Searching for "word of the year"

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

 

Why I am no longer scared of change

Making a big life change is scary, but (2)Change is something I have learnt to embrace.  It isn’t easy, and I still find it a huge challenge, but I have learnt that change offers opportunity.

This post is a very special Wednesday quotation as the quote in question aptly describes my life over the last few weeks.  The lesson for me has been that ‘making big life changes is scary, but what is even scarier is regret.

Let me back-track a little ….

Three years ago I chose ‘change’ as my word of the year, and experienced some extreme changes.  Over that year, I learnt to adapt and accept that things cannot stay the same if you want to grow.  2013 was the year I moved to Westport to take up a new job back in the corporate world.  It has been a fabulous experience, and I have really loved the challenges that working in corporate finance gave me.  I am proud of how much I have learnt, and extremely grateful to the Westport for welcoming me.

Now it appears that I need another change in my life to continue my journey.  I am delighted to share that I have a new job, with an exciting Irish company.  I will be based back in Galway and am excited about the new marketing challenges ahead.

It is scary, as I will be leaving the comfort of a job I know, great colleagues, and of course the wonderful friends I have made here.  Westport is a town I have grown to love.

I am not moving yet, as I like to take my change slowly.  First the job, and then the move I, tell myself.

On the plus side, I am delighted to be returning to beautiful Galway.  My son, my sister, lots of friends old and new and of course the fabulous attractions all await just a county away.

If you are facing change, be brave.  I know it isn’t easy, and a little part of me is dreading it, but there is another part of me that is very excited.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

Melanoma Awareness – Love your skin – it is the only one you have


I grew up in South Africa and was a real water baby.  As a child I spent hours running around  in my swimsuit, in and out of the water and baking myself under the hot sun.  I even fell asleep in the sun during the Christmas holidays and burned my bum so bad that I couldn’t sit!

That was many years ago and the word melanoma wasn’t one I had ever heard.  It wasn’t until I got a funny patch on my collar bone a few years ago that I really started to consider the cost.   Thankfully the patch was removed and it was ok, it was however a real wake-up call.

Perfect timing – Melanoma Awareness

As a blogger I receive press releases on a regular basis.  I glance and them and if they are relevant to my blog I will follow up.  A few weeks ago we had just returned home after visiting a melanoma clinic for a check-up.  All was good, but we were firmly reminded that we needed to wear Factor 30 if not Factor 50 at all times – not just on holidays and in the sunny weather.

Ping! An email arrived reminding me that May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Uriage a brand I love was calling on the public to adopt safe behaviour in the sun when abroad as well as in Ireland. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland with over 1,000 new cases diagnosed year, and on average 159 people dying annually. Cases of melanoma have almost trebled in the last 20 years.

UV rays come in two forms – UVA and UVB. UVA rays make up over 90% of the sun’s rays. They have a longer wavelength than UVB, allowing them to reach deeper within the skin. They pass through cloud, glass and water. These rays are responsible for Ageing of the skin and play a significant role in the development of skin cancer. UVB rays do not penetrate skin so deeply: they cause the skin to Burn, cause eye damage and also play a role in the development of skin cancers.

Uriage has gifted me this wonderful spray which is going to make keeping safe and protected so much easier. (It is available from many pharmacies and online)

Uriage Thermal Water Mist SPF 30 has the highest concentration of minerals and trace elements (52x richer than other Thermal Water available) and is proven to be soothing and fortifying for the skin. Its high mineral content and rich compositions makes it exceptional water with therapeutic properties. An anti-pollution shield associated to UV filter for an UVA/UVB protection

Be Melanoma Aware and know what to look for

With my few brushes with skin issues I have learnt a few things.

  1. Don’t panic.  However if you have any questions or concerns get medical advice.
  2. Know what to look for. A quick google with show you images of good moles and bad moles.  Many people have completely harmless ones, but it’s a great idea to keep an eye on them.
  3. Watch for changes – in many cases moles might be on a back or unseen. I take photos to compare (which I have found is exactly what the melanoma clinic does too).
  4. Finally, prevention is always a better option. Use the right sunscreen, and cover up!

After talking about sun, I feel I might need a bit of time with a cup of tea and a search for my next sun holiday.

Thanks for reading and please take care!

Kerry x

 

 

Meet Fabulous Woman Christine Webber

Welcome to my new series.  Once a month I will be interviewing Fabulous Woman from around the world.  The first in the series introduces Christine Webber,  author, psychotherapist, broadcaster and  journalist.

I few weeks ago I lost a few days, buried in Christine’s book It’s Who We Are.  In this book Christine tackles many issues facing both men and women in their fifties in the most delightful way.  This is a book you will fall into and want to spend the day reading and drinking tea.

My interview with Christine has inspired me in so many ways, to write more, to value my friendships and to perhaps be more pragmatic.

Q:  I strongly believe that being authentic, is what makes us fabulous.  And that we all deserve to feel fabulous no matter what.  What makes you fabulous?

A:  Gosh, that’s quite a difficult question. As some of your readers will know, my husband (media doctor and writer, David Delvin) died this year. He thought I was fabulous. And told me so, all the time – right up to his last days in the hospice. Living with someone who thinks you are absolutely marvellous really helps you to believe that you are. I’ve been very, very lucky. And, of course, I miss that dreadfully now. But putting that aside, I think one of the things that helps me feel great about me, is taking ballet classes. I loved ballet since I was a tiny girl, but my mother wanted me to learn the piano (which I do enjoy too) and hated the whole theatre/ballet scene that I hankered after. But eventually, I plucked up courage to go to a class when I was 63! Looking back, I think that was quite brave. So, maybe a bit fabulous. And it’s even more fabulous that I am still doing it at 71.

Q:  We are all different and that is what makes the world a wonderful place.  What would you say are the most important values that underpin who you are?

A:  I believe very strongly in decency and kindness and honesty. What upsets me most – particularly in light of the complete fiasco of Brexit this side of the water – is that I see a side to people that I find deeply worrying. It really concerns me when people become extreme in their beliefs – in whatever way they do. The other most important aspect of life for me – and I see it as the major difference between us and the animal kingdom – is, for want of a better word, culture. Art, music, literature, dance … these are vital. They transport us and feed our souls. Life without them would be intolerable.

Q:  As we go through our adult life we all reinvent ourselves – because of circumstance, and as we grow into ourselves.  How have you reinvented yourself?

A:  Oh my God, have I? Yes. Over and over and over again! I don’t want to bore you or your readers by going into this in huge detail! But, in a nutshell, I failed to make a great career in what I trained in – which was classical singing – so I tried acting, being a sales rep, a postwoman, a toy demonstrator, a piano teacher, a teacher of music in a comprehensive school etc, etc. Finally, I found I was good at being a television presenter. That was a great reinvention. I loved working in television. Still do. And though my years as a daily news presenter are way in the past. I still pop up on TV or the radio from time to time. Another reinvention was becoming an agony aunt after I left full-time television. Then, in my mid-fifties I trained as a psychotherapist and ended up writing a great deal about mental health. I also established a practice in Harley Street. Then, approaching 70, I re-invented myself as a novelist. For years, I’d focused on non-fiction and self-help books, which were published by Hodder or Piatkus. I also did some ghost writing too. But I wanted to write fiction. Neither my publishers, nor my agent, were keen on that, or believed I could do it, so I went ‘indie’ and feel I have a lot of energy now for writing stories and hope to continue till I am a hundred!

Q:  We all hit lows in life – what do you to get yourself moving and motivated again?

A:  I have always been a very up and down person. What helped me most to see myself more confidently and rationally, and act that way too, was training as a psychotherapist. I specialised in cognitive behaviour therapy. The basis of that is that we learn that ‘it’s not things that upset us, it’s our view of things’.  CBT has helped me enormously. Honestly, I think it should be taught in schools. I now subscribe pretty much to the Stoic philosophers’ way of thinking which is – basically – that everything in life is on loan. It’s not ours by right. We have it, while it is our time to have it, but when it is gone – well, it was never our entitlement in the first place, just temporary. This has been a useful way of looking at things, not least in dealing with my sense of loss since David died.

Q:  I have just finished reading your wonderful novel It is Who We Are I loved how the characters faced life in their fifties.  What inspired you to write about this generation?

A:  Well, I think mid-life is fascinating! When we hit our fifties these days, we are so very different from how our mothers were at our age. And I also think that we are amazed that life is so turbulent and busy – and that though we may have imagined we’d feel settled and have plenty of money, and have a fixed routine and lots of time for ourselves, this often isn’t the case. On the plus side, we can keep making friends, doing new things, starting new businesses, embark on love affairs with people we’d never have met, or perhaps even liked, as young people. It’s mad really, but mostly in a good way.

As a budding author, myself may I ask a few questions about writing ….

Q:  Do you have a writing routine?

A:  Not at all – especially with the events of the last couple of years. In an ideal world I would begin writing in the morning. Take a break for exercise, and write again later in the day. Also, I feel any writer’s regime should include reading novels by other people. At the moment, I only do that when I’m on a train, bus or plane! I am moving house soon and beginning my own personal fresh chapter so I will let you know if I get organised!

Q:  What do you do when you hit a block and need inspiration?

A:  Exercise – particularly a dance class – is very helpful. Also, going to the theatre or watching a good drama on the box often reveals something that is useful. Best of all perhaps, I observe myself and other people all the time. Stuff you hear, or think, or see, feeds into your brain. And will bubble up into your conscious mind when you need it. Being keenly vigilant and interested in people and life and your own emotions (without being selfishly obsessed) gives you all the inspiration you’re ever going to need.

Q: You have written both fiction and non-fiction (link to books on Amazon).  Can you tell us a bit about why you moved towards writing fiction?

A:  My very first book, published by Century (Random House) in 1987, was a novel. I had no idea what I was doing! The basic story was good though, and I have re-written it this year and it came out in early November. It’s called In Honour Bound. I wrote it when I was still a television presenter. I just assumed I would write more fiction, but becoming an agony aunt, and a psychotherapist propelled my career firmly into self-help territory and there was always a book being commissioned by someone, or a column to write, so fiction just kept being pushed out of sight and out of mind. It was only in my late sixties, with that big birthday looming, that I actually thought that if I didn’t get back to writing fiction soon, I might run out of time!

Q:  Your characterisation is wonderful, for the time I was reading I felt like I had friends who were also going through change in their fifties.  How have you handled change in your own life?

A:  Ooh, well I am quite pragmatic. I also am lucky in that I was born with lots of energy, which I still have. I think I just need to get on with things. Certainly, dealing with the change of being a single woman again – after over thirty years being joined at the hip to Lovely Husband – has been a challenge, but I have found that being as busy as possible is essential for me. Though of course you do need to allow your emotions to take over sometime. Tears have to be shed. But I do that privately.

Q:  I loved the thread in the book which highlighted how we can be inspired by a mentor in life, and of course be an inspiration.  Who is your inspiration?

A:  I have had so many people who have inspired me. I’d like to give a big shout out to teachers here. So often, they open up a world to us that our parents are not part of, or don’t want us to venture into. I can think of three teachers who changed my life. I also had a mentor in the shape of a psychiatrist and writer. His name was Jack Dominian. He taught me a huge amount and supported me at a time when life felt very difficult. But I draw inspiration from all sorts of people. I was watching a documentary on the artist Tracey Emin the other day. She said something about spirituality and layers of time-zones overlapping. And I found that inspiring. You can find inspiration all over the place. I think the thing is to make sure you’re ‘curious’. When you are, your mind is alert and you can learn stuff from the unlikeliest sources.

Q:  I have often written about the importance of friendship on my blog.  This was such a wonderful plot throughout the book.   Can you tell us what friendship means to you?

I think we need our friends more and more as we age. And writing It’s Who We Are explored that theme as you know. The most wonderful comments I’ve had about that book have come from people who said that they felt they knew and understood those characters and they’d like to make friends with them themselves! I loved that. Friendship is so enriching and vital to us. Did you know that scientists believe loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking? Real friends for many of us are more relevant and supportive to us than our families. I’m not saying that is necessarily a good thing, but it’s true for lots of individuals. Now that I am alone, I am going to move back to Norwich, which is where I had my full-time television news presenting job. I had masses of friends there. It was a very sociable company, and most of those people never left that part of the country. Also, I met my husband there when I booked him to be on a television programme with me. The good pals from that time – going back forty years – are my real, core friends. And I reached out to them – and they supported me wonderfully  – during David’s illness and death. I am going back to live among them. And I know this is absolutely the right thing for me to do. 

Thanks so much for inviting me to do this Q and A. I hope that It’s Who We Are might do well in Ireland as much of it is set there. My husband’s family came from Kerry, which is where I have located that bit of the story. The other notable thing about him was that he was a banned author – because he wrote a lot about sex, relationships, contraception and so on. He loved that status, believing himself to be in very august company! Shortly before he died, a young radio presenter did a programme about banned authors in Ireland. He described my husband as the ‘bad boy of Irish literature’! David could not have been better pleased.

In conculsion

I would like to really like to thank Christine for her honest and inspiring interview.  Give yourself or someone you care about a gift of this book.  I will be gifting myself In Honour Bound – and look foward to snuggling up with a great book and a cup of tea.

Thank you to Mairead Hearne of Swirl and Thread for nominating Christine.

Kerry xx

p.s If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in this series please get in touch by emailing me on kerryjmanning@gmail.com

 

How to celebrate a blog birthday

Well the obvious answer is with cake!  I love cake – I would choose it over chocolate, crisps and even wine.  I think a cake is just such a symbol of celebration.  It always makes me feel festive, as well as being delicious and deeply satisfying.

I am lucky enough to be friends with a master baker and decorator and when I asked if Aine from The Cake Emporium would make me a birthday cake for my blog she didn’t even blink an  eye and as a reader of my blog she didn’t need a brief either.

I was truly delighted and jumping up and down like a three-year old myself when the cake arrived complete with crown!

Why did I start my blog three years ago?

Three years ago I was 50 and coming out of quite a dark place.  I still had a lot going on health wise (and still do to tell the truth).  I had learnt that it was important to maintain your dignity and to always wear your invisible crown no matter what.

The blog theme is to be fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at us. And what better way that to place that crown firmly on your head and know your own value.

The blog posts were I wrote about this concept were some of the first posts that got me noticed and is still some of my favourites.

Telling my stories

I have struggled with my weight my whole life, despite dieting for most of it.  One day I sat down and wrote the story of how I gave up dieting.  It was early on in my blogging journey and I remember being amazed as the views on the blog increased and increased and the reactions came in.  People direct messaged me, they engaged and told me their own stories.

I think that at this point I realised the true joy of blogging.  It is about creating tribe and a community.  Creating a conversation with people all around the world.

Finding balance and more

My long-awaited book (it is coming out soon) is all about how I have changed my life one word at a time.  The first posts I wrote about this related to balance and how by choosing to focus on this word I had started the avalanche of change that would filter through my life.  Again I was truly humbled by the response.

Moving from South Africa to Ireland

A personal blog is all about sharing stories of my life.  Stories and experiences that I hope other people can relate to.  My all time most read blog post is about my move from South Africa to Ireland.  It is read almost every day and I have communicated with so many people who are in the process of making a big move.  By simply writing a story about one woman and her move to Ireland I have been blessed to meet so many people.

Fashion, Beauty and Confidence

I have written many posts.  Perhaps I should count them.  I have touched on many subjects from fashion to beauty, food to travel and of course health.  The common denominator in everything my blog stands for is confidence to be authentic.  I really believe that we all come across so many curveballs in life, it is our choice though to choose to be fabulous despite whatever tries to knock us down.

So I wear my crown and try to be fabulous.

As I celebrate my third blog birthday I want to thank you so much for reading my posts, for sending me messages and for sharing my journey.

Kerry xx

P.S  A few exciting changes coming very soon.

 

Where have I been? A little life update

Why I neglected my blog

I love my blog, but between one thing and another, I have found myself neglecting www.fabuliciousfifty.com.  Here is a little life update.

At first I felt guilty and then I felt upset.  I then sat down to figure out why I wasn’t blogging. And gave myself a free pass for a few weeks while I got a few things in order.

A little bit about my work life

Followers of my blog will know that I had to give up full-time work a while ago.  I don’t mind saying that I found this hard.  Hard not to be doing what I was passionate about, and hard to complete a working day when it was required.

I am delighted to say that I have re-organised my life, retrained and am now combining my years of experience with new skills.

As part of this ‘new me’ I now have my own dedicated website built for me by the talented Sinead from Mini Media.  Have a look at www.kerrymanning.net, where you can read all about how I keep myself busy when I am not blogging or crafting.

You will notice that there is a section on speaking. It is a wonderful privilege to stand up in front of people and share my story and my philosophy of life.

You will also find some links to podcasts and other exciting collaborations.

Writing my book

I have also been working away at my book  I am so excited that I have now reached the milestone of 20 thousand words.  Quite a bit more to go, and it is only a first draft, but it feels good to put words on paper (in a digital version).  This is a very personal book, and it isn’t easy to write.  It is coming along and I believe that I will make my goal of finishing before the end of 2017.

I am the manager of my own health

My health continues to be a soundtrack in my life.  I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.  Perhaps I was hoping for a magic pill which would take all the pain away.

The result was quite the opposite and I felt down and despondent when I was simply told I was getting worse and the arthritis was spreading.  No magic bullet, no cure and only painkillers on offer.

My normal positivity deserted me for a little while.  Thankfully it returned and I realised that the only person who could help me was me.  I have the freedom to try different treatments, experiment with mindfulness, creativity and pacing.

It isn’t easy, and I think this contributed to me not writing much for a while.  I have no choice really but to accept that this is my journey and it is up to me how I travel.

There will always be days when I dig deep and find the energy to throw myself into exciting things with abandon.  And, yes these will be followed by days when rest will be a requirement, as will medication.

I am determined to live life to the fullest.  Why shouldn’t I?

Being Creative

Being creative is, for me as essential as my favourite liquid, tea.  I strongly believe that when you are being creative you are in a state of flow, and it is when you are in this beautiful place you fill yourself up.  So many of us are always giving and sharing and we need to fill our own cup in order to continue.

With this in mind I have been very busy with my creative endeavours.  I have been teaching my class in Spiddal every month.  This is so enjoyable, both the creativity of coming up with the projects and the special time spend sharing laughs with other creative souls.

Another highlight over the past weeks has been teaching An Grianan – the Irish Country Woman’s Association adult education centre.  What a beautiful place, I can’t wait to go back again.

I have also just completed a big batch of handmade cards for the lovely Filippa of Harvest Breeze in Westport.  Her gift shop is a true treasure trove for all the senses.  If you are in Westport, please do pop in.

A new look to my blog

I am back blogging so expect posts to become regular again.  I am also working on a little blog make-over with a little more structure to highlight the areas I love blogging about.

This is a sincere thank you for your support and for reading my blog.

Kerry xx

 

Dating in your 50s – Part 3 – Joining the Online World

You have made the decision, you are going to dip your toes into online dating.  So, what next?

It is scary. But, what might happen?  Online dating in your 50s might lead to you the man (or woman)  of your dreams, or you might meet a really good friend.

Or, you might meet someone who is nothing like he said!

Honesty and bravery

Be honest.  When putting up your own profile be honest.  After all if you take it a step further any little white lies will be exposed.   Don’t feel that you have to put up every little detail about yourself, but do think of the information you would like to get from reading someone else’s profile.

Also be brave.  Do put up a photo.  When I started online dating I was so unhappy with the way I looked I didn’t put up a photo.  I started chatting to a lovely guy and we really got on well.  We even progressed to a phone call, and still I wouldn’t let him see what I looked like.

Eventually I sent a picture to his phone.  I literally held my breath for the time it took him to get back to me, petrified he would run a mile.

We all have wrinkles and are getting a bit older.  We have bits that are not where they were twenty years ago.  Women lie about their age and men lie about their height.  If you are serious about dating, be honest and be brave.  If he doesn’t like the look of your photo or your description of cuddly, then he is not the man for you.

Tips on the photos you use

Keep your photos simple – a nice headshot with a smile.  Do not put up family photos. I think this is really inappropriate.  Don’t put up photos of your home or your surroundings.  Keep it simple  if you connect there is plenty of time for more detailed photos as you get to know someone.

Conversely I think a profile with a nice clean smiling photo is what I am attracted to.  I really don’t want to see a photo of your ex!

What to write in that first message.

The content of your profile – and the profiles that you are looking at are the key to starting a conversation.

Yes, it is always awkward taking the first step and saying hi.  They way I look at it, it is better to make the approach than simply wait to be approached.  I must be a modern women.  (Although I do have memories of the mantra of going to the disco at 14 and saying that the guy must ask you to dance, and he must ask for your phone number) – I am delighted that times have changed.

I think at this stage we are all a little afraid to make the first move, but I say, just do it.

To send the first email missive across the internet is brave.  But what do you say.

My recommendation is to say something about them.  Read their profile and comment on something they have said.  Ask something more that relates to their interests.

Here are some ideas:

  • What was your childhood favourite book? (they have said they like reading)
  • When was the last time you went on holiday and where to? (they like travel)
  • Mention something that happened recently in your area or internationally, and ask an opinion.  This is a great way of finding out if they have an interest in, and if they have opinions on politics, sport etc.

The most important thing to remember is to ask an open-ended question. Something that cannot be answered with a simply yes or no.  Although anyone who came back to me with a yes or a no would be a no for me!  I like a good conversation.

Also tell a little about yourself, but not too much – you want them to come back and ask their own open-ended question.

You could simply say that you finished a great book this weekend and got in a good walk before the weather turned.  That way they can come back and ask about what you were reading and where you walked.

A word of warning for online dating in your 50s

There are people out there  on dating sites and in pubs and real life who are not what they seem to be.  Simply keep away from them. In most cases I would advise simply blocking them.

Block them if:

  • If they are loads younger than you, and are asking if you are married
  • If they ask about your marital status  it means they probably are married  – despite what the profile says
  • If they make any suggestive comments early on –consider reporting them
  • If they ask for your email address or phone number in the first message
  • If they ask for money or start talking about money

Be brave – give little peaks into your life.  And enjoy getting to know new friends.  You never know where it could go.

If you want to read Guide to Dating in your Fifties Part 1 and Part 2  please follow the links.

If you are looking for love this February – be brave and take the plunge.

I love feedback so please feel free to leave me a message.

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

How to be Fabulous

Fabulous is probably my favourite word.  When I was on the cusp of turning 50 I had really mixed feelings – do I duck it and pretend to be 49 for years, or do I embrace it.  I decided to go with the latter and to be fabulous at 50 and beyond.

how-to-be-fabulous

Words are very important to me.  I am writing a book about how single words have changed my life, and the word Fabulous would have to be included.  This time last year I had a breakdown – a hard-earned one, and I can honestly say that embracing the fabulous has been a huge part of my journey.

I have been through a lot.  A broken marriage, depression and numerous health issues which are still ongoing.  The one thing I have learned is that the only person you can be is you.  And it is your obligation to be the best you that you can be.

My favourite quote is this one from Dr Seuss.

Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is youer than you.

When we are authentic we are fabulous.

So how do you embrace your Fabulousness.

There are 6 principles of fabulousness that I have figured out.

Positivity

Being positive is another of those skills that you have to practice.  Like any form of exercise it can be hard and frustrating at first.

The first time on the treadmill is hard, the second is harder, you feel awful, sore and sweaty, but ultimately you get it and start to feel fantastic.  I only started walking (as a form of exercise) in my late forties.  The first walk was so short, but after a short while I was clocking up the miles and I felt better.

Positivity is like that.  Tap into positivity.  Find your self daily affirmations – I am fabulous – and spend time around positive people – both online and off-line.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a wonderful thing.  We all aspire to be better than we are and tapping into inspiration stretches us and makes us want to put the effort in to be a better version of ourselves.  I find inspiration in my daily life, I also find it online by following people who I admire.

How many ‘friends’ do you have on Facebook?  How many people do you follow?  Follow people who you admire, and aspire to be like.  Read books, listen to the radio and podcasts, put yourself in a place where you are inspired.  But remember what you goal is – to be the best version of yourself.

We have a wonderful group on Facebook called Fabulous Woman – I go into the group every day, and sometimes more than once a day and get inspired by ordinary woman who are aspiring to be fabulous.

Motivation

This is another biggie for me.  Motivation.  Where do you find the motivation to do what you do every day, and then where are you going to find the motivation to do even more?

Motivation is your reason for acting on something.  Your reason for getting up and changing things.  My motivation is simple – I never want to go back to being a quivering scared woman in a marriage that was hurting me.  I want to be the best mom I can to my son and I want people to know that everyone deserves to be happy.

That is a big vision, I know.  We also need to break it down and talk about daily motivations.  Perhaps you need some incentives on a daily or monthly basis to do nice things for yourself.  That sounds funny just saying it but woman generally put everyone first before they do something for themselves.  Your motivation is to be the best you that you can be and I promise you this that everyone around you will benefit from you being fabulous.

So set yourself some goals and set up some treats and incentives.

Creativity

I believe that everyone is creative.  Some people paint or draw, and others might be creative in the kitchen or through crafts.  I have been teaching crafts for many years and I just love the light that comes on when people are being creative.

It is simply fuel for the soul.  We spend so much of our lives giving to others but we need to refuel.  Eating well, drinking water and exercise are all important but being creative is essential.

You don’t need a lot of money to get started.  Simply start in your daily life.  Rearrange furniture or ornaments, write in a journal, tap into your creative well.

Add it into your mix and you will become even more fabulous.

Networking

Networking is an essential pillar of fabulousness for me.  When you say networking to some people, a switch goes off.  They are not in business, don’t have a business card and are not interested in getting up at 6 in the morning for a meet-up where business cards are swapped.

Networking is simple and it has been done since the beginning of time.  You know that person that is connected to everyone?  You know if you call them they will know someone who can help.  She is a supreme networker.

We network in our daily lives every day and through this we create our circle – our network.

The thing to remember about networking is that it is relational not transactional.  Networking is not about making a sale or a deal, it is simply about getting to know more people.

I love meeting new people, and simply getting to know them.  Conversation is a great way of building relationships.

When you meet someone – tell them about you – not about what you do.  Tell them what makes your heart sing.

Talk to people everywhere and build your network – you will be remembered for who you are that real authentic you.

Am I that one on Facebook who wears a crown  and always talks about being fabulous, or am I a personal branding specialist?  You will probably remember the crown but then at some stage when someone needs a personal branding specialist you might tell them about me.

We can use networking to surround ourselves with positive people who will motivate us, inspire us and spark our creativity too.

Appearance

Now, I know that I like pretty party dresses.  I feel great if my hair looks great and I do love make-up.  But that is just me.

For many years I didn’t embrace this side of me.  I suffered from depression and cried so much that there was little point in make-up.  I felt really ugly and fat because I listened to the criticism around me.

One day I made the decision to be fabulous and I need to tell you that I had to fake it for a while.  Every day I got up and got dressed.  I did my hair and accessorised.  I took a make-up lesson and made a commitment to wearing make-up most days.

I feel that this is me – at my best, my most fabulous.

When I was all ‘dolled-up’ I felt better. I felt like the best version of me possible.

I just want to make a point here, that if you feel the best that you can be wearing jeans and a check shirt, that is ok too.  What you want to tap into is dressing as you, to feel like the best of version of you.

It is a funny thing because when you tap into your fabulousness, people notice what you are wearing less, they notice how you feel and the energy you are putting out.

Be fabulous online and offline

Facebook is now the largest ‘country’ in the world.  Most of us are on Facebook and many of us are on other social media sites such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.  It is really important that when you are showing up – as the best you that you can be, you do this online as well as offline. These days the first connection with many people is not in person but online.  Grow your network and show your positivity online.

This is an extract from a talk I recently presented at the Festive Ladies Afternoon Tea in Mayo.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share.

Kerry x

Where to you get your inspiration from?

Inspired by Coral-lynne Fabuliciousfifty

I am inspired by Coral-Lynn on a daily basis.  I am honoured to call this fabulous woman an ‘old’ friend too.

Inspiration comes from so many places. A walk in the forest, hanging the washing out on the line, or going online.  Sometimes though you need a nudge,a few words that get you thinking.

Years ago when things were quite tough, I started getting texts to my phone every day.  Little quotes and messages that so often resonated with what I was going through.  These little texts were sent by Coral-Lynn. (more…)

Why do I blog? I blog because I love communication.

Why do I blog?  I blog because I love communication.  Years and years ago I went to college and studied communication and this has been a constant in my career and life since then.  Communication is the key to successful relationships.

Communication FabuliciousfiftyAt college, I remember studying Marshal McLuhan and his model of the global village.  In the early eighties this was all a little sci-fi.

“Global village”, was first talked about in Marshal McLuhan’s book The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of the Typographic Man.  In this book McLuhan described the internet as it is today when technology basically shrinks the world into a village.  This was in the early sixties.  During the eighties when I was studying I clearly remember a line in a text-book, which talked about the future of communication.  It posited that photographs might be able to be sent over a telephone line!

As a junior public relations officer I remember photographs and press releases being sent by courier to the newspapers or via telex after being typed into a weird typewriter thing that spat out yellow punch tape.

Fast forwarding out of history to the present and my desire to communicate and connect with people still exists.  I have worked in the industry for many years communicating on behalf of others, but many of you will know it is far harder to talk – or write – about yourself than someone else.

My blog was born after I turned 50. This was a turning point in my life and I was determined that life’s circumstances would not get me down.  I wanted to greet middle age with a wave of confidence.

After careful thought I chose Fabuliciousfifty as the name of my blog and tentatively put up my first post.  Ten people read it and I was delighted. I wanted to blog about overcoming life’s curveballs and still being fabulous and to communicate with people who might be in the same boat as me.  Over the past 18 months now and have written about all sorts of stuff from balance, to fitness and my walking journey, my struggle with pain and social isolation.

The most important thing for me is the feedback.  The little notes and messages that I receive mean that my blog is about communication – two way communication and I wanted to thank everyone who reads my blog for that.

Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards

I am really humbled and honoured that I have been nominated and then voted on by my peers and have been shortlisted in two categories in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards.

If you would like to give me a little vote the link is here.

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But most of all I wanted to thank you for reading and giving me feedback.  We truly are living in a global village now.

Thank you for reading and giving me such lovely feedback.

Kerry xx

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