Andrea Mara

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Snapshot of a House Counting Down

“We’ll fit loads in over the next few weeks,” I’d said to the kids two weekends ago, not wanting to say what I really meant, which was, “There are only twelve more days left of summer holidays, let’s make the most of it.” Because I didn’t want them on the countdown that I was already on in my head. Because I didn’t want them dreading the return to alarm clocks and school lunches as much as I was. Because I wanted them to live in the now, not in next week.

This came back to bite me last Thursday, when a lovely lady asked them when they’re back. “Not for a few weeks” they said, at exactly the same time as I replied, “Next Thursday.”

Three surprised faces turned my way. I explained my logic. They quite rightly pointed out that “a few weeks” and “twelve days” are not the same thing. And more to the point, it was no longer twelve days, it was only seven days at that stage. And even more to the point, as I type this, it’s not seven days any more. It’s a paltry two.

And here we are, dragging our feet, toes scuffing on the ground as time whizzes unstoppably towards Thursday. Towards alarm clocks. And school lunches. And homework. And as I type, I’m taking a moment to appreciate how lucky I am – I remember when summer holidays still meant alarm clocks, commuting, crèche drop, and work. I know for lots of people, the benefit of summer stops at lighter traffic and warmer rain. I’m grateful to be able to hang out at home with the kids all summer, with the odd day-trip thrown in, and I’m going to miss all this hanging around when they go back.

Kilruddery – making the most of the third last day

And it’s not because my kids don’t fight or complain – I reckon they do about as much fighting and complaining as anyone else, maybe more. But I’m inherently lazy when it comes to routine – specifically the alarm clock/ school lunches/ homework routine. (I quite like some routines now that I think about it – the one where the kids play downstairs every morning and get their own breakfast, while I’m in bed editing and drinking coffee – that’s been a lovely routine.) And as always, summer feels too short – one more week would be lovely, especially with a mini heatwave to round things off, thank you very much. Failing that, we’ll carry on making the most of the last two days, doing the same as we’ve been doing all summer, which is mostly lazing around. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been doing most recently:

What we’re watching

The grownups are watching Good Girls – thanks to a tip on Facebook when I asked for recommendations (there are loads of other recommendations too: see here). If you liked Dead To Me, you’ll like Good Girls – it’s funny, crime-y, glossy, a bit silly, perfect for the end of a long day and a too short summer.

We’ve just finished all available series of Schitt’s Creek, and are thinking about getting some kind of therapy in order to cope.

What I’m reading

The Nanny at Number 43 by Nicola Cassidy – Nicola is a long-time blogger pal of mine and I’ve just started her second book about a nanny who may or may not be up to no good. Nicola is an exquisite writer, and four chapters in, I’m racing through it.

What I’m wearing

Long, pleated skirts because I’m obsessed with them and they work really well with changeable Irish weather – dress for summer without actually freezing to death. Also wearing new reading glasses, because I guess I am officially old.

What I’m buying

For quite some time now, I’ve been eying up MaryK jewellery on Instagram. Then a few weeks ago, I drove on the M50 for the first time, after promising myself that if I did it, I could use the would-be taxi fare on a present for myself. That afternoon, we passed Halo jewellers in Glasthule, and ta dah! they stock MaryK jewellery. It was a sign. Never ignore a sign.

MaryK necklace (and new glasses because of the ancient-ness)

What I’m drinking

Rhubarb and ginger gin at gin-appropriate times, cappuccinos with my new milk frother (a very kind housewarming gift from a very kind sister) at all other times.

What I’m listening to

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. Kate Atkinson is probably my favourite author of all time. I picked up her second Jackson Brodie book (One Good Turn) about twelve ago and was amazed to be somehow reading a character-driven, plot-driven, incredibly well-written, funny, mystery-filled book that kept me turning pages to find out what was going on. I’ve read almost all her books since – Big Sky is her new one and I decided to try it on Audible. It’s narrated by Jason Isaacs and it’s an utter joy.

What we’re eating

Chocolate cake (this recipe – so easy my younger two made it unaided), lemon chicken pasta (this recipe, firm favourite here now), French Fancies (staple in our Clara Lara picnic every year), lots of coffee shop cake (cramming everything in), and nothing that resembles a school lunch for as long as we can hold off.

What we’re fixing up in the house

We’re three months in our new house now, and all the big things are done, most recently the kitchen and bathroom – below are some before and after pictures:


It’s an ongoing project that will last far longer than the few weeks or twelve days or seven days or even two days we have left until we go back to school (sorry about the confusion kids!)


All credit to original snapshot post inventor Awfully Chipper





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