Andrea Mara

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Snapshot of a woman on the hunt

I’ve posted snapshots on the cusp, on the verge, and on the couch, but now I’m very firmly on the hunt – I need a house. It’s almost three months now since we sold our house and moved in with my dad, and the whole “the property market picks up in February” morphed into “March – that’s when it really picks up. We’ll be grand.” The kids are asking where we’ll be living for Easter, and I’m answering with, “Oh look at the robin on the windowsill!”

But living back in my teen-hood home has lots of upsides too, and when I temporarily put my head in the sand and pretend we’re here for a holiday, it can actually be quite lovely.

What they’re eating

All the cereals they’re not normally allowed to have, because in a fit of “oh God how can I stop them crying about selling our house” I agreed that for as long as we’re living in my dad’s, they can have the banned cereals for breakfast. I don’t even mean the ones that are up front and relatively honest about being effectively a chocolate breakfast – I mean the ones that are marketed as healthy but are full to the brim with sugar. (An expert I interviewed for an article on food once told me that if your kids are putting their hands into the cereal box to eat it dry, it’s not a good cereal – I’m witnessing the truth of that statement daily.) But whatever gets us through.

What I’m eating

This amazing nut butter. By the spoonful. Straight from the jar. (Please never tell me how many calories are in each of those spoonfuls.)

What I’m wearing

Most of my clothes are in storage – I was ruthless about what I brought here to my dad’s. I have three pairs of jeans that I rotate, and a bunch of sweatshirts. I have one warm parka for school runs, and all my other jackets are in a box. Somewhere. I spent ages finding my parka, and now that I live in it (sometimes indoors too). I’m glad I took the time (read: three trips to Dundrum) to find one that’s warm and goes with everything.

Other than that, I have a really long, really cosy grey-beige cardigan I got in New Look for €20 that I wear all the time, because you can’t really be putting the heat on in someone else’s house every time you’re a bit cold. My sixteen-year-old self could learn a lot from me.

What I’m listening to

I signed up for Audible’s free 30-day trial so I could listen to West Cork, and as my husband predicted, I forgot to unsubscribe. But actually, it’s well worth it I reckon. I’m listening to and really enjoying The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – I listen when I’m making dinner, when I’m going for a run, when I’m walking to the school, and even in the shower and in my head, I’m now friends with Cormoran Strike and Robin.

I also signed up to Borrowbox (a free app that allows you borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the library) – the choice isn’t great when you first go in, but you can reserve items and they filter through then over the weeks – all free of charge.

What I’m reading

I’m reading more than usual in my dad’s because when he’s home in the evening, we don’t tend to put on whatever Netflix show we’re watching. So recent reads include  Red Snow by Will Dean, which I recommend if you like Scandi-Noir ( but it’s a sequel, so read Dark Pines first). I also read The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup – the guy who wrote the Danish TV series The Killing. It reads like a TV show, in a good way.

After that I read A Keeper by Graham Norton which is a dark story and a very quick, easy read – loved it. Now I’m reading The Lost Man by Jane Harper. Atmospheric and mysterious, so far, so good.

What they’re reading

We are library-pirates. We have 39 books out at the moment, and I’m getting itchy just thinking about how to find them all again and bring them back. Sorry to anyone looking for Tom Gates books in Cabinteely library, Big Nate in dlr Lexicon or Harry Potter in Deansgrange – they’re all in my house.

What we’re watching

Dirty John – the dramatisation, after mistakenly watching an hour of the documentary (“I don’t get it, where’s Eric Bana?”). Russian Doll, which was great (I somehow thought it was a documentary, it’s definitely not), also Narcos Mexico (the narrator warns at the start that it doesn’t end well – oh how I wish I’d paid attention to that warning). We’ve just started Bodyguard and it’s great so far. And two film recommendations on Netflix: Source Code (if you like mind-bendy stuff) and The Next Three Days.

What they’re playing

Go Fish (with made up rules), Old Maid (possibly the real rules but who knows) and chess with my dad.

What we’re hoping

That the house we think is “the one” will really be the one, and we can stop buying the damn cereals. Though we will definitely miss the games of chess.





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