The Perfect Hot Chocolate for my Less Is More Christmas.


I am also simultaneously running and updating another blog dedicated to The Less Is More Challenge and all those other great Less Is More Lessons. At the moment I am writing a lot about the amazing time that is Christmas, and the different approaches one can take. These approaches include my own personal approach, but also the very marketed and standardised approach Christmas has become for many.

So, as part of My Less Is More Christmas, I am on the hunt to perfect the simple things that life can bring at Christmas time. These simple things involve some local ingredients, some time in the kitchen (involve the youngsters) and the best of the simple things that Christmas can bring. I am going to perfect and bring you my tried and tested best recipes for the following Christmas Yummies:

  1. Hot Chocolate
  2. Mince Pies
  3. Gingerbread Cookies
  4. Perfect Roast Potatoes
  5. Perfect Left Over Turkey recipes
  6. Finger Food for party season
  7. Mulled Wine, and last but not least..
  8. Sherry trifle

So the first tried and tested recipe is the ultimate favourite of my family anytime of year. Hot Chocolate is so enjoyable and fun to make and it was an Austrian friend who really got me into it many years ago – I have been addicted ever since and passed it onto my daughter Eabha. The recipe is from Irish chef Donal Skehan and really is AMAZING. It contains cream which has added luxury but I make my regular hot chocolate throughout the year using skimmed milk.

Dark Orange Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

450ml milk

200ml cream

1 orange, zest only

150g dark chocolate, chopped

1 tbsp caster sugar

Add the milk, cream and orange zest to a saucepan and place over a medium heat.

Bring to just before the boil and then take off the heat.

Add the chocolate and sugar and mix through.

Pour into the glasses and enjoy right away.


A Less Is More Christmas.


Last year I set up The Less Is More Challenge to celebrate Earth Day. The challenge contained 10 simple suggestions to help people realise that really really simple changes to make all the difference to the Earth on which we live. It was a great success and will be even better and bigger for 2014. I have a dedicated blog to The Less Is More Challenge and would love you to take a look and even follow. Recently, I wrote a piece called A Less Is More Christmas –  a view of Christmas in two ways, both through my eyes. A polished marketed Christmas Vs my Less Is More Christmas. It is funny when you sit back and read. And I can guarantee that you will appreciate both of my views!!

You can read it here.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas xx

The beautiful Winter Woodland scene is painted by Jessica Jenney

Dermot O’Neill’s Secret Garden

I have always been interested in gardening. As a teenager I grew shallots, lettuce and drank Nettle tea. As a child, I was responsible for the family hens and family pets. It was an area I knew I would eventually have a very fruitful relationship – pardon the pun!

My husband and I bought our first family home one year ago this month. The gardens were as unkept as the house! BUT, we saw the potential in both areas and when we bought it we really knew it would turn out just as we visualised. Well, we are a year in and we have really worked hard and learnt so much and yes, finally things are starting to take shape. My husband took some Youtube tutorials and created an amazing patio and raised bed in the front – YouTube is full of amazing tutorials, don’t be afraid to get DIY’ing.

One person I have to thank for getting my gardens up and running is Dermot O’Neill. Dermot’s  TV show – My Secret Garden. The show is easy to watch, very informative and the amount of tips you pick up are great… I am even planning on getting some Hen’s from the rescue centre in Wexford for Christmas!!

Gardening is hard work but so rewarding and once you strip your garden back and sculpt it into your personal space you can sit back and enjoy it 🙂

Watch on RTE’s Realtime Player HERE

And you can also purchase Dermot’s Book – My Secret Garden – putting it on my Christmas wish list (a little early I know, but never too early for a hint hint!!)

Dealing with Marketing what Parents can do!!


This is an interesting topic as we all know children want everything and as parents we want to provide for our children. Sometimes heart-strings are pulled when we feel our decision to say NO, might have a negative effect on our children. Well listen up parents, it is so OK to say NO, because I recently did some digging for a project I am working on and I found some interesting reading – we are just pawns in the consumer driven world we find ourselves. And if you have children, then they too are used as ammunition to weaken our defenses and our purse strings…with the end goal of purchasing the product!

There is a marketing term called Pester Power! Now come on, we have all experienced the temper tantrums in the super market. The annoying way shops place very exciting and expensive toys, right under our children’s noses!! But this is all part of a military run plan and the executives at the top, know exactly what buttons to push.

“We’re relying on the kid to pester the mom to buy the product, rather than going straight to the mom.”
Barbara A. Martino, Advertising Executive

Click on this link to find a two page read that will save you time, money and of course the embarrassing temper tantrums.  HERE

Marketers plant the seeds of brand recognition in very young children, in the hopes that the seeds will grow into lifetime relationships. According to the Center for a New American Dream, babies as young as six months of age can form mental images of corporate logos and mascots. Brand loyalties can be established as early as age two, and by the time children head off to school most can recognize hundreds of brand logos.

While fast food, toy and clothing companies have been cultivating brand recognition in children for years, adult-oriented businesses such as banks and automakers are now getting in on the act.

It’s time to act and learn before the Christmas (don’t say the word, summer is not over) advertising/marketing assault begins. Stand firm parents, and note it will not be the cause of any negative implications for your darling children – you will be doing them a favour and saving them money when they have a family as they too will say NO to marketing and buying too many toys.