ELLEN Doolan (43) is a self-employed Slimming World Consultant Team Developer from the Dunmore Road in Waterford City. She lives with her husband Neilus and kids Aoife (14) and Niall (11) with her biggest fan, Rio the Papillon
A life in a day
Only two days a week are set in stone as a lot of my work is very flexible – I can literally work anywhere and could be anywhere in the South East. My typical Monday is a Slimming World group day and will start with packing up the car with everything I need to run my Slimming World Group. Once I’m at my hired venue in WAMA, Passage Cross I get the room set up. I run two sessions on a Monday evening and two sessions on a Tuesday morning. Each is 90 minutes long. In that time, we weigh members, get new members started with everything they need for their first week. In the group session we celebrate and support each other to focus on psychological barriers to weight loss and help each other make long term habit changes. After packing up on Tuesdays, there’s the usual business admin and as part of my role, I manage a team of 14 other Slimming World Consultants across 24 groups in Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny – calls, Zooms, one to one meetings, etc. It’s full on but U love it. Added to all of that, I ferry the kids to various activities, visit the folks and spend time with my sister, at home. I love to cook when I have the time to try new recipes, what I lack in skill I make up for in enthusiasm, but the family don’t always agree! I try get out for a walk with Rio every evening before watching some mindless shite on Netflix with himself and having a read before bed. It seems hectic but I’m a ball of energy. I hate wasting a minute.
What school did you go to?
I went to St. John of God’s Primary School and Our lady of Mercy Secondary. Two buses each morning at the age of 13 is character building. I honestly never applied myself in school, I was there purely for the social aspect, I had friends in every year and spent my time up and down stairs for the chats.
What teacher do you remember most vividly?
In primary school it was Mary Foskin who taught me for two years. Her kindness and patience has stayed with me all my life and I always speak fondly of those formative years under her tutelage. In Secondary school, I had so many memorable teachers and it is no coincidence that those teachers who tried to harness my potential stand out the most. Their belief in me absolutely shaped my future. I thrived and blossomed when praised or acknowledged for effort and I have tried to do that for everyone in my orbit ever since.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I’d tell my giddy little 15-year-old self that she can avoid so many sticky situations by just holding back and thinking before speaking but forgive yourself if you do mess up. Always try to take the lesson from whatever situation you have found yourself in and remember it will all pass.
How do you relax?
My dream for years was to own a hot tub and I finally got my wish in 2020 after wearing my poor husband down. I love bubbling away in the bath out the back, listening to a few 90s tunes, supping a slimline extra dry martini, and having a read on my kindle, day or night, winter, and summer. Bliss!
What is your favourite film and piece of music?
My favourite film has to Dirty Dancing – its like a comfort blanket that never gets old. My favourite piece of music is also going to be my funeral song!! Dario G Sunchyme – original extended version. That soft piano intro just hits me in the solar plexus and when that beat kicks in no matter where I am, off ‘lepping around’ I go.
When was the last time you cried?
I am a crier. I bawl for everything happy/sad/angry, the tears come but my most recent happy tears were when our flight to Venice for our 20th wedding anniversary in July came in over the lagoon. It was 10pm and dark but when the memorable landmarks came into view the tears just flowed, I was so thrilled to be there.
What has been your happiest moment of recent times?
I am a real ‘find the joy in the little things’ person and we were lucky to be in Killarney visiting the in-laws during the recent heatwave. We spent the few days swimming in the lakes near Muckross House and honestly my heart was bursting with joy at the shared experience in such a glorious setting.
Do you pray?
I do pray. I love a mass even though I’m not a regular church-goer, I get myself into many predicaments, so I am always clasping the hands together and throwing the eyes heavenwards for divine intervention.
What is your biggest fear?
I am terrified of death and dying. I have discussed it in therapy, but I just can’t make any peace with it, I’ll never get my head round how it all just ends. I love my life and I want to live forever.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is a delicate white gold heart locket; it was my first Mother’s Day gift when Aoife was a baby and at some stage both her and Niall bit it and dented it as toddlers and it just made it even more special. I keep it on display in a memory box frame.
What is your favourite thing about living in Waterford?
I love how close we are to the sea here in Waterford, a few kilometres out the road and I can feel sand between my toes. I also love how compact our city is, no schlepping around for miles wearing out the feet.
If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?
I wish there was a better retail offering to maximise our compact and connected city centre, so we don’t keep sending shoppers outside the city, I’d love every stakeholder in the city to work more closely together, there is still way too many tiers and branches focusing on their own concerns to the detriment of the bigger picture. I lived in Killarney for eight years and I still have family and friends there and the reason the town grows and thrives is because everyone is on the same page working together for the benefit of all just not themselves.
In conversation with Darren Skelton