Category: lifestyle

Why I love Christmas

Why I love ChristmasChristmas is my favourite time of the year.  I start to get excited, sometimes even before Halloween.  Today I took a little time to reflect on why I love Christmas.

Tradition

Every Christmas my son and I build a gingerbread house.  We tend to do this on Christmas eve, and I have some really wonderful memories about houses falling down, crazy icing decorations and much laughter.  How the house comes together isn’t important, what is important is the special time I share with my son.

We also have a lovely tradition based on the french idea of 13 desserts.  Our interpretation is a plate with 13 different goodies – fruits, nuts, and sweets.  We replenish this each day both for visitors and for ourselves.  The ‘plate’ as it is called in our house is a key tradition also laced with memories, especially when the dog helped himself!

Family and friends and food

Christmas is also about taking time out.  Each family has it’s own way of celebrating this holiday.  For me it is about family and friends.  A simple Christmas dinner with family is always followed in my home with a fabulous tea party spent with friends.  There is so much delicious Christmas food to be eaten, that it simply cannot be eaten in one day.

I love Christmas food.  The sweet yummy stuff for sure ( I have secretly been eating mince pies since they came into the shops).  I also love the more savoury treats from a great roast turkey with fruity stuffing to blue cheese and crackers.

Sharing food with family and friends is just the perfect combination.

Giving Gifts

Gift giving has become synonamous with Christmas.  I love buying presents and really enjoy this part of Christmas.  I don’t spend a huge amount of money, but really enjoy seeking out special treats for special people.  Sitting on my bed on Christmas eve wrapping presents that might be silly but are thoughtful is a big part of Christmas for me.

This year I will be having an African Christmas and spending time with friends and family in South Africa.  Hope my Mom will be ok with the Christmas tea party!

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

Looking back – my life age 5 years and 20 days

Age 5 and 20 days

A few days I unpacked a box and found a pile of old school reports.  I laughed when I read this one dated from when I was 5 and 20 days.  I really haven’t changed much.  It has me wondering how much of our personalities are formed so very young.  I have also been contemplating how we lose confidence as we get older.

I have typed the whole thing out, for the amusement of my readers (especially those who have known me for many years).  I know I still look for validation and still stress out when I lose things.  I still don’t like cocoa.

For many years I believed that physical activity and sport were something I could not do.  I am glad I am walking now and keeping myself as fit as possible.  I still, of course love making things and painting!

My challenge to you is to dig out your old school reports and take time to reflect. (I also had to dig out my nursery graduation photo too.)

Half Yearly Report:

Name:  Kerry Manning

Height: 44 and 5/8”

Weight: 47lbs

Feeding:  Her appetite s good, she enjoys all fruit.  She has milk and cocoa but does not particularly enjoy the latter.

Cloakroom:  She is fairly independent and quick during this routine.

Emotional development:  Kerry is a happy and cheerful little girl.  She does however get very upset if anything goes wrong or if she loses an article of clothing.  She is still a little shy and tense when faced with unfamiliar situations.

Social Development:

  1. Relationship with adults: She is friendly and co-operative, who likes to win praise and to gain the attention of staff.
  2. Relationship with children: Kerry enjoys the company of other children. She is less reliant on Frances now and more independent in forming her own social contacts.

Language:  She has a slight lisp.  She is inclined to speak very quickly which makes her speech rather indistinct.   Her vocabulary and she conversed freely.

Play Interest:

  1. Indoor: Kerry enjoys completing the puzzles.  She is interested in all the manipulation sense training toys.  She likes to draw and colour in.
  2. Outdoor: She plays imaginatively in the Wendy House with a group of children.  She enjoys all forms of sand and water play.  Kerry is fairly agile and she uses the physical equipment with increasing confidence.

Organised activities: She loves making things and is very proud of the results she achieves.  She frequently paints and a certain amount of form and detail is evident.

Rings:

  1. Songs: She enjoys singing and is more willing to take an active part.
  2. Music: When she concentrates, Kerry’s sense of rhythm is fairly good. She participates with enthusiasm.
  3. Stories: Kerry is an attentive listener she has a good memory for detail.
  4. PT: She joins in happily and her muscle co-ordination is fairly.

General:  Kerry has made a good adjustment to Nursery School.  She needs encouragement to attempt unfamiliar things and is inclined to say ‘I can’t’ before trying.

I really haven’t changed that much to be honest.  I have learnt a few lessons from this old school report and writing this blog post.

Thanks for reading, and those who know me well, I would love your feedback.

Kerry x

 

Halloween – what does it really mean?

graveyard

I didn’t grow up with Halloween.  It was only something that started to impact in my life when my son was born.  When he started to go to nursery he came home with Halloween costume requests and that started me thinking about this day that was celebrated with dressing up, scary movies and trick or treating.

When I moved to Ireland nearly 13 years ago I really started to become curious and did a little studying about the history of Halloween.  Today it is really about the candy and costumes.  In the past I have bought sweets and chocolates and then found myself eating too much of it myself. The question is – how did it start?

I am told that Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic festival known of Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).   This is also November in the Irish language, and the month my son was born.
The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the harvest Gaelic culture.  It was believed that on 31 October the boundry between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped.  This meant that the dead would come back to life and haunt us.

I love this photo taken in the Spiddal graveyard.  As a photographer I really love the winter light.  It creates a starkness to the bare branches and adds a spooky feel to the mudane.

These days I mark the day by going to a quiet place, perhaps a little dark.  Not a  bad place, but simply a contemplative place where I can remember those who have passed from this life into the next.   I choose to believe that I will be guided rather than haunted.

I might have to indulge in a little chocolate just because.

Kerry

 

The happiness and horrors of house hunting

My new front door (2)

Our home is so important to our happiness.  When I started house hunting six weeks ago I was honestly dreading it.  I put on my brave face and logged onto Daft.ie.

Where would I find a house that was going to be my home?

There were moments when I laughed and moments when I was ready to cry, but some stories just have to be shared …..

There was the house which was a converted B&B.  On arriving I wasn’t sure as I would be sharing a home that had been divided.  I am a free spirit and I like my privacy, but considering the lack of housing in Galway I had to keep an open mind (I just didn’t realise how open it needed to be).

He showed me around the house which wasn’t too bad.  Two bedrooms, both en suite, a little sitting room and a tiny kitchen.  I was clean and I was thinking that perhaps I could make it work.  Then I saw that the dividing door between the two houses was glass!  I had a vision of myself nipping into the kitchen wrapped in my bath towel to make a cuppa, as I often do this!  I commented on the glass door and the gentleman honestly seemed shocked that it would be a problem.  I was still pondering where I would do my arty crafty stuff.  There was one door next to the kitchen that hadn’t been revealed.  I asked about it and he promptly replied that it was his bathroom, in my potential house!  I must have looked terribly shocked.  ‘I am very discreet’ he said. ‘I won’t use the bathroom until you have gone to work.’  I didn’t really know what to say.  He was asking premium money to rent a house in which he would be doing his bathroom business.

Being I positive person, I ventured back onto Daft.  Ooh look a new property!  Five minutes from work and it looked gorgeous and more to the point was within my budget.  I was buzzing this was going to be it.  It was small but really well fitted out.  A gorgeous curved red sofa and some sparkling mosaic in the bathroom.  I showed it to a friend and she recognised the development straight away.

Off  I went at lunch time.  I arrived and was greeted by a staircase with a carpet that was unravelling.  The smell of mould and damp greeted my nostrils.  I was told that the house was available as it stood (in other words no upgrades).  A broken single bed occupied the main bedroom, black mould on the bathroom walls and no red sofa. The sofa that was in place had seen plenty of action, that I really didn’t want to think about. There was also no mosaic in the bathroom.  When I questioned the landlady she was quite indignant. ‘ I need to know if I should add you to the list before 5pm,’ she said. This was not the same apartment in the photos!  With a heavy heard and a small bit of frustration I returned to looking.

Happily I do have a new home to move into.  It came through a thoughtful colleague from my previous job.  He has heard me bemoaning the house hunting task.  ‘Call this lady, and use my name’ he said.  I am delighted with my new house in the little town of Athenry in County Galway.  I move in next week.

Thanks for listening to me rant about house hunting.

Kerry xx

 

My sofa is an important part of my life

3-seater-grey-fabric-sofa-waldorf

When I watch Gogglebox on Channel 4,  I realise that for many of us it isn’t TV that is the centre of the home, but rather the sofa.  Best friends, husbands and wives, families or all shapes and sizes congregate on the sofa night after night.  Yes, it is our seat in front of the TV but it is so much more than that.

It is that comfy squishy sofa that we sink into at the end of a long day.

So how exciting is it that sofas are now part of my life?  Today I started my new job as Marketing Manager for EZ Living Furniture.

My sofa is sometimes my desk with my laptop, papers strewn and a cup of tea by my side as I write blog posts.  Sometimes it is a haven for confidences as my best friend and I sit side by side pouring our hearts out.  My sofa is the place that my son first found out that he had received first class honours for his first year at university.

We were also sitting together when he received a skype message to say that his video game  Boxman Begins had been greenlit on Steam (for the non-gamers, this is the biggest online gaming portal for PC games).  It is also where I Skype my family in South Africa

I share my sofa with my memories, and many friends and family, but writing this blog post I realise I also share it with myself.  I am happy in my own company and have had many contented hours sitting in my spot (shades of Sheldon from the Big Bang here as I always sit in the same place) simply enjoying a nice cup of tea and a scone, and maybe indulging in some Netflix.

So the question is – who do you share your sofa with?  Or perhaps even who would you like to share your sofa with?  For Patrick Dempsey I might even move out of my spot.

I would love to hear your comments.

Kerry xx

Trying to take one day at a time

quote taking one day at a time.

 

You know when you get a point where you could either laugh or cry? Well I was at that point yesterday.  As crying will give me panda eyes, I think I will just have to laugh.

I love this quote which I heard years ago – I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several attack me at once.  No matter how organised or controlled you get, and no matter how many lists you make, sometimes thing get simply overwhelming.

For me it is a combination of finishing up a job that has been a huge part of my life for two and half years, packing up my home, trying to find a new home, and of course saying goodbye to my friends in Westport and to the town itself, a really special town that deserves the title of the best place to live in Ireland.

I know I am not going far, but it is still quite a thing.  Twenty plus boxes packed (so far …), and I am tripping over the empty boxes in the hall.  My lists are out of control as I remember something else and dash to add it to the list only to find out that I have packed the kitchen pens.

The paintbrushes and paint are packed but not the gleaming white canvasses which are sending out a siren call for colour.

The bedroom looks like a clothes cannon has gone off as I pack into piles.  One for the charity shop, one for my London holiday, one for the new job.  And I must remember to leave out clothes to wear for the next few days.

My work desk is still chaotic, but it tidier than it was a week ago and the drawers are empty so that is good.  Imagine by tomorrow, this desk will be clear of clutter and awaiting a new owner.

Daft.ie and Rent.ie are my new go to places for web news.  House hunting is fun – for some people, but not for me!

Now, I realise that this post is not a how to, or motivational, or particularly positive.  That is because some days you just have to accept that several days are attacking you at once.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share the quote with others that are being attacked.  I think it happens to all of us.

 

Kerry x

 

Time to tidy up – decluttering is a must

creative minds are rarely tidy (2)

 

I love this quote, and quite often use it as an excuse for my clutter problem.

Everyone who knows me personally is having a good giggle at this stage.  I really am very untidy.  I really do try, but somehow piles of papers and ‘stuff’ just happen.

As I am facing packing up and moving again, I really have to start decluttering.  This has had me thinking of why I am untidy, and why clutter happens.

I am a creative person with a very active mind.  I start something and then get excited about something else and move onto that.  I am also, of course trying to pack so much into my day so it is quite common for me to have a painting project on the kitchen table, while cooking dinner, doing the laundry and tweeting.  When the dinner is done – I move to the sitting room to eat and watch a bit of tv.  I might have a writing or photography project I am working on while sofa sitting.  Ah just remembered I have a card order to complete.  Up the stairs I go to my craft room.  Yes, you have guessed it – I have left a pile of untidy projects in my wake.

Well, as I get ready to move house, I am making a determined effort to deal with the my clutter in an organised manner.  Perhaps I am not too old to change?

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share any tips for an untidy person in the comments below.  (And everyone who has seen my untidy desks you can stop giggling now)

Kerry x

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