Tag: blogging

Give a Book this Christmas – December Girl

I just had a delivery from Amazon.  My son commented that the Amazon Deliveries are modern-day Father Christmases.

Perhaps they are, and what better gift to give that a great book.  Books are my friends.  They allow me to travel to other world and experience the lives of others embellishing their lives with my imagination.

As an aspiring writer I have met so many talented authors online and have really enjoyed the gift of reading some really good books recently.

December Girl by Nicola Cassidy

Nicola is a blogger, who I have been following for a while, I loved her writing and was really delighted to hear that she had secured a publishing contract.  The arrival of her book, complete with a beautiful snowflake ornament was like Christmas coming early.

It is a cracking read!  Historical fiction crossing between north County Dublin and London.  It is a mystery about a missing baby, but it is so much more.  It is dark, but entertaining with such great characterisation that I couldn’t decide whether to like and admire the heroine Molly – or not.

Molly, the December Girl, was born on the Winter Solstice and despite many hardships but she never loses her strength and belief making her such a great character.

It is a tale that transcends geography and could have taken place in a different country and at a different time.  I am writing this review and wanting to give spoilers but trying to resist.

Buy it on Amazon, wrap it up and give it to someone for Christmas, or simply to tell them you care. And the exciting part is that if you are running late with your shopping you can send a Kindle version.

It is a gift that will give the reader pleasure on a long winter’s day.

Preferably accompanied by gallons of tea and perhaps some December food like a mince-pie or a slice of Christmas cake.

Happy reading and look out for some more book reviews soon.

Kerry x

 

Life is Fragile, and we need to treasure it.

Life is so fragile.  It may seem robust when we look at the hurley burly of traffic, deadlines and positive goal setting.  The truth is it is extremely fragile and although it is trite to say, we really only have today promised.

After returning from my adventure in South Africa, I found myself sitting on my sofa on a wet Saturday afternoon wondering.  I had such a wonderful time spending time in the country of my birth.  It was simply an awesome adventure in the sunshine.  And yet here I was in my living room, feeling a little sorry for myself.  I was surrounded by laundry drying indoors and contemplating the choices I have made in my life.

I think we all know this feeling.  The what ifs, and what could be if only something would change or was different.

Life is fragile

I then got news that a dear friend in South Africa had her life completely altered between going to bed and facing the new day.  Her husband was shot and killed.  This was a man in the prime of his life, father to two young men and husband to my friend.  His life was literally snatched and he no longer has any tomorrows.

The friends and family that are left behind have had their lives altered to such a degree that their tomorrows are dramatically altered.  A complete act of violence has created a fork in the road, and placed a road block on the original path.

This is just a huge reminder to me that life is fragile.  When I hear of tragedy and loss I am always reminded that we have an obligation to live each day with joy, remembering to be kind to others and to embrace possibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think it is very important to have dreams and visions and to strive to be a better person every day.  I constantly dream and plan for a future where I am living a life that is filled with all that I desire.  I work towards this too and practice journaling every day making plans for travel, work and creative pursuits.

I also continue with writing my book (almost complete now) where I share how I have changed my own life.  But, truthfully as we are reminded so often life is fragile.  It is delicate and should be nurtured and appreciated every day, and every minute of every day.

Cherishing my Adventure

I had so many wonderful experiences on my trip and I have the pleasure of being able to look back and remember them.  A bit like the song from the Sound of Music, these are a few of my favourite things.  Memories of moments, memories of people and reminders that living each day like it is your last is the only way to live this fragile life.

  • The bitter sweet taste of creamy cappuccino shared with my Mom and Dad.  Spooning the foamy froth from the bottom of the cup and relishing the bubbles popping on my tongue.
  • Sitting in my parents living room watching my son graduate with tears in my eyes because I wasn’t there, but joyful ones because I got to watch.
  • The prickle of heat sitting outside having breakfast and watching whales frolic in the ocean with my wonderful friends in Port Elizabeth.
  • Watching ice cream melt in front of me because I was so absorbed in chatting to a client in person that I had only ever met on Skype.
  • Waking up to freshly prepared fruit including African paw paw (papaya) prepared by my Dad.
  • Meeting my Facebook friends in real life.
  • Presenting my Deep Dive events and getting to know such wonderful woman, and understanding the value of woman who support woman.
  • Taking my joy of craft to a new audience.
  • I know I ate far too much cake, but I have no regrets.  The cake that was served with two forks for sharing was always the best.
  • I felt so connected to my African roots in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve watching and photographing my favourite zebras and then laughing so much when it was pointed out that the Zebra in front of my lens was excited and showing off his private parts!
  • I had really special times that were not traditionally high points.  Spending time working alongside my old friends, and simply chatting.
  • I drank many cups of tea and spent many hours just being with the people who are special and the richness of my life.
  • I saw old friends and met new friends.  I had a princess birthday party in October when my birthday is actually in June.  Thank you to my special mom and dad for making this happen for me.

Life is a fragile vessel

I could go on and on sharing little memories, and although I won’t bore you, I am making a mental promise to myself to life me my life as though it is a precious and fragile, but valuable vessel.

A vessel filled with memories and lessons learnt and lots of capacity of future dreams.  But most of all I am going to life my life relishing every single moment of every day and know that when I lay my head to sleep at night that I have lived and added to the lives around me.

Life is fragile and tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us.

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

I am dedicating this blog post my friend Nikki Bush and her family.  Her late husband  no longer has any tomorrows as a result of senseless violence.

Get up and Go – I am excited!

Sponsored post

Get-up and Go – how many times have you asked for a little of that.  I know I have.  Days when I am tired, or simply not motivated.  I hear a voice in my head – Kerry, just get up and go.

Well it seems that the call has been answered.  I am delighted to be attending the Get up and Go event in Sligo on 21 and 22 April.

I will be spending two days in a beautiful setting in County Sligo listening to some of the most inspiring speakers and most importantly tapping into my own get up and go.

Get up and Go with Passion and Purpose

The Theme for 2017 is Get Up and Go with Passion and Purpose.  It was chosen to inspire everyone to think about what you are truly passionate about and to discover how to create purpose in life by living true to your passion.

Spend two days listening to wonderful inspirational speakers in their own unique style of ‘get up and go’. Speakers and topics range from business, adventure, entrepreneurship, confidence, education, health and well-being. All with the intention to inspire, motivate, encourage and empower the audience to ‘get up and go’ in life, especially in areas where they might be ‘stopped’ or stuck.

‘Our speakers this year show us how, as ordinary people, we can courageously step outside of our ‘comfort zones’ to pursue what is important to us, and be a demonstration of life lived in accordance with passion and purpose”, said Eileen Bennett organiser and publisher of the now famous Get up and Go diary series..

Do you suffer from FOMO?

I am one of those people who suffer from serious FOMO (fear of missing out).  There are often great events on in Dublin or abroad, that I simply can’t get to for one reason or another.  This time there is a unique opportunity to listen to some amazing speakers at an affordable price point and within reach.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Sligo is a spectacularly beautiful location on the Wild Atlantic Way, with scenery that has inspired artists for years.  I will be snapping images for my upcoming art exhibition as we travel north for a two-day event that promises to shift thinking.

This is really an event with a heart.  It is a not for profit event with four charities that will receive support.  I am guessing that there will be many more people who will be benefiting from simply attending, listening to the speaker and tapping into their get up and go.

Hope to see you there, and watch this space for a report back.  I have my notebooks ready and know I will return inspired.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with the Irish Blogger Agency.  But, to be honest I would have written it anyway, it is an event that is just up my street!  I am counting the days.

 

Proudly Plus-sized and blogging about it!

For a long time I have been considering blogging about being plus-sized.  There is no reason why your size should stop you being fashionably fabulous.

For Christmas a couple of years ago my mom gave me a gift voucher to a fashion store.  Now, it is not polite to ask someone how much the voucher is worth. When I was in the shopping mall I popped into the store and asked the assistant if she could let me know how much I could spend.

The assistant looked at me, and didn’t even take the voucher.  She simply said “I don’t think we have anything to fit you here.”

I was speechless! Walking away from the store I felt less than fabulous and frankly upset and shocked.

Once I started to think about it I got mad.  This shop stocks fashion, shoes, handbags, fabulous accessories and lingerie.  They are also known for having a plus size department.  It was made apparent that this particular branch didn’t stock the plus size range, but that was no excuse for the rude and frankly hurtful manner in which I was addressed.

I could easily have chosen to spend my voucher money on earrings, and a gorgeous necklace or scarf.  The last time I checked my ears and neck were not plus sized.  A standard handbag also seems to fit me – in fact I like small bags.  I don’t want to sound bitchy, but really!!!

I did complain, and I did receive an apology.  It did get me thinking though of plus-size fashion, and especially the role accessories play in giving an outfit that fabulous touch. It was instances such as this that helped me to make the decision to introduce fashion and style into my blog.

Ireland’s got Curves and so do I

I am delighted to say that I will be attending Ireland’s got Curves a fabulous event which being launched by Miss Curves Ireland, SharonD.  For many of us who struggle with our weight we are made to feel less than fabulous by mainstream shops.

Many of my photographs (by the lovely Natalie Greer) show my head and shoulders (my best bits), but this photo shows almost all of me.  I am not going to shy away from showing my wobbly bits, after all they are part of me.

It is for this reason and my own experience that I have decided that I will embrace fashion blogging, as a plus-sized and over 50 fabulous woman.

Please come and visit my blog again and also follow me on Instagram – DynamicKerry – where I will be showing off my style!

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

 

Blog marketing – a plan to follow

 

Fabuliciousfifty blog marketing planI recently had the opportunity to talk to a group of bloggers and as part of that presentation I discussed marketing a blog.  Thank you everyone for the great feedback!

I have worked in marketing most of my adult life, so when I decided to start my blog I thought about marketing it too. The obvious route was to see how other people marketed their blogs, but then I started thinking back to what I did as my day job.

My area of expertise is in strategic marketing.  I did a little marketing strategy for my blog, which has been reviewed and re-evaluated at regular intervals. It was only on a scrap of paper mind, but I would really recommend doing this as it helps to clarify my thinking, both in terms of content and my reader.

Marketing a blog – a mini plan

When you are putting together a marketing plan there are a few essentials that are normally included.  There are various models and methods for planning a marketing strategy, but for this post I am going to focus on my favourite method.

  • Research
  • Target audience
  • Message
  • Establish objectives – set goals.
  • Actions

Research

Research is the first stop for anything.  You might have an idea of starting a blog, but unconsciously or consciously we all research.  I would advise doing more of this.  Read blogs, talk to your friends, ask questions.  Do some research on the techy side – find out which platforms work for you, which channels work for you.  (Although I have snapchat it really doesn’t work for me – it doesn’t fit in with my message).

Your research and your initial idea you give you a very clear idea of what you want to blog about, but who is going to read it?

Target Audience

Defining your target audience is I think one of the most important steps in marketing.  My blog is called Fabuliciousfifty – so there is a bit of clue in the title.  My audience is primarly woman who are a little older.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t get readers across the board.  Google analytics tells me that my readers range between 30 and 60 and do include some men!

I think that it is important to have an ideal reader in your mind.  Marketers even go as far as describing their ideal customers.

This might be a description for a product like healthy convenience foods – or a blog for busy working mums.

This is Mary, she is a working mother who has two kids and is short on time.  Convenience is key in her life.  Healthy eating is a priority, as is exercise.  She is 35 and living in Ireland.  The more detail and description you give to your ideal customer the better.

Knowing who you want to reach will help not only with coming up with content, but also with promotion and how you go about reaching your ideal reader.  It is also important for approaching brands as they will want to know who your target audience is.

Message

Knowing what you are and who you are talking to is really important and is quickly followed by your message, or elevator pitch.

My message is…

Fabuliciousfifty is a health, wellness and positivity blog which is all about being fabulous despite the curve balls life throws at us.  I have survived a very hard marriage and am constantly dealing with a good handful of auto-immune diseases, but I am determined to be fabulous.  There are days that I feel awful, but every day I try to be fabulous – inside and out.  I want to inspire anyone who is battling with health – especially those invisible diseases to find the fabulous no matter how they are feeling.

I also have a real passion for body confidence – and believe that we should all feel fabulous no matter what size and shape we are.

Goals and objectives

Your message links directly into your goals and objectives.  If we are following a traditional marketing plan the next step is to establish some objectives.  Objectives and goals are really important in all aspects of life.

I think it is important to go back to why you are blogging when setting objectives.  Some of my own objectives are to get meaningful comments on blog posts – I don’t get them every post but when I do – wow that really makes me feel good.  When I get personal emails telling me that a blog post really touched someone that means loads.

Many bloggers set statistics as goals.   Examples of reasonable goals might be 200 Facebook followers on your blog page, or 50 blog followers.  These are good goals, but, I honestly believe that we shouldn’t get too caught up with numbers.

Yes numbers are important – they are important for collaborations, and they are important for us too.  I just try and not get bogged down with them.

Other great objectives are to set a blogging calender – and stick to it.  Make a plan to post weekly/ bi-weekly or whatever, but most importantly try to stick with it.  I generally post on a Wednesday – sometimes more often but lately I haven’t been that well and have fallen a bit behind.  Within a space of a week I had skype messages, personal calls and texts saying how much readers look forward to Wednesday and that they were glad I was back.

Set objective such as an interview once a month, following and reading 4 other blogs per month – and of course leaving a meaningful comment.  Blog love is the best!

I also make research one of my objectives – this might involve a subject or a product range but I do believe that if you write with knowledge it does make a difference.

Actions

Finally the actions.  These actions are not really blogging itself, but more actions that promote and organise your blog.

  • Set up a blogging calender
  • Start a blogging idea bank
  • Put together your media kit
  • Set up a blog page on FB
  • Join in Twitter Hours -examples are #womaninspire and  #galway hour – there are many more for specific subjects
  • Join Facebook groups (I will be doing a post on these very soon)
  • Attend a blogging event such as ITWBN birthday or Bloggerconf
  • Join a blogger agency – just launched in Ireland the Irish Blogger Agency

I also set myself mini time goals and action plans for social media.  I do some social media coaching and always tell my clients to limit their time on social media.  It can be a real time suck – so my advice is to set yourself times for social media and then work hard at social media during that time.  At the moment I am working on my Instagram and have committed to uploading something every day, inputting 1 hashtag and finding new people to follow.

Thank you so much for reading this long post.  I would love your feedback and any ideas you have for marketing blogs.

 

Kerry x

 

 

Bellissimo – Everyone has a right to feel lovely

Bellissimo translated into English means lovely.  I strongly believe that no matter where we are in our lives we all should feel lovely.  Sometimes that comes about due to some kind words but sometimes it rests on us to make ourselves feel lovely no matter what is going on in our lives.

Bellisimo pretty mermaid nailsI know for me having my nails done is a big treat.  Due to some of the auto-immune diseases I have and some of the drugs I need to take, my nails are brittle, ridged and dented.  One has a fault and it cannot grow.  Every little millimetre it grows just causes a vertical split.

One of the few things that helps is having a manicure and if I go all out and have a Shellac (two-week manicure) it kind of holds my nails together.  And of course makes me feel lovely.

I was treated to a beautiful ‘mermaid’ themed shellac manicure at a blogger pamper evening held at the very aptly named Bellissimo salon in Galway.  My comment – these nails look so good I might have to scratch someone just to show them off.  Of course there might be other ways of showing them off too.

It was such a fun evening, hanging out with ITWBN bloggers having manicures and pedicures while eating delicious food supplied by the g Counter.  Honestly it was a bit like a grown-up slumber party with lots of giggling and laughing as we had the run of the salon for the night.

Trying on a long glamours dark wig!The biggest laughs of the evening came about when we started trying on wigs.  There were shrieks of laughter as we transformed ourselves into different characters by simply changing our hair.  Loads of giggles.  Wigs however are a medical necessity for many women.

A couple of years ago when I started on Methotrexate to treat arthritis a lot of my hair fell out!  I have always been quite proud of my hair and I can tell you I panicked.  Hair wash day became worry day as the plug hole filled and each stroke of the brush meant less hair on my head.

Thankfully I didn’t loose all my hair, and by using vitamins and other tricks and techniques (which you can read about here), I was able to get back on track.  I regularly trimmed my hair and waited hoping it would grow back.

Many many woman are not as lucky.  Various conditions and drug programmes result in thinning hair leaving woman feeling less lovely than they should be.

As we clowned around in the wig room at Bellissimo I couldn’t help thinking how important wigs are to so many people.  Many of the wigs available look so good, you wouldn’t realise that they were exactly that.  These wigs are well made and although synthetic would make anyone look fabulous – even if they were simply having a bad hair day.

I spoke to  Mike and Dympna our Bellissimo hosts who explained that because the salon was registered with the HSE (Ireland’s health service), there was a contribution that could be claimed against the purchase of a wig if hair loss was medically related.  The staff is fully informed and are happy to help anyone in a confidential way.   You can also have a look at the info on the website. I can promise you that anyone leaving the salon would feel fabulous!

Bellissimo in Galway is a simply gorgeous venue.  I really couldn’t think of a better name for a salon that makes woman feel lovely!

Thanks to the staff and the lovely ITWBN bloggers for having a pretend slumber party with me.  I felt Bellissimo going home.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

Thank you for my gift – Meaghers Pharmacy

meaghers one

 

It was like Christmas this morning – thank you Meaghers Pharmacy.  On a Monday in April with the rain at the window.

Yesterday I was privileged to speak at the Elite Munster Bloggers Network event in Limerick.  I was honestly over-excited especially as I got to chat to so many bloggers and get up to date on the latest products and trends.

At the end of the day, when I was quite tired, I was given a black box!  Now although I was excited, I was simply too tired to open it, so this morning it was Christmas for me.

The box, was a gift from Meaghers Pharmacy.  I am told that this is how all their products are delivered when you order from the website.

Opening time ….

-it's getting exciting ...Opening the box revealed a lovely letter and lots of yellow tissue paper – my favourite!

Each item was carefully wrapped individually with a little quality seal sticker on each one.  Now you know what I mean – it was like Christmas.

meaghers threeThings have been a bit tough financially this year with having to give up work due to my health.  I have had to dial back my beauty spending.  The selection of products for us to try felt like it had been selected for me!

  • A brand new Sleek palette – my favourite eyeshadow brand.  I think the pigment is really strong and the colours stays!
  •  A cool Code VLM mascara to transform my eyelashes
  • And for my lips a luscious NYX soft matt lip cream

And to take off my make-up …

  • Bioderma H20 solution
  • Nip+Fab Glycolic Daily Cleansing pads

And for pamper time.

  • A yummy smelling bamboo green tea candle from Purcell & Woodcock
  • A wild Irish Seaweed moisturising mask – the healing benefits of seaweed are well-known and now I get to treat my face.
  • I was admiring the Victoria’s Secret bottles on the exhibition table and guess what was inside – a full bottle of Amber Romance fragrance mist.

meaghers four

Blogging means a lot to me – I write about being fabulous despite the curveballs life throws at us.  This little box made me feel fabulous today!  A girl should always have some treats to make her feel special.

The good news is that I can have a few more treats as Meaghers Pharmacy had given me a discount code to use, and to share with my blog readers!   I think I might use my discount to treat myself to the new brush cleaner as I have been working on a make-up maintenance post.

It is only valid until 17th April – so by using Code ELITE34 – you can get your own delivery of a special Black box filled with yellow tissue and gifts to yourself.  You can find the website at www.meaghers.ie

This is a bit of a different post for me but I hope you enjoyed sharing my excitement of have Christmas on a wet Monday in April.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

 

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