Category: Uncategorized

What is dignity?   And why is it so important?

Dignity is a complex state and something that I truly believe that everyone deserves.  Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect

My blog is all about being fabulous despite the circumstances of your life.  Despite the curveballs that life throws at you.  Your dignity is something that is truly integral to your fabulousness no matter what age, gender or circumstance.

A little about me

Over the past five years (and a bit more perhaps) a lot of things have come across my path. I have been a victim of gaslight bullying in the work place. My health as also been a huge struggle, most especially with my arthritis, which has been stripping me of some of the things that I perhaps took for granted.  It is some of these situations that has made me realise how important dignity is.

If dignity has been stripped from you – for whatever reason, it isn’t the easiest thing to get back. Walking tall and acting confident when you are crippled with pain or humiliation is hard.  The first time I walked out with Stan, my trusty walking stick was hard.  Not simply because I thought people would be looking at me and questioning , but because I felt vulnerable.

Vulnerability is closely linked with dignity.

When I feel vulnerable, be it a situation when I had to return to the office after a humiliating dressing down, or when I had to introduce Stan to my date.  I feel vulnerable when I am faced with a plate of dinner that I know I cannot cope with (there are days when I cannot cut my food because of pain in my hands, and many days when I know I will be decorating my clothes with the food that I might spill).  I feel vulnerable when I need to ask for assistance to carry my tray in a restaurant and even on a very bad day when I cannot pick up a cup of tea.

There are days like this – perhaps more than I would like.  After several attempts, trying to get my essential fix of tea, I realised that lifting the cup was not an option.  I asked for a straw which was delivered with a smile and with an attitude that didn’t make me feel vulnerable.  This kind woman understood dignity.

We are all different

No two people are alike and there are many people living with disabilities both visible and invisible.  This month is autism Awareness month and I am delighted to hear of many supermarkets introducing shopping hours where attention has been paid to decreasing light, sounds and other sensory stimuli.  I will certainly be taking note of these.  As a result of my conditions I am hypersensitive and find shopping overwhelming at the best of times.

Invisible disabilities (very like me on a good day when I don’t have my stick or hand splints)  are exactly that.  They are invisible.  These include depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and MS just as a start.  Anybody going about what seems like daily life with these conditions is fighting an uphill battle and dignity is part of that.

So how can we help people to maintain their dignity?

  • Firstly as mentioned above we don’t know who is struggling.  So why not show everyone respect.  It is old-fashioned I know but if you are sitting on a train or tube and know that you are ok to stand, offer your seat.  I promise there is someone who is struggling to stand and maintain balance.
  • Be aware.  It takes so little to hold a door open, to perhaps notice that someone needs a little help, perhaps with carrying a tray or a cup of coffee.  Perhaps allowing someone to go ahead of you in the queue.  These are all little actions that will allow someone to maintain their dignity and not feel quite so vulnerable.
  • In close relationships, family and friends who know what someone is going through it is both easier and harder.  My advice would be to again be aware, be conscious of what things might be difficult, and simply help silently.  I had visitors over the Easter weekend and every day I realised that little things had happened.  My bin had been cleaned thoroughly, the back garden was tidied, the dishwasher had been packed and unpacked.  I didn’t ask for help, but it was given.  And I am so grateful.
  • Acceptance is key.  If there is a person in your life who is disabled in any way, simply accepting them for who they are is a wonderful gift of dignity.  When I was in a new relationship, I was shy about introducing Stan the Stick.  Eventually we were going on a trip and I knew I would need the support of my stick.  I remember asking my Mom.  If he doesn’t accept Stan he isn’t the man for you.  Wise woman!  I just loved the day when he suggested bringing Stan out with us.

 

My tool kit for coping

It may seem odd, but the little things I do for myself to feel better, and to maintain my dignity are important to me.

I like looking good.  I love my fashion and style.  If I am going out (and even sometimes staying in) choosing great clothes, doing my hair and spending time on my make-up give me that added confidence boost.

I also of course rely on the old favourites of pain relief, mindfulness and rest.  A great day out feeling totally dignified has a lot of planning behind it.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who I share my life with.  My friends who know and the strangers who don’t.  Allowing me my dignity is a gift.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

 

Give a Book this Christmas – December Girl

I just had a delivery from Amazon.  My son commented that the Amazon Deliveries are modern-day Father Christmases.

Perhaps they are, and what better gift to give that a great book.  Books are my friends.  They allow me to travel to other world and experience the lives of others embellishing their lives with my imagination.

As an aspiring writer I have met so many talented authors online and have really enjoyed the gift of reading some really good books recently.

December Girl by Nicola Cassidy

Nicola is a blogger, who I have been following for a while, I loved her writing and was really delighted to hear that she had secured a publishing contract.  The arrival of her book, complete with a beautiful snowflake ornament was like Christmas coming early.

It is a cracking read!  Historical fiction crossing between north County Dublin and London.  It is a mystery about a missing baby, but it is so much more.  It is dark, but entertaining with such great characterisation that I couldn’t decide whether to like and admire the heroine Molly – or not.

Molly, the December Girl, was born on the Winter Solstice and despite many hardships but she never loses her strength and belief making her such a great character.

It is a tale that transcends geography and could have taken place in a different country and at a different time.  I am writing this review and wanting to give spoilers but trying to resist.

Buy it on Amazon, wrap it up and give it to someone for Christmas, or simply to tell them you care. And the exciting part is that if you are running late with your shopping you can send a Kindle version.

It is a gift that will give the reader pleasure on a long winter’s day.

Preferably accompanied by gallons of tea and perhaps some December food like a mince-pie or a slice of Christmas cake.

Happy reading and look out for some more book reviews soon.

Kerry x

 

Afternoon tea – a necessary indulgence



Afternoon tea is my favourite meal.  I know that it might not be the healthiest meal but it trumps on the luxurious indulgence stakes.

I was delighted to be invited to the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown to celebrate the launch of their afternoon tea menu.  The simple thought of it had me up early in the morning and ready to travel.

Like any true afternoon tea addict it is always a complete experience, so I started with my outfit.  It had to be my Lindy Bop Tea dress.  Feeling pretty and bubbling with excitement I set off on my journey with fellow bloggers Sinead from Yummy Mummy and Dolores from Irish Health Hour.

The mood was set with lots of girly chats and laughs and we arrived in good spirits.

A Hotel with a Heart

Some people might say that a hotel is simply a hotel, but this hotel has heart.  What a beautiful warm welcome we received.  The staff were fantastic, friendly and efficient.

As we entered the room where the tea party was being held I just wanted to swirl and twirl in my party dress.  The attention to detail was second to none and my eyes kept jumping around to take in the detail, all of which built atmosphere and excitement.

Pimp my Prosecco

Before we sat down for tea we were offered a glass of prosecco, but not just any prosecco.  This cute primp my prosecco stand meant that we could add flavourings and fruit to our glass of sparkle. As delicious as it was, I wanted to watch my intake and the great staff immediately assisted by pimping sparkling water for me.

The perfect ingredients for afternoon tea for me are great company, excellent hot tea and lots of it and of course the foody goodies.  As we sat down at a perfectly decorated table with great little details like name plates and little flowers I glanced over at the fine china and knew I was in for a treat.

The cake stands were delivered and we all simply dived in.  The bottom layer of sandwiches was my first dive in.  The classic smoked salmon and brown soda, a yummy delicious chicken with apple wood smoked cheddar (so yummy that I was looking for a second one), fresh tasting egg mayonnaise and cucumber and finally a roast beef.  I was ok with missing out on the beef (as I don’t eat red meat), and was delighted to sit back and sip at my tea.

My number one tea party food is a good scone.  These scones served with jam and cream were fluffy and light inside with just the right amount of crisp. The addition of lemon drizzle cake and a fruity banana bread was just the right balance before reaching for the top tier!

The top-tier of any tea stand is pure indulgence and this was no different.  Creamy, dreamy coconut cake, delicious vanilla cheesecake, toffee Mille Feuillee and beautiful little custard tarts which are my mother’s favourite.  The big decision – to choose or simply have one of each.

There was a lot of delicious food and I enjoyed it.  It was great fun though and between lots of laughs as we experimented with Boomerang and dived into our goody bags. Time simply flew.

Just a small note at this stage on the goody bags.  They were fabulous with lots of treats for us bloggers to try.  I will be featuring many items on my Instagram (@DynamicKerry) and my blog in the weeks to come. We were gifted all sorts of goodies from a range of sponsors.  These included the Carlton Hotel, Ultra Pure Laboratories, Human + Kind, Dr Paw Paw, Ardell Lashes, Graham Anthony, Debenhams, Nude by Nature and from local retailers including Chopped, O’Breins Wines, and Westend Retail Park.

This was my kind of afternoon, and to be honest my perfect social occasion.  I will definitely be back!

We even finished off the afternoon with a gin cocktail!  Who could say no to that?

A hotel with a lot more to offer

Before the day ended we had a tour around the hotel and I added to my wish list.  Beautifully appointed rooms just invite you to sink into soft pillows and take a rest.

The fab business centre caught my eye.  Working from home I am often looking for somewhere to hold a meeting or simply work and write when I am out-of-town.  I will be working on a different blog post over on www.kerrymanning.net all about working on the go and will definitely be including the facilities at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown.

The Carlton Hotel is conveniently located close to the fabulous Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and in easy reach of the airport.

Thank you for reading. Let me know if you indulge in afternoon tea at the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown or wherever you live.  Remember tea and cake is best shared with friends.

Kerry xx

All the support you need for your girlfriends

 

Yesterday I bought two new bras.  Oh my, you have no idea how good it feels to have the support I need!

good-friends-good-bra-fabulicousfiftyI am quite well endowed and so good support in a bra is essential and to be honest not the easiest thing to find.  Although more companies are making pretty bras in bigger sizes now, it is still difficult to find a bra that makes you feel supported and sexy at the same time.

It is a funny thing about a bra.  It is quite often never seen, other than by yourself. And yet it makes a huge difference to how you feel and to how you look.

Feeling pretty and perky with my support

As I walked around my home this morning feeling really perky in my new spotted number from Debenhams Gorgeous range I started thinking about how much a bra is like a girlfriend.  And how very important the support is in both cases.

My musings include the obvious support that women give women.  I am so amazed by this on a daily basis.  I have been through some tough times and it has been the support of my girlfriends that held me up I felt ok. No mean feat with a GG Cup!

Beautiful friends much like a beautiful bra make you feel like a better version of yourself.  They both make you stand taller and give you that dash of courage to go out and be the best version of yourself.

Conversely of course a bad bra and a bad friend have some similarities.  We have all felt the bite of that escaped underwire that stabs you close to your heart.

So today, hitch up those bra straps and if you need to treat yourself and your boobs to a new bra or two (mine came in a twin pack).  We all deserve support!  Remember those friends who are as good as a triple hook and lacy wide straps.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share with a friend who understands the value of good support.

Kerry x

 

Cream cheese mints – a little bit naughty, but very nice

 

Cream Cheese Mints

These gorgeous pink mints are easy enough to make with only  2 basic ingredients. I think they would make a lovely gift!

I chose to make them pink, because I love the colour and this batch is for my pink themed house warming party.

I think they would make a lovely after dinner mint, or even a gift if you are going visiting!

Ingredients:

Approximately 100 grams of cream cheese (I used half a pack of the soft cream cheese from Lidl)

3 Cups of sieved  icing sugar

1 teaspoon of peppermint essence

Food colouring if you choose – I used a few drops of red to make a nice soft pink colour.

Method:

Whip the cream cheese using an electric beater.  When it is soft add in the peppermint essence and food colouring.

Now start adding the sieved icing sugar a cup at a time.  You will find that the first cup is easy to mix in.  The second cup is a little harder, and the third cup is quite tough.  I landed up with a sandy texture that I thought would never mix.  It was time to get my hands in and bring it together into a soft dough.

Using a sheet of parchment dusted in icing sugar, roll the fondant into a sausage and chill in the fridge for an hour.

I have a beautiful set of vintage mini biscuit cutters which I used to cut out some cute shapes.  I also took the easy route an rolled little balls and simply pressed them with a fork.

Leave them out to dry overnight.  Turn them the following day and let them dry again.

They should keep well in an airtight container for a week  – if they last long enough.

I do try and eat well, but sometimes something a little bit naughty is nice.

Happy eating

Kerry x

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

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Mother!

I bought you a website for your birthday! I hope you like it. We can change anything that isn’t as you need. As with a .com website we have full control over absolutely everything.

Oh also the website isn’t currently open to search engines, so it’s practically invisible to anyone without a link, I had to keep it a secret!

It’s all setup with most of the plugins you’ll need. I even had google analytics running, although we will need to transfer it to your google account.

Anyway, Happy Birthday!

Love you!

xxx

%d bloggers like this: