The CORE Kids founder on making memories and action-packed weekends
The best time to get up at the weekend is?
I usually get up around 6.30/7am. I try and keep my sleep and wake time around the same each day including the weekend as it helps to keep the body’s natural rhythm in line.
I’m the founder of CORE Kids Summer Camps, so every day is action packed as I’m currently finalising plans for 60 camps across Northern Ireland this summer.
Breakfast or brunch?
I quite often intermittent fast, working off 16 hours of fasting with eight hours of eating during the week.
At the weekends I’m a big fan of brunch. One of my favourites is granola, Greek yoghurt, fruit and nuts, sprinkled with a bit of turmeric (don’t knock the turmeric until you try it). When out and about at the weekends, I like supporting local businesses in the Omagh area like Natur and Co, Forage and Folk, and The Little Sparrow.
What does an ideal Saturday look like?
Its action packed! A perfect Saturday is an active Saturday with family and friends – making it a challenge is an added bonus. For my latest challenge I completed the Seven Sister Skyline which was 33km over seven mountains in Donegal including Mount Errigal. This one pushed me to the limit.
One of my favourite spots at the weekend is Rossnowlagh in Donegal, spending the day walking or hiking around the Gortin Glens, or just playing football out the back garden.
What would your perfect Sunday be like?
Even on a Sunday, I would still like to be active. I normally try and train early with a run or bike ride before everyone in the house gets up. From there it would be a bit lazier and more chilled. My partner makes amazing pancakes that we just love.
In the evening time I would head up to my mums for one of her famous Sunday dinners – nothing can beat your own mum’s cooking. This usually ends up in a big family gathering and I enjoy getting my nieces and nephew hyped up before my sisters have to take them home.
Do you prefer to be indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors all day long. We are blessed to live on such a beautiful island. Closest to me would be the Gortin Glens. I make it up there most weekends for a morning run, bike, quick dip in the lakes or a family walk around the deer enclosures or play park. Second would be Rossnowlagh. I love the beach and sea, jumping in for a surf and just the peace and quiet when you are waiting for the waves to come in is bliss.
How have weekends changed as you have gotten older?
Massively. When I was younger, I was always out, especially when the football season finished. It was like you were afraid of missing something. Sally’s was the place to be back then. Now my son takes the hand out of me when it comes to 9pm, he keeps saying, ‘it’s your bedtime’.
If you could eat out anywhere tonight in NI, where would you go and why?
Our last nice meal out was in the Copper Tap in Omagh, it was superb and there are some brilliant places in Belfast. Six by Nico is always a great shout. But still one of my best experiences eating out in Belfast was Freight on the Newtownards Road. I had met the two brothers and owners a few weeks before and loved their story. The service, atmosphere, presentation, and quality of food was top class – always makes any meal taste better.
What would you have?
That night in Freight I could have had anything on the menu. Medium rare steak is firm favourite or if we are eating close to the sea, a fish dish is a must or at least chowder for starters.
At weekends you’ll always make time to…
Spend time with family. When you break everything down, sharing experiences and making memories with family and friends is what matters.
Do you sometimes work at weekends?
Yes, I do. I don’t really think there is a work/life balance. Who defines that? For me it’s about pre planning and being aware where your priorities are at the weekend. If it means getting up early to get a bit of work done I will happily do it. Running my own business, CORE Kids is my passion, I love what I do. Currently we are planning our biggest ever summer camps hosting 60 camps nationwide, and with this comes some weekend work.
Who would you most like to go for a drink with and why?
I’d love to go out with a huge group of family and close friends where no one is rushing or just popping in to say a quick hello. Getting time to relax, laugh and have fun with the people that you care most about in the world makes for a great night. It’s even better when it’s unplanned, those always seem to be the best nights.
Are you a weekend cook?
I love to cook, I tried going vegan for a month as a mini experiment to see how I would feel, and if it made any change to my body. One thing it did do was introduce me to so many more delicious dishes that are easy to make. A three-bean chilli or sweet potato and red lentil curry are my go-to’s.
Too tired to cook – what are you ordering from the takeaway?
If we don’t cook on a Saturday night my go to would be an Indian. We would order a selection of vegetarian side dishes. The different flavours just make it taste so much nicer.
Heading for the cinema? What are you going to see?
It has to be any of the Marvel series and I also thoroughly the Joker, Joaquin Phoenix was amazing. I have also been ‘told’ by my partner that I must take her to see Top Gun so that’s next on the list.
Staying in… what TV/streaming/catch-up programmes are on the menu?
We were both addicted to drive to survive, my son also loves Formula 1 so it was something we could all watch together. Apart from that, I’m not a TV watcher. I do watch some sport but find myself focusing on what I can use for my own coaching.
What are you reading?
I read a lot of personal development books and currently I’m studying The Power of Awareness by Neville Godard. It’s something I study in a mastermind group and there are some powerful teachings in it. Rereading books that have impacted my life is something I see myself doing a lot more of. Also, on my bedside table I have the book based on the amazing Podcast series – The High Performance podcast. To help my own career development for my role with the Northern Ireland Senior Men’s team as their Strength and Conditioning Coach, I am also reading WIN: Achieve Peak Athletic Performance, Optimize Recovery and Become a Champion.
I’m in bed for 10/10.30pm. I was in a habit of going earlier but that has changed lately. My routine normally starts with a camomile tea, charging my phone outside my room (a game changer for me), I write out my to-do list for the next day, then read – ideally, I would like to be in bed earlier so I can read a bit longer.
Core Kids Summer Camps kick off at the beginning of July, taking place in locations across Antrim, Armagh, Down, Donegal, Fermanagh, Derry/Londonderry and Tyrone throughout the summer. To book, visit coreniportal.com/booking.php