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
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.