Posts from the “blogging” Category

Six week myth

Posted on 3 August, 2016

When Ewan was born we fell for the six week myth in a big way. Never fear we thought, this tiredness will settle into a manageable routine  at 6 weeks. He will be a social smiling, musically attentive bundle of joy in a home where routine  reigns supreme.

This myth is a powerful one not just because every baby book in the world perpetuates it but because you really really want to believe it. If your baby is coming up to six weeks and this post has the potential to burst your bubble then please be assured that plenty of parents have told me they thought things “settled down” at six weeks. I however am wondering how the publishing companies have got to them to feed the lie so convincingly.

Contre to the popular belief that life will once again “fall into place” at six weeks I am more inclined to believe that life unravels a little when your baby reached six weeks.

With both Ewan and Freya I floated about for the six weeks of their lives. Everything was amazing. I viewed the birth as transformative, night feeds were a chance to gaze at their beautiful squidgy faces, getting them changed after another nappy failure was a chance to seem them in an even cuter outfit.

I read once that while filming the tv series Moonlighting the camera lens was smeared with a light layer of vaseline to give Cybil Shepard a soft focus and  hazey glow. For me life for the first six weeks had  that same vaseline lens quality. I remember one night of feeding Freya at 3am, 5am and 7am declaring chirpily that we had a great nights sleep. I really believed it too. Some people call it a love bubble, some say its hormones either way after six weeks it popped.

Freya is now 8 weeks old and I can fully declare that a cumulative tiredness has hit hard. Don’t get me wrong, by any standard Freya has been an incredible baby. This is not bias on my part it is just a fact! She spent seven hours in a fancy pants hotel while I eked out every last drop from my afternoon tea and didn’t cry once.(Admittedly I did put a breast in her mouth anytime she considered making a sound but you do what you need to when there is cake involved!).  When all is well she goes to bed at about 10:30pm and feeds once sometime in the dark confusing hours of the night and will wake again at about 7am. She is simply fantastic. But the fact remains it is still so hard. The bags under my eyes have joined together to make one large puffy bruised coloured hold all. I no longer rejoice at changing her outfit. Instead I struggle to remember what still fits her and why I was getting her dressed in the first place.

Now if the books said at six weeks you will feel so tired it will take you three laps of the house to remember what it is you went looking for then I would buy that book! This time around I knew a routine doesn’t fall from the sky and I wasn’t expecting the final piece of the routine jigsaw to slot into place and it certainly didn’t. My only parenting wisdom I have acquired in the last three years seems to be it’s bloody awful and heart swellingly amazing all in the one day. Once you realise that then it takes a bucket load of pressure of.  If I stand over Freya with a list of expectations of behaviors and routines no one wins. If I hibernate on the days it starts off badly we’d never do anything. So instead I’m going with the classic “winging it” approach and so far we have a household of four people who have no routine, are wrecked but happy.

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A week in numbers

Posted on 5 June, 2015

week in numbers

 

 

See how I dropped in (twice) that i was on the radio, as if I didn’t have a knot in my stomach before hand like it’s a thing I do. Yeah, that’s how I roll.

If you’re in the listening mood you can hear me talk about the post ” The real cost of being a stay at home mum” here on the 96fm podcast here. I am introduced at 36 minutes 38 seconds to be exact:)

Also in the interests of honest since I started writing this post at lunch time I have watched another half of an episode of Corrie and there have been more potty training accidents!

Love me button

Posted on 31 May, 2015

Image from Cameron Kim Jones

This week I regressed to being a very needy teenager looking for likes, shares and nice comments so I could feel nice about myself. You come to a point in your life when you consider yourself reasonably well adjusted to life. I thought I had reached that point. I was well and truly wrong!  This week I became a guest blogger for a week on herfamily.ie and lost leave of my senses.

I am only on my fifth sentences of this blog post and I have already checked twice, YES TWICE to see if anyone else has shared any of the posts I wrote. Despite the fact that this week has been a very busy week and that we are still in the middle of potty training(best not to ask!)  I have squeezed in a peak at their website in every available moment. I was obsessed with the number of shares the posts I wrote have received. Funnily enough I am not concerned about the posts that only have a handful of shares. Instead I am fully fixated on the article that I liked best . When I finished writing “A toddler’s guide to handling their parents” I was really happy with it. When I sent off all the articles to herfamily.ie I was only confident about that one.

However as soon as it was posted their site, I started to freak out. For 12 hours or so only 8 people had shared it. I was obsessed with how low I felt this figure was. I felt riddled with self doubt. This had been the one I was pleased with it, I considered that one the best and no one, bar those 8 people, shared it. I pressed refresh so many time I think my computer wanted to shut itself down and refuse to indulge this possession. Any molecule of pride I felt in the article before it was published imploded when I stared at the number count of how many people liked it.

As the week has gone by I have calmed down considerably.  But I’ll openly admit I was looking for a “wow the internet loves me” kind of  reaction. But as the hours of the first day rolled on I lowered my standards to looking for just at least more than ten people to say they liked that!

When people did start sharing it that wasn’t enough either. “Ohhh it’s gone up to 22 shares, great, but  hey 34 people like the one with the eggs”

Once it reached over a hundred shares I started to worry that it was stuck on 120 when another peoples posts had much more. That’s the problem with relying on social media for your kicks, it’s never enough. There is no end to it. Now at the end of the week I’ve finally figured that this numbers game is a fools game. There is no magics number of shares or likes that equals happiness.

It’s not a nice feeling to feel so needy and it made me think that of all the energy I put into worrying about something that in the long scheme of things really doesn’t matter at all. When I look back on this week I’m much more likely to remember the small bursts of  hope I’ve felt when  potty training went well than I am to remember when some stranger shared an article I’d written.

As the week has gone on I’ve tried to bring myself back to being a some what sane adult person again (the bar was never too high to start with!). I’ve been trying to remember how I felt when I finished each article. Even the one with 5 shares. I was pleased. I had put time aside to write and I had met my deadline and I had articles that still sounded like me but fit their bill. I’m sticking with that feeling and trying to ignore the needy teenager and, for today, that’s actually working:) Tomorrow of course I’ll storm off to my room after I get my nose pierced!

You can read all the articles here if you’d like, it is a Sunday after all:)

A TODDLER’S GUIDE TO HANDLING THEIR PARENTS

10 MILDLY RIDICULOUS THINGS NEW PARENTS END UP DOING

MAKING NEW FRIENDS: PARENT AND TODDLER GROUP SURVIVAL TIPS

THE QUIRKS OF IRISH PARENTS: COMPETITIVE SYMPATHY

The Real cost of being a stay at home mum

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Blogging with a family

Posted on 2 February, 2015

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This is a tricky old post to write.

Let me start by saying I love blogging. I love taking time to photograph something pretty, a vintage find or a moment out and about with Ewan. I love writing up a piece, especially the longer ones that I let linger in the drafts pile before re-visiting and tweaking. I love publishing the post and checking back to see if there are any comments.As I rule I get very excited when people leave comments!

I spend a lot of time in a land of blogs where people share their every move. Everything is fair game. Where they went on a dates with their husbands, what they wore, what they ate, what the children did with the babysitter, their kids fevers and troubles at school, nappy training problems, when they last had sex, what it was like, EVERYTHING is shared. I love all that stuff, it’s addictive and enthralling. It also means that, in my mind, my blog isn’t overly personal at all when you compare it to others.

But my opinion isn’t the only one that matters. I’m not on my own. I’m part of this family. I have parents who prefer their photos not to be on the blog, I have friends who would prefer not to be on the blog, I have friends who never want their children to be on the blog. Steve, my partner in everything,  wants there to be minimal content about him on the blog. I understand where all of these people are coming from and I can understand their need to keep their lives private.

Steve  works in IT and his version of what should be kept private is very different from mine. We’ve had talks about whether things we do as a family are fodder for the blog or are they activities just for us. We’ve talked a lot about when are our private moments no longer private ? Do the moments start to belong less to us when they are shared? What will Ewan think of this when he’s older?

If I’m honest it would be much easier not to think of these questions but I’m old enough and wise enough to be glad that I have Steve asking these questions of me and me asking them of myself.

I don’t write in a journal or diary because I like the public nature of the blog. I enjoy getting feedback, I like meeting people who say “I read the one you did about…” and off our conversation starts from there. I like the feeling that I’m putting together a body of work that I feel proud of and I will keep on doing it.

But I want to do it with a bit of integrity. I don’t want to use photos of Ewan as a lazy way to do a blog post. I have done that on more than one occasion and I generally do it because I’m tired or it has been an uneventful week. In my eyes he is pretty darn cute and posting some photos of him has been a nice and easy blog post for me to do. But I don’t want that to be my default blog post and I don’t want to end up having an online photo documentary of his life because I haven’t done much myself.

If I post photos of him then I want it to have something to do with the blog post as a whole. I never want to feel like I have nothing to say for myself “So here, look at my lovely child” (and let’s face it, he is a cutie). Saying all of this doesn’t mean that Ewan won’t be on the blog. Ewan and I spend 12 hours a day together to leave him out would seem weird to me  but I am giving thought to how and when he is on the blog.

I never want to feel like I use my family to fill space on the blog so I’m taking things slowly and thinking. Overall, I trust my judgement but it’s bloody tough though! I wish someone had a manual called “How to blog respectfully” or something similar.  But the reality is there is no one size fits all. It’s about what you and the people who make up your family are happy with and after over a year of blogging  I still don’t feel like I have it nailed yet. So I’m slowing down.

Right now,I can’t see an obvious answer but I feel like I can’t go too far wrong trusting my gut and with Steve by my side. He would never seek to edit the blog but he does give me his honest opinion when I ask for it. So I guess we need to keep talking, I need to keep asking and when he’s not comfortable he needs to say. (In case your wondering I’ve talked with him about this post).

So if I’m not here that often that is why.I’m not rushing to post photos to fill space. I’m starting the year off by slowing down and I hope that you’ll bear with me and that what I do post keeps being something that I can be proud of and that you’ll want to read and see.  So when you don’t hear from me as often please remember I’m still be here and don’t forget to drop by to say hi.

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A surprise first place

Posted on 8 January, 2015

Everything seems to be going a little slower for me over these first few days of the new year. I thinking about changing things up both here and in the shop but a bout of indecision and dose of the January “meh” feeling is making me pause before making any decisions. I have to say this pausing business is a marked improvement from when I was in full time work.  I had a habit of reacting a little too quickly and running with my gut instinct. So for the moment I’m just moving slowly and having a good old think about where I what shape I’d like the blog to take and what the future of the shop will be.

Because of all this pausing and thinking I decided to look at some stats from the blog in 2014 and I got a bit of a surprise.

Last years most popular topic was the series of posts I did about giving up my smart phone.

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To be honest I didn’t think the topic was that interesting when I first sat down to write about it but people have really responded to it.  It was also these posts that lead me to being asked to go on the radio to talk about the topic. There was no mention of Thrifty Amos in the radio interview and most people seem to have come across the topic when they were googling giving up their smart phones. It looks like there’s a secret host of people out there thinking about ditching their phones. You can expect another post about how that’s easier said than done!!

Using Google Analytics I can see what phrases people have searched which lead them to my blog . (Don’t worry I can’t tell who searched what, just a list of things people searched that lead them to click on the blog). Most searches make sense as to why people would have landed on my blog, Arklow pottery, Irish birth stories, car boot sales, carrigaline pottery all of these make sense. But here are some of the more unusual Google searches that lead people to Thrifty Amos in 2014:

  • am i aloud to bring my dog to the four seasons flea market
  • 40dboobs (they didn’t stay long!)
  • 1970 irish boy scouts
  • amos is who i am
  • what does amus have to do with the christmas tree
  • blanket to soak up blood (!!!)
  • did not lick that off the lawn
  • does amos white gel tube give stretch marks
  • why is ireland so rocky
  • what era did they make letter openers with items stuck inside clear handles
  • the faith of amos
  • frozen chicken harold laurance

The internet, eh!!! Who knows what array of searches will bring people here in 2015 but I’m looking forward to finding out!

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Even blogs have birthdays!

Posted on 15 October, 2014

collage 2It is exactly one year  since I wrote my first blog post. It has been a whirlwind of 222 posts, 773 comments (!!!) and some emails from readers that have meant the world to me!

Nearly everyone says that time flies but honestly if you said I started the blog four years ago I’d believe you. It’s not that time has dragged it’s just that so much has happened in the last year that it seems impossible that it was only 365 days.

On the 15th of October 2013 I was on maternity leave with a six month old baby thinking about what returning to work would be like. Ewan wasn’t crawling, he started trying out mushy apple and he slept happily in the buggy when I went thrifting. Now he talks and walks all day long, naps once, hates thrifting in shops but loves a good car boot sale and he has totally nailed eating.

As for me this past year has seen a lot of changes I went to my first ever book launch, I gave up a permanent pensionable job to become a stay at home mum, The Journal published one of my articles, I was nominated for the Irish blog awards (thank you!!) ,I set up an Etsy shop, I gave up my smart phone, I developed an obsession with Arklow Pottery, did a radio interview on a national radio station, stripped off for the camera, attended two amazing DIY workshops, went on a thrifting adventure to Berlin, found my first Hornsea pottery,  shared the ups and downs of being a first time mum , I even tried my hand at food stylingand generally researched, photographed and typed my way through every single nap time !

I absolutely love blogging not just because it forces me off the couch to do something more stimulating but for the sheer fun of it. I value having a space of my own and I am both surprised and honoured that so many of you actually read it!

 

I’ve  also found loads of great blogs by the mere fact of being online more . I’m particularly besotted with some fantastic Irish blogs out there. They spur me to up my game and to keep trying. I’m full of ideas of what I want to see happen with the blog and I really hope you stick with me for the next year of blogging.

I’d love to hear what you’d like to see over the next year, drop me a line at annmarie@thriftyamos.com or leave a comment. It would be great to hear from you.

 

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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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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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Mammy,mammy I’m on the radio!

Posted on 11 August, 2014

This morning I was on the radio! Live on the national radio! RTE is the national broadcaster in Ireland and when they contacted me I toyed with the idea that it was a hoax.

A researcher got in touch last week because he had come across my blog post about ditching my smartphone and they wanted to do a segment (see I learnt some radio lingo!) about abandoning technology.

Once I realised that it wasn’t a hoax I spent all of my free time pretend interviewing myself in my head! I also thought long and hard about how I could ask people to vote for me on the blog awards and still sound natural. After many attempts I abandoned that idea and decided to stick to the topic!

I practiced so much that by the time it came to this morning I was petrified.

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As soon as I went in to the studio (oh yes, the studio with buttons and microphone and everything!) I was greeted with so many chatty friendly people that they some how managed to put me at ease.

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Suddenly, it was all over. I really enjoyed it and I’ve been floating around on adrenaline since.

You can listen here if you’d like :)

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We’re all going on a summer holiday…

Posted on 18 July, 2014

see ireland first, retro holiday in ireland poster, vintage ireland poster

Yes it’s true, we have picked the weekend of  “heavy showers, thunderstorms with hail which may lead to local flooding, disruption or possible damage” to start our summer holidays!

Steve, Ewan and I are taking two weeks holidays in Ireland this means we are packing wellingtons, swim suits, waterproof jackets and factor 50 spf sun tan lotion. We are ready for all an Irish summer can give us!

The shop is  “on vacation” too.  For those of you wondering whether or not I achieved my goal of getting 20 items into the shop before holidays lets just say 0/20. There is definitely some room for improvement there!  But holidays are a time to leave guilt behind so I’m officially clocking off for two whole weeks as of now:)

Two weeks is a long time in internet world, don’t forget me I’ll be back!

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PS. Thank you to everyone so far who has left a comment or sent an email about the stretch mark post. Getting feedback has  made me feel  sorelieved ( I was so nervous to post it!) , thank you!