Tag Archives: Fun

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 🐠🐟

A post shared by Sharyn Hayden (@sharynhayden) on

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 😂

A post shared by Sharyn Hayden (@sharynhayden) on

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.

Why ‘Damp January’ Is The Only Way To Start The Year

At the end of 2016 I found out I was allergic to Prosecco.

I’ll just say that again for emphasis – I AM ALLERGIC TO PROSECCO.

I mean, of all the delicious, versatile, refreshing, goes-with-everything, everyone-offers-it-to-you-at-every-event-or-celebration-there-is, I had to go and be allergic to this one.

Part of trying to get a handle on why my skin was flaring up so much with psoriasis and hives led  me to a wonderful homeopath in Clontarf called Joy Lennon.

She allergy tested me for lots of different foods that I might be allergic to – some I already knew about, some foods that I had been avoiding I was surprised to hear wasn’t allergic to at all! But the major blow to my then almost-bride-to-be buzz was that I needed to stay away from Prosecco.

Joy obviously recognised a crest-fallen, prosecco-soaked woman when she saw one.

‘But you can drink vodka?’ she suggested. ‘Or gin?’

Gin and I had a relationship fraught with gay clubs oil dawn and day-after depression when I worked in New York and I haven’t touched a drop since. Vodka, though? Vodka, I could get down with.

I bought myself a nice bottle of Absolut on the way home from Tenerife recently and in all the talk of ‘Dry January’ that Ass Monkey (and the rest of the planet) has been going on with, I felt it only true and just that I come clear about my own commitment to the cause: I haven’t had a Dry January at all, but more of a Damp one.

I felt that bottle of Absolut deserved my attention.

I felt as though my Prosecco detox (going on 2 months now) deserves a (alcoholic) softening to the blow.

I feel as though January is a bell-end and what with all the grown-up stuff that I have committed to doing this year (I’m looking at YOU, attic floor of paperwork), I just think I am responsible enough for now, thank you.

So I’ve had a little ‘Reward Vodka’ every weekend in January – after we have the kids in bed on a Friday night, I pour myself a l’il tipple and I sip away, ignoring Ass ‘Smug As A Dry January Convert Can Be’ Monkey’s sideways glances.

Anyway, January is over now and with that will come The Piss Up Of The Century this weekend as hundreds of thousands of good Dry January-ers fill their Lidl trollies with bucket-loads of delicious cheap wine, and vow to never, ever give up drinking again.

And to that, I say Cheers.


**DRINK RESPONSIBLY. That is all**




Video: When A Baby Teaches A Dance Class

I learned how to dance properly when I was 28. I had done the ole Irish Dancing, the tap and jazz, the modern dance classes (borrrrring!) when I was a child and a teen – sure what young wan didn’t. But it wasn’t until I formed The Pink Panties burlesque troupe with my choreographer friend Marc Cleary, that I actually learned how to move.

We trained for two hours, two nights a week for about six months before we had our first gig and even then, I still didn’t know how to move. I was too uptight, too self-conscious, couldn’t let myself go, my hips wouldn’t move. The total fear on my face at our first gig at a gay night in Break For The Border tells all – I knew I was pretty shit at what I was doing.

Pink Panties

See that really sexy chick on the left? Yeah, that’s not me.

But I didn’t give up. I kept going to rehearsals, I kept looking at the other girls in the troupe who were all amazing dancers and one day, it just clicked. Marc looked at me, smiled and said ‘Go, Shazwanda!’ (that’s where that nick-name started!) and ‘Go’ I went, shaking my booty all the way.

I now totally consider myself an ex-dancer, and credit all that training to regaining my figure (eventually) after both pregnancies. I also incorporate dancing into our lives daily as much as possible. We have a ‘disco light’ in our hall that rotates and throws out colourful lights, and so that gets put on after dinner every day so that the kids and I can have a boogie. It’s almost like a de-stress trigger – no matter what kind of shitty mood we might be in, it can be disabled instantly by a l’il shimmy around our house. What kid doesn’t love to dance, right?

That’s why I love this video, because kids and dancing, and letting them lead the way, should be every day ;o)

The Rush Playground Fundraiser

Rush Playground Fundraiser Profile PicThe kids of Rush don’t have a playground, did you know that? Well, there is one up at St. Catherines which is quite close to my house and I have done one of the following each time I’ve visited it with the kids:

a) Had a row with a pack of shit head teenagers.

b) Had a row with a shit head adult enforcing ‘The Rules’ (I CAN run in and get my dog if she happens to get in by accident, I have NOT left her there to supervise the see-saw ffs)

c) Picked up broken bottles, cigarette butts etc.

d) Wished that the council would actually clean and repair it so it was a decent playground to bring the kids to.

I’m well aware that there are lots of playgrounds around the country with similar societal problems and it is so sad that it is the case. But anyway, I digress. The main town of Rush does not yet have a playground but did just finally receive the go ahead to build one at the harbour park, which is fantastic news.

As a certain amount of funding is needed to bolster the existing council funds, and as my best mate Rory Carrick and I love to throw a party, we are combining both of those things for The Rush Playground Fundraiser, which takes place in the Rush GAA Club on September 26th at 8pm.

Our aim is to host a fantastic 80’s themed night full of fun, music, HUGE amounts of laughter and 80’s tackorama. Do I have my Madonna outfit ready? Washed, aired and ready to rock, my friends ;o)

Tickets are €25 each which include nibbles, 80’s rock band Delorean and your contribution to the town’s much-anticipated children’s playground. Tables of 8 to 10 are available to reserve, if you want to make a night of it with your friends.

Click on the link below to secure your tickets and you can pick them up at the door.

A Model Vagina

We moved house last year and haven’t had great luck with finding a new family GP. The first one we tried out was a bit silly – the doctor for my antenatal care, plus those first couple of new baby visits was located up not one, but two very narrow flights of stairs. Whatever about dragging my heavily pregnant and dementedly overdue ass up there, expecting a new mum to haul her broken lady bits AND the baby in the wretched car seat (what is the situation with them being made of lead?) is criminal.

Then, of course, there was the time they charged me €90 for a fifteen-minute visit with Eva because I also asked them to sneak a peek at a rash on the back of Jacob’s knee. The reluctant toddler probably let them take a look at it for all of a second – ok, maybe two seconds, but did it warrant charging this new mother an extra €45? It did in its hoop.

So we moved to GP Number Two and I had it on good advice that this one was very family-friendly, had an open door, no-appointment-necessary policy and that they used their discretionary fee-charging powers with caution. I said ‘Brava! Sign us up’.

Our first visit was for one of Eva’s vaccinations. It went fine; I asked the nice lady doctor if she would check Eva’s chest while we were there as she’d had a constant cough, and she obliged. We left reassured that nothing sinister was at work.

Our second visit was for Eva’s next vaccination. Again, all fine, and when I brought up the cough (which was still lingering months later), I had a prescription for a baby-adapted inhaler somewhat flung at me. Mmmm…sure I let it go. Maybe she was stressed, maybe someone puked directly onto her shoes that morning just as she was leaving the house, you know?

I had one final question for Lady Doctor, since I was there and all, so I chucked it in.

‘And one last thing’ I ventured.

‘Did you want to have a consultation?’ Lady Doctor snapped.

‘I, er…what?’

‘I mean, I am happy to do Eva’s vaccinations and everything, but if you need a consultation, I will book you in.’

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m about to have a confrontation with someone who is in a position of ‘higher authority’ or ‘greater status’ than I, I like to try to look the part. I like to look like I can match them, that I can whip out some jargon from my legal studies diploma or my years in customer service and deliver it with force and a full face of make up. Unfortunately, on THIS day, I was wearing ‘that’ tracksuit (you know the one), hadn’t a scrap of make up on and hadn’t slept in…what is it now, oh yeah, three years.

Anyway, you get it. She was in head-to-toe professional garb and was giving me grief, and I looked like an extra from Shameless. But on this day, I dunno, I wasn’t really having it.

‘Oh I’m sorry’ I responded. ‘I actually just had a question but did you want me to pay you in advance for it?’ (I know, eek!)

Strangely enough, Doctor Lady was taken aback enough to backtrack a bit, and started mumbling and stuttering that I should go ahead and ask her that question.

No, no, I protested, getting my fleece on (it goes perfect with the tracksuit and is has the added benefit of being baby-stain-removal-friendly), I’d go back out to reception and make an appointment and schedule my question in.

No, no, no, she insisted, go on.

‘I was just going to ask your advice on the Mirena coil?’ I shrugged. ‘But it’s grand, another time’.

I was halfway out the open door, car seat on one dead arm, wailing just-vaccinated-baby in it, trying to keep my dignity whilst noticing that my tracksuit bottoms had what looked like a piece of encrusted Rusk stuck to the hem.

‘The coil!’ she trilled, ‘of course, no problem’. And, as if by magic, she whipped out a cardboard cutout vagina and started spewing out all sorts of information on how the coil is inserted etc. I couldn’t tell you a word of what she said, because I was genuinely trying to suppress my giggles.

I would nearly have changed doc a third time, but for that panicked cardboard-cutout-vagina display alone….I totally forgive her. What a comeback ;o)


***This article first appeared on the HerFamily.ie Website***

***Going on hols this year? Bringing the kids? ARE YOU SURE? Read THIS first!!***

Won’t Someone Think Of The Photographer?!

If ever you and your siblings are stuck for present ideas for your parents’ upcoming birthdays/anniversaries/cheer-you-up-day…then look no further. THIS. IS. IT!

Three Brothers Recreate Old Photos For Their Mum

Was your favourite the fancy dress photo? ME TOO! And when MY kids grow up, remind them to do this for me, will ya?!