Saturday, 31 December 2016

Ringing in the New Year early with younger family!



I remember our first New Years Eve as a family. Our eldest was just 5 months old and when the clock struck midnight and as we welcomed 2012, we couldn't help but sneak into him while he slept & give him a kiss. 

Now 4 years on and we're a family of four, ringing in the New Year is even more special but sneaking into their rooms without waking them is a little more difficult! Thanks to Netflix we need not worry and together we can ring in the New Year as a family. 
Netflix have brought back their kids New Years Eve countdown which I know our two will be delighted to hear.

There are 10 brand new countdowns from a selection Kids Originals, and together as a family we can countdown the New Year before their bedtime. 

Dreamworks Trollhunters

There's a fantastic choice including Word Party, Puffin Rock, Luna Petunia, All Hail King Julien, Skylander’s Academy, Project Mc2, Fuller House, Chasing Cameron,  DreamWorks Trollhunters and Beat Bugs.

Beat Bugs

While Beat Bugs will be our choice there is something for all ages and we can share that special moment as a family a little earlier than usual!

The New Years Eve countdowns are available now and here is the link for you decide on your families favourite!


I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2017






Disclaimer: 
I received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV from the Netflix Stream Team. All views and comments are my own 


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Netflix: It's my Summer Saviour!


For the last four summers I have watched parents with children of school going age tear their hair our trying to entertain their little ones and keep the frustration and boredom at bay. It was something I never understood until this summer! Our eldest son got his first taste of "freedom" when he began pre-school last September and trying to keep him entertained has become more difficult :-( Now for the remaining weeks of the summer holidays before he begins "big" school, I'm looking at ways to keep both himself and his little sister entertained and not only stop myself from pulling my hair out but from them pulling at each others! So thanks to Netflix, we are covered for those rainy days and calm can be restored ;-)

So far this is what's been tops on our Summer list! 


Paw Patrol


I think for many parents Paw Patrol really has been the life saver and now with Season 2 available on Netflix there is more Paw Patrol loving across the land ;-)
For those of you who are not familiar with Paw Patrol ....where have you been? Paw Patrol is about Ryder and his Team of Pups and they are there to take care of anyone in trouble in Venture Bay. when someone "yelps for help" in Venture Bay, Ryder is there to delegate what needs to be done to each of the dogs and that are best suited to their skills. The dogs are called Chase (a favourite in our home), Marshall, Skye, Rocky, Rubble and Zuma. 

If you haven't already taken a trip to Venture Bay, its time you stopped by! Paw Patrol has calmed many a crazy day in our coup ;-)


Word Party


Word Party is a recent launch on Netflix and is going down very well with our 2 year old and her big brother too who's 5, likes to join in on the fun!  
It is a vocabulary building show created by The Jim Henson Company and follows 4 cute baby animals as they sing, dance and play. 
The show invites younger viewers to join them and help teach the baby animals new words, practice these new words themselves, and celebrate these achievements with a "Word Party!"

Check out the link below for a little taste as to what Word Party is all about! 



Masha & the Bear


This is so loved by both our kids. They have watched series one numerous times and I've no doubt they will be the same with Season 2 which is due to stream from August 1st. 

Masha and the Bear is a Russian cartoon series and is based on the oral children's folk story of the same name. The cartoon is about a mischievous little girl Masha who is kept out of trouble by the "fatherly" figure Bear. As our son would say "she is very naughty" which I agree with, Masha is also very lovable too. Poor Bear has his heart broken at times minding and hiding from her but you can see the love they also have for each other.  


Some extras you might like .... & not just for the kids! 


For the Kids
        Peppa Pig - Now Streaming
        The Magical School Bus: Seasons 1-4 - Now Streaming
        Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh - Available on July 29th
        Project Mc2 -  Available on August 12th
        Glitter Force: Season 2 - Available on August 26th
        Dawn of the Croods: Season 2 - Available on August 26th


For the Family
        Charlotte’s Web - Now Streaming
        Chicken Run - Now Streaming
        The Addams Family - Now Streaming
        Gilmore Girls: Seasons 1-7 - Now Streaming
        The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland - Now Streaming
        Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek Forever After - Now Streaming
        Beat Bugs - Available on August 3rd


For Mum & Dad

        Orange is The New Black: Seasons 1 - 4 - Now Streaming
        Pretty Little Liars: Seasons 1-6 available in full now  Season 7, Episode 3 is available NOW, with each further episode available weekly
        Grace and Frankie: Seasons 1-2 - Now Streaming
        Stranger Things - Now Streaming
        Power: Season 3, Episode 1 - Now Streaming, each episode available weekly                                                    David Cross: Making America Great Again - Available on August 5th
        The Get Down - Available on August 12th



















Thursday, 19 May 2016

Going back on my "word" for me!

Yesterday I put up the image below on my social media accounts which some of you may have seen. There are some of you who will know exactly what I got up to but for those who don't, I joined Slimming World! I know, I know, not another person / blogger joining Slimming World! There are some of you saying "You said you'd never join something like this!" Well, I did and to be honest I'm quite glad I gave in for various reasons.  



As many of you know I'm at home with two children aged 4 & 2. Along with minding my precious babies and our home I'm also in the process of setting up a business aka #SecretProject ;-). With all of that I'm trying to also mind me and make sure I'm in good shape. Like many of us though when you are juggling a lot of things something has to give and in my case it has been me! 

My weight over the years has fluctuated so much with my heaviest being about 13St 7lb to my lightest over the last 5 years being 11St 5lb. The last year more so I have really struggled to get back to even the 11St 5lb mark. Up until about 6 weeks ago I was just 1lb off reaching it but alas, I let life get in my way and now I'm nearly 1 stone off that target (as per my scales ;-)!). 


So, why did I join if I was able to do it before? Well, I'II tell ya! Laziness in a way and wanting to clear some much needed head space! I don't want to have to think any more about what I should be eating! I want someone to say "Eat this and you will loose the weight". I want to see recipes in front of me that are there to help me on my weight loss journey. 
When you are trying to lose weight alone it is a lot easier to give into temptations and say "I'II start again tomorrow" .....my weight fluctuation shows I've said this to myself more than once! 



The last few months I really have found it so draining thinking of my weight and looking at my wardrobe or lack of as I refuse to buy anything until I'm smaller. I can see with me not having the right head space to keep myself on track that I'm beginning to creep nearer to that 13 stone mark and it wont be long until I'm back into a size 16 which I don't want. 

Now that I have joined I feel quite relieved as it is in some ways one less thing for me to worry about. I can now concentrate more on other things knowing that if I follow the steps remain sensible I will achieve my goals. I know that with losing the weight it will give me more of the energy I need to build my business and also give me more importantly a better lifestyle with my family. 



So, as per my weigh in yesterday afternoon I am 12St 7lb! I'm going to go by this as my starting weight as I know my scales can fluctuate plus at home I always weigh myself in the morning before breakfast (yesterday morning I was 12 stone 3lb ;-)!) . The target I have set for myself is 10St 7lb. Not an ideal weight for my height but fir me it is an achievable goal and a starting point. 

I'm not going to be blogging about my journey through Slimming World (yay, I hear some of you say, lol), maybe the odd post when I reach milstones but if you are following me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat (username: @chirpslilredhen) I'll share some of my journey with some pictures and updates on my weight loss. 


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Be confident to Believe!

Since July 2015 I have been on an interesting journey to bring #SecretProject to life. There have been start's, stops, some jump leads needed along the way to get spirits revived and even turns to redirect but it is still a journey with the same goals! The goal is to soon reach our first major destination which is to launch!  

When I had my first meeting at the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in July 2015, the thoughts of a launch seemed so far away. I remember the day very well and how I felt as I sat and spoke to my mentor Jacqui McNabb. I was so fearful that the idea for the business would be rejected and that I'd be thought of as "another stay at home mum thinking she can set up a business". (The later may seem cruel but unfortunately some people do think this way :-( ) Thankfully, Jacqui saw the potential in the business idea and offered great advice on encouraging me to bring the business to life. While I knew walking out the door I had a lot of work ahead of me to say I was beaming with excitement was an understatement. That first meeting was a big step in giving me a new found confidence and belief that I could and WILL do this! 




As the months progressed there were some bumps along the way both personally and with steps I needed to take to bring the business to life. In January this year I think had my last appointment with Jacqui to receive the go ahead with my application for a grant and also an additional loan. Receiving the green light from Jacqui made me really think was the news I wanted to hear and yet in some ways brought back some fear - Fear that this was really going to happen! I know this may same strange as it is what I wanted and still want but I suppose the when it becomes more real you think a lot more about "what if I fail". Up until now, this was an idea, a dream that was talked about. There were steps I needed to take and things I needed to learn. Now, it is an idea that is coming to life and that can be somewhat scary. 




Not only has the LEO given me great support but so too have many members of groups such as Women's Inspire Network, IrishbizParty, IrishBizGroup and Bite the Biscuit to name a few have given me great advice along my journey to date. While there are many people out there who are ready to offer the "doom & gloom" of their negative experiences or even try to take your idea as there's, there are also many people out there who want to help and support you and watch you succeed. 

Someone who too I must give a very special thanks to is my husband. Bless him, since this journey has begun he's put up with my being the typical Chirp that I am "like the little red hen, I will do it myself". I can be quite stubborn when I want to be and think I can do it all myself ...... I can't! 
I know I'm capable of putting the business plan together and researching who are the best people to help with the various parts of the business but while I've been doing all of this I'd left out my top team member as to what was going on. My husband from the start has been watching me from the sidelines and cheering me on but I wasn't really listening. I'd the attitude of "I'm ok, I can do it" and while yes I can do it, it's a lot easier and more fun to share the journey with the person who's by your side always and wants to see you succeed. I've always been grateful for my husband but all the more I am now to share this journey with him by my side and not watching on from the sidelines! 



This week for me, gave me another boost to myself after I visited my first networking event the Biz ExpoBefore leaving the house that morning to attend the event in ways I felt a fraud. On paper I am the Managing Director of a company yet the business of the company is still unknown to others, its just #SecreProject at the moment! 
With this in mind I was afraid of attending the event, afraid as to what others might think when I answered the question "What is you business?" but I'd no need to be fear as I was among like minded people, people who were there to support and encourage each other and it was fantastic. 
Like the first time I left the Local Enterprise Office, I left the BizExpo with a smile on my face! There were people there who knew me as #SecretProject and were trying their best to find out what it was about and intrigued as to what I will soon be launching! I felt confident in myself and was able to walk around talking to others about my business .... but without telling them what it was ;-) I drove home that Tuesday with an added belief in myself that I WILL do this and it WILL be great! 

To date, my journey of bringing the business to life has taken time and there are still some bridges to cross. Luckily for me though, it is not a journey I will do alone as I have some great support to help me along the way. I have a great vision for the business and when I see the likes of Niamh Hogan of Holos win over the Dragon Eleanor McEvoy on RTE's Dragon's Den, I feel even more inspired. I was inspired when I met Niamh last year at the Irish Beauty and Lifestyle event. The beginning of her journey is similar to mine at the moment and while we have a vastly different product, the belief is the same and that is the passion for our business and what we want to achieve. 




Always remember to believe, have passion and have great support. I'm blessed with those I've surrounded myself by within my family and within friendships and connections made. When you believe your dreams may just come true and who, knows maybe I'II slay a Dragon of my own on the Den in the future ;-)

















Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Midterm Break Mayhem, Let the games begin!




This time last year before our son started preschool when I heard other parents talking about the craziness of midterm I used to think "Whats the big deal, I'm at home all the time with my two and it's fine" Now I realise all to well, it is a big deal! 

Since our son began pre-school in August those few hours while he was away and just minding one have given me a new lease of life. Walking to the village and around the shops is so much easier when you have just one to mind plus its a bonus that she's still nicely tucked up in her buggy ;-) My routine has been super and on those rainy days with the helping hand of grandparents to collect our son from school, I managed to get even some me time! I'd tuck our lil lady up for her nap earlier and for about 30 minutes, sometimes more, it was just ME! Ah, heaven :-) Now for the next 18 days, there is no time for mammy to enjoy walks to the village with 1 or even a few minutes alone. 

I know there have been midterm breaks before but on those occasions, I was lucky to have my husband sharing the load as he too was on holidays. Now, its just me! It's me and our little beauties wanting to be entertained all the more now that their routines are out of whack! For the next 18 days I have to try keep all things calm and hope no storm rises! In order to do that I've been doing a lot of planning and have picked up some midterm treats to occupy our little munchkins and hopefully keep any storm at bay :-)
A couple of weeks ago I picked up this fab little baking kit from Aldi for just €14.99! Our son is always asking to help more and I thought how perfect. It has all the utensils he needs to bake up some nice treats for us all and show off his skills in the kitchen! 




Having this baking set will finally give us a chance to try out this Children's Cookbook that my dad picked up in a local charity shop for us to try. Learning to cook and bake is so important and great for getting fussy eaters to try something new. There are no excuses for me now as we have what we need its just a matter of getting on with it! No doubt with Easter around the corner we will be trying out these recipes! 


A couple of months ago, I saw these Annabel Karmel Ice Lollie holders on sale in Tesco at €1.49 and thought perfect! I hid them away from little eyes knowing that they would come in very handy when needed! Not surprising there is a recipe for Water Melon Ice lollies in the book my dad got and no doubt our two will want to give them a try ;-)


For those of you who follow me on Facebook you will know I took advantage of the good weather on Saturday and made a start on the garden sowing some seeds we bought earlier that morning. 
To add to the collection some additional seeds today in Lidl. After trying my hand last year sowing some peas and hearing our son then 3 saying "Mammy, these are nicer than sweets" I though Eureka, I'm going to plant a variety of vegetables this year! 
With this great window sill greenhouse from Aldi that I picked up during the week I've no doubt we will have some fun watching our seeds grow :-)


Along with picking up some seeds today in Lidl and after the fun we had last year with Easter Crafts and Bonnets I couldn't leave without getting some of the fab crafts they have on offer! There was such a fantastic range available of Spring / Easter crafts and no doubt if I was in the car, I would have purchased a lot more! 

After being inspired by some recent posts by Simply Homemade I had to pick up the egg painting sets! The painted eggs look fantastic in the image below from Simply Homemade so it was a no brainer really! 
On Friday weather permitting we will be on the hunt for some branches to hang the lovely eggs I picked up too! I've already mentioned to Simply Homemade how I was going to knick .....borrow this idea and to be fair, its so simple but effective. You can read her recent post here about her egg painting experience. 

Credit for above images is Simply Homemade :-)

So, i think with above I have the first few days covered along with going to out local St. Patricks Day Parade! For the rest of the midterm, all I can do is pray we have fab weather and there's lots of playtime outside to keep them occupied! 


Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see how I'm getting on with the crazy ..... I mean the calm ;-)













Wednesday, 2 March 2016

It's all down to planning!

Today has been a pretty big day for me. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you will know that today I attended a meeting at Kildare's Local Enterprise Office. This meeting was a big step for me in bringing #SecretProject one step closer to becoming a reality! For the last 24 hours I have been preparing myself mentally for the meeting and thinking of the various outcomes! With thinking of the business I've also been thinking a lot about my blog too! 



When I first began my blog I never thought that I'd be writing and sharing with you about setting up a business. As I write this now and say to myself "I'm going to be opening up a business" it seems crazy and in ways I wonder if I'm nuts? 

Its feels so surreal how my journey has changed from my initial post 17 months ago! I feel now that my blog is no longer about the "Clucks and Downs" of a stay at home mum but of a work at home mum! Becoming a work at home mum is both exciting and frightening! The frightening part for me is not if the business will fail but that I might let down my family. For nearly 5 years I have been at home with my family and I have watched them grow. Now with setting up a business I'm adding additional tasks to my day and in turn my family won't have me there in the same way anymore and this in ways scares me. 

My reasons for wanting to set up this business is because I believe it will be a success and I want to try and be able to help towards providing for my family. My family mean the world to me and I want to help if I can by providing in some way for them now and into the future. 



As I've been preparing business plans, working on branding and sourcing people for things like marketing and a website I've found myself feeling a new lease of life. As I do all of this, I'm reminded of a lot of things I was great at in a former life and it makes me smile. While I'm somewhat scared I might let my family down, I know too that if I plan well and use my multitasking skills then it will benefit us all. I know that I can do both......it will take a lot of planning and learning along the way but I know I can and I will help towards providing for my family! I've faith in my family and I know they have faith in me! Together, we will plan the right steps for us to make the journey smoother when the business launches. 

So, after a big step today for #SecretProject, it is a big step too for Chirps from a Little Red Hen! No longer will you be reading about the "Clucks and Downs" of a stay at home mum but the "Clucks and Downs" of a work at home mum ......here's hoping there's a lot more "Clucks" ;-)



Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Netflix - What we're looking forward to!


For those of you who are already hooked on Netflix you will already know that there is great viewing just moments away and new programes are always being added to tempt us all the more! For both young and old and no matter the mood there is something there for you to watch. So here are some of the programes we are looking forward to in the coming weeks. 

House of Cards


From the start my husband and I have been hooked on House of Cards. As we watched each chapter we we learned more about how Claire (Robin Wright) and Frank (Kevin Spacey) Underwood and that they are willing to do anything to get what they want within the political world. As a couple though, just when you think you understand their relationship they throw something at you to put you off the scent of knowing who they REALLY are. 
My husband and I stretched out our viewing of the 3 Series of House of Cards so that we didn't have too long a wait until Season 4. Last night we watched the last chapter of Season 3 and thankfully we don't have too long a wait for Season 4 and I'm really looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for the Underwoods! 


Flaked


Flaked is a Netflix production about the story of Chip, a long-time resident of Venice, California who falls for the object of his best friend's fascination. Soon there is a tangled web of half-truths that underpins his all-important image and sobriety begins to unravel. Five-time Emmy Award nominee Will Arnett plays Chip, a man doing his best to stay one step ahead of his own lies. The series also stars David Sullivan, Ruth Kearney and George Basil. Executive producers Will Arnett and Mark Chappell (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) co-created and co-wrote the 8-episode series. Ben Silverman (Founder and Chairman of Electus), Peter Principato and Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) also serve as executive producers on the show. Electus and Principato-Young are providing production services. 
Flaked premieres 11th March. 


Cooked

This is an original Netflix documentary series which looks at the primal human need to cook and looks for us to return to the kitchen to save some lost traditions and bring some balance within our lives. 

The documentary is broken into 4 series which examine the physical elements Fire, Water, Air and Earth which have been used throughout the ages and have transformed basic raw ingredients into delicious meals. The viewer is brought on a journey where they meet a variety of people learning more about their cultures and their traditions. 

“Fire”
With help from Aboriginal hunters and a barbecue pit master, we are shown how fire shaped human gastronomy, and weighs our duty to the animals we eat.

“Water”
Here we see the kitchens of India for a lesson in the value of pot cooking and examines the consequences of eating highly processed food.

“Air”
Visiting the food labs and Moroccan fields the episode delves into the science of bread-making and the nature of gluten.

“Earth”
This episode discovers how microbes help turn raw ingredients into delicacies like chocolate and cheese and tackles the mysterious process of fermentation.

The series premieres on 16 February 16 at the Berlinale Film Festival in the Culinary Cinema Program, and launches globally on Netflix on 19 February. 




Above are just a small sample of some great offerings from Netflix. What are some of your Netflix favourites? 





Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Giving it my all!



Like many of us January is a time to get ourselves back into healthy eating habits or maybe even starting afresh. Some of us will last the month maybe even longer and others just a matter of hours. What we sometimes forget is that healthy eating is a journey and some journeys can take longer than others and we need to take our time and enjoy the ride ;-)

Now that the festive season is over and all temptations have been disposed of (eaten!) I am now on my third and final month of using XLS-Medical Max Strength. I must say this month more than others I am even more determined to get my weight down. Like many we use Christmas and the New Year as an excuse to over indulge and while this season I was a lot better than I have been in the past I now want to get back to a healthier me. I want to make 2016 the year that I finally can say I am at a weight that I am happy with and that is healthy. Don't get me wrong, I am happy with myself but I know my weight and fitness are not healthy for me and I need to turn this around. 



In a recent post "I'm dropping in the right direction" I shared with you some figures to show you how my weight and measurements have changed since I began my journey in June 2014. As you can see above there have been quite a number of fluctuations and today After popping down this morning to check my current weight in Marrons Pharmacy, I'd like to update you on where I am now. 



While there is not a big difference with my weight you can see from my waist I have lost nearly 4 inches which to me is great. While it is important that my weight drops in the right direction I feel it is important that I look at the overall numbers. If I am exercising more and toning up it means that I am gaining muscle which in turn is heavier than fat. 
Prior to Christmas I had weighed myself in Marrons Pharmacy and I was 76.75kg so a 0.9kg gain over the Christmas isn't too bad (I think!)! Tracking your inch loss is a great way to show you how your body is changing in a positive way. 
On the slide robes in our bedroom I wrote down my weight, waist and also my stomach measurements on 1st June 2014! None were a pretty read but I'm glad to say that since then I have lost over 4.5inches off my stomach alone! My aim is that by the end of January I will add at least another inch off my stomach along with some more losses in the right places ;-)


So, with this being my final month using XLS-Medical Max Strength I really want to give it my all and here is how I plan to do so! 
  • Dry January - This year I am taking part in Dry January. I think this is great not only for cutting down on alcohol but for keeping me focused. Like many I enjoy a drinkie at the weekend but by cutting it out for the coming weeks I hope to see a significant difference. 
  • Kettlebells! - I've increased the weight I use when I do my Squats with this 2.5kg kettlebell I purchased in Aldi yesterday for only €5.99. I'm not out to bulk myself up with muscle but I wold like to tone what I do have! 

  • Squats - I will be increasing the number of squats I do from a minimum of 50 to 60 per day. Along with that I will be increasing the number of days I do them from 3 to a minimum of 4 but no more than 5 days per week. 
  • Walking - It is time for me to up my pace! With my son being back to school tomorrow (YAY) and weather permitting I will be walking him to and from school each day. When the weather is not on my side I will be taking advantage of the kids early bedtime and getting out in the evenings to make sure I get the fresh air and exercise I need! 
  • Diet - I will be concentrating all the more on having a healthier diet. I want to try and avoid sandwiches at least 5 days per week and come up for some alternatives that I know I will and can eat! 

Above are just simple changes that I am making but I believe that these changes will make a significant difference to me and that I am losing weight and inches plus also benefiting my health. 




Each week I will be dropping into Jonathan in Marrons Pharmacy to check on my weight loss and I will be updating you all via my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so don't forget to follow to see how my journey is going ;-)


What are your top tips for weight loss? What areas do you struggle with?