“My Grip it Loosens

My Faith & Trust Strengthen

My Fantasies Released

My Reality Recognised

My Talk, one of Love

My Pain not so Sharp

My Courage Arises

My Healing Progresses

My Surrender to God

My Life he Leads”



The Tough Cookie x x



At times in life it can seem like there is very little movement or that in fact you’re going backwards, not reaching those goals/visions that you have and so hope for. One moment it can feel like everything is on the right track and you’re moving forwards, things are aligning within the Universe and you’re right where you’re supposed to be. This place can feel so reassuring, comforting and safe.



Other times it can be so unsettling then when you realise that it isn’t as aligned as you had thought, that job doesn’t come your way, that relationships ends, that opportunity missed. This can feel very unsettling, scary and disheartening. It can be really difficult to find the reasons or the meaning behind it. How do you cope with these disappointments?




❓Do you distract yourself and pretend you’re not bothered?



❓Do you hit rock bottom, feel sorry for yourself and a go to ‘victim mode’ a bit? Do others need to tend to you and give you attention?



❓Do you trust that there is some higher power at play, believe there’s a reason and have faith that a better more promising outcome lies ahead? This can be extremely hard to do however I do believe it is the way forward. If I look back on my life I can see how various disappointments weren’t the right fit for me, I was grateful that ‘my vision’ didn’t work out.




TRUST that today you ARE right where you’re meant to be, that no matter how ‘stuck’ you may feel or how much you believe you’re going backwards instead of forwards, there is movement. The tides don’t lie still for any given second, the sun never ceases to rise and fall so believe that your life is in constant motion and you’re being guided to the best outcomes for you. Pray, Trust and Believe 🙏❤️




#higherpower #trust #belief #pray #keepgoing #alignment


T H E W A I T ⏳



“A Waterfall flowing

Ideas, Dreams

Visions & Change

Gushing along

Rapidly falling

Hitting the Surface

Slowing Down

Those Rapids


Energy escaping

Those Dreams

Those Ideas

Merged & Move

The next Destination?

Unknown for now

The Wait continues…”



The Tough Cookie x



Do you sometimes wonder if you’re ever going to fulfil all those dreams, goals and visions that you have created for yourself and your life?



Do you sometimes fear that time will run out and that you’re not capable enough to really reach them? Or succeed?



I have SO many ideas and dreams that I feel deep within my core, that I just know are all part of my life’s mission in helping children/adolescents and adults heal from past experiences, to unlock the true potential within and unleash the authentic empowered self that is fearless. However at times I do fear that I’m not good enough, that I’ll run out of time, that my ideas will already be performed. Those fears can lower my mood, make me feel like a fool for dealing.



*THEN* I Remember:



💡Nobody was walked in my shoes, had had my past experiences exactly as I have so therefore I DO have a gift to give and share with the Universe. I can bring insight and awareness that perhaps others cannot as it is based on my unique experiences and perspective. That surely is enough of a reason to keep believing and creating the life I see for myself.



💡God’s plan, yes I remember that there IS a higher power at play, that if I ‘just be’, slow down, breathe and TRUST myself and this power to guide me, prepare me and work through me that those opportunities will present themselves to me provided that I am willing to work hard and take those risks as they come my way. Prayer helps me to keep believing and wash those fears away.



💡I don’t know how much Time I do have on this earth so why worry about it? I cannot control it so it is wasting my energy even worrying about it. I’m practising living in this moment for today and being grateful for each moment I’m alive. If I can do my best today that is more than good enough.



#time #waiting #trust #slowdown #dreams #visions #breathe

Pot of Gold 🌈⚱️

What Dreams have you Given Up on? We can all be Full of Good Intentions to begin with then easily Fall Off the path we’re trying to travel down. Has this Happened You?
WHY does this happen? WHY do we sometimes give up and forget those goals and dreams we have within? For everyone it’s different however I do believe there is a Common Thread that runs for everyone. WHAT is it? – “NOT GOOD ENOUGH” – does this sound familiar? From my work as a Psychotherapist and from my own personal experiences I see on a daily basis the lack of self belief in Deserving or being Capable. Our Core Beliefs about ourselves and the world are formed by age 3 and very often something happens early in our childhood that we make meaning from based on – ‘something is wrong here and something is wrong with ME’
For me I can allow some stress or trigger wobble me and shake me off my path of reaching those goals. Too often it ‘used’ to be the self talk of ‘you’ve failed again Deirdre, you’re not good enough, why would you think you could do that…’ the list can go on! I’m not allowing that voice in as much, I believe it’s always there but it’s HOW you MANAGE it that matters. Today I’ve set a personal goal in relation to my body image, health and fitness goals. I’m taking action for that feel good factor within my skin and my perception of myself. I’ve set clear goals for the next month and that is attainable and reachable.
Ways I Dare to Dream:
*Set clear Goals for 1 month
*Enlist others in the Targets (I’ve set up a group of 3 of us with weight/health/fitness goals)
*Accountability – I’ve given my word to others so this keeps me focused
*Take 1 day at a time, Congratulate yourself for ‘small wins’ each day
*Visualise – have a mental or actual picture of what the end result looks like and keep looking at it each day – for me I have a pair of jeans hanging in my room and this week I am registering for a Half Marathon .
#goals #accountability #potofgold #dreams #hardwork #grit #toughcookie

To ME…… From Me……


Dear Deirdre,

A different letter, not a letter to the child you or the future you. This is one to YOU right NOW! Why live in the Past, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring so TODAY this letter is to you right here, right now. That is ALL you can contend with.

You’ve struggled the last few days. That’s OK! You’ve been unwell, you’ve been emotional with your Mam’s anniversary and Deirdre reality is you miss her so much. You’re keeping yourself busy at times, that is wonderful you’re work is going so well, it means a lot to you, something you’ve wished for so long. Today Deirdre I say to you Well Done, Keep your Dreams alive but don’t forget to take time to slow down, to rest, to be still and to just be! This is typical Deirdre Ward syndrome – you’re always ‘well usually’ one end of the ‘balance’ see saw! – it’s either full on or you’re run down and in need of some rest. You have been trying to create more balance, more structure and more routine – You ARE getting there, however STOP wanting it ALL to fit into place over night.

Some things never change Deirdre. As much patience you have at times with other people – friends, children you work with you lack patience with yourself. You seem to forget this virtue when it comes to personal matters. That stick for beating yourself up with comes out too quickly. When will you learn to throw it away for good? I know you’re learning, I will be gentle with you, keep going.

I want to tell you today that you ARE ENOUGH, you ARE BEAUTIFUL inside and out, you ARE BRAVE, you are INSPIRATIONAL, you are UNIQUE and you do make a DIFFERENCE. I know these traits and virtues that you so desperately strive for are already there, you see them too just some days your vision can be blurry. Again that is OK! Don’t make meaning out of everything, don’t make anything right or wrong, everything is just as it IS! You are seeing this more and more. We are the machines that make the meaning in this world, remember a chair wasn’t a chair until someone added the word to it. Knowing this means you can now see a chair just as an object with four legs, therefore you can look at yourself and your world as it just is. Let GO of all that added meaning you attach to things, circumstances and people! Do know that you’re not the only one who does this. We ALL learn this from a very young age, you know this from your work with children and that is WHY you love what you do so very much. You get to help children re-frame and rewrite the meanings that they have already begun to form or that others have told them to be true.

I know the reason you are on your mission in Life is because you DO already LOVE yourself, you don’t want to waste a minute of life. You know how precious every minute is so you’re going to GRAB LIFE in its entirety. You Are and You WILL, just remember to take some time each week to take that little look back and acknowledge how FAR you already have come, appreciate ALL that you are and ALL that you do. Appreciate You Deirdre Nicole Ward.

Yours truly,

The Tough Cookie   x

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)

Go Deep Within the Soul 🖤


I went to see the film ‘A Star is Born’ on Saturday night. I’ll be honest it didn’t blow me away but what I took away from it were a few important life lessons!

For me Love happens when you least expect it (what everyone has been saying to me the last 3 years!!) Ok I believe you all now! I do in fact believe that a deep, strong connection happens with the one, the soulmate you find to share your life with. I do believe you just know when you know. As much as I believe in this concept I also believe in having strong connections with various people at different times in life. Surely this is natural? Life wouldn’t be so interesting if this didn’t happen, if we didn’t have strong feelings to many throughout our lives. Isn’t this how we inter-relate, learn about ourselves and others and be in relationships?

In this song one line really struck me,

‘the part of me that’s you will never die’

What would be the point in spending the rest of your life with someone that you didn’t feel complete with? That one person who remains forever in your heart, for eternity? I’m now 30years of age and of course I’d love to meet someone to share the remainder of my life with but what I have learned from being single is to NEVER settle for less than you deserve, not to loose faith that the ‘one’ is out there, that day will come when two souls become one. It’s not a fantasy, you will make it a reality! There’s only one life, why not make it the best?! Also I love to think that a little piece of everyone you meet and connect with remains in your heart & soul. This too can have negative connotations for those that we feel hurt by, let down or angry with however we always can let those pieces go, learn from them and transform them to have new meaning/memories.

The film centres on Ally (Lady Gaga) becoming a star, her journey to fame and consequently Jack’s (Bradley Cooper) career slowing slipping away from him. He made a statement to her before one of her concerts that I believe we ALL need to listen to, take note of and act upon.

‘Go Deep Within Your Soul’

He also commented how the world needs to hear what she has to say. It resonated with me, why I write this Tough Cookie blog, do the work with children that I do (UNLOCK) and constantly strive to be more and more authentic, open and honest each and every day. People want to hear YOUR Story. We all have a unique story that’s individual to you, no two people ever experience life in the same way. Isn’t that an incredible way of looking at the world? Of looking at another human being? Imagine how much we could potentially learn from each other if we were to listen that bit more, to give time to others more and be open and honest enough to dig deep within our hearts, our souls and be fully in relationship with others? I know when I’m being fully me, I come alive there’s a spark ignited within me that burns brightly!

In the film life certainly was NOT easy. Fame brings with it pressure, exposure and demands. Life can be hectic and in order to survive, cope and get by people react and behave in various ways. Some lean towards alcohol and drugs, others to anger/rage, lashing out or totally hiding away and isolating ourselves. We all have our unique ways of attempting to protect ourselves and cope with difficulties that come our way. It is normal. However HELP is there. It’s not too late to go ask for and find some support and help to overcome challenges.

One of the most beneficial things I’ve done in my life is go to Personal Therapy. I went believing it would help me with grief for the loss of my Mam. Yes it did that however what I found, was that there was a lot more to find beneath the surface that I was unaware of. This may seem scary to some of you but what is more scary – never having dealt with feelings/experiences that have been suppressed all your life, having lived life never fully clearing out that baggage and letting go? Or at the end of your days knowing that you lived life to the full? That you didn’t allow anything to hold you back? I know which I’d prefer!

“Go Deep Within

Look Right In –

Your Soul

You’re Never Too Old!

Clear up the Past

I Promise

Those ‘hard’ Feelings

Don’t Last

Don’t Wait for Life

To have Passed”

(Deirdre Ward)

Letting Go of My Shadow👤

I thought when I shared my blog post for the first time about being Adopted that it would be the hardest thing to openly share with the world. I distinctively remember sitting in Abu Dhabi alone in my apartment feeling lost and empty, sharing stories from my life in a very raw and open way, feeling nervous and excited to begin the Tough Cookie Blog. That’s almost 3years ago now which is hard to believe, in ways it feels like it was a lifetime ago and some part of me wonders did I ever live in the UAE?!! Funny how the brain works.

Well today I’m venturing deeper.. (you’re probably wondering what’s left in the mind of the Tough Cookie at this stage.. surely she’s shared it ALL?!!) Do we EVER stop sharing? I hope not for as long as I live. Sharing sparks connection, love, trust, faith, strength and most importantly healing.

This Blog is undoubtedly my Biggest Secret! I have grappled with this notion of sharing this piece of me for a few months now, one minute deciding yes and the next backing away from it, unsure how it will be received. But the stronger mindset of mine said GO FOR IT there is nothing to worry about, why wouldn’t it be well received, why wouldn’t I be making a difference and why wouldn’t I let go of something that is restricting me, holding me back from being the best version of myselfDeirdre Nicole Ward. It’s really not even mine! Today I’m leaving it in the Past where it belongs, it’s not ‘my stuff’, it’s transcended down from my birth parents, two people I have never even met, it’s theirs and I never agreed to holding on to it for them.

Today I’m GIVING IT BACK. 💪🏻

Get on with it already Deirdre I hear you say! Ok well my secret that I’m unleashing is that my birth parents were first cousins. This little ‘dirty and shameful‘ secret that I’ve been carrying around for the last 5years or so. Carrying it around feeling like I was different, I was a defect, something broken to be fixed, something that was shameful, wrong, a secret and never meant to be here. I feel as though I was living in a shadow of myself, not fully connected to my body, mind and soul. Not being authentic. Feeling unloveable, feeling different and blaming my birth parents. Imagine what that does to a person…? Well I won’t go into the gorey details but it isn’t pleasant, it eats you up and I’ve had ENOUGH!!

This is a Story I’ve told myself, a context I’ve lived and based my life on. How could transformation happen, how could my health be restored, my self-confidence fully rise, my energy and love for myself develop when I continuously played this broken record over and over again in my mind. Of course it was eating me up. It was eating up my whole being, my relationships and my self-belief. I felt like I could overflow with emotions such as anger, frustration and fear some days. The fear of being judged, of not being good enough, the anger of it being wrong, of me being wrong and rejected, being shameful, sadness that I didn’t have enough time to digest and process it with my beautiful Mam, frustration in not allowing my true voice be heard.

Why do we let such stories run our lives? Experiences/Information from the Past seep into our Present moment and allow it to drive our Future? Surely we ALL have some story, some negative self talk that we constantly tell ourselves that is deeply rooted from an experience, an encounter, a trauma, a rejection, a loss etc that is in the Past? What’s YOURS? What did you tell yourself a long time ago? Was it that you have to be strong, was it you have to be perfect, was it you have to make everyone love you, or was it the world can’t be trusted, you’re ugly and repulsive, you’re not good enough…? There are SO SO many the list could go on. Take time to become present to the moment that shaped that thought for you? What age were you? What happened? And now ask yourself WHY does it affect you still today? Why do you give it power? Why do you BELIEVE it?

Now I feel lighter to finally say it and share it out loud. I have shared it with a few friends and other people in my life. It’s funny how I immediately look to the non-verbal cues for reactions – their faces and whether they’re accepting of me or not and this dirty little secret! But it’s not dirty, as the old saying goes you can’t help who you fall in love with. I was created, how could that be dirty? I am alive, I have life. I am a gift. I actually find it funny that my journey in life brought me to Abu Dhabi in the past (a place that is also full of arranged familial marriages!) in some countries it’s the norm! Ironic??! 🙈😂 Is anything really by chance?! I don’t believe it is.

Thank God I have finally accepted it, it doesn’t define who I am, it is what’s so – the reality being two people fell in love and I was produced. It has no other meaning. I have ended that story that I told myself. I can release myself from those old negative, soul destroying thoughts that held me back, that quietened my voice, that riddled me with fear and inferiority.

The new story I’ve created is that I Deirdre Nicole Ward am a powerful, loving, honest, courageous, inspiring and genuine woman who is making a difference to her world and that of others.

My MISSION is to help children, teens and adults to accept and love themselves fully, to leave the hurtful, degrading parts of the Past in the Past. To help a child to have that strong, solid foundation in order to never allow those thoughts or stories in or be formed in the first place. To realise that it is just a Story that is made up, that isn’t reality and certainly isn’t YOU!

My WISH is that everyone will love themselves, feel empowered, confident and reach their full potential in this short life that we have. That is the work I fulfil with UNLOCK. I will help you find your key! 🔑 The key that sets you FREE.

I am a Tough Cookie 🙋🏻💪🏻🍪 I have began my autobiography and I had some writers block. I fully believe I needed to share this to clear the headspace for creativity, inspiration, goals and productivity!!

Watch this space, the Tough Cookie is getting bigger and better!! 🌟

What Defines You?

Are there Pieces of Your

Puzzle that don’t Fit

And Are Untrue?

Take Command

Use Your Power

Pause those Inner Rackets

Make a Stand!

For Your Life

And Others’

Let Go of the Shadow

And the World will Follow”

(Deirdre Ward)

Run with Your Heart, Your Head Will Follow 🌟📚

The very best of luck to all students receiving their Leaving Certificate results today.

I remember the day I received mine, first in line (one of the perks of having your Dad as Principal!!) I was delighted and shocked with the results I received and felt extremely proud of myself. However I do remember judging the ‘lower’ marks and wondering why I had not scored higher. Gosh we can be such critics even when overall the result was more than I wanted and expected.

I wanted to share a few words of what I would tell that 18year old Deirdre today:

You should be so so proud of yourself and the results you attained. You worked hard and reaped the benefits. You got enough points to enter into the degree you wanted – a B.Ed, Primary School Teacher Training course in St.Pats.

Or was this what you wanted? Did you take enough time to be with yourself, try to figure out exactly the route you wanted to take and go for it? To be honest you probably did but maybe you didn’t fully know what you wanted to do, you thought you did but this was based really on one stint of work experience in a school. You hadn’t tried other sectors and areas of work to test out whether they’d suit you or not? And let’s be honest teaching runs in the Wards so deep down you probably felt this was what you ‘should’ do!

This path you began was most definitely NOT a regret. You have always known its children you wanted to work with, your inner most deepest passion is to help them and connect fully with them. Sadly teaching didn’t ‘do it all’ for you, there was a piece missing and it wasn’t fulfilling your every dream. This is NOT failing this is knowing you could leave a bigger mark on this world. You knew you could help more, give yourself more to children and that’s why you took the route of Play Therapy later in your career.

But don’t for one second think that this happened organically. It didn’t. It happened ‘because’ of your three years at college, your 8 years of teaching experience both nationally and internationally in Abu Dhabi. Had you not experienced all this, had you not become the teacher first you would not have made the breakthrough that this key didn’t fully fit!

So my message to you Deirdre is Well Done on your Leaving Cert results, it wasn’t easy studying and sitting exams especially when there was an illness in the family, added worries and fears but you got through, you survived and even though you passed with flying colours it didn’t define you, it wasn’t the ‘be all and end all’, you’re not even on the same path today that you began back then.

Life isn’t about travelling on the straight and narrow, headed forward on a long stretch ahead, no it’s much much more Deirdre.

It’s in those back roads, those trips off the beaten track, those ups and downs, those hills and pot holes! That’s where meaning lies, where sparks of light and darkness fall, where lessons are learned and ultimately how you keep following your heart.

The destination is not the end goal, it truly is ‘within’ the journey, the journey you take, following your heart, your gut and soul; those parts of YOU that speak your truth and uplift you! But never loose sight of your mind, your head- keep it tucked safely in the boot of the car for this too is needed along the journey, just don’t allow it to take command and steer your path!

So to anyone today who’s not fully happy with the results you’ve received, try not to worry, they don’t define you, there are plenty more paths/routes to follow that lead you to your destination. There’s ALWAYS a choice, all is not lost! 🚙


An AMAZING story full of raw emotion & pain but it’s the HOPE that prevails. Thank you for sharing, you’re one Tough Cookie.

On my 22nd birthday, I was told I had multiple sclerosis. I hope you never hear those words. I hope no one ever hears those words, but that’s not real life. In real life, people hear these words & much worse words everyday. I believe that everyone gets something. Something that changes their whole life and if you could choose what this thing was going to be, what would YOU chooseI would choose MS again & again. It’s a cruel disease, that affects people in such varying degrees. But if everyone was to throw their problems in a pile, I would take my own back. Because at least this is familiar, this is mine. I have MS like no one else has MS. And there is so much worse out there, that other people are going through, whether you know about it or not.I have been really lucky with how it has affected me. In the beginning, I had blurry eyes, horrible balance, shaky hands. They have all become less and less over the years and except for the tiredness I feel really good. Somedays, I even forget I have MS.When I was first diagnosed, I remember being terrified that having MS would mean I might not be able to have children. All I wanted, all my life, was a family. Everything I had growing up. I wanted a husband, a home & babies. When I was young, it was a given that you would have those things. But in those terrifying few days in hospital, I felt all that begin to dissappear.I remember after being under bed rest for 3 weeks, I was so glad to finally be able to get away for a day. I went to Letterkenny & wandered around for hours, relishing the freedom. In Next, I noticed this tiny babygro hanging on its own. It caught my attention & as crazy as it sounds, I bought the babygro. In that moment, it symbolised my HOPE. That I couldn’t let the MS change me. That it could take my balance, my confidence and sometimes even my smile but it could never take my dreams. Six years later, it was the first thing my daughter wore. A few hours old in the hospital, my husband put it on her and it was nearly too big of a moment to take in. She is such a big miracle in such a little girl. It will never fit her again but weaved within its soft fabric is so much magic. I’ll keep it for her. I’ll tell her the story, how life can be hard sometimes but don’t give up hope.Eight years later & MS has left its scar, I will always have those extraordinarily tired days. And those hard memories of the terrifying, lonely, first months after diagnosis. But I have also had so many blessings. I now have the things I once prayed for. My husband & my daughter. They are my happy place & they keep me brave.

Feel Fierce!!🔥

FIERCE can be defined as being violent and frightening however it can also mean showing strong feelings and energetic activity.

While browsing through some shops yesterday this book was one thing that caught my attention and stood out. I immediately thought of the positive connotation of being strong willed, strong minded and being a fierce female pursuing her goals and dreams.

To be fierce enough to speak her mind, follow her heart and to stay true to herself. For so many years I didn’t use my voice enough, to openly express to others how I was feeling particularly if I didn’t agree with how another was treating me.

Have YOU fallen into this trap of allowing others to determine YOUR decisions, YOUR thoughts and as far as YOUR values and beliefs? Why would you give another this control and power over YOU? A unique individual that is capable of making decisions, having opinions and being ‘FIERCE’?

Feel your energy, your excitement for plans and projects that you want to pursue and fulfil. Feel Fierce and feel all those emotions that surge through your mind, body and soul. Don’t try to block any, to keep any locked away. Those feelings always surface and fierce they can be!!

“Step Fiercely into Today

Be Open to what comes Your Way”

(Deirdre Ward)



After an extremely positive and uplifting weekend, sharing my Tough Cookie Story at the Mind, Body, Soul event in the RDS, catching up with dear friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and having a more positive appointment in relation to my gut health I feel so grateful for where I stand today, hopeful for my future and determined to fulfil my Dreams and that BIG VISION!

I genuinely feel a chapter has turned for me in my story 📗, that new beginnings are happening and more are on the way.

I decided that I have set myself a MISSON and that MISSON is to spread as much LOVE as I can, to touch many hearts with my story – my Adoption, my Grief, Challenges/Struggles and how I overcame them and still continue to do so today, being the Tough Cookie that I am! 💪🏻🍪

I’m HERE to leave my mark, to make a DIFFERENCE to as many peoples lives as I can, especially children who are struggling. I’m here to HELP them see their unique light, their potential, to feel accepted & loved, free to express themselves and as a result for families to have a happier and more peaceful Home.

I want help UNLEASH the Tough Cookie in YOU 💪🏻🍪 but for you to know that it is also OK to Crumble! I want to share how I put my PIECES back together again, it CAN be done and I want to HELP YOU find YOUR KEY 🔑

The Universe has Powerful ways of bringing the right people, opportunities, challenges, signs to you just as you need them. It opens doors, shuts doors along your path, guiding you ALL the time.

As I sat on the beach barefooted last night to clear my head and ground myself from a hectic weekend, I began unconsciously to feel the sand and repeatedly trace a path in it. When I jumped up I realised that once again this beautiful Universe had given me the MOST special message: it’s in the above photo!

That I am sitting in the centre of LOVE. And that LOVE for the VERY FIRST time I can honestly say is SELF-LOVE 🙋🏻💜 I’m finally on MY WAY! 🙌🏻🚙



Boils Down to This:

To Live is

To Give;

To Give

My Love

My Time

My Patience

My Sense

My Trust –

Each Ones a Must!

That Difference I’ll Make

To End People’s Heartache!”

(Deirdre Ward)

See It to Achieve It 👁🌟🙋🏻🙏

I’m a firm believer in visualisation, in needing to imagine how you wish your life to be, setting goals to reach and repeating positive quotes/mantras to keep you on track.

Lately I feel I’ve been making an effort to create those visions in my mind, to try to work towards them and to stay upbeat/positive. It’s not always easy, a challenging day, setbacks, worries and fears can all get in the way. I know I’m a strong willed and determined person but recently it feels like I don’t have the energy/push in me to keep believing.

This is where the Images come in! For those days you can’t see it in your mind and you need a little help. Your mind can store and remember images much quicker and more efficiently than words. Print those goals, stick up those quotes that you find meaningful around your wall and each day take time to ‘see’ the life you love. Take time to repeat those positive, loving words to yourself, perhaps you seldom hear positivity? Empower yourself to take charge of your life and know that you are capable to lead it in the direction you wish.

I have mine on the back of my bedroom door, in a place that each day forces me to keep those dreams at the fore, to banish those negative thoughts in my mind and to rewire how I think/behave.

What’s YOUR Vision? Can YOU see clearly?

“What’s in Sight?

Is the Road ahead Bright?

Life goes By

In the Blink of an Eye

No Time to Waste

It must be Embraced!”

(Deirdre Ward)

Will I Ever Get There? 🙋🏻💡☀️🌕

I have to admit I’m pretty fed up of feeling like I’m on one of the top rungs of the ladder, so so close to the ‘light’, seeing its radiance in sight yet not being able to reach it, feeling knocked off my perch and as if I’ve fallen a few feet downward.

Has this happened to you? Does it feel like that light is just unreachable? Life is FULL of light and moments that shine, people that brighten up those dull days but so many days it feels like the flame is extinguished, the bulb broken, the sun shaded by dark clouds and that light can feel so so far away.

I try to be positive as much as I can, to turn a disappointment into a lesson, to see the learning in every experience but that can sometimes be so difficult, hard work and sometimes I’m just too tired of it and tired of being ‘tough’. Someone asked me during the week if that’s the type of person I am; the one to keep ploughing on, to remain strong and keep going. Yes that’s me but to my own detriment.

Why do we feel like it’s not ok to wallow, to feel sad and down in the dumps, to get fed up of knocks/setbacks, disappointments. It’s not selfish to want the brightness, the happiness, the love and light in life. Surely it’s not too much to ask for? Doesn’t everyone deserve basic needs of happiness and love? Of understanding.

Yes I’m positive. Yes I’m a Tough Cookie. Yes I’m love.

But Yes I’m tired of the climb. Yes I’m lonely. Yes I feel. Yes I’m human.

“Near the Top

Don’t Stop!

The Light’s in Sight

Keep Going!

Use All your ‘Might’

Stumble & Fall?

Have to Crawl?

Feeling Small”

(Deirdre Ward)

I may not be ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ but I’ve still ‘Won’ my Prize 🌟🙋🏻💪🏻💜

Disappointment is inevitable in life, we can’t always get what we want or would like and at times for reasons unknown to us but I do firmly believe that there is ALWAYS a good reason behind why. Yes as hard as it may be to see it at the time but trusting in the plan/path that is being laid out for you is easier than kicking yourself or beating yourself up with disappointment.

Yesterday, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur came to a close for me. What an unbelievable chapter it was, I’m so grateful for getting as far as I did, for all the opportunities it gave me, for the rich learning and mentoring I received and for the amazing, enthusiastic and inspiring business people I’ve met along the way.

Of course there’s disappointment, of course I dreamt about getting to the National Final with ‘UNLOCK’ and the possibility of winning the title ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’. Like so many other things I’ve been involved in I worked diligently, I felt it was ‘my time’ and I visualised it all happening. Sadly sometimes the universe has other plans.

Yet, sad I shall NOT be! Why would I be sad when I’ve launched my new business? How could I be sad when I see so many people that believe in me and my vision? Why be sad when I’m proud of all that I’ve achieved and the person I’ve become? Life is too short for sadness! This much I’ve learned.

I’m determined, I’m ambitious, I’m focused (most of the time!! I’m working on it!!) and above all else I’m passionate about what I do. What I do is try my best to make a difference to people’s lives. That’s my mission and one I will keep at the fore every single day.

The difference is in doing so it fills my life with JOY, with LOVE, with HAPPINESS and GRACES that are ‘invaluable’, that can’t be ‘won’ and those are the best prizes to win!

“The Prize

You see

With your Eyes

May not Always

Be what makes

You Rise

Sometimes they’re in


(Deirdre Ward)