Andrea Mara

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61 Days Has Septober

We made it to mid-term!

So, short and sweet, here are a few things that got me through Septober relatively unscathed – or at least less scathed than usual:

Slow Cooker

My slow cooker changed my life. I’m kidding, it totally didn’t. But it’s great for that one day each week when we get home later than usual. I forget that I actually did the prep that morning, and genuinely feel like someone else made dinner and had it waiting for me.

shredded chicken, not on purpose

Frozen Peppers

Addled and overwhelmed by September busy-ness, I happened to mention to a mum at the school one day that I’m an extraordinarily slow cook. “Slow cookers sounds great and all,” I said, “but I don’t even have time to chop a pepper.”

At which point she revealed the Third Secret of Fatima: Frozen peppers.

You can buy them in Dunnes or Aldi or presumably anywhere, for about a euro. The only ingredients are peppers. They’re very thinly sliced and I’m not sure they’d be great if you really wanted to taste the peppers, but for throwing into curries and casseroles, they are the best thing since sliced bread. In fact I reckon this is what it must have felt like when people discovered sliced  bread.

Mess free tuna

No squeezing the oil out of the can, or getting it all over your fingers. These tins make me very happy. The bar is low.

Audio books

Where The Crawdads Sing, The Family Upstairs, and Fleishman is in Trouble – three stories my phone has kindly told me during Septober, making lunch prep and laundry folding far less onerous. And sometimes – during the really good bits – a joy.

The Early Bird

I remember reading an article a few years ago in which the writer recommended getting up an hour before your kids to get a head start on your day. I really, really want to be the person who can do that. But I’m not a morning person. I’m a snooze-button person.

However, this September, as we rushed out the door, running late on our first day (our FIRST day) back to school, I thought I really don’t want to face into another year of this. Getting up a whole hour earlier might not be possible, but ten minutes could be. So we did it and it worked. That ten (well, eight-and-a-half) minutes gives us a chance to get ourselves organised (or at least the first coffee in) before we start the rounds of calling the kids.

And so far, we’ve been pretty much on time in Septober. (This may have nothing at all to do with the extra ten minutes and everything to do with early-term enthusiasm, but I’m happy to lie to myself until I’m proved wrong.)

Getting sense

I am about as bad at going to bed as I am at getting up in the morning (wait, could there be a connection?) and I’m still not great, but I have made one small change that’s working.

Whenever we finish watching whatever episode of The Spy (quite good), Top of the Lake: China Girl (avoid!) or Dublin Murders (v.g.) I usually faff around online for a ridiculous amount of time afterwards. I’ve cut down that last bit now – instead I go up to bed to read my book for far longer than the couple of tired minutes I used to manage. It’s become a ritual now, something I crave, and I’m getting through some great books: I recommend Scrublands by Chris Hammer, Lock Me In by Kate Simants, and the incredible Night Swimming by Doreen Finn.







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