Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise – a Mantra I have never Forgotten

ultrapure rosewater toner

When I was about 13 my sister and I were sent to Matty Reid’s Finishing School in the holidays. It was a week-long course presented by a delightfully eccentric ex-model.

On the first day she swept into the classroom with a turban and a hat, but with such panache! I immediately found myself sitting up straighter and aspiring for sophistication.

Each day was dedicated to one subject – fashion, deportment (how to walk and how to get out of a car elegantly), accessories (I still have a drawer full of scarves as a result), make-up and beauty.

Cleanse, tone, moisturise ….

This pivotal week, was the first time I heard about the basic skin care routine, and it is something I have never forgotten. I remember raising my hand and asking what the value of toning was. Cleaning was easy enough to understand, as was moisturising, but what role did the toner play. A toner clarifies. It cleans away any residual oil and make-up and leaves your skin sparkling.

It was a long time ago, but this lesson has stayed with me and I always follow these 3 steps. As my knowledge of skin care and beauty has grown I have of course added to these steps with some great exfoliators, masks and serums but the basic routine has never changed.

The products have however. As I have got a bit older (mmm) I have found myself trying different products to find what suits my skin best. I have a dry mature skin and am also very conscious that wrinkles are knocking on the door.

I was delighted to try the Rose Water and Glycerine Hydrating and Harmonising Toner from Ultra Pure Laboratories. Rose is one of my favourite oils and the addition of the glycerine makes this almost a moisturising toner. There are two toners in the Rose Water range and I use both, one in the morning and one in the evening.

I use the Rose Water Hydrating and Balancing Toner in the morning which leaves my skin feeling fresh, and the Rose Water and Glycerine toner in the evening locking even more moisture before a generous coating of night cream.

An added benefit to these Ultra Pure products – the gorgeous aroma of Rose.  These fabulicious products are available at pharmacies throughout Ireland.

A quick thank you to the fabulous ladies at ITBWN who organised this collaboration.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

10 Areas of your Home to Tidy

10 Areas of your home to tidy

When I think of everything that needs a good tidy I sometimes find it overwhelming. It is however, something that needs to be done,  otherwise the clutter can become overwhelming itself.  Time to tidy up!

I have created this list both to inspire me and to keep me motivated. (I plan to do a lot of ticking off in the next few months). My word of the year is ‘detail’ and this is the type of detail I am starting with.

  1. Bedside locker (and drawers)

    My bedside locker is generally packed full of all sorts of things that I think I might need – tissues, mobile phone, chargers, water, books that I am reading/want to read/ have already read, hair ties, hair brushes – you get the idea. I even have some cute coasters for tea in bed. The only problem is that I can’t always find place for the tea. This is the first area to be hit!

  2. Mantlepiece

    Housewarming cards which get replaced by Christmas cards etc. When this get’s tidied I will save a spot for one Valentine’s card – but that is it. I actually quite like to change the decorations on my mantle piece as it really is an area that draws focus. My plan is one candle and a few key items. The clutter of incense, oil burners, matches and random bits and pieces will be banished.

  3. Hall Table

    I think I seriously need a coat rack, perhaps with a shelf. Perhaps a few more tidy tools. A place for everything from mail, gloves and hats, and keys. A good idea for me would be a waste bin – right at the door for junk mail, envelopes and the zillions of slips that seem to multiply in my handbag.

  4. Windowsills

    I tend to use my windowsills for storage, especially books. I am short of storage space in my home, but I do think that perhaps limiting what is allowed on the windowsills might be a good thing.

  5. The bathroom cupboard and make-up in general

    I love make-up and am can’t resist it.  I seem to have make-up clutter everywhere from make-up bags to the bathroom cupboard. It does tend to multiply and I think a cull and a clean-up is on order.  This might have to be a monthly task.

  6. The shower

    Hands up who has empty shampoo and shower gel bottles. Please tell me it isn’t only me?

    This is a quick clean out, but should make a big difference. I will limit myself to one shampoo, one shower gel, one conditioner and my two scrubs. Enough I think!

  7. That drawer!

    We all have one – quite often in the kitchen. The one that gets filled with miscellaneous keys of unknown origin, pens that no longer write, scraps of paper that were important at one time, business cards – you get the idea.  A simple blitz with a bin.

  8. The bulging folder of accounts that need filing

    With so much happening online it is important to keep record of some things in the old-fashioned way. A good friend advised me to set aside an hour or two a week for important financial things – very good advice. I have added filing to this time slot. A little behind right now, but yet another thing that can be ticked off.

  9. The linen cupboard

    It is so satisfying seeing the linen cupboard all neat with bedding sets paired up and cosy towels in a pile waiting to be used. Alas it only takes one morning when you need a towel from the bottom of the pile and it all comes tumbling down.

  10. The craft room/home office

    Now, I know that not everyone had a craft room, but if you do it is a big job. My craft room is also my study and it is chaotic. It is at the bottom of this list as it is such a big job, but it must be done.

I hope these tips might inspire you. Any other areas of the home you would like to add to the list?

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any suggestions!  Read more about my word ‘detail’ – here.

Kerry

New Year – New Word

Detail

Every year I choose a word which will be my focus for the 12 months ahead. I give it quite a lot of thought during December examining both the positives and negatives in my life.

The idea is to choose a word that will improve your life, and sometimes change isn’t easy, and change is necessary for improvement.

It is no good choosing a completely positive word (although that cannot be ruled out), it is more about choosing a word that will enhance your life, a word that when you reflect this time next year, you know has made you grow.

As I start my fifth ‘Word of the Year’, I am both cautious and excited about the word I choose. I know from experience that these words can be powerful.

When I first came up with the concept, I had no idea if it would work at all. I had simply hit a very dark period of my life and I know that something needed to change. Although I do love new year’s resolutions and try very hard to keep them, I knew I needed more.

The idea is really simple – choose a word that you feel might be the word for you and start by simply meditating on the word. My experience is that as I focus on the word it becomes part of my life. Of course you need to make some active decisions to make changes in your life – with your word as the focus.

So after the words – BALANCE, CHANGE, DISCIPLINE, and CREATE, what word did I choose for 2016. I chose DETAIL.

I am a big picture type of person. I think big – I see the big picture and am great at putting a good plan and strategy together (especially in my working life). However in order to make things happen you need to focus on detail. I know that I need to give more attention to detail in all areas of my life. I need to be neater, less messy, and when it comes to personal paperwork there is some attention to detail needed too. I always feel so much happier and in control when I know that the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed.

I don’t know about you, but I think that life is just lived at such a hectic pace these days that those little details are often overlooked.

This year I am committing myself to DETAIL. I am looking forward to making DETAIL a strong part of my life and ending the year with a little more organisation in my life.

If you would like to read some of my other ‘word of the year’ posts I have put a few links below:

All about writing a book on words

Getting my life into Balance

My first word of the year – Balance

Thanks for reading and please pop back for some ‘detailed’ updates.

Kerry x

A gift of indulgence from me to me via The Body Shop

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Christmas can be so frenetic dashing from shop to shop, buying gifts and stocking up on food.
I don’t know about anyone else but by this time of year I am tired and in need of a bit of me time, especially after shopping.
So why not buy a gift for yourself. Something festive but indulgent like the new Frosted Plum range from the Body Shop.
The fragrance is quite enchanting with sweet (but not overly so) extracts plum that go so very well with a bit of Christmas music and maybe a mince pie.
A while ago I learnt the benefits of layering a scent. By using the same fragrance from bath time to that final spritz as you go out the door, you get a truly deep, but not overwhelming, aroma that lasts throughout the day.
Perfume is after all the ultimate accessory!
As my gift to myself, I treated myself to a wallow in a beautiful bath with some Frosted Plum bath fizzers – I really like these as they are like big square sugar cubes and you can choose how many to use at a time. The skin got a little scrub with the matching body scrub.
Now let the shimmer begin. Lashings of Frosted Plum shimmer lotion to lock some moisture in. And then onto the most exciting of all the goodies in this fab Body Shop range, the Shimmer mist –a sparkly perfume. I finished my bath feeling all sparkly and Christmassy and even though I only donned a snugly gown I know I will be using this for an added sparkle over the festive season.
A little note –although there is a shimmer it is subtle and doesn’t make me look like I have been having a creative discussion with glitter (something all crafters know about)!
As all readers of my blog will know I love walking and am determined to improve my fitness. A little bonus for me a Frosted Plum lip balm for my coat pocket”.
I hope this post inspires you to be good to yourself this Christmas.
Thanks for reading
Kerry xx

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

Win some Fabulous Christmas Baubles!

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It is almost time to decorate!  I like to make decorating day into an occassion.  I start with Christmassy bites.  Mince pies are essential as well as a box of Quality Street or Roses for nibbling on.

When I put my decorations away, I wrap them in pages from the TV guide and then into old biscuit and sweetie tins.  This makes unwrapping fun!

Many of the decorations have special meaning to me and it is great to reminisce about where they came from.  I have paper ornaments made in school and beautiful fabric ones make by a friend and beaded wire ornaments from South Africa.

Each year I treat myself to a few new ones.  This year I already have my eye on some of the gorgeous ones at EZ Living Furniture (very tempting as this is where I work).  Take a look at some of the gorgeous goodies on the web site.

Pinterest is also great for some fresh ideas – I must admit that I was drooling over photos while making my wish list.

I am delighted to say that I have been given a selection of 6 beautiful ornaments to give away on my blog.  Leave a comment here to be entered into the draw.  If you would like another entry, give it a like on Facebook and a share to spread the Christmas Cheer.

I will pull a winner on 6 December.  Sorry but this competition is only open to Ireland.

Thanks for reading and happy decorating.

Kerry x

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

 

Friendship across the miles, and the years

 

True friends won't grow apart even if they don't talk every day

In less than a month I will be on my way to South Africa for a brief holiday.

What I look forward to the most is catching up with family and friends.  Even though I have been living in Ireland for almost 13 years now, I find that time simply melts away and we are nattering away. like it was only yesterday that we saw each other last.

I do value my friends and work hard to keep contact.  Distance and the pressures of daily life sometimes get in the way.  I am grateful to be in contact with friends that I have had since I was five!

I have moved around a lot in the last 15 years.  The big move from South Africa, the move to Westport and now the move back to Galway.  At every stage of my life I have made new friends.  I don’t always have time to talk every day, but I do value my friends.

Today’s quote simply says, true friends won’t grow apart if they don’t talk every day.  I am so glad about that.

I love good party and am looking foward to my housewarming party on Sunday – another great excuse to catch up with friends old and new.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

Planning a party from your sofa

There is always time for tea and cakeI love a good party.  I love bringing people together over good food and drink (not necessarily alcoholic) for fun times.  Spending time with friends and family is so very special.  I also enjoy the idea of inviting random people who have come into my life, and made it better.  Seeing people meet and make connections just makes a party pop!

Well, I have a reason for another party – I am having a housewarming for my new home. As I started to plan and prepare for the party it occurred to me that I do most of my planning online using social media and apps.

This is how I do it …

I start with a little Pinterest and YouTube browsing ideas for a theme.  Sometimes it is a piece of music and an item of food that has me thinking.

I just love vintage music – so let us put a bit of Louis Armstrong on in the background on YouTube, and then hit Pinterest for some foody ideas. Time to unpack my gorgeous tea cups!

Tea parties are really my thing.  A good cup of tea and a perfect cake cannot be beaten. I have recently connected with a fabulous tea company based in Galway.  Solaris Tea have simply the most marvelous teas including one I call celebration tea.  I am including a video clip because I am not sure I can describe it as well.  A clear tea pot is a must and as the hot water is added the pot of tea becomes an exquisite flower.

I am very excited to say that I contacted.Solaris tea on twitter and will be having this fabulous range of tea at my party!!  I met up with Catriona from Solaris at an ITWBN blogging event and she urged me to try the Chai Green tea. I am not a green tea lady, but to be polite I said I would try it.  After drinking 3 cups I had to buy it.  The tea is beautifully made and combines whole leaf tea with delicate citrus and spice.

I do love spending an hour (or two or three) in Pinterest, It is my first stop when planning a party menu.  I was so inspired that I had to create board with tea party ideas,   I am thinking tiny tea sandwiches and perhaps a pink and white dessert buffet?

A trip to Spotify sorts the music – some big band blues I think.

Now for the invites.  Let’s head over to Facebook, where I can send off some invites and catch up with some friends who live to far away. Perhaps I might have to have a little party over in South Africa when I visit…

The party is next week, so best I had over to my lists.  Lots of recipes and party posts coming soon.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

 

 

Celebrating World Kindness day

RAK_be_oneIt doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

November 13 is World Kindness Day.  I first came across the idea of random acts of kindness when I read Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  Although this is a novel, the concept of simply doing something kind for someone else with no expectation of a return made a huge impact.  The book, which was subsequently made into a movie starring Kevin Spacey told the simple story of a social studies teacher who set a project and a young man with a bright idea.

The task was to Think of an idea for world change, and put it into action.

The 12-year-old came up with the idea of doing something kind for three people.  Simple things really, but things that made a difference.  Instead of ‘paying him back’ he asked them to pay it forward but doing a favour for 3 people themselves.  This resulted in a whole lot of kindness.

Random acts of kindness can take any sort of form.  I am blessed to have been the recipient so many times.  Just recently I received a slip from the postman to say that I had missed a delivery.  I wasn’t expecting anything.  The parcel arrived on a week when I really needed a lift and I was delighted to find, some yummy sweets, a magazine and some sparkly bath salts along with a card from a dear friend.

When browsing art books (a bit of an obsession with me),  I came across the concept of leaving a piece of art or a message in a public place for someone to pick up. Imagine coming across something really beautiful and knowing that a random act of kindness put it there, just for you.

My challenge to you, and to myself is to take a minute or two  to be kind to a friend or stranger, especially  on World Kindness Day – 13 November 2015. It doesn’t cost much and can make a huge difference in someones day.

Take a visit to this awesome website the home of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.  It is truly inspirational and the source of the fab graphic on this post.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

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