17 from 17

It’s that looking-ahead-while-looking-back time of year, and since I’m still in pyjamas and eating the last of the Butlers chocolates, I’m staying firmly in looking-back mode. And I’m taking the lead from Sadhbh of Where Wishes Come From again this year and joining her annual linky to round up my favourite 17 blog-related things from 2017:

1. My favourite post

The post I most enjoyed writing is Hindsight on what really maters – a note to my eldest child about getting it wrong and getting it right and meeting in the middle. (What I really like is that she was googling how to make homemade lipstick one day and came in to me to say “I found it, I love you too.”)

2. The most popular post

The most read post this year was a review of our holiday in  Cambrils Park, a Spanish resort that has reached almost cult-like status among Irish holiday makers (and having been there, I can see why!)

Pools Cambrlls Park - Office Mum

3. The least serious post that’s actually true

Discovering 4 things I learned about parenting from cream crackers – true story.

4. My favourite photo

This photo was taken beside Lough Ennell in Westmeath when we stayed nearby for a weekend. I spent time at Lough Ennell as a kid in the 80s, and it was lovely to go back there with my own kids. I like this photo because somehow it looks like it was taken back in the 80s or even earlier.

5. My favourite fiction-writing moments

There’s no way to pick one – finishing writing The Other Side of the Wall, seeing the cover, touching the printed copies for the first time, finding it on a shelf in a bookshop, publication day, first reviews – I think perhaps though it was the launch, which was like a wedding – right down to not being able to remember everything afterwards, such was the high. (Luckily I have 4,000 photos to remind me.) Thank you to all the lovely people who came along that evening – you will never know how much it meant.

6. The posts that were most cathartic to write 

For me, the primary function of blogging is to let off steam, and through that process, to  find solidarity. And just like last year, September was the month during which most catharsis was required – I wrote Homework Day 1 and Fixing the Morning I Broke about things going wrong, and The Mothership Returns about the tiny silver lining of going back to school.

7. Favourite title

Because it does exactly what it says on the tin: 11 essential tools that help me to be a moderately mediocre parent including TV, coffee, and wine.

8. My best blog moment

I still get butterflies when I think back to hearing my name called out for  Best Lifestyle Blog (Commercial) at the Blog Awards in October – definitely my favourite blog moment of the year. Doing the school run the following morning wasn’t pretty.

Blog Awards - Office Mum, Andrea Mara

9. Most popular post on the Office Mum Facebook page

It’s hard to be precise but one of the most popular was a photo of a beach umbrella from my trip to Malaga with my best friends. Two whole days lying on a beach with only ourselves to look after – two months later I’m wondering if it happened or if I dreamed it.

10. My favourite post that nobody read

Every year there’s at least one post that I enjoy writing but nobody reads. And it’s only fair that every year the unread post gets an outing in the annual round-up, so this year’s is Epic, an account of the epic everyday trek through the daily grind.

11. My biggest milestones

This year there were no milestone birthdays or wedding anniversaries, but I did get to see my first book being published which was like all my birthdays rolled into one.

12. My favourite travel post

We had lovely trips to West Cork, Titanic Experience BelfastBloomfield House hotel, and Port Aventura when we were in Cambrils but I think my favourite “I can’t wait to write this post because the trip was just so good” was our weekend in London.

Sky Garden London - Office Mum
Sky Garden – a free lookout spot from 32 floors up

13. My most read practical post

My favourite posts to write are the “here’s a thing that happened today” type ones but the ones that people search for long after they’re written are the practical ones – everything from campsite reviews to tongue tie information. This year’s most popular practical post was Cambrils Park – is it as good as they say?

14. My favourite newspaper feature

This Examiner feature on gender and education and discovering that girls still think boys are smarter when it comes to STEM subjects really opened my eyes and made me even more determined to remind my own kids that there are no limits. The most shared newspaper features was three is the new two when Kate Middleton announced her pregnancy.

15. My biggest confession

I don’t like driving, I hate roundabouts, and I actively avoid motorways – it was a relief to write this and even more so to discover how many other people feel the same! Here’s to trains.

16. The post that reminded me what blogging is about

This post sums up what blogging is to me – the post is about crappy afternoons and trying not to run away and nostalgia and fixing things and overthinking and coming to the conclusion that everything is probably okay: Brick Walls.

17. What I got out of blogging this year

For me this year was dominated by word count and editing and trying to get The Other Side of the Wall finished and now trying to get book 2 edited. It also meant trying to fit in freelance writing in order to continue earning money. So in theory, there was no time for blogging, but in reality, it was more necessary than ever. Because with blogging you can write about anything that’s in your head, there’s no deadline, there’s no word count, no pressure. It’s a space for letting off steam and feeling all the better for it.

So thanks for indulging me through this post and throughout 2017 – knowing that people are reading is what keeps bloggers going. Wishing you and yours the very best of everything for 2018!


This part of a linky on Where Wishes Come From, a beautiful blog from my good friend Sadhbh who also published her first book this year – a gorgeous Irish language children’s book called Bí Ag Spraoi Liom:

To check out Where Wishes Come From and some the other participants, click the badge!

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Author: Andrea Mara | Office Mum

Blogger, freelance writer, author, mother - muddling through and constantly looking for balance.

5 thoughts on “17 from 17”

    1. I totally do – even when I go back to the same bookshops over and over. And I always take a pic! Happy New Year Nicola and thanks for one of the best linkys of all time – Playlist of my life (which inspired the Brick Walls post mentioned in this post)

  1. WHAT. A. YEAR!
    It’s been so exciting just to witness your 2017 from the sidelines! As always, you inspire me no end through your writing, work ethic and your friendship in general. This year you’re particularly inspiring me to travel more! I really feel I need some beach time in my life this year looking at that Cambrils pic…

    Thanks for the mention too. I love that we got published the same year 🙂

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