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Thank you

Posted on 28 August, 2014

I’m a little under the weather (nothing serious just a cold!) so I’ll be taking a break for a few days in the hope of being fit and ready for a car boot sale or two at the weekend. Oh how I’ve missed car boot sales!

Before I sign off I wanted to say a big thank you in the style of the Oscars to everyone who has vote for Thrifty Amos in the Irish Blog Awards.

I have been consistently reminding friends and family that they can vote once a week and no one, not one single person, has said go away! So to all of you, thank you! Thank you to Michelle Clancy who wrote a lovely article in the Munster Express newspaper about my nomination. Thank you my friend Shauna who made the interview happen!

Thank you to everyone who coerced others to vote for me!

Thank you to readers who I have never met who took the time to vote for me. That’s amazing, thank you! I’m not currently in the top ten but I am higher in the rankings than I ever thought I would be and that is because of all of you. Thank you.

I’m still hopeful of a Rocky-style late triumph but even if that doesn’t happen I’m truly chuffed that so many of you have voted for Thrifty Amos! Thank you:)

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Do or don’t love your lines

Posted on 27 August, 2014

15 days ago two mums started something that  makes me feel disgusting and like celebrating all at the same time. Love your Lines is an Instagram account with a tag line of  “Two moms celebrating real women, real bodies and real self love.”   It asks followers to send pictures of their lined body parts via email, and offers them the choice to remain anonymous or to give a caption with their photo.

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instagram.com/loveyourlines

The reaction to the account has been huge with the account gaining 40,000 followers in just over two weeks.  It’s being hailed as a revolution! While I’m not sure it’s a revolution it is a simple idea that does so many wonderful things.

In the weeks after Ewan was born I felt like nobody had stretch marks like mine. I had never seen other real life women’s stretch marks. When a friend tried to show me hers I struggled to see what I was looking at while mine shone in bright red.  Now, when so many images flood my instagram feed I start to feel more normal. When stretch marks are hidden and the only images you see are that of beautiful bikini-clad celebrities six weeks after giving birth you start to feel like the freak. I felt it was right to want to hide my body because it certainly didn’t look like the rest of the bodies I saw everywhere.

Even if my top rode up I would feel panic that someone might have glimpsed what lay beneath.  I know for certain that I would have felt less shocked if I had seen more images of stretch marks on real life bodies. Many of the images I had seen of stretch marks were “before and after” images. They were designed to show you the “nasty”  picture (which is what mine looked like) and the smoother “fixed” image.  Love your Lines offers me,and anyone interested, another view of women’s bodies. One that isn’t photo-shopped or false. One where women share their image as an act of confidence and even defiance to the mass media singular image of the ideal woman.

That’s all good, right?

So why do I feel a little disgusting?

There is something about the account makes me squirm. Initially, I couldn’t pin point it but  I’ve realised I feel like a voyeur. Yes, the images are put up voluntarily but part of me can’t help thinking that I’m objectifying these women just to a different standard than how I objectify women in a magazine.

By cropping images to focus solely on stretch marks the woman is no longer in the picture. Her stretch marks are the object. Her head is removed , the  rest of body is removed, and while there may be a caption about how her marks came into being, her body and her marks are the objects of the viewers eyes.  She is reduced to her image and reduced further to the image of a small part of her body.

When I shared my stretch marks on here on the blog it didn’t feel like objectification to me because I shared those images here, where I share so much more about myself. They are not images on their own they are part of the wider picture of me.  I’ve shared the ups and downs of being a mum, my love of Arklow pottery, my misadventures with bluebells and my body is another part of that.

The images in Love your Lines are intimate but the women remain strangers, objects rather than active subjects. The pictures aren’t sexual but they are intimate. Intimate images flooding my feed, with or without stretch marks, makes me a little uncomfortable. But not so uncomfortable that I want to look away. So like a well trained voyeur I keep looking.

I’m a follower of Love your Line.  I clicked follow to feed my preoccupation with stretch marks.

As the days go by and I see more and more submissions to Love your Lines I am becoming less and less interested. At the start I would examine the images, compare them to my own stretch marks, read the womens’ captions. Now the marks are becoming more common place, I’m acquainted with so many different types of stretch marks that they no longer surprise me. The voyeur in me is no longer getting a jolt of surprise by the images and objectifying the women to compare them to me seems redundant when so many people have such similar marks to my own.

An exciting possibility of social media, and of sharing real life images on blogs, is that it might make bodies so objectified, so scrutinized, that it becomes insignificant. We might at some point see so many stretch marks that we no longer care, see so many post surgery bodies that we are no longer surprised, we might see so many #fatkini’s, #stretchies and #selfies that we become immune.

We might at some point have seen it all before and even stop bothering about what others look like. now that would be a pretty decent rebellion!

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Back west

Posted on 25 August, 2014

Last weekend we headed off  west to County Clare. Going on a long journey with Ewan can be a form of torture. Driving to a never ending loop of “no, no,no,no, noooo” can make you wonder why you ever turned the key. But this time I left armed with his granny as the entertaining passenger, 3 nursery rhyme cd’s and some well timed stops and snacks. Luckily this seemed to work and we all managed to arrive with our sanity in tact!

Despite all the wonders of Clare and seeing relations Ewan’s favourite part of the trip was by far his Great Grandad’s tractor.

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This got more “wwwwooooowwww’s and “duckadat” (translation “Look at that”) than I have ever heard from him. Every time he left the house, or passed a window, he wanted a go to the tractor.

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We spent the wee hours of the morning out here before the house was awake and he soaked up every second of it.

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While I’m not much of a tractor girl myself I do love some a good dose of touristy things that make me go “ahhh Ireland” and Loop Head lighthouse did exactly that.

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When I suggested going to visit the lighthouse Granny (Ewan’s Great-Granny) looked at me like I had just suggested going to look at the toaster. She lives only a few miles from the lighthouse but never, ever,ever visits.  The consensus seemed to be that I was nuts, but still a visitor, so my touristy whims were met.

Paying five euro to do the tour was a level of insanity that nobody else was willing to descent to, so up I went on my own.

The tour itself wasn’t anything to write home about but the views were amazing.

 

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Seeing beautiful spots like this gives me a good dose of the”ahh Ireland” feeling which is a healthy mix of awe, pride, and a hint of smugness about the fact I live in Ireland and a dash of a complaint. In this instance I did go on a bit of a rant about electricity poles and pylons most of which I tried to cut out of my photos like they didn’t exist!

Way down below I could spot Ewan anxiously waiting for me to be finished so he could make his way back to the beloved tractor. Different strokes for different folks I guess!

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Seventies tastic

Posted on 21 August, 2014

I realise I said that I was putting a halt to buying things for the shop but this set literally called at me from across the street. That may be an incorrect use of the word literally but if they could talk they would have screamed ” buy me, I’m soooo retro”. I saw this in a second hand shop when we were on holidays. It was unfortunate timing because I had just told Steve at the last second hand shop that was really the last one I was going to make us go to. So after some “oooh just one more, this really is the last one” pleading he generously succumbed and I got the set.  I mean would you look at the cuteness, it would have been all kinds of madness to leave it behind!

Kiln Craft Bacchaus 1972

Thanks to the wonders of Retro Pottery Net (that site is like pottery heaven by the way!) I discovered that this Kiln Craft Bacchaus set was introduced in 1972.  That makes a lot of sense when you look at the pattern, it’s all kinds of seventies tastic!

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Also the helpful ladies in the second hand shop explained to me that this was a coffee pot rather than tea pot (which I had been calling it) because the open shape of the spout where it joins the body of the pot would mean that the tea bag would get stuck in it so the pot therefore it was intended for coffee.  This made sense but I had my suspicions.I didn’t share my suspicions with the ladies as all three of them were adamant and keen to make sure I was clear about the difference.

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But before I declared to the world my new found knowledge I went home and googled it.  Just as well too because the good ole internet tells a different tale!

Apparently the spout position is determined by the drink it’s intended to hold. So tea leaves float to the top so tea pots have their spouts join the body of the pot in the middle, like this Kilncraft pot. Also ground coffee sinks so coffee spouts generally higher up body of the pot. So with some dismay I’m going to over rule the three enthusiastic sales assistants and go ahead and call it a tea pot.  This TEA set is already in the shop I’m getting quicker at this shop thing:)

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He didn’t lick that off the wall

Posted on 20 August, 2014

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What??? I hear you say. Let me explain.  Last night Steve and I were talking about how Ewan can get totally unreasonable when hungry or tired and how when both combine it can be scary. I proclaimed  “well he didn’t lick that off the walls!”.

And at that moment I realised I am my mother! This is one of her  phrases that has worked it’s way into my vernacular without me even noticing. The transformation into my mother is so complete that I didn’t even realise  this isn’t a phrase that anyone ,other than Mum, and occasionally Dad, actually uses.

For those of you, such as Steve who are still completely confused it means roughly the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

In this instance I meant I too can be unreasonable and a little frightening when I’m hungry or tired and so Ewan “didn’t lick that off the walls” he got that trait from me. See it makes perfect sense!

How about you, do you have any unusual sayings or phrases?

 

A corner office

Posted on 18 August, 2014

Since I’ve opened the Etsy shop I’ve been a bit of a shop keeping  hobo. The typewriter lives in one press, the boxes for packaging in the upstairs hallway, the bubble wrap under the bench in the kitchen. Well not any more. I shoved my sewing machine over and claimed the rest of the desk in the spare room as my office.

I started by buying two wall boxes and painted them with left over tester paints. Before Ewan was born we considered nearly every colour for the baby’s room. We were convinced we were decorating for a girl! As a result of our colour experiments we have lots and lots of paint tester pots which get put to use every now and again.

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Once the wall boxes were drying I decided to tackle what I was going to do with the postage forms, custom declaration stickers and general bits and bobs. To manage these I used all my DIY skills and cut up a cereal box and covered it with glue and paper. Voila! It’s not the sturdiest thing you’ve ever seen but it does the job nicely.

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That all was pretty quick but deciding what looked better in which book involved much more thought and faffing about.

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The end result is I’m thrilled, I have my own corner office (well, in the corner of the spare bedroom at least) and I love it:)

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A week in photos

Posted on 15 August, 2014

This week has been a mad one. On the blog/shop front there was  the radio interview , an interview with the Munster Express newspaper for next week. All the while it has been the busiest week in the shop since I opened  it!

This means there has been lots of typing receipts, trips to the post office and celebratory cups of tea!

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On the home front things have been trickier. The sentiments in the House Politics post still apply. It turns out toddlers are tricky and negotiations have not reached any logical conclusion.

Both Ewan and I have used the word “No” more times than I care to remember. Both of us with varying levels of stroppiness! I’ve also had to regularly explain that we don’t rip off wallpaper and eat it. Not something I thought I’d ever need to explain but there you go. I did say this week was a mad one!

But there’s no wallpaper outside so we’ve been walking and walking!

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Luckily, they are doing building work nearby. I say luckily because Ewan loves “dig digs”, “truuuuuuucck” and “cane” (cranes!). So we have been taking many slow walks to the building site, sitting on the curb and watching them work.

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Ewan makes plenty of “oooooohh” noises and all seems well with the world again.

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This household might be the only one in the neighbourhood that wants the builders to never leave.

Long may they dig dig!

Bad shop keeper

Posted on 14 August, 2014

Tonight was meant to be  “sit down and do some shop maintenance” time.  That has since been abandoned.

See the problem with the shop is that people buy things and then all of a sudden it starts to look empty. The truth is our hallway is full of stuff that is waiting to be in the shop.  But it has come to light that the shop doesn’t seem to be able to manage itself. This is an Etsy design flaw clearly:)

Instead of uploading items tonight I’ve opted for uploading one item to relieve the guilt somewhat and comfort eating with crisps. I’m generally not so lethargic but today has been trying and an evening of nothing too taxing is called for. So instead I’ve browsed my shop which is fun and I don’t really do that often.  In doing so I’ve noticed that I definitely have a red thing going on. I’m a fan of red I just never realised how much that influences what I buy for the shop.

You have to admit it’s pretty damn cheery though!

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While tonight calls for crisps and tea (not together I haven’t lost my mind entirely) I have plenty of items, photographed, measured and weighed ready for uploading super soon so stay tuned.

 

Garden Treats

Posted on 13 August, 2014

When we were on holiday we got to reap the benefits of an amazing organic garden that Steve’s dad has poured hours and hours of work into. The garden is out of this world and has everything you could possibly need. It feed ten people for two weeks and it still doesn’t look bear.

We were given instructions to dig in. So after kilos of potatoes,rocket, peas,broad beans and onions I decided to expand my horizons and try the rhubarb tucked in the back of the garden. Taking this load didn’t even dent in the yield!

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It was a hot and muggy kind of day so it was not the time to be skewing or baking . I stood in the spot with the good internet connection and found this recipe for rhubarb syrup from the blog Like Mama Used to Bake.

It was delightfully easy.

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We had some snazzy lemonade left over from our Pimms adventures  and so a non-alcoholic cocktail (of sorts) was born and it was ggggooooooodddd! Be warned though it is really, really sweet. But if you get the ratio just right the rhubarb is still tart enough to cut through and make it a little edgy:)

Happy experimenting!

rhubarb drink

 

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