Category: lifestyle

Arthritis to Zebra – the A-Z of me

A great idea for bloggers.  Thanks to Danielle LilliWhiteRose for the nomination.  It is a great fun way of taking stock!  I challenge you to do it.

A – Arthritis. It is in my hands, and although I deal with it the best I can, sometimes the pain does get me down.

B – Busy.  I keep myself very busy between my real job, my blog and my craft teaching.

C – Card making.  Teaching card making and craft is something I really enjoy.  It is a great hobby.

D – Diabetes.  Part of my life and my quest for better health and fitness

E – Energy.  I have been told I only have two speeds, go and stop.  Sometimes I have energy and sometimes I don’t

F – Food.  I love cooking and strive to create yummy healthy meals.  Love sharing food too.

G – Girlfriends.  I am so privileged to have some amazing girlfriends in my life.  They are my true wealth

H – Would have to be health.  It is a real struggle for me as I battle with a number of auto-immune conditions.  Keeps me focussed though

I – Inspiration.  It is like food to me.  I get inspired by people, by nature and by random things

J – Jeans – they joy when they fit.  I like to measure my size in different jean sizes!

K – Kindle – I love my little kindle.  Easy to hold and contains hours of escapism.  I have to read – it is like food to me.

L – Laughter. I love to laugh and make people laugh.  Trite but true, laughter is the best medicine

M – Motherhood is so important to me.  Even though my son is grown-up being a mother is the thing I am most proud of.

N – No.  I really need to learn how to say it.  I tend to be a people pleasure and I don’t want to let people down.  As a result I overextend myself – trying to learn moderation.

O – Oranges.  My favourite fruit.  My mom would make oranges in caramel as my birthday treat every year.

P –  Painting.  I love to paint – not sure I am very good at it, but I am happy with a brush in my hand and a day in front of me.

Q – Quiet time.  I am chatty, and bubbly but I really need my along quiet time.  It keeps me sane.

R – Relaxation.  I need to do more of this.  Sometimes I push myself too hard and need to learn how to switch off more.

S – Sex – I have a fascination with the psychology of sex.

T – is for Tea.  I drink far too much of it.  I love it – also love the ceremony of afternoon tea, my favourite is at the G Hotel

U – Untidy.  I am desparately untidy in most instances, and then I have weird quirks of OCD inside my wardrobe where all the tops must hang  together etc.

V – Voluptuous.  Say no more.

W – Writing and walking.  Writing is my passion and walking my goal

X – X-Factor – my guilty pleasure.  Used to have a tiny crush on Simon Cowell (I know!!) until he made rude comments about fat people in the press.

Y – Yellow.  My favourite colour.  It is such a happy colour.  My shop was called Siopa Buí (Irish for Yellow Shop) and my arty name is Kerry Buí

Z – Zebras are my favourite animal.  I think they are the most fashionable animal.  They also have a great sense of community.

Thanks for reading x

I challenge these bloggers to do their own A-Z challenge

Áine McManamon of Social Onya

Kerrie Burke of Bella and Vogue 

Rachel Burke from The Wholesome Nut

Zoe Behan from Day Dreamer Chic

And any other ITWBN member who feel inspired.

The power of rest and relaxation

Rest and relaxation (2)

The importance of a sofa day

I am one of those people who try to pack as much living in as I can.  The one thing I seem to struggle with is how to include rest into this life of mine.  This week I learnt a powerful lesson.

I plan my life and try to pack in as much work, play, socialising and self improvement. I laugh about the fact that I have a real job and my hobby jobs (blogging and crafting).  I know I need to rest but, there is a part of me that simply loves life. The famous line from the Dead Poet’s Society lives in my brain – Seize the day!

I landed up at the doctor this week literally shaking with fatigue.  Four days later I still hadn’t stopped and gave myself a bit of a fright when I realised that I was literally too tired to stand up.  It is scary enough that it took four days for the penny to drop.

The Doctor  kindly explained that people who are dealing with what I am dealing with, couldn’t do what I do. The word she used was comobidity (I had to google it when I got home).  Basically it means dealing with more than one disease at a time.

I suffer from a number of conditions including diabetes, arthritis and pernicious anaemia, all which contribute to my tiredness. Methotrexate treatment doesn’t help either, nor pain which makes me tired too.  There are weeks where I am in pain every day.

Using my rational mind I can understand why we need to rest, however, I find it very hard to do.  I just have this burning need to pack as much life in as I can.  This week I learnt a hard lesson.  I pushed myself until I literally stopped.

So today, a Sunday I have rested.  I wanted to share a few lessons that I have revisited some thoughts about rest that I need to remember.

  1. We all need to rest.  Don’t forget that.
  2. True rest is for the mind, the body, the spirit and emotions.
  3. It is ok to switch your phone off and take time out.
  4. A TV marathon never killed anyone
  5. Meditation is a mighty powerful form of rest
  6. If you can, prepare for your day of rest by stocking up on snack (healthy is good, but a little indulgence isn’t the ned of the world either.
  7. Drink lots of water – it gives your system a rest
  8. An early night is a good idea
  9. Listen to your body
  10. Spend a little of your rest time contemplating the good things in your life.  Your friendship circle, your beautiful home and the joy of a day where you can simply do nothing.

I am sure that my day of rest will set up for the rest of the week.  All I need to do now is remember to include rest in my schedule.  Please feel free to share, especially if you know people who forget the importance of rest and relaxation.

Kerry xx

Take the path that challenges you

 

Take the path that challenges you (2)

A new series on my little blog.  A quotation every Wednesday.  A combination of my love of photography and my love of words.

Take the path that challenges you.

There are days when I just want things to be easy, but I know that I need challenges to grow.

When I do take the path that challenges me, be it on my fitness journey, or my career, or just my life’s journey, it is always worth it.

That sense of achievement knowing that I have challenged myself and overcome.

Happy Wednesday and thanks for stopping by.

Kerry xx

Online friends are real friends – especially ITWBN bloggers

 

itwbn

There is some debate online as to whether online friends are real friends.

I am going to come right out and say that these are real friends.  And this, to me is the theme of the Into the West Blogger Network (ITWBN)

Yesterday I attended my second event.  I was greeted with hugs and kisses and genuine compliments from people who I have only really seen on ‘screen’.  I recognised faces and straight away associated the real live people with the beautiful bloggers that I know from reading about them online and swopping comments on Facebook and Twitter.

All bloggers are brave.  We write about ourselves, our thoughts and our lives.  Bravery deserves respect and I know that the bloggers in the network and beyond respect each other.

We are all at different stages of our lives, and I was so humbled to realise how many people were actually reading my blog and knew about my journey.

I blog because I love writing and I feel like I have stories to tell.  I think this is true of so many bloggers.  And many of us pour our hearts out to our online readers, who kindly come back with comments, on the blog or on facebook.

Yesterday was fabulous.  Gorgeous venue at the G Hotel, my very favourite hotel, lots of sparkle and a beautiful welcome.  Food was yummy.  And the glamour of the ladies and gents was top class!  Everyone had made a real effort to celebrate this very important 1st birthday party.  The most fabulous part of the day was the real warmth and obvious friendship around the room, and I know that many people had not met in ‘real life’ before.

In this very special blogger network there is no judgement, only encouragement from a very nice bunch of people.  Being part of the network has given me the kickstart to get my blog going, and to start writing my book.

There is going to have to be a part 2 to this post because I haven’t even started on the motivational speakers, the amazing people I met at the exhibition tables, the goody bags and most of all the most fabulicious Saibh and Sinead.

Tonight I will read a few blogs before bedtime and know that my friendship circle is bigger and richer because of ITWBN.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

Why trainers are hotter than high heels

trainers for fitness

I grew up thinking that girly girls don’t wear trainers.    I have had about 3 pairs of trainers in my life and I can promise you I didn’t wear the treads of any of them (until three years ago)

Anyone who has contemplated exercising will know that you might need trainers and you keep telling yourself that you can’t start exercising until you have all the right gear.  Delay, procrastinate, put off, any other words suitable?

I picked a mighty silly day to buy trainers  and it turned out really funny.  I had a hospital appointment about my hand, and didn’t realise they were going to numb it and inject steroids into it …

So picture this ….

Somehow I got myself into my car and got myself strapped in and drove around the corner to the sports store.  Didn’t realise that it is quite hard to fit a shoe on your foot with one numb hand (imagine post dentist numbness but in your hand instead of your jaw).  Added to the fact that I fairly unfit and coudln’t exactly touch my toes.

I wanted pretty trainers, the pink sparkly type ones worn by a 5 year old.  I have size 8 feet!  Not a great start.

The young man who helped me needs a medal – he had to literally put my feet into trainer after trainer all the while trying very hard to steer me towards a practical pair.  I think I tried them all on.

It was a bit like Cinderella in reverse.  One prince one ‘princess’ and hundreds of pairs of shoes.

I left the store with a great pair of shoes, notsparkly, but they have pink stripes.

My trainers first day out – complete with nice pink socks.  Apparantly my son did tell me that you have to wear a new pair of trainers in.  But I wasn’t listening or maybe it wasn’t said at all.

Now before this I had already started walking and built up some stamina – simply working in my normal shoes and boots.  So off I went on a nice circuit – the kind of walk that once you have done half there is no turning back.  Just after half way the blisters started. And continued and grew and spread.  I am quite determined, so I carried on and swung by the pharmacy to buy blister plasters on the way back.

So they don’t make blister plasters big enough for the blisters I had created. By now the exercise bug and hit and I needed another form of exercise that didn’t involve walking in trainers.

I decided the answer was a trampoline.  Don’t panic, just a mini one.

Years ago I heard that if you exercise on a mini trampoline the value of what you do is multiplied by some unbelievable factor.  I wanted one so bad, and a friend kindly gifted me one,  second hand.  I found it so useful. For about 5 years it served as a clothes hanger, laundry basket, Christmas wrapping station, and general depository for stuff.  It also tripped me up a few times on the way to the loo in the dark.

My first exercise was to unearth the trampoline and then to start jumping.  Now the exercise you do on it isn’t exactly jumping in the air, more like bouncing and dancing and generally having a laugh while watching TV or listening to music.

One small piece of advice for fabulous ladies taking up this exercise – get a good bra!!

This all happened 3 years ago.  My trainers are still in use and so is my trampoline.  I am not perfect and I don’t get exercise in every day.  I do try though and I definitely know I am fitter than I have been for many many years.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for all the comments and support.

Kerry xx

How giving up dieting changed a fat girl’s life

Untitled design (4)

I grew up thinking I was fat.  From day one really.  I don’t know why because when I look at those old faded photos with the white borders, I wasn’t.  But, I thought I was and that’s what counts.

I started dieting radically when I was 13.  I attended a slimming clinic where I was put onto a high protein diet and spent two hours a week a bit like a mental patient bandaged up with electrodes placed around my body to help burn fat.

To cut a very long story very short – I believe that crash dieting makes you fat.  I have through my life probably lost my entire body weight (not a small amount) at least twice.  I have mastered almost every diet known to man and woman.  I am an expert dieter.  I have got gold stars, stickers and even spoken as a motivator for a diet.  And yet as I crept into my forties I was fatter and unfitter than I had ever been.

Now, I know that it isn’t all’ dieting’s’ fault.  I have quite a few medical conditions including depression. Medication doesn’t help either.  I have also suffered from depression for a long time A couple of years ago I started changing my life and this is part of my journey.

Today, I am a little thinner, but a lot fitter – and fit feels good

After a three or four year period where I had just given up dieting (and surprisingly stayed the same large size rather than gaining weight), I made a decision that the time had come to ‘deal’ with it.

What made me so determined.  Are you ready? I wanted to feel sexy and feminine.  Each person will find their own motivator, but this was it for me.

My first step was to make up a mantra.

‘Nothing tastes as good as sexy feels.’

Everytime I looked at a chocolate or eyed up seconds I would repeat it in my head. I shared it with a few people and got varying responses. There were some who said they would go for the chocolate, and there were days I would agree. (and then I ate chocolate, and still do)

The next step was to get an appointment with a dietician.  The tiny lady who saved my life

Seriously!  Both that she is tiny and that she saved my life. Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia.

I have always had this idea that dieticians shouldn’t be too skinny otherwise they might make the fatties feel uncomfortable.  Well my dietician is seriously skinny – but healthy.  You can see it on her face so after my first misgivings I started to listen.

I remember 3 things from that first consultation.

  1. Change only your lunch – nothing else.
  2. Small changes
  3. Have blood tests (including an iron test)

Blood tests unearthed two very scary diseases – diabetes and pernicious anaemia as well as a very low iron count.

I told her my mantra – still not sure what she thought.

The journey towards health started with small changes, primarily my lunch.

She had also said that I couldn’t eat lunch with my work mate.  We had got into a routine of taking turns making a nice lunch.  Which of course normally turned into a silent competition of who can put together the nicest  spread.  Speaking honestly we also rewarded each other with food.

Bad Day = Croissant or a danish

Good Day =  Curley Wurley (a dieters chocolate)

Boring Day = Long lunch with a pudding

You get the picture…..

The first month wasn’t hard.  I changed my lunch and made sure I was eating a protein at every lunch (not the easiest thing for a vegetarian who lived on cheese), and simply kept the goodies for the evening.

When I weighed in a month later I was 9 pounds lighter!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the first step in a long journey which as led to a complete overhaul of my eating habits and of course my path to fitness.

An extra message before I sign off from this post.  Compliment your children and give them a positive body image – I don’t know why I thought I was fat as a child, but after a long while I can look at these childhood pictures and realise that I was pretty and perfect!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

A recipe for friendship

friendship

I am rich!  In friendship.  Over my life I have made some really special friends and what really makes me rich is that I have kept these friends.

Through the teenage years, the turbulent twenties, marriages, separations, children, careers and a move halfway across the world my friendships have survived.  I am really blessed because I am still making friends.

A big shout out and a thank you to communication platforms like Skype and Facebook which make it easy to bridge the gap.

All this got me thinking about what ingredients make a good friendship

Ingredients: (in no particular order)

Positivity

We can’t always be positive, but it does help.  In a friendship this is really important especially when you are listening and being supportive.  We all go through hard times, and when your friend is having a tough time, this is your chance to balance out with some positive vibes, thoughts and actions

Being a giver

This is really big.  Give of yourself, give of your time, and give from your heart.  On my birthday I received a crazy parcel from South Africa.  Lots and lots of little goodies, each with a memory or thought.  It isn’t about value, but it is about thought.  Looking around me now, my friends are reflected in little goodies all around my siting room.

One of my special friends often brings me a tiny gift from a day out, and I do the same in return.  It isn’t about money, it is about thought and making your friend feel special.

Communication

Best case scenario, sitting face to face sharing a cup of tea and a piece of cake.  This isn’t always possible, but in today’s world we have so many extra options open to us.  Facebook, Skype, Email.  Even the old fashioned letter or parcel.  Keep in touch!

Meaningful communication is soul food.

Listening

In every friendship there is a time to talk and a time to listen.  Listening is so very important.  Sometimes all a friend needs is someone to listen, I know I do.  Thoughts jumble around my brain and fall out.  Knowing that they are falling onto ears that care means a huge amount.

Empathy

The first time I heard about the concept of empathy, the whole world made sense to me.  The Greater Good defines empathy like this.  The term “empathy” is used to describe a wide range of experiences. Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

Loyalty and respect

Loyalty in friendship is essential.  Listen, but don’t speak.  and respect our friends feelings.  Imagine yourself back on the playground and ‘stick-up’ for your friend.  My friends that have stood by me, especially in the last couple of years have made a huge difference in how I have coped with live’s little curve balls.

Honesty – sometimes

Really honesty is good all the time.  You need to have people in your life who will tell you the truth, but with empathy and understanding.  I rely on my friends to tell me if I am badly dressed or not seeing things straight.  It isn’t always easy to hear, but if you are going to hear it let it be from a good friend.

Be there

Such an important one.  True friends are simply there, and especially when it counts.  As you know i have some health issues, and I am so grateful to the friends who have simply been there for me.  Listen to your friend cry.  Be there to celebrate the good times with a sparkling glass of prosecco.  Be there, to enourage them when they are climbing mountains.  I can think of so many occassions when friends of mine have been there for me – those are moments that are treasures.

Share

From a simple meal shared to sharing of your thoughts and moments.  Sharing is a true basic ingredient of friendship.  Like sharing your cookie on the playground, for me it is all about giving of yourself.  Now if you have two people sharing, you have such a cool friendship.

Method:

Listen to your heart, be consistent and yes, you have to work at it.  Schedule calls, send emails, set up tea dates.  Our lives get so busy it is easy enough to let things slip.  A true friend will always be there, even after ages of no communication, but it is so much better to be a good friend, and keep in touch.

This blog post goes out to all my friends. Fabulous Woman who are so special to me.  You know who you are xx

Friendship is so important so please feel free to share!

Kerry xx

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