Monday, 21 December 2015


THERE IS absolutely no diplomatic way to say this: Christmas work parties are a minefield.

When I worked for a newspaper, there were two each year. One was the lunch for the department where I worked. The other was a night out for all the staff.
             In a busy paper, which had a morning and evening edition, not to mind a Sunday one, a full advertising department, accountants, administration and printers (feeling old!) that was a lot of people. I never attended the whole staff party. The lunch was enough.
             It wasn't that I didn't get on with the people with whom I worked. On the contrary, they were great. I just didn't eat with them every day. One year I found myself sitting right beside my boss. She was vegetarian. I ordered the vegetarian meal, for fear of putting her off her food.
            But at least with a Christmas lunch, there is less chance of somebody drinking too much and letting everyone know exactly what they think.
There is also less chance of a wardrobe malfunction.
           This, admittedly, is one which more women than men, fall foul. Because there is a direct link between the amount of effort you put into your outfit and what can go wrong on the night.
           A good friend had her Christmas 'do' last week. She wore a smart, sassy trouser suit with heels. She felt great. Until, as she was walking into the restaurant with her colleagues, one of them asked her what the black lacy thing was, poking out of the end of a trouser leg.
          Bending down, she pulled out a pair of black lacy undies. Not the ones that she'd been wearing. But a pair that had managed to go through the wash with the trousers, and become entangled. She hadn't noticed them as they slowly worked their way down a leg.
          I had a similar recent near miss. At my book club Christmas night out, we gathered in a local gastro pub. The place buzzed with huge groups of twenty-somethings, all attending seasonal parties. After the meal, I excused myself and headed for the loos, tucked away at the back of the dining area.
         Before I came back, I took a moment to check my makeup (intact), my hair (passable) and my clothes. I was wearing a favourite black and white, knee-skimming floaty skirt. Wintery, yet incredibly light to wear.
        I re-emerged into the tiny area that separates the loos from the restaurant, pushed open the door to walk out, and found myself being yanked back by the arm.
I stared, stunned, at the young woman doing the yanking.
           'Your skirt,' she whispered, pointing. I reached around, to discover I'd tucked my floaty skirt into my tights.
           'Thanks,' I muttered, tugging it out. I tried not to look mortified. She shrugged.
           I walked down through the restaurant, now feeling incredibly self conscious. At a long table near the door, I caught the woman's eye. Would I be the butt of a joke - no pun intended - shared over their meal, I wondered? But nobody else even glanced in my direction. She gave me a discreet wink.
           Then I remembered: season of goodwill to all men.
           And women.

Happy Christmas from Dublin, for those who celebrate. And for those who don't, here's hoping you enjoy some good times with family and friends over the holidays.
Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this page). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,

Friday, 18 December 2015


THERE'S only a week to go, and if you're anything like me, you've left an awful lot to the last minute!
If you get a chance, pour yourself a hot brew and pop over to Romance Readers Club #CoffeeBreakReads, where Going Against Type is featured today.

This Irish romantic comedy is on sale for the Christmas holidays, at just 99c or 99p on #Amazon, depending on which side of the pond you're on.
I'll be posting my last Christmas-themed blog for the year on Monday, December 21. Meanwhile, here's those Amazon links.

Happy reading,
Hugs and xx Sharon.
AMAZON UK:    99p

Monday, 7 December 2015

*#Christmas #shopping and the Ostrich approach.*

THE YOUNGER members of the family have started their Christmas shopping. Started, and finished, may I add.
The eldest likes shopping about as much as I do, so it was done with grim determination after her part-time job finished one afternoon.
She rang me to ask what everyone wanted. Then she rang my mother to ask what I wanted. She's nothing if not methodical.
The middle one headed off on the train into town yesterday. She made heavy weather of having to brave the crowds, and arrived home almost three hours later.
        'Grafton Street looks like Christmas threw up in it,' she said, as she staggered through the door. I get the feeling she enjoyed every minute.
The youngest has written his list for everyone, but hasn't actually got around to buying anything yet. There's two things holding him back. The first is time. The boy never seems to have any time. When he's not in school, he's doing homework, studying for those Christmas exams (regular readers will know that this is a bit of a worry for him, as he's just started senior school this year) or playing sport.
The second obstacle is money. He doesn't have any.
        'What happened to all your pocket money?' I ask.
        'Gone.' He doesn't expand. I'm not overly worried. He doesn't get a lot. And he has to earn it by doing jobs. Which suits me, because I'm completely disorganised, and I'd get nothing done without help.
         'But it's okay, because I have an idea. I'll make you a deal,' he says.
         'What's the deal?'
         'You give me the money to do my Christmas shopping. I'll pay you back afterwards with jobs.'
Sounds fair.
          'I'll be free next Saturday. For about two hours. Do you think you could give me a lift to the shopping centre?'
I agree to be his taxi driver.
Thing is, I haven't even thought about Christmas shopping yet. As usual, I'm in denial. When faced with the mayhem of December, I do award-winning impersonations of an ostrich.
Meanwhile, the college student, the middle one and the boy have all written their Santa letters. The boy even wrote his 'as Gaeilge' this year. Which is fine, because as everyone knows, Santa speaks every language. Even Irish.
And, as the boy pointed out one Christmas, there was no need to rush around, stressed, coming up to the big day.
Santa takes care of everything.

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,

Monday, 30 November 2015

New #review posted today

AFTERNOON, all. It's evening time here in Dublin and the day has been dark and drizzly. So, I decided to cheer myself up by posting this review in full. It appeared over the weekend on author Jennifer Young's blog (if you look back, you'll see that I posted the link yesterday).

Here is the full post from Jennifer's blog: 

Thinking about books: Going Against Type
I never did like star systems. How do they work? If you give a book five stars it has to be perfect, right? So if there’s one tiny thing that irritates you, do you have to take off a star?

Sorry, I’m a bit niggly in the wake of my worst-ever review, marked down (heavily) for a couple of things I did deliberately in book 1 to allow for plot development in book 2. Writing’s a long road and bad reviews are the potholes in it. In fairness the criticism was constructive so I won’t complain. You live and learn.

After that, I needed a laugh and I found it in Sharon Black’s Going Against Type. It’s clever, it’s witty and it’s beautifully written. Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is a sports reporter, sole woman in an office full of men. Derry Cullinane is a fashion journalist, sole man in an office full of women. Skilfully set up to begin with, the pace escalates as their relationship develops in real life while, professionally, they engage in a raging weekly row through their (anonymous) columns in their respective newspapers. 

There are no real plot twists but the book doesn't need them. It’s inevitable that they’re going to find out at some point that they’ve been abusing each other in print and the skill is in the writing — in setting up their meetings and balancing that against their professional fallouts. When will they find out? What will happen when they do? And it doesn’t disappoint. I loved the Dublin setting, I revelled in the writing and I even fell a little bit in love with the hero. That doesn’t happen often.

I had a couple of niggles, because no book is perfect. I thought there were too many minor characters flitting in and out, most of them not actually moving the plot on at all; and I’m not entirely sure the dilemma between their personal relationship and professional vendetta was satisfactorily resolved, but maybe that’s because I was so keen to find out what happened that I read on long after I was too tired to concentrate.  

If I gave stars I would have given this five, so Sharon Black can be quietly annoyed with me for cheating her of that, though I suspect (I haven’t checked) that she’ll have plenty of 5* reviews already. Lucky her.

You can find Going Against Type on the Tirgearr Publishing website. You can also find A Portrait of my Love there, to see if you really think it deserves just 2.5 stars. 

Bitter? Moi? Never.


  1. Great to see your review of this, Jennifer, as Sharon's book has been on my kindle for a while and is one I've yet to read! Sorry to see that star rating of your novel - all par for the course though and the best thing is to ignore it. Especially never ever respond to this kind of review! Haven't read yours yet either so can't comment on it yet. However, it raises a point I feel strongly about - if I can't give a book a 4 or 5 star rating, I wouldn't review it at all. I'd rather be supportive of other writers.
  2. Hi Rosemary - thanks for commenting. No, I've never given anything less than a 4* when I review either, for the same reason. Reviewing is becoming fraught with difficulties, but I find that just discussing a book is remarkably liberating. :)
  3. Morning Jennifer,
    Sorry I'm only discovering all this today. But if this is what happens when I take a day away from social media, I'll have to do it more often!!
    Thank you so much for reviewing Going Against Type. I found your review interesting and insightful.
    And I'm really looking forward to seeing what you review next.
    I've posted the link on my own blog today (This Funny Irish Life).
    Happy Sunday. x
    1. Hi Sharon - thanks for dropping by. I just enjoyed your book - simple as that. You made me smile. :)
  4. Great review Sharon! Congrats. Daithi
    1. Well, it is a fabulous book! :)

      Thanks again for reviewing, Jennifer. You'll find Jennifer's books at Tirgearr Publishing and all e-book stores.

      Have a good week, everyone.
      Sharon. xx

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Cheery morning from drizzly Dublin. Delighted to take part in the 20 Questions for Romance Readers Club today.
Pasting in the link:
For more information, check out:



xx Sharon.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

#Guest #blog reposted on my site today.

Many thanks to wonderful author Pamela Thibodeaux for having me on her blog last Saturday. Posting the link again and pasting the guest blog here:

Good Morning!

I'm a little late posting today but as they say, better late than never. Right?

Today's guest is new to our blog, so please welcome, Sharon Black!
SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and did post-graduate in journalism. She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner. Sharon has had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.  

When not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy. 

She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

Find out more about Sharon by visiting her Blog and connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter!

Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is...

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings. 

When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?


In this excerpt, my heroine, Charlotte has been invited to a dinner party. Here, she’s introduced to Derry Cullinane – the man she briefly met at The Galway Races, when he tread heavily on her foot!

Charlotte smiled nervously as Fiona fussed around her. 
  ‘How many people are you having?’ she whispered.
  ‘Oh there’s ten of us altogether. You’ll love them. I’ve put you sitting next to a friend of Jack’s. Actually, you might know him, he’s a journalist but not a sports writer. Cone in and I’ll make the introductions.’
Great, she is matchmaking. Charlotte sighed inwardly as Fiona led her toa  tall, dark haired man who stood with his back to them, chatting to the three other women in the room. They seemed to be mesmerized. 
The man turned as he heard Fiona. Oh good grief, Charlotte thought. It’s Panama Hat Man. She found herself blushing as Fiona steered her into the man’s line of vision. 
A slow, amused smile of recognition spread across his face. Brown eyes locked hard with green. Okay Charlotte, play it cool. With a show of dignity, she looked away. 
  ‘Everyone, this is my old school friend, Charlotte Regan. Charlotte, this is Clare, Tina and Rosemary.’ 
Charlotte smiled and shook the other women’s hands, quickly memorizing their names, acutely aware of the man’s attention.
  ‘And Derry Cullinane,’ Fiona said. Almost reluctantly, Charlotte met his gaze again, forcing herself to breathe normally. She smiled politely and extended her hand. Derry held it a fraction longer than necessary. 
  ‘Tiny hands too,’ he murmured. Charlotte flushed.
  ‘How’s your foot?’ he asked, releasing her hand but holding her gaze. 
  ‘Oh, do you already know each other?’ Fiona asked, looking slightly puzzled. 
  ‘No,’ said Charlotte, quickly.
  ‘We met at the Galway Races,’ Derry said at the same time. An image of the peroxide blonde woman popped into Charlotte’s head. 
  ‘Can I leave you for a minute? I must check on things in the kitchen.’ Fiona briefly squeezed Charlotte’s hand and left. Charlotte glanced quickly about, hoping to engage with the other women but to her frustration she found that they’d drifted away. Leaving her with this egotistical…
  ‘So as an experiment, do you think we’ll work?’ Derry said, interrupting her thoughts.
  ‘Um, will what work?’
He shot her an arrogant smile. 
  ‘Fiona’s matchmaking attempt. Either Cupid will be on target or we’ll end up throwing bread rolls at each other.’
Charlotte gritted her teeth.
  ‘I’m a crack shot with a bread roll.’

Sounds like a good story! Get your copy today and find out.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

#Christmas Exams? It was so simple when they were small!

THE youngest arrives home from school in high dudgeon.

              'Do you know what Christmas means, Mum?' he asks. I pause. The boy is 12 and a half now, so I got the distinct impression that it was a rhetorical question.
              'Christmas exams!' He glares at me, as if I were at fault.
              'Yeah, well, that's normal sure,' I start to say, at the same time noticing the subtle shift. He just started in secondary (high school) this year and up until now, any exam was a 'test'. Somehow, the word 'test' is a lot less scary than 'exam'.
               'Normal?' he repeats. 'I have eleven subjects! That's eleven exams. How am I going to shove all that information into my head?'
I am about to say that he's doing all right at that last bit. He seems to enjoy information; it's the way study is presented that's the problem.
               'You probably know a lot of it already,' I say, watching for his reaction. He brightens.
               'I probably do,' he agrees. Ah, the wonderful self-belief of children. But I'm not out of the woods yet.
               'So, if you're learning something, test yourself on the questions in the book.'
               'I'm not writing anything down,' he says. I shake my head, as if the very idea were shocking.
               'Of course not. Just say it out.'
He seems satisfied with that.
               'I miss nativity plays,' I say, throwing that out for what it's worth. 'When you were all little, you always had your school nativity plays.' I smile at the boy. 'I remember your first one. You were the donkey.'
He groans.
              'That meant I spent the whole play crawling along on the ground wearing a donkey suit. Embarrassing!'
Could have been worse, I remember. It was a toss up between that and the cow.
               'How long do you plan to study each day?' the eldest asks.
               'About ten minutes, I suppose,' he says. We all look at him. Yep, he seems to be serious.
The eldest barely resists rolling her eyes.
               'He's delusional,' she says, later.
               'He's 12,' I remind her.
               'All the same, I think you should be encouraging him to work for these exams. I mean, it's fine when he's in Montessori, telling him that he's the best donkey you'd ever seen. That sort of Irish mammy belief isn't going to cut it now.'
             'He was the best donkey I'd ever seen.' I hold up my hand before she could say anything else. 'Do you know why he was such a good donkey?'
              'He was the right size for the costume?'
              'He did exactly as he was supposed to do. The previous year, the donkey told Mary to hurry up. Donkeys don't talk.'
She stares at me.
              'What does that prove?'
              'It means he'll figure this out too.'
Another disbelieving stare. I sigh.
Roll on Christmas.

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

#Scarecrows & #Pumpkins: A Dublin #Halloween.

A BLOOD spattered butcher stands outside his shop, an axe in one hand, a gruesome looking head in the other. At his feet are severed, bloody hands.
It is, by far, the most frightening scarecrow in our village's annual Scarecrow & Pumpkin Festival. And like all the other newcomers in the village, he appeared just in time for the schools' mid-term break.
Each year, all the shop owners participate during the run up to Halloween, in a bid to win the €500 cash prize for the best scarecrow.
Last Sunday, mocking the onset of Winter, a warm sun shone in a bright blue sky, as I strolled through the village with my younger girl and the boy.
'Cool!' exclaimed the boy, reaching out to touch the horrible head. Its eyes flashed and a strange cackling made his teenage sister jump. 'Did you see that?' he demanded, delighted with himself.
Not all the scarecrows are terrifying, of course. Some are quite funny. Like the wonderfully tall fellow who stands outside the local pub, a pint of stout in one hand, the other politely showing the way to the door. A permanent smile on his giant pumpkin face.
Each business strives to produce a scarecrow that represents them. Outside our little bookshop sits a pencil, its severed head stuck to its chest. The hardware, which sells everything from paint to plants, sports a man made entirely of brightly painted pots, complete with growing green hands and feet.
And until Samhain has safely passed for another year, pizza loving locals must negotiate the zombie chef, that stands guard outside one of the local eateries.
Our terrific vet is always fun and imaginative. One year, his scarecrow was a canine vet, dressed in white, about to operate. This year, there's a 'Cops 'n Robbers' theme: a cat burglar, in black and white stripes, scales the wall, as a guard dog looks on.
As we walk back through the village for home an hour later, my daughter shakes her head at the butcher's scarecrow.
'That's so wrong,' she says, taking care to walk on the outside of the footpath. Her younger brother smirks.
'Mum says you were afraid of the vacuum cleaner when you were younger. You're just sad!'
She gives me an indignant look. I smile and shrug.
That's the thing about Halloween.
Like everything else in life, scary is all relative.
#Final few days of the #Halloween #SALE of my #Dublin romantic comedy, #GoingAgainstType.

#AmazonUSA: #99c
#AmazonUK: #99p

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


Morning everyone,
Gorgeous here in #sunny #Dublin. Yep, those two words are in the same sentence - and it's October here too, just like everywhere else!

Third stop today on the ‪#‎MyAddictionisReading‬ book review tour:

Drop over and have a look.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

New #Review @ The Travelogue of a #Book #Addict

It's Day 2 of ‪#‎MyAddictionisReading‬ Virtual ‪#‎review‬ blog tour, and I'm over at The Travelogue of a Book Addict. Am thrilled to get a 2nd wonderful review at this stop of the tour. Pasting it here with the link:

"This is a funny tale of a tug of war between 2 rival columnists who end up falling for each other unknowingly.
The beginning of the book reeled me in with the introduction of the heroine, Charlotte and her new column, Side Swipe. Her first article for it had me... grinning in delight with her sassy attitude. Then the hero, Derry entered the scene with his sarcastic reply in his column, The Squire. Their first war of words had me wanting more and eager to see its progess.
The articles by the protagonists were entertaining and fun. They had me reading the book faster and they kept me interested in their love story. Then they met in person and the sparks flew!Characterwise, Charlotte delighted me with her tom boyish tendencies. I loved seeing her vulnerability when she was trying to woo Derry with her feminine wiles. She was my favourite of all the characters. Derry managed to disgust me with his play boy behaviour at the beginning. Then his softer side came out to play which had me liking him better. The story behind his attitude made me fall for him more towards the end. As for the supporting cast, the story wouldn't have made it without them.
The romance was just done right. It wasn't very heavy and at the same time managed to convey their like and chemistry. As for the humour, the book is full of small incidents which had me laughing under my breath.
Overall, the book made me enjoy their love story interspersed with laughter and sadness. The book is full of engaging writing and I can see myself reading more of the author's work.

My one line review : A fun love story with engaging writing and humorous incidents.
My rating : 4/5
My reread factor : 4/5"

Monday, 5 October 2015


#MyAddictionisReading Virtual Review Tour kicks off today at The Coffeeholic Bookworm.
Thrilled with my first 4**** review of the week. Here's the link:

And here's the link to the interview with yours truly:

Sunday, 4 October 2015


SO, Y'KNOW when nothing terribly exciting happens for a while, and then somebody out there reads your book AND WRITES A REVIEW FOR AMAZON? Just discovered it a few minutes ago. Clare, whoever you are, thanks a million! It's copied below, along with the link.

by Claire on October 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
It's the battle of the anonymous.. Okay, that's a bad opening line. But this is the real deal.
Charlotte "Charlie" Regan writes under the name Side Swipe for a Dublin newspaper showcasing athletes and sports. She's given the job to do a column to air her no-holds barred opinions and advice about real sports without the touch of fashion industry. On the other hand, her contemporary, Derry of The Squire blatantly contradicts her words and no-fashion sense, thus creating word war with her. But these two columnists don't know each other and have no idea who the other one is.

The strange thing though, they are always bumping into each other and have even managed to feel something for one another. How would their future fare when Derry finally finds out that the Side Sweep writer he publicly hates is actually the woman he's about to fall in love with? And vice versa?

I certainly had a great time reading the sports/opinion columns these two main characters wrote for their respective papers. Their words were biting, engaging, funny and scathing, and as a reader, I would totally fall for their thoughts. They would totally have me thinking and even encourage me to have second thoughts. They're both witty, competent, amusing and charming. Thus giving me a great time perusing their story.

Author Sharon Black could very well be the next Sophie Kinsella or Meg Cabot, in my opinion.
She had me laughing and grinning until the end. She left me feeling satisfied yet also clamoring for another cute story. Hoping to read more from her soon!

All buy links:

See all Amazon Reviews:  

Friday, 2 October 2015


SUPER excited about my upcoming Virtual Review Blog Tour! Starting Monday, October 5, I'll be touring with my ‪#‎contemporary‬ ‪#‎romantic‬ ‪#‎comedy‬, ‪#‎GoingAgainstType‬, for a week.

Catch me on ‪#‎MyAddictionisReading‬ tour any time during the week. I'll post stops along the way.

Set against the backdrop of modern ‪#‎Dublin‬ newspapers, #GoingAgainstType is the sparkling story of 2 rival columnists who unknowingly fall for their arch enemy: each other.
Here's a quick EXCERPT:
Charlotte smiled nervously as Fiona fussed around her.
'How many people are you having?' she whispered.
'Oh there's ten of us altogether. You'll love them. I've put you sitting next to a friend of Jack's. Actually, you might know him, he's a journalist but not a sports writer. Come in and I'll make the introductions.'
Great, she is matchmaking. Charlotte sighed inwardly as Fiona led her to a tall, dark haired man who stood with his back to them, chatting to the three other women in the room. They seemed to be mesmerized.
The man turned as he heard Fiona. Oh good grief, Charlotte thought. It's Panama Hat Man. She found herself blushing as Fiona steered her into the man's line of vision.
A slow, amused smile of recognition spread across his face. Brown eyes locked hard with green. Okay Charlotte, play it cool. With a show of dignity, she looked away.

‪#‎Free‬ Sample Chapters/All Buy Links:

Monday, 21 September 2015


BLAME the explosion of foodie programmes on TV. The cacophony of celebrity chefs, vying for attention across the airwaves.
Or the recent recession, when we retreated to our kitchens to perfect our pasta and dazzle with our desserts.
Baking hasn't been this cool since the invention of the food mixer. And not just among Stepford hopefuls. Everyone, it seems, wants a slice of the culinary action.
In our family, it's the youngest. For him (he's quick to point out that all the 'best chefs' are men!) the equation is very simple. He likes to eat. I refuse to buy sweet treats. Call me mean. I prefer to think I'm encouraging innovation. Just not mine. 
So the boy learned to bake. In a single summer, he went from zero to hero at the stove, churning out trayfuls of yummy stuff at a dizzying rate.
Many a morning, I would arrive down for breakfast just as a dozen muffins were being lifted from the oven. As for his shortbread, I freely admit I'm jealous.
When my children were little I used to bake two things: banana bread and shortbread. Banana bread was a no-brainer for somebody who didn't enjoy baking. The smug satisfaction of using up overripe fruit, that would otherwise be binned, was bettered by the fact that I could empty all the ingredients into a bowl AT THE SAME TIME and just mix for Ireland. Throw in a few chocolate chips and I was the best mammy on the street. According to my three adoring fans.
Shortbread took longer. Much longer. I would spend hours crumbling the mixture into perfect crumbs, then rolling it, cutting it, baking it. Willing it to be light. 
The boy can produce over two dozen melt-in-your-mouth shortbread in exactly 30 minutes. Far as I'm concerned, the job's his.
A friend of mine is a professional chef. She runs her own catering company, and from her modest kitchen, manages to turn out mouth watering food for vast numbers. My lack of baking prowess baffles her, although she's too nice to say it.
When her own 20-something daughter had a birthday last week, the fact that she lives abroad, didn't prevent her mother from making her a cake. When it was ready, she Skyped her and lit the candles!
Hundreds of miles away, her daughter 'blew' out her candles, while back home, her mother made sure they were extinguished. Then her mother cut the cake and took a bite.
'You eating my cake, Mum?' her daughter asked, laughing.
'It's delicious,' said her mum. 'Enjoy your night out with your boyfriend. I'll have your slice as well!'
When I tell one of my own daughters this story, she looks horrified.
'If I ever move abroad, you are Fedexing my cake to me for my birthday! I can't eat virtual food!'
'Yes love,' I say.
'And speaking of birthdays, you haven't forgotten that mine is next week, have you?'
'No, of course not.' I smile. Her gift is already bought.
'You know what I'd love? A huge three tier triple chocolate cake!' She starts to laugh at the expression on my face. But when you're a teenager, a birthday isn't complete without a cake.
I envision a new challenge for our junior chef.

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,

Friday, 14 August 2015


THE GARDA helicopter circled in the sky above the beach.
     'Look at that, Ma,' shouted a child. 'The cops are lookin' for robbers.'
The woman looked up and then out to where the helicopter seemed to be hovering.
     'Not unless they're trying to steal sand, love. Maybe there's somebody famous in town.'
The boy looked a bit disappointed, until somebody else spotted the problem. A couple out walking their dogs had become stranded on a sand bank, as the tide slunk in around them, completely cutting them off on their own little island.
Within minutes, a sizeable crowd had gathered on the nature reserve overlooking the beach.
     'Isn't that the great thing about mobile phones, all the same?' somebody said. 'You get stuck like that and you can call for help. In the old days, you woulda' drowned.'
     'People on the sand bank, do not attempt to move!' a Garda instructed via megaphone from the helicopter. A frisson of excitement rippled through the growing crowd.
     'God almighty, it's better than the telly,' one woman announced.
     'Lot better than video games,' said another, nodding to her children.
     'Wonder what they'll do now? Probably have to winch them up.' A man removed his bicycle helmet so he could get a better look.
Then a helicopter from the coastal rescue services came into view. There were cheers from the crowd. When the noise died down a little, somebody wondered aloud whether one helicopter would be able to fit the couple and their two dogs.
     'It doesn't look big enough. I reckon they'll have to take the people first, then come back for the dogs.'
This was met with a round of tutting and eye rolling.
     'You don't have a dog, then?' a young woman asked. 'They wouldn't just stay on the sand bank without their owners. They might do something stupid, like try to swim for it.'
     'You'd wonder why the dogs haven't done that already,' somebody else said. This was met with a few disparaging remarks. 'What?' he demanded. 'The water doesn't look that deep. And dogs are good swimmers.'
     'I agree with him,' came another voice. 'If it were me, I'd have just walked. Doesn't look deep at all. All this fuss.'
     'Ah for God's sake, there's a bloody good reason why the Garda helicopter is out and they've told the people not to move,' one woman said, clearly exasperated.
The first person and their dog were winched to safety, to another huge cheer.
'There's five grand just there,' one woman announced cheerfully. 'Every time that rescue crowd are called out, it's €5,000.'
A few minutes later, the helicopter made the return journey for the second person and his dog.
     'Another five grand,' the woman said.
The crowd stood for a few moments, watching the Garda helicopter leave. Sea water sloshed over the sand bank as the tide rose.
     'That's it then,' said one of the mothers. 
     'I want to see it again!' wailed a small child. Her mother smiled.
     'I'll buy you an ice cream instead.'
The child allowed herself to be brought away. A couple of teenagers stayed, waiting to see if anything else would happen. Finally they turned to leave.
     'Most exciting thing that's happened round here in ages.'

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,


Saturday, 8 August 2015


Hi all,

Guest Blogging today at The Contemporary Romance Café, thanks to USA bestselling author, Samantha Ann King.

If you get a chance, here's the link: 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

Sharon xx

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Lovely author Lj McEvoy posted this on Goodreads today. Sharing here:

A Fun Read Desperately Needed!
I bought this book because with a house move and surgery looming within 7 days of each other – I needed a fun, stress-free read.
Thankfully, I made the right choice with Going Against Type by Sharon Black. ...
This I must say is an entertaining contemporary romance with two very likable and believable characters. Both Charlie and Derry are successful but with their success comes the hidden uncertainties of their private lives and careers. Each character (major and minor) in the book is admittedly recognisable with enough qualities and flaws to make them feel that way. The book wasn’t full of sex scenes and the storyline was great, one I can see actually happening in this world of social media, gossip columns and blogs.
I’m delighted to say I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a little adult summer chick lit with true character development and storyline. Honestly I look forward to reading this author’s future work; she has a natural flare for writing. Going Against Type offered that little bit of “me time” in what was a chaotic week – happy and relaxed now. Thank you Sharon Black!

All buy links here:

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

*Chicken Tonight?*

'WE'RE having chicken for dinner AGAIN?' The husband staggers in, after another day in the big bad world. 

I, on the other hand, have been doing nothing. Just housework. Worrying about offspring. Slaving over a hot laptop. Slaving over an even hotter stove.
I give him The Look.
The one that says, Don't push me. I'm not in the mood.
     'So what are we having for dinner, then?' he asks a minute later. He obviously hasn't picked up on The Look.
     'Rabbit,' I say. I turn to the stove, to check on the roast. There it is, roasting away. I add some vegetables.
     'Rabbit? Really?' He looks astonished. 'Long time since we had that.'
I have cooked it, on occasion.
     'Just don't tell The Boy,' I add. 'He won't eat rabbit. Tell him it's chicken.'
     'Oh sure, yeah.'
Chicken was the first meal I mastered. As a single girl, I had no interest in cooking. By the time I married, I'd had enough experience of my future husband's 'experimental' dinners to know that I should learn.
Not a problem, I thought. A good friend confidently reminded me that if I could read, I could cook. I think she meant recipes.
I started with jars.
Chicken Tonight became a firm favourite in our house. Far as I was concerned, it had a lot going for it. Chopping and frying chicken breasts was easy. Throw in some green beans, and empty the jar of Chicken Tonight sauce over the whole thing. A few minutes later, the big gloopy mess would be served on a bed of rice.
So successful did I become at making this meal, that I actually invited said friend and her husband to dinner one evening. Both are wonderful cooks.
Halfway through the meal, her husband complimented me on the food. How did I make the sauce? he asked.
Delighted at the compliment, I triumphantly produced the jar of Chicken Tonight. The fork froze halfway to his mouth. Then, ever the gentleman, he made some polite comment and swiftly changed the subject.
I set the table and lift the roast out of the oven.
     'Dinner,' I call. It's one of those rare evenings that we all sit down at the same time.
The husband cuts into the meat, pops a forkful into his mouth and chews.
     'Crikey, definitely doesn't taste like rabbit.'
The Boy glares at him.
     'That's because it's chicken!'
I raise an eyebrow.
     'Well, of course it's chicken,' he says, hastily. He gives me a puzzled glance.
I smile and start to eat.

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,

Friday, 10 July 2015

GUESTING TODAY on Author Jenny Kane's Blog.

A BRIGHT and breezy morning here in Dublin.
Am honoured to have a Guest Post today on author Jenny Kane's blog.

And I'm also reposting the interview here:
Today, I’d like to welcome debut novelist, Sharon Black, to my site, to tell us all about writing her first work of fiction, and what inspired its creation.
Over to you Sharon…

HI JENNY, thank you so much for having me here on your blog today. I’d like to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my inspiration for my debut novel.
My background is in journalism. After I left college, I worked as a features writer for a national newspaper here in Dublin. I married and took a substantial break from paid work, when my children were small, before returning to write for another national paper for a while.
By the time I was ready to write a novel, it seemed natural for me to write about what I knew.
Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 200
Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, it’s set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. Because the setting was familiar, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone in other ways.
Going Against Type tells the story of rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names, and unknowingly fall in love with their arch enemy: each other! They each have good reason to protect their alter egos. So their relationship develops, each blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
My inspiration for the book was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. I loved all their films! Hepburn plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to defend his beloved sport and in turn, attacks Hepburn’s views, and the fun begins. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes around. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and gossip columnist, The Squire for the rival paper. He’s sophisticated, man-about-town and a bit of a playboy. They fall in love, and that’s where the fun begins.
While that whole build up was really fun to do, it was also extremely challenging. The main reason was that I to ensure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.
The hardest columns to get right were Charlotte’s. Paradoxically, she turned out to be a wonderful character to write. I know very little about sport, having never been sporty myself. But I admire people who are, and I wanted Charlotte to be very different from me. Because Charlotte’s a journalist, I didn’t want anyone to think I was writing bits of me into my heroine.
So I did a lot of research. I read a lot of sports columnists, I checked all my facts, and then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area that’s largely dominated by men.
Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be sharp, funny and very controversial. And as her columns got better, the character of Charlotte became more defined and easier to write. In the end, she felt like a real person; somebody I had known a long time.
A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women.
Quite apart from wanting to just shake things up, I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, and his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!
It sounds like a terrible clichĂ©, but writing this book was a huge learning experience. I had written short stories down the years, and had some of them published. And I’d started so many books – but had never finished them.
This time, I armed myself with the tools: the nuts and bolts of novel structuring. And I knew I had a good story. I was determined to see it through. I’m so glad I did. I became an author and I’m so grateful for that. And I’m very proud of my debut.

Thanks for reading,
Have a lovely weekend,
Hugs & xx,