Tag: Westport

Do your clothes give you joy?

Do your clothes give you joy?  Or do they make you feel nostalgic? Do they make you feel fabulous?

clothes memories fabuliciousfifty

I was privileged to talk to Marcia O’Regan of Colourharmonie recently and somehow we stumbled on the subject of clothes and decluttering.  She is currently reading Maria Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  Marcia was telling me about her experience of tidying her closet, and only keeping items that give her joy.

 

Now I am a long way from being a tidy (a very long way) but this really resonated with me.  For quite some time now I have only bought clothes that I really love.  Part of this was financial but I also found that when I was wearing something I really love, I felt more confident, and I suppose a little bit fabulous.

I really believe we dress for ourselves and even though people around us get the pleasure of seeing us with a pretty dress and make-up, how we look does for some of us impact on how we feel.

After the call with Marcia I returned to household chores which of course included the endless laundry.  As I was hanging up my clothes I realised that almost every item of clothing carries a story.

These are some of the little one line stories my clothes have to tell ….

  • A pretty blue floral dress that I call my party dress.  I bought it with gift vouchers in South Africa on a visit home.  The first time I wore it was for my birthday 4 years ago.
  • I have quite a few maxi dresses, all similar in style but in a wide range of fabulous prints.  These are dresses that arrive in boxes from Dubai.  My lovely sister sends me care parcels and each time I wear one of my dresses I think of her – it is like a fabric connection.
  • A royal blue chiffon jacket was a gift from my Mom from the fabulous Queenspark in South Africa.  It is sheer and light but adds not only colour but style to anything it is thrown over.
  • I won a prize on Facebook of a voucher for Liberties in Westport.  I thought I was too fat to be able to choose anything from this wonderful boutique.  When I went to visit I was treated really well and fell in love with a long dark purple top that I wear often.  It covers a multitude of sins.
  • My current favourite dress summer or winter is a LBD – it is really simple but beautifully cut and when I wear it I feel great.  I stumbled across it at the time of the month when you shouldn’t find anything you like.  It was a big decision, and meant a few lean days before payday but it was worth it.

One thing I realised when I was walking down memory lane in my closet was that I keep my clothes a long time.  I have a beautiful cardigan that I paid quite a bit for and literally wore it until it fell to holes.  I then begged my mom to use her embroidery talent to create little flowers over the holes.

I am committed to doing a bit of decluttering and tidying up very soon, but I know that some of my lovely clothes will stay with me.  That way I can wear my memories and joyful moments.

I would love to hear some of your clothes stories – I bet that a visit to your closet will bring up many happy memories.

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

When change happens – make it good change

Marilyn monroe quoteChange is inevitable.  Marilyn Monroe is a woman that divides.  I admire her and am often drawn to her quotes.  I think that to an extent she was misunderstood, but behind the blond curly locks and sexy voice was a very wise woman.

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

I was musing on 2015 and realised that so far it has been a year of two halves.  For the first 6 months I was happily living in Westport, working away at my job, with a great social life and a fabulous circle of friends in Mayo.

The second half has been all about change.  I found a new job in Galway – which was the first domino in a series of changes.  I left my beautiful flat,and now know that I would have been given notice anyway as the owners were moving back!  I bade farewell to familiar streets that I walked every day greeting people along the way.

The transition was not easy, but now I am starting to realise that this quote is true.  New things are starting to fall together.  I am writing this sitting in my lovely new home, contemplating putting on a fire with a pot of soup on the stove waiting for my dinner guest.

I have found new ways to exercise and am walking regularly.

I am closer to my family and am rekindling old friendships and making new ones.

I have new challenges in the workplace that are allowing me to exercise my mind.

So, thank you Marilyn for those wise words of inspiration.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my Wednesday quotation.

Kerry x

 

 

How I got unstuck from a table in a beauty salon

Customer Service

This is a two part blog post.  The first part is how I got myself stuck on a table in a beauty salon, and the second a tribute to excellent customer service.

I was really excited on Saturday morning, I was returning to Westport for a day of visiting old friends and haunts.  The Hair and Beauty Rooms in Westport is a ‘haunt’ and a place where I have made some very good friends.  I wanted to treat myself to a few treatments including a leg wax.  I honestly believe that every fabulous woman should where possible have salon days (and if money is tight, treat yourself in your own home).

I digress…

I woke up on Saturday morning bright and breezy and simply sat on the sofa.  Pop – my back went out.  Excruciating pain.  It hasn’t happened for years, but it happened on a day when I didn’t want it to happen.  I tried lying on the floor and doing a manoeuvre to pop it back in.  The only thing that happened was that the dog was worried about me and tried to lick me better.  I struggled up, took a pain killer and set off to Westport. Thankfully I was not driving.

It eased up a bit and I struggled up the stairs of the salon eager to begin my treats.  It all went very well.  I lay there and was pampered by Lindsay, chatting away and thinking that my back wasn’t really that bad.  We got to the part where she asked me to turn over to wax the back of my legs. Eeek – out it went again.  I was stuck I couldn’t move one way or another.

Now in a way this was a funny situation, but in another it was awkward. Here I was bent double with half my legs waxed.

I cannot applaud the customer service I received loudly enough.  Lindsay was determined that I would leave the salon all beautifully waxed.  She finished the job with me bent double – I first for us all.  The awkwardness then increased as I realised I couldn’t reach my trousers which had slipped to the floor, never mind get dressed.  Lindsay kindly helped me to dress and sent me off to my favourite Westport pharmacy where again I was welcomed and given both great advice and the right medication to relieve the pain and enjoy the time with my friends.

This is a shout out to all those who give amazing customer service as part of their job. They are heroes.

Thank you for reading.  If you would like to leave a comment, please do and tell me about your customer service hero.

Kerry xx

Sexy girls wear glasses

sexy specs (2)

I wear glasses, most of the time anyway.  I have been wearing them since my early twenties, and even though I do have contacts, I tend to stick to my specs.  They are comfortable and most importantly I can see!

It’s funny though everytime there is a special occasion or I want to impress I tend to reach for my contacts, and then land up in a restaurant not being able to read the menu (big secret my glasses are varifocals).  I squint to read text messages and am ever grateful for the fact that by flicking the volume button in a text message I can enlarge the font to headline size.

I digress, bottom line is I feel most comfortable in glasses – so my quest is to feel sexy and fabulous wearing them.

A quick search on the internet found this fabulous article on Buzz Feed with a cool slider thingy.  Check out these celebrities with their glasses on and their glasses off.  So cool, and honestly in most of the pics I would choose glasses!

sexy eyesThe second great reason to wear glasses is you can go all out on the eyemake-up.  Think smouldering lashes and sexy liner.  At a recent make-up demonstration at Matt ‘o Flaherty’s in Galway with the fabulous Stephan Ulvund Øien from Isadora I learnt about tight lines.  It took me a while to get back in and buy my waterproof black liner, but I am so very glad I did.  It has taken a bit of practice, but I am delighted with the results.  And most importantly it lasts all day.

As my sexy glasses confidence has grown, I have also got bolder with colour.  I generally stick to neutrals, but the summer palette from Isadora has had me experimenting and having a bit of fun.  I am not suggesting catwalk crazy eyes, but a subtle blend of some fun summery colours makes me feel fresh.

Lashings of mascara are also an essential to make sure that your eyes are not overshadowed by your frames.

Finally, and I am not great at this, but don’t forget your lips.   A nice strong lip colour will help to balance your face.

My very own sexy glasses come from Eye World here in Westport.  A big thank you to them for allowing me to take pictures in their fab shop.

Thanks for reading, and please if you get a chance leave me a comment letting me know if what you think.  Can glasses be sexy?

 

Kerry x

 

Why I am no longer scared of change

Making a big life change is scary, but (2)Change is something I have learnt to embrace.  It isn’t easy, and I still find it a huge challenge, but I have learnt that change offers opportunity.

This post is a very special Wednesday quotation as the quote in question aptly describes my life over the last few weeks.  The lesson for me has been that ‘making big life changes is scary, but what is even scarier is regret.

Let me back-track a little ….

Three years ago I chose ‘change’ as my word of the year, and experienced some extreme changes.  Over that year, I learnt to adapt and accept that things cannot stay the same if you want to grow.  2013 was the year I moved to Westport to take up a new job back in the corporate world.  It has been a fabulous experience, and I have really loved the challenges that working in corporate finance gave me.  I am proud of how much I have learnt, and extremely grateful to the Westport for welcoming me.

Now it appears that I need another change in my life to continue my journey.  I am delighted to share that I have a new job, with an exciting Irish company.  I will be based back in Galway and am excited about the new marketing challenges ahead.

It is scary, as I will be leaving the comfort of a job I know, great colleagues, and of course the wonderful friends I have made here.  Westport is a town I have grown to love.

I am not moving yet, as I like to take my change slowly.  First the job, and then the move I, tell myself.

On the plus side, I am delighted to be returning to beautiful Galway.  My son, my sister, lots of friends old and new and of course the fabulous attractions all await just a county away.

If you are facing change, be brave.  I know it isn’t easy, and a little part of me is dreading it, but there is another part of me that is very excited.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

Learned helplessness – reaching beyond my limitations

beach1

Today I went for a walk on the beautiful beach at Carrownisky near Westport.  This has got to my one of my favourite Sunday activities, and this time it was even better because I had the company of my very wise son, David.

We walked as far as we could in once direction and then turned and walked as far as we could in the other.  It was quite rocky and I was walking barefoot.  I walked along, looking down to make sure I didn’t turn my ankle.  I was taking care, but I was also chatting, taking photos and simply  but also enjoying the day.  It was windy and a little wet but that didn’t stop us.

I remarked to David that years ago I wouldn’t have even tried to walk on the beach.  Since I was a young child I have always been told that I wasn’t sporty, fit or thin.  I was basically programmed to think that I couldn’t.  If I had visited that beach years ago I would have either sat in the car or found a bench.  I didn’t think I could manage a long walk and would have been conscious of getting back, every step I took away from the car.  I would have also been told, be careful, mind your weak ankle, don’t fall.  None of these things happened today (and any other day I have walked on the beach).

beach2David told me about a concept called learned helplessness.  You can read about it here, but basically it is a story that starts with an experiment with dogs.  (Not very humane, but huge lessons to be learnt)

The concept of learned helplessness was discovered by accident by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier.  Dogs that had been conditioned to expect an electrical shock when hearing a tone, became helpless even when there was an option to escape the shock.

I think many of us are the same.  We believe we can’t so we don’t.  Perhaps it is a case of failing a few times.  Or in my case twisting my ankle a few times.

Learned helplessness in humans can been seen in so many instances.  As soon as David explained the concept to me I could think of so many circumstances.  Imagine a child who does badly on a maths exam.  After repeatedly receiving low scores for maths, he will begin to believe that he will never master maths.

I am so glad that I have overcome the feeling of helplessness that was once a huge part of my life.  These days I act first, and think of my limitations later.  Perhaps, of course some sort of balance would be better.

I may not be ready to climb Croke Patrick, but I am not going to feel limited about taking a nice long beach walk.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Like Water off a Duck’s Back

Like water off a Duck's back  quote

 

Years ago, after coming home from work a little stressed and worn down from office politics, I was presented with a ceramic duck.  ‘Put this on your desk, and look at it every time you need to’.  Wise words indeed.

In the hustle and bustle of life, there are always going to be moments where you may be criticised, or when something happens that is nobodies fault, but you feel bad about it.

I drop things – and after a long day at work, looking at a plate crashed on the floor, can really get me down.  No matter what it is at work or home, big or small just remember, it is like water off a duck’s back.  Let it slide right off.

I love this photo of one of the Westport ducks along the river walk.  I no longer have a ceramic duck on my desk – I gifted it to my colleagues, but I have the image in my head.

Thanks for reading this Wednesday quote post.

Kerry xx

The ICA and Me – Great way to make friends

ica imageThe Irish Country Woman’s Association (ICA) has been going for 105 years.  I heard about it soon after I arrived in Ireland, but never got around to joining, mostly due the fact that I was living far out in the country.  I can honestly I wish I had joined years ago.

A week after moving to Westport I saw a little piece in the local paper about ICA.  I picked up the phone and got straight through to our chairwoman Ann – and a few days later, I joined the ICA family.

Just recently my son had two work related social occasions.  I excitedly asked him what he had learnt.  I was expecting to hear about the power of twitter, or the something new to do with gaming.  His answer surprised me.  ‘More than anything, I  learnt that I can walk into a room full of strangers and act like I can fit it’.

I think that when I moved to Westport this is exactly what I had to do.  I am a very bubbly outgoing person, but it is still hard to start over and make new friends.

Joining the Westport ICA Guild was one of the best things I ever did.  I walked into a room full of  fabulous ladies who have now become friends.  I was welcomed warmly and I have never for a minute felt like I was a stranger.

I learnt loads of new skills including how to crochet, and I was given an opportunity to share my own crafting skills, but more than anything I have learnt about life.  About the town where I live, and about the lives of my ICA friends.

I think a lot of people don’t really know about the ICA.  Ask me out on a Tuesday night and my standard answer will be – sorry, I have ICA.  I get some strange looks and questions about what we actually do. It is a lot more than knitting I can tell you!

Yes, there are craft skills that are shared but there are also other activities such as quiz nights, sporty evenings, charity activities and visiting speakers.  Mostly though ICA is about people.  About making friends and connecting with the lives of others.  All ICA meetings end with a good natter over tea – a truly special time and not to be missed.

In some of my other blog posts I have talked about balance.  ICA balances my life.  It is a commitment to attend on a Tuesday night, and that is important in itself.  It gets you out and gets you motivated to say farewell to the TV and the sofa for a few hours.   Many evenings I have walked home still giggling away at something that has been shared.

Thank you Westport ICA – you are a great bunch of ladies and I am super proud to be a member.

Almost every country has a version of ICA – I would encourage anyone to join – it is the support of fabulous woman who quietly work away doing amazing work.  Think of the now famous ‘Calender Girls’.  The aim of the ICA is to provide a welcoming and fun organisation which offers support, friendship, personal development, education and live long learning.  It has certainly done exactly that for me.

The photos in this article are of the Federation meeting held here in Westport.  The craft display was an amazing display of work completed by members, and the cake display was a work of art and tasted even more delicious than it looked.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have your own woman’s group stories you would like to share.

Kerry xx

 

Competition time – win your own fabulous crown

 

Photo 26-03-2015 22 35 50I am so enjoying this blog – especially the fantastic feedback. My favoute post so far has been about my ‘princess’ issues and always wearing my invisible crown.

I am delighted with the price goodies I have collected. A mini capsule Mode make-up collection from The Hair & Beauty Rooms in Westport and …. A beautiful Crown necklace! Any woman would have to feel Fabulous and special wearing this.

To enter you need to follow my blog and please leave a comment.

Thanks so much.

Kerry x

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