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Annual Review 2015

January 3, 2016 — 4 Comments




It’s hard to believe yet another year has gone by. Time really does go by very fast which makes it so important to spend your precious time with people you love and doing work that you love!!

In the Lean/Continuous Improvement world we carry out ‘Hansei’ which is Japanese for ‘reflection’. Hansei allows us to look back at what has been achieved so we can use lessons learned to determine future direction for improvement and growth. Every year I carry out an Annual Review which is a personal ‘Hansei’ on my life so I can continue to improve and grow.

An annual review is a great way of reviewing goals set at the beginning of the year and reflecting on how the year went to see what worked so you can build on the successes and see what didn’t work so you can adjust and change direction.

I find an annual review helps me to plan better which in turn enables me to focus more and get more done so I can continue to improve my life and the life of those around me.

An annual review is also hugely beneficial when setting goals for the coming year.

I have been carrying out an annual review for a few years now and started publishing my annual review on my blog 2 years ago. See annual reviews from 2104 and 2013 linked below,

Annual Review 2013

Annual Review 2014

The system I use for my annual review is still a work in progress and evolves year on year as my own life evolves. When I first carried out my annual review I started with a template shared and used by Chris Guillebeau. If you are interested in starting your own annual review, here is Chris Guillebeau’s How To Conduct your own Annual Review. This is a great read and highlights how powerful planning and reviewing can be.

Chris’s updated annual review template can be found here – Annual Review Template, I used this initially then changed and modified it over the years.  Chris’s 2015 annual review can be found here which will give you an insight into why I follow him and why I travelled all the way to Oslo a few years ago to attend his celebration for visiting every country in the world, he is a very inspirational guy!

To say carrying out an annual review has transformed how I plan and achieve goals would be a huge understatement. Last year it took me quiet a while to compile the annual review – this year, learning from that lesson, I carried out mini monthly reviews as well as the larger quarterly reviews outlined in the template linked above. This has made the annual review process much more streamlined and has ensured I changed direction when required and not a moment too soon. These mini reviews also helped me track metrics much more closely. I’m not sure if this is a result of planning more, being more organised or the fact that my passion for Lean has also awoken a passion for metrics of all sorts! More about metrics below!

Similar to most years I met some of my goals, exceeded a few, dropped some during the year and did not do as well as I would have hoped in others –  my goals like life itself are a work in progress!

As always, Mike, my family and my friends are my reason for everything.

So here goes, in no particular order, my annual review for 2015.



This year, long haul travel was put on hold to help me learn more about and improve my finances. In saying this I still seemed to be packing a suitcase often enough to keep me sane but my travels this year were mostly around my beautiful home of Ireland (North and South) instead of long haul.

My first trip of the year took my Mom and I back to Belfast to bring my Travel Photography exhibition home. My Travel Photography exhibition was displayed in the arrivals hall of George Best Belfast City airport from August 2014 to March 2015.

I am immensely grateful to all 4 airports (Cork, Dublin, Shannon and George Best Belfast City) for hosting my Travel Photography exhibition over the past few years. Following my exhibition in George Best Belfast City airport I wrote a blog post on how I created my Travel Photography Exhibition that can be viewed here – How to create a Travel Photography exhibition.

As always big thanks to Tony from RightBrain Fine Art printing studio – Cork City for my Fine Art prints, Donie and Denis in Thomas Street Framing gallery – Limerick City for mounting my prints and Barbara in Barbara Hubert Bookbindery –  Cork City for my gorgeous custom made comments books.

Northern Ireland has the most amazing scenery, from the scenic walk to Carrick-a-Rede bridge, across the bridge itself (which is not for those with a fear of heights) to the unique and breathtaking Giants Causeway…..Northern Ireland is a must see.

Belfast is a fascinating city with so much to do. Beautiful shops, markets, restaurants and architecture make this city an excellent city break. Belfast is home to one of the most fascinating museums I have ever been in – The Titanic Museum. A trip to Belfast with Mike later in the year became the 3rd time I have visited the Titanic Museum and it most certainly won’t be the last. If you are looking for a city break with lots to do I cannot recommend Belfast highly enough.

Mike and I spent a relaxing week in Lanzerote in June and took many city breaks around Ireland throughout the year. One of my favourite places in Ireland is Killarney and I was lucky enough to spend many weekends down there during the summer including a fabulous weekend with my entire family.

I admit I did miss long haul travel this year, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings travel wise.

My Travel Photography Exhibition – George Best Belfast City airport

Belfast 1


As mentioned above I took a break from long haul travel to learn more about and improve my finances. Travel and Photography are both pretty expensive hobbies and when you join them together they become one that can drive your Visa card or any other card you use into overdrive! I’m happy to say this year saw me pay off the final payment on my ‘Travel Photography’ loan and become much more stable in relation to finances. This is a huge achievement for me as I don’t make an active income from Travel Photography and so it is still very much supplemented by my full time job (when I had one – I was made redundant in November – more about that later).

Life and the lessons life teaches me has changed my financial views, habits and outlook over the years. My financial views, habits and outlook did not change by themselves, I have my boyfriend Mike and my family (esp. my Mom) to thank for their help and also the professional help, support and advice from the following wonderful people.

Patricia O’Donnell is a financial advisor I met over 6 years ago who has become not only a force for positive change in my life but also a much trusted friend. If you are local and looking for financial advice of any sort and want to speak with someone who has a passion for helping people to find financial freedom then Patricia is your lady.

At Chris Guillebeau’s party in Oslo (mentioned above), as well as meeting Chris I met loads more inspirational people. One of these inspirational people was JD Roth. JD founded the hugely successful finance blog ‘Get Rich Slowly’ which he subsequently sold and can now be found at ‘Money Boss’ where he shares excellent financial advice. In 2014 in conjunction with Chris, JD launched his ‘Get Rich Slowly’ Unconventional Guide which he calls ‘everything I’ve learned about saving and investing during a decade as a money writer. It’s like the entire Money Boss website condensed into one tidy little package’.

I bought the basic package and this was by far the best investment I have ever made in relation to financial freedom. JD’s year long e-mails and ‘Be Your Own CFO’ guide introduced me to information and tips n’ tricks that I never knew existed and have totally changed how I view and treat finance. If you are looking for financial advice it’s absolutely worth following JD’s blog ‘Money Boss’.

Like all goals, some financial goals I met, some I didn’t and some I just need to work much harder on!


As mentioned above my fourth Travel Photography airport exhibition was hosted by George Best Belfast City airport until March 2015.

One of my goals this year was to find a stockist for my Fine Art prints where people can view and purchase them as framed prints. Where best to showcase my prints than in the Framing Gallery where I get all of my prints framed/mounted in my home city of Limerick.

A selection of my Cuba Fine Art prints are now displayed in Thomas Street Framing Gallery in Limerick City. I am very proud to have my images displayed in this gallery as Donie and Denis have been framing prints/images for me for many years and framed/mounted all of the images used in my airport exhibitions. If you are looking for local, professional mounting or framing this is the place to go.

This year I created a Fine Art catalogue using Blurb where you can view the images available on my website as well as a few new ones. This Fine Art catalogue can be viewed here – Siobhain Danaher Travel Photography Fine Art Catalogue . This brings the number of Blurb Travel Books I have published to eight, these books are also available on Amazon.

Thanks to Art Cards Ireland, there are now 8 different types of greeting cards available to match my Fine Art prints. I’m currently researching where the best place to sell these is. If you are looking for a company to create professional customised greeting cards, I cannot recommend Art Cards Ireland highly enough. Their cards are beautiful and they are a dream to work with.

This year I completed 7 ‘non travel’ photography projects. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of these. Most projects were for friends and family with a few high profile clients thrown in!




Anyone who knows me well or has worked with me knows I love Lean.

I love Lean culture, Lean tools, Lean methodology –  basically I love everything about Lean. I have seen first hand how Lean tools, systems and approach can transform how people work, increase productivity (and in turn increase profit), allow creativity and innovation to fluorish and increase employee/customer satisfaction and engagement.

Last year I wrote in my annual review of my delight in starting my new job as Continuous Improvement Manager. Just over a year into my new role I was made redundant. Yes you read correctly – redundant!! I really loved the work, learned so much during the year, made fabulous friends to whom I am very grateful to for making me feel so welcome and embracing positive change. However, when the time came to move on I was actually happy to leave. Professionally there are very few things worse than getting up every morning and going to a job where your skills, experience and contribution are not valued. From personal experience I can tell you it is soul destroying. This is the antithesis of a Lean culture where not only is every single employee respected and valued but they are developed, mentored and empowered to become the very best they can be.

Every cloud has a silver lining and over the past few weeks the time off work has afforded me the luxury to be able to spend quality time with my family and dedicate time to build my own Lean website/blog where I will share information and thoughts on Lean in business and life. My experience of being made redundant makes me even more committed to sharing the positive benefits of Lean which I will do through my new website/blog. Launch date yet to be confirmed! Watch this space!

Lean is traditionally used in business to remove waste and create value, however in 2015 I used Lean principles to ‘Lean’ all areas of my personal life – I implemented 5S in some areas of our home, created kanbans for certain household consumables and removed items in my life that no longer serve me. I will continue to ‘Lean’ my life and am looking forward to sharing more about how Lean can help to streamline your business and life in my new website/blog.


An absolute must for any business in this digital age is internet marketing.

Like most things in life, the more I learn about social media the more I realise I don’t know. Also the more I learn about social media the more I realise it is essential to a thriving business in todays global market. Finally the more I learn about social media the more I love it. I love how it provides a platform for ideas to be shared, voices to be heard and how it allows global connections to be created at the click of a mouse.

My interest in internet marking has grown steadily over the years since I set up this blog in and started using social media to share my Travel Photography journey. Combining my love of Lean and social media, the majority of my blog posts this year were about social media and online resources available to increase efficiency using automation, outsourcing and various online tools and sites. The following posts were the most popular from 2015

How to schedule inspirational quote images

How online outsourcing can help you build a global team

In 2014 I started using Upwork (formally O-Desk) to create a global team. In terms of business this was one of the best decisions I ever made. It has freed me up to be more creative and do more with my time. #Lean. Thanks to Upwork and the amazing people I work with I managed to create hundreds of inspirational quote images and post these daily to numerous social media sites. Towards the end of Q3 I started to post a travel image every day from my 1000’s of travel images to numerous social media sites.

Visits to and views of this blog have steadily increased since my first blog post in 2012. In 2015 I published the very same number of blog posts as I did in 2014, however the views to my blog posts doubled as did the number of visitors to my blog. This was due to the fact that I learned more about internet marketing and how social media, traffic and blogging actually works.

As I mentioned above, the more I learn about internet marketing the less I think I know as it changes and evolves so fast.

Just like the Lean world and the world of Continuous Improvement, the only way to definitively know if you are improving is to have ‘fact based’ metrics. I currently track 16 metrics across 6 social media platforms. Each one of these metrics increased in 2015 which means I’m moving in the right direction!!! In saying that, growth is slow –  slow but steady!

I have many people to thank for sharing their wisdom with me through their blogs and books in relation to all things social media/internet marketing/entrepreneurship –  Chris Guillebeau, Natalie Sisson, Greg CantyRobin SharmaBrendon Burchard, Michael Hyatt, Kim Garst, Dale Partridge to name a few.

Charity 1

It’s nice to give back. I have been supporting various charities for many years and year on year I try to give more to each charity whether this is monetary support or volunteering my time. I continued to support these charities in 2015 but didn’t give as much in donations or time as I would have hoped. This is something I certainly need to work on in the coming year.


For me, it is nurturing Mind, Body and Spirit that keeps everything else in good health.

Mind – I keep my mind healthy, grounded and nurtured by reading, meditating and journalling. The human mind is so fragile and complex and it doesn’t take much for the stresses and strains of the world to overwhelm the mind. That is why it is as important to feed and nurture your mind as it is to feed and nurture your body.

I absolutely love reading and this year I discovered the joy of audio books. In 2015 I read and listened to so many books I wrote a separate blog post on ‘My Top 20 Books Of 2015

Body – ‘Health is Wealth’ is a well known saying that is so so true. If you or one of your loved ones is sick there is no money in the world can give you or your loved ones back the health once enjoyed. I have always been aware of this saying and seem to hear it many times but it has never made more sense to me than it has in the past few years as I have watched family and family friends battling illnesses.

For many years I made ‘New Year Resolutions’ in relation to health such as be more healthy, exercise more, stop smoking (when I smoked), drink less alcohol (when I drank alcohol). Year after year I found I was making the same ‘New Year Resolutions’ which would suggest things weren’t going quite as planned!

Now as the New Year rings in and I set my goals for the year I make lifestyle changes instead of New Year’s Resolutions. In 2015 I made a lifestyle decision to stop drinking alcohol, coffee and diet coke. Those who know me best know I have more than a fondness for all three of these drinks. I thought I would find it hard to stop drinking alcohol as being Irish it is pretty much part of our heritage but not drinking coffee turned out be the most challenging of the three!

Every year I say I will commit to exercising more and being more healthy, I have a roller coaster relationship with this goal. I signed up for personal training and yoga at work which I enjoyed immensely but could have attended more and pushed myself harder. I continue to enjoy my favourite sport swimming but could also be pushing myself a bit harder in the pool. I’d love to be a runner – when I see my boyfriend Mike, family and friends competing in 5k, 7k, 10k runs and marathons I am more than impressed with their dedication and ability however I don’t think I’m suited to being a runner! This year I ran the Great Limerick Run 10k which I enjoyed but couldn’t walk right for a week afterwards!! Note to self – l’m more of a fish than a cheetah!

My diet is healthy but could be better.

Spirit – Spirituality is a huge part of my life. For me spirituality is about nurturing my inner world so I can function optimally in the outer world. Spirituality for me is where Mind, Body and Spirit all merge together, I ensure that what nurtures my mind and body (mentioned above) also nurtures my soul.

Two spiritual teachers who have been a huge influence in my life are Dr Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle. In 2015 two of my goals were to meet/attend talks by Dr Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle.

I had planned to travel to London in October to attend a talk by Dr Wayne Dyer, however this was not meant to be as sadly and unexpectedly Wayne passed away on August 30th at the age of 75. He leaves a legacy of positivity with his books and teachings. the world lost a great teacher this year.

Eckhart Tolle came to Belfast in September and I attended his talk in the Belfast Waterfront Hall. It was, as expected, a joyful, inspirational and insightful talk. Just as he does in his books, Eckhart shared his wisdom and knowledge with immense humour and humility. I very much look forward to attending more of his talks as he tours around the world.


My goals set for the past few years have been a little vague, non measurable and were open to a little more than a bit of interpretation.

Metrics are a huge part of Lean/Continuous Improvement teachings and so last year I set metric based goals which gives me much more clarity and accountability than before. Metric based goals allow me to narrow my focus to areas that need more attention. As metrics are documented in real time this ensures I don’t travel down the wrong road for too long and and can change direction with ease.

If you are unfamiliar with metric based goals what I mean by them and the difference between non metric based goals is explained below.

Non metric based goals – I will read more books, I will give more to charity, I will increase traffic to my blog

Metric based goals – I will read 10 books each quarter, I will give 5% of my salary to charity, I will publish 1 blog post every week and increase my blog views by 10% each month

As mentioned above (in the internet marketing section) I track 16 metrics across 6 social media platforms. I also track metrics for each area of my life as in the sections above. This may sound like a lot of work but just like metrics in business, when you get used to setting, tracking and using valuable information from metrics they can become quiet addictive! #Lean


That’s it, 2015 was like most years, full of ups and downs.

Now that the annual review is complete it’s time for goal setting for 2016 – my goals for 2016 will be similar to those for 2015 and will be all about the loves in my life –  my boyfriend Mike, my family, my friends, travel, photography, Lean, internet marketing and creating more time, space and abundance (using Lean principles of course!) to live the life I love.

I hope you had a wonderful 2015 and that you are setting stretch goals for 2016.

I wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. May 2016 be a transformational year for you all. Always remember small consistent changes will lead to huge transformations.


A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has shared this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive impact on my life. A special and heartfelt THANK YOU to my boyfriend Mike, my family and my friends for making each year better than the last, you are the reason for it all.


Safe Travels,


x x x

How did your 2015 go?
Did you reach your goals?
What did you learn from reaching/not reaching your goals?


New Year





The streets of Calcutta remind me of the streets of Cuba – fragile, unique, deteriorated, abundant with stories of years gone by. These streets contain a beauty that is not as obvious on modern, newly decorated streets evident in various wealthier cities I have visited. The beauty seen and felt on the streets of Calcutta is a deep beauty, a beauty born out of years of struggle, poverty and a class system that bewilders most people born in the Western world.

On landing in India for the first time there are 2 things I will never forget – the heat and the smell – these two intertwine seamlessly to become almost as overwhelming as the traffic and the overcrowding. In saying that the moment my feet hit Indian soil I was hooked and knew immediately this would be the first of many visits.

India just like the two paragraphs above is a land of contrasts, a land of the most amazing, jaw dropping contrasts. As a Travel Photographer it is these contrasts that evoke curiosity and a deep desire to return to experience these contrasts again and again.

Within the first hours of arriving in India on a Photography trip with The Hope Foundation we found ourselves walking the streets of Calcutta, smiling at the friendly faces that greeted us and capturing their beauty with our cameras.

The first person to catch my eye was a beautiful older Indian woman. She peered out at us from behind her front door, possibly wondering what all the noise was and who were the paler than pale individuals carrying large camera equipment. I stopped to greet her and as she had no English and i spoke absolutely no Hindi, our greeting and subsequent interactions were carried out through gestures and body language.




Gestures and body language are often the only mode of communication available to Travel Photographers as most of the time we don’t speak the native language and the people we meet may not speak our language. This mode of communication does take getting used to but after a while it becomes second nature and almost becomes as easy as speaking your mother tongue.

On greeting the beautiful Indian lady she became shy when she realised I wanted to photograph her. My camera and lens were intimidating and I could sense it made her feel uncomfortable as her eyes averted from me for the first shot.




On showing her the image in my camera she liked what she saw and began to relax. Her shoulders dropped and she became the perfect model – relaxed, assured and confident staring into the lens.






Some images are better with a serious face or a half smile but I knew this lady’s face would come alive with a wide grin and I was right. As I gestured for a smile she nodded in agreement and I took the shot. Her eyes beaming with happiness, her skin reflecting radiance from the Indian sun, an Indian beauty indeed.





I often think of this indian lady and wonder what her life was like, what life she had lived. I may never know this but what I do know is that my life was enhanced by our chance meeting that day on the streets of Calcutta.


Safe Travels,


x x x


The above image was part of my Travel Photography Exhibition recently exhibited at George Best Belfast City airport.

More images of my portfolio can be viewed on my website

Annual Review 2014

January 11, 2015 — 7 Comments

An annual review is a great way of reflecting on the year gone by to see what worked so you can do more and what didn’t work so you can adjust and change.

I have been carrying out an annual review for a few years and started publishing it on my blog last year.

I find it helps me focus more which enables me to plan more and in turn enables me to achieve more so I can live the life I love.

An annual review is also hugely helpful when setting goals for the coming year.



My goals for 2014 included most of those from 2013 and some more new ones – spend more time with my family and friends, give more to charity, exercise more, read more books, learn more, work full time in a Lean/Continuous Improvement role, continue to exhibit my Travel Photography Exhibition in airports, spend less, meditate more, have more of a presence on and learn more about social media/internet marketing, meet people/authors whom I admire and who inspire me, attend amazing workshops.

Basically do everything that adds to my happiness and wellbeing and remove everything from my life that doesn’t!!!

Some goals I met surprisingly well and some I did not, my goals like life itself are a work in progress!!!!

One of the goals I did surprisingly well on was to work full time in a Lean/Continuous Improvement role.

As well as Travel Photography I have a huge passion for Lean and Continuous Improvement which I have been learning over the past few years through my full time role as an Analytical Chemist. My passion for Lean has slowly taken over my love of Analytical Chemistry and so it was time to change role.

With a little help from ‘The Law Of Attraction’ and ‘The Universe’ and alot of hard work on my part it happened!!!!

On 13th October 2014 I started my new and current job as Continuous Improvement Manager, now I do Lean all day every day which is blissful…..I’m currently building a website where I will share my thoughts and learnings and will let you know when it is ready to launch. #ILOVELEAN




With this career change came a move home to my home County of Limerick where I am closer to family, friends and living with the love of my life Mike. There are no words to describe how grateful I am for all of these blessings.


On returning from Malaysia in February, my 40th birthday was just around the corner and I took the opportunity to celebrate my 40 years by raising money for the Irish Heart Foundation, a charity I owe alot to and that is very close to my heart (excuse the pun).

Thanks to my friends and family, we raised over €400 for the IHF.

Thanks also to all my loved ones for an amazing party, I look forward to the next 40+ years with your support and love.


Special thanks to Elaine Henebry for my gorgeous poster below



February also saw the end of my Travel Photography exhibition in Shannon Airport.

I am so grateful to Shannon Airport especially Dorothy Quinn for allowing to to exhibit my work in such an amazing space for such a long time. As always big thanks also to Tony from RightBrain Fine Art printing studio – Cork City, Donie and Denis in Thomas Street Framing gallery – Limerick City and Barbara in Barbara Hubert Bookbindery –  Cork City

So many people left comments in my guestbook that I required 2 guestbooks!!!

The comments left were amazing and so inspirational to me as a Travel Photographer, I collated my favourite ones into an album that can be seen here in Facebook.





Shannon 1

           Shannon 1


From my exhibition in Shannon Airport I am delighted to say I made my first sales!!!

These sales were made through e-mail with customers and also which was the most exciting of all through my website which is my very first online sale!!!! I cannot tell you how exciting this is and not for monetary reasons but because it shows hard work, perseverance and dedication does eventually pay off.

It was also very exciting that the person who made my first online sale possible was a person I have immense respect for and who was also responsible for the majority of my formal education, the past principle of my secondary school – synchronicity or The Universe working it’s magic, I like to think it’s a bit of both!!!!

As this was a realisation of one of my dreams, to sell my Travel Photography Fine Art prints online I wrote a blog post on it called ‘Dreams’.

I was honoured and humbled to be recognised by our President Michael D. Higgins for my contribution to ‘The Gathering 2013’ through my Travel Photography Exhibitions.



In August, my Travel Photography exhibition moved to George Best Belfast City Airport where it can currently be seen.

Again I am  grateful to George Best Belfast City Airport especially Louise Mc Cutcheon and Paula Johnson for allowing to to exhibit my work in such an amazing space for looking after my exhibition so well.

If you are flying through George Best Belfast City Airport, please stop by and leave a comment in my guestbook, I always love to hear from fellow travellers. George Best Belfast City Airport wrote this great blog post on our exhibition.

Following that I wrote a post outlining exactly what it takes to ‘Create a Travel Photography Exhibition’

Belfast Airport 2

Belfast 1

2014 saw me become an author on Amazon – yes you read correctly – an author on Amazon!!!

I published 5 of my Travel Photography books on Amazon. These include ‘The Photographer’s Guide to Cuba, India, Bhutan, New York and Vietnam.




2014 was a year of immense learning for me, learning about myself, learning about what I want from life and learning about what interests me. As well as a passion for Travel, Photography and Lean methodology I have a huge interest in social media and internet marketing.

I find social media fascinating and the learning curve with social media is always steep as it changes every minute of every day. There is always something new to discover, something new to trial. It has made what used to be a very large world into a very small world with communication of and sharing information easier than ever before.

This year I learned so much about social media and internet marketing, however I am only scratching the surface as there is so much to learn and social media is ever changing and evolving.

MailChimp  allowed me to compile and  send my very first mail campaign to my mailing list, you can see the e-mail hand subscribe here – My first MailChimp mail

Anyone who follows me on social media will know I love quotes, – travel quotes, positivity quotes, inspirational quotes, quotes of all kinds!

This year I created quotes images using different internet tools and scheduled these quotes to my social media sites using Hootsuite which is a social media management tool that enables you to do so much more in much less time.




I heard of outsourcing from Natalie Sisson whom I follow and used Natalie’s blog posts on outsourcing to hire my first freelancer!

I started with some basic admin work and it was one of the best things I have done this year and will continue to outsource next year which frees me up to do more creative work.

One of my goals for 2014 was to read more books as I love reading and find books a great source of learning and relaxation. This is one of my goals that went extremely well. Reading 10 books in a year took a conscious effort  on my part of which I will build on next year. Books I enjoyed this year include

‘The Suitcase Entrepreneur’ – Natalie Sisson

‘Steve Jobs – the man who thought different’ – Karen Blumenthal

‘The Leader Who Had No Title’ – Robin Sharma

‘Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success’ – Deepak Chopra

‘The Soul Of Leadership’ – Deepak Chopra

‘The Lean Turnaround’ – Art Byrne

‘Getting The Right Things Done’ – Pascal Dennis

‘Body Of Work’ – Pam Slim

‘Platform’ – Michael Hyatt

‘Social Intelligence’ – Daniel Goleman


Mark Twain


As busy as 2014, I still found some time for one of my greatest loves, travel…..

This year my travels brought me to Malaysia, Paris, Lanzerote and Belfast among many other cities and destinations in Ireland.

In Malaysia Mike and I travelled to Kuala Lumpar, the Cameron Highlands and the island of Penang and had an amazing time. Malaysia is as diverse as it is beautiful and I highly recommend it as a place to put on your ‘to visit’ list!

Mike and I take a selfie while trekking through the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia


Another selfie while discovering Paris in the Summer, the top of the Eiffel Tower is still very cold!!!!




My goals for 2015 will be about my loves in life, my boyfriend, my family, my friends and creating more time (using Lean) to live the life I love.

I hope you are setting your goals and plans for 2015 and that 2015 is your best year yet.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has shared this journey with me, each and every one of you have a made a positive difference to my life.

Safe Travels,


x x x

How did your 2014 go?
Did you set out a plan with goals at the beginning of the year?
Did you reach your goals?
What did you learn from reaching/not reaching your goals?







The Oxford English dictionary describes creativity as the following

‘The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work’ 


Creativity and the birth of creativity requires space. Space to allow the creative idea into our busy lives, to be processed by our busy minds and become reality in our busy worlds.

A few months ago I took a well-earned rest from the creative process of being a Travel Photographer. An ear, throat and chest infection stopped me in my tracks and reminded me that I had not taken a break from working in almost 4 years. Since becoming a Travel Photographer, as much as I love and enjoy it, holidays had now become more work less play. Carrying, charging and cleaning equipment, shooting, downloading and editing images while traveling is not really the break the mind and body needs. Lesson learned!!

From this lesson, here are the 8 R’s that I have found are critical to being creative and sustaining creativity.


Without adequate rest your best ideas will remain hidden. It’s highly beneficial to know when your most creative time is, whether it is early morning, mid-day or late at night and plan downtime and quiet time around this time. My most creative time is early morning even though those who know me best know I’m a complete night owl!!!


It is essential that you find time in your busy schedule to relax. Whatever you do for relaxation, whether it’s reading, listening to music, meditating or just being, it is so important to schedule this into each and every day. This will not only fuel your creativity, keep your mind and body healthy, it will also keep you sane!!!


Reconnect with whatever or whoever you may have lost contact with that gives you joy. This can be family, friends, God, Buddha, Source or The Universe. Whomever or whatever grounds you will also nourish your creativity.


Creativity 2



Replenish your body, mind and soul with what it needs – your creative soul requires constant nourishment.
Figure out what feeds your soul and schedule this into your day.

For me, the following ‘soul food’ are the basics required to be creative, solitude, time with family and friends, reading, writing, meditating, journaling and exercising.

Only you will know what feeds your soul as we are all unique – over feed your soul, then stand back and watch creativity be unleashed!!!!


Remind yourself and reflect on what your driver to be creative is. Why do you need creativity in your life? Why do you need to create space for creativity? What positive benefits will creating this time and space bring to your life? For some creativity is a ‘nice to have’, for others it is as important as the oxygen we breathe.

It’s always interesting to see what other people in your field of interest are up to and also interesting to broaden your horizon and see what creative people outside your field are up to.
This not only opens your eyes to different perspectives but also saves you heaps of time as you learn from other creative souls.


Creativity 1



Now that you know what people in your field and beyond are doing, how about reaching out to them, introducing yourself and striking up a conversation on what you have in common or maybe what you don’t have in common?

I have many friends that I have met in such circumstances and these people inspire, amaze and motivate me, all key ingredients for creativity.

Don’t be afraid to reach out, everyone at the other end are just like you, creative and inspirational people!!!


Creativity 3

Ok so writing starts with W but phonetically starts with R!!!
Reading will give you more knowledge –  knowledge thought of, created by and beautifully packaged by highly creative people – authors.
Writing will help you move your creativity from your mind into the physical world, try it, it’s a game changer!

Whatever creativity means to you, I hope the above helps you find time and space for it in your life.


 Creativity 4

Safe Travels,


 x x x



September 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

The Oxford Dictionary defines dreams as the following…..

A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal:

Everyone has dreams, whether it’s to find a dream job, travel the world, fall in love, win the lotto or simply to wake up in the morning healthy and happy, we all have dreams.



As we dream big dreams, work towards them and achieve milestones towards those dreams there always seems to be something else we want to achieve, something more to add to the enjoyment of this incredible journey.

Along the way we may lose sight of the amazing achievements we have accomplished and so it is worthwhile to reflect on results achieved and dreams realized no matter how big or small.

Robin Sharma wisely says




Rewarding ourselves for a job well done, a goal reached, a dream realized is just as important as setting those goals, dreaming those dreams and working towards them.

Anna Neilsen’s ‘Follow Your dream’ print eloquently advises to follow your dreams and a while ago I promised myself this would be my reward for my first online sale.



I didn’t think it would take 3 years but that is how long I waited to build my Travel Photography portfolio, share it with the world and welcome my first online sale!!!!

Payment hit my PayPal account while I slept peacefully on a flight from Kuala Lumpar to London..
This irony of this made me smile even more than the payment did!!! It is a great feeling to know you can make sales while doing two of the things you love most, traveling and sleeping!!! 🙂


Dream It


And so I look forward to my reward for realizing one of my dreams, I look forward to reminding myself of the journey it took to reach that dream and the confidence it instilled in me to continue to pursue my dreams.

I hope you are following your dreams and rewarding your success 🙂 





My Travel Photography Exhibition was hosted by the 3 major airports in Ireland last year as part of ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’  – Cork Airport, Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport.

Here is an insight into what I needed to create it…..




OZ 3


Italy 2010 413

20+ HOTELS………



Cuba, Havana.









OVER 50,000 IMAGES………..



thanks to BARBARA HUBERT BOOKBINDERY in Cork City for my gorgeous custom made guestbooks 







thanks to Tony O’Brien at RIGHTBRAIN Fine Art printers in Cork City for my beautiful prints and posters



thanks to THOMAS STREET FRAMING CENTRE in Limerick City for the professional mounts


Initially the goal for my Travel Photography exhibition was to inspire people with images from my travels and it turns out I was the one who became inspired. From the generosity of all 3 airports for hosting my exhibition especially Cork Airport for sponsoring the exhibition to the people I met while putting the exhibition together at the airports to those I have never met but who left amazing comments in my guestbooks. These comments amazed and inspired me, I am very moved by the fact that people took time to write such very nice comments about my images.

Thank you to everyone who sent me good wishes and who viewed my exhibition and took time to sign my guestbooks. Below are some of the comments people wrote and the images they shared.


(Yes that’s THE Graham Norton!!!)

Shannon 1Shannon 2Shannon 3

Now where will I exhibit next?



October 23, 2012 — 9 Comments

One of my favourite words in the English language is serendipity….It is described in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way‘.

There are many reasons why I love this word, I love how it sounds, ser…en..dip..i..ty, it sounds like it is completely made up, like someone just decided these 5 syllables would make a great sounding word.I love how it is so positive, so uplifting, so inspiring, I love what it means and I love the fact that serendipity happens all the time and if you haven’t noticed it you may want to look a little closer.

Since the day I decided to take my love of Travel and Photography seriously it has been one serendipity after another….maybe we could call this double or multiple serendipity!!!!

The esteemed Travel Writer and Editor Don George spoke about how ‘serendipity’ seemed to be a constant companion to him throughout his professional journey as a Travel Writer and Editor when interviewed by the award winning Travel Writer (and 80’s icon) Andrew McCarthy on a sunny evening in August 2012 at the ‘Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference’ in Corte Madera, San Francisco.

The serendipitous series of events that led me to be at this uplifting and inspiring interview 5000 miles from my home in Ireland started on the music filled streets of Havana in December 2010 where I had the absolute pleasure to spend 2 weeks with and learn from the very talented and generous Travel Photographer Lorne Resnick. Those 2 weeks in Cuba were the start of my relationship with Travel Photography and the start of my relationship with the Travel Photography friends I spent those 2 weeks with.

One of these friends is a lady called Ginna Fleming, as wonderful a person as she is a Travel Photographer. A lively and inspiring octogenarian who had taken up Travel Photography 15 years prior to us becoming friends in Cuba, became a huge inspiration to me assuring me it is never too late and you are never too old to pursue your dreams. Fast forward 18 months and enter the wonderful and ever evolving world of social media. Through Ginna I had befriended photojournalist, 5 times author and Ginna’s long term friend Paola Gianturco and one evening scrolling through FaceBook I came across a video post on ‘Book Passage’ by Paola.

In this video post Paola spoke warmly about about how the ‘Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference” had changed her life and how without Book Passage she may be at home ‘eating bonbons’. Intrigued and curious I clicked on the Book Passage website and read more about the 21st annual Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. What could be more exciting? 4 days immersed in in all things Travel learning from those who know Travel best, those at the top of their field in the Travel Writing and Travel Photography world.

When I travel to new destinations I don’t really have any expectations. I choose my trips mostly out of interest of the unknown and then I sort of ‘go with the flow’ and allow the experience of travel to guide me. This trip to San Francisco was no different. I simply signed up, booked my flights and when the time came I arrived to the conference notebook and colored biros in hand and let the experience unfold. And unfold it did, it was a most extraordinary 4 days, from my information filled morning classes with the talented and generous Jim Benning and Pam Mandel, where this blog was born, to the afternoon sessions where I and other attendees soaked the wealth of knowledge from the esteemed Writers, Editors and Photographers who passionately shared their time and expertise with us. Throw in a most entertaining Saturday night Karaoke and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable weekends of my life.

The atmosphere throughout the weekend was of excitement, curiosity, and awe as the passion we all share for Travel bonded attendees and faculty members alike. I’m almost certain all attendees would agree with me when I say we made friends with the faculty members who inspired us with as much ease as we made friends with each other.

On the last day as Don George read out Candace Rose Rardon’s winning Travel Writing Contest essay the emotion in the room began to build. This emotion continued to build as Don sincerely thanked everyone who had made the weekend possible. After Kathryn Petrocelli spoke the emotion started to show in Don’s voice, however he masterfully held it back.

On closing, Don summed up the mood and intensity of the weekend when he said it’s all about the love and how what you give out to the world you get back ten fold. As we clapped I looked at my new found friend Tammy Kennon who sat beside me and her eyes were filled with tears just like mine, Travel Writer Michael Shapiro who sat behind me wiped what would be tears from his eyes and in every direction that i looked around at, emotion was flowing from people.

I cannot explain in words why everyone was so emotional on that final day, I do not think I could ever capture and do justice to what evoked this emotion after four short days together. What I do know is that travel is not only a physical journey we take on planes, trains and automobiles but a deeply personal journey we take with our minds, hearts and souls.

For me the serendipitous physical journey that started on the streets of Havana, Cuba and brought me to the Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera, San Francisco was to be an emotional journey that was to change my view of the world of travel forever.

Thanks so much for reading,

Safe travels,


x x x