Building a Health & Wellness Community & Why It’s Important To Me

Wikipedia defines community as “… a social unit of any size that shares common values ..”.

Our values can be viewed as what is important to us in our lives.

To me being in a community of like minded people that share similiar values brings out the best in us.   We feel safe to share our views, ask questions and be open to learn to be our selves and most importantly, our best selves.

IrishHealthHour is a health and wellness community that has evolved into something far bigger than I ever expected.   To me it has always been about offering a space for people to feel comfortable joining in our hashtag hour ever Saturday morning #irishhealthhour,  to ask questions, network and learn.

It is a bridge between allopathic and natural medicine where we learn exciting new advances in the medical world or find a natural product or therapy to ease our emotional and physical symptoms.   It is not one versus the other rather a community to share both.

We often here community building being described as “finding our tribe” where again we are meeting with people with similiar stories to tell.   We gain insight and hope from those who have overcome obstacles like those we may have.  We may feel like we will never get over something but then hear another’s story and be inspired to change.

Health and wellness covers all aspects; as well as meeting with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to include our physiological, safety and self esteem issues it also includes what we eat, what we put on our skin, what exercise we do; to name but a few.

We may find we are self confident but do not get proper nutrition and exercise and because of this we may feel drained.   We may exercise and eat well but our self talk and self esteem may be low.

Health and wellness in my opinion is about balance, it is doing all of the above in a balanced way for us as an individual.  There is no hard rule fits all, we are each an individual with individual needs.

We can educate ourselves by learning from others who have gone before us and paved the way!   We can learn to be motivated, learn cooking skills or find home based exercise videos to suit our own needs at this time.

IrishHealthHour is a community and I welcome you to join us.

Until next time .. keep the faith, Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Owner of IrishHealtHour, Energy Worker, and essential oil lover.


ITWBN’s 2nd birthday Party

The ITWBN girls Sinead Carroll and Saibh Egan always throw a great party and this year was certainly no exception for their 2nd birthday bash.   The venue this year was the lovely Connacht Hotel situated on the Dublin Road in Galway.

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Cake by Deco Bake

Cake by Deco Bake

I arrived a little early and caught up with some of the friends I have made in the blogging community.   This is one of my favourite reasons for going to blogging events catching up with bloggers I already know and meeting new bloggers.

I had a wander around the exhibitor’s tables before the event got started.   There was a wonderful selection of exhibitors as always.  We had tasty teas from  Solaris Tea, Wigs from Bellissimo Galway,and Look West, were there.  There were some amazing pieces of jewelry from Siren & Soul, and tasty treats from McCambridges of Galway,  I actually won a huge hamper from McCambridges and it was packed full of goodies like prosecco, chocolate and other delights!.  There were wonderful designs from Suzie Mahony Designs and clothes from Chez Val French Fashion at My home or Yours,  Studio 53 were there as were Juicy Lucy & Cool Beans.    Who needed breakfast with all the treats we were given when we arrived!

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The speakers on the day were very inspirational.  Olivia Collins from FoodPR gave us some great advice on PR and marketing and how to deal with agencies.   It was a very positive talk and certainly inspired me to feel confident doing up a press kit and approaching one.

Gill from 56 Central is a dream to listen to.   If ever you were feeling un-motivated her honest speaking would certainly help you dust off those cobwebs and get going with your visions and dreams.  Like Gill I am a fan of vision boarding and watching my dreams come true.

The wonderful  Nikki Bradley told us her inspiring life story.  Nikki is a true warrior standing in her power and not letting everything that she has gone through in her life stop her from fulfilling her dreams.  Nikki does not dream small goals, she does amazing feats and aims high.

All three speakers left me in no doubt that the only person holding me back in my own life is myself!!   Something I preach about all the time and it was great to hear such honesty, positivity and motivation on a sunny afternoon in the Connacht Hotel.

There was also a panel debate this year chaired by the lovely Kerry Manning.   The panel of speakers were Kieran O’Malley, Doug Leddin, Siren and Soul, Getting Fed Up and yours truly!   It was a great discussion where we could hear first hand from the panel what platforms they used and which worked best for them.   It is great to hear first hand conversations like this from fellow bloggers.

The Swag Bags at the ITWBN events are always bursting with wonderful goodies and this event was no exception.   It was like several Christmas mornings and birthdays all rolled into one!!!  Here is a selection of the wonderful products we were treated to.    Thanks so much to all the contributors who gave goodies to us!

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Another party over and all I can say is .. when is the next on?  Well done Sinead and Saibh, you girls know how to organise a party!

Until the next time .. keep dreaming big

Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Owner of IrishHealthHour, Energy Therapist, Author and Mum!


4 Ways To Keep Your Hands & Feet Naturally Healthy

Our hands and feet put up with a lot during the day.  Often our hands are exposed to the elements and spend time in water washing dishes, windows and household surfaces.    It’s no wonder we can suffer from dry, chapped skin!   Our feet bring us on our path, ever walking and moving, propelling us forward.

It is a gift to our hands and feet to give them a natural treat, it serves us in the long run!

Here is a four step ritual I would recommend.

1. Soaking the hands and feet in warm water with Epsom salts and essential oils.

The benefit of soaking our whole body and, in this case our hands and feet in Epsom Salt is so wonderful.   Due to changes in agricultural methods and accordingly changes in our diet, we are often deficient in magnesium.   Epsom salts provide a wonderful way to assist our body in benefiting from this essential mineral which is not easily absorbed through the stomach.

Studies show increased magnesium levels can be obtained from soaking in Epsom Salts. It is also said that Magnesium  helps maintain our calcium levels.

Adding an essential oil like Lavender adds a soothing support.  Lavender is wonderful to assist in calming things down, from sun burn to our central nervous system.  It acts like a soothing blanket for our ailments.

2. Exfoliation

When we exfoliate we detoxify the skin and allow dead cells to be removed.   This brightens the complexion and improves skin tone.  It kills bacteria and prevents breakouts.

I would recommend to use brown sugar in an exfoliation which is less abrasive to the skin than white sugar is.  Mixing the sugar with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil can add the advantage of adding therapeutic benefits from this oil.

Fractionated coconut oil contains capric acid and caprylic acid, thus giving it more antioxidant and disinfecting benefits.   It also facilitates the absorption of other oils you are putting on your skin.

Using an essential oil like Lemongrass purifies and tones the skin and soothes aching muscles.

On an emotional level Lemongrass supports us in releasing feelings of despair so we can open up to let go of limiting beliefs we may be hoarding about ourselves.  We are better able to see life more clearly and become the pilot steering our life in the way we want it to go.

3. After exfoliating we can moisturise our hands & feet with our favourite moisturiser.  We can add an essential oil of our choice.

Maybe we seek more focus so choose Lemon or perhaps we want to accept ourselves the way we are.  Bergamot offers great support in allowing us embrace our authentic self.

Apply the moisturiser with intention. allowing our hands receive the moisture they need.

4. We can care for our cuticles and nails by softening the skin around them.  We can add Shea butter which is full of natural vitamins and fatty acids and so moisturises, reduces inflammation and soothes the skin.   Bees wax also softens and is antibacterial.  It also forms a protective barrier on the skin and so is a wonderful ingredient for skin health.

Good essential oils for nails are Lemon, Frankincense & Myrrh.  These can also be blended with a carrier oil like wheatgerm and rubbed into cuticles to keep them soft and healthy.

Frankincense offers cellular health support so putting this essential oil on our cuticles is very beneficial, it is often referred to as “King of the Oils”.

If you have a natural solutions query please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to help you.



Kick out the Auto Pilot and Take Back Control of Your Health!

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Have you ever been going somewhere and when you reached the destination wonder how you got there? Do you find you do not remember passing an important landmark en route? Worse still were you actually driving the vehicle?

When you allow the auto pilot of your mind take control, you may find you become more of an observer in your life as it passes you by and, this can include your health and wellness.

You may say; “I don’t remember what I ate yesterday or the day before, I just ate what was there”. Or “I can’t remember the last time I went for a walk”.

You can kick that autopilot out though and decide to become mindful and take the controls firmly back into your hands.

To become mindful is to become conscious of what you are doing in any given moment.   In a nutshell being “aware” of the choices you are making. It is stopping and noticing what you are doing.

This can be done in relation to what you are eating, how you exercise and above all is the key to unlocking your mindset.

Mindful eating.

In such a busy, social media, technology age many of us don’t take the time to eat well; you may say you don’t have time! You may prepare the dinner listening to a pod cast, or you might opt for a take away.   Whichever choice you pick be mindful or aware of it.

You can make a choice though to switch off the pod cast, leave down the phone and tune in to the act of preparing your food and you can choose what you are going to eat in a more mindful way.

This process of slowing down helps your mind clear the clatter momentarily; you focus on one thing and what you want the outcome to be;

“What am I going to choose to eat”.

It allows space for new ideas to come in.   Maybe you will remember a healthier choice you have in the cupboard.   Maybe you will remember the advice someone gave you about a particular type of food   Being mindful takes you from autopilot to being an aware person in charge of what you are eating.

Mindful exercise

When you become mindful of eating more healthily and making choices that are better for you this can open up your mind for the possibilities of making better choices in relation to exercise.

Whether you decide to take the stairs at work instead of the lift or walk the 5 minutes to the bus stop instead of driving do it mindfully.   If your children are with you give them your full attention, if you are alone count how many breaths it takes for you to do each step.

This is a simple mindfulness practice and brings you right back to the present moment.   You only have one thing on your mind and you are allowing yourself be present with that one thing.

You will see the benefits of these simple practices straight away and it may even entice you to walk more or to take up another form of exercise as a way of releasing the mind from the burdens that weigh you down.

The burdens may very well be there after the exercise but your mindset will be so much more positive and you will be able to take on challenges and obstacles in a more mindful way.

It is never too late to grab the steering wheel back firmly in your hand and plot the route you want to take and the type of food you want to eat while you are getting there.

The first step may be hardest but the results are mind changing!

Until next time … keep the faith,

Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Author, Owner of IrishHealthHour, Energy Therapist, Soul Care Practitioner and Essential Oil Lover


Finding My Exercise Mojo with Reformer Pilates at French Vanoli

I was thrilled to be given a chance to try out Reformer Pilates at French Vanoli as part of a collaboration with the wonderful ladies at ITWBN.

I have practiced Pilates for many years now including pregnancy Pilates when I was pregnant with my first son.  I have always been amazed at how such gentle movement can have such an amazing effect.

The founder of Pilates, Mr. Joseph Pilates had been a sickly child and because of this he spent his entire life striving to improve his physical strength.  His father had been a prize winning gymnast and his mother a naturopath so he had grown up in a family where he obviously saw or heard about the benefits of stamina and physical strength.

I myself enjoyed great health and had been lucky enough to be able to swim and exercise as I pleased for many years.  However a persistent back injury had been getting progressively worse and worse over the last few years and eventually I was diagnosed as having a disc bulge and protrusion late last year.  Because of my fear of “my back going again” my life had become more sedentary and coupled with poor posture as I work more at a desk I haven’t exercised since last Summer.

I have been told that walking and swimming are not the best exercises for me anymore.   I hadn’t considered doing something like Pilates or Yoga for fear of putting my disc under pressure.

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But when I heard about Reformer Pilates I was intrigued.  I did an introduction class with Andrew in French Vanoli a few weeks ago.   I was fascinated by the use of machines in Pilates.    At one stage I laughed out loud when he showed us one of the exercises he wanted us to do.  I declared “well I won’t be able to do that with my back”.  I had given details of my back issues to Andrew before the class and as he had similar symptoms himself, he could empathise and knew what I would be able to do and likely not be able to do.    He assured me I would be fine!   So I put my left foot up on the machine and allowed the machine to take my right foot back, back and back.   A full stretch which I held for the required time.

I felt a foot taller leaving the introduction class!!  I couldn’t stop talking about my wonderful experience at French Vanoli and how wonderful it was to have been able to stretch like I just had. When we are in pain it is common to curl up our body to protect ourselves from harm almost.   This too can cause our breaths to be shorter not allowing enough oxygen into our lungs to carry out our daily chores with gusto.

After the introduction class I couldn’t wait until my next class!

The next class I went to at French Vanoli was with Anna and she introduced it as a jumping class.  I have got to admit I sort of cringed at the thought of jumping and hurting my knee which happens sometimes when I walk a lot, it is referred pain from my back.   But jump I did on these wonderful machines, jumping jacks, side kicks and much, much more.   It felt exhilarating to be able to part take in jumping exercises again that had no adverse effect on my back.  Never once during the classes did I feel back pain or a need to stop doing anything I was doing.    There is the choice of making the exercises easier by adjusting the machine or harder too if that is what we need or want!

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Pilates is a conditioning routine that helps build flexibility, inner strength and endurance through emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, building a strong core and improving co-ordination and balance.   Pilates demands intense focus so you are combining your mind with what you are doing.   Breathing is also a huge part of Pilates and Joseph Pilates saw considerable value in increasing the intake of oxygen and the circulation of this oxygenated blood to every part of the body.     He saw this as cleansing and invigorating.     Unlike many exercises in Pilates we breath out with the effort and in with the return.

In the course of my next class Anna reiterated the need for controlled movements, always connecting ourselves back to our core, thus building up core strength.  Doctor’s orders for me had been “rehabilitating my core”.  It is almost like a mindfulness exercise where we put our mind only on the task in hand.   We are not thinking of what we will do next, we concentrate on each movement as we are doing it.  It is controlled and we just flow with our breath as we exercise.

As someone with a disc injury I am delighted to have found an exercise regime I can do which promises to elongate my spine and tighten my muscles.

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For me personally I need to exercise in order to keep my mental health balanced!!!  I love to exercise and found it extremely difficult when I had to give up gym membership having been part of a gym for over 15 years.

I have definitely found my exercising mojo again thanks to Reformer Pilates and would highly recommend the friendly, informative and extremely pleasant surroundings at French Vanoli.  They have classes on in the morning and in the evening, during the week and at weekends.  Mind you it is a popular place and booking a course of classes is a must!

And remember fitness is not a destination it is a way of life,

Until next time … wherever you need to look, keep looking till you find your mojo!

Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Owner at IrishHealthHour, Health and Wellness Blogger, Energy Therapist, Essential Oil Lover and Author.



3 Ways to Practice Self Love based on universal Mindful Techniques


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We are told often enough that we cannot love another until we truly begin to love ourselves.

How do we begin that journey to self-love?   If we have deep-rooted beliefs about ourselves, for example if we feel we are not lovable or, if society or others have made us feel this way, then it can be a real journey of discovery to find our truth.

When we accept that love is not a destination to be reached but literally a way to walk in life, then we can truly start a journey to self-love.

*            Decrease violence in oneself.

When we speak about violence towards ourselves this can mean violence in many, many forms. Perhaps we use violent self-talk towards ourselves; telling ourselves we are not good enough or maybe we blame ourselves for the actions of others.

When we start to unravel our stories around this self-talk we can begin our journey to healing and to self-love.   We are, each one of us, entitled to receive love. We may have been hurt many times in the past but this does not mean we are not entitled to be loved.   Maybe the people we have fallen in love with are not capable of giving us love or, of giving us the love we need.   Maybe their beliefs about themselves hold them back from truly giving.

We can accept this fact and forgive ourselves for loving someone who was not capable of giving us love.

* Develop the practice of deep listening.

When we listen to what our body needs and what our emotions are telling us we can take the steps to align ourselves with self-love.

If our default emotion is anger, then maybe our anger is trying to tell us that we need to build stronger boundaries. Maybe our sadness is telling us that we need to listen to our gut instinct and let someone or something go.   Maybe our back pain or pelvic problems are telling us we don’t have enough support in our life and that we need to surround ourselves more with supportive people.

When we hone in and really listen we will begin to realise that self-love starts with listening to ourselves and not to others.

* Avoid using toxins and poisons.

When we use toxic substances in excess in order to fill gaps in our heart we are not respecting ourselves.   It is an act of self-love to realise that toxins and poisons won’t mend a broken heart.   If we stop and find the reason our heart is broken and take steps in ourselves to mend it, we have a better chance of not needing to rely on anything else to fix or heal us.   We will have realised that the power is inside us all the time.

Mindfulness brings us into the present moment but it also brings us to a place of where we are consciously looking and listening to what our body really needs.   When we listen to what our body needs and wants and act on these signals and messages we begin the journey of walking a life based on self-love that will seep out into all areas of live and have a ripple affect on the way others treat us.

Until next time; keep the faith Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Owner of IrishHealthHour, Soul Care Practitioner, Author and Essential Oil Lover.


Honouring My Feet with a Pamper Pedicure at Bellissimo Galway

bellissimo1“We believe that true well-being is achieved by attending to the mind and body and spirit.  Our beauty team are dedicated to providing a range of treatments that will calm and relax you, thus promoting harmony and balance.  We offer the ideal antidote to modern life”.  Bellissimo

When a beauty salon’s philosophy states they are attending to mind, body and spirit then I definitely look forward to the experience.

As a therapist myself when I am doing energy treatments on clients I always give attention to feet.   We spend so much time on our feet and oftentimes give them very little attention.   We talk about grounding our energies into the ground and standing with our feet firmly on the ground but how do we nourish and thank our feet for all the work they do?

So when I had a choice of pedicure or manicure for our pamper evening I decided to give my poor feet a night out!


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And attention my feet certainly got in this multi award winning hair and beauty studio Bellissimo in Galway.

There were many parts to my wonderful pedicure.   The treatment started with a hard skin treatment, a rest in warm water, nail shaping, cuticle work, invigorating exfoliation, massage, heated mitts and polish.

Being a busy Mum of two hurling mad, scouts I spend more time in hiking boots than I do in heels but this Mum was going out two nights later and decided to opt for the peep toe shoes after my pedicure.   Well a girl couldn’t hide those lovely toes!  It took courage for me to stand tall in a wedge heel but I did it!!!   All in the name of beauty and allowing my feet the honoring they deserve!

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Toes out for my blogger evening at The Skeff, Galway

On our visit to Bellissimo we were also treated to some delicious snacks from the G Counter in Galway.   We had scones with cream and jam, savoury delights and some delightfully manicured sandwiches!!!


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Delicious Food from the G Counter, Galway

We were also treated to some tasty Solaris tea.

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Bellissimo Galway also have a wonderful wig service at their Galway salon and have been offering this service for over 14 years.    It is a discreet and personalised service bearing in mind that everyone is different and has different requirements.  Whilst these wigs are a wonderful addition to any busy girls wardrobe, there are times when there are medical reasons why someone would avail of this service.   At Bellissimo personal attention is given to each client and their service is available countrywide and is supported by the HSE.

The whole pamper evening was a fantastic experience and it is hard to pick a favourite moment – from the wonderful attentive staff to the beautiful pedicure facility which is tucked away in a cosy corner.    For more information on the services and treatments they offer you can visit their web site here.


Until next time .. don’t forget to allow yourself time to “just be” and treat your body to some special attention and me time.

Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Owner of IrishHealthHour, Energy Therapist, Essential Oil Lover, Author.