Thursday, 3 December 2015

Reflecting on where I began!

The last few months for me have been quite erratic to say the least! There have been "clucks" and more so some downs but I feel finally we are veering away from the negatives that have occurred the last few months and we are on the "cluck, cluck, cluck! 
During this time I also missed out on my blogs "Blogiversary"! When I reaslised I couldn't help but reflect on the past year and in some ways make some resolutions for me and my little corner of the blogging world! 




I remember when I first shared with you A Chirpy Introduction I was both excited and nervous. Blogging was something I'd thought about for quite some time and now I was finally doing it, I was going to be sharing with you a little bit more about me and hoping you'd enjoy the journey. As time passed I felt I lost a little bit of where I wanted to go with my blog. I took on too much for myself with #MeetTheBloggers and #YourAnInspiration. I committed to blogging twice a week and was also writing for MummyPages. All of this took it's toll and I took a break ("Just taking a little break") which helped me regenerate and change some things ("I'm back Chirpin")



A year on, now that there is no longer a #MeetTheBlogger and #YourAnInspiration series and I am no longer writing for MummyPages I feel there is a new lease of life in me. I now feel I really can get back to that day a little over a year ago and share more of my "clucks and downs" with you all as a stay at home mum and my journey now too with #SecretProject to becoming a Work at Home Mum! The idea of this frightens me at times as I will be really coming out of my comfort zone and yet at the same time I'm excited that I'm dusting off some skills I have and learning some new ones! 




So, while I know its not the New Year yet my resolution for 2016 begins with you all now and that is to share with you a little more about me and my journeys along the way ;-)


Friday, 27 November 2015

I'm dropping in the right direction!

So, it's 3 weeks since I wrote "It's Full Steam Ahead"  and I'd like to give you an update as to how I'm getting on, on my journey to a healthier me! 

Overall the last few weeks has been quite good considering some obstacles that we're both put in my way and if I'm honest, that I allowed get in my way! There's no point me making up things, the fact of the matter is I ate chocolate, I enjoyed a few drinks and I ate some carb rich foods. Do I regret it? Well no! This journey is not about me denying myself, it is about me learning to make changes. I'm never going to eat salads on a daily basis but I can learn to make simple changes and that is what I am doing. 


Instead of my usual sandwich I now grab an omelette full of vegetables. For me its a great way to get the added goodness I need! 


This week, I had both a great chat with Jonathan from Marrons Pharmacy and also Jodie the dietitian from XLS-Medical. I'm so lucky having such great support on my journey. It can be tough to keep yourself motivated and on the right track but when you receive support and advice that you are on the right direction it gives you confidence. Also this week I weighed myself properly for the first time since my journey began and I'm glad to say I'm going in the right direction! 




Seeing how I was getting on and also after speaking with both Jonathan and Jodie it got me thinking of when I first began my journey 1st June 2014. During these 17 months I've gone from losing 23 pounds within 6 months to letting it slowing but surely creep back up, drop back again and yes, you've guessed it, letting it creep back up. As I've often said, I'm not going to beat myself up about undoing some of my hard work because there were lots of reasons why this happened plus its more important that I'm getting myself back on track. 

Those of us who have tried to lose weight will know when we hop on the scales we love to see that number getting lower and when we don't see what we hope to, we can get disheartened. Many of us forget though as we are eating healthier and exercising not only are we losing weight but we are gaining muscle which is heavier and healthier than fat! So with that in mind I'd not only like to update you on my current weight loss, but also on the changes in my measurements since I began my journey in 2014. 




So as you can see there is quite a fluctuation. I didn't include how in November 2014 I was at 73 kg which began to increase during the months that followed as it did from April 2015. Looking back on this, it really does show how weight loss really is a journey. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration just as we would when we get in the car to travel somewhere. 
When I look back on these figures I'm reminded of the obstacles I've met and also the positives that helped me on my journey. To date I'm proud of what I've achieved because I know I can do it and I will get back to the 73 kg mark again but not only that I plan to to go below, well below I hope the 70 kg mark! 



So with my weight loss to date being 2.1 kg (4.6 lb) there are some goals I have set with both Jonathan and Jodi.With taking into consideration the festive season nearly here I want to ensure that I do my best to keep myself on track before then so that I can enjoy (sensibly) some yummy treats over Christmas, so with that in mind here are my goals. 


My Goals
Continue to drink 3+ liters of water per day
Continue to reduce the number of sandwiches I eat by at least 3 days per week
Continue walking 5 days per week
Lose 2.7 kg (6 lbs) before Christmas 
To do 50 Squats 3 days per week minimum

I firmly believe that these are achievable goals and with meeting Jonathan on a weekly basis to weigh myself it will help keep me on track to achieving them. 


What are your tips to get eating more fruit and vegetables during the day?

Do you set any weight loss goals with the festive season in mind?


Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram where I will keep you updated on what I'm eating or how I'm getting on, on a daily basis. 


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Netflix - Santa's Extra Helper this Christmas



With the festive season fast approaching it's a busy time for Santa trying to chose the right gift especially for the little ones! With Santa seeing the great choice of viewing available on Netflix for the kids he couldn't but help but take note with his elves as to what some of the favourites are this year!   

Top Choice


For those who haven't already got a Netflix membership this is one of Santa's Top Gift to be delivered this year!  

With Membership starting from €7.99 per month including your first month free for Standard Video up to €11.99 per month, again including first month free for the Ultra HD plan, it really is simple choice on Santa's list! The wonderful thing too is that you can use it on your mobile / wifi devices which believe me is very helpful when you really need something to amuse your kids in times of need! 

 .........sssshhhhh don't tell them though that you'll get to enjoy it too! 



Here's some top picks for our little ones who are aged 4 and 22 months! 


For the boy in your life! 


Paw Patrol


Our son loves Paw Patrol! Every chance he gets he's asking for me to put it on for him. Paw Patrol is about 6 Rescue dogs who are led by a boy named Ryder. They believe that "No job is too big, no pup is too small" and together they ensure they protect their community. 
Along with Ryder our sons favorite character is Police Pup Chase. Our son loves his saying "Chase is on the case"



Lead the Paw Patrol just like Ryder with Paw Patrol Ryder's Pup Pad. Just like in the show you can contact the Paw Patrol when an emergency arises. Paw Patrol Ryder’s Pup Pad features over 15 phrases straight from the hit TV show Paw Patrol! Just press a button to hear a phrase. Whether it’s Chase, Marshall, Skye, Rocky, Zuma or Rubble, all of your favourite Paw Patrol characters have unique sounds. Teamwork is only a button away! Race to the ruff-ruff rescue with Ryder’s Pup Pad!

Dreamworks Dragons: Race to the Edge


                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                  

Dragons Toothless and Hiccup Vs Armoured Dragon Set €29.99



Soar the skies with Toothless and Hiccup as you recreate your favourite scenes from DreamWorks Dragons! It’s up to you to take on the ferocious Armoured Dragon! Armed with a flaming sword and love for adventure, Hiccup easily fits on the back of Toothless for non-stop riding action! Take to the skies with Toothless as you aim and launch a projectile at the Armoured Dragon. If you strike it just right, the armour will explode and break away. Only Hiccup and Toothless are daring enough to take on this incredible Dragon challenge. Bring home the excitement of DreamWorks Dragons and recreate your favourite scenes with the Toothless and Hiccup vs. Armored Dragon set!

For the little girl in your life! 


Care Bears & Cousins

Care Bears Magic Night Light Sweet Dreams Bear 

Currently €24.99 was €42.99

Correct Price as per 24th November 2015 as per www.smythstoys.com


Bedtime bear is the perfect bedtime companion! This 11 inch special feature plush has a lullaby mode to sing you to sleep. Bedtime Bears belly badge also lights up when in night light mode and he can project 3 different colours.

Despicable Me 2




While this may be designed for 3+ year olds having watched my daughter with some of her sons toys I think she'd be delighted with this from Santa to keep her busy when we are out and about! This Despicable Me Minions themed travel easel that will keep your child entertained for hours and is particular a suitable for long trips or holidays. This will allow your little ones to be creative and create magical masterpiece art work.



Above ideas are based on my son who is 4 and his sister who is 22 months. 

Have your little ones favourites on Netflix? 
Have they been added to Santa's list? 







Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Review: Waxperts Beautiful Body Oil



For those of you who follow me on Social media you will have seen that some time ago I received Waxperts Beautiful Body Oil. I was thrilled when I received it to try as I had read some great reviews and lets face it who doesn't like to give their skin some TLC! 

Along with my Holos Skincare goodies coming on holidays with me recently which you can read about here, so did my Waxperts Body Oil. Knowing I was going to be in strong sea air and playing at the beach for the week I was looking forward to seeing how Waxperts Body Oil stood up to the test. 


The Beautiful Body oil is recommended after waxing / shaving and also after a bath. For me it's shaving and showers! The last time I'd a bath was when I was pregnant on our son over 4 years ago. I get too bored and I'm out within 5 minutes! For me an undisturbed and long shower is such a treat and I knew not only was hubby there to mind our little chirps but there was the grandparents too! This could only mean one thing - Mamma time every morning! 

I used the body oil each day after my shower and also some evenings after the kids went to bed to give my skin some extra love after spending time on the beach. With it being a body oil I loved the fact that it wasn't greasy on my skin and absorbed well so if I needed to dress quickly there was no "sticky" feeling as my skin touched off my clothes. With a hint of lavender too, I found it a nice relaxing way to start the day. 
After using the first time my skin felt smooth and well hydrated and the feeling lasted for quite some time. While I used it twice some days this was more a treat to me after the day plus the scent of the lavender before going to bed was a bonus for a good nights sleep! 

A little goes a long way with Waxperts Body Oil which is great especially at only €12.99 for 100ml I think it is great value. 


To find your nearest stockist you can check here alternatively you can purchase it online at Dolledup.ie here











Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It's Full Steam Ahead!

So Chirps, since writing my recent post "Updating the signage" there has been some developments and all is looking good! So let me fill you in on what has been happening! 




Taking care of me! 

As I'd mentioned it was time for me to take control of myself and my weight. Last week I had the chance to meet with Jonathan at Marron's Pharmacy where I had a full cardiac screen. So what did this include? Well, I'd my cholesterol, hemoglobin and diabetes screened along with my blood pressure being checked. I'd a lifestyle exam and I was weighed (hanging head in major shame!) and from that then my BMI was calculated! 

Before I reveal these results as I've said before I know I could beat myself up about how I've gained back the weight I'd lost but there is no point as it will do me no good. Whats important is that I'm doing something about it!


Results

Weight - 80.5kg (12.68 Stone)
BMI - 33.1
Blood Pressure - 126/97
Cholesterol - 5.54 (This was also broken down as to the figures for types of cholesterol)
Blood Glucose - 5.69
Haemoglobin - 13.7

From above results overall considering my weight they were not too bad. The areas I need to focus on is my weight to bring down my BMI and my blood pressure. I would normally have a low blood pressure so it is important that I keep an eye on this.

As much as I've known Jonathan for a number of years as a Healthcare Professional he is exceptional at what he does along with all the staff at Marron's Pharmacy. I'm looking forward to working with Jonathan in tracking my progress and sharing the results with you also.


Some added help!

Since I'd written "Updating the signage" I followed up on an opportunity that arose via the Irish Parenting Bloggers Group which was for XLS-Medical Max Strength It was funny how well timed it was as myself and Jonathan had spoken about possibly using something like XLS-Medical to help me on my weight loss journey. If I'm honest, I would have been skeptical of using an aid like this in the past but on hearing the successes that Jonathan had spoken about of people he had worked with I became more open to the idea. The last few months have been crazy in the coup and my weight has not helped me to be my "Chirpy" self and to keep me motivated. So after some emails, phone calls and some hearing more success stories, I was delighted to be accepted to take part in a 12 week program with XLS Medical Max Strength.





Part of the criteria of being accepted was to have my GP's approval which I received last week. I love my GP as she is very thorough. I showed her the results I received from Jonathan and she is also going to do Full Bloods and go through the results hopefully next week. She believes that with losing at least a stone this should help in bringing down my blood pressure.

Not only will I have the support of Jonathan at Marrons Pharmacy and my own GP, XLS-Medical will have their dietitian, Jodie Relf working with me too, to help me keep on track! I was speaking with her on Thursday afternoon and and will be again on Monday which I'm looking forward to and the advice she has to offer.

Bring it on!

As we all know, life can get in the way of our goals and when we meet these bumps in the road we have a choice as to what we want to do - Do we want to stay on a bumpy road or choose the path that leads us to our goals? 
The next 12 weeks I know are not going to be easy. This week alone I've a Black Tie Dinner to attend and my birthday both of which I'd like to enjoy. The choice I can make though is to be sensible in how I enjoy myself! 
I know that XLS-Medical Max Strength will not do all of the work. I need to ensure I'm on top of things with my diet and exercise. I'm very lucky to have great support with XLS-Medical, Marron's Pharmacy and my GP. With this support and my motivation I know I WILL achieve my goals!





Follow me on my Facebook Page here, Instagram here and Twitter here where I will share with you what I'm up to on a daily basis! 

You can learn more about XLS-Medical Max Strength on their webpage here. Follow them on Facbook here

You can follow Marrons Pharmacy here on Facebook and on Instagram here


Monday, 26 October 2015

A carved Pumpkin? Or a Jack O'Lantern?

If I'm honest before our children arrived Halloween as an adult meant as soon as we got home from work we freshened up and went back out again to avoid answering "Trick-or-Treaters"! .... hanging head in shame! When our son arrived this all changed and I suppose it reignited our love of Halloween and its traditions! 

So today I'd like you to meet our turnip! Yes a turnip! My husband came home from the shops yesterday with additional pumpkins and a turnip! If there is one thing I love about my husband is his knowledge of many thing and seemingly a turnip is a tradition for Halloween in Ireland! 

So to reel it back a little where did it all begin? Within Irish folklore, a man called Jack O’Lantern was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. According to legend a man called Stingy Jack asked the devil for a drink and he managed to convince the devil to change into a coin to pay for these drinks. Jack wanted to keep the coin so he kept it in his pocket beside a small silver cross to stop the devil from changing back. 


After some time, Jack decided he'd set the devil free but only if he agreed not to bother him for a year and that he wouldn't take his soul when he died.  The year passed and and Jack somehow once again manged to trick the devil. He convinced him to climb a tree to get him a piece of fruit. While the devil was in the tree Jack carved a cross in the trunk so he couldn’t come down unless he swore not to bother him for another ten years.

When Jack passed away, God would not let him enter the gates of heaven nor did the devil allow him to enter into hell. Instead Jack was sent into the eternal night carrying a burning coal inside a carved out turnip which would light his way as he roamed the earth. Stingy Jack became known as “Jack of the Lantern,” which became “Jack O’Lantern.”

From this legend people in both Ireland and Scotland began to create their own versions of their "Jack O'Lanterns". These were carved out of turnips, beets, and potatoes and placed outside their homes to scare Stingy Jack and any other roaming spirits. When this became a Halloween tradition, the lanterns were used as as guides for people dressed in costume on Samhain (Oct 31 – Nov 1) . Samhain is a traditional Gaelic version of Halloween. This is seen as a night when the divide between the living and the dead is very thin. The Samhain festival marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “darker half” of the year.


When the Irish and Scots emigrated to America they brought with them their traditions and Jack O'Lantern was one of them.They felt that pumpkins which are native to America were perfect fruits for carving and since they have become a big part within Halloween traditions. 

The original turnip carvings were quite grotesque and if you check here you will get an idea of some of the varieties created! 

This 19th Century Jack O'Lantern which was made with a turnip is on display Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co. Mayo


So as the people don't think we have totally lost it, lol! Here are some of our pumpkins that my husband drilled ...... no carving in our house! 










Data was researched from Irish Central and 









Saturday, 24 October 2015

Netflix - When we got hooked!


Each time I turn on Netflix and look at what's recommended to view I'm overwhelmed by the number of fantastic options! There's something there for Me, my husband and I, our kids and for our family to watch together! So here is just a taster of some of our recent favorites. 


House of Cards


At this stage now I think we've all heard of House of Cards and how fantastic it is. This week my husband and I finally took the plunge to make a start on watching Season 1. Our expectations were high to start from reviews we'd read and heard. If I'm honest we were waiting to be disappointed ...... I'm only too delighted to say we weren't! From the first episode, we were hooked! Kevin Spacey who plays Francis Underwood from South Carolina is charming congressman and  with his southern accent you know there's more to the man that meets the eye. With his wife Claire (Robin Wright) by his side who too has her strengths makes them a team to admired and yet to "feared" - They want power and they will do whats needed in the politically correct way of course to do so! From only watching 4 episodes I can see both Frank and Claire taking charge in American politics and making sure they make their mark! 


Bernard


As we all know mobile technology is a big part of our lives! And while there are times I hate it, there are times they have their advantages! One Sunday morning this was the case when my husband came across Bernard on Netflix. As our 4 year old and 21 month old were snuggling in to watch I could hear the giggles and laughter from the three of them as I was getting breakfast ready. When we'd finished, I had to see what it was all about so we cuddled in the sitting room to watch a little more! 
I love the innocence and yet silliness of Bernard. They are short little scenarios and when you hear laughter from your children well that to me is a bonus! He's a polar bear that seems to land himself in silly situations and bless him in his awkwardness his brought new smiles and laughs to our home!  




This is one that I just love .... this one is all mine! From day one I was hooked and when season two closed on its final scene I was raging that I'd to wait until a new season started to see what was going to happen next. 
Peaky Blinders is set in post World War One Birmingham. Cillian Murphy who plays Tommy Shelby is just oh so cool and as the series progresses we get to know a little bit more about the man who lies beneath. 
When you see a cast like Sam Neill who plays Chester Campbell and Helen McCrory who plays Aunt Polly,  you cant help but feel this is going to be good and for me it didn't disappoint! It has crime, gangster family, love and twists in between..... what's not to love!



I'd love to know your favorites? When did you get hooked? 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Updating the signage!


It's been quite a while since I've written a post let alone one that wasn't a review. Over the last few months things have been quite overwhelming for a variety of reasons and it's led me in different directions. Over the last few days I've been thinking about some things and realised it's time for me to update the road I'm taking so that I'm going in the direction I want to go. 

So what got me thinking I needed to get on the right path again? Well, as we all know life has a great knack of getting in the way and throwing us off course. Lately I've allowed myself stay off track for a couple reasons. One was that in ways I wasn't sure what I needed to do to get back on coarse and the second reason was sometimes its just easier to stay off the beaten track and walk through the woods hidden from it all. 



Over the last few days I've been trying to figure out what will help me to move forward and and feel like I'm on the right road again. The one thing which stood out was me! I needed to start focusing on myself again.  
Last year I made changes in my life to become a fitter and healthier me and over the last few months I've undone all of my hard work. While I could beat myself up about it I know that's not the right thing to do. I could "force" myself too to go on a strict diet and just get out there again but this wouldn't be the right thing either. For me, what I need is time to focus, time to plan and time to action. 
It's funny while I stayed hidden away in myself I'd forgotten how much better I'd felt for feeling healthier and even slimmer. The last few weeks, I've found it tough to look at myself in a positive light and I suppose deep down I was upset I let myself get this way. By now I'd hoped to have been celebrating being nearer to having lost 3 stone instead I'm going to have to now work on getting myself nearer to 1 stone again. 




Over the last few days I've been working on mentally getting myself in the right place and from next week I'm going to begin by using the skills I've gained from the #BeTheBestYou plan and along with the assistance of my local pharmacy Marron's to start pointing myself in the right direction and get my chirpy self back! I'm going to make changes within my lifestyle to lose the weight (again!) and maintain this in the future. 

I know that this time around my journey is going to be tougher but I know too that while I'm doing this for me first, I'm doing it too for my family and also for the future I want for us. With working on #secretproject it's given me faith that I can succeed. Its put the fear of god in me too as it means I'm taking risks but then I remind myself as to why I'm doing it and the same answers come up - For me, my family and our future! 



It's not going to be easy but I know that the future is bright and I for one really want to try and give it my all. While there are still some things in life that I'm sure will get in the way I'm going to do my best to navigate around them and keep myself on track as best as I can. 


When my journey begins with Marron's I will be keeping you up to date as to how I'm getting on. I'd love to hear how you keep yourself on track? What are your top tips?











Monday, 14 September 2015

Review: Holos Skincare the Natural Routine!

Recently I was guest blogger for Holos on #HolosLovesBloggers on Twitter and I must say I really enjoyed the evening! While it was just an hour it flew by and there was great interaction between those who took part. 
As a treat the lovely Niamh owner of Holos sent me some samples to try out a new skin care regime. I'd explained to her about my recent outbreak so she knew just what to send! When I received the samples I knew there was only one place to try them out and it was the perfect location for some wonderful products. 



Recently we were on holidays in Currane, Co. Mayo and for me it was the ideal time to try out a new regime. While I was away Holos had some tough challenges to face when it came to my skin! For me holiday is a guilt free zone which means I eat and drink what I want and my water consumption always reduces. Not only was I relaxing and enjoying myself but the sea air too was testing my skin! 


My daily view on holidays! Not always as sunny but always beautiful!

Niamh very kindly wrote out my daily routine which was as follows:


Morning:

- Splash cold water on my face to clean followed by Love your Skin Floral Toner
- In addition if I felt I needed it to use the Love your Skin Anti-aging Facial Oil

Night:

- Use the Love your Skin Cleansing Cream - Massage in and remove with a warm damp towel
- Followed then by the Love your Skin Floral Toner
- Followed then by the Love your Skin Anti-aging Facial Oil - Use 4 drops and massage in for 1 minute

Weekly:

- Use the Blossoms Light Exfoliating Skin Polish - Massage straight from the jar onto a dry face for 1 minute. Leave for 2 - 3 minutes and then wash off with warm water. 
- Follow then as per morning routine

My Routine! 


I began my routine with the weekly use of the  Blossoms Light Exfoliating Skin Polish. I found this to be quite gentle on my skin and once I applied I felt if quite soothing. The polish is blended with essential oils Neroli, Ylang Ylang and Jasmine. After using the polish my skin felt smooth but not dried out like some exfoliates can make you feel. 


                  €15.20*                                                                                                        €15.70*

After, I then used the Love your Skin Floral Toner and Love your Skin Face Cream. The floral toner as you know I've used before and you can read here. I find that it is beautiful to use. I love the floral scent and feel it's quite uplifting to use and a great start to the day! 
The face cream too, for me was very smooth and light when applied. After my daily morning routine I always felt fresh and loved how my skin felt. On a couple of mornings with the sea air drying my skin a little, I used the Love your Skin Anti-aging Facial Oil to give my skin some extra TLC. 



               €19.20*                                                                                                         €22.20*

At night then I followed as recommended with the Love your Skin Cleansing Cream and the Love your Skin Anti-aging Facial Oil. The cleansing cream I really enjoyed using as it was light in texture but effective in cleaning my skin after days walking about and playing at the beach with our two smallies. What struck me too about the oil was how light it was and how nicely it absorbed into my skin. Some oils I've felt can feel like they're "sitting" on your skin and you dont really feel like they are doing anything to help. 

The Love your Skin range is blended using the essential oils of Rose, Palmerosa, Frankincense and Benzoin. 

My thoughts!

For me me as many of you know, I can struggle with a good skin care routine. What I loved about following the Holos routine was its simplicity but most important the effect it had on my skin. After a couple of days I noticed my skin feeling a lot fresher and I felt it was younger in appearance. Any dryness I had from the sea air was gone in no time using the Facial oil. With the smells of the products it couldn't but invigorate your senses making you feel fresher and revived to take on what lay ahead. 
If I had a "negative" it is that there is no SPF in the face cream (you all know I love my SPF) but then if there was, it wouldn't be natural! I soon overcome this using a foundation with an SPF in it! 

Holos is as it says, "Skincare from Nature" and for me my skin was certainly thankful for how it treated me! 


*



You can follow Holos on Facebook here, Twitter here and check out your nearest stockists here! Pop by the website and see the wonderful ranges Holos have at www.holos.ie

Check out #Holoslovesbloggers on Twitter Monday nights from 9pm - 10pm 
and join in the fun and chat. 


* images above are from Holos website and are of full size produces