Monday, 30 March 2015

Irish Parenting Blog Awards!

I've a cheeky ask! 

Tomorrow night, 31st March 2015 is the end of voting for the Irish Parenting Blog Awards!

I'd love if you could vote for me if you haven't already (and even if you have!!) take the time to follow the link

I'd like to say THANK YOU for all of your support in following my blog x  

#BeTheBestYou - Week 4 begins!

Well, I cant believe we're already at Week for of #BeTheBestYou Lifestyle change! And to my amazement I'm pretty much sticking to it! Don't get me wrong, I haven't been a saint but on the days I've been behaving 90-100% its making a difference. 

Let the numbers speak! 

So as we all know, it's the numbers that do all the talking and show how I'm really getting on. So here they are! 

                       3rd March          16th March          30th March
                       Inches                         Inches                  Inches
Bicep              11.8                      12.2                      11.61
Thigh              21.65                    21.65                    21.25
Calf                14.17                     13.77                    13.77
Waist              40.55                    39.37                    37.79
Hips                42.51                    40.15                    38.77
Chest             41.33                     39.76                    40.15

Weight lbs    166.5                     165                        160

I think one that surprised me the most was my waist measurements. The reason for my surprise was that I didn't get to exercise as much as I would of liked. Sleepless nights from a 14 month old has a way of knocking the energy out of you! 

Overall considering my lack of exercise I'm quite pleased with the results. While I could tell myself I could of done better, and yes, I could have, there is no point me being negative. This is about making lifestyle changes and the main thing I'm focusing on is the numbers and they don't lie! 

What am I eating!

So, going on the results it just goes to show that what we eat makes a difference too to our waist line. As the weeks have progressed I'm finding it somewhat easier to try and plan my meals better and to make the things I'm not so fond of such as salad more palatable. 


Warm Chicken Salad with Chili Flakes

Warm Beef Salad with Sesame Seeds

I was always one to cook from scratch, we never buy sauces such as for pasta, we like to make our own. For me then this made the plan somewhat easier when it came to dinner time as I didn't have to cook something different for me and then another meal for the rest of the family.  

The main thing I needed to take into consideration was portion sizing which I've learned to control better over the last few months. And, my carbohydrate intake. This was something I needed to plan better. For some meals I've cut them out altogether depending on when I got my exercise done. 


Homemade Meatballs in homemade tomato sauce

Homemade "Pizza" using a Wrap and some of Hilda's Chutney from Clane Farmers Market 

Steak, Veg and some homemade oven chips

As you can see, I've eaten quite well! A typical day generally starts with a banana as I make my children's breakfast. I try to hold off from the porrigde to save my carbohydrate until after exercising or to have a small amount with dinner! 
Later in the morning then, I have bacon and poached eggs. Lunch then I try to have a salad or an omelette and then dinner is similar to above. 

Fluid intake is also key. I still have my mug of coffee in the morning sometimes even two! When I remember I try have a green tea or two which is great for boosting your metabolism. The main drink though I try to focus on is water! 

For me, I try to aim for at least three jugs of water per day. It can be tough sometimes so I bring the jug about the house with me to remind myself. I know that drinking a lot more water too has made a big difference to me. 

I'm quite looking forward to seeing how the next two weeks go for me. Overall so far, I'm feeling quite good in myself and I can really see how these changes can stay part of my lifestyle. 
For the next week, I'm going to focus on trying to get more exercise done as I know that this is important if I want to see further results. I've my first 5km this Saturday too for Bumbleance, so I need to make sure I eat well and not over do it. 

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see how I'm getting on during the week. 

Also, if your not already, follow Volta Fitness for some great tips on her Facebook page and her blog

I'd love to hear what your fitness and healthy eating tips are? Are you currently trying to make changes in your own life? Let me know in the comments below! 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

#YourAnInspiration - Danielle Serpico

On this months #YourAnInspiration I'm delighted to introduce you to the lovely Danielle Serpico Mind Coach and Author of "The Blackbelt Mastermind" . 
Danielle's journey through life has been an interesting one. As a young girl she had hopes and dreams that seemed to get lost and tucked away as she grew up. Through the loss of her business in 2009 she soon rediscovered those hopes and dreams again which you can read about hereI'm thrilled that Danielle has taken part in #YourAnInspiration and I hope you enjoy her responses as much as I have. 

1) Why is inspiration important to you?

I think Einstein said “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% hard work”…. 

I would respectfully like to disagree with this statement. I believe that once we have the right inspiration, in other words, once we have found our truest inspiration, then the ‘work’ usually just falls in naturally. It is no longer work as such. It is simply what we do - a calling - an unmistakable force of action that propels us forward.

The Oxford English Dictionary says inspiration is the act of breathing in, or inhaling. It’s like an injection of energy, a filling up, a charge. I feel inspiration sets you on the path. At least that’s how it works for me. I get inspired by a beautiful track of music, or an incredible piece of art, or spotting someone doing a good deed for someone. Anything that makes my heart ‘fill up’. Then I am charged. This leads to my motivation and my want to do something equally meaningful, which leads to my action and my dedication.

I don’t believe you can change the world with simply motivation, as there is no soul, no substance behind it, but with inspiration the world has been transformed. My own journey was catapulted forward by extraordinary moments of inspiration. It’s what makes us human and what makes the world go round.

2) Who inspires you?

Wow. So many people! Buddha, Shakespeare, Einstein, Confucius, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Christopher Columbus. As he says… ‘You can never cross an ocean unless you are prepared to lose sight of the shore.’ Anyone that stepped out of their comfort zone to follow what they believe in. People every day who fight silently and understatedly in what they believe in. For what is right. Kind people inspire me most. Kindness and empathy. 

I could go on and on with the list of people but Mahatma Gandhi is probably my first that comes to mind, not simply because he is one that many mention but because he actually played a part in my early childhood. It was the second film I had ever seen as a child in a Cinema in Italy. The first was Ben Hur so I should probably class Charlton Heston as my first inspiration but when I went to see Gandhi I was awestruck. His sheer vision, passion and purpose was literally unbelievable. I remember leaving the Cinema wondering even at nine years of age how could someone be so strong and believe in something so entirely and convincingly to transform a nation. I know his story has stayed with me to this day.

3) What inspires you?

I touched on it in the last question. Kindness, empathy and compassion. People who show this in their actions regardless of what others say or think. I believe how one treats animals is a big tell tale of one’s character. How we treat other sentient beings who share this planet of ours. That also inspires me, a lot. This planet. Nature. That’s when I am at my most true. When outdoors and surrounded by my dogs and nature. The sea, the wind, the trees. That inspires me. Feeling connected to something much bigger than me. 

I have heard people say that they feel small, meaningless, when they try to imagine our little speck of a world in the midst of a great big universe but for me that’s incredibly inspiring and empowering. I feel connected, a part, a particle, of something huge. Something bigger then I can comprehend and it is that not knowing that gets me fired up. I believe that with the right mindset, with the right awakening we are all capable of so much more.

4) Who would you love to meet and have a chat with?

Mmmm, besides Gandhi? That’s a hard question. If I was to pick someone more contemporary I would like to meet JK Rowling as I am currently writing a fantasy novel and I love her story. Oprah would be awesome also to have a chat with! I admire her strength so much. And Nick Vujicic. If this man can get back up day after day with no limbs but a smile spread across his face then we don’t have any excuse. I would love to meet him and tell him what an inspiration he is.

5) What was the best news you received in the last 12 months?

So many little things that make me happy daily. Top three would be, my book being published and going on Amazon. Hearing that my mother has given up smoking and hearing super stories of transformation and change from my clients.

6) What’s the one thing that puts a “silly” grin on your face?

Animals. My dogs, cats and any adorable creature. I turn to jelly when I see furry creatures!

7) What’s your inspirational Quote?

“Whether you think you can or think you cant, you are right.”

8) What advice would you give to others in the hope of inspiring them?

Never give up and always get back up. You CAN have more happiness if that’s what you want. Focus on that, and that’s what you will get more of. Most of all realize that your brain works for you. Not the other way around. Really pay attention to this.

You are in control of the ship. Become aware of your thought patterns and that alone will help them to change. If you want to feel better or to be inspired, find out what you love doing and do more of that more often.

9) Anything you’d like to add?

When I listened to myself and heard all the negative things I used to say, I was dumbfounded. How can you improve your life if you keep putting yourself down?

Change what you say internally and your external dialogue will improve also.

Change and happiness is easy once you are aware. Its instant and simply a state change.

Smile right now and notice how much better you feel!

I'd like to thank Danielle again for taking part in #YourAnInspiration. You can follow her via the links below.




If you'd like to take part in the #YourAnInspiration series, just send me an email with your details to

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Remembering the Best of Days!

After a nail biting and intense finale last weekend to this years RBS 6 Nations and thankfully an Ireland win, I'm transported back in time to 2009. This was the beginning of some fantastic celebrations not only of Ireland's first Grand Slam win in 60 years, but to the start of a new life for two people! 

2009 Grand Slam Win

2015 Championship Win

Way back in 2009!

After coming out from hiding from a blanket on our sofa as O'Gara took a drop goal in those final moments I waited in fear, fear he might miss and that Ireland's dreams of a Grand Slam win would be lost for another year. Thankfully O'Gara didn't let his Nation down and across the country the celebrations began! 

Those final tense moments - O'Gara's drop goal

After my nerves began to settle and the reality of a Grand Slam win sank in I went to my local pub for a celebratory drink with Brian (my partner) and his dad. I remember the atmosphere so well , it was amazing. Everyone was in shock but so happy at Ireland's great win that day. What I remember most though was as I was messaging my brother Barry, he was travelling back to Ireland from Australia where he lives. His flight home was not just for a holiday but for a celebration, a wedding, our wedding! 

As the days built up to 27th March 2009, it was crazy at times so much so I remember finding peace and calm at McDonald's in Liffey Valley Shopping Center the day before. Brian, his dad and I were collecting the suits for the wedding and before leaving we ventured to McDonald's. It wasn't the food calling us, it was our wanting to avoid the pulling and dragging of everyone wanting a piece of us!

This night (26th March) 6 years ago, I remember saying goodbye to my partner as he left for his parents. My brother was still jet lagged so he was snoozing on the chair and as I lay on the sofa flicking through the TV all I could do was cry! I was crying lots of happy tears! I couldn't help but feel so lucky that the next day I was going to marry my best friend and my rock. 

The Big Day!

Like all wedding days there is craziness with getting ready. You've to get your hair done, make-up, fed and get dressed which myself and my bridesmaid had to race to do as we were all too busy yapping!!

The tears began again for me that day when I saw my Dad! I hadn't seen the suits for the wedding, (I highly recommend this!) so as I saw him, all I could think of was how handsome Brian would look. 

I remember as my make-up was being finished by a friend, the very talented Hayley McGowan she said to me "Say Ham and Cheese, say Ham and Cheese", a crazy thing to say I thought but it helped stop the tears ...... for now!

Once we were ready it was time to go. As I stood at the entrance to the the beautiful People's Church in Clongowe's and as I heard my entrance music, that was me off again! 

I'd my tissue on hand as I walked down the isle and my dad dad held on, telling me it was ok. The poor man nearly had his hand broken on the way to the Church I squeezed it so much! As I reached the alter, both myself and Brian went to hand the other a tissue!! This was to be a ceremony of many happy tears!

After more happy tears were shed through the ceremony it wasn't long until we were announced "Husband and Wife". It was fitting too after our wedding being planned around the 6 Nations (my doing) that our exit music was Rugby themed too! Jupiter from "The Planets" by Gustav HolstRugby fans will know as World in Union!

I remember people saying to me never have they been to a wedding where there was as much crying but also as much laughing and smiling. On the 27th March 2009, I became complete. I was lucky enough to meet and marry my soul mate, my best friend and wonderful father to our two children. 

Our wedding day was the most amazing day. We'd friends and family there we wanted to celebrate this day with us. It wasn't a big wedding by Irish standards and that's just how we wanted it. 

Happy Anniversary Brian, I look forward to many more years, tears, laughter and fun x


Monday, 23 March 2015

Room to Makeover!

For some time now we've been talking about transforming our spare room into a Home Office. The room is currently a Laundry / Ironing / Music / Dump room so its not an easy task trying to include everything (except for the dumping!) and to hopefully have it as a spare room too! So, after reading some ideas from The Parma Violet and more recently reading about a makeover LilliWhiteRose did, I thought it might be a good idea to get some ideas in place that I might actually get started! 

So the room that needs to be done up is a box room so space is limited for the functions I'd like it to do! So I suppose a starting point for any home office is a desk! I thought a corner desk might make better use of the space, I saw this BORGSJÖ Corner desk in Ikea for €70 and think it might do the job. 

An alternative could be Ikeas STUVA Loft Bed combo which is €390. A bit pricey but it might be a good option and "Kill two birds with one stone"  covering both the office and spare room options. 

If the STUVA bed doesn't work as an option I thought the maybe Ikeas LYCKSELE LÖVÅS Chair bed could at €195 or their EXARBY Three-seat sofa at €175. With either of these options it would offer a spare bed if needed and also a place for my husband to sit when he rocking out playing his Base! 

So the next thing to cover is the laundry and ironing! Currently any clothes I hang in the room are on a large Clothes Airer. While it works at the moment it will take up a lot of room when the desk goes in and hopefully a bed! 

I saw this Pull-out Drying line on Howard's Storage World for €44.95. This could be a handy alternative and can tuck away nicely when its not in use. 

Another thing I saw in Howard's Storage World was this handy "Over the Door Ironing Board" at €36.95. It may not be as large as the current board we have but might be a suitable option. 

So these are some ideas that I have and I hope soon to make a real start on the room. Another place I will be seeking ideas is I've used it in the past and we have picked up some amazing bargains for our home and I hope I will again for our Spare room makeover

What are your home office and storage ideas? I'd love to hear what you think and I look forward to sharing the finished room with you soon! 

#BeTheBestYou - Quick Update!

Hi all, 

With me not having any weigh-in (no official one at least!!) or measurements this week, I thought I'd hold off on giving you a full run down on how the last week has gone.

Overall, I'm doing pretty good. I've my 6th wedding anniversary this weekend so I'd like to enjoy the weekend by having a nice "cheat" meal! Between now and then I'm going to up my pace and give it my all. 

If you want to see how I'm getting on during the week follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

I look forward to updating you all next Monday on how things are going! 

Don't forget to stop by Volta Fitness and also follow #BeTheBestYou on Twitter. 

Bring on week 3! 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Liebster Award Nomination!

I'd like to thank Little Dorothy Makes for nominating me for another Liebster Award! I must say I quite enjoy the questions that arise as it gets me thinking and in a fun way! 

So here is goes! 

1. What is the meaning behind the name of your blog and did you find it difficult to name?

When I decided I wanted to blog, it took some time to get the name I felt was right for me! Many names were written and one by one with the help of my husband I narrowed them down! 
The Little Red Hen was suggested by my husband and while I disregarded it at first, I couldn't help but some back to it. With the name already being taken, I began to look at alternates and "Chirps from a Little Red Hen" was born! 

2. Who are your role models?

For me I think this is easy, My Mum would be one, even though she is no longer with me. She had great strength and I hope to be half the mother she was. 
The other would be my husband. I admire him for the person he is. He is a wonderful husband and father to our children I feel blessed to know him and that he's part of my life. 

3. What is your absolute favourite meal?

I love my food so this is tough to answer but I suppose a real treat meal is a steak! I love it in every form, as is or in a sambo with ALL the trimmings!! 

4. What is your greatest moment of joy in your life, so far?

I'm lucky to have 3! Marrying my husband and watching my 2 babies being born!

5. If you were in charge of the whole world, what 3 things would you outlaw?

From a serious point of view there are too many things so I will look at this question from a less serious point! I'd outlaw calories counting, the ability to gain weight for eating all you want and grey hair! (I hate needing to dye my hair!!)

6. Do you have any regrets in life or are you a happy contented soul?

I don't think we should have regrets in life, the things we do shape us into the people we are, so for me, I've no regrets. 

7. What 3 adjectives would your close friends and family use to describe you?

Positive, Strong, Listener

8. What is your dream occupation?

I'm living it a Stay at Home Mum .... just wish it paid a few Euro!!

9. What blog post are you most proud of and why?

Possibly one I wrote recently "Being Honest To You" I received a great response when I posted this blog which I was quite surprised by. It gave me a lift knowing it helped others and more importantly they were able to make a connection with the piece. 

10. What will your next blog post be about?

My next piece will be about #BeTheBestYou or a Room Makeover, I haven't 100% decided yet!!

Thank you again Little Dorothy Makes for the nomination. It's fun answering another set of questions! 

My Questions!

1. What inspired you to blog?
2. What do you enjoy about blogging?
3. What's a recent post you've read that's stood out to you? 
4. If you could rule a country, which one would it be and why?
5. What is your guilt free go to treat?
6. If you were an animal what would you be and why?
7. Have you any funny / quirky traits?
8. What's your morning fix to start your day?
9. Whats your favorite season? And why?
10. How do you think they put the figs into the fig rolls?


So, I'd like to nominate the following! 

Monday, 16 March 2015

#BeTheBestYou - Week 2

Week two has begun of me taking part in the Be the Best of you Lifestyle Clinic. I have to say, I'm very positive this week! So lets see how did week one go?

Week 1 Review

Like many of us, taking care of myself is important and being a busy mum of 2, I'd like to try get myself back in shape. 
As many of you know, I began my journey 1st June 2014 and took part in the Today Show's "Drop a Dress Size" challenge which I completed mid November. During this time I lost 23lb with 12lb of this being lost during the "Drop a Dress Size" challenge (approx 5 weeks long). I was delighted with the weight loss and was so focused on losing the same again over the months to follow. 
As one thing led to another with the festive season and me losing my motivation my weight soon began to creep back up.
When I began my journey in June, my motivation was for a lifestyle change and something I could sustain. While the "Drop a Dress size" challenge helped me add to my weight loss, it wasn't a sustainable plan for me and my family. 
For me, I wanted to get back to where I was on 1st June 2014 when I began my journey and Be the Best You, gives me that and more. 

You can read about some some of my weight loss journey here


So overall week one went pretty good. The exercises set out for me for the week were set for 5 days and included training for the BK5K I'm taking part in on the 4th April. I like that Claire takes into consideration what you already have in place such as Gym membership, equipment at home or Classes you might be taking part in. 
For me, while I don't have a Gym Membership I have some equipment to use at home. 
While the start of the week began well for me with the exercises, I let the the 
"Clucks and Downs" of Mother's Day takeover towards the weekend.  


With Claire's plan, it ticks all the boxes for me. There are no set meals to follow. I've been given a list of foods to work from where I can cook what I'd like. This to me is perfect as I can tailor it to suit our families meals. No more one dinner for me and another for them! 
There are times where I need to hold back on the "flowery spud" but I'm now understanding better how to balance my meals. 
Claire explains when and why we should eat certain foods such as pre and post training. For instance today I will be holding back on my carbs until after my run this evening. 
In general, I'm still eating the same foods as I always did, I'm just eating them in a different way. 

Week 1 Results 

Date: 3rd March
16th March
Body Part

Weight lbs

So, looking at the figures above, you may think its not a massive change. If I'm honest, I know the figures could of been better. I could of worked harder with my exercises. I could of refrained from eating the chocolates my children gave me for Mother's Day. I could of said "No" to a second cheat meal which was an Indoor Pizza Picnic with my kids for Mother's Day. I could of even of held off from the 2 slices of wholemeal bread I had with my homemade soup at lunch. 
While I didn't do those things, there is still a change and that is what I am focusing on. This programme is about making lifestyle changes and each day I am making them for the better of me and for the better of my family. 

I must say, I looking forward to seeing what changes are awaiting for me next Monday! 

Are you currently trying to make any changes within your lifestyle? I'd love to hear any tips you have. 

Pop by to Claire's Blog, Volta Fitness for great tips and also follow Blogging it Beautiful who's also taking part in #BeTheBestYou