Archive for the ‘social media’ Category


Anyone that has read this blog over the last few years will know that I’m basically a very optimistic person.

I believe that feeling hopeful is why I get out of bed in the morning.

And the last year and a half have provided a lot of interesting challenges and opportunities … most of which I have met with a measure of good cheer and creative thinking.

Yup – there have been duvet days and I love them.

And I’ve had fantastic support from family and friends … my love and thanks to you all.

I believe that nothing stays the same – good or bad – and part of thriving in this crazy chaos is to build your capacity for resilience and humour and patience and persistence.

Even in the worst moments I knew that it wouldn’t last.

Not being clairvoyent is a gift … I really, really, really … really … don’t want to know the future.

And many of my friends and family have faced their own big challenges this year – ill health, death of loved ones, financial woes … loss of some kind.

People’s capacity for courage and just damn good humour in the shittiest situation never ceases to encourage and amaze me.

Many of you have been my inspiration this year … thank you so much.

And now for the good news.

I heard a week ago that myself and a Dublin consultancy had won a nice contract.

It means that I will have more money guaranteed for the next 6 months.

The relief is wonderful … and the genteel poverty of the last 18 months wasn’t all bad either. It’ll just be nice to be able to pay bills and rent on time …and then buy some winter clothes.

I’ve also applied for an Entrepreneurial Internship grant with the National Digital Research Centre in Dublin. If I win one then I have to move to Dublin for 3 months and build a SKIL2 prototype.

Special thanks to my brother Marc for doing all the visual branding for SKIL2 and for agreeing to be my Brand Director.

More thanks to my good friend Margaret Lonergan who has agreed to be my Visual Interface Design Director [a bit of a coup as Margaret was Head of Visual Communications in the National College of Art and Design until feb this year when she went back to her visual communications consultancy] as we design the most beautiful + practical + affordable online learning space.

And even more thanks to Amy [one of my international SKIL2 Mentors] who read through the application form and gave me detailed and brilliant feedback that made it even better.

I gave everyone fab titles because currently they have been giving me their time and talents for free. When SKIL2 makes money they are sooooo getting a bonus.

Exciting and scary … as all adventures should be.

I’ll hear whether I am invited to pitch the idea to a panel by tomorrow.

Writing the grant application was really useful as I had to further refine and clarify what SKIL2 was all about.

And I got to do it twice!!! Lucky me.

I had to work online within their site …and when I went to save a pile of work I’d typed … it disappeared …never to be found again by the NDRC techies.

That was fun …rewriting everything. On the sunny side …I further refined my ideas.

When shit happens I tend to give myself a moment or two [or 20 … depending on the crisis] to feel angry, sad & scared.

Then I get on with it and find a solution and ask for help.

My fundamental power is to choose my attitude in any given situation.

Smiles in the sunshine are easy … smiles when crap hits the fan … well … that’s a tad more challenging.

To be honest, I really don’t like what happens when I get angry. Lots of chemicals flow thru my system and make my body hurt and I feel sick.

Calm tends to be my default state.

And things are happening in Ballinamore.

This Friday Mary from Cara Pharmacy is having a fundraiser for the Northwest Hospice at the Commercial Hotel.

It’s free entry and there will be:

  • a make up demonstration
  • Fashion parade
  • wine tasting
  • Flower arranging demonstration with Gail
  • Goodie Bags
  • Cannaboe Cake decorating demonstration from Sharon
  • Finger Food
  • Raffles

A great night out.

I’ll miss it as I’m starting work in Dublin on the new contract on Thursday and Friday and then I have 2 fully booked Blogsite Design workshops for Artists + Creative Entrepreneurs on Saturday and Sunday.

They are in Koh Restaurant and the owners have given me a private wified dining area for free – many thanks to them for sponsoring the workshops.


I  love finding beautiful places to create learning events. All the participants will be able to order food and refreshments as they learn.

koh seminar room

I hope there are fab things happening for you.



p.s Coco dog is fab as usual. We’ve been getting straight up and out walking at 7.45am every morning. Coco loves it … and I yawn my way down the street.

I let her loose at the canal at the bottom of the street and she just runs and runs and runs. I stroll and enjoy the morning quiet.


For the last 3 days we’ve seen the rare and shy kingfisher bird … tiny and a dazzling blue. It skims along the canal and yesterday it stopped and sang. This morning it skimmed twice and then we saw 5 swans fly across the sky and a rainbow.


p.s.s I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a time billionaire while I’ve been experiencing genteel poverty.

It’s given me space to develop SKIL2 and Life Dreaming as well as do a pile of probono work and fundraising.

Well, I’m at it again.

Aine Martin and I are running the Big Clothes Swap Party in Ballinamore on November 27th. As far as we know, it’s the first one in the Northwest of Ireland.

Marc has done his usual design genius job of creating a poster.

I’ve attached it here just in case you want to print it and share it around.




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I’ve been a little discombobulated the last few days.

There are changes in the wind and movement on SKIL2 …and for the last few weeks I’ve been very excited …until yesterday …when I woke feeling really irritable and tired … and started sneezing for 18 hours …and yelled at Coco.

Took me a while but I realized that I was afraid … of moving from my comfort zone …of SKIL2 falling on it’s arse …of doing this all on my own.

And yesterday I asked some people to help me with areas of SKIL2 …and I drank lots of tea …and felt crappy.

Spent the last few hours today reading blogs online …and joined up to go to an online learning conference [online and free] in November to see the current learning trends internationally.

What was even more useful was reading a blog post by a woman who cracks me up with her daily writing about her life …Jessica writes the Booshy blog.

Todays post was called ‘ Are you afraid? Of what?’ and she wrote about her dream to write …and the fear that was blocking it.

One of the things I love about blogging is that people respond with support and their own stories.

I wrote a comment to support Jessica and found myself clarifying a few things for myself.

And what if you don’t write?

What’s the payoff … the reward for staying where you are?

What’s the pain?

And …if you move forward [or sideways …wherever!] what’s the payoff …what’s the pain?

You know that voice in your head [and are you sure there’s only one? I have about a dozen, but don’t tell anyone]?

Tell it to Shut The Feather Up!

And as for fear … it’s holding hands with courage and excitement.

One step …one bite …one leap … whatever … just do one thing to move toward your dream.

your dream …not anyone elses …not society’s …or your friends …or your families …your dream.

As for FAILURE … what does it even mean?

Having a dream … a purpose …a sense of passion … makes us feel alive …that’s success,

Making promises to yourself to act on the dream …now …that’s success.

Speaking it and asking for support …that’s success.

Swearing and nagging hubby as you struggle and flow in your writing … that’s success.

Eating your body weight in yummies as you muse on your ideas …that’s success.

Finding reasons to stay in your comfort zone … that’s normal.

I know FEAR by its first name …it’s an insidious little bastard and it can wrap it’s tentacles around you in a way that feels almost comforting.

It’s voice is all the excuses for not doing and being the incredibly perfect/imperfect person you wish to be.

yeh – there are millions of books …so what?

We all have unique voices …so go sing.


p.s I’m in the middle of a 2 day fear attack about a whole enterprise I’m developing. One moment I know it could revolutionise learning spaces for charities … the next …I’m sure a million other people have done it.

So …my gut wrenches and I can’t stop sneezing [yeh – a hysterical stress reaction …except when you’ve been sneezing on and off for 18 hours!] …and I even yelled at my lovely dog Coco [i’ve apologised].

And … I’m not ignoring the feelings … I’m listening and working out new ways to focus the project and get support.

I’m also allowing myself to be afraid and excited and proud of how far I’ve brought the idea forward in a year.

And writing this to you …initially to support you …has provided a sense of support for me. Thanks Jessica.

Oh yeh … as I was writing away I realised that I’d stopped sneezing!

And I’m going to take Coco for a walk and be content.

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It’s all been a bit [lot] busy the past few weeks … my apologies for not writing … missed you.

As a you can see I haven’t been idle.

I decided to run these workshops for artists after I chatted to a few at Shani & Mia’s engagement party.They were all saying how they needed sites to promote themselves but couldn’t afford it.

Voila … my fab workshops.

The first one was booked out within days and I’d only begun the pr for it.

So … another one is now available.

You can copy and paste the wonderful poster that my brother Marc designed and send it to all your friends … and even interesting strangers.

Or …email me and I can send you info[focusedsolutions1st@gmail.com].

In my next post I’ll bring you up to date on what’s been happening … here’s a wee taster:

  • developing the 1st Northwest Clothes Swap Party as a 3 charity fundraiser in Ballinamore – Nov 20
  • did a week of free online pr for MariaTecce to promote her NYC gigs
  • going for an entrepreneurial internship at the national digital research centre to develop a SKIL2 prototype
  • developing Life Dreaming
  • walking Coco
  • thinking about new adventures for 2010

I’ve decided that genteel poverty is an interesting place to visit [and I’ve learnt heaps] but I am not gonna live there!

I have declared 2010 the Year of Abundance in Everything and you are welcome to come join the party.

Hope your life is full of health & hope.



p.s I had to give my loaner pc back and have been working on Diva the last few weeks. I love her dearly but she is a netbook with a 7 inch screen and a teeny tiny keyboard with a space bar that sticks.

everything [including this wordpress post space] is teeny weeny tiny …and I’m soooo not Alice in Wonderland.

Good news is I may have my first big contract since March and hope to buy a laptop within the next month. They are priced below 500 euro and Diva can go back to doing what she does best … working with me in wified cafes in Dublin [or Paris or London …she’s a city girl] as gorgeous young men serve me …tea.

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You all know that my dear friend of over 20 years … Mary … has been visiting me from Oz on her European hols.

She spent 10 days in Edinburgh during the Festival with another dear friend of hers Anne.

They had a great time at dance and music and  a food festival. One thing I loved hearing about was a bar that served Pottails.

Yup … cocktails in a teapot … my kind of place.

Think I might organise a Pottail party in Ballinamore … are you up for it Mags?

Mary arrived in Ballinamore last Friday … and as you know from previous posts and Facebook notes … I had been cleaning for days before she arrived … I lost the will to live a few times.

As soon as Mary arrived we went down to Smyths pub for a great lunch …. Mary is fascinated by the Irish tradition of chips and mashed potatoes on the same plate!

For the next day or so we literally sat by the fire … yeh … in the summer. It feels like it’s been raining for 3 years.

Mary says that staying in the cottage with me is the only time she actually slows down and does nothing … she knows she’s in the presence of a lolling zen mistress!!

Just to give you a comparison.

If ‘normal’ humans have the drive and energy of 1 gerbil running in a cage …. Mary is the equivalent of about 5 of the little devils!!!

So … we chill and chat and watch the rain come down …  and in the 5 minutes when the rain stops …. We take Coco for a walk.

Mary is charmed by Coco … big surprise.

I think Coco is the dog equivalent of a super model.

On Sunday we get the train to Dublin and go the apartment we booked in Capel St.

Capel St is a great old street on the northside and just off the Liffey River.

The apartment was stunning and is over a great gay bar called Panti Bar. The bar and apartments are owned by Miss Panti and was really gorgeous …. High ceilings … big bedroom …. Big couch that I got to sleep on … nice bathroom.

All for the amazing price of 70 euro per night during the week … min booking of 2 days.

Mary gets the bedroom because she’s paying for the whole trip as a 50th birthdayth present for me … I am blessed with fantastic and generous friends.

Speaking of fantastic and generous friends … many thanks to Mags for looking after Coco for 3 days.

Coco loves going to Mags as she gets to play with all the other dogs …. And she adores Patsy cat …. Who treats Coco with suitable disdain.

So … Mary and I throw the bags in the apartment and go for a wander to the Jervis St shopping center right around the corner.

As evening approaches we go back to the apartment and get dressed up for dinner at Koh.

It’s a Thai/asian restaurant that I had read about online and wanted to check out as a potential venue for Dublin Design your own Blog site workshops … and I also love Thai food.





We were given a private room … and we proceeded to eat some of the best food I have tasted in a long while.

Check out the menu here.

Top that with a lovely bottle of French wine and some great chat and you have a fab evening.

Mary wanted to take some photos … no probs … until she says ‘do something silly’

‘Like what?’ says I …. Thinking ‘yeh … right … I really want a photo of me looking like an eeedjit’.

And here you have my eedjit photo …. Lovely …. Not.


Here are some better photos.





Mary also turned 50 this year so we had a long chat about the new plans we have for our lives.

We ate a lot of starters as we love lots of different tastes … brilliant food at very reasonable prices.

We introduced ourselves to one of the owners (hi Connor) and congratulated him on a great restaurant … and excellent staff.

Here are a few more photos I took of the place … we went there again last  night and I talked with Connor about using their large private room for my workshops with cultural and creative entrepreneurs …more about all that later.



we were the last to go … that’s why there’s no people in the shots.


this is the large private dining area where I hope to run my Design Your Own Blog Workshops … beautiful … and wified.

Mary and I then went to Panti Bar for our free welcome drink as part of the apartment package … I had a great margarita.

We ran into a friend of mine … Sean …. And his mate Jack …. And had a great chat about …. The Lisbon Treaty … the Civil Partnership Bill … science …. Urban planning …. Design …. Multi media.

Yeh … the usual trivial stuff.

Home and in bed by midnight.

Up at 7am on Monday for a major day of wandering and me being Mary’s personal shopper and introducing her to some of Dublins great shops … Penneys in Henry St … Brown Thomas … BT2 …. And funky shops in Georges Arcade on the southside.

We went into one of my fave shops … Om Diva where Mary had a great time.


This shop is amazing with some of the best jewellery … sparkly shoes …. And vintage clothes … all at good prices.



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The shop assistant was a delight and has the best name … Clara Belle.


I’m love the shop and will be popping in whenever I’m in Dublin.

We went to Mao for lunch and more great Asian food.

More wandering in Grafton St …we charmed the very attractive man in Ted Baker into letting us take photos of the shop. Mary’s husband John runs the top menswear shop in Perth and sells Ted Baker clothes.

It’s late afternoon and we were due to meet Shani for afternoon tea in the Queen of Tarts café in Temple Bar.

A lovely place … where the iron sign fell on my head last time!

When the staff saw me coming in they all got a bit wild eyed and gave me a table well away from the sign … but near a huge mirror!

Shani joins us but is off to work at my fave restaurant … Eden …. where she is one of the managers.

Every celebration I have had in the last 5 years (when I’m in Dublin) has been at Eden … including my recent 50th birthday.


Billy. Mary, Liz, Shani & Mia celebrating with me in Eden

(and here’s a special offer to my lovely readers … if you become an Eden Facebook fan you will be able to use the special offers they will be posting only for their Fans. Things like discount cocktails and meals … love it.)

By this stage it’s about 5.30pm and we’ve been out and about for nearly 8 hours … time to stop for a drink.

We were at the lights in Georges St on our way to the Bar with No Name in Fade St when I hear a voice call out ‘’ Hey Liz’.

It’s another good friend of mine from Leitrim … Anna Legge.

Anna is Artistic Director of the Glens Centre and one of the most amazing  women. She organizes and attracts some of the best Irish and international music and literary talent to the (relatively) small venue in a small rural community … people like Sheamus Heaney … Dermot Healy … Pat McCabe … Damien Dempsey.

I invite Anna to join us and we chat for an hour or so before she leaves to drive back to Leitrim.




Meanwhile … Mary and I are chatting about where we will go for dinner …  do you sense a theme running through this adventure?

Yup … great food … great wine … great people.

As we’re chatting Mary gets a text from Shani letting us know that Monday nights there is a pre theatre menu going all evening 3 courses for 29 euro.

And because I am a cosseted and much loved customer … Shani offers us free cocktails as well … life is tough folks.

We walk across to Eden and are just about to go inside when Mary hears 3 people chatting about where they can go to eat for the evening.

I know what it’s like to be a visitor in a city and not know where the good places are to eat … so I walk over and tell them about Eden and their Monday offer.

They thank me and say they will go and talk with their other companion … and yes … they came in later and had a fab time … and I ended up giving them a Dublin map and marking where the cool shops and other places to eat … including Koh.

Shani shows us to our table and we are soon seated with our cocktail.


I have never had a bad meal in Eden (and I’ve been going there for 5 years) and the staff are wonderful.

Everyone exceeded themselves and the meal was amazing.


when Mary cut into the chocolate (it’s hot) it oozed out … and then there were the hot cherries and honey comb icecream.

We had finished our meal and were thinking of calling it a night when Shani came over with a complimentary after dinner liquer … so we stayed a little longer.


Shani suggest we go outside with her on the terrace for an end of evening chat.

We’re outside when 2 guys come out and join us … one of them knows Shani.

We all get chatting happily about the food and then natter away about Japan (Shani learnt and speaks Japanese) …and architecture … and design.

One of the men asks me where I live and when I say Ballinamore in Leitrim … he says ‘I didn’t think anyone lived in Leitrim’.

I smiled and told him that not only was it the best kept secret in Ireland  but it was chock full of great people and some of the finest artists, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, film makers, architects ….

We get chatting about some of the really interesting contemporary and sustainable houses that have been built in Leitrim … specifically the Mimetic Home designed by Dominic Stevens in Dromohair.

Turns out one of the guys is an architect who knows Dominic … he’s also Italian so Mary and he get chatting about Italy … she’s Oz/Italian and will be there in a few days visiting her rellies.

The other guy asks me if I have seen the work of a particular Japanese architect and we chat happily away about how he uses light and space … and how great designers can integrate traditional and contemporary influences in their creations.

We all start talking about travel and he says ‘I’m off to New York shortly’ … a city I love and want to visit again … and Paris and Rome … and ….

I ask him if he’s going to NYC for work or pleasure … he says work.

Mary asks him what work he does …. And he says he’s in a band.

‘What’s the name of your band’. Asks Mary.

‘U2’. Says he.

‘Oh … that band … I think I’ve heard of you’. Says I.

I said ‘so it was your fault that my train was packed on the Sunday I came up to Dublin for my birthday … all your bleedin’ fans were going up for one of the concerts!’.

We all laughed and just keep chatting away.

I asked him if he was enjoying their world tour and he said that they were having a great time.

Mary asks ‘what instrument do you play in the band?’

“drums’ says he.

‘ You must have very strong arms’ says me

Mary and I are obviously right up there with who’s who in music … not!

And we all chatted for a while before his party called him in to go home.

When he got up to go he shook our hands and said it was a pleasure meeting us (but of course!) … and I wished him only good times on the tour.

A really lovely man …. regardless of the fact he plays in a band that a few people know about!

After he left I asked Shani ‘’ What a lovely man … what’s his name?’

‘Larry Mullen’ says she.

‘Oh’ says me.

Too funny.

He was delightful and before I knew he was in a band I thought he was hot and wondered if he was single … yup … nothing like repeating my pattern of finding unavailable men attractive.

Anything can happen when you’re open and friendly … and eat at Eden.

Up again on Tuesday after a good nights sleep.

We met Shani for morning tea in Lemon Jelly … a lovely café around from the apartment.


Then more wandering … I can recommend the newly refurbished Arnotts in the Jervis Centre … some lovely fashion.

I didn’t have any money to buy anything but I had a great time helping Mary spend hers.

We had lunch in the Italian restaurant in Arnotts and a glass of prosseco (in fond memory of the trip Mary and I made to Rome a few years ago) … delicious … and once again a gift from Mary.

We were in the homewares section of the store when I saw some really interesting merchandise that gave me some ideas for Life Dreaming … Mary took some photos for me and I’ll send them off to Marc …. The Life Dreaming Chief of Ideas.

Back to the apartment to relax before going out again to meet my dear friend Feargus.

The weather had been sunny all day … I think September will be the new Summer.

On our way to the bar we popped in again to Om Diva as they always have new stuff coming in … Mary bought this lovely neckpiece … and they gave her a discount.



We met in the same bar as the previous evening and chatted over a few wines.


Feargus is one of Ireland leading landscape architects and Mary runs a brilliant consultancy that looks at Place Making in cities and communities … so they bonded immediately.


We were having such a good time chatting that we all decided to continue on to dinner … back to Koh where they welcomed us with open arms and gave us the same private room.

Feargus hadn’t been there before and was blown away by the food … it was exceptional.


The conversation was wide ranging and as delicious as the food … as was the bottle of prosseco … which was accompanied by a iced glass filled with strawberries.


I went and had a chat to Conor (owner) about using their larger private dining room as a venue for my Design Your Own BlogSite workshops.

For 55 euros I will be running a 5 hour workshop in his place. The cost includes a cup of tea/coffee and I’ll bring in chocolates … and if people want food or drink as they are learning … they can.

The whole restaurant is wified and beautiful … and I believe that we can learn in beautiful and social places better than in boring old rooms that remind us of school.


This is the area where I will be teaching the blogsite design course … beautiful.

I’m going to target a lot of young cultural and creative entrepreneurs that I know who want to develop a site to promote themselves but can’t afford to pay thousands for a designer.

For 50 euro they will:

  • Learn and design their  blog site – totally hands on learning
  • Meet and network with other entrepreneurs
  • Have a good time eating chocs

What’s not to Love?

It’s a very low price but these crew don’t have a lot of  money … but they know heaps of people … so I’m going to ask them to promote my workshops to their friends.

If it all goes well I’m thinking of then having 4 to 6 weekly gatherings at Koh of everyone that does the workshops so they can network … bring along their computers … and do some free learning.

And … running the paid workshops every 6 weeks or so.

Shani is going to help me promote it … I’m starting by opening a Fan Page on Facebook when I get home today. [update … it’s done].

We had a night cap in Panti Bar and then off to sleep.

Mary and I were up and packed and had breakfast again in Lemon Jelly.

The hot waiter gave me a free tea to take away.


Then Mary and I said our goodbyes … both got a bit teary but we’ll see each other within a year.

Mary has asked Marc and myself to kick her consultancy brand up a notch … Marc doing the visual branding of the site … and me doing the words.

I said that instead of giving me a fee … that all the meals and wine and accommodation she had  paid for on the Dublin trip would be the barter … she knew I didn’t have any money … and I felt better doing a barter … rather than feeling like I was sponging off a friend … although Mary definitely did not see it that way … generous lady.


So … I am Marys Wordsmith and Multi Media R&D person for her business … cool.

As I type the Irish countryside blurs past … I’m on the train home.

I had the best time with Mary and my friends in Dublin … it was a wonderfully rich adventure for 3 days … and now I’m looking forward to getting home to Ballinamore and seeing Coco and Mags and just chilling down.

I feel that there are big changes about to happen in my life over the next 6 months … all good … and I intend too put myself in the way of new adventures and experiences.

I said to Feargus and Mary last night that we can get stuck in what I call Ruts of Competence …. Being great at what we do … enjoying our life … and maybe not being as mindful and aware and open to new ways of being.

I think I’m about to shake up my life … and that delights and scares me.

Bring it on.



p.s I’ve been home a few hours now … Coco and I had a happy reunion and I’ve been doing this blog post and setting up the blog workshop facebook fan page … all while lolling on the sofa bed.

Many many thanks to Mary for being part of a wonderful few days.

Think I’ll just chill down now.

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Here’s a really bite sized post from me.

This Howcast site provides videos on pretty much any kind of How To … you can think of.

I’ll be watching the How To Survive  a Bear Attack … as I never ever intend to be anywhere close to a bear … and sometimes developing a useless skill is fun.

There are videos on every topic you can think of … I had a scan through the vids that were most popular … bit worried that How To Pick a Lock (83,000 viewers) was up there with How to use Twitter (780,000 viewers).



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Has it been a week since I last blogged?

Last week just seemed to fly by and the weekend ended up being particularly busy.

On Saturday I had the Blog Design Workshop.

Many thanks to Jane in Shaylyn for the idea and the space … and much thanks to Laura on Saturday for all your help setting up.

We had the usual technical hitches setting up and had to change rooms … this all happened before the participants showed up … so it looked like all was perfectly organised.

This was my first blog design workshop and I wondered if I’d get through all the material … I did … and everyone left with a newly designed blog.

I really enjoyed it and I’ll let Pam (another blogger , friend and participant at the workshop) tell you what she thought of it all.

There’s Paul (Pams husband) and me chatting before the workshop started.

It was a wonderful relaxed and informative workshop -with Liz teaching us how to blog via WordPress.com (yeah, I know I can already blog via Typepad but I needed one that is free to use for work and Paul knew nothing!)

We were joined by father and son team – Phil and Dennis,  from the new Kidscafé Youth Centre, Ballinamore, and we all learned how to set up (and indeed we did set up) a blog each! Liz is a deadly teacher and made it all so easy and answered all our questions. Well done Liz and thanks for a super afternoon. We learned loads and will be sharing it all with our students come September. Thank you!

On Sunday I was up at 8am and took Coco for a walk … she saw 2 sheep loose and ran to say hello … much to their delight … not!

I called her back … and she came … good Coco.

I was relaxing in the afternoon reading the papers when my good friend Anna Legge dropped over and said she was taking me to lunch at the Mountain Tavern … past Aughnashellin … yup … up the  mountain.


I laughed because every time Anna has me in the car and we go to the Tavern for food … it’s been shut.

I actually refused to get out of the car when we got there … and told Anna that it would be shut.

She said ‘wanna bet?’

‘Sure’ says I ‘ A million euro’

So … now I owe an extra million euro to my expenses!


We had a lovely lunch … all organic and I’m pretty sure all the vegetables and salad are from their polytunnel next to the tavern.

After lunch Anna decided it was time for one of her Mystery Drives along the back roads of Leitrim.


I love them as we end up seeing places and landscape that I’ve never seen before … and this drive was no exception.

We stopped at the waterfall and it was running very fast for the summer … but then we have had some big rain.


It is always beautiful.

Here are some shots … can’t you just imagine yourself relaxing there?







Anna then took us to a pub that still has its front grocery shop … it was in Ballinagleara  … and we stopped to read more papers.


We then spent hours wandering the back roads … getting to dead ends … reversing back on tiny roads so tractors could get by … trying to herd a donkey …

Yes … you heard right.


these are the safe … off the road donkeys


we obviously needed Mags … animal whisperer … along

We came across a donkey that had escaped it’s grazing … I tried to coax it back … but it ignored me completely.

As we went higher the views just make you so happy.


We ended up at another waterfall …



yes folks … we travelled the country side


…. and I was interested to see the turf cut and stacked on the mountain.



Anna dropped me home at 9pm … a lovely day thanks Anna.

At 11.30pm that night I was interviewed by Paul (on 1105-107FM in Dublin).

Marie Bradley had mentioned me to Paul as an interesting person to interview … thanks Marie.

We had a lovely chat for about 20 minutes about:

  • Life Dreaming … the free workbook … and the whole package that Marc and I are developing to launch in late 2009
  • LizBiz and blogging … I raved about how much I love living in Ballinamore and Leitrim … and how I have so many lovely readers all over the world … thanks folks.
  • Why I came to Ireland
  • Surviving and thriving in the recession … I told him about how I’m bartering my skills and time for things like massage (thanks Marie you are the best masseur) and coal and stuff. I also said that with my consultancy business being so badly affected … I was really taking time to look at all my skills and how they might make money … more on that later.

It was great fun … I had let people know fairly late on Facebook that I was doing the interview … and Derek and Lynda streamed it live in America ... gotta love social media folks.

Surviving and thriving in the recession

It’s a challenge ... no doubt about it.

And an opportunity.


Friends have been great at helping me brainstorm a pile of ideas:

  • I’m available to babysit over the summer period … particularly the Festival. You know I love kids … and even better … they like me. Ring me on 9645443 if you want me to sit on your children!
  • I’m going to see if I can do some more Blog Design workshops in Carrick and Dublin.
  • Sending some information to the Cavan and Leitrim VEC’s about the training I do
  • Developing a Training Info Pack and sending it to some national charities
  • Still sending in tenders for work … I have 2 or 3 to do this week
  • Have applied for social welfare while money from the consultancy is non existent
  • Can develop peoples resumes and help them name and define their skills
  • Will develop and design a blog for a family, business or community group/club
  • Can walk dogs … or maybe they walk me!
  • Continuing to develop Life Dreaming and SKIL2 with Marc ... that will have long term payoff
  • Can teach swimming … I used to teach swimming for people aged between 4 and 60+ … I can also help ‘fix’ people swimming styles so it’s easier to move through the water.
  • Still available to barter my skills and time for … other skills and products
  • If you’re a business then I can help streamline work processes and help you think strategically about the future.

Not a bad list off the top of my head.

See … what I ‘ve realised is that it’s easy to get into a rutto only see yourself in a certain way.

Not having contracts for my consultancy has forced me (because it’s often external circumstances that start change in our lives) to relook at myself and what I can offer … and … it’s starting to be fun to think of new ways of earning money.

My Dad said to me many many years ago when I was a girl

‘ I don’t really care what work you choose to do … as long as you do the best you can. If you want to be a hole digger … then dig the best hole’

He’s a wise man is my Pa.

Every job I’ve every had … from cleaning peoples houses … to tending bars … to developing a major training plan for St Vincent de Paul Ireland … I’ve given it my best … and always enjoyed the people in the process.

Now … the bills and debts haven’t gone away … they are actually growing.

What I know is this … I am doing everything within my power to earn money and reduce expenses … and stay happy and content in the process.


All the things that are outside my power … I give up to the Universe … or the deity of your choosing.

In the Life Dreaming Treasure Chest that Marc and I are designing … I have created a Resource Wheel … which is pretty darn useful to me at the moment.

I took it out yesterday and had a look at what I was using and what I needed to draw on … was very pleased to se how many internal and external resources I was using … I really do use all the tools I create for Life Dreaming.

It acted as a kind of checklist … just in case I had missed anything.


what you see when you look at things differently

So this week I keep developing ideas and ways to earn money as well as spend time with friends … write this blog … and walk Coco.

I send you big wishes for abundance and prosperity this week.




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Happy beginning of July folks.

I know that when you get older time seems to speed up … but this year has been ridiculous.

Waaaaay too fast.

Any minute now … July 26th to be precise … I’ll be 50 … and that’s when you really get a weird feeling of time gone by … and time still to live.

On Monday I went to Shaylyn for a traditional dance class … great fun.

I learnt a little about sean nos dancing … which is the precursor to Irish dancing and tap dancing.

We also had a go at Irish dancing … it kind of defeated me as all the jumping was hurting my back a bit … but everyone else was having a ball.

I relaxed and watched the others do some caili dancing (set dancing) and just had a lovely time.

I’m really looking forward to other sessions both in Ballinamore and across the border.

Remember a while ago I told you how I had been developing a few businesses and artists blogs for free?

Well … you now have the chance to come along to a fun session with me on July 11 from 1 to 5 pm.


I’m calling it Build  Blog Site Workshop with Liz Biz

If you can point and click then you can do this workshop

It’s that easy … once I’ve shown you a few simple steps.

Who can come along?

  • small businesses who want to promote and market their product and service offeringsindividuals who may be off travelling and want to keep in touch with family and friends
  • people who want to set up a family blog to share what’s happening in their lives
  • community groups and sports clubs who want to communicate with their members

I’ve developed an information sheet ... and Marc once again has used his design genius to make it look amazing.

If you’re interested please contact myself or Shaylyn – details on the poster.

And … please send it on to anyone you think might be interested.




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