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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.



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No … I didn’t die … I just rested a while from blogging here.

It’s been another interesting year … as life tends to be.

Let me see what I can remember.

January and February were just bloody cold … ice and snow and lots of broken bones … thankfully none were mine. I pretty much stayed in the house for weeks on end and got a lift into town to do shopping. I really didn’t want to break bones or pull muscles.

There’s Coco playing happily in the field next door. We used to pop across every day and it was great when it was snowing. Unfortunately, one day a lady with a rage on her stomped up to me and told me very rudely to get off the land. I smiled … wished her a good day … and began to walk off the field [even though I believe the Dept of Education owns it … but I could be wrong] with Coco.

She literally stormed in front of me and then started a tirade of comments that was completely uncalled for as I was leaving. I feel sorry for anyone [and all the people around them] carrying that sort of rage inside them. I smiled at her again and just kept walking with Coco … who was very confused by the womans rage. And I realised with some delight that I don’t have that kind of person and rage in  my life … it was so unusual and rare an occurrence for me … thank goodness.

I haven’t gone back to the field … partly because of that womans complete and utter rudeness … and partly because I need more exercise than walking to a field next door.

Jan and Feb were a lovely quiet time and I had 2 friends … Miriam and Jimmy … come stay for a few days when they couldn’t get through the snow to their home up the mountain. That was great fun and I love their company.

Jimmy and Miriam run very successful Build Your Own Wind Turbine workshops here in Ballinamore and they told me that their next one is pretty much booked out [they might be able to squeeze one more person in]. People are coming as far away as India and Argentina to attend. Well done you guys.

March to July were a blur of weekly trips to Dublin for work.

Any of my long time readers would know that I was at the cutting edge of the recession here in Ireland and experienced genteel poverty from 2008 and through 2009.

Of course I also became a time billionaire in that time and was able to develop Life Dreaming and SKIL2 … checks and balances … always about checks and balances.

This year I was busy with a couple of contracts working with a consultancy in Dublin. Both contracts needed me to be in Dublin every week to facilitate meetings and interviews.

I was away for 2 to 3 days a week [and many thanks to Maggie for taking Coco into her dog pack every week] working very intensively … then travelling home … unpacking and repacking … synthesising results from meetings and interviews … planning the sessions for the next week … writing reports … researching online … playing with Coco.

I just didn’t have the energy to write posts so I wrote wee updates on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

When I was home I could be found in the garden planting and seeding stuff. It really is an unplanned and serendipity space … full of flowers and herbs and vegetables.

It looked like this in March and April

May and June.

August and now.

I’ve had my own rocket and nasturtiums and herbs to eat … and a few tomatoes are now starting to go red. The sweet peas are a scent delight.

And all through August and into September I have been working on Life Dreaming.

Talk about work feeling like play. I’m am having the best time working 4 to 6 hours a day on LD … and sending poor Marc batty as I bombard him with ideas and thoughts via email all day. I painted my office walls with this amazing paint called Idea Paint from the UK … it creates whiteboards on your walls and I use it to mindap and list all my work.

Coco make sure I do my work and delegates all the typing to me.

That wall is pretty much full up now with Life Dreaming ideas and plans.

Marc and I are launching the Life Dreaming blog in the next week or so and I have been writing many many posts and Life Dreaming Morsels [free activity sheets]. We really want to give people a lot of value … and all of it free on the blog.

Marc also created a completely new look for Life Dreaming that is edgy and powerful … and I adore it.

When we launch the Life Dreaming blog you’ll get to see it.

I want the logo on a tattoo [afraid of needles so I’m going to get a temp one made], a black dress and an old leather satchel [note to self … need to buy black dress and leather satchel.] Marc played with ideas of heraldry and graffitti fonts … and has created something that’s just wonderful and really kicks the feel of Life Dreaming up a few more levels.

I made a screen saver of the new look and every morning when I power up the laptop … there it is … my Life Dreaming business. Makes me smile.

We’ll be launching the Life Dreaming site and the online paid Life Dreaming Expedition modules later in 2010 or in January 2011. We’re also planning a 4 to 5 day Life Dreaming Voyage to Bali in 2011 and already have a few people booked in … only taking around 8 [maybe 10] people.

So I haven’t been idle dear readers.

And living out of town in my new house has been lovely. Lots of space and light and a yard for Coco to play in … she loves it.

She literally patrols the perimeter overlooking the big field next door … and will stand for ages wagging her tail at birds or fairies … I can’t see them but it doesn’t mean Coco can’t.

Those photos were taken earlier in the year … the grass is very high now and there are plants all along the fence.

It’s about a 10 minute walk in to town and I’ve been taking Coco to the canal at the bottom of town nearly every day for a walk … so that’s about 90 minutes exercise. Keeps me fit and Coco happy.

One of my Life Dreams for this year was to lose some weight [around 14 pounds … sorry I can’t think in kilos] so I could be in my 50’s and beyond with a healthier body.

Living out of town has been a great help as I don’t drive … so fast food isn’t fast when you walk in and out of town … and I can’t just pop out to the shops and buy cakes and chocolate when I’m bored. I love cooking and planted lots of herbs so there’s a great incentive to eat healthy … which isn’t boring at all. I drink heaps of water and there are no sweet things in the house.

As of this morning I weigh less than I did through my whole 40’s and late 30’s!!! Yah Liz … I lost 24 pounds this year. No pain at all … just a step at a time … literally. Walking is great.

Coco dog is wonderful and has matured into a delightfully sweet animal. She’s extremely gentle and all my friends call her the supermodel. Coco is a great companion and I’m very glad I took her in 2 years ago when she had been abandoned in the street.

Socially I have led a very quiet life this year. I’m one of those people who really really enjoys their own company and time alone. I look at people living together and it baffles me how they don’t all go mad … all that constant noise and contact.

I’m delighted that the majority of people aren’t like me … the species would die out!

I’ve had visitors come stay from Germany [hi Kimme] and Dublin [hi Maria and Feargus] and Ballinamore [hi Miriam and Jimmy; and Brent and Mary] … and  Boyle [hi Linda] … and they were all a delight. I do enjoy the company of others … when it’s temporary. And all these guests are wonderful people.

And when I was in Dublin I socialised happily with my friends living there as well.

And the future?

Who knows dear reader.

I will be putting a lot of time and energy and heart into Life Dreaming … launching it and making it practical and useful for people around the world. That should keep me busy for a few years to come.

I’ll be writing here more often than every 6 months and letting you know what’s happening in the mad Liz world.

And when we launch the Life Dreaming blog … you will be among the first people to be given the blog address.

I hope your year has had more ups than downs.

Enjoy your Sunday.



p.s …Oh yeh … and I’ll be moving from Ireland to Ubud Bali by the end of 2011 … but that’s another story [and has nothing to do with that dreadful book and movie Eat, Pray, Hurl] and I’ll tell it next week. Nothing like a big piece of news to end a post!


A lovely relaxing weekend enjoying my new home. Went to Garadice lake with Brendan and Coco yesterday and marvelled at the ice that’s still on the lake … it’s like sheets of glass.

Coco was in dog heaven and ran and sniffed and checked everything out. I just strolled happily enjoying the quiet and the fresh air. I’d made us corned beef sandwiches with mustard and Brendan brought along a flask of tea … lovely.

I rang both my parents on Saturday as it was their birthdays.

Pa was 78 and Mum was 74 … they’ll outlast me for sure. Both are full of life and energy and I love them very very much.

Dad and I chatted away happily about all sorts of things. He’s always been so supportive of everything I do. And I’m green with envy as he and my stepmum Liz got a Wii for xmas … and they’ll never love it as much as I would!! Dad did say that he’s played golf on it.

He usually plays golf on Saturday mornings very early because of the heat. He didn’t on his birthday as it was in the high 30’s C … in the morning! He was born and reared in Ireland [as was Mum] but he can’t understand how people can live in this cold.

I was reared in Oz and can’t stand high heat … go figure.

I was cooking the corned beef when I rang Mum and we had a fine time exchanging recipes and she told me how Gran used to cook it.

Always lovely to talk with them.

And now it’s Monday and I plan an active working week:

  • asking for advice and support from Leitrim Enterprise Board about Life Dreaming
  • doing 2 days research and writing for my Dublin contract
  • continuing the pr for my Blogsite Design workshops. My free ad in the Visual Arts Ireland enewsletter should get some takers
  • talk with one of my SKIL2 mentors about interface design and getting someone to build the prototype
  • do some online research and writing for Mary in Oz

I also want to email some family and friends and have a catch up … and Coco wants to go play outside … and there’s the marmalade to make … and groceries to buy … and dreaming to be done.

I’m typing this from my warm bed because … I can.

I can work and be comfy at the same time … and it’s Monday so I like to ease myself into the week.

I hope you have a lovely week.



Aaaaah Friday

The week started brilliantly with the arrival of 2 friends, Miriam and Jimmy.

They stayed until Thursday as they tried a few times to get through the snow and ice to their home up the mountain.

Somewhere up there to the left!

It was a real treat having them stay here and we had some great chats and laughs.

They are great people and run Build Your Own Wind Turbine workshops in Ballinamore and an annual 10 day workshop in Gort that attracts people from around the world.

On Tuesday they became grandparents again when one of Jimmy’s daughters had her first child. They are now on their way to Cork and still haven’t seen their mountain home since before Christmas.

I loved being a hostess and cooking. I find cooking very relaxing and love to try new recipes on people … and Miriam and Jimmy were quite happy to try my offerings … even the Thai Green Curry with pasta instead of rice!

I also did a fair bit of work on the pr for my Feb 6 and 7 Blogsite Design Workshops and have a booking already!

blog design workshops in Dublin

I’m looking forward to more bookings when the Visual Arts Ireland enewsletter comes out next Tuesday. Nearly 50% of my previous workshop people booked after they read about it in the newsletter.

All the excitement of packing and moving and Christmas and lovely visitors … was bound to catch up with me.

Very tired the last day or so … and because I can … I’ve been having Duvet Days.

Having a lovely time roaming online and reading and taking naps and eating healthy food … and not planning or organising or thinking … just drifting happily.

Will feel fab tomorrow and get sorted to go into town and do some chores and take Coco for a long long walk. She did get to run around the field next door today and then she was quite happy to loll with me.

It’s the New/Dark Moon tonight … great for wishing and beginning new ideas and projects.

Have a wonderful weekend.

p.s Happy Birthday to my Mum and Dad tomorrow. I’ll be ringing Oz to say hi. When I was a kid that’s how I thought parents got together … someone matched people by birthdays. It’s as good a way as any I suppose.



Yup … it’s the kind of day to stay cosy and warm inside.

Unfortunately I had to go into town [sounds like a bleedin’ trek across the himalayas … it’s only 5 minutes in non icy weather] to pay the rent and get some more books from the library.

My good friends Miriam and Jimmy are staying with me for a few days [as they wait and try to get up the icy back mountain roads to their home] so we walked carefully in convoy into town.

As we walked down the road from the estate the army drove up to grit the roads … better late than never lads.

It’s slippy in town but it felt great to be out and walking even if the windchill factor is minus 5.

Dropped in and had a chat with Maggie … then off to say hi to the fab women in the Credit Union … then to the bank to pay the rent … then library to get books and say hi to the lovely women there … then Hi to Maggies Mum and Dad who have had no running water for weeks and still look neater and dapper than me!

Was about to slide my way home when I was hailed by Sharon Sweeny [Cannaboe Confectionery entrepreneur and wicked witch baker of my favourite carrot cake … no Liz … it is not a health food!] who offered me a lift back to my home.

Lovely to see her and I want to sent my best wishes to her mother who had a wee fall [like thousands and thousands of others around the country] on the ice and broke a few bones. It could be any of us no matter how careful we are.

Thanks Sharon for the lift and I have to give you a jar of honey that the wonderful Anne sent us from the Liz Biz beehive in America. The honey is delicious and I want to send a big hello and happy new decade to Anne. May you, your husband and bees all flourish and prosper.

Home now and enjoying the swedish cinnamon buns I made for the first time yesterday. They were delicious and I was very pleased to serve them to Jimmy and Miriam.

notice carrot cake in background?

I bought the best cook book ever last week and have been making stuff from it ever since. It’s a book that was commissioned by the Irish publishers Mercier Press from a food blogger … a young Irish lad called Donal Skehan. He writes a blog called Good Mood Food and I’m loving the cook book.

Tonight I’m cooking his recipe for Thai Green Chicken Curry and later on in the week I’m making big batches of 2 soups to freeze – Red Pepper and Tomato soup & Pea and Mint Soup.

And just in case you think I’m lolling around cooking … I am!

I’ve also sorted my office and have already booked Koh restaurant for a new round of Blog Design workshops in Dublin on Feb 6 and 7.

blog design workshops in Dublin

The workshops I did in November were a great success and I am really looking forward to doing more this year. The people I get to meet are really interesting.

The cost of the workshop is 80 euro and runs for 5 hours. People leave with a fully designed blog site and the skills to insert content and vids and photos and heaps of other stuff. People also get a 60 page info pack, chocolates and a fun learning time with me.

What’s not to love?

Someone sent me an email from an organisation [who will remain nameless] who is offering a 6 hour workshop in Dublin on setting up a blog and writing content … and they are charging 295 euro!!!

So I feel like I’m offering a quality bargain.

Coco and I are now ensconsed warmly inside and I’ve just put out heaps of bread for the birds.

All is well in my world.



p.s If anyone around town [or family in Oz and Singapore] has a Wii console they want to sell … I’d love to buy it. I really want to get the console, buy the EA Sports Challenge and just go for it in the privacy of my own home. You can email me – focusedsolutions1st@gmail.com

If there are none going I’ll buy one with the profits from my blog workshops in February.

When it comes to being physically fit I realised that I needed some new solutions to a very entrenched old problem. I decided to bring the exercise into my own home and make it varied and interesting with clear goals and feedback along the way … so that’s why I want a Wii.