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I do love when people buck a trend.

There’s a cool new girl in town and she’s called Tracy Murray – the new owner of Murray’s Vintage Clothing in Ballinamore.

Anyone that’s been reading this blog since 2007 and my gorgeous new Life Dreaming blog … know that I believe in what some people think is impossible.

Is Ireland suffering economically … no doubt about it … and I’m all with the French and the Greeks … tell the bastards we’re not happy [but that’s a story for another blog].

Is this time both an opportunity and a challenge … damn right Skippy.

I’ve been a Time Billionaire since 2008 [and living in a remarkable state of genteel poverty] and I’ve built 2 BIG ideas from scratch … one will be so big globally [we’re launching the Life Dreaming site and online LD Expedition course in Feb 2011] that I might just offer to help the 2 Brians [our political ‘leaders’] out with the billions of euro deficit [a woman can dream]. The other idea is about to transform the way a national charity shares, stores and grows all the knowledge that exists in the organisation with its workers [online SKIL2] … and I did that one probono … it’s so cool it gives me the shivers.

Enough about me … let me introduce you to Tracy Murray and her fab Vintage Clothing emporium [that’s my word not Tracy’s but I think it gives a real sense of the treasures that reside behind the front door.]

The emporium has been open just over a week and I wandered in to wish Tracy luck and ask her if I could do an interview for this blog.

When I went in today I ran across 2 of the best women I know – Pam & Angie and Pam’s yum husband Paul. They live in Dublin and love visiting here in their own cottages near Ballinamore. These women know their vintage and Pam sells brilliant stuff on Etsy site.

As true blue Dubs Angie and Pam could sniff out a great bargain across a couple of counties … and when they say they love a vintage shop … they mean it … no messin’.

They LOVED Tracy’s emporium … and so do I. [click on pics for bigger images]

I asked Tracy the question a few people have been asking me … Why Ballinamore?

Tracy – Why not. Ballinamore is a great community with loyal people living in it and I live 10 minutes away.

LizWas it always a passion of yours to open a vintage shop?

Tracy – when I was 6 my gran took me into a vintage shop in Edinburgh [Tracy has a fab Scottish accent] that has been open and run by the same family since 1890 … I didn’t want to leave and knew it was something I wanted to do one day. It’s taken a few years since then and now I have the shop I always wanted to open.

LizHow did you get from Edinburgh at 6 to Ballinamore now?

Tracy – Quite a few years ago I went to France to study and learn the language and met a Frenchman [Charlie]. He was trained in the old carpentry techniques of past centuries and as part of his training he had to go away for a year. He ended up in Kesh, Leitrim for a year! The overall training in France took 10 years and he was the first Companion [a very old Guild] to do training in Ireland. He now runs a business Art Francais [creating custom staircases].

Anyway, we fell in love and he kept raving about Ireland and Leitrim specifically so we moved here 6 years ago. We live 10 minutes away from Ballinamore now.

Liz – You’ve only been open a week … any interesting stories so far?

Tracy – you wouldn’t believe this if you saw it in a film. We weren’t even open when we got a call from a lady wanting to get something for a wedding. I got chatting with her and she said ‘ this shop reminds me of a place run by my cousin in Edinburgh’ … it was the same shop that I first went in to when I was 6!!!

My first customer and she’s related to the family in the vintage shop that started my dream.

I was in the shop again recently on a buying trip and it just feels like things have gone full circle and I’m doing something I love.

Liz – tell me a bit about the business … what do you think is it’s unique selling proposition?

Tracy – We are the only vintage shop in Leitrim. I’m sourcing items from Europe and the USA so you won’t find them anywhere else.

I also feel really strongly that prices should be reasonable and you can see they are … linen scarves for 14 euro … mens and womens jeans from 8 euro [and wranglers /levis for 23 euro] … chanel style jackets for 10 to 12 euro.

We have items for men and women which is not often the case in vintage shops.

Liz – will you accept bags of clothing from people or are you more specialised?

Tracy – we are more specialised and I have a lot of different suppliers that I use to source products globally. Of course, if you have a unique piece of vintage clothing or accessories then pop in and we can chat. We’re not working along the lines of the charity shops where they accept lots of clothing. I really want to focus on good quality vintage pieces for men & women at affordable prices.

60’style orange coat 12 euro

Man’s cord green jacket – 20 euro

Linen scarves [I loved these] – 14 euro

LizTell me about what you’re plans are for the business?

Tracy – I want to keep sourcing great products and we’re going to develop a blogsite so people can see anything new that we bring in. I’m also very keen to develop an upstairs area for Mens Clothing and Accessories. I’ve had quite a few men come in and buy trousers and jackets and I think they’d feel a bit more comfortable with their own space.

That’s Tracy with the Wrangler & Levis [22 and 23 euro] … other jeans start at 7 euro

Liz – I noticed a range of costumes. With Halloween coming up are they all for hire?

Tracy – they certainly are and we received a new batch of costumes today … so if you want to do Abba or Sexy nurse or Gorilla or Cruella da Vil … we have them here.

something for everyone [seriously … who wears that last piece? Someone must I suppose]

Liz – I noticed that you also hire out kilts … is that mainly for weddings?

Tracy – yes and we have small kilts for the boys. Nothing quite like a man in a kilt [liz – with you on that one!]

Liz – I noticed that you have some really beautiful saris and Indian dresses.

Tracy – I love the colour and quality of these pieces. The raw silk trousers with hand embroidery could work with a gorgeous black top. The dresses are all hand embroidered and beaded. These would be gorgeous dressy outfits for Christmas. [Liz … I totally agree. I have my eye on the trousers and one of the black dresses]

raw silk trousers with hand embroidery [25 euro] black silk dress with hand beading [25 euro]

Liz … I’d wear them together and as separates with sky high heels.

Gorgeous blue sari dress with fab beading detail. These can be worn with a blue silk pair of loose trousers.

This is pure silk with the most gorgeous heavy gold beading … simple elegance.

Liz – You have quite a lovely range of items … it’s a real treasure trove. I’ll be back and wish you every success.

1940’s bolero [50 euro] … fab for Xmas and Tracy will be getting more in

Yummy warm coat – 60 euro

I loved the 2 Chanel inspired coats on the left [10 and 12 euro!!!]

I wish Tracy every success and will be visiting often … she has a chaise lounge and you guys know how I love to loll.

Go visit and let Tracy know that you read about her on this blog.




I’m off to visit Kimme [a blogger who is now a friend] in Germany tomorrow for 4 days. Really need a break from Ireland and just experience something different. Haven’t been out of the country for 2 years. Time for a little adventure.

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Where does the Time go?

Coco LOVES ducks … they’re not so sure about her!

The speed of light has nothing on how quickly this year has gone.

It’s Autumn here in Ballinamore and today was really lovely … clear [ish] skies.

I have taken Coco dog for a walk every day this week. We walk into town … stop and say hi to Dee and Gabriel in the Forge … keep walking down the street to the canal.

I love the canal in all seasons and it’s particularly beautiful now as the leaves are shades of green and turning gold and red.

As soon as we get to the canal I let Coco off the lead and she’s off!!

She LOVES running and running and looking and just being a dog … and she makes me laugh.

Really elegant looking … wish people were as unselfconscious as dogs

I throw the ball and she brings it back … except when we lose one into the canal. Coco will not go into water and I’d not expect her to jump into the canal … so a few tennis balls are now on a lovely journey down [up?] the river.

She is now over 2.5 years old and comes back and sits [nearly] every time … good Coco.

As we walk back through town I often see people to say hello to and have a chat … and we stop in the Forge on the way home. Today we stopped in at Maggies.

So the exercise is about 60 to 90 minutes but the whole journey takes 3 hours sometimes!

I’ve been telling people about my plans to move to Bali late next year.

Lots of good wishes from people and I think I’ll need to rent a hotel … so many people want to visit … me or Bali?

I don’t underestimate the planning and work to be done before I can move there … visas … save money to live there for a year … get Life Dreaming launched so I can earn money … all the stuff to get Coco into Bali … and lots more.

It’s all an adventure and I’ve moved so many times in  my life that it’s not that scary … more exciting than anything.

The key reasons for moving?

  • to live closer to my family … 2.5 hours flying to Singapore and Australia. It takes longer to get to Cork!
  • to live somewhere warm. I’ve loved living in the seasons here in Ireland and I want a tad more warmth in my bones
  • to live in a place where the cost of living is relatively low. Regular readers will know that my consultancy has been hammered by the recession since 2008. I also wanted to change direction in terms of the work I do over the next 20 years [no retirement for this possum] and Life Dreaming may/will give me that chance.
  • to experience living in a non western culture. I’m not terribly brave when it comes to travelling and experiencing new cultures so Bali is a relatively easy option.

By the time I move in late 2011  I would have lived in Ireland for over 18 years [the last 5 of them in Ballinamore].

In many ways I’ve grown up in Ireland … even though I was 33 when I came here.

I’ve had too many adventures and great times to even remember … amazing people … a landscape that is now embedded in my psyche … and a place I will always call home.

And that’s in the future.

Right now I’m working between 6 and 10 hours a day … every day … on designing, building and launching Life Dreaming.

The Life Dreaming blog is 3 weeks old tomorrow and is growing a lovely steady readership … some of whom are loyal and fab readers of this blog.

Many thanks to you all for supporting this new enterprise … I don’t feel alone and that’s wonderful.

Liz Biz has always been a personal blog that I waffled away in … and loved … still do.

Life Dreaming is a blog that will be a key part of building my Life Dreaming business … and I love it as well.

What I didn’t expect was how different it is to run a business blog. Here are a few things I’ve learnt from the last 3 weeks of the Life Dreaming blog:

  • Creating posts takes a lot longer
  • There’s a whole promotion and communication effort required to let people know about each post [Facebook Page; My personal FB; Twitter]
  • There’s a huge learning curve about developing an online business [and any business]
  • Writing the blog is only the tip of the iceberg … there’s business and marketing planning and action; building the site; designing the LD online course; setting up a company; teaching myself about online business strategies ….
  • I look at the Google Analytics stats more than is healthy … Marc [my brother and business partner] may stage an intervention any day now
  • There’s more fear involved and I’m dealing with it … fear that no one will like what I write … fear that no one will buy what we develop

It’s all about the transition from the old to the new … something I wrote about today in a Life Dreaming Morsel … The Space Between 2 Trapezes.

And boy am I in transition … Big Time.

The weird interesting thing that is happening as I develop Life Dreaming is how much the posts and Morsels that I create help me sort things out in my life … they are helping me.

Nothing like being the guinea pig for everything you create.

Am I glad I’m building Life Dreaming … with all it’s uncertainty and fear … and excitement?

Hell yes.

If I wasn’t scared and excited then I’d wonder what was wrong.

And the best part of creating Life Dreaming for me?

I’m creating it with Marc … a man with immense creative talent, wry wit and endless patience with the tsunami of emails his sister sends him every day … and he makes the best cocktails in the world. Thanks Marc.

And the support and encouragement I am receiving from readers, family and friends around the world lifts my heart.

Thank you all.


Life Dreaming Lives

Life Dreaming lives … and it rocks.

We’ve just launched the Life Dreaming blog as the first stage of a bigger Life Dreaming global [love saying that!] enterprise.

Many long time readers  would know about my love of Life Dreaming.

Since I was in my 30’s I’ve taken time to explore and decide what’s important in my life … and do something about making it happen.

In 1993 [no … that’s not the olden days Toto] some women asked me to create a process where they could do some of their own life planning.

Life Dreaming was born.

I’ve run the process in a mining town over a weekend … with older women on social benefits for a week [and they were amazing] … with community workers in Ireland … and 1 to 1.

It’s not a process that I did publicly very often as I was concentrating on my business consulting with communities, organisations and sectors across Ireland … that tended to keep me busy. The work is very similar though … reflecting on what’s important and then working out ways to make it happen.

Last year my brother Marc suggested I give the Life Dreaming workbook that I had written [and he designed] away for free on this blog … and hundreds of people have downloaded it and told me they loved it.

Then 2 days later he suggested that I take each of the sections in Life Dreaming and expand them into big bodacious modules.

Then a few days later he suggested that we develop Life Dreaming as a global online course with a site and videos and a blog.

Marc’s clever that way … he kind of drip feeds me the suggestions so they don’t feel so scary.

So I wrote the modules … the Life Dreaming Expedition … and we’ve created a plan to launch the Life Dreaming site in January 2011 … and run a face to face Life Dreaming Voyage for 8 people in Bali mid 2011.

It amazes me how dreams do become real … how you can have an idea and with support you see it grow and leap into the world.

About a month ago Marc and I began intensive work to develop the Life Dreaming blog.

He was designing the nitty gritty of the site … and I was writing posts and creating Life Dreaming Morsels … delicious little treats that people can download for free.

About 2 weeks ago we both had a rush of blood to the head and decided to completely rebrand the Life Dreaming look … yeh … 2 weeks before the launch of the blog … it’s not like we didn’t have enough to do already.

Marc sent me a dozen visuals and I was enjoying them when … whaaaaam … I saw the one that hit my heart and head.

Life Dreaming is all about your power to make choices about the amazing life you live.

I wanted a visual image that showed how amazing, powerful and just flat out awesome anyone can be when they truly choose to live a life of their choice.

A bit OTT? … damn right.

It’s about living a life with power and passion  … growing and changing and blossoming.

It’s a symbol to me of all the people I know who live their lives with a real awareness of what’s important to them … who take risks and leap into the unknown … who give me the courage and support to fly.

And today one of my Life Dreaming chicks leave the nest … the LD blog is now live and ready for visitors.

I’d love you to come visit … stay awhile and read a few posts … say hi and leave a message of support … register for our blog updates straight to your inbox [every Monday and Thursday].

As a thank you for supporting me I’ve included our first Life Dreaming Morsel download at the end of the first post in the LD blog … you can download them and scribble away to your hearts content. There will be a lot more LD Morsels in the future.

I was a little surprised by how I felt when I launched the LD blog … quite nervous as well as excited.

It reinforced something I always remind myself … I have no control over other peoples reactions to what I do or say.

I send you big wishes for your dreams and hope to see you over at the LD blog.

If you enjoy the LD blog then please share the link with your friends … on your Facebook, Twitter and/or blog … or just scribble the link on a scrap of paper and had it out to complete strangers!

And you can also support Life Dreaming by linking in on our Facebook Page.

Thanks to so many of the Liz Biz readers who have already visited the new blog and sent me wonderful messages of support.