Tag: fabulous

How to celebrate a blog birthday

Well the obvious answer is with cake!  I love cake – I would choose it over chocolate, crisps and even wine.  I think a cake is just such a symbol of celebration.  It always makes me feel festive, as well as being delicious and deeply satisfying.

I am lucky enough to be friends with a master baker and decorator and when I asked if Aine from The Cake Emporium would make me a birthday cake for my blog she didn’t even blink an  eye and as a reader of my blog she didn’t need a brief either.

I was truly delighted and jumping up and down like a three-year old myself when the cake arrived complete with crown!

Why did I start my blog three years ago?

Three years ago I was 50 and coming out of quite a dark place.  I still had a lot going on health wise (and still do to tell the truth).  I had learnt that it was important to maintain your dignity and to always wear your invisible crown no matter what.

The blog theme is to be fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at us. And what better way that to place that crown firmly on your head and know your own value.

The blog posts were I wrote about this concept were some of the first posts that got me noticed and is still some of my favourites.

Telling my stories

I have struggled with my weight my whole life, despite dieting for most of it.  One day I sat down and wrote the story of how I gave up dieting.  It was early on in my blogging journey and I remember being amazed as the views on the blog increased and increased and the reactions came in.  People direct messaged me, they engaged and told me their own stories.

I think that at this point I realised the true joy of blogging.  It is about creating tribe and a community.  Creating a conversation with people all around the world.

Finding balance and more

My long-awaited book (it is coming out soon) is all about how I have changed my life one word at a time.  The first posts I wrote about this related to balance and how by choosing to focus on this word I had started the avalanche of change that would filter through my life.  Again I was truly humbled by the response.

Moving from South Africa to Ireland

A personal blog is all about sharing stories of my life.  Stories and experiences that I hope other people can relate to.  My all time most read blog post is about my move from South Africa to Ireland.  It is read almost every day and I have communicated with so many people who are in the process of making a big move.  By simply writing a story about one woman and her move to Ireland I have been blessed to meet so many people.

Fashion, Beauty and Confidence

I have written many posts.  Perhaps I should count them.  I have touched on many subjects from fashion to beauty, food to travel and of course health.  The common denominator in everything my blog stands for is confidence to be authentic.  I really believe that we all come across so many curveballs in life, it is our choice though to choose to be fabulous despite whatever tries to knock us down.

So I wear my crown and try to be fabulous.

As I celebrate my third blog birthday I want to thank you so much for reading my posts, for sending me messages and for sharing my journey.

Kerry xx

P.S  A few exciting changes coming very soon.

 

I am unique – and so are you!

 

It’s fascinating to think that with 7.6 billion people in the world there is only one of me.  I am unique and so are you.

We spend so much of our life conforming and trying to be part of a crowd, part of the gang at school, part if the it crowd that I think we forget to celebrate our uniqueness.

I often talk about authenticity, especially in terms of personal branding.  And I have been known to quote my favourite childhood author Dr Seuss – ‘Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is  youer than you’.

It has taken me a very long time (the best part of half a century) to realise that I don’t need to conform and try to fit into a mould that has been created by the media, my peers or anyone else.  I don’t need to dress according to fashion and try to fit my curvy shape into a style designed for another form of unique that is slimmer than I am.

I dress to be me – I am unique

If I want to wear sparkles and leopard print I will do just that.  It doesn’t matter if I am staying at home doing the cleaning either.  How we express ourselves through our attire is part of our uniqueness.  In this busy world of mass production, social media, lots of people and lots of pressure, we need to carve out a place that is simply for us to be totally authentic and true to ourselves.

A unique gift

Today I received a gift.  I love it so much because it is mine and mine alone.  Joe Duff, a friend and fellow artist from Athenry has started making the most unusual jewellery ever.  You simply write out your name (or get a significant other to write it for you).  He will then hand cut it in sterling silver and polish it to perfection.  Each piece is different as each person has a unique handwriting.

I did a bit of googling there and apparently our handwriting is as unique as our fingerprints.  Even identical twins have different handwriting.  As Joe bases his pieces on this seriously individual trait, there is only one of these pieces and it is hanging around my neck!

Visit Joe’s facebook page to see some of the process in action.  It is really special to think that something is being carefully handcrafted for a specific person.  In chatting to Joe I found out that there is a huge demand for these pieces.  ‘People order names written by loved ones that have passed away as a way of creating a treasured memory and keeping that person close’, he said.

I bought one for my niece for Christmas, and she loved it.

Of course with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there is no excuse for not thinking up a great gift.  Simply write down your loved one’s name and there you go!

Time to clear the clutter and make way for the special

This gift got me thinking about the huge volume of stuff we have in our lives, and how little of it is significant and unique.  January is traditionally a time when we clean, we clear clutter and feel determined to make a difference.

I am no different.  Over the last couple of years I have done a digital detox, embraced the Kon Mari method, and have felt the wonderful freeing feeling.

I subscribe to the idea that anything new that comes into the house has to be followed by at least one old or broken thing going out of the door.  The gift of this beautiful necklace has inspired me to do a jewellery clear out.  I will however keep those unique pieces that are filled with memories.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

Empty Nest  – a Syndrome or an Opportunity

On Tuesday last week I waved my son off on a journey that will propel him into the real world.  I closed the door and burst into tears.

I could not really explain the tear. They just came and the more I tried to stop them, the more they flowed.  I was a bit taken aback as I thought I had my head around it all.

From birth our role as a parent is as a nurturer.  We feed our children, keep them safe and do everything we can to make them smile.

I am a proud Mom

I am incredibly proud of the young man who is my son.  My son is a hard worker who is passionate about everything he does.  In my opinion he has unusual clarity about his life’s goals and is now on the way to a wonderful future.

He has had a fascination for computer games and programming for since his early teens and has worked steadily away in tandem with finishing school and then completing a degree in Theoretical Physics.  And, now he embarks on his new adventure as a games play programmer working on his dream game.  Yes, I am proud, extremely proud.  But, this job is near Manchester in the United Kingdom. So he is not only starting out in his new career and a whole new chapter of his life, but he has moved to another country.

Of course I will be visiting, and I have already started looking at flights and planning get-aways, but ultimately this week marks the end of my role as a mother to a child and the beginning of true adulthood for my son.

So an empty nest.  What does that mean?

In some ways I feel a fraud talking about my empty nest as he and I have lived apart for a while now between college and other things.  I did have the joy of having him under my roof for a couple of months after college which was a gift which I cherish.

An empty nest for me it marks the end of an era.  My child is now a tax paying adult!  It changes nothing about how I feel about him.  I will continue to worry about if he is eating well and meeting nice people, and that he is happy.  That part of mothering never turns off.  I do know however that as he left the nest, he is ready to fly.

I am sure that he will feel the excitement I once felt when I started out on my own and moved into my first flat with my sister.  The day I was shown my first desk at my first job, and the day I received my first pay cheque.

I have allowed myself a few days to get used to the idea that we no longer life in the same country, never mind the same house or town.  I have had a glass (or two) of Prosecco to celebrate his success and talk endlessly about how I feel, but now it is time to face up to what this empty nest means for me.

An Empty Nest as a launch pad?

I am at a stage in my life when I too can stand on the edge of the nest and decide where to fly.  What changes can I make in my life?  What destinations can I choose to fly too.

I know that many people of my age face the same challenges.  In a way it is an exciting phase for us empty nesters too.  We can play the game of reinvention.  I am putting myself in the way of opportunities.  I am determined to embrace my creative side and work on my art with the long-term aim of holding an exhibition.

You don’t get to 53 without accumulating. I have so many ‘things’ in terms of items that need dusting and tidying. So instead of shopping I am looking to spend my time and money on experiences.  I have booked to go to the National Gallery to see the Vermeer exhibition, signed up for an international craft class, and am playing short away trips.

South Africa is my destination in October and I am planning on spending time creating some wonderful new memories with friends old and new during my trip.  I will also stop off in Dubai for some special family time with my sister.

I have decided to consciously consider myself a Mommy bird who looks at her nest and instead of seeing it as empty sees it as an opportunity to fly.

As I continue to celebrate being fabulous in my fifties I hope you come back to share my journey here.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

Yes, you can be Fabulous and Fashionable over Fifty!

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I love fashion.  As a child I spent hours designing dresses for my Barbie dolls and walking them down the imaginary runway on my bedroom carpet.

As you get older there is a little voice in your head which says that you cannot be fashionable over fifty.  You shouldn’t stand out, and the best one ever – never turn into mutton dressed up as lamb!

For the past couple of years I have watched the media and read blog posts on fashion and felt simply green with envy.  A little while ago I decided that I would blog about fashion for the plus sized and for woman of a certain age.  I am proud to say that this has been a much viewed blog post.

The Galway Fashion Trail

Last Saturday I joined the Galway Fashion Trail presented by Galway Now Magazine.  It was a simply fabulous day and I can honestly say that I have learned that age and size does not determine whether you can be fashionable.

The day started with a stylish, and most delicious breakfast at the Raddison Blu Hotel in Galway.  We whizzed up to the top floor where the view was simply wonderful.  After enjoying this amazing breakfast we watched the first of the fashion shows featuring styles from Harpers and headpieces from Brid o’Driscoll Millinery and Majella Lennon.

I started my day by treating myself to two beautiful necklaces from Jewelbox.ie.  I fully intend paying a visit to the other exhibitors, Sheniel Shoes and Optique Opticians soon.

As this was a fabulous day, we were chauffeured by Bradley Renault  to our next stop. At Sarah Mason where we learnt about the hair from Sarah and about make-up from Aisling K.  I was feeling glamorous already.

The day of fashion shows and food at Swamp, Greenes Shoes, Colette Latchford, Revive Café, Brown Thomas, Choice Boutique and Willow was like a full immersion in fashion.  I found myself feeling so excited as I watched the models on the runways showing off clothes and accessories.  I fell in love with some seriously amazing fashion from House of Mowhawk an IFIA finalist.

My Big Fashionable Over Fifty Fashion take-aways

There were some big take-aways for me, as a plus-sized 52 year old.  What I learned is that you can take lessons and inspiration from fashion shows and magazines, from following Instagram and Facebook accounts and of course reading fashion blogs.  Learn and then twist it to make it your own.

These are my fashion lessons from the Galway Fashion Trail..

  1. There are always new season colours. Pick the colours that work for you and add them into your wardrobe to update them.  I love the dusky rose pink of this season and already have a fab pair of shoes and will be adding more – maybe a handbag!  The other colour that really popped for me was tomato red!  My all-time favourite royal blue also make an appearance which made me smile.
  2. Scarves are a beautiful way of making a statement. We were gifted some beautiful scarves from Swamp and Willow but also saw some amazing designer items from Louise Porter and Niamh Daniels both IFIA finalists.  I will be adding scarves to my birthday list.
  3. Jewellery is a great way of making a fashion without trying to be too trendy. Jewelbox.ie have some great fashion pieces in rose gold that shout this season.  I bought two pieces and will be featuring them in a new blog post soon.
  4. Dress lengths are great at the moment. The models showed off some amazing dresses at most of the shows that were on the knee or mid-calf.  This is such a flattering length.
  5. Don’t judge a book by its cover. When we visited Swamp I immediately thought that there would be nothing I liked.  I was wrong. There are quite a few items that are larger in size and might just be updating my wardrobe.  Lesson learnt – go into boutiques and stores, and wander around with an open mind.
  6. When in doubt, go with your instincts and wear what makes you feel fabulous.
  7. Finally I generally buy things when I really love them. I might spend a little more, but I know when I love something, it fits well and makes me feel fabulous, I will wear it!.

I really want to say thank you to Golden Egg Productions and Galway Now for hosting this wonderful event. And to all the lovely bloggers many of them much younger than me who welcomed me and made me feel fashionably fabulous.

I am a proud member of the ITWBN and the Irish Blogger Agency who invited me to be a fashionista at 52.  Thank you!

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

PS – Thank you to Sinead from Yummy Mummy who helped me with photos!

 

 

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

 

A New Year, a New Way

word-of-the-year

The time between Christmas and New Year excites me.  It may seem odd to some but I just love this week which for me is laced with anticipation.

I don’t like New Year’s Eve parties.  The false anticipation that something is going to change as the clock strikes midnight.

I do however, love a new book.  Cracking the spine and smelling the pages.  My Kindle is my companion these days, but my love of books has simply transferred to notebooks, journals and books with blank pages. A new year is like a book of blank pages.  365 days of opportunity to be in charge of your life.

Five years ago I was certainly not in charge of my life.  In fact I was juggling so much and lost focus and balance in a huge way.

I changed my life and sitting here today I can say that I am happy.  Today I feel strong and in control of my life.

A Word for the Year

I said goodbye to New Year’s resolutions, and instead for the last 5 years I have chosen a word for each year.

This strategy has been core to the changes and most of all improvements I have made in my life.

Balance

My first word was balance and I tried a few techniques to incorporate balance into my life. It worked in a big way across all areas of my life even on my core balance which wasn’t in my mind at the time.  I ended the year being able to stand on one leg!

Change

The second year I chose the word change and again used the simple techniques to incorporate it into my life.  By April of that year – only four months in – my life had changed to such an extent that there was little that hasn’t changed.

Discipline

Discipline was my word the following year, and this simple word focussed on areas of my life that needed strengthening.  It wasn’t an easy year, but it was a year of small changes that made big differences.

Creative

After those three years I needed a word that would feed my soul.  I have always been creative (I honestly believe that we all are), but I had been neglecting my creative side.  Creative – what a beautiful and fun word to have.  I started my blog, I got my paint brushes out, and I started teaching crafts again.  Most of all though – I fed my soul. (I also started writing my book)

Detail

There are two types of people in the world – big picture people and detail people.  I would definitely fall into the category of a big picture person. My career as a marketing strategist and an entrepreneur was all about big thinking, but detail was always my weakness.  For 2016 I chose detail as my word.  I needed this word – I really did!  I have been through a transition this year and putting a focus on detail has been essential.  I am so glad I chose it!

I also have a powerful word that has become an overriding word in my life and that is Fabulous.  Regular readers of the blog will know how much I love this word and what it means to me.

What will I choose as my world of the year for 2017?

During this reflective time I am again contemplating which word I will pick for 2017.  I know this programme works and I am excited to be sharing it with members of the Fabulous Woman group on Facebook.  Join me for a Facebook Live video every night and am delighted to be sharing this special planning time with people from all over the world. It was exciting to see people popping up from America, South Africa, Ireland, Germany, Scotland and more.

I will be back in a couple of days to share my word for 2017.  If you would like to join me on this journey please feel free to join the Facebook Group (only girls allowed), my page on Facebook and by subscribing to the blog.

I am excited!

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

How to be Fabulous

Fabulous is probably my favourite word.  When I was on the cusp of turning 50 I had really mixed feelings – do I duck it and pretend to be 49 for years, or do I embrace it.  I decided to go with the latter and to be fabulous at 50 and beyond.

how-to-be-fabulous

Words are very important to me.  I am writing a book about how single words have changed my life, and the word Fabulous would have to be included.  This time last year I had a breakdown – a hard-earned one, and I can honestly say that embracing the fabulous has been a huge part of my journey.

I have been through a lot.  A broken marriage, depression and numerous health issues which are still ongoing.  The one thing I have learned is that the only person you can be is you.  And it is your obligation to be the best you that you can be.

My favourite quote is this one from Dr Seuss.

Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is youer than you.

When we are authentic we are fabulous.

So how do you embrace your Fabulousness.

There are 6 principles of fabulousness that I have figured out.

Positivity

Being positive is another of those skills that you have to practice.  Like any form of exercise it can be hard and frustrating at first.

The first time on the treadmill is hard, the second is harder, you feel awful, sore and sweaty, but ultimately you get it and start to feel fantastic.  I only started walking (as a form of exercise) in my late forties.  The first walk was so short, but after a short while I was clocking up the miles and I felt better.

Positivity is like that.  Tap into positivity.  Find your self daily affirmations – I am fabulous – and spend time around positive people – both online and off-line.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a wonderful thing.  We all aspire to be better than we are and tapping into inspiration stretches us and makes us want to put the effort in to be a better version of ourselves.  I find inspiration in my daily life, I also find it online by following people who I admire.

How many ‘friends’ do you have on Facebook?  How many people do you follow?  Follow people who you admire, and aspire to be like.  Read books, listen to the radio and podcasts, put yourself in a place where you are inspired.  But remember what you goal is – to be the best version of yourself.

We have a wonderful group on Facebook called Fabulous Woman – I go into the group every day, and sometimes more than once a day and get inspired by ordinary woman who are aspiring to be fabulous.

Motivation

This is another biggie for me.  Motivation.  Where do you find the motivation to do what you do every day, and then where are you going to find the motivation to do even more?

Motivation is your reason for acting on something.  Your reason for getting up and changing things.  My motivation is simple – I never want to go back to being a quivering scared woman in a marriage that was hurting me.  I want to be the best mom I can to my son and I want people to know that everyone deserves to be happy.

That is a big vision, I know.  We also need to break it down and talk about daily motivations.  Perhaps you need some incentives on a daily or monthly basis to do nice things for yourself.  That sounds funny just saying it but woman generally put everyone first before they do something for themselves.  Your motivation is to be the best you that you can be and I promise you this that everyone around you will benefit from you being fabulous.

So set yourself some goals and set up some treats and incentives.

Creativity

I believe that everyone is creative.  Some people paint or draw, and others might be creative in the kitchen or through crafts.  I have been teaching crafts for many years and I just love the light that comes on when people are being creative.

It is simply fuel for the soul.  We spend so much of our lives giving to others but we need to refuel.  Eating well, drinking water and exercise are all important but being creative is essential.

You don’t need a lot of money to get started.  Simply start in your daily life.  Rearrange furniture or ornaments, write in a journal, tap into your creative well.

Add it into your mix and you will become even more fabulous.

Networking

Networking is an essential pillar of fabulousness for me.  When you say networking to some people, a switch goes off.  They are not in business, don’t have a business card and are not interested in getting up at 6 in the morning for a meet-up where business cards are swapped.

Networking is simple and it has been done since the beginning of time.  You know that person that is connected to everyone?  You know if you call them they will know someone who can help.  She is a supreme networker.

We network in our daily lives every day and through this we create our circle – our network.

The thing to remember about networking is that it is relational not transactional.  Networking is not about making a sale or a deal, it is simply about getting to know more people.

I love meeting new people, and simply getting to know them.  Conversation is a great way of building relationships.

When you meet someone – tell them about you – not about what you do.  Tell them what makes your heart sing.

Talk to people everywhere and build your network – you will be remembered for who you are that real authentic you.

Am I that one on Facebook who wears a crown  and always talks about being fabulous, or am I a personal branding specialist?  You will probably remember the crown but then at some stage when someone needs a personal branding specialist you might tell them about me.

We can use networking to surround ourselves with positive people who will motivate us, inspire us and spark our creativity too.

Appearance

Now, I know that I like pretty party dresses.  I feel great if my hair looks great and I do love make-up.  But that is just me.

For many years I didn’t embrace this side of me.  I suffered from depression and cried so much that there was little point in make-up.  I felt really ugly and fat because I listened to the criticism around me.

One day I made the decision to be fabulous and I need to tell you that I had to fake it for a while.  Every day I got up and got dressed.  I did my hair and accessorised.  I took a make-up lesson and made a commitment to wearing make-up most days.

I feel that this is me – at my best, my most fabulous.

When I was all ‘dolled-up’ I felt better. I felt like the best version of me possible.

I just want to make a point here, that if you feel the best that you can be wearing jeans and a check shirt, that is ok too.  What you want to tap into is dressing as you, to feel like the best of version of you.

It is a funny thing because when you tap into your fabulousness, people notice what you are wearing less, they notice how you feel and the energy you are putting out.

Be fabulous online and offline

Facebook is now the largest ‘country’ in the world.  Most of us are on Facebook and many of us are on other social media sites such as Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.  It is really important that when you are showing up – as the best you that you can be, you do this online as well as offline. These days the first connection with many people is not in person but online.  Grow your network and show your positivity online.

This is an extract from a talk I recently presented at the Festive Ladies Afternoon Tea in Mayo.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share.

Kerry x

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