Category: lifestyle

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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My morning ritual – finding time to be quiet, to eat well and to be grateful

My Morning Ritual includes finding time to be quiet is so important.  It is really a bit like food for me – If I don’t have my quiet time I get ratty and crabby a bit like if I am hungry.

decide-to-make-today-wonderfulMany of you might know me as a bubbly outgoing person, but regardless of personality type I strongly believe that spending time alone, and not necessarily doing anything is like food for the soul.

Some people meditate, some pray and others observe the quiet in daily chores.

I wake up early.  I have figured out that I need at least 2 hours from opening my eyes to being functional.  Sometimes this means a very early wake-up but it is worth it.

My morning ritual

My first stop is the kettle and then if I am in pain I treat myself to a tablet or two.  That first cup of tea is like nectar and sometimes I simply sit awhile warming myself from the inside with the unique taste of tea.

This is my time and I indulge myself by reading and meditating or tapping.

The time when I simply do nothing in the quiet still of the morning is so precious.  It is during this time that ideas begin to spark and forgotten memories creep back into my consciousness.

I always have a better day when I meditate or practice EFT (tapping).  I don’t always find time, but when I do my focus is clearer and my intentions stronger.

There are three basic essentials to my morning that take place during this period of ‘me time’:

  1. Setting intentions for the day

I have issues with energy and I find that a day can be wasted if I don’t set clear intentions.  Sometimes these are as simple as doing a load of washing, resting and writing a blog post. Other times they are a little more complex, but ultimately by setting what I want to do I most often get my little list complete.

  1. Gratitude

I begin and end each day with thoughts of gratitude.  I have so much to be grateful for and I find that focussing on this puts me in a positive mindset for the day.  Even on a bad day when I am sore and tired, I can still find so much to be grateful for.

  1. Breakfast

I am a true believer in breakfast.  My energy levels are highest in the morning and I try to eat a good balanced and probably by most accounts large breakfast.  I take my time over breakfast and often treat myself to a favourite TV programme while I eat my way through a three course breakfast.  I try to nod to all the food groups and set myself a little tray.

My reckoning is that this is my main meal of the day and I have all day to work it off.  A good breakfast sets me up.

Rituals can be defined as a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone.  I like my morning ritual, it keeps me both focussed and productive and most importantly keeps me from becoming crabby and moody.

Thank you for reading.

 

Kerry xx

 

 

Introducing the gifts drawer – the joy of planning and giving

The Gift  Drawer Fabuliciousfifty

 

I love buying gifts, I buy them all year round and then keep them in a very important place – my gift drawer.

It isn’t about the value of the gift for me, but rather about the sentiment, and the person I am buying for.  I get so excited when I find something that simply shouts out a name, and I know it is the right gift.

My gift drawer makes me smile.  It has some random goodies collected throughout the year.  It is lovely to know that when November comes and Christmas countdown begins, I can rummage through my drawer. I always find that I have collected lots of gorgeous goodies specifically for the special people in my life.

Not just for Christmas

Of course a gift drawer is not just for Christmas (although it certainly helps). It is also there for birthdays and those very important gifts – gifts with no reason.

Quite often when I am going to visit someone instead of buying chocolates or wine, I might have a peek in the present drawer.  This magical drawer often yields just the right thing to take along and make my host feel special.

I do love giving but I have honestly learnt the best lessons on giving from getting.  I think of the feeling I had when a friend arrived with a paper bag full of little gifts all of which show how well she knows me and how much she cares.

Lots of gifts at the ready

When I was a little girl I had a lisp.  Legend has it that when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas I replied Biths and Pieces.  I still think it is a great idea.  I delight in lots of little parcels – all with meaning.   Because of this, I rarely buy one large gift but prefer to collect up a little grouping of special things with great memories and thoughts.

I am blessed to have friends and family who think like me, and treat me to special times unwrapping little gifts all carefully thought out.

Home made treasures

I also make a lot of my gifts – upcycling common household items and of course raiding my craft supplies.  A personalised gift is a great way of telling someone who you really care.  For this reason I have a second drawer with items that fit into this category.  This year I am going to be creating some personalised jewellery using mini art works and photographs.  I am also determined to try the Sharpie oven bake idea for personalising gifts.

Wrapping and writing

The third drawer down in this magical chest is the wrapping and writing drawer.  The place where I keep wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons and cards.  And of course tape and scissors (as I am always looking for them!

My mom always takes so much time wrapping gifts.  I remember Christmas where each gift was wrapped in tissue and then in matching cellophane and then curly bows pulled with scissors.  These are the memories that make me smile!

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

 

 

Do you need a digital declutter?

This week I deleted over 50 000 emails and 20 000 text messages – a massive digital declutter.

Do you need a digital declutter

Digital mess is different to normal clutter.  For the most part it is invisible and takes up very little space in the physical world.  I honestly didn’t know I was carrying it all around with me.

So let me tell you how it all started.  I joined a group on Facebook called #Dream Life & Biz Creators Group.  It is run by the fabulous Patricia Parashakti Lohan.  She set up a week-long challenge and anyone who knows me knows that I am competitive so I was hooked.  When I started it I wasn’t even sure what it was about!

Patricia is a Feng Shui expert and the challenge was around decluttering.  I had already started on a big cleanse a few weeks prior so I felt quite smug.

First the handbag …

The first cleanse was your handbag – well I did mine the day prior so that was ok.  And then I remembered my very bad habit of migrating from handbag to handbag with only the essentials and leaving the clutter behind.  I cleared five handbags.

I found money and a few other things I had lost on the way and I threw out so much rubbish and it felt great.  The biggest benefit of all – I spent some time going down memory lane, looking at receipts, business cards, train tickets and flyers.  I let myself remember and contemplate and then I allowed myself to let the mess of scrappy papers go.

Then the emails and texts …

I digress though.  The real whammy for me was when we were asked to clear out our emails and messages – day four I think.  We carry our phones around with us all the time, our phones carry around much the same as our handbags, just in a digital form.

I started with the messages.  Over a thousand messages from an old boyfriend.  Why was I holding onto those.  Delete!

I deleted junk messages offering me 60% off at a sale that took place years ago.  I deleted work messages from a job I left over a year ago.  I deleted and did a digital declutter of over 20 000 text messages.

I did take time to enjoy the memory of some of the messages.  The message saying that my son had been accepted in his first choice course at university.  The first message from my partner.  The announcement that a friend had had a baby girl. The mantra was the same, enjoy the memory and then delete and make way for the new.

Facing the mammoth task of the emails was daunting.  Gmail doesn’t facilitate mass deleting very easily and when I googled it and tired something as advised I landed up in a bit of pickle with new messages going into the trash.

The only option was to do it slowly.  I trawled through emails with my finger on the delete button.  It was really cathartic pressing down and watching the past wing its way into the digital dustbin.   As I deleted I really did feel more energised and more positive about the future.

I have made some decisions about email, unsubscribed to emails that are no longer relevant and filtered my email into manageable files.  I am now finding that a visit to my inbox is a quick pleasurable experience.  I see the promotions I want to see, read the updates I enjoy and most of all I am more efficient.

The decluttering journey continues and I am honestly looking forward to it.

Patrica tell us that by letting go of the old we can make way for the new.  I have done a lot of that in the last week and there is more to do.  The bins (both actual and virtual) have been filled and emptied.

Thank you so much for reading and please feel free to comment if you have undertaken a digital declutter.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

Why my walk for the Heart of Galway was so special

 

10 km done! (2)

The original couch potato walked not 7km but 10km!

One of my objectives for 2016 was to walk 5km in an official challenge/race.  One morning in January, I was browsing Facebook and came across The Heart of Galway Walk on 14 February a 7km walk in aid of Foroige Big Brother, Big Sister Charity.

Before I knew it Paypal was open and I had paid the 20 Euro entry.  Now I only had two hurdles in my way – raise 80 Euro in sponsorship and get fit enough to walk 7km.  I made it public by writing about it here, and there was no going back.

Thanks to friends and family the money was soon raised and the reality of walking 7km started to sink in.

At school I was the child that always had a sore tummy on sports day.  I have terrible eye hand co-ordination and combined with Asthma I always ensured that I didn’t participate in sports.  I avoided physical activity at all costs.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I was quite probably the most unfit person you knew.  Walking to the shop (a mere 5 minute walk) would have me reaching for the car keys.

My fitness journey started about 4 years ago and regular readers of my blog will have read about when I bought my first pair of trainers, and when I felt the joy of walking on sand dunes.

Slowly and steadily I have built up my fitness levels, primarily through walking.  One foot in front of another and steadily increasing the distance and the pace.

For Christmas I was lucky enough to be given a Fitbit.  As a closet techie this really delighted me.  I could count the steps, monitor the calorie burning and set myself targets.

Commitment counts

Sunday 14 February 2016 – the day of the 7km walk, I woke up with a migraine!  And this is where commitment comes into play.  If I had not committed to doing the walk, raised the funds and promised to be there, I would have taken painkillers and turned over in bed for another hour at least. But, I had committed so I got up and got ready for my first ever official walk.

Walking (or running) for a good cause is even better.  As I arrived at 56 Central I was greeted by friends and fellow walkers who encouraged me and told me that I could do it.  I stood in line for my number and T-shirt and readied myself for the off.

A quick thank you here to friends and family who were there for me.  I needed that support so very much.

The race took off with the runners in front and the walkers behind.  My first thought was that I would come last.  Then I realised I was not competing with anyone else.  I was competing with myself.  I just needed to do it.

It was a long walk – and turned out to be 10km rather than 7km.  It’s a good thing it wasn’t advertised correctly as I never believed I could do it.  I won’t lie, the last third was hard.  I pushed myself and had my walking companion pointing out that I was 60% of the way there, then 65% and then 70%.

Close to the end I met up with some fellow walkers and we got a second (or was it third or fourth) wind and strided with pride up Shop Street in Galway to the finish line.

Now I had a beautiful medal to go with my T-shirt and race number.  I did it!

Giving back

This blog post would not be complete without a mention of the very good cause that we were raising funds for.  Project Impact is a new charity initiative put together by Pat Divilly, Gill Carroll and a fabulous team.  Project Impact raises money for charity with no expenses so everything raised will go to the charity.

For this event the money goes to Foroige – Big Brother Big Sister.  This is an internationally recognised youth mentoring  charity where a Big is matched with a Little to support and inspire.  The funds raised from this even will go to sending 100 ‘couples’ to a youth adventure centre.  In this way not only will the relationships strengthen but the importance of physical activity be emphasised.

I honestly wish I hadn’t waited for middle age to embrace fitness.  It is never too late though!

Onward to the next event.

A sincere thank you to everyone who supported me.  And thank you for reading.

Kerry x

South Africa to Ireland a Big Move – My Story

There is no place like home

 

I have updated this blog post, which is one of my most read.

Thirteen years ago I moved from Johannesburg, South Africa to Ireland.  Not only was it a huge move from continent to continent, but it was also a move from city life to a rural life in beautiful Connemara.

It really doesn’t matter how many people you ask about the experience before it happens, it is still a massive shock to the system.

Ultimately my decision to move was motivated by the rising crime in South Africa.  There were a few experiences that really touched my life and I realised that I was living with fear.

I don’t judge the people who have stayed and neither do I judge the people who have left the beautiful country that is my birthplace.  The time came and I had to make my choice, and the fact that I had a 7-year old son was a huge part of that.

From South Africa to Ireland

We moved across the world and landed up in Connemara in early February.  Connemara is a beautiful place, but it doesn’t really show it’s beauty in February.  It was wild, windy and very cold.  It rained almost every day.  I wasn’t prepared, and my pretty umbrella bought in South Africa turned inside out and blew away the first time I used it.

With the hindsight of 13 years I am glad I made the move.  It has been a very turbulent 13 years which has seen me live in Connemara, in Westport, Mayo and now back in Athenry on the east side of Galway.

It has seen me start my own business in the form of a craft shop called An Siopa Buί – The Yellow Shop.  Through the shop I was privileged to travel across Ireland and meet some really special people.   Circumstances change and I returned to the corporate world and spend two and a half years in Westport (considered to be the best place to live in Ireland.)  I am now living in Athenry (made famous by the song The Fields of Athenry) and am moving onto a different phase of my life.

The common thread through my life and the big move has been people.  The friends that I have made at every stage – both South Africans in Ireland, South Africans at home and of course my Irish friends.

After 10 years I took Irish Citizenship and am proud to be Irish – although I will always be South African too.

I visit South Africa as often as I can and will always have the song of Africa in my heart.  When I am homesick I think of the sound of crickets on a summer night.  The evocative smell of sunset after a hot day and the wonderful social culture of bring and braai (a BBQ where everyone brings something along).

I was honoured to take part in a TV series on RTE in 2007 called No Place Like Home.  The producers came up with a cool concept of featuring foreigners living in Ireland, and comparing where their lifestyles in Ireland with lifestyles back ‘home’.  The title really says it all.  There is no place like home, but what I have come to realise is that you can have two homes.  I will always have a little part of my soul in Africa, but now I have fallen in love with Ireland too.

The West of Ireland where I have made my home is a truly beautiful place.  One day on a drive between Westport and Connemara I stopped to take in the view.  The word awesome came to mind.

Truly awesome as you realise that this magnificent scenery is simply there for us to appreciate and admire.

Ireland has been good to me.  I have made so many friends, through my crafting, through blogging , through the ICA and through my career.  I have been welcomed into so many homes and drunk copious cups of tea as I have learnt the generosity of spirit that the Irish are known for.

My son is now grown-up and has completed a Physics Degree at University in Galway and is now working in his dream job in the United Kingdom.  He has made his home here but I will always remind him of his African roots, so he too can have two homes. (Maybe even three since he has moved on)

You can read my post about my empty nest  here.

My information about the legalities and practicalities about moving to Ireland is a little out of date.  It is almost 15 years now.

I am delighted to say that there is a whole lot more information out there than there was when I did the move.

There is a wonderful Facebook Group run by South Africans who have made the move and I suggest that you join it and take a deep dive into the files.  There is so much information available and the people in the group are so helpful.

You can find the group here.

I do try to answer all the emails I receive but it isn’t always possible so apologies in advance.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

You can be Fit without being Sporty

7km

I am going to participate in a 7km walk.

This may not seem a remarkable statement, but coming from the original couch potato it really is!

I grew up not really understanding the value of physical exercise. I suffered from asthma and breathing difficulties and although I realise now these were just excuses. I simply didn’t get exercise.

My hand eye co-ordination wasn’t good so I would regularly be in the group of the last to be picked for games and I think that this contributed to the belief that I wasn’t sporty and therefore not entitled to be fit.

There is a big difference between being sporty and being fit. I have really only discovered how good it feels to be fit in the last 5 years. I bought my first pair of trainers, and took the first steps towards a healthier future.

I have been walking for a while now, and always feel a bit envious when looking at the Facebook posts where people have completed 5km and 10km walks and runs. I promised myself that I would book my first 5km race this year.

I am going to do it – I will be fit enough!

I was sitting up at 7 in the morning last Sunday just wondering what I could do to give my life more direction, what goals I needed to set and I came across a link for a 7km (2km longer than a 5km) walk, right here in the heart of Galway.

Do it! Eeek! I did – I pressed the button and said yes. So this is how I will be spending Valentine’s day this year.

heart of galway

The walk/run (definitely walk in my case) is actually called the Heart of Galway Challenge is part of Project Impact. This initiative is presented in association with Pat Divilly and 56 Central – my favourite restaurant in Galway run by the fabulous Gill Carroll (I interviewed Gill last year).

The walk takes place along Galway’s most scenic route with lots of quirky challenges promised along the way. The money raised will be going to the Big Brother Big Sister charity – a fabulous youth mentoring programme.

I really like the idea behind this walk. 100% of the money raised will go to the charity with the specific aim of sending 100 teenagers and their mentors to an adventure centre.

I honestly wish that I had discovered the joy of fitness earlier in my life. It is never too late though, and I am committed to moving forward with my own fitness journey.

I will be honest in saying that I am a little apprehensive about the walk, but I am determined to do it. Thank you those who have already offered to sponsor me.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

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