Why I started wearing a Fitbit when I am probably not very fit at all?

 

I wear a blue Fitbit almost every day and have done so for the last 8 months.  My Dad asked me if I actually liked it when he saw me checking it over and again and commenting on how little or much I had walked.  Don’t let it rule your life he said.  I really love it!

fitbit fabuliciousfifty

Let me back track a little.  Regular readers to my blog will know that I came to fitness very, very late in life.  Like so late that I bought my first pair of trainers when I was on the very wrong side of forty.

I really do regret not discovering the joy of walking earlier in life, but I try to make up for it now.

One thing you must know before we get into all the statistics etc. is that I don’t walk very fast at all.  I also limp and sometimes walk like a ‘constipated tortoise’.  I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and it can all be a little painful.  Despite this however I strongly believe that the more I walk the better I feel.  Walking clears my mind and when it takes place it nature it fills my soul.  It also eases out all the creaks and actually makes me feel better.   In addition there are also all the health benefits that everyone talks about like weight loss and better muscle tone.

Last December I was visiting family in Dubai.  My big treat is a visit to an Arabic restaurant so off we went and ordered all these yummy little dishes for sharing.  I noticed my brother-in-law was wearing a bracelet.  I am very outspoken so I asked him why he was wearing a bracelet.  ‘It is a Fitbit.’   I really didn’t have a clue and as I didn’t move in fitness circles despite my love of walking I hadn’t even heard of the concept.  He patiently explained it all and told me how it worked.  He is really fit and walks, runs and plays squash.

I thought nothing of it until the next day when I was presented with a little bag and opened it to find my very own Fitbit.  I was honestly quite speechless – what a generous gift had been given to me to encourage my own fitness journey.

I strapped it on and was ready to go.  There are a number of things I learnt from wearing a Fitbit and because of these I would encourage everyone who can to try it – or any other fitness monitor.

This is what I have learnt about my Fitbit

  1. That it is possible to do under a thousand steps a day if you are in an office and don’t move around much.
  2. It takes around 2500 steps to walk from my house to the doctor – so there and back is a great way to ensure I get my steps in.
  3. I feel grumpy and disgruntled when I don’t walk.
  4. Looking at a Fitbit which shows under 2000 steps is a great motivator to get my trainers on and get moving.
  5. That it is possible to walk over 10 000 steps before breakfast when I participated in the 5km Darkness into Light walk recently.  I also exceeeded myself at the Heart of Galway walk where I logged up 14 000 steps.
  6. That my sweet place is around 6000 steps – after this I suffer quite a bit with pain. I am now trying to push my speed a little instead of going further.
  7. I have learnt to use the Fitbit to pace myself and prevent myself from getting overtired. For example if I am going into town and know I am going to be pounding the pavements I might drive or get a lift to the station.  I have no problem walking the 2000 steps to get there, but the prospect of walking 2000 steps home when I am literally crying with pain and exhaustion isn’t a good idea.

A new introduction to the Fitbit app is a little chart which shows how many hours of the day you have been active.  This is really cool and a big wake-up call.  You get a little red dot for each waking hour you do over 250 steps.  It is a really simple but important reminder to get moving.  Take a break, stretch your legs and move away from the computer.  Although it is always good to log between six and 10 000 steps a day it is better to be active throughout the day rather than doing the majority of steps in one big burst.

My Fitbit does all sorts of other things too.  It measures my sleep.  It is really interesting to see if you are in fact getting a good night.  The app – on your phone where you can view all the data from the device shows periods of restfulness and periods of being awake.  When I first started wearing it I was rarely getting a decent 8 hours.  Now I often get those restful hours so necessary to keep smiling.

I also love the little virtual rewards – badges that you get for reaching milestones.  It is always nice to get a pat on the back!

I hope I can motivate other people like me (who might be overweight, unfit and battling with pain) to get moving.

Thank you for reading – I am off to get my Fitbit off the charger and go for a walk.

Kerry x

Do you need a digital declutter?

This week I deleted over 50 000 emails and 20 000 text messages – a massive digital declutter.

Do you need a digital declutter

Digital mess is different to normal clutter.  For the most part it is invisible and takes up very little space in the physical world.  I honestly didn’t know I was carrying it all around with me.

So let me tell you how it all started.  I joined a group on Facebook called #Dream Life & Biz Creators Group.  It is run by the fabulous Patricia Parashakti Lohan.  She set up a week-long challenge and anyone who knows me knows that I am competitive so I was hooked.  When I started it I wasn’t even sure what it was about!

Patricia is a Feng Shui expert and the challenge was around decluttering.  I had already started on a big cleanse a few weeks prior so I felt quite smug.

First the handbag …

The first cleanse was your handbag – well I did mine the day prior so that was ok.  And then I remembered my very bad habit of migrating from handbag to handbag with only the essentials and leaving the clutter behind.  I cleared five handbags.

I found money and a few other things I had lost on the way and I threw out so much rubbish and it felt great.  The biggest benefit of all – I spent some time going down memory lane, looking at receipts, business cards, train tickets and flyers.  I let myself remember and contemplate and then I allowed myself to let the mess of scrappy papers go.

Then the emails and texts …

I digress though.  The real whammy for me was when we were asked to clear out our emails and messages – day four I think.  We carry our phones around with us all the time, our phones carry around much the same as our handbags, just in a digital form.

I started with the messages.  Over a thousand messages from an old boyfriend.  Why was I holding onto those.  Delete!

I deleted junk messages offering me 60% off at a sale that took place years ago.  I deleted work messages from a job I left over a year ago.  I deleted and did a digital declutter of over 20 000 text messages.

I did take time to enjoy the memory of some of the messages.  The message saying that my son had been accepted in his first choice course at university.  The first message from my partner.  The announcement that a friend had had a baby girl. The mantra was the same, enjoy the memory and then delete and make way for the new.

Facing the mammoth task of the emails was daunting.  Gmail doesn’t facilitate mass deleting very easily and when I googled it and tired something as advised I landed up in a bit of pickle with new messages going into the trash.

The only option was to do it slowly.  I trawled through emails with my finger on the delete button.  It was really cathartic pressing down and watching the past wing its way into the digital dustbin.   As I deleted I really did feel more energised and more positive about the future.

I have made some decisions about email, unsubscribed to emails that are no longer relevant and filtered my email into manageable files.  I am now finding that a visit to my inbox is a quick pleasurable experience.  I see the promotions I want to see, read the updates I enjoy and most of all I am more efficient.

The decluttering journey continues and I am honestly looking forward to it.

Patrica tell us that by letting go of the old we can make way for the new.  I have done a lot of that in the last week and there is more to do.  The bins (both actual and virtual) have been filled and emptied.

Thank you so much for reading and please feel free to comment if you have undertaken a digital declutter.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

An added bonus ingredient from The Body Shop makes me smile

Body shop Vitamin E Fabulicousfifty

I first heard of hyaluronic acid last year – and the more I read about it the more it made sense to me.  It is a little bit of magic that locks moisture into your skin.

Hyaluronic Acid is found naturally in the body and acts as a moisture magnet trapping up to 1000 times its own weight – excellent for the odd wrinkle.

I am getting a little bit older, and I am becoming more conscious of aging.  I am not looking to age backwards, but to simply be the best I can be.  Looking after my skin is a priority and I don’t have a big budget to do that.

I was delighted when I saw that the Body Shop Vitamin E range now has the added bonus included hyaluronic acid.

This product range, which now has some new family members ticks all my boxes.  My skin is quite dry and I find that the moisture is really locked in as promised.

I was lucky enough to have access to one of those magic wand things you see in the shops that measure the moisture in your skin.  The science geeky side of me likes being able to back up my gut feeling on a product range – the difference before and after was significant.

The products I tried are the Aqua Boost Essence lotion which is not a cream but neither is it a liquid.  It is deliciously cooling and leaves me feeling really refreshed especially during the hot weather.  I follow this with the Moisture Protect Emulsion which is silky smooth.

All the products have a fresh fragrance (I am fussy about things like that), and I know that all the ingredients are natural and pure, which means quite a lot.

I have been using these products for a good few weeks and I am delighted with them.

I was given these products to test, but was not paid for this review.  I reviewed it because it fits my ethos about our right to feel fabulous!

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

The Art of Kintsugi – embracing our imperfections

kintsugi fabuliciousfifty

I am 52.  I have wrinkles. I have lived. I have actually been through a lot – we all have really.  No matter what we have been through we are essentially beautiful.

Anyone who reads my blog will know that my personal philosophy is to strive to be fabulous despite what life throws at us.  I wear make-up and do my hair, I like wearing nice clothes and looking pretty. It is not about vanity, but rather about celebration and determination.

The one thing that I have never done though is to hide my imperfections.

I was scrolling through Facebook recently and saw this fabulous meme about a Japanese art form called Kintsugi.  Basically broken pottery is mended with gold – highlighting the flaws and making them beautiful rather than hiding them.  It is also about celebrating an object rather than trashing it.

broken pottery fabuliciousfifty

I found this explanation on www.lakesidepottery.com.

Kintsugi Art Metaphor: “Mending Broken Pottery With Gold”

What Can We Learn From a Broken Pot?

Kintsugi, as the practice is known, gives new life or rebirth to damaged or aging ceramic objects by celebrating their flaws and history. One can consider how we might live a kintsugi life, finding value in the, missing pieces, cracks and chips – bringing to light the scars that have come from life experiences, finding new purpose through aging and loss, seeing the beauty of ‘imperfection’ and loving ourselves, family and friends even with flaws.

What do we do with something that breaks.  We throw it away.  In Japan, the philosophy is to embrace imperfections (Wabi Sabi) and this is the source of the art of Kintsugi.

I don’t often write about my own cracks and breaks.  I do have them though, many of them.  Some from age, and others from circumstance.  These cracks are what makes me.  It is our experiences and life that we have lived that makes us the beautiful humans that we are.

Let us embrace our imperfections.  Celebrate ourselves with our cracks and breaks in sparkling gold.  I don’t mean that we should dwell on the negative, but rather acknowledge it and how much stronger it has made us.

Signing off as a beautiful kintsugi vase, showing off my imperfections.

Kerry xx

 

When you love cheese and are prepared to be adventurous …

I love cheese.  My partner calls me Wallace (from Wallace and Grommit) – as anything that has a bit of cheese added is tasty.

Dubliner Cheese 1

On a recent visit to my sister in Dubai I was invited to a ‘pot luck’.  This is an American concept where everyone brings a plate of food to share.  I was intrigued by this dish that looked like a dessert with a layer of jam, or jelly, over the top.  It was served with crackers and I was told it was a dip. (It is actually more like a spread)

I gingerly took a very small amount to be polite.  I came back for more and more until it was no longer polite.

I have since recreated this here in Ireland.  The first time people are hesitant.  When they visit again and see the dish on display there is no hesitation, just enjoyment.

With no further ado …

Bacon and cheese dip – with Jam!

  • Approximately 100 grams of bacon or pancetta – I use the pre-cut pack of pancetta.  Fry this really crisp so it almost crumbles.
  • Grate a small block of cheese – I used Dubliner cheddar cheese and did half and half with the vintage white cheddar and the standard red cheddar for colour and texture.
  • 4 spring onions or scallions chopped really fine
  • mayonnaise.
  • Half a jar of raspberry jam

Method:

  1. Fry off the bacon and shop until it is really small.
  2. Mix in the grated cheese and spring onion and add mayonnaise to create a stiff spread or paste.
  3. Pack down into a bowl and top with about 1cm of raspberry jam.
  4. Serve with simple crackers.

Dubliner Cheese 3I promise you this one you and everyone else has tried it – you will go back for more.

What I really love about this dip is every time I make it I think of my sister and the lovely friends I have made in Dubai.  I also love watching people enjoy it.

Dubliner 4

Thanks for reading, for cooking and for sharing!

Kerry x

p.s.  This isn’t a sponsored post but it is an entry into the #DublinerChallenge

Do your clothes give you joy?

Do your clothes give you joy?  Or do they make you feel nostalgic? Do they make you feel fabulous?

clothes memories fabuliciousfifty

I was privileged to talk to Marcia O’Regan of Colourharmonie recently and somehow we stumbled on the subject of clothes and decluttering.  She is currently reading Maria Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  Marcia was telling me about her experience of tidying her closet, and only keeping items that give her joy.

 

Now I am a long way from being a tidy (a very long way) but this really resonated with me.  For quite some time now I have only bought clothes that I really love.  Part of this was financial but I also found that when I was wearing something I really love, I felt more confident, and I suppose a little bit fabulous.

I really believe we dress for ourselves and even though people around us get the pleasure of seeing us with a pretty dress and make-up, how we look does for some of us impact on how we feel.

After the call with Marcia I returned to household chores which of course included the endless laundry.  As I was hanging up my clothes I realised that almost every item of clothing carries a story.

These are some of the little one line stories my clothes have to tell ….

  • A pretty blue floral dress that I call my party dress.  I bought it with gift vouchers in South Africa on a visit home.  The first time I wore it was for my birthday 4 years ago.
  • I have quite a few maxi dresses, all similar in style but in a wide range of fabulous prints.  These are dresses that arrive in boxes from Dubai.  My lovely sister sends me care parcels and each time I wear one of my dresses I think of her – it is like a fabric connection.
  • A royal blue chiffon jacket was a gift from my Mom from the fabulous Queenspark in South Africa.  It is sheer and light but adds not only colour but style to anything it is thrown over.
  • I won a prize on Facebook of a voucher for Liberties in Westport.  I thought I was too fat to be able to choose anything from this wonderful boutique.  When I went to visit I was treated really well and fell in love with a long dark purple top that I wear often.  It covers a multitude of sins.
  • My current favourite dress summer or winter is a LBD – it is really simple but beautifully cut and when I wear it I feel great.  I stumbled across it at the time of the month when you shouldn’t find anything you like.  It was a big decision, and meant a few lean days before payday but it was worth it.

One thing I realised when I was walking down memory lane in my closet was that I keep my clothes a long time.  I have a beautiful cardigan that I paid quite a bit for and literally wore it until it fell to holes.  I then begged my mom to use her embroidery talent to create little flowers over the holes.

I am committed to doing a bit of decluttering and tidying up very soon, but I know that some of my lovely clothes will stay with me.  That way I can wear my memories and joyful moments.

I would love to hear some of your clothes stories – I bet that a visit to your closet will bring up many happy memories.

Kerry x

 

 

Celebrating my birthday with Joy

I have always loved celebrating my birthday.  I guess it is really just a great excuse to get together with family and friends and celebrate life.

There is always reason to celebrateAs I get older (and I will be 52 in a few days time), I try and reason with myself.  You are too old, too tired, not well enough, it will be too much work, and then something happens to remind me why we should celebrate our birthdays.

Last week I listened to Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sheryl Sandberg is a fabulous woman in my opinion, and has shown just how strong she is following the death of her husband just over a year ago.  In this speech she is very honest and quite emotional about the shock of dealing with his sudden death and how she has coped.

She talks about finding joy and meaning. “Dave’s death changed me in profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void — or in the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning.”

Choosing joy over sadness can be really hard, but the rewards are immense.

I urge you to listen to the speech which you can do here.  Her honesty about pain and hurt is so real, but so is the message that we can continue on.

Now what has this to do with cake?  During her address Sheryl Sandberg says “I used to celebrate my birthday every five years, and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always.”

We do not know what is ahead of us, but what I do know is that my riches in my life are in people, my friends and family.  A birthday party – why not?  It is a great excuse to celebrate life and to focus on gratitude for what we have experienced this last year.

I have decided that this year I will simply open my home, and spend quality sofa time with wonderful people.  It is an open invitation to if you would like to join in, please message me.

I have chosen to celebrate on 6 June which is a day early, but as it is a bank holiday it will be lovely and relaxing.

I urge you to use any excuse really to celebrate and spread joy.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

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