What a week it has been. I can't write this blog post without talking of the overwhelming sadness which struck our local community with the loss of an amazing young man Christopher Colhoun who seemed to have touched the lives of such a massive amount of people. As I sit here and think of his beautiful wife Lisa and his adorable little girls Grace and Beth, his mum and dad and brothers and sisters, my heart breaks. I can't comfort them as I am not a close friend, however, I hope our prayers help them to get through these dark times and to stay strong.
Lunch With An Old Friend
On Monday I had a beautiful lunch with an old friend who is one of the most inspirational women I know. Nikki Lucas and I trained together as Occupational Therapists. I hadn't spoken to her properly in over ten years. She has come through the toughest times anyone can imagine yet she has a fabulous career, three beautiful children and a loving husband. As I met her in Deli On The Green with her two beautiful daughters Alannagh and Amber I realised that true friendship really does last and as we chatted like old times I couldn't help but feel sad that I had missed all the happy occasions in her life over the past ten years or more.
Then I realised that life is like that. We all drift in different directions but when you can meet up and feel like no time has passed then we shouldn't beat ourselves up about times we have missed but instead celebrate the reunion and make plans for the future. I loved meeting Alannagh who came into this world twelve years ago (7 weeks early and gave us all such a shock). She is a beautiful young girl who was teaching me a thing or two about snapchat. And as for Amber, she is a dote and I can tell Nikki is loving her maternity leave and getting to spend time with her precious family.
A Foggy Night In White River Hotel Toome
I was kindly invited by Sinead Norton Of Swift Services to speak at a Mums At Work networking event about my journey in self-employment and how I have grown DIGG Childrenswear to where it is today. I love attending events like these as I always know I'm going to meet someone or learn something that will stay with me for the future. I didn't quite realise I would listen to the stories of so many fabulous women and be inspired by each and every one of them.
I was inspired before I even got there by my passengers
I offered Cliodhna a lift to the event and to be honest didn't really know her story. Cliodhna Fullens Blog is known by many locally and I follow her on snapchat however as I listened to her tell my mum and I of how she became so ill after she had her first baby and how her faith and strength got her through that hard time, I realised that behind almost everyone there are struggles and hardships that no one realises. It inspired me how she talked about her love of spending time with her children and her aspirations for the future and I could feel it in my bones that she will achieve whatever she sets her mind to as she is the most charismatic, genuine girl I have met in a long time.
So I asked Mummy to come along for moral support and she always supports me in all that I do so she glammed herself up and came along for the ride. She didn't expect to be doing any networking but as I listened to her tell her story to Cliodhna on the journey to the event I began to realise that deep down inside she would have loved to have been able to continue with her career and meet strong women like I now do but years ago things were different. I heard things I hadn't really heard before of how she loved her job in the Civil Service but her desire to be the best mummy and wife she could be took over and so she left work to rear her six children and she never regretted doing that for one single day. I was inspired by the fact that she never looked back and is so happy and content with her life.
This was all before I even got into the event.
Then came a night of meeting and listening to fabulous women. I met some familiar inspirational faces such as Brigid Duggan Consultancy and KA Toning and met some new people with amazing businesses Ciara Moore, Bluebird And Me, BakeHouse and lots more.
I listened intently as Ursula Murphy from Ohh Social talked about her amazing app, and Pauline Haughey from Haughey Recruitment talked about how effective Facebook live has been for her business. I also saw the pride and determination of Orlagh Kelly from Happy Ever Vintage as she talked about never undervaluing your product or service and Sinead McKeever from SM Marketing Services telling us all that it's ok to drop the ball sometimes.
However, the person's story that affected me the most was that of Catherine MacKenzie Photography.
I listened to this amazing woman as she talked about battling postnatal depression and how there were many times when she was in a dark hole. She used her love of photography to help fight her depression and when one man said she wasn't good enough to be the photographer she aspired to be, she proved him wrong, and the depression by winning award after award. I wanted to stand up and high five her when she walked past so Catherine if you are reading this - I think you are amazing.
As I navigated the foggy road home and listed to Cliodhna and my mum chittering away I realised we are all in charge of our own journey and we are the ones who decide what direction our lives will take.
So as I strive to reach all my goals this year both personally and in DIGG Childrenswear I will be watching out for all of those other women who I met this week and hoping we can all support each other on this journey
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