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.

Discipline, my key ingredient

I am not by nature a disciplined person.  I am untidy, sometimes forgetful and quite often indulgent.  One of the things I have had to learn is discipline.

I have learnt how to discipline myself is so many ways, but most often just one thing at a time.  I can eat two squares of chocolate and leave the rest of the bar.  I walk most days, even in the drizzling rain and wind.  I also only drink coffee when I go out, and never more than 4 cups a month.

These are small victories, but small victories I find add up.

There is not question in my mind – discipline is the key to getting healthier and happier.

I still have a very long way to go, but I know that discipline will help get me there.

I hope you enjoy my Wednesday quote this week.

Kerry x

Radiant after the shower – the Nía Natural way

500px-Intensive-Shower-MousseMost mornings I start off with a shower.  It wakes me up and gives me a delicious feeling of freshness as I get on with the day. I have tried shower gels and soaps, but I had never tried a mousse.  To be honest when I had a look at this cute little tin in my ITWBN goody bag I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

Well I can promise you now once you have tried Nía Natural shower mousse, you will be converted. Silky smooth and with a really subtle but fresh aroma this mousse leaves me feeling fresh, and clean.  I appreciate that although softly fragranced, it doesn’t conflict with my perfume choice of the day.

I have struggled with dry spots, where skin gets a little flaky and inflamed on and off for years, and so before even trying the Nia Natural Creamy shower mousse I did a little investigating. Just saying, these spots have all cleared up now!

The company was started by Celia O’Grady in the West of Ireland.  Nía means radiance in Irish and that makes a whole lot of sense if you have used the products.  All the ingredients are all natural using the highest quality ingredients.

The product recipes are a combination of carefully selected ingredients, organic when economically possible and always natural. ‘The skin is our largest organ. It absorbs into the body much of what it comes in contact with. When choosing ingredients that we use in our products, we believe it must be good enough to eat and be beneficial for the skin.’  Read more about the quality ingredients here.

I am making up my shopping lists for Christmas (I know it is early), but I am going back to South Africa to visit family and friends.  I think some really great beauty products from Ireland need to be added to my list.

These gorgeous products are available online or in a range of health shops and other outlets around Ireland.

You can’t beat radiance!

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Having attended two Into the West Blogger Network (ITWBN) events, I have been really lucky to receive some great products in my goody bags.  All my reviews are honest and relate to products I have used myself. 

Postnatal Depression – My Story

I had Post Natal Depression pic

It was almost 19 years ago that I realised I had post natal depression.

I was obsessed with loosing weight (a bit of a song track to my life) and was visiting a Doctor who promised magic with a weekly weigh-in, some pills and a shot.  I am not sure that I lost any weight but I did take the first step towards getting out from under the dark cloud of postnatal depression.

I will always be grateful to the doctor who realised that uncontrollable crying due to a static scale was not normal.  She sat me down and talked to me – for far longer that the normal 10 minute session.  I walked out with a prescription for Prozac and a terrible feeling of guilt that I wasn’t a good mother.  That I couldn’t cope being a mother to my beautiful baby boy.

Over the years I have tried to reason out why I got postnatal depression.  Was it because I went back to work full time too early.  Was it because my baby had colic, and was honestly quite an awful sleeper.  I know now that there is no reason why anyone gets post natal depression.  It is simply something that happens.

I am writing this post to share my experience, and to let anyone out there who is suffering from post natal depression know that the key is recognising it and getting help.  Help comes in many forms.  For me it was through medicine, and meditation and the support of friends. Many years later I did quite a bit of counselling, and wished that had been an option 19 years ago.

I am not an expert at postnatal depression, merely a woman who has not forgotten the desolate loneliness and sense of helplessness.

The main thing for me was to admit I had it.  And then accept the help that was offered.

For me, and I think many other people, when I am in a bad place I tend to look inwards.  So many times people have said to me – why didn’t you call?  I just didn’t.  I should have though.

As I said medication did help me, but what helped even more was the support of my friends.  I remember weekends when I had help with David so I could go out for a little me time.  And then the many Sunday’s that I spent with my friend who not only cheered me up, but helped me to realise that what I was ok and normal.  May fabulous days where spent simply being together.

Depression is a funny thing.  It creeps up on you sometimes and by the time you realise you need help it has been a constant companion for a while.  Once I started to come out of the fog, I gave myself a few laughs.  I opened my bedside locker one day and honestly a whole pile of chocolate papers jumped out.  The scary part was that I didn’t even remember eating them. Imagine crunching on calorific chocolate to make yourself feel better and then never even remembering the moment.  It takes me a good while to eat a bar of chocolate these days – normally square by square.  Now I find folded down bars of chocolate I have forgotten in the freezer, the fridge and the cupboard.

Each person’s experience is going to be different.  I coped during the day at work and simply melted into a puddle of helplessness in the evenings and on weekends. I cried when my baby cried.  I slept a lot. And of course I ate – which contributed to a cycle of feeling bad about myself.

It does get better.  I know this now.  But  honestly believe that most people with post natal depression could do with some sort of intervention be it medical or counselling.

Happy to correspond with anyone privately, or respond to comments.

It is funny that there are things that you never forget.  I will never forget the joy of being a mother, or the time I suffered from postnatal depression.  Very proud of a talented young man now.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x.

Today I will focus on my dreams

focus

Too often I get bogged down with the setting goals and tasks.  I am very goal orientated and I am constantly setting myself short term goals and organising (and sometimes over organising) my life.  Short terms goals are good and it means that things get done, but sometimes I feel I just want to stop and dream.

So today I will focus on my dreams – those things that seem so far out of reach.  Since I was a little girl I have wanted to write a book.  That is a dream that I would love to become reality.

I am sure there are other dreams too, so today I will let my mind soar and believe that anything at all is possible.

Today a dream, tomorrow a goal and then ……

Thanks for stopping by, and if you are inspired, please feel to share

Kerry x

The power of rest and relaxation

Rest and relaxation (2)

The importance of a sofa day

I am one of those people who try to pack as much living in as I can.  The one thing I seem to struggle with is how to include rest into this life of mine.  This week I learnt a powerful lesson.

I plan my life and try to pack in as much work, play, socialising and self improvement. I laugh about the fact that I have a real job and my hobby jobs (blogging and crafting).  I know I need to rest but, there is a part of me that simply loves life. The famous line from the Dead Poet’s Society lives in my brain – Seize the day!

I landed up at the doctor this week literally shaking with fatigue.  Four days later I still hadn’t stopped and gave myself a bit of a fright when I realised that I was literally too tired to stand up.  It is scary enough that it took four days for the penny to drop.

The Doctor  kindly explained that people who are dealing with what I am dealing with, couldn’t do what I do. The word she used was comobidity (I had to google it when I got home).  Basically it means dealing with more than one disease at a time.

I suffer from a number of conditions including diabetes, arthritis and pernicious anaemia, all which contribute to my tiredness. Methotrexate treatment doesn’t help either, nor pain which makes me tired too.  There are weeks where I am in pain every day.

Using my rational mind I can understand why we need to rest, however, I find it very hard to do.  I just have this burning need to pack as much life in as I can.  This week I learnt a hard lesson.  I pushed myself until I literally stopped.

So today, a Sunday I have rested.  I wanted to share a few lessons that I have revisited some thoughts about rest that I need to remember.

  1. We all need to rest.  Don’t forget that.
  2. True rest is for the mind, the body, the spirit and emotions.
  3. It is ok to switch your phone off and take time out.
  4. A TV marathon never killed anyone
  5. Meditation is a mighty powerful form of rest
  6. If you can, prepare for your day of rest by stocking up on snack (healthy is good, but a little indulgence isn’t the ned of the world either.
  7. Drink lots of water – it gives your system a rest
  8. An early night is a good idea
  9. Listen to your body
  10. Spend a little of your rest time contemplating the good things in your life.  Your friendship circle, your beautiful home and the joy of a day where you can simply do nothing.

I am sure that my day of rest will set up for the rest of the week.  All I need to do now is remember to include rest in my schedule.  Please feel free to share, especially if you know people who forget the importance of rest and relaxation.

Kerry xx

Berry crumble – that is raw, healthy and sugar free!

 

De-constructed Berry Crumble (2)I have a very sweet tooth, and since being diagnosed as diabetic it is a constant struggle to please my sweet tooth, but also my meet my health targets.  I love playing with food, deconstructing it down to the individual elements and then rebuilding it in a healthier way.  This is my take on berry crumble, with a tiny bit of naughtiness at the end.

Even though there is no cooking you want to prepare your berries a good hour or two ahead of time.

Start with your choice of berries, I had a punnet of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.  Tumble them into a big bowl and add a chopped peeled apple.

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Depending on the quantity, add a good shake of cinnamon (approx 1 teaspoon) and the juice of a lemon. Mix gently so the berries don’t break up.  Depending on how sweet your tooth is, add some Agave syrup.  I am addicted to this cranberry version from Biona Organics.

Cover and leave to marinate.  The acid in the lemon juice will ‘sort of”cook the berries and the apples give you a gorgeous fresh tasting berry compote.

To serve simply layer up in sundae glasses (an essential ingredient for my desserts) and top with a little fat free yogurt (or coconut yogurt).  I added some sugarfree wheat free granola cereal to the top.

The final flourish if you are feeling naughty is a little grating of chocolate.  It is amazing how little chocolate you use this way, and you can still feel like you have had a treat.  Use raw chocolate for an even healthier treat.

Enjoy xx

Take the path that challenges you

 

Take the path that challenges you (2)

A new series on my little blog.  A quotation every Wednesday.  A combination of my love of photography and my love of words.

Take the path that challenges you.

There are days when I just want things to be easy, but I know that I need challenges to grow.

When I do take the path that challenges me, be it on my fitness journey, or my career, or just my life’s journey, it is always worth it.

That sense of achievement knowing that I have challenged myself and overcome.

Happy Wednesday and thanks for stopping by.

Kerry xx

Online friends are real friends – especially ITWBN bloggers

 

itwbn

There is some debate online as to whether online friends are real friends.

I am going to come right out and say that these are real friends.  And this, to me is the theme of the Into the West Blogger Network (ITWBN)

Yesterday I attended my second event.  I was greeted with hugs and kisses and genuine compliments from people who I have only really seen on ‘screen’.  I recognised faces and straight away associated the real live people with the beautiful bloggers that I know from reading about them online and swopping comments on Facebook and Twitter.

All bloggers are brave.  We write about ourselves, our thoughts and our lives.  Bravery deserves respect and I know that the bloggers in the network and beyond respect each other.

We are all at different stages of our lives, and I was so humbled to realise how many people were actually reading my blog and knew about my journey.

I blog because I love writing and I feel like I have stories to tell.  I think this is true of so many bloggers.  And many of us pour our hearts out to our online readers, who kindly come back with comments, on the blog or on facebook.

Yesterday was fabulous.  Gorgeous venue at the G Hotel, my very favourite hotel, lots of sparkle and a beautiful welcome.  Food was yummy.  And the glamour of the ladies and gents was top class!  Everyone had made a real effort to celebrate this very important 1st birthday party.  The most fabulous part of the day was the real warmth and obvious friendship around the room, and I know that many people had not met in ‘real life’ before.

In this very special blogger network there is no judgement, only encouragement from a very nice bunch of people.  Being part of the network has given me the kickstart to get my blog going, and to start writing my book.

There is going to have to be a part 2 to this post because I haven’t even started on the motivational speakers, the amazing people I met at the exhibition tables, the goody bags and most of all the most fabulicious Saibh and Sinead.

Tonight I will read a few blogs before bedtime and know that my friendship circle is bigger and richer because of ITWBN.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

The link between fine art and make-up, inspiration from IsaDora

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I love make-up – it makes us all a little more fabulous.  As I am not a make-up artist, I have a lot to learn so I was very excited to meet Stephan Ulvund Øien International make-up artist with IsaDora who was visiting Galway.

The ITWBN ladies were invited to Matt O’ Flaherty’s chemist in William Street in Galway and it was fabulous from the moment we arrived.

I had a front row seat and just like being in school, it was the best place to be, because I learnt so much. We learnt about lips, eyes, contouring and more, but for me real take-away was how this gorgeous make-up can be used just like paint.

As an artist I have learnt all about colours. Complementary colours, contrasting colours and tonal values. Stephan showed us how these very same principles work with make-up.  A fabulous demonstration with three different lip colours really blew me away.  He shows us warm lips, he showed us cool lips and then he took all sorts of products and with a scrape of each one, he made a custom colour.  The colour of the hair (a brown pencil), colour of the eyes (blue), pink for lips and some foundation.  These were all mixed together on a pallette knife and when the colour went on – the true beauty of the model came out.  Make-up can enhance our beauty and this is exactly what happened.

Another great lesson was all about eyes.  The first look used the gorgeous new summer colour pallette.  A really stunning look that I thought could not get better.  Stephan said this was a look for going out with the girls!  He then proceeded to change it up using neutrals for a more natural, but sultry look – this one for men. Wow, if I could look as sexy as that!

Question time was great with a quick class on tight lines (waterproof liner on the inside of your upper eyelid), and a beautiful way of doing brows.

The IsaDora make-up is really yummy.  I have only started using it this year, and i find it really luxurious and a joy to use.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

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