The Colour in Business

It’s no secret  to those of you following me on Twitter that I am  looking for work.  I have been busy updating my profile on LinkedIn and anywhere else I have an online presence.  It’s tough out there so I want to make sure I have all my avenues covered.  While doing all this updating my next challenge also dawned on me – I’m going to need an interview suit.

From chatting to staff in various outlets  I was advised that I’d need ‘something smart, presentable, on trend and with a nice cut’. This of course I already knew, but they were very nice with a job to do and if truth be told I was enjoying the attention and the fuss.

One thing that struck me (much later in the day) about my ‘suiting and booting’ process was, not one person mentioned the use of colour, either as an accessory  by way of a scarf, or even by wearing a different colour jacket with the trousers.  Granted, I didn’t think of asking about it either, it was when I got home I had a bit of a ‘lightbulb’ moment.  All the suits I was shown were various shades of charcoal or black, and all were trouser suits.  In an interview situation dark trousers and jacket are fine, but in the broader world of business I”m wondering and asking “is it acceptable to wear colour”?

I’m not talking about doing a total ‘Legally Blonde‘ here, I’m just talking about adding a splash or touch of colour to work attire that can otherwise look very bland.  Dark colours don’t suit every complexion either.

During my image search on Google using the search term ‘business woman’ I can safely say that 99% of images displayed were the fairly typical dark suit.  But for me the reason for this albeit very basic research, is that colour has such an impact on people.  Not just the person wearing it, but also those that come into contact with them.

Colour is like music, it can affect your mood.  Think about when you last decorated for a moment –  did you pick soft pastels for a reason in a lounge/sitting-room? Are the colours in your home a reflection of your personality?

Take for example Red – is a physical color which calls for action to be taken.  Its high energy and strength draws attention to itself and demands to be noticed.  Or how about Blue – is the safest color to use in most applications, implying honesty, trust and dependability. (source:

I know that some industries and professions like the uniformity of the dark suit.  It may not be stated as a uniform but it is the accepted norm.  And so, I’m left with a lot of questions:

Would colour in a woman’s jacket in the boardroom be considered a distraction?

Is femininity something to be hidden? or heaven forbid even feared?

Have some women allowed themselves to be streamlined by the mainstream?  Falling into the ‘acceptable’ look that nearly all senior management seem to wear?

Or am I painting everyone with the same brush?

When I add colour I’m reflecting my personality – I’m an outgoing person. So just maybe there are plenty of women out there like me who also love to do the same.

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Music Overload

I’m a musician and love when parents encourage music as an interest for their children. It gives the children another focus apart from technology and definitely helps develop their creative thinking process.  In my opinion, it opens doors in the mind that would otherwise remain closed.  It also happens to be a great way to relax and de-stress.

Some time ago I found myself  questioning how many instruments should a child learn at any one given time as they are growing up.  Before you think I’m completely mad, let me explain how this came about.

One evening while I was waiting for one of my children to finish their lesson I struck up a conversation with another parent.   We started  chatting about music, grades and the various instruments our offspring were learning.  Inevitably this also led into how long they all spend practising their scales and exercises.   I was explaining how typically in this house we can have really good days (30-40 mins) along with the slightly more frequent ‘lazier days’ (15 mins). Nothing unusual in that, I know.  The parent in question then told me of the regime in their house. To keep on top of all the instruments, at least two per day had to be practised.

I don’t mean that two children were working away at a time, no no no….. this was two instruments per child, had to be practised. These children were going to so many different music lessons for various instruments that my initial thought was ‘when do they get to be kids’?

I was astounded to say the least. Apart from the small fortune being spent on music tuition for the children, plus the endless driving to lessons and any performances or exams that inevitably follow, I wondered how they even got their homework done.

Much as I love music, and I am delighted that three of my four offspring are also very musical, I felt I had to step back and let them develop their musicality themselves.  No matter how many instruments a child learns, a treble clef doesn’t change just because the instrument is different. Theory is theory when it comes to music.

Of course I congratulated the parent on having such talented children, but in my mind I didn’t envy them. How well can a child master an instrument if so much of their time is divided between so many?

I love to hear of children or even adults learning something new especially when it comes to music.  It doesn’t even have to be a new instrument, it might just be a new style or genre, but spending all your time running from one music lesson to another does, in my opinion, come at a cost.  Not just the obvious costs as I’ve mentioned already but what about the social cost to the child? Friends, the ability to socialise and mix are important lifelong skills that should be encouraged when our children are young.

I  know young children are like sponges, they absorb everything and possibly this post may upset some. I agree that music, ballet, soccer or whatever interests children have are all  important for their overall development and should be encouraged, but they also need to live and enjoy life. There is nothing wrong with just letting them be children.

If you are interested in any further information on music tuition in your area why not contact:

Royal Irish Academy of Music


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Mo Ghrá Thu

This is a live recording of a very popular psalm to have sung at your wedding, I’m accompanied here by Lesley Magee on Concert Harp.

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December 12, 2012 · 1:53 pm

D is for Diamond. D is for Dangerous.

Michael Wall

I spoke to various people over the last couple of days. One was a Goldsmith, the others included a self-declared novice, a Gemologist, and a Client. We spoke Diamonds.

Obviously with each it was a different conversation. It dawned on me as I put the phone down at the end of the most recent chat, there is a phenomenal ‘grey area’ that causes so many problems when talking Diamonds and more so when it comes to choosing them.

A little information is a dangerous thing. You can freely research every aspect and feature of a Diamond. You can read about colour, clarity, symmetry, crown and pavilion angles etc.

But what does that mean to you the customer. Can you confidently say after all your research that you know enough to buy a Diamond?

I know I couldn’t, and if you can I am highly impressed. From what I read on…

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Barbara Edwards Video Montage

A short video montage made from places I’ve been, couples I’ve sung for and pieces performed. I hope you like it.



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Mid Forties and Clothes – A Dangerous Territory

I’m no fashionista or style icon but like most women I love nice clothes. These clothes should be ones that I can feel comfortable in, be stylish or even elegant in.  So what’s my problem?  Well, I’m in my mid forties and sometimes I’m at a loss as to what is best to make my statement – even if only a casual one.  That’s what fashion is after all, making a statement about who you are and how comfortable you are in your own skin and highlighting your best bits (or even learning how to reduce them as the case may be).

Salma Hayek attends the 2009 Alma Awards, September 17, 2009, in Los Angeles.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Sometimes when I see an outfit hanging on a mannequin I think ‘yes please’ and then when I try it on I end up looking frumpy or much older than my years, or worse still, the outfit is designed for a 20 year old.  I’m stuck in that rut between having had and reared children and tending to all their needs, and rediscovering what it’s like to actually spend money on myself.  The only problem is, after four wonderful children my style has been lost along the way and I’ve forgotten how to shop just for me.

To help me on my path of recovery I decided to see if there were any sites online that deal specifically with my age group and lo and behold there are tons of them.  Why didn’t this epiphany happen sooner?

One site that really caught my fancy is  and my oh my Sylvia (the author) has so many helpful tips for all of you women aged 40+ out there.  With the current Autumn collections showing a lot of leather, Sylvia has great tips on how to wear it and incorporate it into your wardrobe.

So even though it’s September and the year is almost out, I’m making an Autumn resolution – no more will I be a trackie mammy going to do the school run, or the shopping.  I’m determined over the coming months to change my ways.  I’m not too sure if I’ll have the money to invest in a new wardrobe of clothes, but I’ll give it a go anyway using what I’ve got and I’ll see how that goes.

One of her many great posts is all about finding your body shape, and dressing for it.

At the moment though I’m hovering somewhere be Triangles and Apples, but that’s for a completely different blog post!

If you are 40+ and want to know more about finding your style then I would recommend you head over to Sylvia’s page where you will find more than enough information to get you started. Sylvia is also on Pinterest so if don’t feel like reading but just want to look at some stylish photos why not head over and have a browse.

Now, I’m off to do a major wardrobe cleanout 🙂


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Leaving Cert Mammy Part 2

This is only a short blog as a sort of update to all of you who read my first post on the Leaving Cert Mammy.

So the Leaving Certificate results have come and gone, the college place has been accepted and very soon my first born will head off to start his new life as an undergraduate.

I was very apprehensive the day the results came out, not because I doubted that he would do well, but because his chosen course Computer Science, would see an increase in demand. Thankfully my fears were laid to rest when his college offer came through and he secured his place.

So now I’m in a bit of a limbo.

As I said in my previous blog post, I am excited for him.   He even sees a future for himself and he believes it to be here, in Ireland.  He doesn’t forsee working abroad – he’s a home bird (to be honest, in reality I think he knows where his washing will be done) He heads away soon for the orientation week which will be closely followed by full time student life.

So here I am looking at a young man, who my friends call ‘mums rock’ because that’s what he was. All those years of my hubby working away my first born stepped up to the mark without even being asked.  When his siblings were small he learned how to make bottles, clean up the playroom and is one of the best when it comes to hoovering. He can even cook using a real cooker!!  To this day he is still able to suss if I’m a bit down or tired and will step into the breach.  I feel like I’m losing my right arm which I know isn’t fair on him, hence my excitement is tinged with a tiny bit of sadness.  Looking at him, I wish I was that age again and had even half of the opportunities ahead of me that he’ll have.  I envy his new found freedom and hope that he’ll put it to good use and stay safe while doing so.

His youngest sibling on the other hand, is already eyeing up his bedroom.  He doesn’t realise that his older brother may actually come home every odd weekend and might need somewhere to stay.

I’ve no doubt that city living will change him and will give him a new perspective on life. So although I may be saying goodbye to a boy, I’m full sure he’ll come home a man, and as such I’ll have to be ready.

I don’t remember any of this in the ‘becoming a parent’ manual !!

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