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“Why Change?

Why Start Afresh?

What is Broken

That needs Fixing?

Those Words

Those Voices

That’s just the WORLD

And it’s MANY vices!

Do Not Change

Do Not Begin Again

Celebrate All that

You Are

Praise where you

Have Been

Look Yourself in the Eye


Each Day, You’ll Say:

“I Am Alive, I Am Me

Thank You”



The Tough Cookie x x




When the New Year comes around do you often begin by being hard on yourself identifying all the changes you ‘need’ and ‘should’ make?



Really are you all that ‘bad’ as you are? Are there as many changes you think you need to make? Surely you’re good enough just as you currently are? Don’t get me wrong I’m a firm believer in making some small steps to improvement and having a healthier life/you but the idea of needing to change and transform completely is one I’m not a fan of. We can sometimes base our ideals on what media portrays to us is ‘perfect’ or what other people view as the best way of being, but what about what YOUR soul and inner heart are saying? Have you connected with your sense of self to know what sounds right for you?




Take time to begin this New Year by listening to your inner wisdom that is already present, take some quiet time each day to reflect, to hear and to give to yourself. I’m beginning this new year with the wonderful Fresh Resolutions event tomorrow and after being sick since Christmas Day, being out of my routine and my body/soul/mind being off centre I cannot wait to take time to connect with myself, others, surround myself with positivity and set those goals for ME that are already within my inner sense for 2020! 🙌🏻🙋🏻‍♀️




There’s still time to book a ticket for this wonderful inspirational day to commit to a 2020 that’s going to be epic for YOU!








J I G S A W 🧩



“Where’s that piece?

That missing part?

To fill a hole

To complete the whole?

So long I searched

Too long life on hold

Stop looking

Slow it down

ALL those pieces

Are NOT lost

Don’t need to be found!

Already within

Look inside

You may be surprised

By what you find 🖤”



The Tough Cookie x



For too long I was on a search for finding pieces of myself I felt were missing, to desperately fill that void I felt within. I searched, I waited for those pieces to be found and to be filled. I’m finally realising that those pieces are within, they’re not lost, they just need to be revealed and shine through. I DO have all the pieces I need within, I just need to learn to see them through my own eyes and allow them to be heard, to grow and to flourish. 🌹



#pieces #jigsaw #gowithin #selflove #selfbelief #awareness #soul #thetoughcookie

Look with LOVE 💖

How do YOU practice LOVE? Particularly Self-Love. So many books and experts for wellbeing preach about the importance of Self-Love. It is very true that you cannot love another fully until you’ve accepted and love yourself, however WHY do we find it SO difficult to Look Lovingly at ourselves and see the Love we hold? .
What has happened in your life that has made you believe that you’re not capable, not worthy, not good enough and not loving enough? .
As a child we make meanings that aren’t necessarily true, we don’t realise perhaps the whole picture or story but we attach associations and meanings that remain with us for a long time until we have the awareness that they’re in fact FALSE! .
Ways I am Practising: .
. *Look: each day look for 1 positive about myself, physically and within my personality. See the Love! .
*Overcome: those old and false beliefs that we acquired about ourselves and perhaps others. Let the Go! .
Visualise: how you’d like to see yourself, what steps you’d like to make for some positive changes within your life. .
Emerge: enjoy transforming into the LOVING person that you are, it feels so much better to talk gently to yourself and others, act in ways that are loving and gentle. .
See yourself with eyes of LOVE, then your world will feel and look beautiful and bright! 💖🌟 .
#selflove #eyesoflove #outlook #interactions #transform #positivechanges

Wilted or Blooming….?🥀🌹

Adopted, Athletic, A Friend, A Daughter, A Sister, A Teacher, An Auntie, Abu Dhabi Rose, A Blogger, A Play Therapist…

Am I finally appreciating ALL that I Am?

I’ve become extremely aware, mindful and analytic since beginning my journey as a blogger and therapist. Pondering Life, its mysteries, its interactions and experiences. What events or people sparked this inside of me or was it always an innate feature I held and I just had to find the key to unlock and unleash that part of Deirdre? 🔑 I’m unsure of the answer but answers don’t matter. What matters is it’s happening, I’m evolving and to answer the question from above: am I wilting or blooming? I believe it’s a journey of both!

When I state that answers don’t matter I can’t help but giggle slightly to myself as answers were the be all and end all for me previously. I had to try to control my life, figure it all out, find those answers so that I had reasons, explanations and logic. Being Adopted leaves you with a lot of questions unanswered and pieces of information missing so I think it makes perfect sense that that’s how I operated, don’t you? However there is little joy in trying to live life that way. Nobody can control life, other people or find out all those mysteries. Imagine if we did know everything, could control life and others, the world would be either a very mundane place or extremely chaotic. There is beauty in not knowing and I can see that now. Destiny unfolds a day at a time and I’ve learned (and continue to learn!) to trust more and more the plan that is paved out for me.

While teaching in Abu Dhabi, my mental health took an extreme low due to grieving the loss of my mother, being immersed in a culture where I didn’t feel I had any voice or much freedom, I did feel as if I was wilting away! Being crowned Abu Dhabi Rose and heading for Tralee really was one experience that to be truthful saved me in a sense. I had something positive to aim towards. I would say it, along with a lot of self-help and healing got me out of a black hole of depression. In a sense it helped me connect with the true Deirdre Ward, my identity and what I stood for. I remember openly sharing my journey of Mams illness and death, teaching in Ireland and Abu Dhabi and most importantly to me, sharing my faith. I was beginning to bloom and become my authentic self.

The Rose of Tralee helped me learn a great deal about myself. I remember standing on stage in the dome when the winner was being announced and my heart fell when I didn’t hear my name being called. Not out of greed, not out of selfishness but I felt hopelessness in that moment. I had attached a lot of meaning and significance on winning as the saving grace I was looking for to help me escape Abu Dhabi (as I was miserable out there and felt stuck!) Looking back now if I had won, if I had that easy ticket home from the UAE I wouldn’t have unfolded a lot more about myself and thankfully a few more petals began to grow! After the festival I went back, I had to find my voice to stand up for my wishes, my beliefs and my LIFE. That’s when the real Tough Cookie began to emerge. I found my power and my voice. I left work, I began my Tough Cookie Blog and I made the decision to become a Play Therapist. Aren’t I so grateful and glad I did!

So where does that leave me today? Wilted or Blooming? I like to think I’ve shed the petals that were of no use to me – the fearfulness, the low self-esteem and self doubt, the small voiced Deirdre unable to stand tall and speak her truth. I have gained soo many beautiful new petals and most definitely blooming. I’m honest with myself, I’m acknowledging my gifts and uniqueness, I appreciate my past and how it’s molded me however I don’t allow it to define me. I’m excited and enthusiastic about my future and determined to keep hitting those goals. I have established my business of Play Therapy – UNLOCK (www.unlockirl.ie) wherein I provide a whole family approach to well-being and support so that no child or adult has to grow up feeling restricted by their beliefs, experiences or self doubts, so that everyone can see their unique talents and gifts in a positive way.


Get Crackin!! 💪🏻🌟💫🔥

What was your 2018 like? Are you ringing in the New Year with positivity because you can’t wait to say goodbye to the last or are you ringing it in being thankful and grateful for the blessings and memories that 2018 brought you? Either way what matters is that you’re looking forward to this new year that’s ahead, to get a step closer to the goals and visions you have for yourself. Don’t allow anything from 2018 drag you down, hold you back or creep into 2019 that is unwanted.

What were your highlights from 2018? I’m sure you also had some ‘lowlights’, you have overcome them, they are now in the past and you have the power and control to create a new chapter for the next 365 days to come. What is it that you’re longing or looking for? What measures can you take? What do you need to let go of? Who do you need in your life? Who do you need to say goodbye to?

I think so many of us begin January full of these great intentions to lose weight, to eat healthy, exercise more, travel etc Usually New Years Resolutions begin well but by the end of January these great new ideas can be unseen and people have given up. I know myself in the past would have began like this, really determined and then begin to falter. Why was this? Everyone is different but for me it was more down to my goals being unrealistic, asking too much of myself (wouldn’t be like me!!!) and finally succumbing to the pressure that I felt, leading to the goals being dropped. I can feel overwhelmed easily and most of the time it’s down to me making myself feel pressured, that I should or have to do certain things. Other times it is down to a lack of motivation, feeling far from positive and feeling fed up/tired/unwell.

I’ve had some highlights this past year particularly within my business and career life. I have spoken at many events as Tough Cookie and also alongside my UNLOCK Programme. My business is growing and heading in the right direction. I’m proud of all I have achieved and the success I am creating. Hard work and grit pays off. The rewards and outcomes that I see within children and their families is what motivates me and keeps me going on those more challenging days. I know I am making a difference and this is what drives me to push forward.

I have gone on many adventures and have reached ‘new highs’ this last year. There’s nothing I love more than heading away in the car, finding some new sights to explore amidst nature. I will continue to take time out of my busy schedule for adventures and immersing myself within nature.

This year I turned 30. The big 30! Age is but just a number. I took myself off to Belfast on my own, went to a show and enjoyed some retail therapy. I also got my first tattoo this year. I was always dead against tattoos however I felt I wanted to mark the last year with something to remind me of how far I have come. Nothing better than one of my favourite mantras of love, life & faith. I absolutely love it, it’s a constant reminder particularly on those days when I might feel deflated, feel the struggle of life’s challenges. It picks me up and is now a part of me!

I was blessed to be able to take my Dad off to Medjugorje in October. One place that holds my heart forever. I had been wanting my Dad to take the trip for the last number of years however I had always thought that for his first trip it would be best if he went alone with a group. I now realise that it was never going to work out that way. Why? The important element would have been missing! That we had a shared trip together to spend time within a peaceful setting to heal our relationship, grow closer and be thankful for all that we do for each other. It was most definitely the highlight of my 2018 and memories were made that I will never forget.

I graduated as a Play Therapist this year which was another highlight for me. There were times within the last two years of study where I easily could have packed it all in, feeling stressed, overwhelmed by the workload but more to the point overwhelmed by all that was emerging and surfacing for me based on my own childhood. I guess that comes part and parcel when you study therapy, child development and Psychotherapy. I wouldn’t look back for one second and I count my lucky stars for sticking at it and powering through! I have learned so much about myself, my awareness has grown and I now understand on a deeper level who I am, my past experiences and how they shaped me to become Deirdre Nicole Ward, the Tough Cookie! I am excited to achieve my Masters in Psychotherapy within the next year and a half. Bring it on 🙋🏻💪🏻 Once again I had my rock by my side.

My 2018 has been positive, I have had many blessings, achievements and successes. What has it taught me?

*To keep the vision alive, take some action each day no matter how big/small. Keep your dreams alive. I know I will keep reaching new levels, I might feel like I’m stuck at times and that’s ok! Even when I feel stuck time is moving, Change is happening and there’s growth even within those darker times.

*Take time out to have adventures, to explore, discover and feel free. I love to be surrounded by nature, exercise and see new sights. I will remember in 2019 to take time off for me, to recharge my batteries and have plenty of much needed self-care! You are the most important asset you have, not a car, a house or even your family. As if you are not ok you certainly cannot give to anyone else. You can’t pour from an empty jug!

*My Faith is a huge part of who I am. Some days I feel like my trust is low, that this plan for me is non-existent and that nobody is hearing or answering my prayers. However most of the time I realise that my prayers are being answered in other ways, that perhaps the ways I see are not in my best interests. In 2019 I will continue to trust, believe in God, Our Lady and the angels to guide and protect me. I get great comfort in knowing that my Mam is also with me each step of the way, protecting me and loving me from a higher place. If you’ve lost someone special in 2018 Fear Not, they are always there, it just takes trust, faith and a clear mind to feel close to them. There are always little signs around!

So take some time today to feel gratitude for 2018, even if it was full of challenges, hardship and heartache try to find at least 3 moments of light, of blessings that appeared and kept you going. What 3 things would you choose? What 3 goals have you for the next 365 days?

I’m not beginning January with a list as long as my arm of new ways to be, changes I must adhere to! I’m being gentle with myself, I’m creating the possibilities of

-love for 2019 to meet someone by socialising more, perhaps joining a new class/taking up a new hobby, to let my guard down, to feel the fear and face it anyway! To trust that love doesn’t have to hurt and that I am worthy of finding that someone special to spend my life with. I have began to love myself but there’s always room for more!!

-health by eating as many wholesome foods as I can, I have joined a course from the Happy Pear to cut out meat, learn about the gut and feel well once again

-exercise by setting small weekly goals for myself, to create a routine that I can easily follow and if for some reason I don’t feel up to it some days that I will be gentle and loving to myself and not beat myself up for taking a day off!

-career to constantly take steps in achieving my dreams, to set aside time each week for study, for writing, for creativity to move my business forward

-family & friends that no matter how busy life can get to take time out in 2019 for fun, for memories and to surround myself with those people I love and those who light my life.

“A New Year is Here

Lose that Fear

Create Your Dreams

New Regimes!

Anything is Possible

Love, Strength, Health

Even Wealth!

You Must Believe

It ALL Can Happen

Ignite Your Passion

Get ‘Crackin’!!”

(Deirdre Ward)

Clean-Up!! 👚👠💼📚🗑

Are you feeling full of thoughts and forever feel like you’re trying to chase your tail? Does it seem like no matter how hard you try you just can’t get organised?

I had been feeling this way for some months, allowing my ‘to do’ list to get longer and longer. At the weekend I began to do a clean up of notes and folders that I had since my college days in St Patrick’s, Dublin. I have a whole press full of my notes from my lectures and from various teaching practices. They were sitting there gathering dust, taking up space and have been of no use to me for years. I know I will never go back to my teaching career yet I was hoarding these files and notes.

I began to declutter the press on Sunday and boy it felt good to rip up notes after notes, folder after folder, I even had notes from my Leaving Certificate (and yes that’s been 12 years ago!!)

Physical clutter and this holding on to items from our past that no longer serve us or never will does affect our mental state, the ability to clear your mind, think logically and apply yourself full of focus to various tasks/relationships in your life.

I have a LOT to get through yet but at least it’s a start and I’m making more room for my creative juices to flow, for new ideas to be formed and for more space in my mind!

“Full of Thoughts

No Space to Think?

A Cluttered Mind

Is All You Find!

Take a Look

Around You

A Cleanup

You Might Just Have To!”

(Deirdre Ward)