Monthly Archives

October 2015

Like Magazine

Help the Halloween parties

October 19, 2015

As a parent of three small boys, I couldn’t survive without a calendar; not a digital one but an old school one that hangs on the wall. Every hospital appointment, birthday party and extra curricular activity is written on there as I cannot trust my mammy-brain.

Looming large is Halloween which I would choose to ignore only for school projects and euro shop window dressings reminding my children who in turn remind me (hourly).

giphy (22)Once upon a time in the 1980s I loved this holiday and thought my black bag outfit and sweaty plastic mask to be a most worthy costume. One year I was Hilda Ogden and then Madonna completed the last few years.. early 80s Madonna, lots of ripped t-shirts and blasphemous rosary beads. I’m not sure which upset my mother most (probably the t-shirts). I sifted through my bounty (contained in a Quinnsworth bag or my mam’s old handbag) that night which consisted of grapes and monkey nuts to find a handful of sweets which were *gasp* not hermetically sealed. My next door neighbour, Granny Jones we called her would always gift us with large, shelled nuts that required a hammer to open (no nut-crackers in our ill-equipped kitchen) and disappointment on tasting. The ultimate Halloween experience however was being allowed to roam the streets in the dark with my little gang. We felt like the Goonies.

giphy (23)Then came the fateful day in late September 1988 as the kids began bonfire preparations (started early in our estate) and lugged wooden crates up the street. I was petting a friend’s dog and the noise spooked him prompting him to attack me and take lumps out of my face. While it wasn’t on the scale of a Michael Myers attack, it scarred me, literally. I was at an age where dressing up had become baby-ish anyway and my self-preservation instincts were strong when it came to bonfires and fireworks so I steered clear. I regained a little love for this holiday in college when dressing up became less black-bagish and more sophisticated (slutty).

Halloween has changed a lot since the ‘80s and has become completely Americanised. Instead of “help the Halloween party” it’s “trick or treat”. We are expected to decorate our houses as if it were Christmas; Halloween you are not and never will be Christmas! Pumpkins are now an integral part of the occasion with pumpkin patches thriving and carving kits being sold everywhere. I hate the bloody things and spend ages gouging out the flesh, it’s akin to chopping up a large turnip (I now buy these pre chopped and frozen). The kids get bored and slope off and I’m left to lose a finger and my mind. After a few days the pumpkin starts to decompose and attract flies; an unwelcome addition to my decorations. On the plus side, I do love the seeds toasted and the soup is divine; I have yet to try a pie as I’m unsure if it’s sweet or savoury and the uncertainty freaks me out.

11381_10152681078093138_1650261608467733319_n10009291_10152473805373138_3019627880417218482_nThe costume issue begins in September when one of the kids tells me he wants the €50 Darth Vader outfit complete with light saber that he saw online and I try desperately to sway him towards the €4 zombie ones in Aldi. No matter what they wear it will rain and they will need to wear a big jacket over their precious costume, concealing time and money spent.

If my kids get sugar, a molotov cocktail of hyperactivity will be lit and they can appear rabid and incoherent with the strength of the Hulk and the ingenuity of Horrid Henry. Halloween evening I can do nothing but sit and watch them gorge on the enormous bag of E numbers that they have procured and put emergency plans into place.

I hate having to answer the door every 2 mins to a throng of saccharin-saturated Elsas/ Minions. There’s always a token ’80s-throwback kid in a black bag that I have to ask who or what he/she is and get an indignant answer. Then there’s the unexpected 2nd wave of trick or treaters at about 8pm when I’ve run out of treats and I have to start handing out household items.. slices of bread, McDonald’s raisins, tampons.

Fireworks are gorgeous when viewed from a distance but I dread the day that my boys will want to be in close proximity to one. Mine are still too young and can be satisfied with sparklers and fun snaps but I am apprehensive of sparks and polyester costumes. I normally spend the evening with my fingers under a cold tap due to excessive sparkler lighting; If I ever decide on a life of crime, I am now fingerprint proof.

shutterstock_711717The kids like to play games in the evening but the ones of my childhood don’t translate well. I can’t dangle an apple from the light fitting as mine are fragile ikea ones and not the big brass fittings my parents had. I don’t do ducking for apples in a bowl of water because that is gross… lots of saliva and apple bits. I do however like to give chase with the lights out and scare the crap out of them as revenge for the sugar mania that I’ve endured although this game can end with the Exorcist-style projectile vomiting.

giphy (24)Then there’s the tail end of Halloween, late at night that seems to belong to actual zombie teenagers who year after year steal my green bin and set it on fire while cheating death with fireworks and cheap alcohol down by the river.

Nope, let’s get this scarefest done with and move on to Christmas, a more refined and genteel holiday where I and my green bin can relax without the threat of a fire….unless it’s an open one roasting chestnuts.

A Bit Of Everything

Dear Aisling Kelly (aged 25)

October 13, 2015

Did I mention I was at a wedding last week… no?? I made many observations while there in my capacity as the smug married I never thought I would be. Some of the girls commented on how loved up I was (I drunkenly tried to initiate the Dirty Dancing dance with my uncoordinated husband but people were just enough merry to find it sweet) and stared off wistfully exclaiming that they’d NEVER meet anyone. It feels like a very short time ago that I felt exactly the same but how could I convey what I have learnt without sounding a) patronising or b) gloaty (is it a word)?

I’ve always yearned for a relationship which pisses me off as it clashes desperately with my sense of feminism. Who or what can I blame? Well, we all blame our parents, don’t we?… Maybe my Mam did too much for me and I was looking for a replacement… creepy.. moving swiftly on..Maybe I read too many fairy tales that ended up with a man being the happy ever after?

giphy (17)Movies probably bear most of the weight of blame… all those ‘80s movies with heart-aching romances… Pretty in Pink, Dirty Dancing, Star Wars trilogy. Then into the ‘90s when all I could dream of was Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans grabbing me roughly by the hand to go have the ride. I also had self-esteem issues and so a glance from a guy would have me writing poems about our life together… all restraining orders have been lifted now.

RANSOM-3-popupSo, I would tell my 25 year old self… stop obsessing over random guys, most of whom are complete gobshites and focus on your life; you will meet the man of your dreams in 2 years time when you least expect it. This expression used to irritate me… I was always expecting to meet The One and couldn’t envision a time when I would be oblivious to potential soul-mates but I promise meeting him in Turkey was not one of my fantasies. Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing, vain guys and empty promises; If they don’t call or text, they don’t like you, simples… now step away from that pile of newspaper clippings, a threatening note may not be welcome… move on, their loss.

giphy (19)Aisling, you see that nice disposable wage you get every week? Pay your bloody parents regularly, you selfish cow. Also, stop pissing it away every week in a pub/club on mostly miserable needy nights out. If you go out, have fun with your friends and stop looking over their shoulder. Save some money for holidays and city breaks that will not be possible post kids. If you have change, start saving for a house and stop slagging those who are doing just that, you’re jealous, admit it.

Use ALL that free time wisely, not sitting in your bedroom watching Sex and the City and painting your toenails (but please do some of that too, it sounds lovely). Do some courses, get a great job doing something you love and build a future while you can. Even as I typed that last bit it felt empty and like something I had to say but I can’t lie to you my younger self and I think we both know that that’s not going to happen due to unmotivated, lazy disorder (it’s a diagnosis)…feck it order a chinese to accompany  your TV watching, your metabolism is still in good shape.

giphy (21)I know you are spending some of that glorious free time wisely watching loads of movies. O god I could cry for the days when the cinema wasn’t even a treat but almost a necessity. Myself and Jen had unlimited passes we paid for monthly and would sometimes watch 3 in a row… we always wanted to do a marathon of 4 but alas she snuck off on me with her brothers. However, one day I dream of a future when 4 movies would be possible … (actually no, the dream of uninterrupted sleep outweighs this and half an hour into movie one, I’d be gone). By the time the Oscars came around, I’d have seen 90% of the movies… now I only know the Oscars are on by Orlagh Sak’s facebook posts.

201421_10150936887334159_873826528_oEnjoy having stuff and being able to display it in plain view. Nowadays I have to hide make-up, varnishes, shower gels, tampons unless I want a massacre. I don’t own any ornaments or Waterford crystal for many reasons; the main one being that I’m not yet 80.

Stop over-plucking your eye-brows, they will start to grow horizontally in your 30s and put the boobs away if you’re wearing knee high’s too much.

Be careful of alcohol and the bad decisions and lack of self-preservation that come with it…and steer clear of drugs altogether, you will not have a good time and freak out (just realised that advice is a little late at 25, sorry).

You still live at home and that’s OK but help out a lot more and don’t freak out when asked to do something dammit, I could slap your face right now.

Get involved in dotcom companies, go hang out in Harvard and help start up Facebook or patent the selfie stick.


So 25 year old me and all the young (I can’t do this without some patronising, terribly sorry) ladies out there now please enjoy all your lovely, selfish time… go out and enjoy the cinema, the pub…. and lie in bed revelling in extravagant hangovers.

giphy (20)Be yourself, love yourself and stop looking at celebrities lips and arses and focus on your humour and intelligence (a bit of wit can distract from the mightiest of arses).

Be aware of the world around you, have some knowledge of world affairs and politics and never close your mind (unless you’re being brainwashed by a cult… close your damn mind). Travel as much as your budget permits and learn about different cultures and try strange foods; although I have had salmonella twice so don’t heed that advice…. find the local Mcdonalds and always eat there or pack Taytos and Pot Noodles.

Be kind but don’t tolerate ignorance or assholery, those bastards need to be called out on it.

Experiment with make-up and do crazy stuff to your hair, you are young enough to get away with it.

Sleep, sleep and sleep and sprawl in your bed alone and unfettered.


Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything in the comments below!


True Romance

I do! I do! I do!

October 5, 2015

In retrospect, the build up to the wedding referendum last May missed out on one very valuable marketing tool… we will have the most amazing, flamboyant weddings to go to! There would have been a 100% YES vote if we could all have attended a big, gay wedding… even Breda O’Brien would have thrown in her flannel teatowel for a rainbow one.

I had such an honour last Saturday the 3rd of October 2015 when I attended the wedding of Patrick Ryan and Sean Lundy. These guys met 18 years ago on Christmas Eve in The George.

12088177_772965459496892_6651836605178444606_nI have never hidden my atheist light under a bushel but it was my first time to attend a humanist ceremony. I am normally bored to tears in a church bending , kneeling, sitting and listening to an old “celibate” man profess to know something about marriage and the couple involved. I will admit to spending my time rolling my eyes or checking twitter. The whole shabang-a-lang (™ Carla Brady) was held at Dunboyne Castle and the room where the vows were exchanged was intimate and lit softly with fairy lights. Patrick was escorted down the aisle by his proud mammy, followed a minute later by Sean with his. The air was charged with emotion and the room erupted several times with whoops and clapping; the grooms were relaxed with Patrick even waving at guests from time to time. The celebrant was a young girl called Eveanne O’Meara from Marry Me Ireland and could have presented a show on TV with her charm and humour. I actually thought she was a friend of the couple as there was a real familiar relationship between them. We escaped with only one entendre moment when Eveanne asked one of them to slip the ring on his finger and a roar of laughter broke out as the older members mouthed “what happened? to each other. Instead of prayers and hymns, there was Xanadu and stories of how the guys met and overcame a long distance romance (Limerick to Dublin)… secrets were spilled but by the end of the ceremony when “I do, I do, I do” played we all had aching faces from smiling and I slipped my hand in my husband’s and felt like all Lennon’s imagines were possible.

12138339_10156080563310484_9195408322280366940_oPhotos were taken on the steps and we shouted sex instead of cheese because all wedding norms had been flung aside with wild abandon and we were going to go wild… there was a promise in the air (and prosecco on tap). There was no bride or bridesmaids to cosset and admire… although we all admired the grooms who were dressed immaculately. I did suggest to some beautifully dressed male friends of Patrick’s…( Dave (No bins in the stockroom please) O’Sullivan) to start a Queer Eye For the Straight Guy show in Ireland, starting with my husband who had refused to wear a tie and tried to escape the house with grey socks and navy trousers. He’s lucky he’s so damn hot (still on my wedding love buzz).

12106977_10153375219163138_1438841948584760840_nAll of my work gals were there and looking amazing .. we had been planning our outfits for weeks so we used the interim to admire each other while berating ourselves… “ah no, look at my belly it’s bulging even with the control pants” (Funny story, when I was getting ready in the hotel room I asked Ossie would he do me a favour… he looked apprehensive and I asked could he reach down the back of my dress and pull my corset up tucking in any visible back fat. To his credit, he did all the while murmuring women). I was channeling Doris Day and Cyndi Lauper’s lovechild and Amy Lynch was a little more respectful to the 1950s housewife vibe (bar the piercings). There were a lot of fabulous knockers on display with Margaret Graham taking the gold and Nicky Byrne and Therese Slevin bringing up the rear (figuratively… I’m drowning in puns)… there was even a knicker “forgetting” incident that made us nervous for the dancing later (you know who you are). Some more prosecco was had and the social smokers began their night’s work.

giphy (16)The table settings had a musical theme… Grease, Chicago etc; I was at the Hello Dolly table.. a little disappointing only because I haven’t seen this one but it is now on my list!

I was sitting next to my husband and the beautiful Carla who was blinging in sequins. There was wine and fabulous food… which I won’t go into… (I’m a demolisher and not an describer of food … I’ll leave that to Catherine McAndrew who uses adjectives like divine and to die for in relation to salad (suffice to say it was yummy)) so I was blissing out as it was. So far, so traditional till I noticed that there were tambourines on the table and suddenly the opening theme tune of Superman began… and we all leapt to our feet as the grooms ran into the room, arms outstretched like the superheroes they are to a standing ovation and that’s when things suddenly got very gay. 12108760_10153338799189842_8643214053408287769_nYMCA began and we all became a synchronised mob of dancers… a crappy flash mob that did too much cheering and laughing to have any sync at all. Patrick and Sean led from the front like George Michael and Andrew Ridgely circa ‘86. This mania was followed with the speeches; the best men speeches which were fittingly hilarious, touching and shaming. 12105758_10153338799309842_3016718368128404364_nSean is a die hard Madonna fan and his best man, Richard went above and beyond the call of duty making him a Madonna balloon animal which was grotesque yet admirable. Patrick’s best man David showed a video time-lining them as kids, teenagers and eventually as a couple that had my meticulous make up run into my cleavage. I can’t tell you the amount of times we all felt compelled to jump out of our seats and bang a tambourine… it was akin only to religious fanaticism. The boys made heartfelt speeches and what hit me hardest was their love and gratitude for that unsung hero, the Irish mammy. I can but dream of a moment like that in my future and I don’t know if I could bear the disappointment of the 3 of mine being straight.

12080121_10156080548450484_7158194939441594926_oThe entertainment was kicked off by Veda Beaux Reves who wrapped things up with a spectacular Shake it Off that had the grooms doing fabulous things with swathes of fabric…. tambourines were shook to within an inch of their lives. At this point I was repeating a mantra of “please o please let me be a gay man in my next life”.

12088162_10153114937246080_6514231977881159798_nNext Spring Break took to the stage and I spent the next hour or so swimming in a sea of fabulous 80s-ness… I couldn’t even take a pee break and you all know how much I pee as each song was better than the last. My shoes were kicked off and I Molly Ringwalled my way around the dance floor with some Ren footloosing thrown in. A highlight was I wanna Dance with Somebody and I interpretive danced the shit out of that…

12079991_10153122654683483_3492631938584831274_oThe boys appeared on stage and had a little dance with that band… they were now in their going away outfits.. blue jeans and shirts.

12043017_10153375903433138_9157973734350690214_n12118629_10153375903038138_2818674767434098864_nThen there was the DJ and I watched my dance-shy husband lead the girls in the Macarena, his days working in Jimmys in Kusadasi had paid off and I was never more proud.

Things get foggy here so excuse anything I’ve left out but we moved to the residents bar and I was struggling to stay awake and was dreaming of a bath and hotel robe…. this suggestion got Ossie moving and away from his drink. We retired for the night and put the robes to good use.


I NEED more gay weddings in my life and may start to hang out at gay bars, befriending established couples and finagling my way into their colourful lives… in the meantime, all my love to the happy couple and thank you for distracting this bored housewife…. next stop, my 40th!




Like Magazine

Back to School

October 1, 2015

It’s September and the kids are back to school. I for one welcome the routine that the start of the school year brings, but one thing I don’t welcome is the dreaded school-run.

Day one and I’m up at 6.30am. Showered, dressed, fully made up, I prepare fancy, healthy lunches for the kids and have a cup of tea before waking them. Everyone is mildly excited at what the new school year may bring, so the car journey is relatively calm. At the school I wave and smile at other parents and teachers as I settle the kids into their new classrooms. I get home and pat myself on the back for a job well done, tackle the washing up, and start on the evening’s dinner. I re-apply lipstick and collect the boys, taking in all their news and sharing the excitement that no homework brings.

keith-richardsNext day I wake up late and have to forgo the shower. I cover my unwashed hair with a threadbare cotton headband that makes me look like Keith Richards, throw on my mammy uniform of leggings + long vest + baggy jumper, and run around opening curtains and shouting “we’re late!”. I can’t think why, but the boys seem narky at this rude awakening, and the day begins with a few unpleasant exchanges. Lunch is thrown together while the kids eat breakfast, and as I wrestle the three of them into their respective uniforms I feel a sweat breaking out.

traffic_lightsI eventually get them all in their car seats, diffusing the tantrums when somebody wants my phone or one of them looks at, touches or bites one of his brothers. I leave the driveway to a soundtrack of screeching – my tyres and their wails. I realise I didn’t brush my teeth, so I pop some gum in my mouth, but one of them notices and a war erupts. I turn the radio up and convince myself we’ll make up for lost time when we get stuck behind a tractor or the temporary traffic lights that appear sporadically on the back roads during the year.

giphy (15)We pull up at the school late and bail out of the car, and if I could do an ‘80s cop show roll over the bonnet, I would. I put on my huge Jackie O sunglasses and avoid eye-contact with parents and teachers, hoping they’ll think I’m Aisling’s dowdy au pair. I drop off the two eldest and head for the playschool, a little less fraught, then it’s back in the car where I crank up the radio and audition for X Factor all the way home.

I get home and look at the dirty dishes, the pile of washing and the empty fridge, and I plod upstairs, defeated, and collapse onto my bed, waking to shower and collect my little men at 1pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm, dreaming of 2019 when they will all have the same school schedule… FOR A YEAR!

On day three the homework has started and it’s tough – 2nd class has upped its game. My 7 year old spends most of the time crying and trying to avoid his maths, so I give him the following problem: “If Conall spends 10 minutes doing his maths and 40 minutes whingeing about it, how long does it take Conall to do his homework?” He squeals laughing at this but I know it’ll be the same tonight, and every week-night, until roughly 2025.

article-2298032-18BB057C000005DC-55_634x600To do this thing right I have to get back into the mindset of when I was in school… but then again I had weekly detention for lates and mostly did my homework on Sunday night to the strains of Glenroe, or on Monday morning, copying whoever sat next to me. Perhaps I’m not the best example. Instead I will use Gwyneth’s mindset and wake at 6.30am every day (I won’t), having I laid out their ironed (nope) uniforms and prepared their lunches the night before (ha!). I will be a super-organised wonder woman and my school run will resemble something out of a Disney movie rather than a Quentin Tarantino one. These are my goals. Wish me luck!

Friday Frolics