Tag: lifestyle

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

My sofa is an important part of my life

3-seater-grey-fabric-sofa-waldorf

When I watch Gogglebox on Channel 4,  I realise that for many of us it isn’t TV that is the centre of the home, but rather the sofa.  Best friends, husbands and wives, families or all shapes and sizes congregate on the sofa night after night.  Yes, it is our seat in front of the TV but it is so much more than that.

It is that comfy squishy sofa that we sink into at the end of a long day.

So how exciting is it that sofas are now part of my life?  Today I started my new job as Marketing Manager for EZ Living Furniture.

My sofa is sometimes my desk with my laptop, papers strewn and a cup of tea by my side as I write blog posts.  Sometimes it is a haven for confidences as my best friend and I sit side by side pouring our hearts out.  My sofa is the place that my son first found out that he had received first class honours for his first year at university.

We were also sitting together when he received a skype message to say that his video game  Boxman Begins had been greenlit on Steam (for the non-gamers, this is the biggest online gaming portal for PC games).  It is also where I Skype my family in South Africa

I share my sofa with my memories, and many friends and family, but writing this blog post I realise I also share it with myself.  I am happy in my own company and have had many contented hours sitting in my spot (shades of Sheldon from the Big Bang here as I always sit in the same place) simply enjoying a nice cup of tea and a scone, and maybe indulging in some Netflix.

So the question is – who do you share your sofa with?  Or perhaps even who would you like to share your sofa with?  For Patrick Dempsey I might even move out of my spot.

I would love to hear your comments.

Kerry xx

Today I will focus on my dreams

focus

Too often I get bogged down with the setting goals and tasks.  I am very goal orientated and I am constantly setting myself short term goals and organising (and sometimes over organising) my life.  Short terms goals are good and it means that things get done, but sometimes I feel I just want to stop and dream.

So today I will focus on my dreams – those things that seem so far out of reach.  Since I was a little girl I have wanted to write a book.  That is a dream that I would love to become reality.

I am sure there are other dreams too, so today I will let my mind soar and believe that anything at all is possible.

Today a dream, tomorrow a goal and then ……

Thanks for stopping by, and if you are inspired, please feel to share

Kerry x

The power of rest and relaxation

Rest and relaxation (2)

The importance of a sofa day

I am one of those people who try to pack as much living in as I can.  The one thing I seem to struggle with is how to include rest into this life of mine.  This week I learnt a powerful lesson.

I plan my life and try to pack in as much work, play, socialising and self improvement. I laugh about the fact that I have a real job and my hobby jobs (blogging and crafting).  I know I need to rest but, there is a part of me that simply loves life. The famous line from the Dead Poet’s Society lives in my brain – Seize the day!

I landed up at the doctor this week literally shaking with fatigue.  Four days later I still hadn’t stopped and gave myself a bit of a fright when I realised that I was literally too tired to stand up.  It is scary enough that it took four days for the penny to drop.

The Doctor  kindly explained that people who are dealing with what I am dealing with, couldn’t do what I do. The word she used was comobidity (I had to google it when I got home).  Basically it means dealing with more than one disease at a time.

I suffer from a number of conditions including diabetes, arthritis and pernicious anaemia, all which contribute to my tiredness. Methotrexate treatment doesn’t help either, nor pain which makes me tired too.  There are weeks where I am in pain every day.

Using my rational mind I can understand why we need to rest, however, I find it very hard to do.  I just have this burning need to pack as much life in as I can.  This week I learnt a hard lesson.  I pushed myself until I literally stopped.

So today, a Sunday I have rested.  I wanted to share a few lessons that I have revisited some thoughts about rest that I need to remember.

  1. We all need to rest.  Don’t forget that.
  2. True rest is for the mind, the body, the spirit and emotions.
  3. It is ok to switch your phone off and take time out.
  4. A TV marathon never killed anyone
  5. Meditation is a mighty powerful form of rest
  6. If you can, prepare for your day of rest by stocking up on snack (healthy is good, but a little indulgence isn’t the ned of the world either.
  7. Drink lots of water – it gives your system a rest
  8. An early night is a good idea
  9. Listen to your body
  10. Spend a little of your rest time contemplating the good things in your life.  Your friendship circle, your beautiful home and the joy of a day where you can simply do nothing.

I am sure that my day of rest will set up for the rest of the week.  All I need to do now is remember to include rest in my schedule.  Please feel free to share, especially if you know people who forget the importance of rest and relaxation.

Kerry xx

Berry crumble – that is raw, healthy and sugar free!

 

De-constructed Berry Crumble (2)I have a very sweet tooth, and since being diagnosed as diabetic it is a constant struggle to please my sweet tooth, but also my meet my health targets.  I love playing with food, deconstructing it down to the individual elements and then rebuilding it in a healthier way.  This is my take on berry crumble, with a tiny bit of naughtiness at the end.

Even though there is no cooking you want to prepare your berries a good hour or two ahead of time.

Start with your choice of berries, I had a punnet of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.  Tumble them into a big bowl and add a chopped peeled apple.

Untitled design (8)

Depending on the quantity, add a good shake of cinnamon (approx 1 teaspoon) and the juice of a lemon. Mix gently so the berries don’t break up.  Depending on how sweet your tooth is, add some Agave syrup.  I am addicted to this cranberry version from Biona Organics.

Cover and leave to marinate.  The acid in the lemon juice will ‘sort of”cook the berries and the apples give you a gorgeous fresh tasting berry compote.

To serve simply layer up in sundae glasses (an essential ingredient for my desserts) and top with a little fat free yogurt (or coconut yogurt).  I added some sugarfree wheat free granola cereal to the top.

The final flourish if you are feeling naughty is a little grating of chocolate.  It is amazing how little chocolate you use this way, and you can still feel like you have had a treat.  Use raw chocolate for an even healthier treat.

Enjoy xx

The Liebster Award – time to learn a little more about me!

Thank you to ashleighthebeautyaddict for nominating me for nominating me for the Liebster award.  Great fun and I  get to look at so many blogs.  Honestly since I have been blogging I have learnt so much and ‘met’ such amazing people – I feel really honoured.

Liebster

Here are the rules:

1) Thank and link back to the person(s) who nominated you and display the award

2) Answer their 11 questions the nominee asked

3) Give 11 random facts about yourself

4) Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers

5) Notify the bloggers you chose for the award

6) Make a list of 11 different questions for your nominees to answer

My questions from Ashleighthebeautyaddict

One:  What is the one makeup product you always ‘need’ to buy, yet you have a thousand different ones in the drawer?

Foundation – I seem to have developed a bit of an addiction for it.  I must be my quest for a flawless skin.  I promise I will use them all.  I tend to swop and change depending on the occasion.

Two:  Are you allergic to anything?

I must be, just can’t think of anything right now.  Oh! I know I am allergic to unkind people – they bring me out in hives!!!

Three:  If I was to quickly look at your profile pic, what would be the one thing I would never ever guess about you?

That I was blond most of my life.  The red hair is part of me striving to be fabulous and be strong.

Four:  Name the first lipstick shade name that comes to mind!

Blushing ballroom

Five:  Okay now join that name with the name of the first street you lived on, that’s your Superhero name! What power do you have and why?

Blushing Ballroom Rosemary – Well obviously this superhero can dance like a dream and forget the cares of her life while dancing.  The real superpower I would like to have is to make people feel good about themselves despite what they are dealing with.

Six:  What is the one thing you cannot stand to be around? (a certain smell/place/animal/insect?)

I don’t really like the smell of raw meat – a butcher shop makes me feel sick!  I was a vegetarian most of my life.

Seven:  What beauty product did you cave and buy that totally didn’t work out for you?

Nothing comes to mind, but I know I do know that I have too many handcreams.  I seem to buy lots of them, and then never get to use them up.

Eight:  Is there a certain product/brand/place you rave about to everyone? It could even be a game or a book!

That’s easy Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream.  It is my go to solution for everything skin.  I think friends and family are tired of hearing about it.  It is a miracle cream.

Nine:  Would you rather throw out your eyeshadow’s, pigments and palettes or your foundations, mascara’s and lipsticks?

It would be my lipsticks.  I love them, but forget to apply them throughout the day, so am often bare lipped.

Ten:  Is there a word/brand you were told you have been saying wrong the entire time? (I thought Morphe was pronounced Morphe not Morph-ee)

Took me a long time to learn to say lingerie as a child.  I think I was in my twenties before I learnt how to pronounce it!

Eleven:  Name one person on Instagram or Youtube that you admire.

I haven’t explored Youtube enough yet.  My summer project! – so watch this space.

I do love Tedtalks – so inspiring.

11 Random facts about me

  1. I have 2 different colour eyes – one blue and one green
  2. I am a middle child
  3. I tell everyone (and honestly secretly believe) that I can talk dog! I am sure I understand them and that they understand me
  4. I have a really boy/techie side to me
  5. Through my son – I have developed a huge interest into the psychology of video games.
  6. I have a number of tiaras/crowns (perhaps that isn’t a big secret)
  7. I am very untidy
  8. Friends are my real wealth
  9. I had serious imaginary friends as a child
  10. I pretended to be my brother’s twin for a good few years (and he is 6 years younger than me!)
  11. I love to paint

I am nominating 11 bloggers – I hope you haven’t done this before …

(May I just say I have loved this research – could read blogs all day!)

Style Gamblers

EA Loves

Enhance what is yours

Beechmount Art Studio

Helpless while Drying

Sometimes Write

Squidgy Moments

But you have such a pretty face

Lilliwhiterose

Glittermamawishes

Red Lips Red Hair

My Questions:

  1. Did you have a nickname as a child – and what was it?
  2. Did you have an imaginary friend? Tell us please?
  3. Where do you come in your family? Is it a good or bad thing
  4. TV guilty pleasure
  5. Your best bathtime routine – favourite products, scented candles ….
  6. Quote that defines your life
  7. Your favourite exercise
  8. Have you ever considered online dating?
  9. What triggered your first blog post
  10. What beauty product in your make-up bag makes you feel really special
  11. The book that changed your life?
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