Building the future: I can't remember politics ever being discussed when I was growing up - my parents were too busy working in restaurants trying to make ends meet.
They met in Ireland after moving separately from Hong Kong. I was born in 1980 and there were nine of us in a three-bedroom house in Firhouse with my mum's younger brother and her sister, husband and kids living with us.
My brother came along 10 years after me and, after my parents broke up, I always worked part-time with my mother Stella in her restaurant.
I knew my partner Paddy (Patrick Costello TD, Green Party) before I studied politics and history in UCD in 1998, but it was after college, when I was studying to be a barrister, that we got together.
I didn't practice when I graduated from King's Inns in 2007 because I could not afford to. I was €20,000 in debt and two years devilling for free was not an option. In the end it took me just five years to pay back my debts.
My first jobs included fundraising with St Michael's House and production with Electric Picnic and I was enjoying myself immensely. Then, when I was 29, my best friend Jane O'Sullivan passed away and this just knocked me - I needed a complete change to process this.
I went travelling around Australia and New Zealand and then six months teaching children in a very remote village in rural China - this job was the one which changed my perspective the most.
When I got back in 2010 I filled out endless job applications, and while I would often get to second or third place in the interview process, it felt I was never going to secure a job.
In the end I got lucky and was awarded the UCD Smurfit Bord Bia fellowship which involved moving to New York. A friend had sent me the link and I very nearly did not apply as I thought there was little point.
The interview did not go well. It was presumed I knew how to speak Chinese so when the language testing stage came, the interpreter started speaking at me in Mandarin and I had to explain that, while I understood a little, I actually spoke Cantonese.
It was a massive surprise to me I got it. The only snag was I had just returned from China and now I had to tell Patrick I was off to New York.
I returned from a fun time in NYC in 2012 to work in the chief scientific adviser office (now Forfas) where I had an incredible boss, Professor Patrick Cunningham, who introduced me to a lot of people.
Years earlier, I had previously applied for a job in Diageo and they kept my CV on file, so when I got a call from a recruiter to see if I wanted to apply for a communications position I agreed. The interview went OK but the following evening I heard I was successful.
It turned out my boss Dave Fahy called Diageo with a reference telling them they'd be completely mad not to hire me. You can get so lucky with your bosses and the references they give you - I later found out this is what had sealed the deal in hiring me and I ended up staying for six years.
Stepping into politics
Working as a social worker, Patrick was at the coalface and wanted to get into policy so he could create the changes, such as in housing, he knew were needed. We sat down and discussed whether we wanted to do this and in 2013 started making preparations.
He had to convince me to be his campaign manager - I was initially reluctant but he pointed out nobody knew him better. We had it all mapped out and when he topped the poll in 2014 I realised this was something I liked doing and something I was good at.
I got more involved in the Green Party, successfully running for chairperson and spokeswoman for enterprise and the day came when I had to weigh up whether to go into this full-time.
In 2019 I ran in the local elections and was elected to the council. It was completely terrifying - I had a small child and no job if this fell through. It felt everything was on the line.
There are barriers for women entering politics such as childcare, trolling (I ended up leaving Facebook - at least with Twitter there is a word limit) and confidence issues. If you had told me in 2014 I would have been running last year I simply would not have accepted that could happen. The hardest person to convince was myself.
Before running for local elections in 2019 we sat down and it seemed impossible. We asked ourselves can we ask friends and family for help?
Either of us could have run, but Patrick told me if anyone is running it should be you. I have been lucky to have such a supportive mother growing up and now to have a partner that offers complete encouragement.
I'm three weeks into my new job as Lord Mayor of Dublin and because the ceremonial side is going to take up less time with Covid restrictions it's really opened up space for different proposals to make Dublin a more liveable and inclusive city.
We can't wait to move into the apartment in the Mansion House - the sitting room is the size of our current house.
Alex is two and a half now and it will be lovely for her to have proper space to play.
I'm always up early and today at 6.30am was batch cooking spaghetti bolognese for the week so we don't end up eating takeaway.
I am still breastfeeding, so when Alex wakes I have some time with her, and Paddy gets breakfast. I then go through my emails. At the moment we only have three days of crèche a week so mum arrives at 9.30am to take Alex.
I head into the office and go through my correspondence. Today I have two meetings and then three calls and another Zoom meeting at home later.
Recently, we have both felt very stressed and scrolling through Netflix at the end of a busy day, after clearing away all the toys, is not that relaxing.
My way to de-stress in the past was to go surfing but this is tricky now. I do find if I carve out even 10 minutes for myself to sit down, without my phone and with a cup of tea and try to empty my mind, this makes a big difference.
I'm considering taking up boxing - there's a lot of pent-up stress in politics and I'm thinking learning to box could be exactly what I need.