Andrea Mara

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Andrea Mara

Gift Guide 2021: 15 Irish Businesses I’ve Tried and Tested

Last year, I put together a list of Irish suppliers from whom I’ve bought and tried and tested products – I’m adding a few more to it this year, as the inclination to try to support local businesses continues. There’s nothing like a crisis to bring people together, and it’s heartening to

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60 Book Recommendations from my Kids to Yours

Three years ago I put together a list of 28 books or series my kids love and two years ago, I added more to bring it up to 50. This year, due to an edits deadline, I asked my twelve-year-old if she would help out with adding more reviews. She said no.

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Andrea Mara

How to Write a Book

The three things I’m asked most often, here on OfficeMum, and on Facebook and on Instagram, are as follows: 1. Which is the best campsite 2. How do you get into freelance writing and 3. How do you write a book – or: I’ve written a book, what do I

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Andrea Mara

Mother’s Day

There is a nice thread on Twitter today where people are remembering their mothers. This is my mum. I don’t often write about her. Actually, I never do. But today seems like a day to do so. This photo was taken before my Debs and I’m wearing a dress she

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Andrea Mara

365 Days

This day last year, March 12th, at around this time, I remember listening to the radio and bursting into tears when it was announced that schools would be closing for two weeks. It felt dramatic and scary and surreal and as we all know, it went on for a lot

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Andrea Mara

Snapshot of a Groundhog Day

So. Here we are. Still here. Still here! What is it – week 6? Week 66? Week 974? Does it even matter? We’re just pushing through as best we can, knowing that there is an end in sight, and knowing that we’ve done this before and we’ve come out the

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Andrea Mara

When Will There Be Good News?

Going to bed last night, I thought about the fact that everyone in the house had gone outside for at least ten minutes fresh air, and that there were no major arguments, and that nobody had cried during homeschool, and I felt like it had been a good day. This

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Homeschool and the one or two things we’re worrying about…

It’s a Sunday night like no other – like thousands of parents up and down the country, we’re checking codes and devices and searching (and searching and searching) for that missing email (or was it an Aladdin message or maybe a text message) with the times for the call or

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A very Specific Christmas Gift Guide

It’s beginning to look a lot like (a very different) Christmas – especially for retailers and small businesses whose doors are still closed. But there is nothing like a crisis to bring people together, and it’s heartening to see the effort people have been making to buy Irish, support local businesses,

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Andrea Mara

Skincare for Late Starters

“Have you near heard of Clearasil?” I was fourteen, walking across a green near my house, when a group of guys around my own age shouted this sage skincare advice at me. I had heard of Clearasil. I had tried Clearasil. But while it was a perfectly fine facial wash, it

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Andrea Mara

Because I need cake

Because I am a therapist Because I am a referee Because I am (apparently) a “fun sponge” Because I am a pack-mule Because I am a (sub-standard) chef Because I am a personal shopper (who gets it wrong) Because I am a shoulder to cry on Because I am the holder of

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Andrea Mara

Snapshot of a Woman Eking Out Summer

Lockdown ate our summer. It’s a small thing in the bigger scheme; an it-is-what-it-is kind of thing. But still. I spent July worrying that the schools might not open in September and that we’d be back to homeschooling, then by the time it was announced that schools would open, and

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Andrea Mara

The not-at-all definitive guide to holidaying in Kenmare

We’ve holidayed in Kenmare three times since 2009, and there are two things I know for sure: 1. We haven’t seen everything yet 2. We’ll be back The jewel in the crown of the three trips was local knowledge (thank you Aoife, Karen, and Maggie!) – tips on where to

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Rudderless

German lessons. Typing programs. PE classes. I look back now on the lists I put together in March, the things I thought would fill my kids’ days, and I shake my head. Not in a mean way, I’m just bemused at my early-lockdown-self, the one who thought the kids would spend their

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Forward Planning for Looking Back on Lockdown

One of my earliest childhood memories is of the time my mother went to see the Pope in the Phoenix Park, and I stayed home with my dad. My dad, not a seasoned cook, heated up tinned Campbells meatballs for lunch. He split the can between us, pouring the delicious juicy

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Andrea Mara

Weird things about lockdown

“The weird thing about lockdown is how we all got used to it so quickly,” said my daughter, as we went for our regulation exercise the other night. “Humans are very adaptable, I suppose.” And in one way she’s right – we’re all instinctively veering out and steering clear and

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The Best Bits

It’s a year this week since we got the keys to our house and a year since we began the process of giving my dad back his house, after four months living with him. And every day of lockdown, I give quiet (and out loud) thanks that we are here and

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Andrea Mara

Marching On – a Lockdown Journal

My kids have been asked to keep journals as part of their work from home packs. I keep telling them they should – that they are living through history, and they keep telling me they have nothing to write, because they do the same thing every day. Fair point. But

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Andrea Mara

Snapshot of a Strange New World

Just your average day: 9 am: It’s time for PE with Joe. We are not good at being organised for 9, so I pause the screen while one child gets dressed and one child asks me if he takes part in the PE class, does that mean less enforced outdoor exercise

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