Tag: diabetes

Finding Shoes for Difficult Feet

I have always wished I had different feet.  Prettier smaller, slimmer feet.  The kind of feet that Manolo Blahnik would like to grace.

Extreme Foot Make-over Fantasy

In the nineties there was a TV programme being aired called Extreme Makeover.  The participant was transformed via surgery, cosmetic dentistry, and the usual fashion, hair and make-up.  What differed on this programme was that nothing was off the menu.  I watched people undergo serious surgical procedures and what must have been extreme painful.

Every time I watched the programme I wondered if they could do a foot extreme make-over.  I could undergo surgery and come out with transformed feet.

Back to the real world where finding shoes for difficult feet isn’t easy

We are who we are and we should embrace our own unique beauty.  When it comes to shoe shopping though it isn’t easy if you don’t fit the ‘average’ shoe.

Since being diagnosed with arthritis, the situation has got even worse.  My feet are sore, the joints feel swollen and fragile at the same time.

Finding shoes that are perfect isn’t easy.  For me they need to meet the following criteria:

  • Comfort
  • Fit
  • Attractiveness
  • Affordability
  • Availability

Anyone with awkward feet (and I now know there are a lot of us) will know that finding all these in one pair of shoes is very hard to find.

Most comfortable shoes are not pretty.  Finding shoes that are comfortable and that fit well is another thing.  I am a size 8, and in many brands this is the largest size available so there is no opportunity of taking a larger size to get a bigger width.  If I do go for a bigger size I find myself flopping out of the one shoe, or gripping like crazy with my toes to keep my shoes from falling off.

Pretty shoes for a fashionista

I am a real fashionista!  I love my fashion and style and adore dressing up to go out.  And then it comes to my feet.  What will I wear?  Where am I going?  How far will I have to walk?  Sometimes I simply decide that I hope nobody looks below my knees.

I don’t mind spending money on a good pair of shoes that I am going to wear. However I think we have all fallen into the trap of buying shoes on the hope that they will ‘ease up’ or for an occasion. Frankly any money spent on shoes (or anything else) that you don’t use is money wasted.

So imagine if we could find a perfect pair of shoes that fit, were comfortable, fashionable and attractive and affordable.  Well that sounds like a pipe dream because I don’t know of many high street stores that stock these dream slippers.

I was introduced to Hotter shoes via my blog.  I immediately went to the website www.hotter.com and started exploring.  It was all looking good.  This website was telling me that the perfect shoe was available.

Their slogan of comfort for the soul/sole really appealed but to be honest I was wary about buying shoes online without being able to try them on.  I imagined a series of parcels travelling back and forth trying to find the right shoe.  And then probably settling for something that wasn’t quite right.  Yet another pair of shoes gathering dust and decorating my hallway.

Introducing the personal shopper

After chatting with the Hotter team on email I was told that a personal shopper would be giving me a call.  James called and immediately put me at ease.  We had a little chat and then started talking about fit and style.  He was so knowledgeable and understood both my medical history and my difficult feet.  He advised me on width fit and on style. There are things you need to look out for with both arthritis and diabetes and he was totally up to speed and able to advise which shoes were the best choice.

After placing my order, I had this sense of confidence that the shoes would arrive and that they would not only fit but become favourites.

Shoes that make me want to dance

My summer shoe wardrobe consists of three pairs of shoes from Hotter.  A fabulous pair of pale blue sandals.  Soft buttery leather and so very pretty.  The cutest red Mary Janes which are idea for an Irish summer where it isn’t that warm.  Fabulous with both dresses and trousers I know that red shoes are going to give me my own sense of magic.  Finally I have a cute pair of floral pumps. (A fashion post will follow with lots of shoe pics)

They all fit!! And are all comfortable!  I could turn into a shoeholic after all.

Thanks Hotter!

(Although I am working with Hotter on an #ad blog post, this post is purely from me.  It is about my struggles and my excitement at finding pretty shoes for difficult feet).

Thanks for reading and if you fancy trying a pair yourself, know that you too can talk to a personal shopper.

 

Kerry xx

What is dignity?   And why is it so important?

Dignity is a complex state and something that I truly believe that everyone deserves.  Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect

My blog is all about being fabulous despite the circumstances of your life.  Despite the curveballs that life throws at you.  Your dignity is something that is truly integral to your fabulousness no matter what age, gender or circumstance.

A little about me

Over the past five years (and a bit more perhaps) a lot of things have come across my path. I have been a victim of gaslight bullying in the work place. My health as also been a huge struggle, most especially with my arthritis, which has been stripping me of some of the things that I perhaps took for granted.  It is some of these situations that has made me realise how important dignity is.

If dignity has been stripped from you – for whatever reason, it isn’t the easiest thing to get back. Walking tall and acting confident when you are crippled with pain or humiliation is hard.  The first time I walked out with Stan, my trusty walking stick was hard.  Not simply because I thought people would be looking at me and questioning , but because I felt vulnerable.

Vulnerability is closely linked with dignity.

When I feel vulnerable, be it a situation when I had to return to the office after a humiliating dressing down, or when I had to introduce Stan to my date.  I feel vulnerable when I am faced with a plate of dinner that I know I cannot cope with (there are days when I cannot cut my food because of pain in my hands, and many days when I know I will be decorating my clothes with the food that I might spill).  I feel vulnerable when I need to ask for assistance to carry my tray in a restaurant and even on a very bad day when I cannot pick up a cup of tea.

There are days like this – perhaps more than I would like.  After several attempts, trying to get my essential fix of tea, I realised that lifting the cup was not an option.  I asked for a straw which was delivered with a smile and with an attitude that didn’t make me feel vulnerable.  This kind woman understood dignity.

We are all different

No two people are alike and there are many people living with disabilities both visible and invisible.  This month is autism Awareness month and I am delighted to hear of many supermarkets introducing shopping hours where attention has been paid to decreasing light, sounds and other sensory stimuli.  I will certainly be taking note of these.  As a result of my conditions I am hypersensitive and find shopping overwhelming at the best of times.

Invisible disabilities (very like me on a good day when I don’t have my stick or hand splints)  are exactly that.  They are invisible.  These include depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and MS just as a start.  Anybody going about what seems like daily life with these conditions is fighting an uphill battle and dignity is part of that.

So how can we help people to maintain their dignity?

  • Firstly as mentioned above we don’t know who is struggling.  So why not show everyone respect.  It is old-fashioned I know but if you are sitting on a train or tube and know that you are ok to stand, offer your seat.  I promise there is someone who is struggling to stand and maintain balance.
  • Be aware.  It takes so little to hold a door open, to perhaps notice that someone needs a little help, perhaps with carrying a tray or a cup of coffee.  Perhaps allowing someone to go ahead of you in the queue.  These are all little actions that will allow someone to maintain their dignity and not feel quite so vulnerable.
  • In close relationships, family and friends who know what someone is going through it is both easier and harder.  My advice would be to again be aware, be conscious of what things might be difficult, and simply help silently.  I had visitors over the Easter weekend and every day I realised that little things had happened.  My bin had been cleaned thoroughly, the back garden was tidied, the dishwasher had been packed and unpacked.  I didn’t ask for help, but it was given.  And I am so grateful.
  • Acceptance is key.  If there is a person in your life who is disabled in any way, simply accepting them for who they are is a wonderful gift of dignity.  When I was in a new relationship, I was shy about introducing Stan the Stick.  Eventually we were going on a trip and I knew I would need the support of my stick.  I remember asking my Mom.  If he doesn’t accept Stan he isn’t the man for you.  Wise woman!  I just loved the day when he suggested bringing Stan out with us.

 

My tool kit for coping

It may seem odd, but the little things I do for myself to feel better, and to maintain my dignity are important to me.

I like looking good.  I love my fashion and style.  If I am going out (and even sometimes staying in) choosing great clothes, doing my hair and spending time on my make-up give me that added confidence boost.

I also of course rely on the old favourites of pain relief, mindfulness and rest.  A great day out feeling totally dignified has a lot of planning behind it.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who I share my life with.  My friends who know and the strangers who don’t.  Allowing me my dignity is a gift.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

 

The Magic of Three – and how this little number helps me in my day to day life.

Three is a magic number.  Or so I am told.

I have been having a bit of a tough time lately.  I had two bad falls which set me back a bit.  As I stumbled around the house trying to get focus and motivate myself, I realised that three really is my magic number in so many ways.

I make a commitment to tackle (at least) three things off my to do list every day.  It might seem little, but when you look back on the week, know that you have achieved 21 things.  By using this focus I know that I move forward.  Sometimes little and often, but I do achieve what I set out to do.

As someone suffering from chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn’t always easy.  Even if I think of keeping my home tidy – it is overwhelming.  By the 7th day of concussion and I was getting frustrated.  Three things I kept telling myself.  Put a wash on, unpack the dishwasher and wipe the counter.  Then you can sit down.  A little later I tackled three computer related tasks, and after that sent three thank you messages to friends who have helped me out.

By the time I got into bed I felt a real sense of accomplishment despite the fact that I was ‘under the weather’.

The Magic of Three – in so many ways

Every night before I go to sleep I always recall three things I am grateful for.  Sometimes it is more than three, but never less.  This really puts me into such a positive place.

The more I think about it three is a number that resonates through my life.  It is a small number but a perfect number.  It is just enough but not overwhelming.  Add a few threes together and you can really rack up some impressive personal statistics.

Imagine if we saved 3 Euro a day.  That isn’t a lot – a cup of coffee.  Over a month that is 90 Euro.  Over a year it is over a 1000 Euro – more than enough for a holiday.

Three and its multiples are also a great way of dividing up your day.  As I mentioned before I need to pace myself due to my conditions.  By dividing my day into 30 and 60 minute chunks I can ensure that I get enough rest time and also get things done.

I have followed this principle for a while now and I can honestly say that 3 is my magic number.

The internet of things

The internet is awash wish apps, blog posts, and articles confirming that by simply using a formula of three we can become happier and more effective in life.

I have downloaded the 3 Good Things app for my phone and am going to see how that goes.

Before writing this blog post I did a little bit of internet research as to why 3 is a number that seems to have magical properties.

  • As a creative person I was delighted to be reminded that there are 3 primary colours
  • Almost all religions have 3 as a sacred number
  • Mathematicians will confirm that 3 is a really cool number.  It is the first prime number and of course is the first number that forms a geometric shape – the triangle

So many things come in threes – here are a few random ones that delighted me.

  • The beginning, the middle and the end
  • The past, the present and the future
  • The three bones in the human ear
  • The three little pigs
  • The beauty of 3 dimensions
  • And of course the perfect 3  minute egg.

Frivolity aside, I am happy that I have the number three in my life.  It really helps me to pace myself, feel productive and puts me in a lovely positive mindset as I am reminded daily that we have at least three things to be grateful for.

Thank you so much for reading xx

Kerry

 

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

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

 

Learned helplessness – reaching beyond my limitations

beach1

Today I went for a walk on the beautiful beach at Carrownisky near Westport.  This has got to my one of my favourite Sunday activities, and this time it was even better because I had the company of my very wise son, David.

We walked as far as we could in once direction and then turned and walked as far as we could in the other.  It was quite rocky and I was walking barefoot.  I walked along, looking down to make sure I didn’t turn my ankle.  I was taking care, but I was also chatting, taking photos and simply  but also enjoying the day.  It was windy and a little wet but that didn’t stop us.

I remarked to David that years ago I wouldn’t have even tried to walk on the beach.  Since I was a young child I have always been told that I wasn’t sporty, fit or thin.  I was basically programmed to think that I couldn’t.  If I had visited that beach years ago I would have either sat in the car or found a bench.  I didn’t think I could manage a long walk and would have been conscious of getting back, every step I took away from the car.  I would have also been told, be careful, mind your weak ankle, don’t fall.  None of these things happened today (and any other day I have walked on the beach).

beach2David told me about a concept called learned helplessness.  You can read about it here, but basically it is a story that starts with an experiment with dogs.  (Not very humane, but huge lessons to be learnt)

The concept of learned helplessness was discovered by accident by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier.  Dogs that had been conditioned to expect an electrical shock when hearing a tone, became helpless even when there was an option to escape the shock.

I think many of us are the same.  We believe we can’t so we don’t.  Perhaps it is a case of failing a few times.  Or in my case twisting my ankle a few times.

Learned helplessness in humans can been seen in so many instances.  As soon as David explained the concept to me I could think of so many circumstances.  Imagine a child who does badly on a maths exam.  After repeatedly receiving low scores for maths, he will begin to believe that he will never master maths.

I am so glad that I have overcome the feeling of helplessness that was once a huge part of my life.  These days I act first, and think of my limitations later.  Perhaps, of course some sort of balance would be better.

I may not be ready to climb Croke Patrick, but I am not going to feel limited about taking a nice long beach walk.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Arthritis to Zebra – the A-Z of me

A great idea for bloggers.  Thanks to Danielle LilliWhiteRose for the nomination.  It is a great fun way of taking stock!  I challenge you to do it.

A – Arthritis. It is in my hands, and although I deal with it the best I can, sometimes the pain does get me down.

B – Busy.  I keep myself very busy between my real job, my blog and my craft teaching.

C – Card making.  Teaching card making and craft is something I really enjoy.  It is a great hobby.

D – Diabetes.  Part of my life and my quest for better health and fitness

E – Energy.  I have been told I only have two speeds, go and stop.  Sometimes I have energy and sometimes I don’t

F – Food.  I love cooking and strive to create yummy healthy meals.  Love sharing food too.

G – Girlfriends.  I am so privileged to have some amazing girlfriends in my life.  They are my true wealth

H – Would have to be health.  It is a real struggle for me as I battle with a number of auto-immune conditions.  Keeps me focussed though

I – Inspiration.  It is like food to me.  I get inspired by people, by nature and by random things

J – Jeans – they joy when they fit.  I like to measure my size in different jean sizes!

K – Kindle – I love my little kindle.  Easy to hold and contains hours of escapism.  I have to read – it is like food to me.

L – Laughter. I love to laugh and make people laugh.  Trite but true, laughter is the best medicine

M – Motherhood is so important to me.  Even though my son is grown-up being a mother is the thing I am most proud of.

N – No.  I really need to learn how to say it.  I tend to be a people pleasure and I don’t want to let people down.  As a result I overextend myself – trying to learn moderation.

O – Oranges.  My favourite fruit.  My mom would make oranges in caramel as my birthday treat every year.

P –  Painting.  I love to paint – not sure I am very good at it, but I am happy with a brush in my hand and a day in front of me.

Q – Quiet time.  I am chatty, and bubbly but I really need my along quiet time.  It keeps me sane.

R – Relaxation.  I need to do more of this.  Sometimes I push myself too hard and need to learn how to switch off more.

S – Sex – I have a fascination with the psychology of sex.

T – is for Tea.  I drink far too much of it.  I love it – also love the ceremony of afternoon tea, my favourite is at the G Hotel

U – Untidy.  I am desparately untidy in most instances, and then I have weird quirks of OCD inside my wardrobe where all the tops must hang  together etc.

V – Voluptuous.  Say no more.

W – Writing and walking.  Writing is my passion and walking my goal

X – X-Factor – my guilty pleasure.  Used to have a tiny crush on Simon Cowell (I know!!) until he made rude comments about fat people in the press.

Y – Yellow.  My favourite colour.  It is such a happy colour.  My shop was called Siopa Buí (Irish for Yellow Shop) and my arty name is Kerry Buí

Z – Zebras are my favourite animal.  I think they are the most fashionable animal.  They also have a great sense of community.

Thanks for reading x

I challenge these bloggers to do their own A-Z challenge

Áine McManamon of Social Onya

Kerrie Burke of Bella and Vogue 

Rachel Burke from The Wholesome Nut

Zoe Behan from Day Dreamer Chic

And any other ITWBN member who feel inspired.

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