Lights Camera Action

With the launch of my book #travellingwithcardboardpaul in May 2019, I engaged a publicist to assist with promoting the book and to gain some media interest in my story and book.  The publicity was extremely successful to the point that I appeared on Sunrise (Australia) and in the Herald Sun (Melbourne), that’s Life magazine in Australia, plus numerous radio interviews and articles via social media and the internet.

Although in the beginning there was some interest within Australia, on 1st June my story went viral and was across the world with over 60 media outlets in 7 countries.  I was kept extremely busy during those few months telling our story over and over again and exhausted as there were many late nights due to the time difference.

I was fortunate to be interviewed by the BBC Wiltshire live on radio and during our conversation, I told the interviewer that I would be back in Stonehenge in September 2019 and it would be great to catch up.  I was in contact with the BBC Wiltshire prior to my departure and confirmed dates that I would be in the area.

When travelling on my tour around Scotland and Ireland, I also had publicity lined up including an appearance on Good Morning Britain on the Monday morning of the 16th September 2019 in which I was really looking forward to and was a huge opportunity for me to tell our story and promote the book.  As Brexit was heating up, unfortunately my story was bumped a few days prior and I didn’t get an opportunity to meet Pierce Morgan or the team or appear on UK television.  Can you imagine sitting at the desk with Cardboard Paul, Pierce Morgan and myself?

I was standing in my hotel room in Fort William, Scotland on live radio talking with PJ Cooghan on 96FM Cork about my travels with Cardboard Paul and as he loved the story so much, invited both Cardboard Paul and myself to Cork to be interviewed live in the studio and to have a photo taken with the three (3) of us.  We did eventually meet up with PJ Cooghan a few weeks later and had that photo together.  Whilst I was waiting to be directed into the radio studio, I was sitting in reception and looked up to a shelf that just happened to have a large model car that was a mini cooper S.  I laughed, took a photo of the car and thought, you cannot make this stuff up, knowing that Paul was around me.

At one stage I was standing outside the Royal Britannia yacht in the shopping center and talking with the editor of the Irish Sun going through my story and trying to understand his accent over the noise in the center.

My photo with Cardboard Paul in front of Edinburgh castle appeared in the Scottish Sun and also a feature article and photos in the Irish Mirror and Irish Sun.

I can assure you that travelling around the world with a cardboard cut-out of Paul is never boring.

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Meant to be

On my travels, I get to visit some amazing places and meet some incredible people where we get to share our stories and Dublin was no exception.

I had been on the Ray Darcy show on the Saturday night and was moving to my next accommodation out near the airport for my last night in Ireland.  I had booked a taxi on the Monday lunchtime (late checkout) to take me to my next destination.  I had been waiting at reception when a taxi pulled up and the driver came in to see who the fare was for.  I approached him with my luggage and said “that would be me”.

As he put my luggage in the boot of the car, he started chatting away.  Once we were both in the taxi, he told me that he had just dropped off someone at the hotel and was heading out when this job came in. He said “it must have meant to be” I left it at that, but towards the end of the journey, I knew that we were definitely meant to meet.

The taxi drivers name was Noel and he had this lovely broad Irish accent, complete with Irish profanities and was full of life and stories.   We talked about the current issue of Brexit which was all over the media and had a huge impact on Ireland.  Everyone had an opinion on Brexit and the UK wanting to leave the European Union and Noel was no different, although his attitude towards the UK was not pleasant by any means.  After coming to the conclusion that Brexit would be a long drawn out affair, we moved onto other topics.

Noel eventually asked why I was visiting Ireland as he had picked up on my Australian accent.   I told him I had some media commitments in Dublin as I travelled around the world with a cardboard cut-out of my late husband Paul.  He turned around and said “I know you, I heard about you on the radio yesterday, you were on the Ray Darcy TV show” and I said “yes I was”.  He told me how brave and courageous I was and loved the idea.

Noel then told me the story of a lady that had hailed his taxi and when she got into the car, she asked about the white feather that was sitting on his dashboard and he told her the story behind it.  She went on to tell him, that she had lost her mother recently and prior to getting into his taxi, she asked her mother to show her a sign that she was with her.  The white feather was the sign, a promise prior to her death that every time she saw a white feather, she knew her mother was with her. The lady went onto tell Noel that it was amazing how many white feathers she does see out of the blue and this was just another occasion and confirmation that her mother was close by and bought her great comfort.

Noel then asked me if I still talk to Paul and I said “yes all the time” and he asked whether he talks back? and I said “yes of course, most of the time” I went onto tell Noel that my sign from Paul was the mini cooper motor vehicles and how amazing it is that I see them all the time, especially when I am travelling.

This is when Noel opened up and told me the story behind the white feather.  His daughter aged 12 committed suicide due to being bullied at school and her brother found her and had to cut her down and then tell his mother of what happened.  Eight years (8) later he was still grieving, upset and angry because of what happened. We both had tears in our eyes and I said “I am saddened to hear you lost your little girl in such a devastating way”.  I also asked him does he talk to her and he said “yes of course” and then I asked does she talk back and he said “yes, sometimes” The white feather is a reminder that his daughter is an angel.

Noel then told me the story about his son losing his mobile phone at their property, which just happened to be on 45 acres with knee high grass.  They had been searching for some time and Noel asked his son had he rung it and he said yes but the battery was now flat.  Noel then asked him had he asked his sister for help? and he said no.  After walking around for some time, Noel called his son over to where he was standing and said look down.  The phone was laying at Noel’s feet because he asked his daughter to help find the phone and she led him to exactly where it would be.  I was getting full on body tingles. I said to Noel how amazing and you just cannot make this stuff up and he agreed.

We went on chatting some more, especially around people who don’t know what to say in these situations and how people say “I know how you are feeling” and he becomes very angry and says “no, unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, you have no idea how I am feeling”.  And I totally agreed with him.  We also went onto discuss all the special occasions and the anniversaries that they would miss.  His daughters anniversary was only a few weeks away, so the emotional build up was evident.  I also told Noel, that Paul would miss out walking our daughter down the aisle although she has three (3) brothers to do that, but it wouldn’t be the same, but I know that he will definitely be there in spirit.  To say that it was an extremely emotional moment is an understatement.

I finally arrived at my hotel and as Noel pulled my luggage from the boot, we stood in front of each other and gave the biggest hug and wished each other well.

At that time, in that place, I was meant to be sitting in that taxi meeting Noel and he the same.  It was meant to be…………

 

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Knights in Shining Armour

I had arrived in County Cork in Ireland on the invitation from PJ Cooghan from 98FM radio after I had been interviewed by him whilst I was in Fort William, Scotland.  I mentioned that I was heading to Ireland in late September and he asked me to drop into the studio to have a photo taken with the three of us.

 

Yes that is PJ, cardboard Paul and myself.

 

While I was visiting Cork for a few days, I decided to tour the area and headed to the Dingle Peninsula for the day, or that was the plan!

I strapped cardboard Paul in the front seat of the hire car with me for the fun adventure and off we went with google maps in hand to show me the right direction and unfortunately I became lost.  To top this all off, I was busting to go to the toilet and veered off the route to find a local petrol station or public toilet.  I was fortunate to find a petrol station in Kanturk that had a public toilet but also a Subway and small dining area.  I stepped out of the hire car with just my phone and the key fob.  As I stepped out of the car, the key fob flew out of my hand, vanished into thin air and locked the car.  I searched everywhere under the car, but couldn’t find the key anywhere. To add drama to the situation, I just happened to park over a grilled water / oil pit and believe the key could have fallen into that.  I was devastated and extremely upset to say the least.  Why did these things always happen to me?  Why did I continue to loose things whilst I travelled?  The night before, I had cracked a tooth and lost half of it, so this was the second loss in two days!

I had two gentlemen (my Knights in Shining Armour) come and see if they could assist.  No matter how much we looked and visualised the key reappearing, it wasn’t meant to be.  Lucky I had my mobile on me and I then proceeded to contact the hire companies roadside assistance.  After many phone calls and hours later, the key doctor arrived to unlock the vehicle and see if he could program in a new key for the car.  In the meantime, I set up in the small dining area and both my knights came in and provided a cup of warm tea and also $50 euro to buy some food.  I was extremely grateful by the generosity and started to cry.   The key doctor had been there for half an hour and was able to open up the car, so I could get access to my purse to payback the money, but also a jacket as it had turned cold.  Unfortunately the key doctor was unable to program a new key due to the newness of the vehicle, so a tow truck had to be organised to tow us back to Cork airport to drop off the broken down vehicle but also collect a new vehicle, as I had a few more days in Ireland with media commitments.  Needless to say, I arrived back in Cork safely and swapped over vehicles with the help of Nigel the tow truck driver who I had an amazing conversation with for the hour and half it took to travel back into Cork airport.

 

 

My two Knights in shining Armor, Vinnie and Gerry

 

During all this drama, a few thoughts came to mind.

“Sometimes life has other plans and can stop you in your tracks whether we like it or not or whether it was planned or not. The outcome is how you manage the distraction or obstacles that are thrown at you. You can go with the flow or completely give up. I chose to move forward go with the flow and learn from the lesson.”

There may have been a reason why I was stopped in my tracks.  I am not sure if I was meant to travel along the Dingle Peninsula, but we will never know.

Also the word Perseverance came to mind as Vinnie was persistent in trying to find the missing key, he never gave up looking and in fact removed the grill over the pit and preceded to climb in to search for the key.  I suggested not to, as the water was disgusting and he would never find it and even if he did, it would be useless and wouldn’t work.

“Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”  I thought of this word and how it relates to me and know that on my journey I am always persistent, no matter what drama is thrown at me especially in this scenario.  I always have the courage to move forward.

 

 

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We Cannot Change the Past

I was sitting in St John’s chapel at the tower of London talking to Henry VIII and saying how barbaric he was to have over 72,000 people executed and the thought that came to me is; that this was what they did at that time and the following thought came to me:

WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST

BUT

CAN CHANGE THE FUTURE

BY

OUR ACTIONS IN THE NOW

 

Three years ago, when Paul died, I could have crawled up into a ball and given up and died with him, but I didn’t, because doing that Paul would have been devastated that I didn’t continue to live, so I chose not to give up and to live life to the fullest.

I think Paul knew better plus I didn’t have the time to give up as trying to sort out his estate was bad enough. So I had to keep going, moving forward hence the idea of writing my first book Conversations with Paul.

Paul knew me too well, he knew me as a strong, courageous and somewhat stubborn person who always wanted to have the last say but also that I would make a difference and of course I would keep my promise to him to travel with him, even as a cardboard cut-out.

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Living Life Positively

I am forever grateful for Paul’s death, because from his death came opportunities, and wonderful experiences, that I may not have had if Paul was still here with me.  As much as I would love him by my side unfortunately I can’t. I have those beautiful memories we shared and also the opportunities since he passed.

I wouldn’t have written Conversations with Paul, or travelled overseas with a cardboard cut-out of him which provided another opportunity to write about our adventures in #travellingwithcardboardpaul.

I wouldn’t have met the wonderful people over the past 3 years since his death.

I wouldn’t have travelled the world sharing my story and now Paul being the most famous cardboard cut-out in the world.

I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to share my story around the world in 7 different countries through over 60 media outlets.

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Travelling with cardboard Paul

Travelling with a cardboard cut out of my late husband Paul is never boring.  On our travels we always have fun and meet some amazing people sharing our stories.

Whilst travelling I have asked the question on many occasions as to why would I want to put myself out there in the world doing what I’m doing?

There can be many reasons why:

  • Meeting people
  • Inspiring others
  • Keeping a promise
  • Making a difference
  • Living life to the fullest

But at the end of the day it’s simple –  because I loved him, Paul was my soul mate and I made a promise to him that I would travel

Recently we returned from a 7 week tour of the United Kingdom, Paris and Ireland with some interesting experiences and plenty of stories to tell.

Whilst travelling, we had the opportunity to be published in the Scottish Sun with a photo of cardboard Paul and I out the front of Edinburgh Castle, the Irish Mirror and being interviewed by PJ Cooghan twice on 96FM Cork radio and appearing on the Ray Darcy TV show in Dublin and having the BBC Wiltshire follow us around Stonehenge.  The whole experience was surreal but also fulfilling as I was able to share our story and show others that life does continue, even when loosing a loved one.

 

 

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Mothers Day

I am extremely proud of my children who have grown up to be outstanding, respectful, resilient and successful adults.  I think that Paul and I must have done something right in raising them.

When Paul and I came together, we became an instant family and I became step mum to two boys who were reasonably young at the time.  After our marriage we started our own family and had another son and then two years later, our long awaited daughter.

Our little family was complete and happy no matter what was thrown at us, we were an awesome dynamic unit.

As the years have gone by, I am very happy that all the kids have come together and become close over the years, backing and supporting each other no matter what.  They know that they can call upon each other if they need anything and they often do.

As a single mum now, I am fortunate that both my children are adults although they both still live at home.

During Paul’s illness all of the kids were amazing and supportive especially Sarah our daughter who was my rock when we were at our lowest and darkest moments.

I am blessed that I have an open and honest relationship with all the kids and we have some great conversations and they can ask me anything.  We are still a close and tight family unit as family was extremely important to Paul and that still remains intact.

For me I am one lucky mum who has four beautiful kids and one step grandson.  Paul’s legacy continues in all the kids; his love of photography through Matthew, his passion for cars and racing through Garry, his love of wheeling and dealing through Brendan, and his passion for mentoring and teaching through Sarah.  And most of all his positive outlook and passion for life through me.

I am truly blessed and proud to be called mum.

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True to self

Are you true to yourself?

You are the most important person in your life.  Did you know that?

Many people put others first and not themselves. And before you say it’s being selfish, it is far from the meaning of selfishness.

One of the main lessons taught in Occupational Health & Safety courses is to look after yourself first and keep out of danger before assisting others.  So if we are advised this in Occupation Health & Safety training, why don’t we do this in our everyday lives?

Who is looking out for you?

I am the only one who can look after my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.

If I put me first and love and respect myself then I am able to give 100% to others as I value myself as a true being.

Do you want to know how to get to know yourself?  It’s easy.

All you need is to spend some time for self.  It could be quietly sitting down having that well-earned break by yourself.  Having a long walk in nature or just day dreaming. I am sure you all have fantastic ideas as how to spend time out for you.

It’s not difficult, the only difficulty is making the time for self.

Once you are in that quiet space, listen for the ideas or inspiration which could come in thought form or you might just hear a song that resonates with you.  No matter how you receive information the one thing I know is that you will be more informed of who you are as a person.

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Promises

Have you ever been asked to keep a promise?

Have you asked someone else to keep a promise?

If you have, did you keep that promise?

Some promises may be difficult to keep considering the circumstances and may change over time.  It may also depend on what is asked and if it is achievable or not.

Asking someone to keep a promise is very personal.

When asking someone to promise something, be mindful of what you are asking and if that person will take on the request.

Paul asked all his children and I to keep a promise and that was to care and look out for each other.  This is a promise that is achievable and accepted with love.

What will be your request when the time comes?

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Create memories

Life is too short. Instead of accumulating material stuff, start creating memories.

When we die we don’t sit up in the afterlife and say, ‘Hey, I loved my iPhone.’

We sit up in the afterlife and remember how wonderful our life was and how much we were loved.

Create memories, as at the end of the day you can’t take a suitcase full of stuff with you.

I have started creating memories and tell my family how much I love them every single day.

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