Fabulous Food, Fabulous woman – Gill Carroll

Photo Martina Regan
Photo Martina Regan

I am always inspired by women who are fabulous in every way.  Woman who defy the rules, and set out to reach for their dreams no matter what.

I was invited to an ITWBN  blogger event at 56 Central, a new snazzy eatery in Galway.  The food was beyond delicious, the décor really extraordinary and the company of my fellow ITWBN bloggers sublime.

What really struck me though was the quiet confidence of the fabulous woman who welcomed us.  Gill Carroll spoke with passion when she spoke of the ethos of the restaurant that provides culinary excellence from local producers and invites people to connect.

I knew at this point that I wanted to do a ‘Fabulicoius Woman’ interview with Gill.  I wanted to know what made this fabulous woman tick!

Q:  You have opened two unique eateries, 37 West renowned for healthy food and 56 Central which is based on connections.  Where do you find your inspiration?

Gill:  I spend a lot of time researching, studying from great leaders.  I take one thing from everyone and then use them to drive me on! You can learn from anyone now online – but, I do like to go to talks as well to get the real deal!

Q  What would you consider your greatest achievement in your career thus far and why?

Gill:  I think it was when 37 West (the first restaurant launched by Gill),  won Best of Galway Awards or when we got our first McKenna award – seeing the teams faces when we got the awards was something special – we all worked hard for them.

Also, creating my vision boards for 37 West and putting them out, and ALL of them coming true!

Q How do you reboot yourself when you hit a low?

Gill:  I always go back to basics.  I have a Dream Day and over many years have created many vision boards – so when things go low I go back to them – read them and remind myself of where I want to go – where I said I wanted to go when times were good!

It is easy lose focus business is hard – people expect a lot so you. My aim is to follow the words of Tony Robbins and create, not destroy. I have super people around me too, which means in seconds I can connect with people who just get me!

Q Who inspires you?  And why?

Gill:  So many people!!!

My Dad for his true fearless entrepreneurial spirit.

My Mother for her passion for fun and enjoying life.

My best friend Pat for his constant inspiration.

My business partner Lisa in Strive For It for her passion for consistency.

Q If you had to sit down and have a meal at 37 West – what would you order?

Gill:  For breakie I have an omelette with Cajun chicken, jalapeno, feta cheese and gluten-free bread! My last supper would be of course a Chicken melt, chunky chip, garlic mayo and a san Pellegrino lemon! ahhhh heaven.  (And I am hungry just reading that)

Q  How do you relax?  You have two very busy and successful businesses, but I would imagine that you need to relax and rewind at some time.  I think this is an important part of being fabulous, hence the question.

Ok, I am bad on the relaxing! I love training, it’s my way of letting go and having me time.  I am in the gym early in the morning before the world gets up! I love going to the Radisson to sit in the hot tub for hours.

I believe in the freedom days – taking a day off away from world and doing something very exciting – at least once a month!

Q Lastly, what do you do you do to make yourself feel fabulous?

I am not into make-up, hair or fashion.  I have to be told to do that sort of stuff! To feel fab I enter a race the crazier the better – getting your body and mind in shape for something wild like that is when I feel alive inside – like doing Tough Mudder or Spartan race.  I feel alive covered in mud in a field, helping myself and others get through some hard hours!

If there’s a charity element I am even more ready to get covered in mud.  It makes the whole event so much more worthwhile.  Last year I was part of a team that raised  €160k for Cystic Fibrosis – a really   special moment of my life!

I also love to go for good meal, sip on a big glass of red wine and laugh my head off with good people.  Follow it up by dancing my ass off.  Basically acting like a big child!

 

I would like to sincerely thank Gill for not only welcoming me to her restaurant, but also taking the time to do this interview.  I can honestly recommend the food at both eateries (and I do love good food).

 

Thanks for reading x

 

 

Be brave and face your demons

be braveI am not a lover of confrontation.  In fact, I will do anything I can to avoid it.  As you would imagine that isn’t a great life strategy and I have had to learn to deal with things head on. Even when I know that the discussion isn’t going to be pleasant, it is still better to have it than to let things fester.

In the past two weeks I have been brave and faced my fear of confrontation.  Being brave has left me feeling stronger and in control.  Although I must admit to feeling emotionally depleted.

Everyone has different demons that they need to face.  Mine was confrontation and it became exacerbated by procrastination. I really do not like dealing with some things and will do anything to put it off.

I recently attended a workshop presented by Pat Divilly.  He is a truly inspirational man who has faced many demons and is proof that we can overcome whatever situation we are in.

It is a short post today, but an important Wednesday Quotation for me.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

Looking back – my life age 5 years and 20 days

Age 5 and 20 days

A few days I unpacked a box and found a pile of old school reports.  I laughed when I read this one dated from when I was 5 and 20 days.  I really haven’t changed much.  It has me wondering how much of our personalities are formed so very young.  I have also been contemplating how we lose confidence as we get older.

I have typed the whole thing out, for the amusement of my readers (especially those who have known me for many years).  I know I still look for validation and still stress out when I lose things.  I still don’t like cocoa.

For many years I believed that physical activity and sport were something I could not do.  I am glad I am walking now and keeping myself as fit as possible.  I still, of course love making things and painting!

My challenge to you is to dig out your old school reports and take time to reflect. (I also had to dig out my nursery graduation photo too.)

Half Yearly Report:

Name:  Kerry Manning

Height: 44 and 5/8”

Weight: 47lbs

Feeding:  Her appetite s good, she enjoys all fruit.  She has milk and cocoa but does not particularly enjoy the latter.

Cloakroom:  She is fairly independent and quick during this routine.

Emotional development:  Kerry is a happy and cheerful little girl.  She does however get very upset if anything goes wrong or if she loses an article of clothing.  She is still a little shy and tense when faced with unfamiliar situations.

Social Development:

  1. Relationship with adults: She is friendly and co-operative, who likes to win praise and to gain the attention of staff.
  2. Relationship with children: Kerry enjoys the company of other children. She is less reliant on Frances now and more independent in forming her own social contacts.

Language:  She has a slight lisp.  She is inclined to speak very quickly which makes her speech rather indistinct.   Her vocabulary and she conversed freely.

Play Interest:

  1. Indoor: Kerry enjoys completing the puzzles.  She is interested in all the manipulation sense training toys.  She likes to draw and colour in.
  2. Outdoor: She plays imaginatively in the Wendy House with a group of children.  She enjoys all forms of sand and water play.  Kerry is fairly agile and she uses the physical equipment with increasing confidence.

Organised activities: She loves making things and is very proud of the results she achieves.  She frequently paints and a certain amount of form and detail is evident.

Rings:

  1. Songs: She enjoys singing and is more willing to take an active part.
  2. Music: When she concentrates, Kerry’s sense of rhythm is fairly good. She participates with enthusiasm.
  3. Stories: Kerry is an attentive listener she has a good memory for detail.
  4. PT: She joins in happily and her muscle co-ordination is fairly.

General:  Kerry has made a good adjustment to Nursery School.  She needs encouragement to attempt unfamiliar things and is inclined to say ‘I can’t’ before trying.

I really haven’t changed that much to be honest.  I have learnt a few lessons from this old school report and writing this blog post.

Thanks for reading, and those who know me well, I would love your feedback.

Kerry x

 

Halloween – what does it really mean?

graveyard

I didn’t grow up with Halloween.  It was only something that started to impact in my life when my son was born.  When he started to go to nursery he came home with Halloween costume requests and that started me thinking about this day that was celebrated with dressing up, scary movies and trick or treating.

When I moved to Ireland nearly 13 years ago I really started to become curious and did a little studying about the history of Halloween.  Today it is really about the candy and costumes.  In the past I have bought sweets and chocolates and then found myself eating too much of it myself. The question is – how did it start?

I am told that Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic festival known of Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).   This is also November in the Irish language, and the month my son was born.
The festival of Samhain celebrates the end of the harvest Gaelic culture.  It was believed that on 31 October the boundry between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped.  This meant that the dead would come back to life and haunt us.

I love this photo taken in the Spiddal graveyard.  As a photographer I really love the winter light.  It creates a starkness to the bare branches and adds a spooky feel to the mudane.

These days I mark the day by going to a quiet place, perhaps a little dark.  Not a  bad place, but simply a contemplative place where I can remember those who have passed from this life into the next.   I choose to believe that I will be guided rather than haunted.

I might have to indulge in a little chocolate just because.

Kerry

 

So you have decided to start blogging …

 

#itwbnselfie

I started my blog at the beginning of the year, but I can honestly say that the real kick-start came after attending a blogging event.

That first event was the ITWBN meet-up at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway.  I was made to feel so welcome and was so inspired by fellow bloggers, speakers and the sparkling and lovely event organised by Saibh and Sinead.

A few weeks ago I was delighted to once again attend an ITWBN event at the gracious Ardilaun Hotel.  The event featured Joanne Larby, the Make-up Fairy.

Now, I am not strictly a beauty blogger, but I do love my make-up and love being fabulous so I dressed up fancy (and had my photo taken by a friendly photographer), and headed out with a spring in my step.

What a wonderful an inspiring event.  It started with a  warm welcome from my fellow bloggers, some which I knew already, and others who I had the pleasure of getting to know.  We were treated to gorgeous fruit cocktails and fragrant Solaris tea before sitting down to a spread.

The food was delicious.  Our table devoured the yummy savouries and were delighted to receive an extra plate.  Scones, and sweet goodies followed all washed down by tea.  Catriona from Solaris Tea urged us to try some of the special teas and I found myself addicted to Chai Green Tea, so much so that I had to buy a box to take home!

Joanne is glamorous in person, but is also very down to earth.  As she shared her story, I found myself inspired and was quickly jotting down ideas for posts and for increasing my readership.  Joanne built her blog from very little.  The success of her blog is a result of lots of hard work and consistency.   It wasn’t all about beauty, more about blogging and Joanne was very generous about sharing  tips for taking your blog the step further.  Question time was great, lots more scribbling from me.

No blogging event from the fabulous ITWBN would be complete without a legendary goody bag.  Snuggled up on my sofa after the event, the pencil came out again as I started planning even more blog posts based on the goodies!

Blogging can be a very solitary hobby, but by attending events and joining groups you become part of a community.  A community of colleagues that are there to inspire you.

Thank you to Saibh and Sinead for your hard work!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

 

 

Let’s talk about the taboo subject of AI

Shhhhh...I laughed so hard I leaked a little.
I am sure that if we are honest this has happened to many of us.

1 in 3 woman suffer from a weak bladder, and it really should be nothing to be ashamed about, but somehow it is.

In preparing to write this blog post I told a few people what I would be writing about.  I realised that this is a problem that affects many of us, especially after pregnancy.  But more importantly I realised that it is good to talk about it, and to know that it doesn’t have to stop you being fabulous and getting on with your life.

Getting old is not about becoming frumpy and giving up on life, getting older should be about embracing change and feeling fabulous at every age.  The truth is that AI (Adult Incontinence) can seriously affect a woman’s confidence, and yet nobody talks about it.

Today, 28 October 2015, Always Discreet are talking about it, and after some time thinking about it I decided to talk about it too.

Woman deserve to feel fabulous no matter what.  We deserve to walk tall and feel sexy whatever our age or circumstances.  Our age and little issues should not define us.

This is a problem that affects woman from as young as 18, but has become associated with being older, and quite often is lumped into the same category as grey hair and wrinkles.  I dye my hair and look after my skin, and I also do what I can to minimize the impact of AI on my life.

I suffered with AI after having my child and really realise how weak my bladder is when I am struggling with bronchitis and chest infections (coughing is really not a great idea if you have AI).  My strategy has been simple, and is very similar to the advice from Dr Sarah Jarvis, practising GP and Always Discreet campaign ambassador.  I plan my life.  I drink plenty of water, but monitor my intake.  I do kegal exercises (which I tell myself are good for all parts of my life).  I also try to exercise regularly, however beware of squats – they are not necessarily my friend.    I also limit my coffee intake, although I do admit to being a tea addict.

Always Discreet for sensitive bladder believes that every woman should be able to live the age they feel inside with nothing holding them back.   The brand has worked with GP Dr Sarah Jarvis and fabulous woman and That’s Not My Age founder, Alyson Walsh to break this taboo.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, practicing GP and Always Discreet campaign ambassador comments: “Not being able to dress, travel, exercise or live the way you want can be an everyday experience for so many women. Not only that, but even though 1 in 3 women in the UK over the age of 18 experience the condition, it is still wrongly associated with old age and this misperception can leave women feeling embarrassed, alone and much older than they really are.  However, there is help at hand, such as Always Discreet, that provides women with bladder leaks with the protection and discretion they really need”

My blog has always been about being fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at you.  Today, I am standing tall and joining the hundreds of woman who say that they can and will be fabulous despite the leaks.

Thank you for reading my post, which supports the Always Discreet campaign.

Kerry xx

The importance of valuing yourself

Put a price on your head and keep it!When I was a little girl, I battled with self confidence.  I am not being self serving here when I say that I honestly believed that I was fat and not very pretty.  I urge every person reading this blog post to go and dig out a picture of your younger self and look at it with adult eyes.  You might be surprised.  We don’t always value ourselves as we should.

My granny always said, ‘put a price on yourself, and keep it’.  When I was very young I wasn’t quite sure what she meant.  With the benefit of hindsight and remembering the context, I think she was talking about dating and not giving of yourself too freely!

This message, my quotation this Wednesday, is very true of so many other areas of our lives.  I know that I have had to learn to value myself more.

 Know what I am worth in the workplace both in terms of money and respect.

Know what I deserve in a relationship and be prepared to wait for it.

Know what I deserve in terms of respecting my body, and feeding myself with healthy food, and doing some exercise.

As a blogger I also need to value what I do and respect my readers.  I was recently asked to write a post (a quite contraversial one coming up soon).  I thought about it very carefully and decided that I would write the post as it is in line with the context of my blog, and it is something I can honestly endorse.  I did however request payment.  I politely wrote back and outlined the benefits of working with my blog, my reach and my rate.  I was delighted to receive a positive response.  I value myself, and through that people will value me.

‘Granny, in all respects of my life, I have put a price on myself and I will keep it – head held high!’

Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts when you have looked at your old photos.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Kerry xx

 

Why I write in my journal every day

5 year diaryDo you remember getting your first diary for Christmas.  I think I was probably around 7 or 8.  I was so excited and planned on pouring my heart out to Dear Diary ….

If I remember correctly it was probably before the end of January that I gave up, and the diary languished among the other clutter in my bedroom.

I celebrated a significant birthday last year, and received the most wonderful gift that keeps on giving.  My sister bought me a Q&A Five Year Journal.

This is a diary with a difference.  Every day you are asked a simple question, and there are only a couple of lines for your answer.  The questions are random enough, but they do make you think.

My word of the year for 2014 was discipline so I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t miss a day, and I didn’t.  This chunky little book filled up with my thoughts and musings and then the exciting part started to happen. I entered my second year.  As I read the answers from the previous year I realised that in some aspects of my life, nothing had changed.  My ambitions are the same and many of the core beliefs remain consistant.  Some answers show how far I have come and in fact how much has changed.  Little notations reminded me of special people and special occasions.

Here are some of the interesting questions my diary has asked:

  • What are you chasing at the moment?
  • Write the first sentence of your biography?
  • What’s the last song you listened to?
  • What question makes you anxious?
  • Who do you need to call?
  • What was your last credit card purchase?

All bloggers are diarists.  I can honestly say that taking a few minutes of every day to write and read my little book has often promoted a blog post, or a thought process.  It is all a bit introspective, but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing.

It really is fun and can’t help but wonder what kind of read it will be when all five years have been completed.

I would encourage anyone who is looking for that special gift for a special person to consider this unique gift.

Tonight  sat down and read a few entries along with a good cup of tea, and a delicious Broderick Bros Road Rocking Choc Choc block from my ITWBN goodie bag.  Yum yum!  (By the way all geeky webby people should visit the website it is fab)

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

 

When change happens – make it good change

Marilyn monroe quoteChange is inevitable.  Marilyn Monroe is a woman that divides.  I admire her and am often drawn to her quotes.  I think that to an extent she was misunderstood, but behind the blond curly locks and sexy voice was a very wise woman.

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

I was musing on 2015 and realised that so far it has been a year of two halves.  For the first 6 months I was happily living in Westport, working away at my job, with a great social life and a fabulous circle of friends in Mayo.

The second half has been all about change.  I found a new job in Galway – which was the first domino in a series of changes.  I left my beautiful flat,and now know that I would have been given notice anyway as the owners were moving back!  I bade farewell to familiar streets that I walked every day greeting people along the way.

The transition was not easy, but now I am starting to realise that this quote is true.  New things are starting to fall together.  I am writing this sitting in my lovely new home, contemplating putting on a fire with a pot of soup on the stove waiting for my dinner guest.

I have found new ways to exercise and am walking regularly.

I am closer to my family and am rekindling old friendships and making new ones.

I have new challenges in the workplace that are allowing me to exercise my mind.

So, thank you Marilyn for those wise words of inspiration.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my Wednesday quotation.

Kerry x

 

 

How I got unstuck from a table in a beauty salon

Customer Service

This is a two part blog post.  The first part is how I got myself stuck on a table in a beauty salon, and the second a tribute to excellent customer service.

I was really excited on Saturday morning, I was returning to Westport for a day of visiting old friends and haunts.  The Hair and Beauty Rooms in Westport is a ‘haunt’ and a place where I have made some very good friends.  I wanted to treat myself to a few treatments including a leg wax.  I honestly believe that every fabulous woman should where possible have salon days (and if money is tight, treat yourself in your own home).

I digress…

I woke up on Saturday morning bright and breezy and simply sat on the sofa.  Pop – my back went out.  Excruciating pain.  It hasn’t happened for years, but it happened on a day when I didn’t want it to happen.  I tried lying on the floor and doing a manoeuvre to pop it back in.  The only thing that happened was that the dog was worried about me and tried to lick me better.  I struggled up, took a pain killer and set off to Westport. Thankfully I was not driving.

It eased up a bit and I struggled up the stairs of the salon eager to begin my treats.  It all went very well.  I lay there and was pampered by Lindsay, chatting away and thinking that my back wasn’t really that bad.  We got to the part where she asked me to turn over to wax the back of my legs. Eeek – out it went again.  I was stuck I couldn’t move one way or another.

Now in a way this was a funny situation, but in another it was awkward. Here I was bent double with half my legs waxed.

I cannot applaud the customer service I received loudly enough.  Lindsay was determined that I would leave the salon all beautifully waxed.  She finished the job with me bent double – I first for us all.  The awkwardness then increased as I realised I couldn’t reach my trousers which had slipped to the floor, never mind get dressed.  Lindsay kindly helped me to dress and sent me off to my favourite Westport pharmacy where again I was welcomed and given both great advice and the right medication to relieve the pain and enjoy the time with my friends.

This is a shout out to all those who give amazing customer service as part of their job. They are heroes.

Thank you for reading.  If you would like to leave a comment, please do and tell me about your customer service hero.

Kerry xx

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