0 items - 0.00

Odd Socks

Can you remember your childhood birthday parties?

In my family, like most families in the 80’s and early 90’s, birthday parties were nearly always at home. There were no venues booked or bouncy castles or children’s entertainers.

Birthdays were just having a few friends over, having a party in the garage (cause I was 13 and too cool to be having it in the kitchen under the watchful eye of my mother) and playing Van Morrison, The Beatles and the Travelling Wilburys on the Hi-Fi….ahem….okay I totally wasn’t cool and had adopted my parents’ taste in music!

However it’s come full circle now and the Travelling Wilburys are cool in a retro sort of way! Right?!

Anyway, birthday parties were great all the same weren’t they? Hanging out with friends without a care in the world.

But then you become an adult….and life gets busy, really busy!

From the moment we get out of our beds we’re under pressure. Most mornings I’m scrambling to get the kids out the door for school.

I spend the first hour of the day in a panicked state, searching through mountains of laundry (which I haven’t gotten around to sorting) trying to find matching socks for the kids. (Socks are the bane of my life!)

Come the evening time we’re rushing through dinner and racing to after-school activities. Even on the “quiet” evenings we’re all glued to screens bombarding our minds with information.

Being an adult can be so exhausting!

Things have changed a lot since my childhood. And whilst I long for a simplier life, the reality is that life is hectic for everyone.

I’ve made a commitment to myself though, to spend 10 minutes every day taking time out, no phone and no distractions. It’s only 10 minutes but it really is restorative.

It’s so important to take a moment out of the daily grind, to step back and appreciate the good things in our lives.

I’ll never get back to that carefree time in my childhood, but a cup of tea and a bit of Van Morrison playing in the background is a good substitute.

There’s nothing like a tune from your childhood to reclaim that space where you hung out with your friends and hadn’t a care in the world.

Do you have any everyday ceremonies to help you recharge? I’d love to hear about them.

Holy Cow! Is that Safe?!

Sssshh … There’s a secret about Lough Gur that only the locals know!

Not only does it have Ireland’s oldest and largest stone circle on its shores, it’s also Ireland’s largest skating rink! People have been skating on the lake for generations.

Anytime a hard Winter hit, ice skates were retrieved from attics and a great social occasion on the lake ensued.

You might wonder where all these ice skates were produced from on the odd occasion that Lough Gur froze over, considering Ireland isn’t exactly renowned for its Winter sports! Well many local families had a well worn pair of skates in their attic, passed down through the generations and pulled out every 10 years or so when ice covered the lake.

A family relative inherited the job of “ice-checker” and he would survey the depth, the strength and durability of the ice before giving the nod that it was safe to proceed. Nobody would venture out until he had given it his seal of approval. It was a very scientific process I’m sure.

In 1985, my parents went skating on the lake 3 weeks after my little sister was born which caused great anxiety to my Grandmother who was left holding the baby, literally! My mother recalls that as they headed out the door that day, my Grandmother shouted after them

“Well for God’s sake, will you at least go out on the ice one at a time!”

Luckily the long Winter had frozen a thick layer over the lake and my parents lived to tell the tale. They had a wonderful day out which finished with music by the lake shore and hot poitin being served.

It sounds like a crazy thing to do in this health and safety conscious era but my father assures me there were many inches of ice beneath their feet.

In fact so confident were people of the integrity of the ice that one year a Morris Minor was driven across it!

On another occasion a herd of cows decided to cross the frozen surface, tempted by the sight of grass on the small island in the centre. Someone had the unenviable task of driving them back over it before the ice melted.

I guess these were the things people got up to before technology took hold. The community coming together to enjoy the lake, weather permitting!

Thank God they had a good ice-checker!

Pssst Pot

In the early 90’s, when I was 9 years old, I entered the Write- A—Book competition in school. I was convinced I was going to win, mainly due to the amazing book title my Dad had come up with for me. My 9 year old self thought it was just brilliant.

The book was called “Elephantasy”.

It revolved around a family of elephants who had escaped from the circus only to get caught up in a forest fire. The baby elephants got split up from their parents in the ensuing mayhem and wandered the forest alone for days before finally being reunited with them.

It was a heartbreaking tale to be fair but not enough to pull on the heartstrings of the adjudicators who awarded first prize to some beautifully illustrated book that hadn’t ripped off Dumbo!I was pretty disappointed at the time but still so proud of the great title.

Ever since then, my Dad has been my go to, any time I’m in need of a name for anything. So naturally, when I decided to include a blog on my new website and was in need of a catchy name, I put him straight on the job.

He’s been throwing out clever names for days…. but I just can’t make up my mind. The rest of my family have even gotten in on it with “Wheel Life Stories” from my husband and “Reflections by the Lake” from my brother.

Perhaps nothing will ever compare to the glory days of Elephantasy! Maybe my blog is destined to be called “My Blog” or maybe I’ll go with my mother’s surprising suggestion “Psssst Pot.” !

Whatever I do eventually call it, all I keep thinking is, if it’s this hard to come up with the name, how hard is it going to be to actually write the blog!

Fancy Shoes & Mink Coats

I wasn’t always a potter.

My story has a few twists and turns – I was once just a solicitor with a secret dream, before I decided to follow my passion and set up my own independent pottery studio.

My heart has always been in all things creative. I remember as a small child arriving down to the sitting room on Christmas morning to an array of creative gifts…modelling sets, knitting, weaving sets, paints, jewellery kits, candle making, calligraphy…

Santa was not short on options because anything in the arts and crafts field would have me entertained for days. “How do you Do with Mary Fitzgerald” on The Den was the highlight of my week!

There was no doubt that art was a passion of mine. I had dreamed of running my own creative enterprise but I guess I thought it would always just remain a pipe-dream.

I suffer with an awful affliction called perfectionism (as many people do).

Perfectionism is nothing to do with being perfect or having high standards (cause I’m certainly not perfect and my standards, particularly in relation to housework, seem to be getting lower with each passing year!)

Perfectionism is about fear of failing and fear of not being accepted for who you are. To put it another way, perfectionists aren’t really trying to be perfect. They are avoiding not being good enough.

Perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified.

Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic

This “affliction” meant that I spent the first 35 years of my life with the attitude that unless I was going to be 100% amazing at something, then there was no point in bothering at all! I’ve used this as an excuse for most of my life, especially in my artistic endeavours.

I dreamed of going to art college but I didn’t even apply because I was scared of putting myself out there and maybe getting told I wasn’t good enough.

I abandoned numerous paintings and projects half way through because I decided that they were not going to measure up to whatever idea of perfection I had in my head.

But I guess 5 kids later I’m finally starting to realise that actually nobody is perfect We’re all just doing our best to muddle our way through life. Some things we try out will work; sometimes we will fall flat on our faces, but in the end most people will admire you if you just give things your best shot.

So I decided in 2017, that the coming year was going to be a year of change for me.

I decided to ignore the insecurities, the worries about what others would think, the ten million reasons I had concocted as to why I couldn’t pursue my little pipe-dream…and I decided to turn that little pipe-dream into a reality.

Now who knows what will happen. Maybe I will fall flat on my face, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll wonder why I didn’t do this sooner….

Well there you have it, I’ve finished my first post.

It wasn’t perfect….but I tried my best… and that’s all that really matters isn’t it!!

Clair (Potter, mother and reformed perfectionist!)