Like Water off a Duck’s Back

Like water off a Duck's back  quote

 

Years ago, after coming home from work a little stressed and worn down from office politics, I was presented with a ceramic duck.  ‘Put this on your desk, and look at it every time you need to’.  Wise words indeed.

In the hustle and bustle of life, there are always going to be moments where you may be criticised, or when something happens that is nobodies fault, but you feel bad about it.

I drop things – and after a long day at work, looking at a plate crashed on the floor, can really get me down.  No matter what it is at work or home, big or small just remember, it is like water off a duck’s back.  Let it slide right off.

I love this photo of one of the Westport ducks along the river walk.  I no longer have a ceramic duck on my desk – I gifted it to my colleagues, but I have the image in my head.

Thanks for reading this Wednesday quote post.

Kerry xx

The ICA and Me – Great way to make friends

ica imageThe Irish Country Woman’s Association (ICA) has been going for 105 years.  I heard about it soon after I arrived in Ireland, but never got around to joining, mostly due the fact that I was living far out in the country.  I can honestly I wish I had joined years ago.

A week after moving to Westport I saw a little piece in the local paper about ICA.  I picked up the phone and got straight through to our chairwoman Ann – and a few days later, I joined the ICA family.

Just recently my son had two work related social occasions.  I excitedly asked him what he had learnt.  I was expecting to hear about the power of twitter, or the something new to do with gaming.  His answer surprised me.  ‘More than anything, I  learnt that I can walk into a room full of strangers and act like I can fit it’.

I think that when I moved to Westport this is exactly what I had to do.  I am a very bubbly outgoing person, but it is still hard to start over and make new friends.

Joining the Westport ICA Guild was one of the best things I ever did.  I walked into a room full of  fabulous ladies who have now become friends.  I was welcomed warmly and I have never for a minute felt like I was a stranger.

I learnt loads of new skills including how to crochet, and I was given an opportunity to share my own crafting skills, but more than anything I have learnt about life.  About the town where I live, and about the lives of my ICA friends.

I think a lot of people don’t really know about the ICA.  Ask me out on a Tuesday night and my standard answer will be – sorry, I have ICA.  I get some strange looks and questions about what we actually do. It is a lot more than knitting I can tell you!

Yes, there are craft skills that are shared but there are also other activities such as quiz nights, sporty evenings, charity activities and visiting speakers.  Mostly though ICA is about people.  About making friends and connecting with the lives of others.  All ICA meetings end with a good natter over tea – a truly special time and not to be missed.

In some of my other blog posts I have talked about balance.  ICA balances my life.  It is a commitment to attend on a Tuesday night, and that is important in itself.  It gets you out and gets you motivated to say farewell to the TV and the sofa for a few hours.   Many evenings I have walked home still giggling away at something that has been shared.

Thank you Westport ICA – you are a great bunch of ladies and I am super proud to be a member.

Almost every country has a version of ICA – I would encourage anyone to join – it is the support of fabulous woman who quietly work away doing amazing work.  Think of the now famous ‘Calender Girls’.  The aim of the ICA is to provide a welcoming and fun organisation which offers support, friendship, personal development, education and live long learning.  It has certainly done exactly that for me.

The photos in this article are of the Federation meeting held here in Westport.  The craft display was an amazing display of work completed by members, and the cake display was a work of art and tasted even more delicious than it looked.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have your own woman’s group stories you would like to share.

Kerry xx

 

Blog writing – some inspiration for when you hit a block

Inspiration for blogging (2)Writing is a funny thing – it is a bit like walking or in fact any other kind of exercise.  You need to do it.  And do it regularly.

I had to take a break from writing (blog, book, diary) for a week or so due to a combination of commitments and sore hands.

When I returned to the computer I had the ‘joy’ of the blank page.  What to write? How to start?

Even after consulting my little book of blogging ideas, and having a go at the next chapter of my book, I still couldn’t get started.

I need a cool drink.  It’s hot.  Oh – the dishwasher needs unpacking.  Ah while I am in the kitchen I will put a load of washing on.  Look at the time – I really should make some dinner.

One of my greatest procrastination techniques is to read blogs, or google ideas for writing.

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to simply write.  Take a sheet of paper, or open a document and write.  Even if you write about your day, or what you are thinking of making for dinner – Just write.

It may be that you produce a few hundred words that will never be seen by anyone, but you will be writing.  It really is like exercise, one you get going you can go a little further, and a little further after that.

And then, of course you have to do it again tomorrow and the day after that.

I have so many areas of my life where I need to discipline myself into doing things.  Making cards for the shop I supply.  Walking, tidying clutter and of course writing.

Here are my few points to get going with that next blog post

  1. Keep a bloggers notebook. Jot down ideas as they come to you.  You might never use them or they might simply be a kernel of an idea that grows into a great post.
  2. Give yourself a timetable – and try as much as you can to stick to it. I don’t always make it, but it is a gentle reminder.  I do a motivational post, a beauty post and a quotation most weeks.
  3. When you are in a good writing space – prepare a few posts
  4. Write every day, even it if it simply a line in your diary. I use Penzu as an online diary.
  5. Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration. I have a few boards, and one of my favourites in the inspiration board.  You can follow me here
  6. Read other blog posts. Not to copy but simply for inspiration.
  7. Finally make yourself a promise. Set time aside and simply do it.

I would love to hear any inspiration from other bloggers or writers.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

 

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go

do more of what makes you sparkle

 

All my crafty friends will be giggling now, as crafters are well known for being covered in glitter, especially around Christmas.  Glitter gets everywhere and you find yourself, your pillow or even your dinner having a little sparkle.

That isn’t the sparkle I am talking about in my Wednesday quotation today.  Each and everyone of us has something that makes us sparkle.  It might be a new pair of shoes that makes us feel confident and pretty, or it might be the quiet knowledge that we have aced a problem at work.  It could also be just knowing that you have friends that love and value you, or a brand new lipstick.  Whatever it is – we sparkle in how we think and feel.

The trick is that we shouldn’t loose our sparkle.  And that we should share it, adding sparkle to others.

When I come across a random bit of glitter – and that could be anywhere from my cheek to my breakfast cereal, I remember to sparkle and to share it!

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

Cocoa Brown had me scrubbing and rubbing to become silky smooth

tough_stuff_solo1Summer has come and now it is time to get my legs out.  Friday night was the night for a little pampering and me time.  I am not one for tanning (but may be converted), but I do like the silky feeling of smooth bare legs.  I love wearing dresses and hate tights so as soon as I can, I like to bare my legs.

The Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff  3 in 1 Body Scrub from my ITWBN Goody bag joined me in the bathroom along with some soft music and candles.  Well let me tell you my legs got some loving. First they were exfoliated – what a gorgeous smell!

It is no surprise that Cocoa Brown By Marissa Carter TOUGH STUFF 3 in 1 Body Scrub has won so many awards.  I found myself covered in the stuff as I remembered other parts of my body that needed a good exfoliation.

You can use the product wet or dry.  Dry gives you a deeper exfoliation.  I used it wet as it was my first time and found that the long sweeping movements recommended did the job.

Just a note to say that it really comes in at an affordable price.

After rinsing it off I made sure to slather myself in moisturiser before climbing into bed.

My legs are so smooth now, I might be tempted to try some tan and show them off even more.

Thanks for reading my little review, hope you are inspired to give you body some love.  I sincerely believe that grooming is important for all of us, not because of who sees us, but how it makes us feel, when we have taken a little effort to shine.

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

Making the climb is worth the effort!

 

THE BEST VIEW (2)My Wednesday quotation is late this week.  Between a bank holiday and a really busy week at work I simply lost track of the days, and now it is Friday evening and I am sitting with the sun reflecting inside my living room and having a quite moment.

So often we push ourselves to climb mountains,and I am not just talking about the ones you need hiking boots for!  Each person’s mountains are different.  For me it might be the mountain of laundry or the clutter pile that I have been hiding from.  But regardless of that, we need to stop sometimes and simply focus on how far we have climbed and what we have achieved.

Perhaps simply ticking my to do list for the week is an acheivement or staying on track with my healthy eating and exercise. For my son it is writing a complicated bit of code (I think that may some a whole lot harder than it sounds).  Really it doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is that you have done it and then you can now enjoy the view.

I also have the joy this evening of spending time with my grown-up son.  Parenting is a mountain too – a great one, but not always easy.

So tonight I am going to have a look at the view – my son, my lovely home and contemplate on what I have achieved.

Thanks for reading xx

The biggest weight loss lesson ever!

Untitled design (8)

The day I attended the most fabulous buffet, my relationship with food changed, and it has never changed back.

I was always the person who had to have the last biscuit, in fact a packet of biscuits, or a bar of chocolate never lasted more than a single setting. I wasn’t conscious that I had a problem with food.  I didn’t realise that I wasn’t comfortable around food.  Well actually food should have been uncomfortable around me – I was ready to eat it.

I have honestly probably tried most diets and eating plans before accepting that health and fitness was a better route. You can read about other parts of my weight loss journey here.

Twenty-five years ago I attended a course with a difference.  It was a psychological approach to weight loss.  We started off with some gentle group therapy talking about our relationship with food.  A couple of weeks in, we were told that the next week we would be having a party.  Each person was to bring a dish.  Everyone volunteered their favourite dishes.  I made a trifle – yum yum.

My excitement was at an all time high!  There was a buffet to beat anything you would see in a top class hotel.  Sweet, savoury, snacks, starters, chocolate, wine.  There was nothing up there that I didn’t want to eat, and nothing I was missing either.

But, the lessons were about to begin….

We were all asked to go up and choose our meals.  A starter selection, main meal, dessert, cheese and biscuits, drinks, chocolates – in fact anything we liked.  I think everyone took less than they normally would – we were conscious of our neighbours.

On returning to our seat at the table we were asked to look at our food and think about what we really wanted first.  There were no rules, so if you wanted trifle, then you had a few bites of trifle.  We then moved onto our next favourite item.  Soon the moderator asked us if we were feeling full, as it takes a good 10 minutes for your tummy to register if you are full.  Very often we don’t know when we have had enough.

With no pressure it was suggested that we walk away from the table and chat if we thought we might be full.  We could come back of course, but you know what?  I didn’t – I realised that I had eaten what I wanted and was full.  I hadn’t eaten that much at all.  The sneaky thought of course was that I might just like a bite more, just one more chocolate, or a little biscuit with a bit of brie.

Look away now, it gets icky!

We were asked to pile everything in front of us onto one plate, and mash it all together.  It was literally a small mountain on the plate!  And mixed up all together it looked disgusting.  Left to my own devices all that would have gone inside me, no question.  We then went up and binned it.  From 12 people in the room we filled a large bin bag.  We also then binned all the leftovers from the serving dishes.  Another bin bag and more.

The messages were simple:

  • Rather waste in the bin than around your waistline
  • Food doesn’t have legs – it won’t run away if you don’t eat it all in one go
  • Be comfortable around food, it is ok to eat a small bit of chocolate, just don’t eat the whole bar
  • To listen to your body and stop eating when you are no longer hungry.

I am not perfect and I continually have to remind myself of the lessons I have learnt along the way.

This was a big lesson for me and even after 25 years it is still a very strong memory, I still struggle, but the one thing I know is that I am more comfortable with food.  I am comfortable with chocolate or biscuits in the house and don’t feel the need to eat them.  Well, maybe just one square!

The programme was called Weight Winners, which I attended in South Africa.  In an effort to credit experience, that literally changed my relationship with food, I found this article.

Thank you for reading my blog, I so appreciate the feedback and comments.

Kerry xx

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.

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