I’m sitting having a coffee in Mahon Point Shopping Centre. I don’t know when I was here last. It’s the same as ever.

Lots of people around. The summer sales are on and women are climbing over each other for bargains.

I had a walk into one shop and thought “no old top is worth that!” Two women were practicing rowing, one on each end of a hanger! “I had it first” said one.

I about turned and decided to have a coffee. As I came out, a mother said to her eight or nine-year-old daughter. “Darling, as we’re here in Mahon, is there anything you would like me to buy you???”

I can’t ever remember getting an offer like that! Is it any wonder children become demanding?

The little girl said “there’s a few things I need Mum!” They headed off. I had some time to kill before collecting Ricky from his babysitter, Mary.


I had to come down to Mahon to collect an order of cocktails from the busy Mahon market.

My daughter, Julie had ordered them online from Foxglove, a little West Cork company that developed during lockdown.

I decided to hold an old fashioned kitchen party for Elaine, my soon to be daughter-in-law. Julie and my first daughter-in-law, Aileen, were immediately on board.

We are all busy so I decided to order in the finger food for the event. My go to person for catering is Orla McAndrew Catering.

A party at home isn’t much good if the hostess is exhausted

Orla and her team catered for a party we had last year for our friends that couldn’t come to Philip and Aileen’s wedding due to COVID restrictions.

She did an amazing job with a scrumptious beef stroganoff, chicken curry and accompaniments.

While this little party is only finger food, my heart fell when Orla informed me that she would be in France.

I found another lady in Ballincollig called Hannah’s Kitchen so hopefully, the fare will be good.

When we’re used to preparing food ourselves, it is a real leap of faith to allow someone else to do the preparation and delivery.

A party at home isn’t much good if the hostess is exhausted.

My mentor Lil

Elaine thinks she’s coming to dinner in our house. Instead, there will be about 20 good humoured girls waiting to surprise her!

Colm will drop her and I hope she will actually be surprised and delighted and enjoy herself. I think I’ll get more of a kick out of it that she will.

I love doing nice things for people. Kindness always comes back tenfold.

The reason I’m having the kitchen party at all is because I remember Lil, my mother in law doing one for me.

Tim told me that we were going out to Woodside for our tea! I remember the evening so well. I can easily get back in the moment.

I was wearing a white pair of tight jeans, size 10, and a red chiffon top, size 12, with a frill around the neckline!

What was I thinking wearing red and white! It should have been blue and gold! It would be nice to be that slim again!

Anyway, my mother in law to be, Lil, was standing at the door with a broad smile of welcome on her face.

What a great lady she is. It was the start of a great relationship as mother and daughter-in-law.

Lil and I have never uttered a cross word between us in 45 years. I’m proud of our relationship.

We never got involved in the men’s arguments. We allowed our relationship to stand apart from all others. We allowed each other space and treated each other with dignity and respect.

Lil was my mentor in many things. It will be a treat for both of us to have her at Elaine’s kitchen party on Friday night.

Cleaning fairy

Meanwhile, I am involved in an interview panel and a bit busy. My sister, Ben came to the rescue.

She arrived armed with her dusters and baby wipes and polished and shone the living room and kitchen in readiness for the party.

Where would we be without special girls in our lives? It’s all go for Colm and Elaine’s wedding in just two weeks. Every moment counts.

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