Me, Myself and I

The book that changed my life (fav book)

I consider myslf a strategist having studied it extensively at Ashridge Management College in England but reading Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. It really transformed the way I thought about innovation and strategizing.

The quote (poem, etc) that keeps me sane (fav quote)

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
Paulo Coelho, Alchemist

The best advice I’ve ever received

Be busy…sound advice when there is nothing to be done about the circumstances you find yourself in.

The film I’ve watched again and again (fav film)

I could give you any number of inspiration and intellectual choices but the reality is any John Candy film – probably Uncle Buck – he makes me laugh out loud every time – great therapy!

The song I want played at my funeral (fav song)

A beautiful and simple song – It’s a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. For as long as I remember my husband Richard always asked the sound guys to play it as I stood down from the stage after a particularly nerve-wrecking awards presentation or speech. It calms me and makes me smile.

The scent that evokes pleasant memories (fav scent)

Freshly cut hay – it evokes strong memories of long summers on my mother’s family farm in Glenade Co Leitrim supposedly helping to bring it in but more of the time messing about with my cousins.

The piece of furniture that will become an heirloom (fav piece of furniture)

A chaise longue that I bought at a house auction in London – it’s beautiful to look at but impossible to relax in – I hope it will be the only piece that will outlive me.

The picture that is worth a thousand words (fav photograph)

When Richard was diagnosed with cancer first we asked Barry McCall to take family pictures – there is one that stands out – it’s of Richard and our son Dara, there is sadness in the photograph but I also see that incredible bond between them.

The item that takes pride of place in my wardrobe (fav piece of clothing)

A wonderful Roberto Cavalli dress which I wore to the premiere of Lincoln – one of the few occasions in my life when I fell in love with a piece of clothing – purely because it made me look better than I was!

The sentimental piece of jewellery

My Boodles ring – I wear it all the time – there is a very funny story as to how it ended up on my hand but too long to explain here!

The gadget that I can’t live without

What I rely on the most at the moment is the combination of the Surface from Microsoft which gives me all the capabilities of my old iPad along with the ease of writing documents and reports which I used to do on my now defunct lap-top. It’s also fully synched with my Nokia Lumia phone.

The item I’d save in a fire

After my boy Dara was safe I would save my phone – it’s my lifeline – has all my contacts, scans of important documents (passports, licenses certificates), it has my photographs –  everything I would need in the early days of rebuilding our life.

The characteristic I like most in myself

I think and hope that I mind my friends and family – I am so grateful to them for everything they have done to help Dara and me through the loss of Richard – it made me realise how precious good friendship is.

And least . . .

Ahh now that might be a long list…chief among them however is an intolerance for any perceived lack of drive in myself mainly but also in others. I have a sometimes unnecessary need to constantly fill time and I am pretty demining of others who don’t have the same “get up and go” attitude (I’m trying to get better though!).

My first kiss . . .

I grew up in the Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo was my second home right throughout my childhood – so inevitably it was a young man who was following in his father’s footsteps in becoming a keeper in the zoo.

The last time I cried . . .

Just a few minutes ago when writing about that very poignant picture of Dara and Richard.

It was the best of times . . . (fav memory)

The day I discovered I was pregnant with Dara. I had just been through a very difficult miscarriage a few months earlier following many attempts with IVF. Dara was a perfectly natural and magical baby – I still have a picture of this little six week old dot in Dara’s baby book.

It was the worst of times . . . (least fav memory)

That day in St James Hospital when the oncologist said nothing more could be done for Richard’s cancer. It was the end of the road and that fragile hope we had been clinging to for a few short months.

The person I call when things go pear-shaped

My mother Mags of course. She’s amazing – a good combination of wisdom and practicality. She has a great capacity for happiness despite the difficulties we have faced as a family. We all fight over who is going to have her for holidays and important events.

My death row dinner (fav meal)

Because I won’t care about the calories, cholesterol or salt intake …I would have lobster with drawn butter to start, then something really out of bounds – macaroni with the finest cheese and white truffle oil served with wonderful salty focaccia. If I am still alive after all that I could help do the executioner out of a job by having a cheese course – definitely stilton, with celery and a very good and large glass of port. And to finish maybe a bit of a throw-back dessert from my childhood – Baked Alaska – my mother’s specialty.

The personal aversions (pet peeves)

Those hairdryers in hotel rooms that you have to hold your finger on the button permanently to use (and the ones with the ridiculously short flex), but top of the list is those passengers who always appear surprised when they finally get to the conveyer belt at airport security and have to unload their multiple pockets, remove belts, phones, lap-tops, have to hunt for the liquids and take an age to undo the laces of their shoes…and sorry but it’s usually the guys.

My four-legged friend (if they have an animal)

No animals