Tag: Galway

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

Fake it until you make it – a coping with Fibromyalgia

Fake it until you make it.  This is a mantra I find myself repeating over and over.  Especially when I wake up feeling less than fabulous.

There are mornings when I wake-up or rather get up and know that I have had little sleep, am so stiff and awkward that I walk like a puppet.  I stumble downstairs to get painkillers and put on the kettle so I can ease myself into the day. This is what it is like for me coping with fibromyalgia.

I am a very positive person so feeling less than great is hard for me.  I try to focus on the good things in life and not on fibromyalgia, arthritis and the other things that are my shadow.

It would be so easy to simply stay in my lovely fluffy gown and binge watch Netflix.  You really can 3 or 4 episodes without realising the passing of time.

Don’t wallow!

I am determined to not wallow (although there are days that I do).  My lipstick is my companion, it reminds me that you can fake it until you make it.

I recently read something that I really related to.  It was a list of things only people with chronic conditions would understand.  One of these was sitting on the bed and wondering if you really needed to shower and wash your hair.  Yes, this is a real thing.  It takes energy to do this and it causes more pain.

Fake it until you make it

I keep trying and so I wanted to share how I fake it until I make it.  How I push myself  to get going and ultimately how I normally enjoy myself once I do make it to an event.

Realistically each time I do this it does make me very tired the next day, but the joy of getting up and getting glamorous is worth it.

Off to a Fashion Show – Faking it all the way!

A little while ago I was invited to a fashion show at Bellissimo in Galway as an ITWBN blogger.  The show featured fashion from the fabulous Olivia Danielle boutique.  It was one of those days when I really had to push myself.

I got dressed in my new dress from The Curvy Gurl, accessorised and put on my make-up.  Just before leaving I got my photo taken for the obligatory Instagram/Facebook post.

Details of my outfit as requested:

Dress – The Curvy Gurl – Newry (I bought my dress at the Ireland’s got Curves show but they have a fab online shop)

Cardigan: Matalan – old as the hills but a firm favourite as it is my favourite colour

Shoes: Ballet flats from Debenhams

Necklace:  A gift from my sister!

I was also extremely overwhelmed and humbled by the response to a simple social media post. Hundreds of likes, loves and comments all which made me feel better about myself.  I am struggling with weight gain at the moment due to medications and other factors and being told I look good certainly spurs me on to try even harder.

This is how I know that Faking it until you make it works for me.  Looking the best I could already put me in a brighter mood and going out distracted me from pain and tiredness.

I know that there are many people out there, and possibly reading this that are in a position where faking it isn’t always possible.  So this is my call to ask people to understand when your friend with a chronic condition like fibromyalgia says sorry she can’t make it.  I bet she tried really hard. She is coping with Fibromyalgia.

Thank you so much 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!

 

 

SeaBreeze – An oasis of tranquillity

Since moving to Galway over a year ago I have been searching for a place for me.  A place where I can indulge myself in little treats that make me feel good about myself.

You can be excused for thinking I might be talking about a coffee shop that served good cake, but this is so much more important.  I have been looking for a beauty salon where the staff are friendly and the service is good, and more importantly where I feel good, going in and even better coming out.

It was an honour to be a guest at an event for SeaBreeze Beauty & Day Spa when they celebrated their 16th birthday towards the end of last year.  I came away with a sense of finding my new beauty home.  My eyebrows had been threaded as a treat and I was clutching the little booklet which was fast becoming my wish list of treats for me. (anyone wishing to know what I would like for any occasion please feel free to buy me something from here).

There are real perks to being an ITWBN blogger and I was beyond delighted to receive a tweet to ask if I would like to try out one of the SeaBreeze treatments.  At the time my back was in a spasm and there was one treatment that jumped into my mind – a massage!

An Oasis of Tranquility

The salon is in Oranmore which is great as it is a minute off the motorway and less than 15 minutes from home for me.  As I parked my car, my sense of anticipation was mounting.  I knew what was behind the glass doors.  Tranquiliity.

The SeaBreeze decor is ‘sea’ themed and there is the most wonderful restful energy in the salon. There is a sense of stepping into another world where worries, stress and to do lists simply do not exist.

Ciara took me off for my Swedish massage which was simply blissful.  She was so kind and caring and adjusted the pressure to ensure that I got the benefits but no additional pain as I was very tender that day.

I was so tempted to spend a little while sipping tea in the relaxation room.  This room is an oasis itself.  Deck loungers would lull you into forgetting about real life.  I was honestly so relaxed from my massage that I thought I might fall asleep so I passed this time.

I love quotes and when I saw the quote from John Steinbeck on the wall at SeaBreeze I knew I had found home.

The best six doctors anywhere
An
d no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest and air
Exercise and diet.

If you live in Galway – I urge you to visit Sea Breeze and relax and treat yourself.  If you don’t then find your own little oasis and treat yourself when you can.  Fabulous Women deserve to be pampered.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Why my walk for the Heart of Galway was so special

 

10 km done! (2)

The original couch potato walked not 7km but 10km!

One of my objectives for 2016 was to walk 5km in an official challenge/race.  One morning in January, I was browsing Facebook and came across The Heart of Galway Walk on 14 February a 7km walk in aid of Foroige Big Brother, Big Sister Charity.

Before I knew it Paypal was open and I had paid the 20 Euro entry.  Now I only had two hurdles in my way – raise 80 Euro in sponsorship and get fit enough to walk 7km.  I made it public by writing about it here, and there was no going back.

Thanks to friends and family the money was soon raised and the reality of walking 7km started to sink in.

At school I was the child that always had a sore tummy on sports day.  I have terrible eye hand co-ordination and combined with Asthma I always ensured that I didn’t participate in sports.  I avoided physical activity at all costs.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I was quite probably the most unfit person you knew.  Walking to the shop (a mere 5 minute walk) would have me reaching for the car keys.

My fitness journey started about 4 years ago and regular readers of my blog will have read about when I bought my first pair of trainers, and when I felt the joy of walking on sand dunes.

Slowly and steadily I have built up my fitness levels, primarily through walking.  One foot in front of another and steadily increasing the distance and the pace.

For Christmas I was lucky enough to be given a Fitbit.  As a closet techie this really delighted me.  I could count the steps, monitor the calorie burning and set myself targets.

Commitment counts

Sunday 14 February 2016 – the day of the 7km walk, I woke up with a migraine!  And this is where commitment comes into play.  If I had not committed to doing the walk, raised the funds and promised to be there, I would have taken painkillers and turned over in bed for another hour at least. But, I had committed so I got up and got ready for my first ever official walk.

Walking (or running) for a good cause is even better.  As I arrived at 56 Central I was greeted by friends and fellow walkers who encouraged me and told me that I could do it.  I stood in line for my number and T-shirt and readied myself for the off.

A quick thank you here to friends and family who were there for me.  I needed that support so very much.

The race took off with the runners in front and the walkers behind.  My first thought was that I would come last.  Then I realised I was not competing with anyone else.  I was competing with myself.  I just needed to do it.

It was a long walk – and turned out to be 10km rather than 7km.  It’s a good thing it wasn’t advertised correctly as I never believed I could do it.  I won’t lie, the last third was hard.  I pushed myself and had my walking companion pointing out that I was 60% of the way there, then 65% and then 70%.

Close to the end I met up with some fellow walkers and we got a second (or was it third or fourth) wind and strided with pride up Shop Street in Galway to the finish line.

Now I had a beautiful medal to go with my T-shirt and race number.  I did it!

Giving back

This blog post would not be complete without a mention of the very good cause that we were raising funds for.  Project Impact is a new charity initiative put together by Pat Divilly, Gill Carroll and a fabulous team.  Project Impact raises money for charity with no expenses so everything raised will go to the charity.

For this event the money goes to Foroige – Big Brother Big Sister.  This is an internationally recognised youth mentoring  charity where a Big is matched with a Little to support and inspire.  The funds raised from this even will go to sending 100 ‘couples’ to a youth adventure centre.  In this way not only will the relationships strengthen but the importance of physical activity be emphasised.

I honestly wish I hadn’t waited for middle age to embrace fitness.  It is never too late though!

Onward to the next event.

A sincere thank you to everyone who supported me.  And thank you for reading.

Kerry x

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