I’M just ‘ordinary’ — so says the very modest mum of four, Eimear Hutchinson, who lives in Kilworth, County Cork.
“You’re very ‘real’ I reply…”
It’s something her 30,000 followers on Instagram would probably whole-heartedly agree with.
It’s this modesty, authenticity and self-proclaimed ‘ordinariness’ which drew us to Eimear. From next week, she will be our new parenting and lifestyle columnist, in a revamped WoW! supplement.
Eimear has been blogging for five years and is very happy with how she has grown her followers, alongside raising her family — four girls, Aoife, aged eight, Cara, aged five, Lucy, aged three and Alice, “a very busy 18 month old”.
It’s not been an overnight success either, but she’s not caught up in the numbers game, as she finds she has found a great genuine group of social media followers.
“I do not want thousands of followers, I do not want to be famous. It’s enough,” she says of her loyal following.
She never envisaged herself going down this path when she was dealing with dairy waste water back in her engineering days. Eimear has a doctorate in Engineering and took time out from that career when her second child came along.
Born in Sligo, the eldest of four siblings (all born within six years of each other — similar to her own family now), it was her studies that brought her to Cork, where she met her English husband Ian, when they were both studying PhDs in Moorepark. They effectively met on a farm — “very romantic.”
Growing up she was big into athletics, from the age of seven to Leaving Cert and even ran competitively, for Ireland. She also played GAA, hockey and lots of other sports.
Initially, she thought she would be an architect — she was always drawing houses and plans. But she also loved maths. It was at a college open day, when someone asked her if she was more logical or creative — that she was pointed towards engineering. She loved the diversity of that field and the opportunities it offered.
She did a four year engineering degree in Galway, followed by a year and a half of a PhD in the city. ”I had notions I might become a pilot — look where I ended up — completely random!”
She finished college in 2007 and went into the workforce, at a time when people were falling all over engineers and offering big money. She started with a big consulting firm in Galway but very quickly, there was no work coming in, so she decided to go back into education — a good choice, as the crash came and colleagues and friends lost jobs and were emigrating to find work.
“That’s how I ended up in Cork.”
She always enjoyed the wastewater element of engineering as it had all the elements, biology, chemistry and physics. This brought her to Moorepark in Teagasc where she did her PhD in Dairy Waste Water. After this she worked for a small company, but returned to Teagasc to work in the area of Sustainability on Dairy Farms.
When baby two came along, she decided to stay at home and baby three came along shortly afterwards.... and now there are four girls.
The couple live in Kilworth, which they love — near local schools, lots of activities and other young families.
So what sparked the blog?
“When I went back to work, it was work and kids, work and kids, I needed something for myself. I always had an interest in blogs. I took a notion one night, I needed something for myself, to channel my energy...”
She began writing the blog when daughter number two came along and then called it ‘The Two Darlings…’ but now goes by her own name Eimear Hutchinson. At the start, the blog was more DIY focused. Then she was asked to write a beauty column for the Irish Times . All this gave her the inspiration to keep on writing.
“Things like that gave me the energy, the inspiration to keep going…”
When asked what she does on social media, Eimear struggles to put a name on it — she doesn’t like the term ‘influencer’ — as it sounds like something coerced.
“I hate using the word influencer — it kinda sounds, not negative. but sounds like you are constantly trying to persuade people to do and buy the things you like, and it’s not that.”
She prefers to be known as a ‘blogger’ and adds that she only ever tries to post items that will help people learn something: “I always think in my head, are people going to learn from this, or am I showing off. If people can learn then I will show it…”
She doesn’t limit it either to all things parenting, as she has lots of followers who don’t have kids.
She works with some big brands, such as skincare brand Aveeno and Marks & Spencer — household names.
Eimear says she prefers her posts to be natural, not forced or stilted, and says she takes inspiration from the events of any given day, inspired by the different times of the year. And she says they are always real.
She is the first to admit she is not an expert in all fields, for example, when she shows her DIY projects, like painting tiles or putting up wallpaper, she says: “It’s not perfect but gives normal people inspiration to do it. The same with running, I am not perfect, I am not going to be doing a half marathon.
“There are a lot of experts out there doing stuff, you can look and say they are amazing at doing that, but you think that is not for me. I’m ‘ordinary’ if that makes sense.”
She is really looking forward to writing the new column in WoW!
“I can’t wait. I think for me it will be a nice challenge.”
She says social media can be limiting in the sense that stories are short, everything is condensed, captions are tight.
“It will be nice to get into something meaty and meaningful. To get deep into something… we touch the surface on a lot of things…”
Thankfully, her experience on social media has been a positive one, she says. She’s not received nasty comments or criticism, nothing that stands out. There will always be divisive issues, but she’s confident that all she can do is be real and honest and give her personal experience.
She also says she’s not a complete slave to the phone and while everyone might think she is on Insta stories all the time, she’s not — she’s quite happy leaving the phone at home when dropping the girls to school, or going to the park and when husband Ian is home in the evenings.
You can follow Eimear on Instagram on @eimearhutchinson