Tag: lifestyle

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

Afternoon tea – a necessary indulgence



Afternoon tea is my favourite meal.  I know that it might not be the healthiest meal but it trumps on the luxurious indulgence stakes.

I was delighted to be invited to the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown to celebrate the launch of their afternoon tea menu.  The simple thought of it had me up early in the morning and ready to travel.

Like any true afternoon tea addict it is always a complete experience, so I started with my outfit.  It had to be my Lindy Bop Tea dress.  Feeling pretty and bubbling with excitement I set off on my journey with fellow bloggers Sinead from Yummy Mummy and Dolores from Irish Health Hour.

The mood was set with lots of girly chats and laughs and we arrived in good spirits.

A Hotel with a Heart

Some people might say that a hotel is simply a hotel, but this hotel has heart.  What a beautiful warm welcome we received.  The staff were fantastic, friendly and efficient.

As we entered the room where the tea party was being held I just wanted to swirl and twirl in my party dress.  The attention to detail was second to none and my eyes kept jumping around to take in the detail, all of which built atmosphere and excitement.

Pimp my Prosecco

Before we sat down for tea we were offered a glass of prosecco, but not just any prosecco.  This cute primp my prosecco stand meant that we could add flavourings and fruit to our glass of sparkle. As delicious as it was, I wanted to watch my intake and the great staff immediately assisted by pimping sparkling water for me.

The perfect ingredients for afternoon tea for me are great company, excellent hot tea and lots of it and of course the foody goodies.  As we sat down at a perfectly decorated table with great little details like name plates and little flowers I glanced over at the fine china and knew I was in for a treat.

The cake stands were delivered and we all simply dived in.  The bottom layer of sandwiches was my first dive in.  The classic smoked salmon and brown soda, a yummy delicious chicken with apple wood smoked cheddar (so yummy that I was looking for a second one), fresh tasting egg mayonnaise and cucumber and finally a roast beef.  I was ok with missing out on the beef (as I don’t eat red meat), and was delighted to sit back and sip at my tea.

My number one tea party food is a good scone.  These scones served with jam and cream were fluffy and light inside with just the right amount of crisp. The addition of lemon drizzle cake and a fruity banana bread was just the right balance before reaching for the top tier!

The top-tier of any tea stand is pure indulgence and this was no different.  Creamy, dreamy coconut cake, delicious vanilla cheesecake, toffee Mille Feuillee and beautiful little custard tarts which are my mother’s favourite.  The big decision – to choose or simply have one of each.

There was a lot of delicious food and I enjoyed it.  It was great fun though and between lots of laughs as we experimented with Boomerang and dived into our goody bags. Time simply flew.

Just a small note at this stage on the goody bags.  They were fabulous with lots of treats for us bloggers to try.  I will be featuring many items on my Instagram (@DynamicKerry) and my blog in the weeks to come. We were gifted all sorts of goodies from a range of sponsors.  These included the Carlton Hotel, Ultra Pure Laboratories, Human + Kind, Dr Paw Paw, Ardell Lashes, Graham Anthony, Debenhams, Nude by Nature and from local retailers including Chopped, O’Breins Wines, and Westend Retail Park.

This was my kind of afternoon, and to be honest my perfect social occasion.  I will definitely be back!

We even finished off the afternoon with a gin cocktail!  Who could say no to that?

A hotel with a lot more to offer

Before the day ended we had a tour around the hotel and I added to my wish list.  Beautifully appointed rooms just invite you to sink into soft pillows and take a rest.

The fab business centre caught my eye.  Working from home I am often looking for somewhere to hold a meeting or simply work and write when I am out-of-town.  I will be working on a different blog post over on www.kerrymanning.net all about working on the go and will definitely be including the facilities at the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown.

The Carlton Hotel is conveniently located close to the fabulous Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and in easy reach of the airport.

Thank you for reading. Let me know if you indulge in afternoon tea at the Carlton Hotel Blanchardstown or wherever you live.  Remember tea and cake is best shared with friends.

Kerry xx

Destressing my skin and my soul with Hayo’u

Stress is part of my life.  It is part of all our lives and relieving stress is high up on my list of things to deal with.

Over the past couple of years I have learnt to deal with my stress better. To be simply be more ‘in the moment when it comes to day-to-day life.  If I am upset over something I stop and breathe.  Simple I know but it has made a huge difference.

When I received news of the Hayo’u range of products I was intrigued.  I wanted to know more about a pamper product that seemed to understand where I was in my life.

The Hayo’u Method

Rather than a range of products I was introduced to the Hayo’u Method.  The system is designed to tackle stress levels and make you feel and look younger so a win in my book.

The package of samples (thank you so much) arrived.  Are these going to be any different to other bath and pamper products.  I had to wonder. They are so very different that I have to attempt to explain the sensory experience that I have had, and continue to have using this method.

The first of my senses was my sense of smell.  I love oils and the combination of lotus flower and frankincense. And combined with the healing properties of Himalayan pink salt it is just heavenly.  The first product I used was the shower gel which  immediately invigorated me.  But, as I was road testing the product I needed to follow instructions.  Each product comes with a little insert which introduces you to the one minute breathing exercise. This little ritual is rooted in the wisdom on Chinese medicine and helps you to focus inwards and calm your mind.  As you breathe in the gorgeous aromas you are drawing out physical tension and inviting in calm.

I love the instructions – Expel – the stale breath, Descend as you breathe in and then as you exhale – Smile though your whole body.  Try it – it feels great and puts me in a happy place.

After trying the shower gel I was ready for a bath, but waited for the following day.  I normally shower but I have been treating myself to baths quite a bit especially since I have been in a bit of pain.  The reason there are none of my own pics for this blog post is that I have used up all the bath product!  A gorgeous oily salty pink pile that I used both as a bath salt and a bit of a scrub.

A Stone massage at home

As if that wasn’t enough there were two more packages in the parcel.  The  Hayo’u Beauty Restorer De-stress Face Tool  a beautiful jade specially shaped stone, and a little bottle of gorgeously aromatic Treat-Rite De-stress Face Oil.

The two are used together to stimulate energy points and release congestion and toxicity.  I have included the video link so you can see how it is used, but let us just say I am addicted.  The experience is wonderful with the fragrance from the oil and the cool pressure of the jade stone tricking me into believing I am in an expensive spa.

It is easier to watch the video than to try to explain how this all works.

https://www.hayoumethod.com/the_one_minute_beauty_ritual/

As a blogger I get asked to try products fairly often but I only write honestly and write about products that I really love.  This little parcel has already brought me so much joy and relaxation that I have no hesitation in recommending it. These are not budget products, however I really think that they are simply fabulous and worth a treat to yourself.

Thank you so much for reading and promise me that no matter what products you use, please treat yourself to a relaxing bath – it is something I think we all neglect.  Lie there and simply breathe.

Kerry x

p.s.  I was gifted these items to try, but my review is from the heart.

Do you need a digital declutter?

This week I deleted over 50 000 emails and 20 000 text messages – a massive digital declutter.

Do you need a digital declutter

Digital mess is different to normal clutter.  For the most part it is invisible and takes up very little space in the physical world.  I honestly didn’t know I was carrying it all around with me.

So let me tell you how it all started.  I joined a group on Facebook called #Dream Life & Biz Creators Group.  It is run by the fabulous Patricia Parashakti Lohan.  She set up a week-long challenge and anyone who knows me knows that I am competitive so I was hooked.  When I started it I wasn’t even sure what it was about!

Patricia is a Feng Shui expert and the challenge was around decluttering.  I had already started on a big cleanse a few weeks prior so I felt quite smug.

First the handbag …

The first cleanse was your handbag – well I did mine the day prior so that was ok.  And then I remembered my very bad habit of migrating from handbag to handbag with only the essentials and leaving the clutter behind.  I cleared five handbags.

I found money and a few other things I had lost on the way and I threw out so much rubbish and it felt great.  The biggest benefit of all – I spent some time going down memory lane, looking at receipts, business cards, train tickets and flyers.  I let myself remember and contemplate and then I allowed myself to let the mess of scrappy papers go.

Then the emails and texts …

I digress though.  The real whammy for me was when we were asked to clear out our emails and messages – day four I think.  We carry our phones around with us all the time, our phones carry around much the same as our handbags, just in a digital form.

I started with the messages.  Over a thousand messages from an old boyfriend.  Why was I holding onto those.  Delete!

I deleted junk messages offering me 60% off at a sale that took place years ago.  I deleted work messages from a job I left over a year ago.  I deleted and did a digital declutter of over 20 000 text messages.

I did take time to enjoy the memory of some of the messages.  The message saying that my son had been accepted in his first choice course at university.  The first message from my partner.  The announcement that a friend had had a baby girl. The mantra was the same, enjoy the memory and then delete and make way for the new.

Facing the mammoth task of the emails was daunting.  Gmail doesn’t facilitate mass deleting very easily and when I googled it and tired something as advised I landed up in a bit of pickle with new messages going into the trash.

The only option was to do it slowly.  I trawled through emails with my finger on the delete button.  It was really cathartic pressing down and watching the past wing its way into the digital dustbin.   As I deleted I really did feel more energised and more positive about the future.

I have made some decisions about email, unsubscribed to emails that are no longer relevant and filtered my email into manageable files.  I am now finding that a visit to my inbox is a quick pleasurable experience.  I see the promotions I want to see, read the updates I enjoy and most of all I am more efficient.

The decluttering journey continues and I am honestly looking forward to it.

Patrica tell us that by letting go of the old we can make way for the new.  I have done a lot of that in the last week and there is more to do.  The bins (both actual and virtual) have been filled and emptied.

Thank you so much for reading and please feel free to comment if you have undertaken a digital declutter.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry x

Be Brave – take the first step

Be brave, take the first step

Being brave is huge!  It means different things to different people really but it is really a very powerful emotion that can propel us forward in a really good and positive way.

What does brave mean to you?

For some people attending an event or a function is brave. For others it might be attempting something that they never thought they could do.  We all have our comfort zones and when we take a step outside of this lovely comfortable place we are being brave.  For me it is stepping out into the unknown.

I am being really courageous this year.  Due to my health, I have had to start again.  Literally.  Imagine almost 52 and having to find a new career which will fit in with my current life.  It isn’t easy, but I am reading and learning and hopefully will be able to work part time very soon.

I have also had to be extremely brave and face some of my exercise demons.

This time last year I was living in Westport, working as the Head of Marketing for a financial services company and generally living it up.

Now my life has changed and I am living in Galway and trying to get my body as strong as possible in ways I can control.  I think this is really important as I cannot completely control the arthritis or fibromyalgia (never mind the other issues), but I can control my fitness levels.

I was brave in February when I did a 10km walk for charity.  I felt this way again when I did the Darkness into Life walk earlier in May.  I felt terribly brave when I went to my first yoga class.  Granted it was a yoga class for people with joint pain, but it was still hard to walk into a room and realise that you might be the biggest person in the class and more likely the least flexible person.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am lying on my back with my legs up against the wall, and trying various poses.  It is still a long way from the downward facing dog, but I am proud that I am taking these little brave steps.

Every day we have a choice, to be brave and take that step out of the comfort zone or stay cuddled in the warmth of the known.

I do both.  One thing I have learned though is that every time I take a brave step, the reward is there.  It isn’t always immediate, but it does come.

Please feel free to stop by and tell me your stories about being brave.  It honestly doesn’t matter how small the step, it is a step in the right direction.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

South Africa to Ireland a Big Move – My Story

There is no place like home

 

I have updated this blog post, which is one of my most read.

Thirteen years ago I moved from Johannesburg, South Africa to Ireland.  Not only was it a huge move from continent to continent, but it was also a move from city life to a rural life in beautiful Connemara.

It really doesn’t matter how many people you ask about the experience before it happens, it is still a massive shock to the system.

Ultimately my decision to move was motivated by the rising crime in South Africa.  There were a few experiences that really touched my life and I realised that I was living with fear.

I don’t judge the people who have stayed and neither do I judge the people who have left the beautiful country that is my birthplace.  The time came and I had to make my choice, and the fact that I had a 7-year old son was a huge part of that.

From South Africa to Ireland

We moved across the world and landed up in Connemara in early February.  Connemara is a beautiful place, but it doesn’t really show it’s beauty in February.  It was wild, windy and very cold.  It rained almost every day.  I wasn’t prepared, and my pretty umbrella bought in South Africa turned inside out and blew away the first time I used it.

With the hindsight of 13 years I am glad I made the move.  It has been a very turbulent 13 years which has seen me live in Connemara, in Westport, Mayo and now back in Athenry on the east side of Galway.

It has seen me start my own business in the form of a craft shop called An Siopa Buί – The Yellow Shop.  Through the shop I was privileged to travel across Ireland and meet some really special people.   Circumstances change and I returned to the corporate world and spend two and a half years in Westport (considered to be the best place to live in Ireland.)  I am now living in Athenry (made famous by the song The Fields of Athenry) and am moving onto a different phase of my life.

The common thread through my life and the big move has been people.  The friends that I have made at every stage – both South Africans in Ireland, South Africans at home and of course my Irish friends.

After 10 years I took Irish Citizenship and am proud to be Irish – although I will always be South African too.

I visit South Africa as often as I can and will always have the song of Africa in my heart.  When I am homesick I think of the sound of crickets on a summer night.  The evocative smell of sunset after a hot day and the wonderful social culture of bring and braai (a BBQ where everyone brings something along).

I was honoured to take part in a TV series on RTE in 2007 called No Place Like Home.  The producers came up with a cool concept of featuring foreigners living in Ireland, and comparing where their lifestyles in Ireland with lifestyles back ‘home’.  The title really says it all.  There is no place like home, but what I have come to realise is that you can have two homes.  I will always have a little part of my soul in Africa, but now I have fallen in love with Ireland too.

The West of Ireland where I have made my home is a truly beautiful place.  One day on a drive between Westport and Connemara I stopped to take in the view.  The word awesome came to mind.

Truly awesome as you realise that this magnificent scenery is simply there for us to appreciate and admire.

Ireland has been good to me.  I have made so many friends, through my crafting, through blogging , through the ICA and through my career.  I have been welcomed into so many homes and drunk copious cups of tea as I have learnt the generosity of spirit that the Irish are known for.

My son is now grown-up and has completed a Physics Degree at University in Galway and is now working in his dream job in the United Kingdom.  He has made his home here but I will always remind him of his African roots, so he too can have two homes. (Maybe even three since he has moved on)

You can read my post about my empty nest  here.

My information about the legalities and practicalities about moving to Ireland is a little out of date.  It is almost 15 years now.

I am delighted to say that there is a whole lot more information out there than there was when I did the move.

There is a wonderful Facebook Group run by South Africans who have made the move and I suggest that you join it and take a deep dive into the files.  There is so much information available and the people in the group are so helpful.

You can find the group here.

I do try to answer all the emails I receive but it isn’t always possible so apologies in advance.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

10 Areas of your Home to Tidy

10 Areas of your home to tidy

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

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

  1. Bedside locker (and drawers)

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

  2. Mantlepiece

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

  3. Hall Table

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

  4. Windowsills

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

  5. The bathroom cupboard and make-up in general

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

  6. The shower

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

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

  7. That drawer!

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

  8. The bulging folder of accounts that need filing

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

  9. The linen cupboard

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

  10. The craft room/home office

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

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

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

Kerry

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