Category: lifestyle

My Word of the Year Idea – Balance!

Balance (2)I have always been the type of person to make new year resolutions, and to keep them as much as I can.  At th end of 2011 I decided to upgrade this and choose a word for the year.  A word to change my life, step at a time.  I am proud to say that not only have I kept this up, but I have inspired many people to choose a word a year.  This is going to be a series on my blog as I share my ups and downs and how this little idea has helped shape my life.

Four year’s ago my life was in a dark place, and a little self reflection made me realise that my life was completely out of balance.  Work consumed me,  it even defined my friendships and leisure time.  I realise now that I worked because it was easier to do this than think about the other areas of my life that were not  under my control.

My health was not good.  I knew that I needed to improve my fitness levels, and yet didn’t have sufficient motivation to do anything about it.

This was my first year with a ‘word’ and I had no idea how much it would change my life.

Before I continue, I want to ask you to close your eyes and imagine me at the end of the year, in my walking gear, having returned from a walk and having a staring competition while standing on one leg with my son.  I can’t remember who won, but it lasted for a significant amount of time.  No matter what you read below, and in the rest of the series, I have dealt with it and worked to overcome and be positive in everything.  And yes, there have been bad days and tears, but this is a positive story.

The impact of the word ‘balance’  wasn’t anything dramatic to start with, I simply thought about my word, meditated on in and started to contemplate how I could incorporate more balance into my life.  I was contemplating balance not in the physical way, but more in respect of priorities and emotions.  However, be careful what word you choose.

The first six months there were no huge changes, although I consciously started to put aside time for leisure related activities that were not work related.  I explored new friendships and rekindled old ones.  I stepped up my reading and looked for new interests and started an ongoing fascination with psychology.

My world started to rock when I started marriage counselling early in the year.  It was never really couples counselling as the counsellor quickly realised that the situation required individual counselling.  There is a lot more to tell about that, but I digress.

My doctor at the time always invited me for my birthday blood tests.  An annual reminder to check up a few things.  I have had an underactive thyroid for years and years, as well as some hormone issues, that needed monitoring.  A week later I received a call asking me to come into the surgery urgently.  I had pernicious anaemia.  I had to google the word pernicious – I hadn’t a clue what it meant.  (Not going to go into detail now, but it wasn’t good).  Two weeks later I was told that I had Diabetes.  A month after that I got Shingles in my eye.

All this added to the emotional turmoil set me more off balance than I was to start with.  I was really in a place where I felt as though I had no choices at all.  I couldn’t see a way forward, and I felt myself sinking backwards.

The doctor mentioned walking. I didn’t even own a pair of trainers!  The first day I walked, it was on Spiddal beachfront and I walked with a kind friend who encouraged me and said how well I had done – I think that this was what would now be a 5 minute walk or less!  Looking back it was the start for me.  The start of change and getting balance in my life, in all aspects of my life, including physical.

I have found writing this first post both positive and negative.  I am proud to look back and look at my journey.  I am also excited to consider what lies ahead.  To follow my story, come back and visit my blog.  I hope to put up at least three posts a month about my words.  More on balance, and then change, discipline and create.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry x

Fabulous Woman – #bizpartyinspires conference and the power of twitter!

Photo credit: Rafal Kostrzewa @dublinheadshot

I went off to the Bizpartyinspires conference in Dublin not really knowing what to expect.  I came away with so much, having learnt, networked and become inspired.  Especially by lots of fabulous women.

As you all know I am fascinated by fabulousness, and meeting fabulous woman was a real gift.  I attended the conference for work, but was gifted with so much more.

Let me start my story with the night I arrived.  I reached the hotel and was so very very tired, with sore feet.  After checking into my room, I sat on the bed and realised that my first priority was to quench my thirst and eat something.  I wondered about going down to the bar area on my own.  Being a new twitter addict I checked twitter, and there it was, a tweet from the Tweeting Goddess herself, along with a photo of smiley people inviting anyone arriving to join them.  How nice is that?

I was welcomed warmly and made to feel like I had immediately made good friends.  That evening I met three woman who inspired me right off, and continued to do so the next day.  I would like to tell you about these fabulous ladies.

Samantha Kelly, the founder of Irishbizparty is so down to earth and genuine.  After a few minutes in her company, and you know that Sam has great empathy.  She is a connector, and has helped so many individuals and companies.  I know this, not because I read it on the website, but because I saw it in the way Samantha interacts with people, and in the amazing success of the event.  A fabulous woman who started a twitter tidal wave in her pyjamas!  She truly is a Tweeting Goddess.

Mairead Healy, the second of the fabulous woman I met is a singer extrodinaire!  I didn’t know this when I met her, we started chatting, and then she mentioned that she sang.  Nice, I thought in my head.  Mairead is a wonderful woman, a teacher and a monther, who started using Twitter before allowing her daughter a twitter account.  Just after lunch, a new Mairead appeared, beautifully dressed in singing clothes, she stood before us. The most magnificent soprano voice filled the room, and transported me.  I always say that art and music is judged on how it makes you feel.  This touched my heart and soul.   Take a listen here.

Carol Brill, was the third fabulous woman I met.  I could probably dedicate a full blog post to Carol’s story and how inspirational this lady is.  When I met her in the pub, I simply met a beautiful woman.  As the evening went on, I discovered that Carol has Usher syndrome – Usher syndrome is a genetic condition that causes both hearing loss and progressive deterioration in vision due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP).  Over my visit I got to know Carol and although at this stage I hadn’t heard her presentation, I was already inspired by this brave woman who put her daughter first.  Carol only has 3 percent of her vision left, and the Irishbizparty has raised funds so that Carol and her daughter Sara can see Disney in July this year!

Carol’s presentation at the conference blew me away.  In fact it blew everyone away.  As she spoke about being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome and the journey she has travelled on, there were a few sniffles around the room.  Carol does not ask for sympathy or attention, she simply tells a story with sincerity, humour and humility.  Please visit her website at Seeing Disney.

I went to the conference to learn about social media and especially Twitter.  I learnt all of that but I also came away inspired by these woman.  Being honest, there were many other fabulous woman too, but these three stood out for me.

Thanks for reading, and please visit the links.

Thanks for reading

Kerry

The Liebster Award – time to learn a little more about me!

Thank you to ashleighthebeautyaddict for nominating me for nominating me for the Liebster award.  Great fun and I  get to look at so many blogs.  Honestly since I have been blogging I have learnt so much and ‘met’ such amazing people – I feel really honoured.

Liebster

Here are the rules:

1) Thank and link back to the person(s) who nominated you and display the award

2) Answer their 11 questions the nominee asked

3) Give 11 random facts about yourself

4) Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers

5) Notify the bloggers you chose for the award

6) Make a list of 11 different questions for your nominees to answer

My questions from Ashleighthebeautyaddict

One:  What is the one makeup product you always ‘need’ to buy, yet you have a thousand different ones in the drawer?

Foundation – I seem to have developed a bit of an addiction for it.  I must be my quest for a flawless skin.  I promise I will use them all.  I tend to swop and change depending on the occasion.

Two:  Are you allergic to anything?

I must be, just can’t think of anything right now.  Oh! I know I am allergic to unkind people – they bring me out in hives!!!

Three:  If I was to quickly look at your profile pic, what would be the one thing I would never ever guess about you?

That I was blond most of my life.  The red hair is part of me striving to be fabulous and be strong.

Four:  Name the first lipstick shade name that comes to mind!

Blushing ballroom

Five:  Okay now join that name with the name of the first street you lived on, that’s your Superhero name! What power do you have and why?

Blushing Ballroom Rosemary – Well obviously this superhero can dance like a dream and forget the cares of her life while dancing.  The real superpower I would like to have is to make people feel good about themselves despite what they are dealing with.

Six:  What is the one thing you cannot stand to be around? (a certain smell/place/animal/insect?)

I don’t really like the smell of raw meat – a butcher shop makes me feel sick!  I was a vegetarian most of my life.

Seven:  What beauty product did you cave and buy that totally didn’t work out for you?

Nothing comes to mind, but I know I do know that I have too many handcreams.  I seem to buy lots of them, and then never get to use them up.

Eight:  Is there a certain product/brand/place you rave about to everyone? It could even be a game or a book!

That’s easy Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream.  It is my go to solution for everything skin.  I think friends and family are tired of hearing about it.  It is a miracle cream.

Nine:  Would you rather throw out your eyeshadow’s, pigments and palettes or your foundations, mascara’s and lipsticks?

It would be my lipsticks.  I love them, but forget to apply them throughout the day, so am often bare lipped.

Ten:  Is there a word/brand you were told you have been saying wrong the entire time? (I thought Morphe was pronounced Morphe not Morph-ee)

Took me a long time to learn to say lingerie as a child.  I think I was in my twenties before I learnt how to pronounce it!

Eleven:  Name one person on Instagram or Youtube that you admire.

I haven’t explored Youtube enough yet.  My summer project! – so watch this space.

I do love Tedtalks – so inspiring.

11 Random facts about me

  1. I have 2 different colour eyes – one blue and one green
  2. I am a middle child
  3. I tell everyone (and honestly secretly believe) that I can talk dog! I am sure I understand them and that they understand me
  4. I have a really boy/techie side to me
  5. Through my son – I have developed a huge interest into the psychology of video games.
  6. I have a number of tiaras/crowns (perhaps that isn’t a big secret)
  7. I am very untidy
  8. Friends are my real wealth
  9. I had serious imaginary friends as a child
  10. I pretended to be my brother’s twin for a good few years (and he is 6 years younger than me!)
  11. I love to paint

I am nominating 11 bloggers – I hope you haven’t done this before …

(May I just say I have loved this research – could read blogs all day!)

Style Gamblers

EA Loves

Enhance what is yours

Beechmount Art Studio

Helpless while Drying

Sometimes Write

Squidgy Moments

But you have such a pretty face

Lilliwhiterose

Glittermamawishes

Red Lips Red Hair

My Questions:

  1. Did you have a nickname as a child – and what was it?
  2. Did you have an imaginary friend? Tell us please?
  3. Where do you come in your family? Is it a good or bad thing
  4. TV guilty pleasure
  5. Your best bathtime routine – favourite products, scented candles ….
  6. Quote that defines your life
  7. Your favourite exercise
  8. Have you ever considered online dating?
  9. What triggered your first blog post
  10. What beauty product in your make-up bag makes you feel really special
  11. The book that changed your life?

7 Essentials for a Fabulicious Bathtime

 

Bath like you deserve it! (2)I sincerely believe that we have to treat ourselves.  In the past (and sometimes in the present) treats often revolve around food. Cake or chocolate in front of the TV.  I am trying to change, as I continue on my  journey to improve my health.  One of my favourite treats these days is a luxurious bath.

A bath can become a home spa with a bit of planning.  A gift to the senses that is not only extremely pleasurable, but also really good for you.  Read this post and start planning ladies, we all need some me time! Loads of  lapping steamy water to luxuriate in and more importantly a complete switch-off with no interruptions.

In the rush of everyday life it is all about a quick shower, but you cannot beat a bath for pure indulgence.  I find that an evening bath has all sorts of added benefits including the fact that it really helps me sleep – I get into bed all warm and cosy and completely relaxed.  And, I am told that sleeping helps you loose weight so double win!

Here are my 7 essentials for a fabulicious bathtime.

  1. Scented candles.  I love the flickering glow and the gorgeous scent.  Tonight I indulged inUrban Apothecary London’s Peony Rose luxury scented candle from my Mother’s day treatment Glossy Box.  I light the candle when I start running the bath and keep the door closed so that the aroma of the candle and the bath oils treat the senses.
  2. Lots of hot water – maybe it doesn’t need to be said, but I am one of those people who top up during the bath and I need to know that there is steamy water waiting for me.
  3. Oils.  I used to love a good bubble bath but I am now a convert to oils.  The lovely Elmis frangipani monoi oil from my ITWBN goody bag, a gift from the Raddison Blu in Galway.  Although this is a body oil I find a few drops in the bath along with my cheat product (almond oil that I buy from the Asian food store) makes a really special bath.  Aroma and moisturising – double benefit.
  4. Music:  mellow jazz.
  5. A good book.  Yes, I am a reader and I love reading in the bath.  It is especially fun when it is a book that I can loose myself in.
  6. A fluffy soft bath sheet.  As I am not skinny I like a towel that can wrap around me and keep me warm while I dry myself.  If the heating is on I warm it on the radiator for an extra sensual experience.
  7. Luxury body lotion.  Currently Naobay body radiance lotion from my Glossy Box again.

And then when I am super relaxed, my skin hydrated, I hop into my warm bed.  Switch the light off and know that at least tonight I will get 6 to 8 hours sleep.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your bath!

Kerry x

Sweet Lemon Paté – my alternative dessert

Whip the cream cheese and add the large (2)

Welcome to this, the first of my foodilicious posts.  I enjoy making food, and especially making food to share.  Nothing is complicated, taste is my objective.

My Son is my best critic, and says yum yum to this one and licked the bowl and the spoon – and he is 19!  It is a fun dessert for sharing, and delivers classic cheesecake flavours in a flash.

I love the idea of delivering food that is a bit unexpected.  Hence Paté for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • A large tub of cream cheese (I tend to use the lightest version)
  • 2 giant tablespoons of lemon curd (either home made or a really good quality shop bought alternative)
  • 2 giant tablespoons of whipped cream or creme fraiche
  • Simple sweet biscuits or cookies (nothing with too strong a flavour).  I used Nice biscuits, but Mariettas, digestives, vanilla wafers etc. would work just as well.

Extras if you like:

  • Lemon Zest
  • Popping candy

MethodMethod:

Ideally make ahead of time.  Whip the cream crease with a wooden spoon.  Add the lemon curd.  Taste as you go and add enough lemon to create a tart, yet sweet flavour.  Now add a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream or creme fraiche.

I tend to use cream for a kid friendly and richer version and creme fraiche when I want a slightly tarter version.

That is it!  Now refrigerate for a good few hours, or overnight if you have time.

To serve:

Top with zested lemon rind, or for a celebration, popping candy.  Serve as you would a paté or dip, surrounded by crackers.

This dish was made for an Easter celebration so we added some little eggs and bunnies.

Enjoy.

And please don’t forget to send me your feedback.

Kerry xx

If we didn’t have bad days we wouldn’t appreciate good ones

If we didn't  have bad days we wouldn't (2)We all have those kind of days . The days that put everything into perspective.

I have promised myself that this will be  a positive blog, but this post is about turning a negative into a positive.  Let me explain.

I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands.  I am self injecting Methotrexate (which is one of the drugs from the chemotherapy cocktail).  It has been helping and his given me some relief from pain.  There are days however when things are not good.  Pain is severe and quite frankly it must makes me crabby.

I am definitely a glass half full kind of person, but when the pain gets really bad it is hard to concentrate, never mind think of the glass and whether it is full or empty.

Today was one of those days.  I felt myself becoming snappy, and if someone gave me a tiny bit of sympathy, I could feel tears welling up.  Not a good way to be, especially if you are trying to keep up your ‘fabulous’ and professional persona, and of course keep your invisible crown on your head!

At 4pm I gave in and reached for a painkiller.  I try very hard to steer away from them, but there comes a time, and this is my first piece of advice for dealing with those kind of days.

If you are in pain – take a painkiller.

The next piece of advice is to distract yourself.  After work I went silly shopping.  I wandered around the supermarket and bought easter eggs, and crazy dessert pizza.

The final piece of advice is not to wallow.  I was invited out by a friend and although my head was telling me to stay home and rest, my spirit said get out and live.  I had a lovely evening with good company and yummy food, and to an extent forgot about the pain.  (The pills I had taken helped a bit too).

My lovely sister called to find out how I was, and I think was a bit surprised to find me out and about.  I guess this post goes towards explaining why.

My philosophy is to embrace life, no matter what.   I embrace life, and try to be fabulous, regardless of the circumstances.

When I wake up tomorrow, the RA will still be there, and the pain might wake me up in the night.  No matter what in the morning, I will put my make-up on, position my invisible crown and find my fabuliciousness.

And when I have a good day, I will appreciate it even more!

What better way to celebrate than with a Make-over!

 

Celebrate (2)A couple of weeks ago I reached a milestone in my life.  It was two years since my move to Westport.  It was really a significant shift in my life for all sorts of reasons.  I moved to the beautiful County of Mayo to start a new job, back in the corporate world, after a 10 year stint as an arty hippy shopkeeper.  A new town, new county and new me.

It hasn’t been easy, but change never is.  It has however, been challenging and rewarding, both in ways I had never expected.  I have found myself using brain cells that I didn’t know I had, and simply learning (or should that be re-learning) how to simply have fun.  To kick back and celebrate life.

Part of this journey has been accepting myself and embracing fabulousness.  Understanding that we are all beautiful and that is ok to be a girly girl.  As my inner confidence has grown I have begun to feel more confident in myself and have learnt to love make-up again.

So no better way to celebrate that a night at home with my girl friends Ruth and Taylor.  We set the scene with lots of little snacky food (my favourite way to eat) and tall glasses of sparkling prosecco. We had a proper natter, with lots of giggles talking over our journeys over the past two years.

As a special treat Taylor, who has trained as a make-up artist did a little make-over for me.  She used loads of the yummy products from my Into The West Blogger Network (ITWBN) goody bag from the last event.

Just saying I feel very brave putting my bare face out on the internet.  There was a time when I wouldn’t let anyone take a picture of my face at all.

I think the concealer pallette from Isadora Cosmetics did a fantanstic job of evening out my skin. I use it every day and love how the green stuff evens out the red around my nose.  The highlighter is fab for adding shape to my cheekbones and highlighting my brows.  This was of course the end of the day, so the dark circle stuff was more than necessary. The gorgeous mascara was the final flourish for sexy eyes.

Thanks for reading and most importantly thank you to my girlies for making my night special.

Kerry xx

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