Earlier in April, I was asked to speak on the expert panel at the Galway Start Up Weekend, Food Tech Event! The event was sponsored by Bank of Ireland and hosted at the epic co-working office space SuperPixelLabs, Galway City. I was excited to visit theSuperPixelLabs on the day which is a brand new and exciting co-work office space in Galway.SuperPixelLabs provides an ecosystem designed to help entrepreneurs and startups succeed. They provide not only office-as-a-service, but also events, resources and a supportive network to help your business thrive. It has to be said, this place is unbelievable!! The offices are full of colour and movement. I definitely want to be working here at some stage!

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Anyways, back to the Startup Weekend – Over the course 54 hours, participants experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As they work to create a real company, they meet and work with the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are there to help participants get started. We live in an exciting time when new technologies are changing our interactions and relationships with food. Foodtech is fundamentally changing how we cook, eat, find, share and experience food.

“The hardest part of starting up is starting out.
 At Startup Weekend, you’ll be immersed in the ideal environment for startup magic to happen.”

When surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at your disposal, you’ll take giant leaps toward creating a business, becoming a founder, and connecting with the right people and resources. On the panel with me on the day was Olivia Collins of FoodPR.ie, Mark McGann of SuperPixelLabs & Keith Bohana of Bank of Ireland. The MC was Robbie Skuse of Kollect.ie (check him out, I love the Kollect.ie idea!!). We discussed blogging, content creation, website design & photography. My emphasis was on the look & feel of blogs with great content and the need for good photography on a blog. There was a great buzz about the place with the teams eager to ask questions and learn about blogging & design.

BIG congratulations to everyone who attended, sponsored, mentors and of course the winning team themselves; Scanitive. Scanitive is an app which will allow consumers to see how many teaspoons of sugar is in their food and drink purchases. The team included Saileog Droney, Conor Aspal, Jane OConnor, Ciaran Monoghan, Marc Vandenberg and Kim Tighe.

I really enjoyed this event, more than I thought I would to be honest. Theres nothing like being in a room full of people how are geared up and inspired to make and create things!! I loved the passion that everyone brought to he table and to say the chats went on for hours – would be an understatement!!

The next Galway Start Up Weekend, Food Tech Event is in October 2016 and I cannot stress how much fun these events are!! Definitely worth getting involved in. Meeting new people, getting the brain working, having fun and creating things – nothing better!!

Well done to co-ordinator in chief – Olivia Lavelle and team on this amazing addition to the Galway Event’s Calendar.

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A very wise lady I know once said “Theres no such thing as not ‘having time’ for something. There is only you, not making things a priority. I love this saying and I’m reminded of it a lot in my everyday life. I never take any time to look after myself, I know it. Okay, I get my hair done once every couple of months but honestly, thats about it. Even at that, the 3 hours it takes to get my hair done really pains me as I just hate sitting still for that long!! In my head I know I could be doing a million other things!!

So why now? In the wake of a tragic bereavement earlier this year, I got sick. My energy levels hit the floor, I got colds, Influenza and bug, ear ache, body pain – you name it, I got it. I realised I needed to make this right and work on myself and my health. I have decided to try and factor in more time for myself, make myself a priority. Luckily and in divine timing, I was invited along to a pamper evening at Bellissimo Galway by their PR team at Mini Media. Straight away, in my head I turned down the offer, saying to myself I just ‘wouldn’t have time’ (!!) but then I stopped myself, backtracked and graciously accepted the invite.

Bellissimo is an international award winning hair and beauty salon. Based in Galway Retail Park, this huge salon and spa is definitely the largest beauty space in Galway. With a massive hair salon, beauty salon, foot spa, luxury treatment rooms and now the new addition of ‘Wigs At Bellissimo’, Bellissimo is definitely a one stop shop for all the beauty and pamper needs. A long standing huge hit with bridal parties, birthdays and anniversaries, Bellissimo has whatever you need. The staff are so knowledgeable and so nice to chat to also, making it a pleasant experience.

Its not surprising that inline with my earlier confession of ever really taking time for myself that even though Bellissimo is 18 years open in Galway, Id never been there. On arrival, I was blown away by the size of the place, its huge! We were greeted on the evening with a beautiful spread of canapés and cakes from The g Counter and delicious tea from Solaris Botanicals!

After our hellos and eating some mini cheesecakes, I was then seated at the nail bar with my technician Isabelle for my first Shellac Manicure. I suppose its good to note that this was my first manicure of any type, ever!! Isabelle the nail technician couldnt believe it!! I cannot believe I hadnt done this sooner, my gosh, Im hooked!! As someone who loves to paint their nails but cant wear it in the workplace – this is the answer for me!! I went with violet polish with ever changing Indigo for the ring finger. To say Im pleased with them is an understatement, Id say Im hooked! I cant wait to go back for another mani very soon! 

Bellissimo is in the process of re-launching ‘Wigs at Bellissimo‘. They have been supplying Wigs to customers for over 14 years in Galway. Wigs at Bellissimo is established as one of Ireland’s leading Wig Specialists in the alternative hair industry. Their service benefits a vast number of necessity wearers however they also cater for the fashion conscious wearers who mainly opt for ready to wear wigs. We got a sneak peek at the part of the salon and some of the range they provide. Such a fantastic service, one that been around a long time just got a super facelift and will be a great addition to Galway. In addition to all of this, Bellissimo is also an approved supplier by the HSE and Private Health Insurance companies. They can work with their clients to get grants where possible.

We had such a great evening at Bellissimo, between the nails, the food, the tour and the banter.. I think Ive found my new beauty salon!! First step on the path to looking after myself a bit more, checked off the list. I enjoyed it so much and it gave me such a boost!! Cant wait to go back again!

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A classic Irish spring afternoon yeah. Bright, warm sunshine beaming down from between muddy grey clouds onto the landscape. A bitterly cold, snappy chill on my nose which freezes my ears as well. Sunglasses, scarf and warm jacket are essential, the paradox of good Irish Weather I suppose. I breathe in the scent of salty ocean spray and hear the sound of seagulls cry and children’s laughter in the air. The little dog’s little paws speed past me. The little dog delights in her moment of unbound freedom as she runs up and down the cliff with pure joy! Here she is a wild canine, a ferocious killer of tennis balls.

We rest at the top and watch the people below, the little dog is breathless from her excitement. Sitting here, in the sun at the top of the world, life slows down. Life is easy in these moments, life is simple. Problems drift away. These are the days I live for, the days I wait for. This is where I dream.

Things will change (again) sooner than we think. C’est la vie.

 

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
–William Butler Yeats

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