The ‘Get Healthy’ Sparkle

Well yes, here I go again. You have to give me serious sparkling points for trying for I do keep trying. I do so well for a while and then…oh dear, it is a birthday, a leaving party, a night out or the famous, ‘one won’t hurt’. Once I get back into the goodies it is so difficult to leave them alone again.

Ignite your healthy sparkle. Via Pinterest

Ignite your healthy sparkle.
Via Pinterest

I know how much energy I have when I eat a healthier more balanced diet and exercise more, I know how good I feel with all this extra energy and I also know how sluggish I feel when I’ve been a bad girl and chosen the less healthy options, had just that little too much chocolate, had to eat that last biscuit and that one very small sliver of cake…except that it is that one very small sliver of cake every night.

Now, I am not too worried about losing lots of weight. A health scare earlier this year brought home to me how much it means to have health and I would rather have curves and be healthy. I would like however to be healthier within my body. I am becoming more and more conscious of the foods I eat and how my body is trying to digest these foods. I am becoming more and more conscious of the health benefits of exercise. I’m certainly not a gym bunny but I do love walking and I do love to dance and I do love to yoga and these are all good exercise.

You may be wondering why I am being crazy enough to start this healthy eating off, again, at this time of year. The Frankfurt German Christmas Market opens this week in the city, there is going to be goodies galore on the run up to Christmas, nights out, dances, and temptation everywhere and that is just why I am starting now. I want to test my will power. I want to get healthier, I want to stretch my body more and I want to do what I can to safeguard myself as much as I can for the future. Most of all, I want to get back into my Jeans and I want to look good in my beautiful 1950’s Vintage Dresses.

Are you with me? Come on, ignite your healthy sparkle 🙂

Thank you for reading my blog.

Love your body and sparkle. Via Pinterest

Love your body and sparkle.
Via Pinterest

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Coffee Shop Sparkles

Coffee Comfort Via Pinterest

Coffee Comfort
Via Pinterest

I don’t know about you but I love coffee shop culture. I love to see coffee shops open, people together, alone, reading, on their laptop’s or tablets, greeting friends or family, laughing, talking, hugging, holding hands or even arguing. There is nothing about coffee shop culture that I don’t like. I didn’t always feel this way, there were times I just wanted a cup of coffee and the thought of visiting Starbucks filled me with dread because I didn’t want to order a Mocha Choca Latte, I just wanted a normal cup of coffee. That so changed. My first trip to a Starbucks was a very cold, frosty day, the week before Christmas and I was in New York City, by City Hall. I had a Peppermint Mocha in a Red cup and that was it, I was hooked. I loved it, the atmosphere, the music, the people, the coffee…how wonderful was this place!!

If I have to wait for somebody and I get the opportunity, I’ll wait in a coffee shop. I love to sit there, huge couch, comfy chair or the wooden stool and read a book, listen to their music and soak up the atmosphere. Sometimes I can’t concentrate on the book, I’m watching the stories unfold around me, lovers meeting, colleagues at meetings, students gathering, shoppers gasping for a cuppa. So many lives touching on one another within the coffee shop. Even saying the words ‘I’ll meet you at Starbucks, Costa etc’ just make me all warm and sparkly inside.

In Dublin a couple of years ago, again before Christmas, I visited ‘Hippety’s, a gorgeous vintage style coffee shop. Their music was ‘The Beatles’, there were camper van’s galore, oil cloth tablecovers and it was warm and welcoming. I’m not just a lover of chain coffee shops, I love the independents just as much because they are quirky and different and wonderful. I am currently eagerly awaiting the opening of a new coffee shop in the city centre close to where I work. ‘Yorke’s’ I am watching your progress daily as I walk to and from the office. I can hardly wait to visit, taste the coffee and watch the sparkle of the people coming through your doors.

Irish Coffee Heaven in Temple Bar

Irish Coffee Heaven in Temple Bar

I think coffee shops look exceptionally beautiful and welcoming in the Winter months, the darker evening, the lights are on, the Christmas decorations go up, the music becomes festive and let me not forget that ‘Red Cups’ will be back. We are approaching that time of year right now…get ready to sparkle!!

Do you have a favourite coffee shop moment or place? Please share it with me.

Thank you for reading my blog 🙂

Country Music – the bliss and the sparkle!

Oh how my free spirit soared that night. That feeling of pure bliss, happiness rippled through me like waves of delight. The freedom of singing and dancing, the simple pleasures of life and something I hadn’t enjoyed for too long a time.

Where did this amazing bliss take place? The Irish Centre in Birmingham! I said it was the simple things. A place I used to visit often with my family and we’d sing and dance to our favourite bands and here I was, years later with my wonderful, up for any adventure friend, April, waiting see Irish Country music star John McNicholl. I was so excited, I’d tweeted earlier that evening that I felt like a teenager again and believe me, that felt great.

Just sitting at the table and listening to the warm up act, Little Jimmy, brought back happy memories of waltzing around the dance floor with my Dad and my uncles, aunts and cousins and us working out our own jive because the Irish jive is something I’ve never actually managed to master. Sadness also as most of my aunts and uncles are no longer with me and although I am blessed to still have my parents, they can no longer kick their heels up as before.

Then, the star attraction takes to the stage and he was just magical. John McNicholl has a wonderful voice and to hear the songs brought to life by seeing him live was awesome. The wonderful bonus was that we could take to the dance floor and dance our hearts out to the music. Songs that speak to the Irish heart, songs of home, of love, of heartbreak and of dancing.

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I can’t remember when I felt so free, so happy, relaxed and truly alive. The music sparkle was reignited, my dancing feet were alive and my voice was belting out those songs…well the ones I knew all the words to anyway. This was such a fun evening. I think I could still be dancing to ‘Let’s Dance’.

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After the dance we met John McNicholl and what a truly lovely person he is. A talented, gorgeous, unassuming and friendly man. As you can see from the photo, I was on high sparkle time!

A week later and we are still truly sparkling, planning our next country music night out. We have a few on our list, Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and of course another night with John McNicholl. True sparkling heaven.

I am so glad my beautiful Mom reignited my country music sparkle ❤️

http://www.johnmcnicholl.com

Thank you for reading my blog.

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We all have Sparkle!

We all have real sparkle within us. Everyone does. Some people wouldn’t know where to look for it or how to make it shine but it is there, hidden away waiting to be ignited and released for all to see.

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Picture via Pinterest.

Some people don’t have the confidence to let their sparkle out, they are worried how they will be accepted if they let their real self shine through. A lot of us just go with the flow, carry on in the day to day routines, follow the crowds and never let their sparkle show.

I’m not saying that if you get your sparkle on that you are going to be so different from everyone else that you will stand out like a sore thumb. What I am saying is that every single one of us is unique, beautifully so. We are not that different from each other in many ways but yet we are fabulously different in who we are and what makes us tick.

We all have something that fires up our soul and ignites our passions, music, art, theatre, cooking, travel etc etc and maybe more than one thing that lights our fire. Don’t ever be nervous about setting your sparkle free and being the wonderful free spirit you were meant to be.

I love sparkle and I think you could love sparkle too!

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing some sparkle.

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Picture via Pinterest.

Write a Nice Letter to Someone

Project Light to Life is a beautiful blog to follow. Very uplifting and full of the feel good factor. A truly lovely lady 🙂

Project Light to Life

#5

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Technically, the letter that I’m thinking about was actually in the format of an email, but for now, I’ll still count it. Although I wrote the email before I started this blog, it was one of the items on one of my summer bucket lists, so I figured I would add it to Project Light to Life’s “Kind Acts & Volunteering” list.

Freshman year of college, I took an introduction to sociology class that I still consider one of my most demanding college courses. Maybe, as a freshman, it seemed more demanding at the time, but I just remember thinking that it seemed like a lot of work. The professor was fair and an A was attainable as long as you studied hard, but there was A LOT of reading.

I took that course in the fall, but during the spring semester I was assigned research papers for various…

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Food Galore but what to eat?!!

E A T - decisions decisions.

E A T – decisions decisions.

Everywhere we look we see food. TV, magazines, books, restaurants, fast food chains, coffee shops, at work, at home…there is no escaping food. Well really we can’t escape food, we need food to feed our bodies, to give our bodies the fuel it requires to function, to give us strength, vitality, health and wellbeing. As you know I have this year become more interested in what I am eating and I have been endeavouring to eat a healthier diet, at first to lose the excess pounds that have crept on and making my clothes feel just that bit too tight!!

I’ve had up’s and down’s on this healthy eating journey so far. It was very very difficult to curtail my sweet tooth, nigh on impossible to do so. It didn’t matter how much I read about the benefits of some foods and the badness of the others, I just couldn’t lose the sweet tooth. I wasn’t hung up about my size as such but I had got to the point where my belly was weighing heavy on my mind…and my hips!! Eventually I realised that as much as I wanted to get myself on the straight and narrow again without a ‘diet’…I needed help. I needed something to spur this willpower of mine which was sadly lacking, back into gear.

So, back to my old favourite Slimming World healthy eating plan. I decided that if I was paying for something I would stick to it and I knew from years ago that Slimming World was an excellent plan plus, my Doctor advised me that it was the only ‘diet’ that she felt comfortable to recommend as it encouraged not only healthy eating of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, pasta and rices but it also encouraged gentle exercise.

Once I had joined up online I already felt the difference, I was on the road to healthy eating again. I enjoyed reading the website, viewing the Body Magic Challenges, the food diaries, all the food I could eat which was good for me and how many ‘Sins’ were in the treats. I could still have treats, really with this plan, you can eat more or less what you want but some things in moderation.

Over the next two months I felt like a new woman!! I had so much more energy, my hair was glossy again, my nails were growing stronger and love of loves…the belly was almost gone!!! Hip hip HOORAH!! My clothes fitted me again. With some, it was like having a new wardrobe as some of my clothes had been hung up last year and not worn as I just couldn’t wear them in comfort. Yet I was eating so much food it was untrue. Baked potatoes with cheese, beans, onions…Roast dinners, pastas, rices, fruit galore and I was having treats too so that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. One thing I did notice though was when I did eat chocolate or biscuits, was the effect they had on my body. My fingers would swell up and get warm. My sinuses would get blocked. If I had treat overload…my body began to feel sluggish. Incredibile isn’t it that the food we eat can have such an affect on our bodies. It was a real wake up moment for me and has really made me think about the food we eat and perhaps the strain we put on our bodies, making it process what in some cases amounts to processed chemicals. They may taste good but are not good for us!!

Healthy Healthy Foods

Healthy Healthy Foods

Two weeks ago, we had a last minute week away in Andalusia, Spain (blog post to follow) and I cannot tell you how good it felt to pack my holiday clothes and know that they would fit me. I had treated myself to a 1950’s Vintage Dress earlier in the year and now it fitted perfectly. A small reward for getting myself healthier I think.

Whilst in Spain it was easy to eat fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh fish but I am happy to admit that I ate Churros, ice creams, chips, snacks and I drank Sangria galore. This is what holidays are for I believe. I love to see the real aspect of a place, eat the traditional foods and enjoy myself. Yes I put a couple of pounds on but hey, it isn’t the end of the world. I still think that we shouldn’t get hung up about our curves, our weight, how we look etc. I still believe that we are all beautiful and unique and that we should appreciate ourselves daily for our lives. Being healthy just allows us to give our bodies what it really needs to live, to breathe and to beat daily to the sound of our hopes, dreams and plans.

Be Happy with You

Be Happy with You

I am well aware that I will still eat treats, drink wine and celebrate and party and go a little loco on trips away. On the whole though I plan to keep on with the healthy eating and get back to my walking. Oh and if you need a push in the right direction I can highly recommend Slimming World.