Andrea Mara

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Octobering

Oh September, I had such plans for you. A fresher start and a newer year than January. A turning of leaf.  A chance to get back to work-proper after a summer of juggling kids and deadlines; the smell of new shoes and new pencil cases promising routine and productivity and starting over.

Except of course, with the return to school came exhaustion and tears and mid-month burnout. Kids who’d had a summer of sleep-ins and lazy pyjama mornings and barefoot days back to scratchy uniforms and lengthy homework and boring (everyone-else-gets-a-treat-mum) lunches.

And while the girls are getting there, getting used to the routine again, the small boy is still struggling. He finds school tricky. The two things he finds most tricky are the classroom – sitting still and concentrating – and the yard. So, yes, everything.

His favourite place to be is home, and his favourite thing to do is potter around in bare feet, colouring and building Lego. It took him months to settle into Junior Infants last year, and then each time we had a break, it started over again. The girls were talking about mid-term break yesterday and he said to me, “Mum, I’m worried about mid-term break because every time we are on holidays from school, I feel nervous about going back.” He’s not given to bouts of introspective musings so this was telling – but what to do with it? Answers on a postcard…

So with the calendar turned to October, I’m ready for a fresh-fresh-start. Although from where I stand right now, it doesn’t look like a walk in the park – book 2 is due in to my publisher by October 31st and the deadline that seemed miles away last February suddenly seems scarily (appropriately enough) close.

But there are lovely things too – like finalisting in two categories for the Blog Awards and going along to the awards ceremony later this week, and taking part in the Books Are My Bag event in Hodges Figgis in Dublin city centre on Saturday 7th (please come say hello if you’re in town – I will have chocolate!) And then there’s the simple innate loveliness of October in all its gold-leafed beauty. However the most wonderful thing about October for me this year is that it’s not September. See you on the other side.

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PS if you’re on Instagram, check out or join in the #MagicOfOctober photo-challenge being run by TheClothesline – a perfect excuse to stop and take a look at this gorgeous time of year. I’m trying it here

PPS I’m not joking about the chocolate – if you’re in Dublin on Saturday, I’ll be in Hodges Figgis between 1 and 3pm to chat about books, writing,  blogging, murderous neighbours, parenting, or anything you fancy. And I’m serious about the chocolate.

Books are my bag - Andrea Mara

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