Today, 21 July 2018, Happy Magazine is one year old!!
This day last year I posted the very first post here on HappyMagazine.ie and it’s been a wonderful 365 days since then.
For those of you who may have only recently joined us, here’s a little more about the Happy Magazine story…
My name is Holly Kennedy and I am a young mum and a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2016 at age 32 and with a tiny baby at home – my little boy was only 6 months old at the time. I went through thirteen months of treatment including 20 weeks of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, plus another course of 6 months of a chemotherapy tablet. I’m doing great now and am well into my first year of recovery.
Having cancer has completely changed my life for the better. Before my diagnosis I considered myself to lead a fairly ‘normal’ and blessed life – I had a great job, I worked hard, I enjoyed seeing my friends, I had a lovely husband and a beautiful home. I felt lucky. I had never been in hospital other than to have my baby boy in May of 2016. I had a difficult time at the end of my pregnancy and a somewhat traumatic birth. I struggled with post-natal anxiety during the first few months at home with my baby and then came my cancer diagnosis. It was an incredible shock.
I felt like my life had been completely shattered. I didn’t know how I would ever be happy again. I was so scared and felt so alone – like the only young woman in Ireland to have breast cancer. I was so scared that I was going to die and my little boy would never know me. I had a long road of treatment to get through and it seemed impossible. I was at the very first hurdle and I couldn’t make it over – how was I going to manage this?
Before my maternity leave, I had a successful career as a graphic designer for EY and then Kerry Group. I worked really hard and spent little time doing things that truly made me happy. I ate a ‘normal’ diet which, these days, is not a healthy one when it comes down to the facts. I barely exercised and while I wasn’t overweight by more than a few kilos for my height, I wasn’t taking good care of my health, both physically and mentally. I just didn’t have the time.
Fast forward back to my cancer treatment plan. I started to put one foot in front of the other and move into my treatment. My husband and I spent hours and hours in the chemo ward of St James’s Hospital every week waiting for my treatment and then getting it. I noticed there was nothing to read in the chemo ward – no magazines of any sort. I have always loved magazines (I am also a journalism graduate) and I was surprised when I couldn’t find a ‘cancer magazine’ in my hospital. Something to help me get through my treatment, full of tips and support, full of positivity and inspiration.
The idea to start a magazine myself grew and grew in my head and soon I started to think that this was a project meant for me. I had the skills to do it, and the time now that I was on sick leave, so it felt like an inevitable step. Initially I wanted to create a print magazine but I knew I’d need funding for printing and distribution. So I decided to start the magazine online first, with a new post every day so that the site could become an ongoing support resource for anyone on a cancer journey. Immediately when I started working on it, I knew I had to call it Happy Magazine, because it was going to be about how to be happy after a cancer diagnosis – because I sure wanted to be.
So I have been writing HappyMagazine.ie since July of last year. On the site I cover all sorts of topics relevant to a cancer experience but with a positive, helpful or inspirational angle. So it could be anything from strategies for getting through cancer treatment to where to buy the best value juicer or a yoga or meditation video. Broadly, the site has contributors in five different areas – Health & Wellbeing, Food & Nutrition, Life Coaches, Beauty and Books. I also cover events, restaurants/cafés, natural products, day trip and holiday ideas and lots more relevant to someone going through cancer.
This website has become a passion project for me that has continually inspired me and helped me enormously through my own treatment, it has also spurred me on to make many meaningful positive changes in my life in the areas of health and wellness.
Now my aim is to finally launch the website into the print edition I dreamed of at the beginning of my own cancer journey, later this year. And I can’t wait!
Some achievements over the last year
- Press coverage of HappyMagazine.ie in the Irish media, including the Irish Independent, Irish Sun, thejournal.ie and RTÉ’s Radio One Morning Ireland Show.
- Speaking on RTÉ News and TV3 News about my cancer experience for Daffodil Day 2018
- Speaking at the Ice House Hotel’s Cancer Wellness Event last October.
- Recognition from the Marie Keating Foundation as a worthwhile cancer support resource on their website.
- Successful collaborations with 30+ leading Irish brands
- Development of a prototype first edition of a print version of Happy Magazine
- Creation of communications relationships with key contacts in the Irish Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Ireland, Marie Keating Foundation, Purple House Cancer Support and Arc Cancer Support.
- Creation of the first Happy Magazine Podcast
Some fun facts
- HappyMagazine.ie publishes 7 days a week/365 days a year
- We have 13 regular content contributors across five general areas – Health & Wellbeing, Food & Nutrition, Life Coaches, Books and Beauty.
- There are more than 390 posts on HappyMagazine.ie so far
- We have had over 41,000 page views since we started on 21 July 2017
- We have on average 5,000 page views per month
- We have more than 750 followers across three social media platforms and 300 email subscribers
Some of our most-read posts
12 strategies for getting through cancer treatment
How to tell your children you have cancer: Cora’s Story
Battling cancer with your war paint on!
Looking after your nails during chemotherapy
How to be happy in an ‘inside out’ world
A Birthday Giveaway!
To celebrate our first birthday we have a beautiful hamper of luxury natural skincare products to give away to one lucky reader, worth over €100 from Angela at Willow Cottage. We wrote about Angela’s amazing essential oil soaps a few weeks ago. This beautiful box of goodies includes everything you could need to refresh your home beauty routine with handmade, holistic and 100% natural skincare. A massive Thank You to Angela for this incredible prize!
- Chamomile & Lavender Whipped Shea Body Butter
- Frankincense & Geranium Rejuvenating Face Cream
- May Chang & Orange Nourishing Hand Cream
- Skin Soothing Lavender Honey & Oatmeal Bath Milk
- Exfoliating Peppermint, Lime & Poppy Seed Body Scrub
- Calendula & Beeswax Chocolate Orange Lip Balm
- Deep Cleansing Charcoal & Star Anise Essential Oil Soap
- White Lavender Essential Oil Soap
- May Chang and Orange Luxurious & Uplifting Essential Oil Soap
- Cocoa Butter & Beeswax Bath/Body Melts
- Plus! Three Essential Oil Bath Bombs
If you’d like to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on the post below. The winner will be announced on Happy Magazine on 4 August.
Please help us celebrate our 1st Birthday by sharing Happy Magazine with anyone who you think might like to know about it.
Thank you for being here!
PS – Love the balloon at the start of this post? We do too! You can send one as a gift for any occasion via the Hippenings website.
‘Happy’ Birthday!!! Loving the work 🙂
Thanks so much Eimear!
Congrats happy magazine and what an achievement Holly. You must be thrilled. Look forward to opening my mail every day and all the fabulous topics you cover. Battling breast cancer for a year and a half now and find the magazine very helpful and brings me happiness each morning. Hope you have a fun filled Saturday celebrating your great achievement. Health is wealth.👃💕🌸
Lisa thank you so much for such a beautiful comment! You have made my day! I am so glad you enjoy Happy Magazine and look forward to it every morning. I do too, I love writing it every day, gives me such a positive focus. And you are right, health is wealth 💖
Thanks Holly for all the positive stories, and thanks Angela for what looks like a super pamper-prize 🙂
Thanks so much Sarah!
I’ve just discovered this magazine and love it! Thank you for starting this, looking forward to catching up on all the ground I’ve missed with it!
Thanks so much Flor! Delighted you’re here!
Thank You Holly, the magazine has been a very important tool and support ,as I navigate the storm. A beacon of informative, clear and valuable content .Well done to you and to all the contributors in creating such a wonderful platform.Huge Congratulations on the magazine 1st Birthday 🌸
Thanks so much Bríd 🙂 I really appreciate your support.
Thank you holly.love getting my quote every morning .inspirational.
Thanks so much Veronica 🙂
Happy birthday and congratulations on what you have achieved. I have only recently discovered Happy Magazine following my mastectomy and so glad I came across it. ❤
Thanks so much Mary! Delighted you found Happy Magazine! I hope we can keep you inspired 💖
Congrats on your 1st birthday 🎉 with many more successful years to follow subscribed and liked great giveaway would be fab to be lucky 🍀 to win this awesome prize 🤞🤞❤️❤️🍀🍀🎉🎉
As Winnie the Pooh would say “Happy Unbirthday”. I look forward to every posting and always smile when I see an email from Happy magazine. I am a kidney cancer survivor and am three years in remission. The journey has been a long and scary one. As a result of the trauma of the operation to remove my kidney along with the ridiculously large tumor I now suffer with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis amoungst other auto immune issues. One of the most positive things to come out of having the cancer has been the fact that it made me stop and reflect on how I was living my life. I now design and make Jewellery, am training as a circle dance teacher and it has opened up a huge creativity within me that I hadn’t given myself time to nurture. Gosh,look at me prattling on. Well done Holly you are truly an inspiration. Keep well. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Hi Kathy, thanks so much for such a lovely message!!! I hear you on how cancer can make you stop and reflect on life – it did exactly the same for me and I have made a lot of changes since, which I’m not sure I would have if it hadn’t been for cancer! I guess those are the silver linings. I love the sound of your new creative focuses – I’m going to look up circle dance! Keep well too 💖
Hi Holly, happy birthday and well done on such a successful first year. I’ve come across your website recently after being diagnosed at 30 – initially I felt lonely thinking I was the only young woman to be in this position. It’s great to be able to hear stories of people who have been or are going through something similar. Keep doing what you’re doing, and thanks for working so hard on such an important resource!
Thanks so much Cathy. Delighted to hear you found Happy Magazine when you needed it. That’s exactly why I am doing this! I felt the same as you – so alone – when I was first diagnosed. I hope we can keep you inspired. 💖
Happy birthday ‘Happy Magazine’ and massive kudos and congratulations to you Holly on turning something bad into something phenomenal. I’ve been on this cancer journey for over 25 years….kicking ass big time….and over these years have read many online resources throughout the world. Having only recently discovered Happy Magazine, I can say hand on heart that it is by far the best. It’s my first read most mornings and I’m avidly thrawling through your back articles. You and your contributors have done wonders and I cannot wait to be picking up a printed copy of Happy Magazine when I’m in the unit later in the year. Continued success to you Holly and stay fighting fit, positive and happy. Thank you for being part of my own journey every day. LT xxx
Happy Birthday! Keep up the good work x
Happy 1st birthday Holly. I’ve been with you since almost day one and I look forward to reading all your posts. Keep up the good work and keep well x
Thank you so much Liz! That is amazing, I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying Happy Mag since the early days 😀
Happy birthday holly and all your team. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2018, i am about to go through second of sixteen chemo sessions.
Happy magazine has been a god send for me. It’s the first email I open daily. I find the topics really helpful, informative and positive. You really do deserve all the achievements over the past year.
Massive congrats, and keep up the good work.