20 Questions: Co Tyrone wellbeing advocate Annette Kelly - 'We should marvel at our bodies'

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Co Tyrone wellbeing advocate and social influencer Annette Kelly of inspirational Facebook page Little Penny Thoughts

Annette Kelly, Little Penny Thoughts
Gail Bell

1 Up and at it – what is your morning routine?

My morning routine has changed considerably over the years. I used to love a lie-in, but now I am up and at it fairly early, around 8am.

Over this past year, I have made a conscious effort not to check social media before my feet hit the floor. It was a bad habit of mine, scrolling aimlessly in the morning, and inviting hundreds of people into my world before I even got up.

2 What might you eat in a typical working day for...

Breakfast? Egg and Avocado on toast.

Lunch? Quinoa rainbow salad

Evening meal? Stir fry.

3 Is nutrition important to you?

Nutrition is incredibly important to me. I am a big believer in 'good food equals good mood'. I have become more adventurous and willing to try new foods within this past few years and I eat to fuel my body rather than to fill myself up.

4 Best meal ever?

My best meal would be my home-made signature dish, sweet chilli chicken.

5 Do you have a guilty pleasure? I try not to demonise foods, but I sometimes over-indulge on crisps (multi-packs).

6 Have you ever been on a diet?

If so, how did it go? I went on a diet for two weeks and, in fairness, all I lost was the two weeks. Joking aside, I have tried many a fad diet in my day, but I couldn't say any of them were successful in the long run.

I like to look it as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. One of the best pieces of advice I received was from Pauric Grimes (PGthePT) who said "You can't out-train a bad diet"; the bad diet will win every time.

A diet shouldn't be something restrictive; it should be a way of life that works for you.

7 Do you take health supplements?


8 How do you relax?

I love to relax by running myself a bath with Epsom Salts or, if I am feeling fancy, I will throw in a wee Lush bath bomb – they are the bizz. I also relax by reading and listening to podcasts daily.

9 Teetotal or tipple? I enjoy a wee tipple now and then.

10 Stairs or lift? I won't lie, I enjoy a lift – but using the stairs is the way forward. I follow an online PT called Diren Kartal and he has coined the phrase #NeatUp247 which reminds me to be more active on a daily basis. NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – is one activity which you can add into your daily routine outside of the gym which helps in the long run.

11 Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Not at present; I fit exercise in, 'as and when' I can.

12 Best tip for everyday fitness?

Try and move as much as you can – it doesn't always have to be strenuous exercise. I would also encourage people to take up a class or sport that they enjoy. Fun and fitness is a dream combination.

13 On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are and how fit would you like to be?

At present I am a six. Ideally. I would like to be an eight.

14 Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

I have tried reflexology, energy healing and massage.

15 Were school sports happy times or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

School sports were incredibly happy times for me. I look back with great fondness at my primary school sports days and secondary school PE lessons. I didn't have the greatest skills, but I loved the craic and getting out of class to burn off energy.

However, one day I wasn't 'feeling it' and wrote a fake sick note, forging my mother's signature to try and get out of PE class. It backfired and earned me three extra laps. Great times!

16 Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle? Becoming more health-conscious has allowed me to see the connection between eating well and exercising and boosting mental health and physical wellbeing. And we all need the release of much-needed endorphins to boost mood.

17 Best health/lifestyle advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

The best advice I was given was to learn to love and respect your body. Marvel at the things it can do, rather than critiquing it and running it down.

In regards to fitness, I have learned not to take it for granted and be grateful that I have the ability to move. Not everyone has that luxury.

18 Who inspires you or who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness / attitude to life?

In the online world, I have great admiration for Alice Liveing – her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. In the real world, I look up to my former personal trainer, Michelle Sweeney (owner of MStrength and Fitness in Omagh) who is a fantastic fitness role model.

With regards to attitude to life, it would have to be my Granny: she is 92, has a great zest for life and looks after herself by eating healthily every day.

19 What time do you normally get to bed and do you get enough sleep?

I am a night owl, but still get my eight hours – with an occasional nap or two thrown in for good measure.

20 Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?

Yes, we are here for a good time, not a long time. I don't fear my own mortality, only that of my loved ones. However, mortality is the only thing we can be sure of in life.

I try not to think too far ahead, I just focus on the present and enjoy the adventure that life brings.

:: Annette Kelly will present the inaugural Northern Ireland Social Media Awards at the Europa Hotel, Belfast, on September 26. Full list of finalists at

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