Using a bit of tech to keep me more focused on diabetic me

I am a diabetic.  Not a very well behaved one I accept. I sneak the odd cake or chocolate and justify it by saying that I will walk it off.  But, perhaps it is time to keep a closer eye on all things diabetic.

I was diagnosed as a diabetic in 2012 and I have worked hard to change my lifestyle.  For me this was the correct choice.  Rather than accept that I would be on drugs and ultimately injecting insulin, I wanted to see what I could do myself.  Using exercise and watching what I ate (and drank) I have managed to keep it under control as far as possible..

Unfortunately for many of us, despite being careful about what we eat, exercising and drinking lots of water, the disease marches on.

When I was contacted through my blog by Ascensia to ask if I would review their new Contour Next One blood meter I was intrigued.  I love tech and use apps on my phone to remind me of just about everything. There is a list app, pill reminder apps, calendar apps, shopping apps and more.  I love them, they keep me straight and also help with the brain fog (associated with Fibromyalgia). If you would like to try it you can get a free meter here.

Self Management

I have learned that with all my conditions self management is the key.  I am the only one who knows me as well as I do.  Talking the driving seat in managing my diabetes I believe is essential.

Use of mobile phones for blood glucose monitoring can help patients manage their condition: According to an editorial piece published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, the integration of blood glucose monitoring technology with mobile phones can provide additional convenience and ease-of-use for people with diabetes by allowing blood glucose monitoring data to be automatically captured and analysed in near real time, helping people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels.

This is true in my case.  It is exciting to think that the use of tech in the form of mobile phones can actually lead to better diabetes management, and ultimately better glycemic control.  Since being diagnosed I have always aimed to reduce my hb1ac.  I get this measured every six months and reward myself with a treat (like a manicure) if I have maintained or reduced my levels.

The Contour Next One

The Contour Next One is, at first glance similar to any other system.  The meter is really neat, but the difference is in the interface with the app on your smart phone.  I was a little intimidated about the prospect of setting up the app and getting it all synced and ready but, honestly it was so easy.  Testing is much the same as normal, but tracking them becomes so easy.

The wireless meter simply sends your reading to your phone – it’s that simple.  This is an ideal system for someone who is testing regularly and monitoring.  The system allows you to log what you eat, whether you are testing before or after food.  There is also a cool system where you can either use smart testing (set up for insulin users, and non-insulin users) or you can set up your own reminders.

At this point I am not  insulin dependent.  I do know a good few friends and family who are and I would certainly recommend this system.

Next week is my visit to the practice nurse who manages the diabetes programme. I will have my phone with me and be ready to show my trends, my readings, and hopefully get a good report card!

This is a sponsored post, and I was given the meter, however the reporting is totally my own and I can honestly say that I do like the system and will be using it going forward.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you are a diabetic and would like to chat about it with a fellow diabetic please feel free to get in touch.

Kerry x

The Art of Giving to Yourself

Over the festive season there is a lot of giving going on, but how much are you giving to yourself?

In January it is time to give yourself gifts and feel true gratitude.

If we don’t fill up our own cup, we will eventually become depleted and not be able to give to anyone at all.

This is not only about gifts that come wrapped in shiny paper with ribbons, I am also talking about the gifts that cannot be wrapped.  The gifts of time, indulgence and those that do not have monetary value.

The Little Book of Hygge

For Christmas I was given The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish way to live well by Meik Wiking.  This is published by the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.  My grandfather was from Denmark and I am entranced by this idea and how Danes find happiness.  I am sure I will be writing more on this subject this year, but for now I wanted to quote the book regarding giving and gratitude.

Wiking speaks of hygge in terms of giving yourself and others a treat.  ‘It is about savouring the moment and the simple pleasures of good food and good company.

‘It is giving the hot chocolate and whipped cream the attention it deserves. In short indulgence.Hygge is about the now and how to enjoy the moment and make the best of it.

‘More than anything, savouring is about gratitude.  Gratitude is more than just a simple thank you when you receive a gift, it is about keeping in mind that you live right now and allowing yourself to focus on the moment and appreciate the life you lead, to focus on all that you do have and not what you don’t.”

He confirms that evidence-based studies show that practising gratitude has an impact on happiness.

The Art of Giving to Yourself – January Challenge

As a January challenge I am going to give something to myself every week – and perhaps take it through 2017.  I would love it if you would join me on this challenge.

I have put a quick list together of gift items you may consider:

  1. I recently visited the Seabreeze Beauty Clinic in Oranmore (very close to where I live). This is a wonderful oasis of calm.  The staff are friendly and welcoming and the treatments I had were sublime.  I am definitely going back for one of my gifts to me.  In January it might be small – a manicure perhaps, but I have a whole lot more on my wish list.  The day spa includes a wonderful relaxation room, seaweed baths, a sauna and of course all the wonderful treatment rooms. (This was event organised by the wonderful ITWBN)
  2. A good book and a big cup of tea. There is nothing quite like a good book.  I read on my Kindle a lot and you can pick up a great read for as little as 99c.  I subscribe to BookBub and find out about some great deals.  Why not make yourself a jumbo cup or better yet a pot of tea and give yourself a full hour to sit quietly and read.
  3. Time out to simply be. We live in a world where everything is rush rush.  I am not the worst but I remember when I was working full time and there simply wasn’t time to be.  Why not book yourself a holiday day (or take a Saturday or Sunday). If you can’t do a full day start with a half day.  Tell your partner and family you are having a me day and do exactly as you want.  It may sound selfish but it really is important.  But refuelling in whatever way suits you best you will be in a far better place to be the best you can be.  It may be a day shopping, or going to the gym.  It is a day for doing what you want to do and answering to only you.
  4. Have tea with a friend. I love a good chat – and if it is accompanied by tea or coffee and cake even better.  Taking an hour or two out of your day won’t cause stress, I promise it will reduce it.
  5. Take a class. I teach craft classes and I think I get more out of the class sometimes than the students.  Putting yourself in a situation where you are in flow is so good for the soul.  Although I am tired, I am also energised after a class.
  6. Eat well. I am a few kilograms up after Christmas and despite loving all the yummy Christmas treats I don’t feel great.  I intend gifting myself with some lovely meals.  I will make them, set the table and sit down and eat them.  I will savour each bite and know I am giving my body a gift.
  7. A good magazine – or if you can afford it a subscription. I love the Psychologies magazine – it is my one monthly indulgence and it feeds my mind as well as being a great read.  No matter what you choose – choose for you, and of course feel free to indulge in a cup of something while you read.

 

The most important thing – according to Hygge is to savour your gift to yourself.

If you would like to join me on this challenge I would love to hear your ideas and how you get on.  Feel free to comment here or on Facebook.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

A New Year, a New Way

word-of-the-year

The time between Christmas and New Year excites me.  It may seem odd to some but I just love this week which for me is laced with anticipation.

I don’t like New Year’s Eve parties.  The false anticipation that something is going to change as the clock strikes midnight.

I do however, love a new book.  Cracking the spine and smelling the pages.  My Kindle is my companion these days, but my love of books has simply transferred to notebooks, journals and books with blank pages. A new year is like a book of blank pages.  365 days of opportunity to be in charge of your life.

Five years ago I was certainly not in charge of my life.  In fact I was juggling so much and lost focus and balance in a huge way.

I changed my life and sitting here today I can say that I am happy.  Today I feel strong and in control of my life.

A Word for the Year

I said goodbye to New Year’s resolutions, and instead for the last 5 years I have chosen a word for each year.

This strategy has been core to the changes and most of all improvements I have made in my life.

Balance

My first word was balance and I tried a few techniques to incorporate balance into my life. It worked in a big way across all areas of my life even on my core balance which wasn’t in my mind at the time.  I ended the year being able to stand on one leg!

Change

The second year I chose the word change and again used the simple techniques to incorporate it into my life.  By April of that year – only four months in – my life had changed to such an extent that there was little that hasn’t changed.

Discipline

Discipline was my word the following year, and this simple word focussed on areas of my life that needed strengthening.  It wasn’t an easy year, but it was a year of small changes that made big differences.

Creative

After those three years I needed a word that would feed my soul.  I have always been creative (I honestly believe that we all are), but I had been neglecting my creative side.  Creative – what a beautiful and fun word to have.  I started my blog, I got my paint brushes out, and I started teaching crafts again.  Most of all though – I fed my soul. (I also started writing my book)

Detail

There are two types of people in the world – big picture people and detail people.  I would definitely fall into the category of a big picture person. My career as a marketing strategist and an entrepreneur was all about big thinking, but detail was always my weakness.  For 2016 I chose detail as my word.  I needed this word – I really did!  I have been through a transition this year and putting a focus on detail has been essential.  I am so glad I chose it!

I also have a powerful word that has become an overriding word in my life and that is Fabulous.  Regular readers of the blog will know how much I love this word and what it means to me.

What will I choose as my world of the year for 2017?

During this reflective time I am again contemplating which word I will pick for 2017.  I know this programme works and I am excited to be sharing it with members of the Fabulous Woman group on Facebook.  Join me for a Facebook Live video every night and am delighted to be sharing this special planning time with people from all over the world. It was exciting to see people popping up from America, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Scotland and more.

I will be back in a couple of days to share my word for 2017.  If you would like to join me on this journey please feel free to join the Facebook Group (only girls allowed), my page on Facebook and by subscribing to the blog.

I am excited!

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…)

Being Fabulous on Tour – a little life update

Fabulous friends, fabulous family and fabulous experiences.  That basically describes my October.

Over a period of a month I travelled on 6 different aeroplanes, numerous cars, and changed the bed I was sleeping in eight times.

Yes, I was exhausted, but I was also exhilarated and inspired.

I started off my travelling to Dublin to speak at the Women’s Inspire Event.  What a wonderful day meeting so many inspirational women.  I wrote a little blog post about it here.

Special stop-over in Dubai

Then it was onwards to Dubai where I have a home from home with my sister and brother-in-law.  I love visiting Dubai which always inspires me.  This is a city that has been created from a dusty single road 25 years ago to the bustling metropolis of creativity it is today.

(more…)

Dream it and do it!

what-you-think-you-become-what-you-feel-you-attract-what-you-imagine-you-create

 

Sometimes you simply have to dream it – and then do it.  I am delighted to be back with a Wednesday quotation  blog post and from my home country of South Africa.

Eight months ago I had a dream to come back to South Africa and spend time with my childhood friend.  We have known each other since we were 3 or 4 years old.  Friendships like this are really precious.  They don’t just happen though, they have to be nurtured.  Bev and I do exactly that. (more…)

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