As spring is approaching I'm eagerly awaiting what it has in store for me. I'm starting to get truly excited about my book, Apron Strings. It is now at the design stage and is being carefully handled by a very lovely designer. For me to even think that somebody is working on my writing and my photography, to bring it together as a book, is a wonderful feeling. I have had no column deadlines for the  past week so I've been, yet again, reading through the recipes and text. I'm pretty happy with it and am very much looking forward to my loyal readers, my family and friends reading it and giving me their feedback. I have one final photograph to take for the book, which may turn out to be my front cover. I had many different photographs which I thought would work well as a cover pic, but the designer asked for one more option. So tomorrow morning I'm going to get my hair done, slap on plenty of rouge and hopefully get the perfect photo. My hubbie will be the resident photographer for the day and I'm also hoping to have the children involved in some way. With any bit of luck there will be some sunshine peeping through the kitchen window, which always helps to make any photo look better.

I love sharing some pictures on Instagram so if any of you are over that way do let me know. 

On another note, and rather surprising to myself, I am actually sticking to my new year's healthy eating plan. Apart from loosing a much needed 7lbs, I'm feeling so much better in myself. I have more energy and my dreaded headaches, of which I get every other day, have certainly been decreased. I'm simply cutting out junk and eating lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as juicing each day. My free-range, organic eggs are also, as ever, a staple part of my diet. The time of day where I still find myself in need of some treats is when the kids have settled for the night. I would love to hear any tips or recipes you may have for me that work well for the munchies.

If ever there was a time to get motivated about living life a little healthier, no time is better than at the beginning of the New Year. The front of almost every magazine cover is a recommendation for a diet plan that seems to be a guarantee to lose a significant amount of weigh within a week. It's hard not to be drawn to such an enticing possibility but in reality most are advising the same; cut out junk food, don't eat to excess, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and on top of this exercise daily. It all makes perfect sense and even sounds pretty reasonable, but what is never listed, and is most important, is the huge willpower needed to ditch the old diet and follow these simple steps. Personally, even though I know I shouldn't I find it rather difficult to resist a few biscuits with an after dinner cuppa. Even when on a healthy eating plan I don’t like to deny myself these, as I think it is important to have a little treat each day and somehow makes adjusting to my new diet plan that little bit easier. 
At this time of year where I find wonderful inspiration for losing weigh is on RTE's Operation TransformationI felt so motivated after watching last week's show that I decided to follow their programme. The exercise regime is easily achievable, while there are also many different recipes to choose from. A week in and I've lost a few pounds and I'm starting to feel more energised. 
As well as making an effort to exercise I'm trying to fill up on meals that are completely flavoursome but aren't so calorie laden. The fresh crisp flavours from this salad are rather refreshing. For salad dishes I like to use vermicelli noodles, which are available to buy in Asian food markets and also from some of the larger supermarket. If you can't get your hands on them, egg noodles would also work perfectly for this dish.   


100g vermicelli noodles
100g cooked chicken, roughly chopped
2 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
Handful of fresh coriander and fresh basil, torn 
Dressing -
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
½ tsp sugar
25g sesame seeds

 1. Place the vermicelli noodles in a large heat proof bowl. Cover completely with boiling water and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Drain using a colander and leave to cool.
2. When the noodles are cool add the chicken, peppers, red onion, coriander and basil. Combine well.
3. To make the dressing place the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice and sugar into a bowl and combine using a fork. Pour over the chicken noodle salad.
4. Mix all the ingredients together, and then sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Serve straight away.