Lucy Kennedy: 'I was a female Dennis the Menace'

Eve Kelliher speaks to Lucy Kennedy about her days in school and the pressures on parents to keep their children healthy.
Lucy Kennedy: 'I was a female Dennis the Menace'

Eve Kelliher catches up with Lucy Kennedy about her school days and the importance of nutrition for her children.

Lucy Kennedy pictured at home with her children Holly (8), Jess (3) and Jack (10), launching Danone Dairy. Picture: Andres Poveda
Lucy Kennedy pictured at home with her children Holly (8), Jess (3) and Jack (10), launching Danone Dairy. Picture: Andres Poveda

I remember making my confession like it was yesterday. I actually remember chatting away to the priest in the confession box and my mum knocking on the door to tell me that a queue had formed. I must have been in there for about 20 minutes!

My first day in secondary school was a bit of a blur. New uniform, new bag, nervous and excited. I think that I took it in my stride and tried to take it all in. It’s very overwhelming for a 12-year-old. I remember liking my school and class immediately though which was a relief.

As a child, I was basically a female version of Dennis the Menace! Pigtails, grubby cut knees and a twinkle in my eye! I was very chatty (has not changed) and very brave. I liked to explore, climb trees, and laugh loudly. I was a bit of a tomboy and I loved it. I’m the middle of three girls so I think that I was the cheeky one!!

I was always good at sports and anything practical like Home Economics and Art. Maths was my weakness and still is. I get into a cold sweat helping with my ten-year-old son Jack’s Maths homework!

Lucy Kennedy pictured at home with her daughter Holly (8) launching Danone Dairy Ireland’s new yogurt range. Picture: Andres Poveda
Lucy Kennedy pictured at home with her daughter Holly (8) launching Danone Dairy Ireland’s new yogurt range. Picture: Andres Poveda

I still apply lessons on practical stuff to my life today, I think, like sewing and cooking. I had a brilliant teacher who taught us well. And painting: My love for painting is still there — now more than ever, in fact, as I’m painting furniture all around me. I love it.

If I met myself as a kid today, I’d say enjoy every second and always be you. But maybe listen in class a bit more!

I had lots of friends. Would you believe, a few of my closest friends were in junior school with me! I met my very best friend Vicky during the first week of first year in secondary school. We’re still so close. She’s the Ant to my Dec.

The best advice I got back then? Smile and the world will smile with you. It’s true. Happiness, kindness, and positivity is contagious and if you practise them, you become them. Also, surround yourself with happy people.

Miss Griffin was my long-suffering career guidance teacher. I loved her. Once a week I would call into her office and tell her that I had changed my career plan. I went through wanting to become a pilot, journalist, teacher and counsellor in one year! She was the most patient woman in Ireland!

Our first official school disco was with another school. I went to Holy Child Killiney and our joint disco was shared with Clongowes. It was good fun, I just stayed with my friends.

In my heart, I think that I always knew that I would do something slightly wacky and people-focused. I’ve always loved people, a genuine love, so I think that my younger self would completely agree.

Lucy Kennedy pictured at home with her children Holly -8-, Jess (3) and Jack (10), launching Danone Dairy. Picture: Andres Poveda
Lucy Kennedy pictured at home with her children Holly -8-, Jess (3) and Jack (10), launching Danone Dairy. Picture: Andres Poveda

Now more than at any other time, as a mum I want to focus on what matters to my family and get the most from this unique time together. Nutrition has always been important, but I think all parents have experienced the challenges of trying to feed fussy kids and accommodate different preferences.

For me, it is all about balance: I want to give my kids products that are nutritious and taste good!

A lifesaver for me is the new Danone Yogurt range, it keeps it simple, with easily recognisable ingredients, so I know exactly what I’m feeding my three messers and can focus my attention elsewhere. The range also comes in 100% recyclable pots making recycling straight forward is a real but important bonus!

As for the new reality we find ourselves in? As a parent, a mum, a working mum, the only advice that I can give anyone is, try and find the good. That’s what I do. I know that it’s really hard.

There are days when I hide in a cupboard just to get peace! But it will pass, all of this will pass and most importantly, we are in this together – that’s simply what matters most. For children finding their way, see this as a new adventure and remember that we are with you.

• Lucy Kennedy has partnered with Danone Ireland to launch a yoghurt range focused on health, simplicity and sustainability.

See @danone.yogurt on Instagram or www.danoneyogurt.ie for more information and join the conversation using #SimplyWhatMatters

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