Believe in yourself – we all deserve to feel beautiful

Model for a Day(Including before and after pics)

Believe in yourself.  Rather easier said than done.  I have struggled with self-esteem especially related to body image and my looks for as long as I can remember.

I know it will be hard for many people to believe as I appear bubbly and outgoing but for much of my life I have avoided mirrors and weighing scales.  I reached rock bottom in terms of self-esteem about five years ago.  My marriage was crumbling, my weight was ballooning  and I got to a point where make-up was something that gathered dust in the cupboard.

I remember going to a family function and making a real effort with lots of eye make-up including liquid liner.  My eyes were just not used to it.  One eye started watering and then I managed to poke myself in the eye with the mascara wand on the other and had to start again.

Before and afterWhen I was putting this post together I decided to be brave and include a photo from this time of my life.  I couldn’t find one.  I had such a negative belief in how I looked that I had gone through Facebook and untagged any image of me – just to make sure that nothing ‘ugly’ popped up.

I am extremely grateful for the wonderful people around me who have supported me over the last while.  I have worked hard to reach where I am now.  I have fallen in love with make-up again and I honestly believe that we all deserve to look good.  And, more importantly we all deserve to feel fabulous.

I met Natalie Greer at an ITWBN blogger event a year ago.  Natalie is a photographer and we got talking about boudoir shoots (you now the sexy ones).  It got me thinking about how confident you would need to be to do something like that.

The more I thought about it the more I felt that every woman deserves to feel truly special and in my head being a model for a day would be something special.  True beauty and fabulousness comes from within, I know.  However in the society we live it so much pressure is placed on body image and looks that it is important to feel good about yourself.

For some people this might be creating something, or doing something for a good cause, but for me it included looking good, and more importantly feeling good about myself.

Something new and exciting is happening …

I am also embarking on something new in the career line where I will be combining my experience with some new training to offer personal branding services – something that I really believe in.  The more I researched this, I realised that we are a brand ourselves and our image – photo – is part of this brand.

I felt both brave and excited the morning of the shoot.  I had a little suitcase packed with a couple of outfits and accessories and of course my bulging make-up bag.  As I was driving I looked down at my hands and panicked.  My nails are in a dreadful state.  Due to conditions like pernicious anaemia and arthritis and the drugs I need to take, my nails are brittle, ridged and in some cases very short.

I quickly pulled into a pharmacy and bought myself a packet of stick on nails.  Now I was ready for my photo shoot.

Natalie Greer - Always wear your invisible crownThank you to Natalie, for making it so special, and to everyone who has already liked the profile pic on Facebook.  I love the image with me wearing my crown – it reminds me of where all this started.  My first really well read blog post was all about wearing your invisible crown.

Thanks so much for reading this and for looking at my photos.  I really do appreciate the feedback.

I am working on a blog post about personal branding which will include a free downloadable personal branding questionnaire.  So please check back in or subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!

Thank you again for your support on my journey.

Kerry x

 

Infused fruit water and a post Easter cleanse

Fruit waterToday I am drinking a jug, or two of infused fruit water.

I had a lovely Easter Weekend, but I can honestly say that I ate too much.  Too much chocolate (is that such a thing?).  Too much dinner, and even for me too much to drink.

It is ok to treat yourself once in a while, but I do tend to pay the price with increased pain in my fibromyalgia spots, headaches and a general feeling of blah!  Not to mention bloating.

Today I am steadily working my way through 2 litres of infused fruit water.  My recipe uses a lemon (unwaxed), a good few slices of pineapple (great for arthritis and joint pain), a quarter cucumber (great for flushing out toxins) and a good few handfuls of mint.

There are loads of different recipes – I tend to play with how I am feeling and what I have in my fridge.  Have a look on Pinterest for some other ideas.

It is really easy simply chop and then top up the jug with filtered water if possible.   Try and let it infuse for at least an hour or even overnight.  I top up the jug and aim to drink two jugs – around 8 glasses throughout the day.

It is a good idea to do this on a day when you can stay close to home because you will be running (if you know what I mean?).

The one thing I can promise you is that you will feel better for it.  Your skin will glow a little and you might even loose a kilo!

Another reason for my regular return to fruit water is the medication I take.  Although we need medication for some things, it is a bit toxic and there is no harm in flushing your system now and again.

Fruit water was one of the first blog posts on my little blog and something I return to on a regular basis.

The day is almost done and I am already feeling better.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you take up a fruit water challenge.

Kerry x

Find Happiness – do what makes your heart sing

 

Do more of what makes your heart sing (1)Have you ever had that feeling?  That feeling of being so happy that your heart literally sings?

I think that we are all seeking happiness, but sometimes in the wrong places.  A couple of weeks ago I was walking down the road, eating an ice cream cone, I had good company, the sun was shining and I felt really happy.  So happy that I felt like my heart was singing.

After going through quite a lot, especially recently, I have had to re-evaluate so much in my life and I think that the key to happiness might just lie in appreciating the moments that make us happy.  A cup of hot tea after coming in from the rain.  Climbing into fresh sheets.  The crackle of an open fire.  The pain of muscle stretch that reminds you of a good exercise session.

So my quote for this week is about happiness

Do more of what makes your heart sing

We live in a world with so many possibilities and so many things to strive for.  I know that many of us set objectives and goals.  I do this myself, and think it is really important.  It shouldn’t however be something where you say to yourself, I will be happy when ….  Be happy now!

Each little moment of happiness should be grasped – relished and enjoyed like a good piece of chocolate slowly melting on your tongue.

Enjoy your Easter and be happy.  This weekend do more of what makes your heart sing.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

Finding your blogging voice

Finding your blogging voice

 

When you decide to start a blog, you might have a clear idea of what you want to write about, but, have you really found our blogging voice?

I have recently read back on some of my earlier blog posts and realised that it took a while to find my blogging voice.

It is important to figure out what it is you want to blog about and to find your blogging voice.  This is what is going to make your blog popular and have people returning to read your posts on a regular basis.

My mission, a year after starting my blog was to find out what was working and what wasn’t.  Because I love statistics this was my first stop.  I had a look at my stats on Google Analytics and on Jetpack which is a WordPress plug-in.  I also had a look at my comments and which posts had the most feedback.

If I had to describe myself I would say that I am a storyteller.  I tell stories about my quest to feel fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at us. I am a plus size lady, who has passed the age of 50 who loves life and is determined to find the positive.  I have a good few health issues, that really are curveballs for me.  Over the past few years I have learnt that in order to feel fabulous I need to consider my health and wellness holistically.  I look to my own experiences and to others to find out what it is that gives is that positive kick to overcome the stumbling blocks of life.

I would say that it took me from about 13 to 30 to find myself – to find my style and the things that I would be passionate about most of my life.  I have some pretty frightening and clear memories of some fashion disasters that followed me through my twenties, not to mention hair styles including the spiral perm on very blond hair.  I think I must have looked quite odd, and yet I didn’t think so at the time.

By the time I had hit my forties I had found my personal style.  I do still indulge in some fashion purchases and some of these are less advisable, but generally speaking I now know what suits me and what doesn’t.

Finding your blogging voice is similar I think.  In an effort to find mine I have looked for advice.

I was given a fabulous book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, and it devotes a full chapter to finding your voice.

‘Great bloggers all share one virtue in common:  They infuse their writing with a triple shot of personality.   Let your personality flow into your blogging and your readers will find you.’

Jeffrey Feldman, editor in chief of Frameshop and Huffpost blogger.

Verena von Pfetten, Living Editor at Huffington Post advises you to use the voice you have.

‘The best and easiest way to find your voice is to use the one you have. Sounds too easy?  It’s not.  That is why blogging is so popular!  First think about blogging as writing an email to a friend.  Better yet, and email to a really cool clever friend with whom you have a great and witty rapport’ says Verena.

She also advises to simply start writing.  You don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over how you are going to draft an email, so don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over a blog post.  It is not worth the effort.

Her final piece of advice is not to try too hard.  Don’t try to be anything other than exactly who you are.  It is your voice you are trying to find.

I have been blogging for over a year now, and I want to thank everyone who has read my blog, and an extra thanks for the comments and feedback.  Thanks for helping me find my voice.

I also want to do a quick thank you to the ladies at ITWBN who run fabulous events and give bloggers support.  Being part of a blogging network and reading lots of other blogs is really important and certainly helps to find your blogging voice.

I am proud to say I am a health, wellness and positivity blogger.  Here is to another year writing about finding the fabulous especially for those who are a little older and those who are facing some curveballs themselves.

If you are thinking of starting a blog – do it!  If you want any help or advise please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Driving Safely on Thin Ice

chill_icy_kerryBeing a South African I was not always (and to be honest am still not) confident driving in bad weather.  Driving safely isn’t as easy as it seems.

One morning a few years ago, I woke up bright and early to a frosty morning and got ready to go to work and take my son and his friend to school.  We never got to school that day.

Half way my car slipped on black ice and turned over.  I will never forget the sensation of rolling and all I could think of was the kids who were screaming.

Thankfully the car came to rest and didn’t go any further as that would have meant landing in a lake.  It is the weirdest sensation – we landed with the car on its side.  I tried to reach for my handbag and couldn’t get to my phone.

Other drivers stopped and helped get my son and his friend out of the car.  I was stuck and had to wait for the emergency services.  On that long drive in the ambulance on the way to town I had over an hour to think.  What could I have done differently and how could I have adjusted my driving to avoid this happening again.

Getting confidence to drive again

It took over a month before I had the confidence to drive again and when I did it was January and more icy than ever.  If I woke up in the morning and there was frost outside I froze inside.  Froze with fear that it would happen again.

At this point I lived in Connemara – which is far from everywhere.  There was no choice I had to drive and in order to do that I needed the skills to ensure that I wouldn’t crash.

On the day of the accident I was driving really slowly which was why we were all ok apart from bumps and bruises. So driving slowly wasn’t enough.

I was advised to drive with my gears rather than my brake.  Easier said than done.

A few weeks into the new year I had opportunity to test my new skills.  We set off to school.  Passed the scene of the accident and my confidence started to build.  When we turned onto the coast road it was solid white ice.  We were literally driving on a skating rink.

Even writing this now years later, the fear is real.  I crawled along the road – in a low gear- and tried to keep it together for the boys.  There came a point when I had to pull over – simply to rest and cry and to do this I had to brake.  I changed down gears safely, indicated and pulled onto the side of the road.  After pulling myself together I re-joined the line of cars and dropped the boys safely to school.

I am delighted that my driving tip has been included in a mini e-book published by Chill Insurance.  I think we all need to be aware of hazards like bad weather than can make driving a challenge.

Download the book here.

chilldrivesafely

Thanks for reading and for your ongoing support.

Kerry x

Life Lessons from my Granny

Lessons learnt from my Granny

I am privileged to have had many woman in my life who have guided me and shaped me and made me who I am. Today I would like to acknowledge the life lessons taught by my maternal grandmother – Olive Hanson.

My granny passed away in 1978, when I was 13, I may have been young but I have remembered she taught me some great lessons.

My granny was born Olive Pickavance (I do like that name) and was one of 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls.  All the girls had names of plants – Olive, Iris, May, Hazel and Violet.   My granny was a lady, and one with a sharp wit.

I have fond memories of staying over at my grandparents on a Friday evening.  We went to sleep with a huge sense of anticipation of the adventure the next day.  My grandfather brought us tea in bed, something that didn’t happen at home.  We got up and got dressed with our frilly knee socks and black patent shoes and got ready to ride the bus to town.  Saturday morning in town meant a visit to the hairdresser for my gran (a proud supporter of the blue rinse) and then a visit to the multi-storied department stores which have now disappeared.  The excitement of tea and scones in the tea room and a little purchase or some kind meant we returned home on a high.

These trips were the ignited a passion for independence which had me riding the busses for many years.  At 16 I rode the bus into town and secured myself a job selling children’s shoes.

Here are a few great life lessons I learnt from my Granny.

  1. You are never too old to learn. Granny learnt to drive at 63 before my Grandad passed away.  I think it is fair to say that she was never a great driver but it didn’t stop her getting around.  My little sister always maintained she could hear Granny arriving.
  2. The importance of underwear. Granny always maintained that you should have good undies in case you were ever in an accident.  Years later I was in an accident and found myself lying in the ambulance trying to remember what I had put on in the morning.  Luckily I was ok!
  3. The value of a good story.  Granny was a great storyteller. Sometimes the stories grew and grew like the story of the cat that was so big it could fill a bath.  I did see the cat once and it was big, but not quite that big.  Stories are our history and really should be passed on
  4. The need for walking shoes and sitting down shoes. As a young child I couldn’t understand what Granny meant when she talked about sitting down shoes.  Now I know exactly what she meant.  I have both types on my shoe rack.
  5. The importance of being well dressed. Granny was always elegant and well dressed. She valued her clothes and would spend a good deal of time choosing a piece of fabric that would then go off to the dress-maker. She also didn’t like black.
  6. The value of a social occasion. As she got older she often attended the funerals of her friends. She wore Navy and saw these occasions as not only an opportunity to pay her respects but also to socialise, a wise woman.  She also loved a good wedding for the same reason.
  7. How important quotes and sayings are. She loved sayings – perhaps I have inherited that from her too. One of my favourites was – You would notice an inch on the end of your nose.  This referred to skirts that were too long or too short. (She was way ahead of her time would have enjoyed Pinterest)
  8. The value of occasion.  She had a real sense of occasion. A tea-tray was set and cups and saucers and always a little something to nibble would be brought out for a visit after school. Making small things special.
  9. The importance of high standards. Always told her three daughters to put a price on themselves.  It has been something I have never forgotten – the importance of valuing yourself – featured on  my blog here.  Her three daughters, my Mum, Aunty Ingrid and Aunty Elna were reminded – Remember you are a Hanson. Basically behave yourself and keep high standards.
  10. Everyone is special.  Granny had a way about her that you always believed that the time she spent with you was special.  A real gift that I hope I have inherited.

My granny was born on 12 March – she would have been 109 on Saturday and probably still dishing out wisdom in the form of stories.  I will set a tea-tray and sit down and raise a cup to Olive Hanson – thank you for the lessons you taught me Granny.

 

Kerry x

 

 

Life Audit: Where am I now?

Honour the place between no longer and yet.

 

I know I have been a bit quiet and there has been a bit of a gap between blog posts.  That is because I have been doing a life audit.

Early in December I took sick – a combination of things.  It was a real large bump in the road as I realised that I could no longer work full-time.

I have been working since I turned 16.  I had a Saturday job in a shoe store and then worked my way through college.  After graduating I started working and to be honest I have never stopped.  I even cut my maternity leave to a couple of weeks as I was working for myself.

Not working has been quite some adjustment, and something that has taken some time to get used to.  I love being busy and really relish a busy mind.  My body unfortunately doesn’t agree.  A recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia on top of the other health issues I have been fighting was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So what have I been doing?

My quote this week says it all really.

Honour the place between no longer and yet

I would really like to thank my friends and family who have been incredibly supportive.  They have guided me to take stock.  To do a life audit.

What can I do, and what can’t I do.  What skills do I have and what skills can be transferred.  One friend told me to consider myself a client and look at myself as a product.  What are the good things about me and where are my weaknesses.  I have been doing just that, taking stock and doing a life audit of myself.  Figuring out what I really want and how to achieve it.

It takes some time to get used to what you no longer have to do.  I finally switched off my morning alarm and am letting myself wake up naturally.  I am still a morning person, but it is a relief not to be wakened by beep beep beep at 6.30 in the morning.

I am also taking care of myself.  Nice long walks and time set aside each day for meditation and learning. (read about my very long walk here)

Of course my active mind is exploring new opportunities.  I have a few ideas I am playing with in my head and hope that I will find some great opportunities to volunteer in the future.  I am excited as my knowledge grows and hope to use my new skills in a part-time capacity in the future.

For now though I am in the middle – honouring the place between no longer and yet.

I sincerely want to thank everyone that reads my blog and gives me feedback.  The one thing that I have realised is that I love blogging and will continue to blog and hopefully inspire.

 

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

%d bloggers like this: