I have two younger brothers, Hubie and Michael, and we had a magical childhood. We were great friends growing up and are still close, despite living in different countries now. We’re all close with our parents too and love spending time together. We were all sporty children, so the focus was always very much on spending as much time as possible outdoors in the garden running around and then playing football and badminton when we got a bit older.
It was a very happy time and much simpler without social media. I still remember getting dial-up internet, although I never spent much time on it. I only joined social media after I graduated from college, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
My earliest memory is Christmas morning when I was three years old. I woke up to find that Santa had left the most amazing Fisher-Price kitchen in my bedroom, complete with an oven, microwave, and realistic cakes and pies. I’ve always enjoyed baking and creating new recipes, although I don’t get much time in the kitchen anymore with three babies at home.
The person I turn to is my husband Wes. He hears the good, the bad, and the ugly. We spend almost all our time together, mostly feeding babies, so it’s a good thing that we get on well.
We have two boys and a girl, so it’s the same dynamic as my own family, which I love. Our daughter Sophia is just 14 months and walking in a wobbly way, and our identical twin boys, Hugo and Oscar, are just 12 weeks old and full of smiles and those sweet little baby gurgles.
Having our daughter by surrogacy in Kiev was a huge challenge in various ways. It took a full year of multiple blood tests, legal and medical appointments, and an enormous amount of paperwork before we could travel to Ukraine to begin the egg retrieval process.
I was studying full time and trying to focus on researching and writing my dissertation too, which was a big challenge in itself.
I accidentally found myself entered into Miss Ireland and Miss World, to be honest. It was all for a bit of a laugh at the beginning. My line of work wasn’t an area I would have chosen, although I love the travel, creativity, and interesting people that my career has brought. I’ve never yearned for a 9 to 5 job, although I’ve always enjoyed the discipline of studying.
I probably would have gone down an academic route if I took a different fork in the road, or into a science-based career. I was offered a PhD scholarship from UCD in sociological research after I completed my studies there in 2005, but I had only just finished my year as Miss World and was keen to work, travel, and explore the opportunities that the title brought.
I’m secretly a science geek though and finished my Master of Science degree in personalised nutrition around the year Sophia was born.
We’re much more relaxed as parents this time around. When Sophia arrived in 2019 we were clueless about babies and everything felt daunting and terrifying. But this time around it’s much less scary, although it’s far more exhausting with two newborns plus a toddler.
Our family is definitely my proudest achievement. I still can’t believe that we have three healthy, happy children at home after our fertility struggles. I hope our story inspires others in a similar position to never give up hope on their family dreams.
I’d like my friends and family to remember me for being kind and loyal, and for my children to remember me for being a fun, loving, mum. I’m a loving, kind person, deeply grateful for the people in my life, and hardworking too. I’m annoyingly organised and perfectionist though, and I can’t stand time-wasting. That may be a good or bad quality depending on who you ask.
I’m best at multitasking. My brain whirs all day with the amount there is to do for three small children, plus trying to get some work done, and remember to drink some water and text friends back.
The lesson I would like to pass on is that you never truly know what’s going on in somebody’s life, no matter how it appears on the outside, so it’s important to be non-judgemental, kind, and empathetic towards others.
There are plenty of really valuable pieces of advice I’ve picked up over the years, so it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one, but it’s important to me to be true to myself, be present in the moment, to love and respect myself, and to not be afraid to show my vulnerabilities. We’re all just humans trying to survive each day in what is a particularly challenging time in our lives.