Tag: walking

Finding Shoes for Difficult Feet

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

Extreme Foot Make-over Fantasy

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Comfort
  • Fit
  • Attractiveness
  • Affordability
  • Availability

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

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

Pretty shoes for a fashionista

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing the personal shopper

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

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

Shoes that make me want to dance

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

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

Thanks Hotter!

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

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

 

Kerry xx

What is your definition of Fabulous?

 

Fabulous means being the absolute best version of yourself.  It means tapping into yourself and understanding exactly who you are and them adding a bit of oomph!

Be fabulousA dictionary defines fabulous as being extraordinary – it is a superlative, but a good one!!

When I started my blog I chose the name and the meaning because I was striving to overcome quite a few things that had landed in my way.  I was rebuilding my life after a marriage breakdown, dealing with depression, kick starting a career at fifty and dealing with a couple of auto-immune diseases that meant that pain was a constant companion.

Be Fabulous.  I said this to myself on a daily basis.  I was tapping into the idea that if you act the act and talk the talk it will become reality.  Every morning I get up, I do my hair (which was a challenge when it started to fall out), and do my make-up.  I learnt new make-up tricks and started treating myself to new products.

My wardrobe became my friend as I started to put together outfits that made me feel fabulous.  I have some great favourites like a cobalt blue chiffon jacket that makes me feel good on a bad day.

For me this seemingly superficial attention to detail was a great trigger to feeling better. By taking care of myself on this level I started to pay more attention to the next level down and took time to give my skin nourishment and to start putting a walking plan into place.

Slowly the sense of fabulousness filtered through to a deeper level where I take time to nourish my mind and body on a daily basis.  I make sure I have time each day to simply be.  To sit and think.

I have a huge amount of work to do in my life – not least of which is my tidying and decluttering journey which is my current voyage.

A tribe of Fabulous Women

A huge joy for me this past year has been starting a group on Facebook of Fabulous Women.  Here I have met so many wonderful ladies who all define fabulous in a different way.

The constant is that we as fabulous women lift each other up and celebrate our uniqueness in a positive way.  Fabulous women are kind, they are caring and they are fierce when needed.  These are women who are determined that life circumstances will not get them down, and that when they rise, they will hold out their hands to the other women in their circle and lift them up.

What does Fabulous mean to you?

For each of us feeling fabulous means something different.  We are not all into hair and make-up, and we are not all into hiking.  This is what makes it such fun – we are all unique.

My wish is that we can all take a minute a day and tap into what makes us feel fabulous.  And if you, like me need to act it and talk it until it is a reality – then that is ok too.

 

I would love to hear how you define fabulous.  Please feel free to contact me and let me know.

If you would like to join the group on Facebook you are very welcome!  We are now over 1500 Fabulous Women!

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

Why I started wearing a Fitbit when I am probably not very fit at all?

 

I wear a blue Fitbit almost every day and have done so for the last 8 months.  My Dad asked me if I actually liked it when he saw me checking it over and again and commenting on how little or much I had walked.  Don’t let it rule your life he said.  I really love it!

fitbit fabuliciousfifty

Let me back track a little.  Regular readers to my blog will know that I came to fitness very, very late in life.  Like so late that I bought my first pair of trainers when I was on the very wrong side of forty.

I really do regret not discovering the joy of walking earlier in life, but I try to make up for it now.

One thing you must know before we get into all the statistics etc. is that I don’t walk very fast at all.  I also limp and sometimes walk like a ‘constipated tortoise’.  I have fibromyalgia and arthritis and it can all be a little painful.  Despite this however I strongly believe that the more I walk the better I feel.  Walking clears my mind and when it takes place it nature it fills my soul.  It also eases out all the creaks and actually makes me feel better.   In addition there are also all the health benefits that everyone talks about like weight loss and better muscle tone.

Last December I was visiting family in Dubai.  My big treat is a visit to an Arabic restaurant so off we went and ordered all these yummy little dishes for sharing.  I noticed my brother-in-law was wearing a bracelet.  I am very outspoken so I asked him why he was wearing a bracelet.  ‘It is a Fitbit.’   I really didn’t have a clue and as I didn’t move in fitness circles despite my love of walking I hadn’t even heard of the concept.  He patiently explained it all and told me how it worked.  He is really fit and walks, runs and plays squash.

I thought nothing of it until the next day when I was presented with a little bag and opened it to find my very own Fitbit.  I was honestly quite speechless – what a generous gift had been given to me to encourage my own fitness journey.

I strapped it on and was ready to go.  There are a number of things I learnt from wearing a Fitbit and because of these I would encourage everyone who can to try it – or any other fitness monitor.

This is what I have learnt about my Fitbit

  1. That it is possible to do under a thousand steps a day if you are in an office and don’t move around much.
  2. It takes around 2500 steps to walk from my house to the doctor – so there and back is a great way to ensure I get my steps in.
  3. I feel grumpy and disgruntled when I don’t walk.
  4. Looking at a Fitbit which shows under 2000 steps is a great motivator to get my trainers on and get moving.
  5. That it is possible to walk over 10 000 steps before breakfast when I participated in the 5km Darkness into Light walk recently.  I also exceeeded myself at the Heart of Galway walk where I logged up 14 000 steps.
  6. That my sweet place is around 6000 steps – after this I suffer quite a bit with pain. I am now trying to push my speed a little instead of going further.
  7. I have learnt to use the Fitbit to pace myself and prevent myself from getting overtired. For example if I am going into town and know I am going to be pounding the pavements I might drive or get a lift to the station.  I have no problem walking the 2000 steps to get there, but the prospect of walking 2000 steps home when I am literally crying with pain and exhaustion isn’t a good idea.

A new introduction to the Fitbit app is a little chart which shows how many hours of the day you have been active.  This is really cool and a big wake-up call.  You get a little red dot for each waking hour you do over 250 steps.  It is a really simple but important reminder to get moving.  Take a break, stretch your legs and move away from the computer.  Although it is always good to log between six and 10 000 steps a day it is better to be active throughout the day rather than doing the majority of steps in one big burst.

My Fitbit does all sorts of other things too.  It measures my sleep.  It is really interesting to see if you are in fact getting a good night.  The app – on your phone where you can view all the data from the device shows periods of restfulness and periods of being awake.  When I first started wearing it I was rarely getting a decent 8 hours.  Now I often get those restful hours so necessary to keep smiling.

I also love the little virtual rewards – badges that you get for reaching milestones.  It is always nice to get a pat on the back!

I hope I can motivate other people like me (who might be overweight, unfit and battling with pain) to get moving.

Thank you for reading – I am off to get my Fitbit off the charger and go for a walk.

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

 

Find Happiness – do what makes your heart sing

 

Do more of what makes your heart sing (1)Have you ever had that feeling?  That feeling of being so happy that your heart literally sings?

I think that we are all seeking happiness, but sometimes in the wrong places.  A couple of weeks ago I was walking down the road, eating an ice cream cone, I had good company, the sun was shining and I felt really happy.  So happy that I felt like my heart was singing.

After going through quite a lot, especially recently, I have had to re-evaluate so much in my life and I think that the key to happiness might just lie in appreciating the moments that make us happy.  A cup of hot tea after coming in from the rain.  Climbing into fresh sheets.  The crackle of an open fire.  The pain of muscle stretch that reminds you of a good exercise session.

So my quote for this week is about happiness

Do more of what makes your heart sing

We live in a world with so many possibilities and so many things to strive for.  I know that many of us set objectives and goals.  I do this myself, and think it is really important.  It shouldn’t however be something where you say to yourself, I will be happy when ….  Be happy now!

Each little moment of happiness should be grasped – relished and enjoyed like a good piece of chocolate slowly melting on your tongue.

Enjoy your Easter and be happy.  This weekend do more of what makes your heart sing.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

Life Audit: Where am I now?

Honour the place between no longer and yet.

 

I know I have been a bit quiet and there has been a bit of a gap between blog posts.  That is because I have been doing a life audit.

Early in December I took sick – a combination of things.  It was a real large bump in the road as I realised that I could no longer work full-time.

I have been working since I turned 16.  I had a Saturday job in a shoe store and then worked my way through college.  After graduating I started working and to be honest I have never stopped.  I even cut my maternity leave to a couple of weeks as I was working for myself.

Not working has been quite some adjustment, and something that has taken some time to get used to.  I love being busy and really relish a busy mind.  My body unfortunately doesn’t agree.  A recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia on top of the other health issues I have been fighting was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So what have I been doing?

My quote this week says it all really.

Honour the place between no longer and yet

I would really like to thank my friends and family who have been incredibly supportive.  They have guided me to take stock.  To do a life audit.

What can I do, and what can’t I do.  What skills do I have and what skills can be transferred.  One friend told me to consider myself a client and look at myself as a product.  What are the good things about me and where are my weaknesses.  I have been doing just that, taking stock and doing a life audit of myself.  Figuring out what I really want and how to achieve it.

It takes some time to get used to what you no longer have to do.  I finally switched off my morning alarm and am letting myself wake up naturally.  I am still a morning person, but it is a relief not to be wakened by beep beep beep at 6.30 in the morning.

I am also taking care of myself.  Nice long walks and time set aside each day for meditation and learning. (read about my very long walk here)

Of course my active mind is exploring new opportunities.  I have a few ideas I am playing with in my head and hope that I will find some great opportunities to volunteer in the future.  I am excited as my knowledge grows and hope to use my new skills in a part-time capacity in the future.

For now though I am in the middle – honouring the place between no longer and yet.

I sincerely want to thank everyone that reads my blog and gives me feedback.  The one thing that I have realised is that I love blogging and will continue to blog and hopefully inspire.

 

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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