Category: lifestyle

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

How to find the balance between Yes and No – is YOLO the answer?

Yes (2)

 

As a card holding people pleaser I have had to learn how to say no.

After yet another week and weekend of non-stop activities a friend kindly pointed out that I may have over commitment issues.  I was a bit taken aback, but when I thought about it I realised that he had a point.

If I had plans for 8 in the evening, it was really easy to sneak another arrangement in after work.  A Saturday was fabulous and could be divided up into all sorts of slices.  Breakfast, housework, a craft class, and hour to work on my blog, drinks and dinner.  I found myself scheduling my life away.

Why did I do this?  After stopping and actually staying home for a couple of evenings and thinking about it I realised that it was a combination of being a people pleaser and a serious case of YOLO – you only live once.  I simply want to do everything.

I really do love life and love celebrating life.  If I have to choose between doing something exciting, meeting up with my friends or my sofa – I don’t choose the sofa, no matter how much I know I need it.  Now, there is nothing wrong with living life in the moment– in principle, but we have to have some downtime too.  Our bodies need to rest.

Rest and relaxation is as important as eating.  It is also as important as socialising.  So ultimately it comes down to balance.

I have had to learn to listen to cues from my body and know when a no is better than a yes.

What I have learnt is that saying no is not offensive and it is acceptable.  People do understand when you say no, and you can always reschedule  and plan for another day.

I live with a blood disorder called Pernicious Anaemia.  It is complicated to explain, but the bottom line is that I do suffer from severe fatigue from time to time.  Those are quite often the days when I have to simply say no thank you.

At my friend’s farewell, instead of saying goodbye, he reminded me about my over commitment problem.  Yes, I said and walked swiftly down the road to my second engagement of the evening.  His words stayed with me and when I finally got home at 10.30 that evening and received a text message to say that the party was in full swing and that I was missing out, I said no.

I think that this might be my balancing act that I will live with.  Good thing I enjoyed the see-saw as a child.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Learned helplessness – reaching beyond my limitations

beach1

Today I went for a walk on the beautiful beach at Carrownisky near Westport.  This has got to my one of my favourite Sunday activities, and this time it was even better because I had the company of my very wise son, David.

We walked as far as we could in once direction and then turned and walked as far as we could in the other.  It was quite rocky and I was walking barefoot.  I walked along, looking down to make sure I didn’t turn my ankle.  I was taking care, but I was also chatting, taking photos and simply  but also enjoying the day.  It was windy and a little wet but that didn’t stop us.

I remarked to David that years ago I wouldn’t have even tried to walk on the beach.  Since I was a young child I have always been told that I wasn’t sporty, fit or thin.  I was basically programmed to think that I couldn’t.  If I had visited that beach years ago I would have either sat in the car or found a bench.  I didn’t think I could manage a long walk and would have been conscious of getting back, every step I took away from the car.  I would have also been told, be careful, mind your weak ankle, don’t fall.  None of these things happened today (and any other day I have walked on the beach).

beach2David told me about a concept called learned helplessness.  You can read about it here, but basically it is a story that starts with an experiment with dogs.  (Not very humane, but huge lessons to be learnt)

The concept of learned helplessness was discovered by accident by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier.  Dogs that had been conditioned to expect an electrical shock when hearing a tone, became helpless even when there was an option to escape the shock.

I think many of us are the same.  We believe we can’t so we don’t.  Perhaps it is a case of failing a few times.  Or in my case twisting my ankle a few times.

Learned helplessness in humans can been seen in so many instances.  As soon as David explained the concept to me I could think of so many circumstances.  Imagine a child who does badly on a maths exam.  After repeatedly receiving low scores for maths, he will begin to believe that he will never master maths.

I am so glad that I have overcome the feeling of helplessness that was once a huge part of my life.  These days I act first, and think of my limitations later.  Perhaps, of course some sort of balance would be better.

I may not be ready to climb Croke Patrick, but I am not going to feel limited about taking a nice long beach walk.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

 

The ICA and Me – Great way to make friends

ica imageThe Irish Country Woman’s Association (ICA) has been going for 105 years.  I heard about it soon after I arrived in Ireland, but never got around to joining, mostly due the fact that I was living far out in the country.  I can honestly I wish I had joined years ago.

A week after moving to Westport I saw a little piece in the local paper about ICA.  I picked up the phone and got straight through to our chairwoman Ann – and a few days later, I joined the ICA family.

Just recently my son had two work related social occasions.  I excitedly asked him what he had learnt.  I was expecting to hear about the power of twitter, or the something new to do with gaming.  His answer surprised me.  ‘More than anything, I  learnt that I can walk into a room full of strangers and act like I can fit it’.

I think that when I moved to Westport this is exactly what I had to do.  I am a very bubbly outgoing person, but it is still hard to start over and make new friends.

Joining the Westport ICA Guild was one of the best things I ever did.  I walked into a room full of  fabulous ladies who have now become friends.  I was welcomed warmly and I have never for a minute felt like I was a stranger.

I learnt loads of new skills including how to crochet, and I was given an opportunity to share my own crafting skills, but more than anything I have learnt about life.  About the town where I live, and about the lives of my ICA friends.

I think a lot of people don’t really know about the ICA.  Ask me out on a Tuesday night and my standard answer will be – sorry, I have ICA.  I get some strange looks and questions about what we actually do. It is a lot more than knitting I can tell you!

Yes, there are craft skills that are shared but there are also other activities such as quiz nights, sporty evenings, charity activities and visiting speakers.  Mostly though ICA is about people.  About making friends and connecting with the lives of others.  All ICA meetings end with a good natter over tea – a truly special time and not to be missed.

In some of my other blog posts I have talked about balance.  ICA balances my life.  It is a commitment to attend on a Tuesday night, and that is important in itself.  It gets you out and gets you motivated to say farewell to the TV and the sofa for a few hours.   Many evenings I have walked home still giggling away at something that has been shared.

Thank you Westport ICA – you are a great bunch of ladies and I am super proud to be a member.

Almost every country has a version of ICA – I would encourage anyone to join – it is the support of fabulous woman who quietly work away doing amazing work.  Think of the now famous ‘Calender Girls’.  The aim of the ICA is to provide a welcoming and fun organisation which offers support, friendship, personal development, education and live long learning.  It has certainly done exactly that for me.

The photos in this article are of the Federation meeting held here in Westport.  The craft display was an amazing display of work completed by members, and the cake display was a work of art and tasted even more delicious than it looked.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have your own woman’s group stories you would like to share.

Kerry xx

 

Getting my life into balance

Balloons in a box fabuliciousfifty(3)

 

The concept isn’t unique, but it is something that I have adapted for my own use and how I try to keep myself  in balance.

2012 was all about balance for me.  I started with one inflated balloon in the box a few partly shrivelled ones, and some that had almost no air in them at all.

So the basic idea is that you have 7 balloons – each one represents an area of your life (in my head these balloons are all different colours) – all these balloons have to fit into a box.  So, if one balloon is over inflated, the others must shrink to fit.

Now of course  it is impossible to get them all even, but the idea is to strive for balance.

The 7 balloons are :

  1. Family
  2. Spirituality
  3. Friends
  4. Work
  5. Health
  6. Hobbies
  7. Relationships/Love

There are many theories that talk about the areas of our lives that we need to master.  My thoughts are not that sophisticated.  Simply an idea that I fixated on during the time when I was striving for balance.

When I started  work was the biggest balloon of all.  I think that perhaps I threw myself into work, to avoid thinking about other things.  I was running my own business and as any entrepreneur will know this is quite consuming.  It had come to a point where work, friends, social life, health, and hobbies had all become rolled into one.  Not really a healthy state.  This was a big balloon.

Although I had a wonderful relationship with my son, and I was lucky enough to have one of my sisters living close by, the family balloon was sadly deflated.  To be honest I think that I had forgotten how important family was.  I was having problems in my marriage, and my close family lived miles away.  Through the year, I worked towards rebuilding and analysing the relationships in my life.  It is extremely sad when you realise that you are better off letting things go, but then it is hugely uplifiting to rebuild relationships.

If you think about it your sisters (and brothers) are your first friends.  Re-establishing a true friendship with my oldest sister has been such a ray of sunshine in my life.  We work at it our relationship and I consider both my sisters true friends.   I can honestly say that despite my separation I have moved toward re-inflating the family balloon.  I need not say that at this time the love balloon would have been hard to find in the box.

My health was at an all time low.  I had received diagnosis after diagnosis and I was terribly unfit.  I think that this was one of the biggest wake-up calls and learning how to pay attention to my health and give this balloon priority was a huge part of getting my life into balance.  Although I reached the end of 2012 with better health, this remains a priority.  The health balloon for us all is something that needs to be constantly monitored.  I always need to keep my eye on the ball from a health perspective, and yes, sometimes this balloon gets forgotten in the bottom of the box.

My spiritual life and beliefs are not something I am very vocal about.  It is a deep and personal part of my life.  It is sad however that when we go to a dark place this is when we need to be in touch with our spiritual self.  Meditation and prayer are a great solace for a life out of balance.  This was yet another balloon lying deflated at the bottom of the box.  It was actually through my walks that I reconnected.  As yes, bubbly Kerry goes silent and meditates regularly!

Friends are a great joy in my life.  Thankfully this balloon has never really deflated.  When I reflected on my life in 2012 however I did realise that my friend group was very closely linked to work.  I had met some of the most amazing people through crafting.  I will always be so grateful for the friends I made through crafting.  I met some amazing people who will always be in my life.  I do believe however that a good diverse bunch of friends makes you truly rich.  I am proud to have friends from 18 to 80 plus from all works of life.  Thank you for being my friends  – it means everything that this balloon remains inflated.

Hobbies or pastimes is balloon that is more important that we often think.  It is important to have fun times and hobbies help us explore and learn about all sorts of things.  I used to craft and paint as a hobby.  When I opened my shop, my hobbies became my job.  As I have worked towards balancing things out, I have started to enjoy my hobbies, and have even added a few more.  I joined the ICA (Irish Country Woman’s Association) where I have learnt a few new skills and made new friends.  I am of course, back painting and crafting as a hobby, but I know that I need to expand and try new things.  Hill walking perhaps?  Or maybe a spot of history.

 

Thanks for reading and thank you for all the lovely feedback.

 

Kerry

 

 

 

 

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