My Cold and Flu Survival Kit

flu survival kit blog

 

These are the things I always like to have at home just in case the dreaded flu strikes.

Flu season – that time of the year when we just know that the bugs are circulating.  Kids go back to school, a colleague starts sniffing and the air conditioning does the rest.  Sometimes it is just a sniffle but then again it could be full-blown flu.  Aches and pains and a seriously red nose.

There isn’t a quick fix for colds and flu, but there are a few things that I think are essential for getting through a dose.

  1. Good quality tissues – the ones that have balsam in them. It really does make a difference.  My advice is to have a stash of a few boxes hidden away just in case.
  2. Honey and lemon. Good local honey has all sorts of healing properties as does lemon.  I make up a drink of lemon, honey and hot water and keep it beside me.  It is antibacterial and really is very soothing and helps sooth a cough.
  3. Orange juice. I crave orange juice when I am sick.  It is like a glass of sunshine.  I am sure that the Vitamin C helps to heal and ward off further bugs, and the sugar gives you a bit of energy to get a few things done.
  4. A good book – you need to rest when you are sick. Rest really does help healing so give into an early night and go to bed with a good book.  You deserve it. I am currently reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington on my Kindle.
  5. Essentials oils. I love my essential oils and they are great when you struggling to breath.  My go to oils are eucalyptus, and peppermint.  I add a couple of drops to water in a burner and keep it beside me.  When my son was young I would dab a few drops on his pyjamas and send him off to bed breathing easier.  A drop of lavender will also help sleep.
  6. Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream. This is seriously magic stuff.  It fixes all sorts of things but can also go a long way towards preventing a red chapped nose – so often the side effect of a head cold.
  7. Your choice of decongenstant – my current favourite is Uniflu which works for me and doesn’t conflict with other medications I take. I have no medical qualifications but I do think that dealing with the symptoms helps.
  8. And finally tea. Honestly I always have tea in the house as I am addicted, but when I am blocked up I tend to reach for herbal infusions or my new favourite Solaris green tea chai.

Finally my advice is to be kind to yourself.  Taking time to rest and recharge is what your body is asking for.  Rest while you can.  Treat yourself to the chocolate biscuit with your tea. Say thank you for the TLC and get well soon.

 

Thanks for reading x

Kerry

 

 

Perfect Tomato Soup

 

Tomato SoupYummyLow CalHealthy (2)

A nice warm bowl of tomato soup is great on a cold winter night.

Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods.  I could eat tomatoes in any form every day and never get tired of them.

Thankfully they are really good for you and offer all sorts of health benefits.

This is a simple and quick recipe for a yummy creamy tomato soup with very few calories that is just perfect for a cold winter night.  I consider it a store cupboard staple as I almost always have all the ingredients in the house.

The recipe makes a good bit so you will have soup for lunches and even for the freezer.

 

Ingredients for tomato soup:

One red onion

2 sticks of celery

One large carrot

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tins of tomatoes

A little Italian seasoning (optional)

2 vegetable stock cubes

Water

 

Method:

Start by chopping up the onion, celery and carrot and soften in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Watch it carefully as you want the onion to go translucent, but not to brown.

Add a good dash of seasoning (if you prefer less spice add some oregano or marjoram).

Give it a good stir and then add 2 tins of tomatoes and 4 tins of water.  Add the vegetable stock cubes.

Turn it down low and leave it to simmer.  The longer the better as the flavours develop.  You know you are ready for the next stage when the carrots and celery and squishy.

(I have been known to whack it on high when I am in a hurry, but slower is better).

I blend my soup with a stick blender, but if you have a Vitamix or strong jug blender use that as it gets really smooth and creamy.  Let it cool for a little before blending as the last thing you want is splattered tomato soup all around the kitchen.

Reheat gently and serve.

I finished with a few drops of nutty pumpkin oil.

Thanks for reading and I hope you give the recipe a try.

 

Kerry x

 

The Wisdom of Winnie the Pooh

You are braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, Smarter than you think,and loved more than you will every know

I have beautiful memories of reading the Winnie the Pooh books to my son.  Every Sunday morning was anticipated and the book would be taken down, the bookmark found, and the story would begin.

Although essentially children’s books, the stories of Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne have universal appeal.  They make us laugh, they make our heart’s sing and they also teach us life lessons.

Monday 18 January was Winnie the Pooh Day and the HuffPost Better Together featured a great article about this really special bear.  Please also remember to scroll down and you will see a cool little video with 6 facts about Winnie the Pooh that you might not have known.

The article which was written by Katherine Brooks, senior arts and culture editor for Huffington Post delves a little deeper into the origins of this special bear and his friends.

The quote I have chosen for my image and for this Wednesday’s quotation is really special to me.  I am using it as a bit of an affirmation right now as I go through a few hard changes in my life.

It wasn’t only Winnie the Pooh was inspired to make so many great statements, many of which are so relevant to today’s society.  The other characters have distinct personalities and are very quotable too.

Here are a few of my favourites:

“I wasn’t going to eat it – I was just going to taste it”

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

“Some people care too much.  I think it is called love.”

“Never underestimate the power of doing nothing.”

“ The harder you fall, the higher you bounce.” –  from a personal favourite Tigger

and for balance …

“It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine” – from Eeyore.

I would love it if you would leave a comment and let me know your favourite Winnie the Pooh quote.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

You can be Fit without being Sporty

7km

I am going to participate in a 7km walk.

This may not seem a remarkable statement, but coming from the original couch potato it really is!

I grew up not really understanding the value of physical exercise. I suffered from asthma and breathing difficulties and although I realise now these were just excuses. I simply didn’t get exercise.

My hand eye co-ordination wasn’t good so I would regularly be in the group of the last to be picked for games and I think that this contributed to the belief that I wasn’t sporty and therefore not entitled to be fit.

There is a big difference between being sporty and being fit. I have really only discovered how good it feels to be fit in the last 5 years. I bought my first pair of trainers, and took the first steps towards a healthier future.

I have been walking for a while now, and always feel a bit envious when looking at the Facebook posts where people have completed 5km and 10km walks and runs. I promised myself that I would book my first 5km race this year.

I am going to do it – I will be fit enough!

I was sitting up at 7 in the morning last Sunday just wondering what I could do to give my life more direction, what goals I needed to set and I came across a link for a 7km (2km longer than a 5km) walk, right here in the heart of Galway.

Do it! Eeek! I did – I pressed the button and said yes. So this is how I will be spending Valentine’s day this year.

heart of galway

The walk/run (definitely walk in my case) is actually called the Heart of Galway Challenge is part of Project Impact. This initiative is presented in association with Pat Divilly and 56 Central – my favourite restaurant in Galway run by the fabulous Gill Carroll (I interviewed Gill last year).

The walk takes place along Galway’s most scenic route with lots of quirky challenges promised along the way. The money raised will be going to the Big Brother Big Sister charity – a fabulous youth mentoring programme.

I really like the idea behind this walk. 100% of the money raised will go to the charity with the specific aim of sending 100 teenagers and their mentors to an adventure centre.

I honestly wish that I had discovered the joy of fitness earlier in my life. It is never too late though, and I am committed to moving forward with my own fitness journey.

I will be honest in saying that I am a little apprehensive about the walk, but I am determined to do it. Thank you those who have already offered to sponsor me.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

Make your own Magic

MakeyourownmagicYesterday I received a beautiful gift – this gorgeous magic wand in the photo!  Just a reminder that you can make your own magic.

My first instinct however was to wish that the wand could really magic things.  Swipe it over the bathroom and it will sparkle.  Another swoosh from fridge to cooker and dinner would appear.  Perhaps a trail of fairy dust across the scales and the kilograms would melt.

This isn’t real of course, but magic can happen.  We just have to make it ourselves.

Due to some personal circumstances, primarily health related, I have found myself with more time on my hands and my mind than I am used to.  Lots of time to think can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing – leading you to dwell on the negatives rather than the positives.  I am so inspired by a recent Pat Divilly seminar that I attended.  The seminar is linked to a Facebook group where you literally follow other people in the group who are making their own magic.  I find this very inspirational.

Getting this special magic wand was a great reminder that we can make our own magic. No matter what the circumstances, we all have the power in us to make magic happen.

So my Wednesday quote this week is simply that

Make your own Magic

Thank you for the magic wand – a little bit of sparkle goes a long way.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise – a Mantra I have never Forgotten

ultrapure rosewater toner

When I was about 13 my sister and I were sent to Matty Reid’s Finishing School in the holidays. It was a week-long course presented by a delightfully eccentric ex-model.

On the first day she swept into the classroom with a turban and a hat, but with such panache! I immediately found myself sitting up straighter and aspiring for sophistication.

Each day was dedicated to one subject – fashion, deportment (how to walk and how to get out of a car elegantly), accessories (I still have a drawer full of scarves as a result), make-up and beauty.

Cleanse, tone, moisturise ….

This pivotal week, was the first time I heard about the basic skin care routine, and it is something I have never forgotten. I remember raising my hand and asking what the value of toning was. Cleaning was easy enough to understand, as was moisturising, but what role did the toner play. A toner clarifies. It cleans away any residual oil and make-up and leaves your skin sparkling.

It was a long time ago, but this lesson has stayed with me and I always follow these 3 steps. As my knowledge of skin care and beauty has grown I have of course added to these steps with some great exfoliators, masks and serums but the basic routine has never changed.

The products have however. As I have got a bit older (mmm) I have found myself trying different products to find what suits my skin best. I have a dry mature skin and am also very conscious that wrinkles are knocking on the door.

I was delighted to try the Rose Water and Glycerine Hydrating and Harmonising Toner from Ultra Pure Laboratories. Rose is one of my favourite oils and the addition of the glycerine makes this almost a moisturising toner. There are two toners in the Rose Water range and I use both, one in the morning and one in the evening.

I use the Rose Water Hydrating and Balancing Toner in the morning which leaves my skin feeling fresh, and the Rose Water and Glycerine toner in the evening locking even more moisture before a generous coating of night cream.

An added benefit to these Ultra Pure products – the gorgeous aroma of Rose.  These fabulicious products are available at pharmacies throughout Ireland.

A quick thank you to the fabulous ladies at ITBWN who organised this collaboration.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

10 Areas of your Home to Tidy

10 Areas of your home to tidy

When I think of everything that needs a good tidy I sometimes find it overwhelming. It is however, something that needs to be done,  otherwise the clutter can become overwhelming itself.  Time to tidy up!

I have created this list both to inspire me and to keep me motivated. (I plan to do a lot of ticking off in the next few months). My word of the year is ‘detail’ and this is the type of detail I am starting with.

  1. Bedside locker (and drawers)

    My bedside locker is generally packed full of all sorts of things that I think I might need – tissues, mobile phone, chargers, water, books that I am reading/want to read/ have already read, hair ties, hair brushes – you get the idea. I even have some cute coasters for tea in bed. The only problem is that I can’t always find place for the tea. This is the first area to be hit!

  2. Mantlepiece

    Housewarming cards which get replaced by Christmas cards etc. When this get’s tidied I will save a spot for one Valentine’s card – but that is it. I actually quite like to change the decorations on my mantle piece as it really is an area that draws focus. My plan is one candle and a few key items. The clutter of incense, oil burners, matches and random bits and pieces will be banished.

  3. Hall Table

    I think I seriously need a coat rack, perhaps with a shelf. Perhaps a few more tidy tools. A place for everything from mail, gloves and hats, and keys. A good idea for me would be a waste bin – right at the door for junk mail, envelopes and the zillions of slips that seem to multiply in my handbag.

  4. Windowsills

    I tend to use my windowsills for storage, especially books. I am short of storage space in my home, but I do think that perhaps limiting what is allowed on the windowsills might be a good thing.

  5. The bathroom cupboard and make-up in general

    I love make-up and am can’t resist it.  I seem to have make-up clutter everywhere from make-up bags to the bathroom cupboard. It does tend to multiply and I think a cull and a clean-up is on order.  This might have to be a monthly task.

  6. The shower

    Hands up who has empty shampoo and shower gel bottles. Please tell me it isn’t only me?

    This is a quick clean out, but should make a big difference. I will limit myself to one shampoo, one shower gel, one conditioner and my two scrubs. Enough I think!

  7. That drawer!

    We all have one – quite often in the kitchen. The one that gets filled with miscellaneous keys of unknown origin, pens that no longer write, scraps of paper that were important at one time, business cards – you get the idea.  A simple blitz with a bin.

  8. The bulging folder of accounts that need filing

    With so much happening online it is important to keep record of some things in the old-fashioned way. A good friend advised me to set aside an hour or two a week for important financial things – very good advice. I have added filing to this time slot. A little behind right now, but yet another thing that can be ticked off.

  9. The linen cupboard

    It is so satisfying seeing the linen cupboard all neat with bedding sets paired up and cosy towels in a pile waiting to be used. Alas it only takes one morning when you need a towel from the bottom of the pile and it all comes tumbling down.

  10. The craft room/home office

    Now, I know that not everyone had a craft room, but if you do it is a big job. My craft room is also my study and it is chaotic. It is at the bottom of this list as it is such a big job, but it must be done.

I hope these tips might inspire you. Any other areas of the home you would like to add to the list?

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any suggestions!  Read more about my word ‘detail’ – here.

Kerry

New Year – New Word

Detail

Every year I choose a word which will be my focus for the 12 months ahead. I give it quite a lot of thought during December examining both the positives and negatives in my life.

The idea is to choose a word that will improve your life, and sometimes change isn’t easy, and change is necessary for improvement.

It is no good choosing a completely positive word (although that cannot be ruled out), it is more about choosing a word that will enhance your life, a word that when you reflect this time next year, you know has made you grow.

As I start my fifth ‘Word of the Year’, I am both cautious and excited about the word I choose. I know from experience that these words can be powerful.

When I first came up with the concept, I had no idea if it would work at all. I had simply hit a very dark period of my life and I know that something needed to change. Although I do love new year’s resolutions and try very hard to keep them, I knew I needed more.

The idea is really simple – choose a word that you feel might be the word for you and start by simply meditating on the word. My experience is that as I focus on the word it becomes part of my life. Of course you need to make some active decisions to make changes in your life – with your word as the focus.

So after the words – BALANCE, CHANGE, DISCIPLINE, and CREATE, what word did I choose for 2016. I chose DETAIL.

I am a big picture type of person. I think big – I see the big picture and am great at putting a good plan and strategy together (especially in my working life). However in order to make things happen you need to focus on detail. I know that I need to give more attention to detail in all areas of my life. I need to be neater, less messy, and when it comes to personal paperwork there is some attention to detail needed too. I always feel so much happier and in control when I know that the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed.

I don’t know about you, but I think that life is just lived at such a hectic pace these days that those little details are often overlooked.

This year I am committing myself to DETAIL. I am looking forward to making DETAIL a strong part of my life and ending the year with a little more organisation in my life.

If you would like to read some of my other ‘word of the year’ posts I have put a few links below:

All about writing a book on words

Getting my life into Balance

My first word of the year – Balance

Thanks for reading and please pop back for some ‘detailed’ updates.

Kerry x

A gift of indulgence from me to me via The Body Shop

image

Christmas can be so frenetic dashing from shop to shop, buying gifts and stocking up on food.
I don’t know about anyone else but by this time of year I am tired and in need of a bit of me time, especially after shopping.
So why not buy a gift for yourself. Something festive but indulgent like the new Frosted Plum range from the Body Shop.
The fragrance is quite enchanting with sweet (but not overly so) extracts plum that go so very well with a bit of Christmas music and maybe a mince pie.
A while ago I learnt the benefits of layering a scent. By using the same fragrance from bath time to that final spritz as you go out the door, you get a truly deep, but not overwhelming, aroma that lasts throughout the day.
Perfume is after all the ultimate accessory!
As my gift to myself, I treated myself to a wallow in a beautiful bath with some Frosted Plum bath fizzers – I really like these as they are like big square sugar cubes and you can choose how many to use at a time. The skin got a little scrub with the matching body scrub.
Now let the shimmer begin. Lashings of Frosted Plum shimmer lotion to lock some moisture in. And then onto the most exciting of all the goodies in this fab Body Shop range, the Shimmer mist –a sparkly perfume. I finished my bath feeling all sparkly and Christmassy and even though I only donned a snugly gown I know I will be using this for an added sparkle over the festive season.
A little note –although there is a shimmer it is subtle and doesn’t make me look like I have been having a creative discussion with glitter (something all crafters know about)!
As all readers of my blog will know I love walking and am determined to improve my fitness. A little bonus for me a Frosted Plum lip balm for my coat pocket”.
I hope this post inspires you to be good to yourself this Christmas.
Thanks for reading
Kerry xx

Cream cheese mints – a little bit naughty, but very nice

 

Cream Cheese Mints

These gorgeous pink mints are easy enough to make with only  2 basic ingredients. I think they would make a lovely gift!

I chose to make them pink, because I love the colour and this batch is for my pink themed house warming party.

I think they would make a lovely after dinner mint, or even a gift if you are going visiting!

Ingredients:

Approximately 100 grams of cream cheese (I used half a pack of the soft cream cheese from Lidl)

3 Cups of sieved  icing sugar

1 teaspoon of peppermint essence

Food colouring if you choose – I used a few drops of red to make a nice soft pink colour.

Method:

Whip the cream cheese using an electric beater.  When it is soft add in the peppermint essence and food colouring.

Now start adding the sieved icing sugar a cup at a time.  You will find that the first cup is easy to mix in.  The second cup is a little harder, and the third cup is quite tough.  I landed up with a sandy texture that I thought would never mix.  It was time to get my hands in and bring it together into a soft dough.

Using a sheet of parchment dusted in icing sugar, roll the fondant into a sausage and chill in the fridge for an hour.

I have a beautiful set of vintage mini biscuit cutters which I used to cut out some cute shapes.  I also took the easy route an rolled little balls and simply pressed them with a fork.

Leave them out to dry overnight.  Turn them the following day and let them dry again.

They should keep well in an airtight container for a week  – if they last long enough.

I do try and eat well, but sometimes something a little bit naughty is nice.

Happy eating

Kerry x

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