Author Archives: Sharyn Hayden

Sharyn Hayden

About Sharyn Hayden

Sharyn is the creator of Raising Ireland who thinks that you parents deserve better: better services, better resources, better information and better craic. Mum to two kids, Jacob and Eva, she is also the author of 'I Forgot To Take My Pill!' which has been shortlisted for the 2016 Carousel CAP Award for Independent Authors.

Grey Pubes And Other Awesome Things About Turning 40

It’s April 2017 and that means that a few terrifying things are about to happen.

1. The Easter Bunny Is Coming

What’s the deal with the Easter Bunny? Jacob is starting to ask questions about how he knows where we live and why he just keeps chucking mini chocolate eggs into the garden in a panic every year.

“What are you insinuating?!” I bellow at him while reminding myself that it’s probably better than his wondering why the Easter Bunny has to come into his bedroom to leave eggs at the end of his bed like I used to do.

Anyway, I might get Jacob to write him a letter – does anyone have his address?

2. The Easter Holidays Are Coming

Two weeks – two fucking weeks! I have two businesses to run plus a mountain of bills to pay and you want to give my kids two weeks off from school? Fuck a duck. Or an Easter Bunny. Whichever takes your fancy.

Anyway, we’ll be going on every Easter-egg-led adventure imaginable – anything not to be trapped inside the house together for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! Argh!

3. I’m Turning 40

Yes, yes, it’s hard to imagine that someone who still uses their mum’s credit card because they can’t be trusted with their own can be turning 40 this year but it’s true. I’m feeling sort of.. adventurous about it. Like, I mentioned to Ass Monkey that I think this is the year I really get out there and party, go to all the events, or perhaps throw myself out of an aeroplane for charity.

“It’s time to feel alive”, says I.

Then I went for a wax and the beautician informs me that not only do I have a rather UNMISSABLE grey hair in my pubes but that my armpit hair is starting to turn white, too. White. Like Gandalf.

So that stopped my adventurous self in my tracks for a couple of weeks while I licked my (pigment-free) wounds.

4. We make The Big Move at Dynamic Ltd

When you have as much spare parts, equipment and general collections of scrap and junk (that I swear we’ll need some day!) as we do at, then moving premises takes some time.

But now we have a deadline and that deadline is April the 8th. So this week is it – we say goodbye to North Strand and hello to Ballymun and we get settled in.

It’s going to be SUCH a hectic week but it’ll be so worth it in the end when we have our permanent business home.

5. I Abseil Off The Roof Of Croker 

Grey pubes behind me, I’ve gathered myself up and WILL take on a charity challenge this month. I’ve decided to abseil from the roof of Croke Park and raise funds for the ISPCC. It’ll be two days after my birthday drinks so I’m bound to have the fear on top of THE FEAR.

I’m trying to raise €500 and I hope you can support me and the ISPCC by throwing a fiver or two my way which you can do here – it’s the only way to survive turning 40 x

What To Do When You Get Rear-Ended Twice In One Day

My day started out with a finger up my ass.

Don’t worry, it was a professional finger – that of my doctor and to be fair to her, I did ask her to do it.

My internals have been a bit wonky since Eva was born and so I finally got my finger out of my.. annnywaaaay, I made an appointment with the doc so that she could do all the usual tests.

I didn’t just endure the butt-rummage but she got the ole syringe out for bloods too, which always makes me feel a little sorry for myself. So I took my sorry.. (see? I can’t even mention it now) self, off for a nice cup of tea afterwards before heading to the office.

I was feeling just about human again so I hit the road.

And there, at the ridiculously bonkers roundabout at the 3Arena, with trucks and vans and cyclists and lunacy whirring around and over the bridge to Irishtown at an alarming rate..

a taxi driver boinked right into the back of my car. The fucker.

He approached and asked me if I was alright to which my drama queen dutifully squealed back at high pitch in response;

“No I’m not ok! I’m calling the police!”

A few points to note on this:

  1. One is absolutely supposed to call the police in the case of a road accident so high fives to my inner drama queen for reminding me of that.
  2. 911 is NOT the number for the emergency services in Ireland.
  3. When you calm down and realise there is no damage whatsoever to your car, you’re going to feel a bit silly for calling the Gardaí but they’re on their way anyway so you may as well start wondering if they’ll send one of the handsome ones.
  4. Your husband (I still love calling him that!) will arrive and park his jeep at a very precarious angle at the side of the roundabout without a fuck given what anyone thinks BECAUSE HE IS HERE TO RESCUE YOU.
  5. Your back will start to feel a bit achy. You’ll remind yourself that your back has been achy since that time you fell off a stripper pole but you’ll still wonder what outfits you have that might go best with a neck brace.
  6. That same husband will flag down a passing garda car and ask them if they’re here to deal with the fender bender. They’ll joke “Did you want the armed unit?!” HAR HAR I’M FUCKING FREEZING STANDING HERE GLAD ALL YOU GUYS ARE HAVING THE CRAIC!!
  7. A traffic cop will arrive on his motorbike, with those leather pants on. I’ll just leave that there.
  8. You’ll be asked to produce your driver’s license. As you rummage through your handbag, you can visualise it, in a Doc McStuffins ‘doctors bag’ that your daughter has been using as an official medical badge. At home in your house. You explain this to Sexy Leathers Cop. He will move swiftly on.
  9. You start to feel a little bit sorry for the taxi driver that you’ve created all this drama. Then you remember the doctor’s surgery not one hour ago. He doesn’t know what you’ve been through today already.
  10. Sexy Leathers Cop will ask for some paper to write his details on. Any fleeting thoughts that you and he are about to become best buddies is quashed by a yellow and brown hand-drawn picture of what looks like Jesus on a crucifix on your work notebook. “It’s a Gingerbread Man”, you explain to him. “Jacob’s learning all about how bread is made in school. See the connection there.. ginger.. bread.. har har?!”

We all got out of there alive. I’m now taking this sad and sorry ASS to bed x

6 BIG Reasons To Love My Mum This Mother’s Day

I like being fairly selfish on Mother’s Day. I put my requests (*coughs* DEMANDS) in at home at the beginning of the week;

“I’ll be needing some flowers, thank you very much, not the Tesco kind, the ‘went-to-an-actual-florist-and-got-the-nice-lady-to-wrap-them-in-some-pretty-paper kind.

Some handmade items from the kids will be essential also – perhaps a hand or foot print, a poem about how they feel about me (not necessarily versus YOU, but that would be ok too) and if you all wanted to take the time to bake a cake together in my honour, I’d be most pleased.

Oh and also.. I won’t be lifting a f*cking finger all weekend so figure out how to wash the uniforms”.

You think I’m joking but I write this from my bed at 11.30am on a Sunday morning which is UNHEARD OF.

Moral of the story is.. demands work, ladies. Just deliver them with a sweet, sweet smile and a promise to return to your normal, efficient, doing-everything-for-everyone self in the morning.

The ONLY person I will do anything for on this day is my own mother. During my wedding speech I mentioned how Liz (or “Lady Liz”, to give her her full title) is genuinely my best pal in the world and I meant it. Had I gone on to talk about how great she is, we’d all still be in Ballymagarvey Village right now and I would owe them a LOT of moolah.

So I thought I’d take a moment to honour her here before I take her to lunch and kiss the face off her for the rest of the day.

1. She’s my travel companion

New York, Rome, Venice, Marbella, Tenerife, any spa hotel in Ireland who will take us – she and I love to get away together and just see the sights and hang out. There was a time when I would joke that if it weren’t for her that I literally wouldn’t have left the country but it’s true. Our passports have had a good few days out and we’re only just getting started.

Would you be able for us?!

2.  She’s my confidante

I can literally tell the woman everything and she’d be very hard to shock. Added to that she’s a super listener and not very judgemental so you can just get shit off your chest without her trying to ‘fix’ anything, which we all just need sometimes.

3.  She’s a survivor

My mum is the only person in my life who I have ever witnessed going through cancer treatment so I have nothing to compare her to but as far as I’m concerned, she beat that breast cancer LIKE A BOSS. She never complained – NEVER – and refused to give into fear. If I only had an ounce of her strength…

I lean on that shoulder HARD

4.  She’s a feminist

My mum worked full-time after she had me and then the eldest of my three brothers. She took a pause from that to have two more kids but stayed working in a way that meant she would have her own money no matter what. She minded other kids, took part-time work here and there and ultimately re-trained before heading back to the workplace when my youngest brother was 12. She gets up at 6.10am every morning to go to work and even though she has reached retirement age this year has no intention of stopping work. She tells me she does it for the headspace, to have her own money and independence. And she’s right.

5.  She’s the best granny

All of her grandchildren just adore her because she’s so warm, welcoming and loving. She never forgets any of them or leaves anyone out – they all just gravitate towards her for those epic hugs and kisses.

Check out the JOY on her face!

6.  She’s the best MUM

My brothers and I are lucky to have this absolute gem for a mum. She is HILARIOUS (especially when she doesn’t mean to me), supportive, kind, wise, hard-working, strong, up for a laugh and most importantly.. always has a tissue up her sleeve.

Love you, mum xxx

Love Interiors? Then You’ll Love Insider Secrets.

If my Instagram feed has been anything to go by this year, you’ll probably have guessed that I’ve gone crazy for interiors.

Officially owning our very own family home has a lot to do with that in the sense that I finally have a space to call our own, that I can decorate, hang family photos and art up on the walls, and plant a garden that we’ll watch grow year on year.

My great pal Claire Price launched House/Edit last year to much acclaim and is now taking a really cool interiors and fashion show on the road around Ireland called ‘Insider Secrets’.

There are two upcoming locations for Insider Secrets – Galway (March 25th at the G Hotel) and Dublin (April 1st at The Marker, which I am attending!). The first one in Sligo was completely sold out so if you were thinking about going to either of the other dates, I’d get on it!

I caught up with my fellow ginger lash bag Claire (who is also mum to gorgeous 2-year-old Ella!) and asked her everything about her new business and what we might expect at Insider Secrets;

1.  Claire – we used to work in Luigi Malones in Temple Bar together back in the day. Was I the favourite of all your co-workers?

Obviously Sharyn!

2.  Great first answer (!) When did you get the idea for House Edit and tell us a bit about it?

I’ve studied & worked in architecture & design for the best part of a decade and came to realise that my heart was in interiors. Brain storming in the studio one day with co founder and college pal Elaine, we thought, why not bring our knowledge & expertise to a wider audience and make good, affordable design available to everyone. We wanted to make it really easy for people to get online home inspiration and shop stylish, affordable homewares all in one place. And there you have it. House was born.

Look at these gorgeous birds – rocking their new business!

3.  Do you find that being a mum propelled you to heights of ambition you had never felt before?

Absolutely. When Ella was born I was shell shocked by both the over whelming adoration for this tiny human and fear of the lack of control. I am a self confessed control freak. Ella on the other hand laughs in the face of control (she’s 2) You can see where I’m going with this. So once I blindly navigated my way through the first colic infused sleep deprived weeks (how many times did I FB you?!) I was quietly smug that I had the hang of this motherhood thing and thought at 5 weeks post birth that it would be a great idea to start my own business! The great thing about Motherhood of course is that it has this incredible way of turning you into a time militant. As a result my ambitions ended up becoming reality.

4.  Do you think the phrase ‘Working Mum’ is over or misused?

I think next to the word Mother in the dictionary should be: hardest working human being of all time, full stop. Since becoming one I have another level of appreciation for my own. Being a mother by definition is seriously hard work. I think by using the term working mother it kind of implies you have two jobs.

5.  What do you use on that gorgeous hair of yours to make it look so silky please? (this was a PEQ – a Personal Envy Question)

You mean apart from the flung remains of toddler dinners! Literally whatever my very thoughtful husband has picked up from the shop that week. Gone are the days of browsing the shampoo & conditioner isle for fortified manuka honey enriched concoctions. Pre child however, when I had time for those kind of luxurious trips to the shops, Le Occtaine was one of my favourite hair care brands as was Aveda. They both smell divine.

6.  Tell us about the Insider Secrets roadshow, what can ticket holders expect for their €65 bucks?

So we have RTE Design Judge & Interior Architect Roisin Lafferty sharing all her expert knowledge on the day in what’s set to be an awe inspiring masterclass. The very stylish fashion stylist Orla Sheridan is going to be hosting a fashion workshop and answering all of your fashion dilemmas. Myself & House Edit co founder will be talking all things colour alongside our partner Fleetwood Prestige and April and The Bear will be sharing tips on accessorising your home. All this served over a delicious afternoon tea style lunch with spot prizes galore and fabulous goodie bags.

 7.  Is it possible to get home decor ‘wrong’?

From a spatial configuration point of view there are definitely better ways of optimising and adding to what you currently have. On the decor side of things however the answer has to be no. We are not in the business of dictating what’s right or wrong because ultimately style is incredibly subjective, so what looks amazing for one person may not work for another. I think ultimately ‘good’ interior design & decor boils down to an environment that works for your current living dynamic and decor that reflects your style and personality.

8.  What are your top 3 tips for someone who wants to brighten up their home for spring?

Tip 1: I will sound like a broken record but you cannot underestimate the power of decluttering and investing in purpose built storage. Throw away or donate to SVP anything that you haven’t used in the past few months. Likelihood is you are never going to use it and it will instead contribute to physical and mental clutter.

Tip 2: A fresh coat of paint cannot be underestimated and is the single best tool you have in transitioning from winter to spring. My current favourite colours are Pantone Sky Gray & Pantone Silt Green. My bedroom will be one of these colours in the next few weeks.

Tip 3: Throws and cushions. There are some fantastic high street offerings in this department, from H&M homeware, Zara to Dust, Homelust, April & The Bear and TK Max, all of which have incredible selections of spring ready homewares. Remember to mix things up a little and layer pattern and texture to give depth to your interior.

9.  What part of the Insider Secrets events are you most looking forward to?

Apart from the incredible speaker line up and girlie day out, it has to be the prizes. I am considering going undercover just win some of them myself! Framed artwork from Lola Donaghue. Hampers from Brook & Shoals, afternoon tea with bubbly, the list is endless.

10.  Claire – you were at my wedding recently. Was it the best wedding you were ever at? OK I’M JOKING, YOU DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER THAT!!

*Laughing hysterically!*


Get your tickets for Insider Secrets now via EVENTBRITE


I am doing my best to be better organised on Raising Ireland – it was all somewhat abandoned last year while we built the house and got married (I know, I know, I’ve hardly mentioned either of those things for HOURS now) – but now, I’m getting back into it.

You see, the thing is, I LOVE writing and I love the fact that I have a little website that is all my own and when the kids are ignoring me or asleep or I just want some time to myself – I write. So why wouldn’t I do it more often, huh? WELL EXACTLY!

This is the first contribution I’ve ever made to another blogger’s link-up and I’m excited! Maud from Awfully Chipper has come up with a fantastic idea to just give a quick snapshot into our lives right now, and as I’m usually so busy running around, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take stock of where our bonkers lives are currently at!

So here I go;

Listening to:

Florence and the Machine, mostly. Nothing like epic anthems to get you going around the park with the dog at 7am.


RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. Like, addicted. Can’t stop. May enter next year ;o)


Catch-up, mostly. The house, the laundry, the jaysus unfinished garden!


The last two Sunday’s newspapers – why won’t anyone let me do it the day I buy them?!

Looking forward to: 

Booking a holiday. We’re still trying to decide what to do. And find the money. Doing the Lotto and regularly dreaming.


All the champagne. We were off the booze for most of January and February but have just begun to pretend like that never happened and we’re starting to open all our wedding presents. And drink them. WOOT!


Only new clothes. Chucked everything out at the beginning of the year that was tatty and wrecked. Have been clinging onto an old padded maternity coat which is the next to go, fact!

Channelling Avril Lavigne this morning 🙈😂🙈😂

A post shared by Sharyn Hayden (@sharynhayden) on


Meat and dairy-free. No I have no idea who I am either!

Working on:

Opening a coffee shop and bakery. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years and I think the time might be now!

Permanently frustrated by:

The news. I’m so over it. Planning on having a week of digging my head in the sand and avoiding it all!


The good weather. Even the lollipop man was in good form this morning!

Not enjoying:

Two short work weeks ahead of me. Jacob’s school are off this Friday for Paddy’s Day, obviously, but the following Monday too. Noooo!!!

What is going on in your life right now?! Let me know in the comments on Facebook!


The 10 Kinds Of Parents You Meet At The School Gates

When I look back over some of the articles I wrote for HerFamily, I realise how much actual craic I was having while I worked there. I mean, where else would I get away with this kind of boldness?!

Wishing editor Sive O’Brien the very best of luck in her next adventure as she moves on from Maximum Media. I feel like I had an intense digital media training under her mentorship for the year that I worked there which was all kinds of priceless (and crazy fun too!)

See you under The Spire for a Johnny Blue some day, Sive (right before we do our Luas passengers makeover!!) x

Every parent is different and everyone has their own way of doing things, we hear that all the time and it is true.

Those unique styles are always really evident, I think, when a range of different types of parents are bunged together by the choice of school, or even pre-school, that they make.

You are all forced into the one carpark, the one line outside while you wait for the doors to open, and the one corridor when picking the kids up again – and you get to meet lots of parent types on the way.

Here are the 10 Types Of Parents You Always Meet At The School Gate:

1. Hot Dad

Let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? Amidst a sea of mammies doing the school run, are one or two gorgeous dads, who make the wait for the doors to open that little bit more enjoyable. There, I said it.

2. Chatty Cathy

Even if you’ve stated 17 times that really, you must go or else you’ll be late for work/the childminder/your own funeral, Chatty Cathy will keep ‘er lit until you literally lock yourself into your car and drive off while she’s mid-sentence.

3. Aero-dynamic Mum

You can’t miss her in neon pink or green sweats, as she zooms pass, clenching her buttocks as she goes, en route to a half-marathon before elevenses. Guaranteed to make you feel exhausted just by looking at her.

4. The Recruiter

Whether she works for Herbal Life, Aloe Whatsit, a Jewellery company in China or hosts Tubberware parties – there is a woman at the school gates who wants you on her ‘team’. Don’t worry, she’ll tell you, it won’t take up too much of your time – you just need to have a launch, attend weekly motivational group meetings and hand over your bank details. Er, no thanks.

5. Mz Perfectly Turned Out

“I don’t come down the stairs without my make up on!” she’ll trill at the rest of us, as we mentally scold ourselves for wearing the hubby’s football jersey again, and wonder when was the last time that you chucked on a slick of mascara.

6. The Expert

‘The Expert’ will have been a physiotherapist, nurse or doula in a past life, and wants you to know that she has the answer to all your problems, even if you haven’t particularly asked any questions. Casually chatting about approaching 40 and thinking about having another baby? The Expert will put paid to that, based on her past professional experience, leaving everyone sort of..well, depressed.

7. The Over-Sharer

You won’t know this woman very well, apart from politely smiling the odd time as you rush off about your business. But one day you will find yourselves alone together, and she will tell you details about her life that you don’t even know about your closest friend. Her husband’s erectile dysfunction? Check. Their plans for divorce? Check. Her burst cysts and subsequent laparoscopy? Check and double check.

8. Earth Mother

She who cannot for the life of her understand why you are mainlining coffee by 8.55am without acute knowledge of the coffee bean’s origin. I mean, how can anybody’s brain be operating at such a wholesome level at this hour? Oh yes, constant juicing and bursts of yoga throughout the night, while breastfeeding the twins simultaneously. I forgot, my bad.

9. Nosy Nelly

If you feel like you’re being interrogated by someone, then you probably are. If, like me, you live in a small town, then lots of people tend to know your business by osmosis.

“I see you’re thinking about going on holiday to Tenerife”, they’ll nod sagely as they greet you in the car park.

“ husband and I..just talked about it for the first time last night!” you’ll stutter.

Nosy Nelly doesn’t apologise for their actions. They merely pat you reassuringly on the shoulder and add, cryptically:

“I know”

10. She Who Is

Even if you or someone you know falls into any of the categories above, the chances are that you will join the rest of us in looking, feeling and acting wrecked at some point. Teething babies, nightmares and terrors or sick kids can all rob us of those precious Zzzz’s that we so long for at the end of the day. Wrecked Mammy gets a free pass from all of us at the school gates, agreed?

I love HerFamily, I hope you’ve checked it out! 

Business and Pensions: A Snapshot of our Grown-up Lives

So we bought a business premises.

Ass Monkey and I became directors of Dynamic Cater Care when I was just a few weeks’ pregnant with Jacob.

We always knew we wanted to work for ourselves and seized the opportunity in 2011 while we had a few quid in the bank and enough contacts in Dublin bars and restaurants to get us going.

So Alan borrowed my dad’s van for his first few jobs and off he went while I kept my then part-time job going (just in case!) and simultaneously sent out invoices on my days off, crossing my fingers that they’d be paid.

Six years later we have a fleet of vans, a great team of engineers, admin and accounts legends and have built a solid reputation as the go-to company for new restaurant fit-outs and emergency service calls when kitchen equipment is going down around the city.

Our next step was to buy our own premises and after much ado with being out-bid, waiting for liquidation solicitors and wondering if we’d get the keys right on our wedding day (we didn’t in the end, but it would have been hilarious; “sorry, can’t make it up the aisle, have to to sign some legal papers” lol) – we finally got our hands on an old FAS training centre in Ballymun.

We’ve spent the last three months tearing apart the building and getting it ready for our purposes. What used to be various training rooms are now our offices and engineers’ workshop and we’ve knocked every wall down to give us the big warehouse space that we need.

We still have a lot of work to do on the building to get it REALLY nice but our operations are all officially moved across since Monday and everyone is getting settled in.

When you are self-employed you often get so busy just running the business and keeping afloat that you forget to take care of your personal stuff.

Like pensions. Yes, I said ‘pensions’. Somebody get me my shawl.

We see this new building now as our pension and security – it’s another little safeguard for our family and our financial future and so aside from it just being SO FRICKIN COOL that we have our own place, it also serves that very grown-up purpose.

ALTHOUGH – it is nestled right between Musgraves and IKEA so my debit card is clearly going to have to be confiscated from Monday to Friday – eek!


Ain’t Nuthin’ Going On But The Lent

My poor little confused non-Catholic child.

He has no idea that he’s a non-Catholic who is receiving a Catholic education in primary school.

And why would he? At 5 years old, he is just following the pack and doing what he’s told (despite behaving completely to the contrary at home, of course!)

When we started the school year and he first came home blessing himself and talking about ‘Holy God’ we did have a chat with him about how Mammy and Daddy didn’t believe in god and that he didn’t have to do the morning prayer if he didn’t want to.

Ass Monkey and I also spoke with the principal and vice principal who were very reassuring in the sense that they kept religious education to a small part of the educational curriculum and mostly, they were of the impression that the end to the Catholic Church being the primary religious hold over schools was in sight.

Maybe in 20 years, they said. I hope I live to see the day, I said.

As Ash Wednesday approached this week, the talk of Lent and ‘Holy God in Heaven’ was firmly on the lips of our little school goer so I thought maybe it was time to have another chat about our non-religious viewpoint as a family.

So while he was in the bath on Tuesday – CALM, I thought – I told him again that the morning prayers in school are his choice to do or not (he has been choosing to do them) and that he didn’t have to receive ash on Ash Wednesday if he didn’t want to.

“Why mammy?” he enquired, attempting yet again to shove his toothbrush down the jet holes of our bath.

“Because your school and some of the people in it believe in the god that you are saying your prayers to every morning, but mammy and daddy don’t believe in that god. Actually, mammy and daddy don’t believe in god at all”

His reaction was spectacular.


And he pouted for about half an hour, truly upset.

I felt like I’d told him that The Man In The Big Red Suit Who Lives In A Toy Workshop With Elves At The Furthest Northern Point Of The Planet Whose Sole Purpose Is To Reward Good Children With Gifts And Bad Children With Sacks Of Coal At Xmas Time wasn’t real.

Kinda the same thing though, innit?

Anyway, he got the ashes. And if he wasn’t sure before, at least now he knows that jesus loves him.



The Vegetarian’s Wife: How I Accidentally Gave Up Meat (ish)

One morning late last August, I came downstairs to find my husband standing in the kitchen who uttered the words no woman wants to hear:

“I am becoming a Vegetarian”.

To say I was shocked is a bit of an understatement. Ass Monkey is a Meat Man.

Tales of his BBQs are whispered in snugs around North County Dublin; his pulled pork sandwich creations have been known to end long-standing family feuds and his Xmas glazed ham.. well, let’s just say it’s 84% the reason I married him.

But as a lover of documentaries, Ass Monkey had watched one on Netflix the previous evening which outlined all of the reasons why meat consumption is not only a huge strain on our global resources, but also endlessly cruel to – as he put it himself – “the poor animals”.

I sort of thought it might be a phase. He was shocked by what he’d seen but would forget about it and would slip back to his glorious Lamp Chops served with honey mustard glaze ways, wouldn’t he?

Our wedding was coming up and I despaired, “What are you going to EAT, though?!” and his reply was calm and assured, “They better have amazing vegetarian food or there’ll be trouble”.

And Ballymagarvey Village DID have amazing vegetarian food and there was no trouble.. aside from when I started drinking shots at the bar..

Let’s move on.

On honeymoon in Edinburgh, we mostly ate at great Vegetarian restaurants. I figured it would be easier for both of us to eat well at a dedicated vegetarian restaurant than have one of us eat badly at a regular restaurant. And to be fair, it was all very nice. Actually, I mostly drank through those few days so it was all VERRRY nice!

He cooked the Xmas turkey and ham.. but says 2016 is the very last time he’ll ever do it. This could be grounds for an annulment.

Because I don’t cook – no, really, not a single thing, I’m just so shit at it – most of what I have consumed at home has been strictly vegetarian.

There was a spell there where my dad would take a trip to his farmhouse in Roscommon and arrive home with sirloin steak that he would slip into my hand when Alan wasn’t looking. He’d make a great prison guard, my ole lad, and they were the most delicious contraband I have ever tasted.

But as I have eaten less and less meat, I find that my desire to eat it has also lessened. I haven’t seen the documentary that Ass Monkey watched but I see in my husband that there is something very important here in what he is doing.

He wants to reduce our carbon footprint in the world, he wants to save the animals who are reared for the butchers shop from a life of cruelty, and he wants to live a healthier lifestyle too.

At this moment in time, there isn’t a scrap of meat in our fridge or freezer. We have quorn this and that and are horsing eggs into us like our (protein) lives depended on it.

Sorry, I said ‘horsing’. My bad.

Do I miss it? I do. Did I have a sneaky McChicken sandwich on Saturday afternoon when I had a bit of a hangover? I did.

Am I proud of myself? Not really. Just don’t tell Ass Monkey, ‘k?

Our Alternative Valentines: Doing It When You Have Kids

Well, we all know how to ‘do it’, otherwise we wouldn’t HAVE kids, right?!

But if you’re a fan of Valentines (and I AM, despite being a grump about most other things), you might need to adjust your way of doing THAT each February 14th.

Now that Ass Monkey and I are an old married couple (!) we agreed that having just had two weddings in the past couple of months was probably enough romance to last us another while yet, and we’d keep it in our pants this year.

(You know what I mean)

Anyway! The kids were excited about Valentines and at 5 and 2 respectively, were very busy in school and pre-school making cards for their mum and dad.

As they were all jazzed up about it, we decided to have a Big Family Valentines Day Out to celebrate little chubby Cupid’s day.

We took the kids to The National Sea Life in Bray for the afternoon, something we’d been meaning to get to for ages.

The weather was pretty bleak, grey and windy that day but the colourful aquariums inside The National Sea Life were all kinds of colourful and gorgeous by contrast.

We’re having a blast in @sea_life_bray today. Full craic in Instagram Stories 🐠🐟

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The kids loved every minute of it and I have to say that the staff were particularly amazing. They gave every family lots of attention and answered every kid’s questions (Jacob had about seven thousand of them).

You can spend a good hour and a half visiting each section, learning about the fish and hanging on for feeding time at the ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’ tank.

There’s also a cute little merchandise shop at the end of the tour where Miss Eva insisted on having a pink pirate costume to bring home. And who can deny her?

There is only one real way to be a pirate and that is IN HEELS 😂

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If you want to go for something to eat afterwards, Bray has many, many great places to eat along the seafront yet sadly we didn’t choose one of them.

Not that I am one to name and shame but someone should tell the manageress of the Shmocean Shmar And Shmill to never, ever, EVER pour the dregs of one woman’s white wine into the fresh new glass she just put on the table.

(Also, the food was shit)

But the company was TOP CLASS and I love our new family tradition for our very own Valentines Date For Four.

Tickets bought online for Sea Life are €10 per adult and €7.50 per child aged 3 – 14 years.