Andrea Mara

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Andrea Mara

In the interests of full disclosure

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent – even the kindest, most calm parents have off days (and I suspect it’s a good thing for kids to know parents aren’t perfect) but apparently more than half of Irish parents feel they’re failing, and this feeling is amplified by the internet

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Andrea Mara

Four Campsites in Italy: Comparison and Review

If you’re a campsite person, you’ll have had the conversation; the one where you chat with the people in the mobile home across the way about which campsites you’ve been to and which ones they’ve been to, and which ones were great and which ones were awful. Who you stayed with,

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Andrea Mara

The Sour and the Sweet

My laptop and I are in a coffee shop for lunch. It’s a little bit because there’s no fresh bread at home, and a little bit because it’s good to get out. I’m grumpy, because my soup came with toasted sourdough. I could have toasted my not-fresh bread at home. Sourdough feels

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Andrea Mara

The Last Day – Diary of a House Move

The Last Full Day It’s our last day. Yesterday was our last time doing school pickup and coming back to this house, the same house we’ve come home to every day since they started school. I didn’t say it as we pulled into the driveway. The kids have been so

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Andrea Mara

Christmas Through Their Eyes

My eyes water. Wind, sharp and stinging, pushes my hood down and  drives me back. I lean in, but not in a Sheryl Sandberg way. I’ve got 58 minutes and five tasks. Stocking fillers. A fancy gift box. A Secret Santa pick-up. Stamps. A book. Dark shapes huddle under hoods,

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Andrea Mara

28 Book Recommendations From my Kids to Yours

One night a few months ago, I made a third attempt to get my six-year-old interested in Cabin Fever, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney. I read it for him as his bedtime story, promising he could have a second story if he didn’t like it. There

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Andrea Mara

And Breathe…

Every year for the last four years, September and October have been a little challenging* in our house (*all-out chaotic messy nightmare). The fact that this four-year timeline coincides with my departure from my office job is surely neither here nor there – no doubt something other than my presence

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Andrea Mara

Pivot

Pivot. I like that word. It makes me think of a dancer, or a gymnast turning to the next move in a routine. I was never a dancer, but I did harbour gymnast dreams once upon a time – first, Olympic dreams (because why not, and because I was six),

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Andrea Mara

Finders Keepers

A few weeks ago I took the middle child out for a lunch date to Dundrum, preceded by a trip to Claire’s for some new hairbands. When I opened my phone cover to take out my Laser card, it wasn’t there. Nor was my parking ticket. I had a credit card

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Andrea Mara

Snapshot of a woman on the verge

Oh September, you crafty devil. From opposite corners of the ring, we faced each other, eyeing each other up, ready for the 30-day bout. You picked me up, you shook me, you slammed me down – over and over. But I knew you were coming for me, and I braced myself, and I

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The Picnic

Looking through old photos in my dad’s house one afternoon, I found a picture I had never seen before. It was taken in the early 80’s and showed a group of us on picnic at the beach. Studying it gave me a surge of nostalgia for a time I don’t remember at

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What makes a holiday?

What makes a holiday? Is it time off work, or time to yourself, or time with the kids, or a break from the kids? Is it time to read your first book this year or time to get through six? Sunbathing or swimming or sliding or sailing or sleeping? Time

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Back at the scene of the crime

Exactly two years ago this week, I was on this same beach (give or take a bit of sand) when I saw a woman in a deckchair and almost took her photo. Then I got worried – what if I shared her photo online and it had unexpected repercussions on her life

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Andrea Mara

Snapshot of a woman on the cusp

I was going to call this Snapshot of a woman on the edge but that was just too melodramatic for what really comes down to wishing away the long, final days of school before the summer starts. So it’s a snapshot from the cusp instead – from one tired mother

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Andrea Mara

The Breakup

I’m a bit fragile today. It’s a little bit down to last night’s wine and tapas – the ratio of rioja to patatas bravas was not in my favour. But it’s a lot down to the Last Supper – the goodbye dinner with the mums from my middle child’s class. After four

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Andrea Mara

Sisters are doing it for themselves

I am the mean-mom who doesn’t let my kids have new toys when it’s not Christmas or birthdays, despite the fact that every single child in the school goes to Smyths EVERY SUNDAY to buy new toys – these are the same children who apparently all have their own YouTube

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Andrea Mara

Wash, rinse, repeat – the truth about afternoons

As anyone who works mornings and looks after kids in the afternoon knows, it’s a day of two distinct halves. The morning is busy-busy, trying to cram in every last drop before the imaginary school-run klaxon sounds, and tools must be downed. Like the no-nonsense bell in a TV game show,

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Andrea Mara

Take me to the beach: A weekend in Malaga with my BFFs

Are you and your friends like me and my friends? We stay in touch on WhatsApp and Facebook. We grab coffee when we can, and we have really, really good nights out when we find a date that suits everyone. But we haven’t been away together since our hen parties a very

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Andrea Mara

And then the pieces fell into place

They came on Saturday afternoon – my almost-last round of edits. This is the time to make final tweaks and find typos. (Typos are so hard to find, but I know they’re there, lurking, grinning slyly, hoping to make the final cut.) And for me, the only way to do this is to

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Andrea Mara

Slow Parenting

“So what did you do for St Patrick’s Day?” asked our lovely optician on Monday. “Did you go into the parade?” “No…” said the child. “Did you watch it on TV?” “No, Dad was watching the match, so we didn’t see it.” I jumped in then, quick to clarify that I’d

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