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He’s on the move…

Posted on 31 January, 2014

I wrote a really lengthy version of this post but then thought maybe people don’t want to know what I had for lunch and other such details (sausages,an egg and toast, just in case you really are interested). So here are the highlights.

I sold this tray to a lady who lives in Cork so I met her in town to deliver it this morning. This worked out brilliantly. I didn’t have to post such a large item and she didn’t have to pay any postage. Win, win.  Plus she was lovely and said kind things about the blog and shop. So I skipped home (admittedly in the pouring rain) but this is a good news day so I’ll brush over the weather.

Once home I found dry clothes and Steve had successfully put Ewan down for a nap so I had time for a full  cup of tea. See, it really was the best day. Once awake Ewan and I took to the floor for a play and he crawled for the first time!! It was so exciting I screamed!

By the time the weather started to dry up I had exhausted Ewan by moving all his toys away from him to make him crawl and so he was happy to be a passenger in the buggy. It also meant I stopped squealing with delight for over two minutes. Again I think he was relieved at this too.
While on our thrifting expedition I found two AMAZING bowls. These photos don’t really do them justice but the light was nearly gone so I got a few quick shots to share them with you.

The smaller one on the right is made by Carrigaline pottery here in Cork. It is a bit bruised on the bottom but still beautiful and has the Made in the Republic of Ireland stamp I love so much.

I also found lovely Meakin plates but it’s not possible to torment your son into crawling and photograph lovely plates all at the same time. So the plates lost out.
Other highlights are I got my favourite cake (Lemon Cake from the Natural Bakery) and Ewan snuggled into Steve. Ewan is not a snuggler and on the odd occassion that he does snuggle into the crook of your neck it’s the best feeling ever.
I don’t even care if the weekend is terrible and stormy because today was the best! 
Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Today I’m sharing with A Living Space ,Me and My Shadow Sir Thrift Alot, Ivy and Elephants and We call it junkin.


Posted on 30 January, 2014

My Granny Eileen passed away ten years ago today and I thought I would share some bits of her life with you. 
  • She was widowed at a young age and raised 4 wild boys on her own.
  • Her neighbours were her best friends and they all knew absolutely everything about each other
  • She loved knitting and chatting with the woman who sold her wool. I spent a lot of my childhood when we lived in Mallow (County Cork) playing with buttons in the wool shop while she chatted.
  • If I bought anything made from wool I would be quizzed as to where I got, how much it cost and why didn’t I ask her to knit it for me.
  • She also loved shoes and had an account with a shoe shop that she would pay off bit by bit. There was also I lot of my childhood spent waiting in Barry’s shoe shop while she chatted with the assistants.
  • She loved dancing and was disappointed when I gave up Irish dancing. Although the disappointment didn’t last too long because in her eyes I could do nothing wrong. Later, she blamed the dancing teacher for me giving up so quickly!
  • She ran a hairdressing business from her front room for years. I used to make a pound or two by bringing the ladies in their tea. I’m pretty sure they came mainly for the tea and gossip but they left with a perm too.
  • I was not allowed call her Granny because she was far too young to be a Granny and people might hear if I called her Granny so I always called her Eileen.
I could go on and on but basically she was the best and I miss her dearly.

Posting Photos of Your Children Online

Posted on 29 January, 2014

Yesterday I deleted a photograph of myself from Instagram.  I deleted it because I didn’t like how I looked. Once it was gone from public eyes I thought, yet again, about my decision to post photographs of Ewan here and on Instagram.

Whenever I think about posting photographs of Ewan I stumble. I find myself googling “Ethics of Posting Photos of Children Online” and other similar topics to see if I can find someone else’s opinion, set of rules or guidance to adopt as my own.

The truth is I’m lost on the topic. I have read the extra vigilant view, which is to never ever put photographs of your children online. The consensus of this group seems to be, Why share images of your child with strangers? Your asking for trouble! I read the somewhat more moderate view if you do put up pictures publicly be selective, no bath photos, no potty training,  no identifying factors (school uniforms etc), no swim suits and above all no nudity of any kind. Then there is the “don’t be silly” but up anything you want, these are children what’s wrong with celebrating that.

Obviously this is something I’ve talked about with Steve and he doesn’t have a problem with it. He would agree not having identifying photos of where we live etc but the general concept of putting photos online of Ewan doesn’t worry him.

My parents have a similar view but would express added concern that they are anxious that I would really consider what photos I post of him.

For me I feel there are constant “threats” that the world of parenting blogs warn you about. Some feel more real than others and for me, at this point in time, photos on the internet do not feel like a real and immediate threat. As he gets older I may review these decisions. For me my blog is new and it still feels small and personal. If I start to get extraordinary reader numbers or if others use the photos of Ewan I post then maybe I’ll have to reconsider.

I think what keeps me coming back to it is not so much about the threats, real or otherwise, it’s about Steve and I being the deciders and trying to be okay with that.
If I don’t like a photo of myself on my instagram account I can choose to delete it. If I really don’t like a photo of me that a friend has posted I pester them to take it down.

For the moment at least I get to choose what photos I post of Ewan. I will have plenty of opportunities to embarrass him in real life and I never want this blog to be a source of embarrassment or discomfort for him in the future. But at this point in time Steve and I are the decision makers. We decide when he naps (although he can protest strongly on this point), what he eats, who he sees, where he goes, when he baths etc And with a lot of decisions I think you have to do what your comfortable with and for the moment I’m comfortable with all the photos I have shown you of him and the context in which I show them. So for now at least I’ll put the alarmists, the moderates and the easy goers aside and follow my gut.

After saying all of that I’d still love to hear what you think?Where would you draw the line?

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Aspirations above our stations

Posted on 27 January, 2014

Steve and I have both been drawn into the world of Downton Abbey. We are many years behind most, given that it first aired in 2010, but with extreme dedication (two episodes a night!) we are racing through it and in the middle of Season 3 already. (Please don’t tell us what happens!).
It’s a world where white candles fill polished silver candelabras, the linen is crisp, the livieries spotless and the drama is constant. I enjoy most of the characters and get annoyed by some of them but it’s the style that keeps me coming back.
With Downton on the brain I went thrifting. Whether I would have spotted these items if I hadn’t developed this new obsession I don’t know, but either way I snapped them up.
These need a good iron and a polish before they could match Mr Carson’s standards but even as they are they certainly have style.
I intend to keep up the search for more Downton inspired items. I hope this won’t be tiresome for anyone who’s not a fan.
But in the words of the aforementioned butler, Mr Carson ” If your tired with style, then your tired of life”!

This week I’m sharing with A Living Space, Me and My ShadowWe Call it Junkin and Sir Thrift A Lot.

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Feeling seedy?

Posted on 24 January, 2014

In January I generally make some small token effort towards leading a slightly healthier lifestyle (note the non- committal language). This year it was not to eat after 8 in the evening. I mainly stick to this but I do sneak the odd biscuit with a cup of tea.

So in an attempt to stretch the commitment somewhat I went to the health food shop and stocked up. Gosh those places are expensive! But the staff were so nice (she even carried my basket) and after her listing all the goodness in everything I already felt healthier.

Once stocked up I made Quinoa and Chia Seed Granola. Ohh la la I hear you say. You’d be right. It’s delicious! I got the recipe from Lily Higgin’s book Dream Deli.  You can see it here too.

homemade quinoa and chia seed granola

I may just break my eating after 8 rule to have a bowl now. It really is yum. Steve even said it’s nicer than any of the ones he’s bought.

(If your cooking it mind those edge bits. Mine burnt but it’s a lesson learnt and the burnt bits add a certain something:)

Hope you have a nutty and seedy weekend:)

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Mapping Fun

Posted on 23 January, 2014

Yesterday while rushing around I dipped into a second hand shop (not too much of a rush clearly!) and there they were side by side. A little yellow and white Carrigaline jug  and flower power Arklow jug lined up together just for me.

Carrigaline Pottery Jug and Arklow Pottery Jug

It got me thinking about the excitement when I find something beautiful and eye catching and it’s made here in beautiful Ireland. So I got out a few road maps and started dotting my small collection around the map. That looked horrible! So I re-thought it and inspired by this, I went and did this…

Map of Ireland and Thrift finds
The map is from Bold and Noble and I love it! I thought it was a bit pricey when I bought it but now I love it so much I’ve forgotten the cost.
In case you’ve been scrolling over the image thinking it’s broken the image map is below. So feel free to wander the mouse about the image and click to see where it brings you:)
Map of Ireland and Thrift finds

Aranware Cups from Derry Image Map

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A feminist, a mum and a big decission

Posted on 22 January, 2014

Yesterday I found myself sharing with my boss the realisation that I want to stay at home rather than go back to work. I have a niggling feeling that I may not be given the career break I hope for in which case I’ll leave work altogether.

This is not an easy choice for me and writing about it hasn’t come easily either. I have thought a lot about writing a post about this decision and held off for some time. I held off for many reasons, my own uncertainty, wanting to tell people at work first and fear.

I think I was afraid of offending people with my views (past or present), afraid that people would judge me and afraid of writing it all down in case I can’t explain myself as I’d like . But much like burps, it’s better out than in, so here we go.

As I mentioned before I never imagined having a child. If I ever thought of having children I certainly never thought of leaving work to care for one. The student feminist in me thought many things about stay at home mums, none of them kind. I read books like the Baby Trap which claimed that ” the girls I’ve talked to who have no children are, almost without exception, prettier, more conversational, more aware, more alive, more exciting, more satisfied”. 

While I wouldn’t have said it so bluntly there was a time when I would have thought that to be true.

Now, as a mum, I don’t think of myself as an ugly zombie-type dragging my dull corpse through my unsatisfying life.  I haven’t become devoid of personality, creativity or interest since I’ve had Ewan, if anything I have space to figure myself out.

Of course not all feminists are as anti-family as the extract above.  Feminists often talk about flexible work patterns, greater sharing of parental leave between men and women and anything, anything at all, that might limit or disrupt the traditional division of labour where women stay at home and the man earns the money.

I agree that yes we need equality and yes, part of that is greater opportunities for men to be active care givers but I think there’s a missing bit about valuing the option of staying at home for men or women.  When you read about the role of a carer being valued it’s often said that caring is work too and so should be valued. But to me that just doesn’t sit right.

Yes, caring involves work but it’s not the work part that gives it value. It’s not how many loads of washing you do or how many meals you make or how many tantrums you survive. Trying to put it on the same scale as work outside the home, equating it to something that has a monetary value, doesn’t feel right to me.

It shouldn’t have to be thought of drudgery before it becomes valuable. Socialist feminists sometimes seem to be describing women who stay at home as women who have been sold by society into unpaid servitude rearing and developing the next mass of workers.

For me staying home with Ewan has nothing to do with work, that’s not how I value it. I value the chance to do it because I get to indulge myself in spending time with him that I know I’m lucky to have.

Should I not strive to have “it all” ? Am I yet another woman who is falling into a traditional role? Yet another woman who thinks she is making a choice but is really fooling herself because there never really was a choice. What will the future hold with no wage packet with my name on it? Will anyone ever hire me again?

These things have all bothered me but the nub of what worried me most was much more shallow than the great feminist debate. It’s will I become dull, dreary even? Will I be unable to talk about anything but Ewan, devoid of any opinion on anything other than the cost of a grocery shop?

But it comes back to the point that took me so long to realise, I am not my work. Work never made me interesting. Work gave me a lot of things, and will one day again, but it’s not the only thing I am and ever will be.

I am lucky enough to have a chance to stay at home with Ewan and I plan on cherishing it. I no longer equal my job. Be it for a year or longer I’ll be spending time at home and I plan to enjoy finding out whatever it is I equal and all the messiness that goes with that.

Update: This post has been nominated for the Irish Blog Awards, Best Post category. If  you liked the post I would be delighted if you would vote for Thrifty Amos here.

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Tipperary moves to California

Posted on 20 January, 2014

The January spell has been broken! I have shaken off my cold  and my Etsy shop has got it’s first two sales of 2014. I must admit I was beginning to worry that my Etsy shop wasn’t going to sell anything in 2014 (I like to leap to irrational conclusions). Thankfully I was proved wrong!

One of the items that is now being shipped to the US is this jug made in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary…

The person who bought it got in touch to say it caught her eye as she lives near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California where they have the entire contents of a pub from the President’s ancestral home of, yes you guessed it, Ballyporeen, Tipperary.
Image Source 1 and 2.
The Ronald Reagan pub in Ballyporeen closed in 2004 and while the building still stands, its fittings and sign were transferred to the Library in California. They even transferred kegs, taps and the glasses that were used when President Reagan and his wife visited in 1984. Everything went, even the liquer bottle Nancy Reagan’s drink was poured from!
File:President Reagan in Ballyporeen Ireland.jpg
And now ten years on, another little bit of Ballyporeen is winging it’s way to California! Safe travels little jug:)

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