Sunday, 25 February 2018
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January 2017

Stephanie Berkeley is wondering what surprises 2017 will bring...

Happy New Year readers and after a tumultuous 366 days where we bid farewell to childhood idols like David Bowie, Prince and George Michael, said so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu to the EU and said hello to a man who defied almost all predictions to become the next President of the United States – Donald Trump – it really is anyone’s guess what 2017 will have in store…

One thing is for sure and that is most of us will be feeling down this month. January isn’t a banner month really. It doesn’t have the festivity of December, the spooky excitement of October, the hearts of February or the bunnies and baskets of April. With the exception of New Year’s Day, there’s not much happening in January. It’s still dark and cold outside, there’s nothing glittery to look forward to, and pay day seems an eternity away.

The January blues hit us once the New Year’s hangover has subsided, leaving us feeling pretty lousy and regretting the amount of chocolate and champagne we consumed over the Christmas period. What I know to be true is that this is a natural counterpoint and is as natural as night follows day. Changing moods and mental states are like weather systems. They come and go. It's part of being human.

What January does offer, maybe, is not sterility but space. Without a whole lot going on, holiday-wise, we are invited to create our own meaning. We can fill the space left by the tree and the decorations with our own hopes and imaginings. It’s a new year, a new month, and it invites us to look at the openness and think, “What do I want to put there?”

Therefore this month I have decided that summer is a state of mind – just because it’s January doesn’t mean that the fun is over and winter will never end.

A picture is worth a thousand words and, with a Tweet only allowing 140 characters, many of us are moving away from Twitter and Facebook and embracing Instagram for inspiration. Instagram is seriously one of my favourite ways to follow the people I admire. Often, the feeds are a mix of business-related posts with glimpses “behind the scenes” that are of a more personal nature. It’s totally voyeuristic, but I love getting to know them this way! There can be a danger of having your Insta feed clogged with endorsements, holiday images and coffee cups however, there are a few Instagram accounts out there that can truly be considered inspirational. In this spirit, this month I’m throwing the light onto four local Instagram accounts that will add a bit of inspiration and pep to your mind, body and soul this January.

After living a life through a lens for many years as a mother, businesswoman, author and mindfulness guru, you won't find a happier, more positive account than Brenda’s in your feed. Real life, real obstacles, and real triumph. If the perfect mantra for your lock screen is what you’re after, or if you forget just how wonderful and unique you really are, this account is downright addictive and truly inspirational. It will become your happy place.

This is one strong woman who will make you want to get off your butt and do something amazing! Kim uses visual storytelling to demonstrate the benefits of detox yoga and leading a vegan lifestyle – all this while raising four children under eleven! Kim posts before and after photos of her body and the perfect combination of drool-inducing food pics and “don’t take yourself, or your food, too seriously” quotes which leaves me wanting – no, demanding! – to eat healthier every day.

Mum, photographer, designer and model Collette O’Neill really shouldn’t be so nice or accomplished at such a young age but she is. A regular on local catwalks, titian-haired Collette is as comfortable behind the camera as she is in front of it, and her Instagram feed chronicles the delights and dramas of motherhood, behind the scenes of some of her glamourous photoshoots and some of the breathtaking scenery that we are blessed to enjoy here in Northern Ireland.

One of my favourite local designers has turned her hand to capturing, filtering, hashtagging and sharing her design journey from the North Coast’s picturesque landscapes to Dublin’s streets. Sara is also prone to posting arty images from the many coffee shops she frequents on her travels, as well as personal styling and airy interior designs that are straight-out-of-the-catalogue gorgeous. One look and you’ll want to run home and copy all of her minimalist designs for yourself.

And there you have it; a new year¬; a new social platform and some new inspiration… So what are you waiting for? Ready, set, follow!

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