirt, that is ok too.  What you want to tap into is dressing as you, to feel like the best of version of you.

It is a funny thing because when you tap into your fabulousness, people notice what you are wearing less, they notice how you feel and the energy you are putting out.

Be fabulous online and offline

Facebook is now the largest ‘country’ in the world.  Most of us are on Facebook and many of us are on other social media sites such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.  It is really important that when you are showing up – as the best you that you can be, you do this online as well as offline. These days the first connection with many people is not in person but online.  Grow your network and show your positivity online.

This is an extract from a talk I recently presented at the Festive Ladies Afternoon Tea in Mayo.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share.

Kerry x

Being Fabulous on Tour – a little life update

Fabulous friends, fabulous family and fabulous experiences.  That basically describes my October.

Over a period of a month I travelled on 6 different aeroplanes, numerous cars, and changed the bed I was sleeping in eight times.

Yes, I was exhausted, but I was also exhilarated and inspired.

I started off my travelling to Dublin to speak at the Women’s Inspire Event.  What a wonderful day meeting so many inspirational women.  I wrote a little blog post about it here.

Special stop-over in Dubai

Then it was onwards to Dubai where I have a home from home with my sister and brother-in-law.  I love visiting Dubai which always inspires me.  This is a city that has been created from a dusty single road 25 years ago to the bustling metropolis of creativity it is today.

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