Everyone seems to be doing a bit of regrouping at the moment. That’s what we do in January, isn’t it? To distract from the thicker waistlines and thinner wallets? 2017 is here and it’s a time for reflection, renewed hope and great intentions. Fair enough. Count me in.

People are going so far as to say that 2016 was the worst year in history. An exaggeration perhaps, but it’s hard not to focus on shootings, wars, continued terror threats, the political goings on in the UK and He Who Shall Not Be Named across the pond. It’s also hard to ignore the fact that iconic celebs seemed to drop like flies. It wasn’t all bad though, was it? Leo finally won an Oscar and Ireland beat the All-Blacks!

Before I close the door on the year that took Bowie, Prince, George, Snape and Leia, I’m going to do some reviewing and evaluating of my own. 2016 was pretty uneventful in terms of life events; no pregnancies, no births, no toilet training. It was all pretty calm really, when I wasn’t being prodded with a lightsaber or fishing a mangled My Little Pony from the loo. And with this calm came some insight. Let me share some little nuggets of wisdom that the past year has left me with.


1. Make your peace with the madness of the school run. This is your life now.

Just to be clear, my son is in his second year of primary school so it has taken me over a year to reach a relatively zen state regarding the school run. I spent the first year complaining about the parking, the abandoned cars, the darting children and the impact a drop of rain can have on the already infuriating proceedings. In the evenings I would regale my husband with illuminating tales of which side of the (‘dangerously narrow’) road I parked on, about how long it took, about how wet we got. He even pretended to listen and care.

This year, though, I’m over it. The shock to my system has passed. This is just how it is. I know now to have my coffee first and to expect it to take 45 minutes to deliver two small people a distance of 1km. Of course it will be chaotic; there are 500 students congregating in a school that was built to cater for 300. Of course your man will park there; he’s an idiot. I am over it.

2. Never be too afraid to give a fringe a second (or third) chance.

Prior to this one, I have had two fringes in my life. The first, I got just in time for my First Holy Communion. If you’re Catholic you’ll understand the importance of the First Holy Communion. If you are Catholic and Irish, you’ll know that houses get repainted, lawns get landscaped, professional caterers and photographers are hired for the occasion and people come to blows over bouncy castle bookings. It’s a big deal. Almost as big as a wedding. What was my mother thinking? Funnily enough the second time I decided to get a fringe was indeed for my WEDDING DAY! Why? The photos still make me cringe. It stood up in the wind. It was wispy and not at all cool. It got wet and stuck to my forehead. I decided to take the plunge again and it turns out that third time is a charm. This fringe – the fringe of 2016, I like.

3. Baby-led weaning is where it’s at, y’all!

For us, baby-led weaning was almost as much of a game changer as co-sleeping. I’m pretty sure the buck was shoveled baby rice at around four months. I was new to the game and I did what the pamphlets and the Public Health Nurse told me to do. I dabbled in BLW with the middle child but I didn’t fully commit. I was still pureeing and potting strange combinations of sweet and savory into tiny ice cube trays. With baby number three I went all in. I was liberated from de-seeding butternut squashes and pulverising fish stews and it was fantastic! It was messy, it took a while to get off the ground and I got plenty of raised eye-brows and gasps from the non-believers but it really worked for our busy family. From the get-go she ate what we ate and the blender stayed in its box. I’m not sure why I haven’t blogged about it yet but I will. Soon.

4. The rain in Spain does not fall mainly on the plain.

As Irish people, we are used to rain. As Irish people, we consider rain on our sun holiday to be just about as insulting as not qualifying for the Eurovision. Weighing up the possibility of rain against the financial savings of going abroad in early May is a wise move.

Rain in Spain

To be fair, we were particularly unlucky with the Spanish weather on our summer holiday in 2016. We visited a lovely campsite near Tarragona on the Costa Dorada but we were too early to the party. The campsite wasn’t operating its full summer schedule of activities. And we were cold. And we got rained on quite a bit. When you’re sitting inside a mobile home watching re-runs of Deal or No Deal listening to the rain bounce rhythmically off the metal roof, you know you’ve not beaten the system. Lesson learned.

5. Staying at home full-time is HARD. But fabulous. But HARD.

Last year I made the decision to take extended leave from work and stay at home until my youngest turns two. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but it’s the right one for us for now.

I don’t have a glamorous job. I’m a teacher so the adjustment wasn’t huge. Three and four-year-olds aren’t unlike teenagers in some ways, after all. And I have better coffee at home. A power-suited corporate type though? That might be different entirely.

I get asked ‘how I’m finding it at home’ a lot. I am exhausted. I have aged; my hair is greying and the fringe hides new wrinkles. My house has taken punishment; walls have been written on and even more divots have been hacked out of the wooden floors. My evening conversations with Mr C. usually involve an inane round-up of the kids’ daily activities with a sprinkling of school run drama.

I get asked if I miss working? I do. I miss the adult conversation. I miss having an actual break. I miss being able to finish a cuppa without having to wipe someone’s behind. And I genuinely like what I do so I miss not doing it. But I also love slowing down the pace a bit. It has been great and I appreciate how lucky I am to be at home with them. I’m seeing parts of their childhood that I may have otherwise missed and I’m grateful for that. What one loses in sanity and finance and dignity and homeware one must gain somewhere, right?

6. Moving out of your comfort zone is SCARY. But fabulous. But SCARY.

On September 1st, 2016 I hit ‘publish’ in WordPress for the first time. All I had written was a short piece in which I tried to convince myself that I could perhaps blog about my adventures and misadventures in parenting. You can read it here – my first ever blog post! I was safe though. Whilst it was out there, floating aimlessly around in cypberspace, nobody knew about it, so it didn’t really exist! I wrote a few more entries and threw myself into learning about the technical side of running a website and going self-hosted, all the while thinking, ‘I’m probably going to chicken out of this whole business any day now. It’s a fad.’ I’m a great woman for fads.

Two weeks later, I published a link to Shinners & the Brood on my personal Facebook page and made an awkward announcement that I had a started a blog. That was it. I was outed. It was, without a doubt, the scariest thing I’ve done since having children. The thought that actual live people who knew me might read it made me feel queasy but there was no going back. It was in that moment that I decided to stop caring what anyone thought. I decided that if I wanted to blog, then I would blog. People could take it our leave it and feck the begrudgers! (This aging business had made me more self-assured and cantankerous than I’d realised.) As someone who used to care a lot about other people’s opinion of me, this was a thrilling yet terrifying departure. I’m still surprised I did it to be honest.

Starting a blog

My initial fears were quickly abated and the response I got was wholly positive. Mr C. was 1oo% on board from the beginning, offering reassurance, pedantic grammar checks and most importantly, honesty. Friends and acquaintances were supportive and extremely encouraging. At least to my face! Even if people thought I was making an ass of myself, they didn’t say it. How kind they were.

The blog has grown, as has its audience and it’s still fun. Way-hey! So here we come, 2017. We are ready and optimistic about the year ahead.

Thanks to those of you who read and comment and to those who offer support in other ways. It has made my little blogging journey a really enjoyable one so far.

Happy 2017, one and all!


I’ve linked this post with…


 themumprojectBrilliant blog posts on HonestMum.comTwin Mummy and DaddyYou Baby Me Mummy

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The Pramshed


  1. Oh I know it’s mean of me but I love how terrible your holiday sounds ! Makes me feel better about how crap mine was. And isn’t that what blogging is all about? Keeping each other company through the crap ?!

    • Sinéad Reply

      Hah! Yes, I suppose it is! ???? What’s it they call that? Schadenfreude? You would have really loved a full review post then. There was a touch of the Fr Noel Furlongs about the whole business!

  2. Happy New Year my lovely. I really enjoyed reading this post. You did make me laugh about Catholics and First Holy Communions. My job until last year was teaching in a Catholic school in North London, so as you’d expect, I met a fair few Irish Catholics in the 12 years I taught there. Nicest people ever! I knew when I first read your blog there was something about you that made me ‘click’… you’re a teacher, you’re Irish, you’re Catholic. We were meant to virtually meet each other (not that I’m Irish or anything, more like French, but it’s almost the same, right?).

    I had the same experience as you re. baby-led weaning. I was told to go for it with my 4th baby, and I embraced it, mess and all!

    Where’s that photo of the new fringe by the way?

    • Sinéad Reply

      Ah! There ya go! Destined to be squad buddies! Perfect! Happy new year to you and yours! So glad you liked the post. I rambled a bit!

  3. Laughed out loud. You are making me rethink a house in dingle in may is not the right move!!!!!

    • Sinéad Reply

      And if you DON’T book it, it’ll be scorchio in May, no doubt! ????????

  4. Laughed out loud. You are making me rethink a house in dingle in may is not the right move!!!!!

  5. Brilliant! I laughed at your school run passage because even though Im not there yet, I’m a primary teacher so I totally get the frustration at the abandoned cars, the mad panic when there is a drop of rain and what about the feicing lollipop lady….I swear she has it in for me! Excellent look back and well done on all you achieved in 2016????

    • Sinéad Reply

      Lol Margaret! There’s enough to contend with in the morning without being turned on by the lollipop lady! Thanks for the lovely comment and congrats to you too. New bloggers unite! ????

  6. Well I for one am delighted you took the plunge in 2016 to brave the virtual world of blogging. I love sitting down with a cuppa to read your posts. I always come away with a new perspective on things…. looking forward to some more little nuggets of wisdom in 2017! Well Done x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Thanks so much, S! I still can’t really believe that anyone is bothered reading it! Haha. Thanks for all the encouragement and for being in my gang of muses! Lol… xxx

  7. Happy New Year! Totally with you on BLW. We didn’t even bother with puree, I just liked the sound of BLW and I’m convinced it’s the way forward! Whose idea was puree anyway!?
    I didn’t know your blog was so new! You started just before me. You’re doing great! 🙂 I thought you’d been here forever. I haven’t yet taken the leap of faith – none of my family (aside from my husband) or friends know about my blog. It’s my secret between me and all the lovely people I’ve ‘met’ online. Maybe I’ll be brave enough one day!

    • Sinéad Reply

      Oh my goodness, haven’t you? I bet they would all be behind you and your lovely blog 1oo%. But it might be nice to have a little secret online life at the same time? Totally get that! Love chatting to people who started around the same time as me – there’s still SOOO much I don’t know/understand about the blogging world but I’m enjoying figuring it out slowly! x

  8. Hi Sinead, taking those summer hols early is always a gamble. We see it here, some years the weather can be perfect, but other years not so, and I feel for the poor sods walking around in their holiday gear underneath a black bin bag (having not thought to bring a raincoat!).

    You were brave sharing your blog on FB so early on. It took me nearly two years to summons up the nerve, and as you noted, the response on the whole was positive.


    • Sinéad Reply

      Ending up in Zakynthos in the rain would be too much for a lot of people to cope with, I’d imagine! I’ve never been to Greece and it’s the one place I would love to visit. Still actually can’t imagine what it would be like to live in that kind of climate! Wow.

  9. Sarah (Mum x3x) Reply

    Haha, I don’t think I’ll ever get use to the school run and I’ve been doing it 10 years LOL! I do not enjoy the school run at all, haha. It’s just… CHAOS! Utter chaos. I need to embrace it though… At some point, haha. Starting a blog IS scary, I’m not sure if anyone I know in person actually reads my blog (the thought still scares me even now). you have a lovely blog and I have gained yourself a new follower! 🙂 xx (found Via That Friday Linky)

    • Sinéad Reply

      I reckon my zen-ness may not last 1o years, Sarah but for now I’ll go with it! Lol. Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely comment and for following! Happy 2017 to you and your three! 🙂

  10. Happy new year! I always find that it doesn’t matter what time we wake in the mornings, the school run is always a rush! I’m assuming this doesn’t get easier? Haha! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

    • Sinéad Reply

      Emily, if someone told me it did I would kiss them and give them all of my money!

  11. Great Round Up! Motherhood seem to change everything doesn’t it – but for the better of course. Oh! & The Rain… tell me about it! lol! Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost xx

    • Sinéad Reply

      Yes. Ahem. For the better! Absolutely! 😉 I do seem to have quite a gripe about rain in general in that one! ????

    • Sinéad Reply

      Lol. Until it grows out and my hairdresser goes on maternity leave. Then I’m back to square one! 🙂

  12. The school run is always a nightmare with me always late kids just don’t listen haha! Lovely post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

    • Sinéad Reply

      It was lovely to have a little break from it over the holidays, wasn’t it? Back in the thick of it now though. See you next week!

    • Sinéad Reply

      Thanks! It’s the biz, isn’t it! Hope 2017 is good to us! 🙂

  13. Haha my husband is the same – reads my blog, loves it but texts me with “pedantic grammar checks” lol! I was really scared to out my blog – I kept it away from my personal facebook for months but everyone I know has been very supportive which has been great! Love this post and glad to discover your blog – looking forward to reading more #stayclassymama

    • Sinéad Reply

      Thanks Sarah! The husbands are handy to have around in fairness. I’m often shocked at the typos and grammar errors I miss! I guess we can go a bit cross-eyed reading and rereading a post! Thanks for reading and for the lovely comment!

  14. HAHAH I laughed out loud at number two. I have a love-hate relationship with a fringe, every time I get one I regret it, but then I miss it later. I had a fringe cut in again last year and sure enough, I HATE it!! I’m now growing it out but it’s in that ridiculous inbetween stage, I need to learn my lesson! Thank you for linking with #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Sinéad Reply

      Fringes: when they’re good, they’re very, very good. But when they’re bad, they’re horrid! 😉

  15. Fab post! So happy I got to discover your post today! Baby-led weaning, I have not tried yet. Too scared of it all!! ???? I love fringes, but where is it ! And you are so right about SAHM, it is hard but the best job ever! Always ! #Blogstravaganza

    • Sinéad Reply

      Ah thanks for reading. I treated the good people of Instagram to a gander at the bangs! Lol. Totally recommend BLW for baba no 2! 😉

  16. Yes Fringe drama, I’m 100% with you on that one. When I don’t have one, I miss it but when I do have one, I loathe it! Glad it was third time lucky for you. I have a sort of half thingy fringey thing going on at the moment that I’m forever regretting & pinning back. Loved this post! #blogstravaganza

    • Sinéad Reply

      Thanks for checking out the post. Who knew fringes had the potential to cause so much drama, eh! 🙂

  17. Ah the school run! I’ve only done one term, I’m glad to hear that you can grow to accept it eventually! #Blogstravanganza

    • Sinéad Reply

      I’m not left with much of a choice really, Kerry! 2017 is the year for learning to accept the things we cannot change and all that mallarky! 😉

    • Sinéad Reply

      You really don’t want to see the first one! Trust me. Lol. And a short communion dress to boot. And white sandals over socks. Yes, so, so wrong! : /

  18. I really enjoyed this post. I can totally relate to the school run thing. Thankfully, I am now in the final year of having to endure it. Next year the youngest will walk to secondary school with her big sister. Freedom at last! I hope you have a better summer holiday this year and most of all, I wish you a successful year of blogging #MMBC x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Oh my, Lisa! The end is in sight for you. All grown up. Thanks for reading. Yes, lets hope that it’s a good year for blogging and sun! 🙂

  19. I can totally relate to staying at home being hard but two years will fly by. I have lots of fond memories of sitting in the park with friends and their toddlers which I wouldn’t swap for anything 🙂


    • Sinéad Reply

      I know Catherine. To be fair, I’m often doing something lovely and I think about what I could be doing at work. Definitely trying to enjoy it all and appreciate the slower pace and the time with them. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  20. I’m just popping back from #Blogstravaganza! I’m a SAHM too and I totally get you! It is really hard, my house has also taken a battering and I often long for adult conversation. I agree though, for us and for now it’s the best thing and I wouldn’t change it! Thanks so much for linking up, it would be great to see you again next week x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Good luck with #Blogstavaganza! Well done for getting a new linky off the ground. Total admiration. See you next week!

  21. Rain on the annual Summer holiday is never received well is it?! I’m with you on the fringe, I got mine back just last month and still loving it, makes the “just about had time to grab a bobble to throw my hair up with” look a bit better too! I work 4 days a week and I was almost skipping out the door back to the office after the Christmas holidays, so hats off to you, I only come to work for a break 😉 Of course 2nd week back and I’m already counting down to my next batch of time off though.

    • Sinéad Reply

      I would have gladly gone to work for a week or two. Feels like my head has been full of noise for weeks! Lol. All is calmer now, thankfully. At least until 1.30! I love the sound of a four day week. In my job it isn’t possible. Hope you have a big red marker to strike off the days on your calendar! I am VERY much like that when I’m at work!

  22. What a great year (apart from the rain on holiday). I’m glad you had such a good experience ‘coming out’ on Facebook, I haven’t dared make the plunge yet ????

    • Sinéad Reply

      Sometimes I wonder if I should have, Alana but I guess it’s done now! Haha.

  23. Iappw new year to you!
    Brilliant post which made me smile. Yes it is time to embrace the madness of the school run. It will be there for the next decade or more so you have to give in to it!!
    I was with you on baby led weaning. First time round I was drowning in puree add guilt. Second time round it was BLW and it was so much easier. Once you accept the mess!
    Nice to meet you – #Mmbc

    • Sinéad Reply

      Gah! A decade. Yes, you are right. Well then. Aren’t I glad I’ve stopped complaining about it. Kind of! Nice to meet you too – I think I’ve see you around Twitter! 🙂

  24. I can’t believe that you’ve only been blogging since September! You seem to be such a professional – I thought you’d been at it for years! It’s so scary making the announcement and revealing your blog to your nearest and dearest isn’t it? I still cringe when people I know in “real life” tell me that they’ve read one of my posts. It sounds like you totally nailed 2016. I’m totally with you on the baby led weaning too – we did it with our second and it was a complete game changer. Wishing you every success for the year ahead lovely. Thanks for linking up to #DreamTeam x

    • Sinéad Reply

      Dawn, thank you so much for the lovely compliment! I don’t really know what to do with it! Lol. Much appreciated. xx 🙂

  25. Sounds like 2016 wasn’t bad at all for you – well apart from all the stuff that should not be named, I agree there’s some exaggeration going on there, but hey ho. Wishing you all the best for 2017 and thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

    • Sinéad Reply

      Thanks Stephanie, and you! Yup, 2016 wasn’t bad on a personal level at all. 🙂

  26. Well done on finding some wisdom out of the year the world went mad! GHDs were for me the thing that turned fringes around! I always loved fringes but couldn’t have them myself because they would never go quite straight & would turn insane in rain. But then came the GHDs! #PoCoLo

    • Sinéad Reply

      A world gone mad indeed! It’s it just HILARIOUS that we managed to make it through our teens without GHDs! Thank goodness there weren’t mobile phones either – at least there’s not much evidence!

  27. Great post – totally relate to your number 5. This is by far my hardest job ever!! That said – the idea of going back to work later this year makes me a little queasy! Anyway – Happy New Year!! #PoCoLo

    • Sinéad Reply

      I know. Me too! I’m back in September but trying not to start thinking about it until very late August! 🙂

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