Andrea Mara

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16 from 16

It’s that in between Christmas and New Year bit when I’ve had just about enough of the Heroes but not quite enough of the Baileys coffee, and I’m looking back at the year gone by before moving on to planning the year ahead. So I’m jumping on the round-up wagon – taking the lead from Sadhbh of Where Wishes Come From, and joining her linky to round-up my favourite 16 (mostly) blog-related things from 2016.

1. My favourite post

The post I most enjoyed writing is The Girls and Boys on the Train about eavesdropping on the Dart.

2. The most popular post

The most read post this year was The Bar is Low, inspired by discovering how much I love nights in, six hours sleep, me-time on buses, and ten minute showers behind a locked door – the bar is definitely low.

3. The most fun post

When I published this post – Pinch Me – about signing a publishing deal, I had no idea I would get so many lovely, warm, kind comments and messages in response – it was a whole extra layer of loveliness after signing the book deal itself.

Notebook and laptop - office mum

4. My favourite photo

This photo was taken just this week on Killiney Hill and I think it captures my middle child perfectly



5. My favourite fiction writing moments

This year I was delighted to be a finalist in the Colm Toibín short story competition as part of the Wexford literary festival, and to win the BookersCorner short story competition for September/ October with the same story, but the best bit of all was signing the above-mentioned publishing deal with Poolbeg. The book which is provisionally called The Other Side of the Wall is being written as I speak, except not right this minute, since I’m taking a break to write this post. But all the other minutes – they are spent writing the book.

6. My most cathartic posts 

September this year was a rolling mess of chaos in our house, and when I wrote these posts – SeptemberingSlippage and Balancing on one Foot – about how badly I was doing at absolutely everything, I felt better.

When life gives you lemons - Offie Mum

7. My favourite work-y post

Changing cultures and sliding doors is about dealing with change at work, and trying to decide when to suck it up versus when to walk, inspired by an email from a reader who was having trouble settling in to a new job.

8. Most popular photo on the Office Mum Facebook page

This is what I saw when I opened the fridge on the morning of April 1st:



9. Favourite article for Her Family

I’ve been writing for Her Family for the last two years, sometimes on serious topics or having a bit of a rant, like this one about an author who says all mothers should work outside the home. At other times, it’s a chance to write about the loveliest parts of parenting, like this one.

10. My biggest milestones

This year there were no big birthdays or wedding anniversaries, but my blog turned three, and I celebrated my one year anniversary as a freelance writer with The Life-changing Magic of Freelancing and a big glass of bubbly.


11. My favourite hotel review

This year I had a first ever opportunity to review a hotel for the blog, and then a second one came along. So my favourite hotel in the West is The Connacht, and my favourite in Kerry is The Kenmare Bay Hotel. Choosing one experience over the other would be like choosing a favourite child – my kids are still raving about both.

Salthill, Galway - Office Mum
Torc Waterfall

12. My most read practical post

My favourite posts to write are the “here’s a thing that happened today” type ones but the ones that people search for long after they’re written are the practical ones – everything from campsite reviews to tongue tie information. This year’s most popular practical post was How I Stopped Shouting at my Kids.

13. My favourite newspaper feature

I loved writing this feature on real mothers for the Examiner – on the cathartic trend of honest parenting and competing over who is doing it worst.

Image credit Fergal Phillips (for the Examiner)
Image credit Fergal Phillips (for the Examiner)

14. My favourite travel posts

We spent two and a half weeks in a small mobile home in Italy during the summer, and it was the best holiday we’ve ever had. I wrote about rediscovering cycling (the campsite is big, so cycling makes sense, even for people who haven’t tried it in twenty years) and about running on the beautiful beach and leaving my camera at home one day and making holiday friends and all about the campsite, Marina di Venezia.

Gondola ride Venice - Office Mum
Gondola in Venice
Beach Marina di Venezia - Office Mum
The beach at Marina di Venezia

15. The post that reminded me what blogging is about

I wrote this about a small, almost insignificant encounter in the bigger scheme of things, and one which I know I’d have forgotten in the long-term if I hadn’t written it down. I’m glad it happened and I’m glad I’ve cemented the memory for my kids and for me: Cathy Claus Saves the Day.

16. What I got out of blogging this year

It’s a place to capture a story or a moment or to let off steam, somewhere to write about anything I want without set wordcounts or deadlines. It’s therapy. It generates friendships and great company late at night at the end of a long day. And there are far more highs than lows.

Thanks for indulging me through this post and throughout 2016 – knowing that people are reading is what keeps bloggers going. Wishing you and yours the very best of everything for 2017!


This part of a linky on Where Wishes Come From – to check out that gorgeous blog and some the other participants, click the badge!






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