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Tired of reading parenting magazines and articles featuring ‘perfect’ parents, warning against having babies too young, too old, too…middlely…. and that if you don’t plan to breast feed for the first ten years of your child’s life, you’re already a terrible parent?

Well you won’t get any of that rubbish here. Read our honest and enlightening blogs from Sharyn Hayden and other truly entertaining contributors – some of them don’t even want kids and we say that’s fine too! It’ll all put a smile on your face, promise…



What To Do When Your Kid Gets Lego Stuck Up Their Nose

Yes, this is a real post and yes, this 100% happened yesterday.

As if getting our little darlings back to school wasn’t excitement enough, Eva approached me as I sat on the couch yesterday evening after dinner, with just a tiny bit of trepidation.

“Mam, I just wanna tell you something. I just sort of didn’t mean to do it but I just sorta accidentally stuck some Lego up my nose and I can’t get it back out with my finger”

And there she was, my beautiful 3-year-old, in her flower girl dress she insisted on putting on after school, trying to stick her chubby finger up that nostril and ultimately, make things worse.

Step 1: Internal Panic. Ass Monkey is working late for all of January because he has a RIDIC number of restaurant fit-outs. Mam and Dad are at a funeral all day. If you have to go to the hospital to get this thing professionally removed – YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, goddamnit.

Step 2: External Calm. Reassure lovely daughter that everything is fine. Enquire as to the shape of the Lego piece. “Roundy”, says she. Well, that’s either a blessing or a curse. Time will tell.

Step 3: Sub It Out. Enlist the help of Big Brother Jacob. “Could you perhaps chuck the dogs out into the back garden please?” I nod knowingly at him, like it’s a big important job. (Mostly it’s because the new puppy just LOVES to jump all over Eva and distract her and I needed him out of the jaysus scene).

Step 4: Light Up. No, not a smoke, we haven’t gone that far into panic mode yet. Get lovely daughter up onto the kitchen counter so we can get a good look up that shnozz in the bright light. No sign of the Lego piece. Balls.

Step 5: Go Oprah On It. Soothingly reassure your worried maggot that everything is fine and get them to stop sniffing up OR sticking their finger back up there, which is all she wanted to do.

Step 6: Check Your Biology. This is honestly what was going through my head; “If she sniffs it all the way up, will it go into her brain? Or is that what happens if you stick a lead pencil up your nose and you whack your head off the table in school? Oh no, that’s it. The lead pencil. So if she sniffs it up will it come down and out of her mouth? WHY DIDN’T I PAY ATTENTION IN SCHOOL???”

Step 7: Breathe. Together, Eva and I practiced sniffing down instead of up, all the while watching Jacob struggling to get the two dogs out the back door (which never happened) until finally, happily, a tiny green ’roundy’ piece of Lego dropped from her nose and into the lap of her princess dress.

“Why did you put it into your nose?” I (still calmly, I was so relieved) asked her.

“Because I was holding it and I needed my hands and I had to put it somewhere” was her reply.


Step 8: Fuck all the Lego out of the house.

Confession: 20 Things I Completely F*cked Up in 2017

I am generally a pretty positive person, but with a healthy dose of self-awareness.

It’s great to have platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter et al to filter messages about our lives and the way we would like for it to be portrayed.

But what’s really going on? Are our kids always smiling, standing by the front door in their best clothes ready to leave the house on time? (Are they fuck). Are our career choices always on the mark? Are our relationships perfect? Are we HASHTAG BLESSED 24/7?

I know I’m not, so here’s a look back at all the shit I definitely fucked up in 2017:

  1. The Downers: I was so flipping depressed last January, when our wedding was over and my head was no longer filled with lists and busyness. I was surly, lethargic and bored. And really, I should have done more to get out of that funk rather than let it fester right into February and rule my emotions. This Jan, I’m keeping an eye on my moods.
  2. The Business: Ass Monkey and I opened Skinny Batch in May and we were SO underprepared. We didn’t put enough time into planning out something that had, in reality, been a dream of ours for so long. Next time.. I’m doing more homework.
  3. The Health: I was diagnosed with a form of colitis around the same time we opened Skinny Batch and I have done precisely nothing but avoid the issue. It’s childish and irresponsible and I’m sure has only served to make the matter worse. This year.. I’m taking my meds.
  4. The Skin: My psoriasis has been off the charts in the past 12 months (since I got married, wha?). There are things I should be doing; seeing a dermatologist, not drinking, de-stressing, eating better, sorting out the colitis which I’m sure is related.. this year will be ALL about the appointments.
  5. The Kids: The kids are ok. We spend a lot of time together and they are happy. But I’ve realised that I don’t get them outdoors as much as I should, and I don’t plan adventurous day trips the way I used to.. this year we’re getting the wellies back out.
  6. The Relationships: It’s hard to maintain all the relationships that you care about when you open a new business. I was lucky to get away for friend’s 40ths this year and have some fun days out with each other’s families, but other than that my free time has been spent asleep (there has been much crawling into bed with the kids at 8.30pm and being gone for the night) or scrambling around, trying to stay on top of the admin for the shop. This year.. time management.
  7. The Hubby: We need more quality time, stat. Last year we said we’d go on a date a month in 2017 and we definitely failed at that.
  8. The Smoking: How did that even happen?
  9. The Family Time: We need to get Sunday Lunches with friends and family at our house back on.
  10. The Technology: My phone has been broken since November and I haven’t bothered to deal with it in any way. Also, I’m thinking about downloading Snapchat (you can talk me out of this at any stage)
  11. The Travel: We need to see more of this country, and the world. When did my hometown of Rush get so.. comfortable?
  12. The Social Awareness: I am as mad as the next woman about all that has been going on in our country and worldwide but I haven’t been shouting as much as I should be about it. This year.. more shouting.
  13. The Art: I’ve been missing performing, and writing and making videos. This blog post is likely one of about.. 6? this year. BOO TO THAT.
  14. The Craic: Less seriousness and more craic needed. Crank that shit up.
  15. The Dreams: Ass Monkey and I have lots of great ideas and never seem to get around to putting them into place. Or it takes years. We have one big dream that I am going to REALLY look into this year. It involves wellies and muck. You’ll be the first to know.
  16. The Reading: I have 8 half-read books on the go. Brutal. The amount of reading I do is of course directly proportional to the amount of baths I take so.. more baths please!
  17. The Community: I am really proud of where we live and the community who live in it. But there is so much lacking from an environmental and services perspective and I’m so guilty of being one of those people who stands around, complaining, and doing nothing about it. So this year.. less talk and more action.
  18. The Negativity: How easy it is to be drawn into negative thinking and talking and vibes. I’m getting my Wonder Woman wrist shields on and bouncing that shit away from me from now on.
  19. The Future-proofing: Jesus I need to care more about the planet and environment than I do. I couldn’t even BEGIN to tell you what really goes into the green bin..
  20. The Love: I have lots of love for everyone but I need to show it more. Even when I’m stressed out. Even when I’m tired. Even when I might not be feeling it coming my way. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love yourself. Love your family. Love your friends. Tell them all, every day.

I love you. Happy 2018 xxx

Mara and Me – A Mother’s Story

On Halloween morning 2015, my childhood friend Melissa woke up to what would be a living nightmare.

Her daughter Mara, then 4, blonde haired and blue eyed and delicate in that most beautiful of little girl ways, had developed a huge lump on her neck, literally overnight.

“She wasn’t sick”, Melissa told me over a recent coffee (one that we held hands and mostly cried during).

“In hindsight, there were little things; night sweats, a runny nose, a cough – all the normal things that children get. Nothing that we were worried about”.

The journey from parental concern for Mara to full diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma is rife with those all-too-typically-Irish-medical-system stories – under-diagnoses, misdiagnoses, it isn’t cancer, it is cancer, she won’t need chemotherapy, she will…

I personally knew very little about Hodgkins Lymphoma except that when Jacob started school in September last year, there was a little girl with a ‘Freddie’ in her arm because she was having chemotherapy.

Look how beautiful she is!

You burst into tears when you hear this, about this child who didn’t have cancer 11 months previously, your friend’s baby girl, the baby girl who is the same age as your baby boy…

Melissa tells me that it is the most treatable of the childhood cancers, the survival rate is higher than others but the chance that it might re-present within 5 years is also quite high.

Horribly, St. John’s Ward in Crumlin Children’s Hospital lost other children while Mara was a patient there, but our little hero Mara came through to the other side.

My friend burst into tears as she recalled how she and her husband Alex would have to help the medical staff hold Mara’s tiny body down to receive her chemotherapy, an image that I will never forget for her.

She tells me about Aoibheann’s Pink Tie. They were a huge support to Melissa and her family at the beginning – they gave them ‘Chemo Duck’ to help explain the process of chemotherapy to Mara (he has a Freddy too), as well as providing sound practical support when they needed it the most.

Mara and ‘Chemo Duck’!

My Jacob is a little bit in love with Mara, the now 6-year-old girl who no longer has a Freddie in her arm and who was aptly awarded Junior Infant Student of the Year at the primary school that they attend.

Yep, we all bawled then too..

In fact, all of the kids are quite in love with her. Even while she was still having treatment, she insisted on writing out and colouring individual Valentine’s Day cards for each of the kids in her class last February.

My heart.

Melissa and Alex are looking forward to a clear scan at Mara’s next appointment this month but are still processing all that they have had to deal with in the last 2 years.

Besides managing Mara’s illness and treatment, they also have two younger children to take care of. So not only were Melissa and Alec feeling miserable about Mara being unwell, they also had that all-too-familiar parent guilt that they weren’t giving the other kids enough attention.

Can you imagine?

“I’m still so angry”, my gorgeous, and very placid friend Melissa, tells me. “Why us?”

**If you are worried about any aspect of your child’s health, seek advice from your GP immediately. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, seek a second opinion. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month each year but let’s always think of, and support, those families who are struggling. Melissa tells me that the nicest things that people did were the simple ones – dropping over a dinner, cutting the grass, popping in to say hi.

Take care of each other x**


We’re Not Feelin Ya, Ophelia

“Well..did you survive the night?!!”

That’s all we are hearing this week in the wake of Mz Ex-Hurricane Ophelia who hit the south west coast of Ireland with the MAJOR rages on Monday morning.

Us Irish, as usual, had been fairly chillaxed about it’s arrival.

Except me. I’d been flinging garden furniture and toys into the shed since Friday afternoon (thanks to my trusted bringer-of-all-the-weather-updates – Twitter – but by Saturday night at dinner, most of my fellow diners hadn’t even heard that a hurricane was about to hit.

And I thought I was the one who generally had my head up my ass.

Am I Hurricane Prepping? What made you ask me that?! 👻

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By Sunday evening, as soon as we all knew that the kids were getting the day off school, we were taking that shit seriously.

“The WHOLE day?”, cried we. “Sher it’s not even SNOWING!!”

Kids strapped to the crafts table, X-box, games board and hunkered down in forts, we braced ourselves for the inevitable cabin fever that comes from having to entertain our kids all day when the weather isn’t playing ball.

Hurricane Prep Step #1: Build a Fort 👍🏻

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That we can deal with – but throwing our PARTNERS into the mix? Ass Monkey was off and house-bound with us for at least 7 hours.

That’s just damn torture.

(Hope you all ARE ok after Ophelia. I know that lots of people are without power around the country and homes and businesses have been damaged. Thinking of you all x)

The 12 Stages Of Going C(gl)amping With the Kids

If you think I was built to camp, you can think again.

But since the summer hols are no longer anything to do with me (thank you, parenting), I conceded to 4 nights glamping in a lodge at Hidden Valley in Wicklow.

I didn’t regret it. Well, I did. But not for the reasons I expected.

Here are my 12 Stages Of Going C(gl)amping With the Kids:

  1. Smug Parent-ness. How smug was I when I made the reservation – finally, a decent parenting move; a holiday that was really fuck-all to do with my needs and all about giving the kids something to look forward to at the end of the summer break and that would create memories to last a lifetime. Go, me.
  2. Confusion. So we’re camping but we’re not camping. What do we need? Where do we eat? Hidden Valley say they have cooking facilities so I probably don’t need to do anything. Just give Ass Monkey the info and wait for him to feed us, as usual.
  3. Packing. Packing for clamping is much nicer than packing for a flight. Warm blankets, wellies, flip flops, marshmallows, downloaded movies and, most happily, BEER. You can’t bring beers on a flight, you know.
  4. Panic. You have no sleeping bags because you’ve never been camping before, you dope. Also, Ass Monkey has been so sick for the last few days you are considering having him hospitalised.  Which is a huge convenience since you have no idea how to cook for the kids over a camp fire. Thankfully, you’re not expected to pitch a tent.
  5. Cleaning. Why is there always so much cleaning to do when you leave the house for more than a minute? Also, why is Ass Monkey always threatening to be hospitalised when there is so much cleaning to be done?
  6. Relief. You’ve picked up sleeping bags from Argos and you’re on the road, entire family intact. First thing kids want to do when they get there is ‘get into the swimming pool’. Errr…
  7. Excitement. We’ve arrived. The sun is shining, the lodge is cool, the staff are beyond nice. We check out all of the activities and the kids go bananas for the playgrounds, climbing frames and slides. They also spend a ridic amount of time throwing stones into the lazy river, delirious with happiness. It’s the little things..
  8. Shame. You realise that you’re the worst glampers ever. You don’t have any BBQ utensils, plates, knives, lighters or, most importantly, wine glasses. HOW DID YOU FORGET WINE GLASSES, YOU FOOL?! (Side Note: Ass Monkey needs a commis chef/PA)
  9. Wasps. An official stage of being outdoors. The fuckers.
  10. Rain. The rain pelted down on two nights of our stay and I was never happier for our little lodge with it’s little plug sockets so that we could watch movies on the laptop with the kids. And so that I could fill my hot water bottle. Yes, I managed to pack that but not wine glasses. Yes, I am a granny. Yes, thank you.
  11. Washing. Ourselves, the car, the blankets, the thousands of socks, the wellies – everything and everyone are filthy after 4 days and nights in the outdoors. We had epic walks in forests with rivers running through it, rammed each other gleefully on bumper boats, waded in the river in search of fish, visited baby animals at Tinahealy Farm, stayed up late toasting marshmallows and drinking hot whiskeys, bounced on bungies, ran in water balls, played crazy golf.. the dirt was actually worth it.
  12. Happiness. It was a great trip, the kids had a ball, we’re totally relaxed on the back of it. My only regret? That we didn’t go sooner.

So we’re moving to Wicklow. See yiz later 😘😜

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Burning Down The House: Part Deux

It’s safe to say this summer is a load of balls.

Yes, perhaps this does counter my attempt at positivity in another recent post BUT things have changed since then.

It was one thing when Jacob fractured his elbow and put paid to all our plans for summer holiday adventures and especially anything water-related.

It was another when Eva picked up a rather vile tummy bug that lasted for almost a week.

We’re talking full out-of-all-ends projections all day long – I literally had to boil wash and bleach everything that she even looked at.

The sitting room rug is currently still banished to the back garden and the neighbourhood is still under threat that I might just burn the fucking house down and be done with it.

But it is QUITE ANOTHER MATTER ALTOGETHER when both adults of this house pick up aforementioned stomach bug at precisely the same time.

I won’t go into the shitty details (sorry) but suffice to say that Ass Monkey and I are on Day 4 of no food, gross episodes and are both shadows of our former selves.

We’ve never both been simultaneously sick before so it’s a bit of a pisser for the kids that..well, that we’re their parents, frankly, at the moment.

Thankfully my own parents are taking them to the movies today so they can have something of a childhood that doesn’t involve having arts and crafts shoved at them while their parents wrestle each other like maniacs for first dibs on the bathroom.

Anyway, I’ve decided that when it’s all over, I may as well burn down the house and the entire neighbourhood now.

It is my social duty.

I mean, if I can spare just one family the bum wees…



3 Female-driven Shows To Watch On Netflix Right Now

So.. we don’t have telly.

I mean, we have a telly, but we just don’t have the telly stations.

It’s not a hipster choice – or a choice at all, to be honest – we’ve just broken the remote and haven’t gotten back around to getting a new one, or fixing the old one.

That’s been going on for a.. year. (I know, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream)

ANYWAY, we are quite content with our Netflix life and considering that we haven’t an option to watch anything else, spend a fair amount of time with all of the shows available from them.

I LOVE Netflix – the variety of movies and series that they are churning out is phenomenal – and the talent that they are attracting speaks volumes in terms of what was the industry is going.

I spoke with a friend ‘in the know’ over dinner at the weekend (Roberta’s, since you’ve asked – the new ‘It’ place in town. Meh is my feeling on it tbh) – and he says that Hollywood isn’t dead yet.

“Sure you’d have to go see Dunkirk in the cinema!” he cried. “You couldn’t watch Dunkirk at home on your telly! It’s too amazingly cinematic for that!”

(Note to self: go see Dunkirk)

He’s right, I’m sure both can survive side by side but while I’m at my current stage of parenting (i.e. 2 smallies, exhausted by 8pm, the greatest of treats right now is a glass of wine whilst watching some entertainment is peace), I need to tell you which are the best of Netflix shows at the moment, in my humble opinion.


It’s no secret that I love the 80s and will jump at any opportunity to crimp my hair and wear day-glo bands around my wrists – so for the 80’s setting and for SO many other hilarious reasons, I ADORE Glow. Ladies wrestling and bad perms, that’s all you need to know – now, go!


I have two words for you – Naomi. Watts. Check out her acting brilliance in this psychological thriller in which she plays a therapist with her own long list of mental problems. Such a clever concept and entirely gripping.

3. 13 Reasons Why

This was very difficult to watch due to the subject matter of teenage suicide but I have to say that the lead actress, Katherine Langford, does an EXCELLENT job and Kate Walsh as her mother will break your heart into a million pieces. But it’s really important, so watch it.

*Netflix have kindly gifted me a 12-month subscription in return for writing a few thoughts on the shows that they stream and produce. I don’t have to like them, I just sometimes do *

Ballet, Baths and Booze: Tips For Surviving The Summer Hols

I wouldn’t normally be a complainer about the kids being off for summer.

Sure, in comparison to my nephew in the UK (5 weeks off, total), the Irish school’s time off seems rather.. long drawn out.

Sure, the notion of trying to figure out how to keep their little minds engaged whilst running the hind legs off them every day can be fairly time-consuming and draining overall.

Sure, trying to fit in any grown up activities such as working for a living, in order to fund the summer camps/childminder/possible trip away/endless supply of ice cream required is a bit like pissing in the wind..

..yep, actually I’ve just reminded myself what a royal pain in the tits the whole thing is.

This summer is a little bit more of a challenge for us as a family since we’ve just opened Skinny Batch and I’m working more than I was last year so I’ve more to juggle. That’s for starters.

Then we have a small matter of Jacob’s fractured elbow to contend with (please, holy Madonna, the cast comes off in just over a week).

BUT Jacob at almost 6 and Eva at 3 are both at a really good age. They play well together, they were able to attend the same summer camp for the last two weeks, we’re not dealing with nappies or bottles any more so we can all head off together on outings without much fuss. That all certainly helps.

They do need to be entertained though – and while July was jam-packed with family events and summer camps, I’ve left August free ahead of us to just hang out and have some adventures.

I’m also going to take the opportunity to just be at home more and straighten out the 74,000 things that are still ongoing from the house extension LAST YEAR (FML).

The thing is, life is stressful whether the kids are in school or not and I firmly believe that on the days I am overwhelmed, over-worked and over-tired are the days that my family get the worst of me (the version that looks a bit like Twink in THAT puppy-pilfering video – i.e. not great)

So I’ve given myself a few stress management pointers to hit every week in order to manage this summer’s chaos – every Wednesday, I now go to a Barre Class at The Pilates Loft in Rush. It’s a ballet exercise class and I LOVE MYSELF when I’m pointing my toes like a ballerina, ‘k?

When I get home Ass Monkey normally heads off to the gym so I take that golden opportunity to drink a humongous glass of red wine in the bath.

It might not be the healthiest move after my exercise class, but it is the HAPPIEST move.

It’s called balance, people ;o)



Entertaining 5-Year-Olds With Broken Arms On Summer Hols

Don’t be disappointed but this isn’t actually a helpful, informative piece about what you should do if your 5-year-old should fracture his elbow on summer hols.

No. This is an appeal for HELP.

There are 5-ish weeks left to go before school decides to get over their (very tanned by now) selves and start back to educating our kids so WTF am I to do with the one-arm bandit until then?

@skinnybatchdeli pancakes being put to good use 😃

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He had a fall at my brother’s wedding (lovely day, jesus they really got the weather and all the gorgeous pics and we drank all the gorgeous prosecco too) – and Ass Monkey and I had to transport him to Temple Street at 11pm via taxi..

..because we were fairly shit-faced by then.

I managed to change into a t-shirt and jeans but still had a full face of makeup and false eyelashes on so I looked FABULOUS as I burst through the doors in dramatic fashion, insisting on carrying my son wrapped in a blanket who DID NOT have a broken ankle and was well able to walk himself in, truth be told.

(Although it was very late and cold and he was in a little bit of shock so I’ll forgive myself that one)

Anyway, featured elbow, they said. 6 weeks in a cast, they said.


I said.

He’s adjusted quite well, to be fair, and is rocking the sympathy vote with the ladies and anyone else who enquires as to the presence of the cast.

‘My uncle dropped me’, is the story he insists on telling everyone, which isn’t true but I’m enjoying the reactions so I’m saying nothing.

Me? I’m not adjusting so great. There is now only room for me, him and the bright blue cast in our bed at night.

Ass Monkey has been relegated to Jacobs bedroom – it is honestly the most use it’s gotten since we’ve moved into the house 3 years ago to be honest.

Kiddie camps have been a welcome relief until now, those 3 precious hours to yourself in the morning can never be underestimated.. but they finish this Friday.

Then what, people? Entertain the one-arm sympathy junkie by myself?!


All That Happened The Day We Opened A Deli By Mistake

On May 12th, 2017, Ass Monkey and I accidentally opened up a delicatessen.

I mean, we had planned to do it, we’d talked and dreamed about it for years. But were we really prepared to open a deli for the first time?

Were we fuck.

At 7am on that Friday morning, we opened the doors and had NO IDEA what was to come.

People queued up and down Rush Main Street for breakfasts, lunches, coffees and cake and we hadn’t entirely anticipated their arrival.

By 8am we had to ask Hulda, the Head Barista from Two Spots Coffee to jump in and give us a hand – she ended up staying for three whole hours. (Thanks Hulda, we love you)

Then we ran out of bread. I mean, our main service is to make effing sandwiches and we ran out of bread!

By lunchtime, we ran out of cake. CAKE! FFS!

Our little deli had been so sorely needed in our hometown for years that almost everyone who lives there came down for a look and to support – we were happy to see them, of course, but we had serious trouble feeding them fast enough!

That first month was crazy and we learned a lot on the fly – how to properly run a food and coffee house, how to develop the brand and menu, listening to our customers’ s requests and adjusting accordingly, figuring out our staff and stock levels..

..it has been one HELL of a journey so far.

I would say that opening a new business isn’t unlike having a newborn – you are like a deer caught in the headlights for the first couple of months, trying to incorporate this new energy into your life and settling on a rhythm and routine that works for you and the rest of your family.

There may also have been a few sleepless nights of worry – the usual!

There are some great Opening Weekend pics coming through! ✨ Keep on sending them through to us x

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We can now breathe a bit, knowing that we’ve survived the tough part – from here on out it’s just making sure that our little place continues to serve the community of Rush and beyond to the best of our abilities.

And to churn out cake. Lots and lots of cake ;o)

(Check out our website here and come say Hi some day! x)