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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: The real life of an 'insta-mom'

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The life of an insta-mom 

Amber Fillerup Clark is one of the ‘insta-moms’, mums who live their life online, and share everything they and their kids get up to on Instagram. While this article doesn’t necessarily come to any conclusions about this, it’s a fascinating look into how she runs her life (or rather, business).

(The Atlantic, approx 19 mins reading time)

Not so long ago, Fillerup Clark was a broke student in Provo, Utah. Today, at age 26, she is the equivalent of internet royalty: a “relatable influencer,” someone whom hundreds of thousands of women trust as a friend and whom companies pay handsomely to name-drop their products. Stepping for the first time into her living room in Manhattan, I found it intimately familiar, thanks to the up-close-and-personal Instagram photos, YouTube vlogs, Snapchat videos, and blog posts Fillerup Clark shares with her 1.3 million Instagram followers, 227,000 YouTube fans, and 250,000 monthly blog readers.

2. I accidentally bought a giant pig

Ever heard of Esther the Wonder Pig? When her owners Steve and Dave got her, they were told she was a mini-pig… which was wrong. Turned out she would grow to 650lbs, and change their lives.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

After a few weeks, Esther had charmed Derek. She loved to snuggle with us on the sofa. She had this happy, loving personality and she felt like a great addition to the house. We trained her like a puppy and took her to the vet after about a month. He took one look at her cropped tail and said, “I think you have a problem on your hands.”

3. He’s a liar, but is he a murderer?

shutterstock_217094626 Source: Shutterstock/View Apart

Here’s a juicy long read about a man serving a life sentence for murder in Alabama – but was he actually framed by corrupt authorities?

(Slate, approx 59 mins reading time)

Sitting across from Robinson—an attentive woman with blond hair and a pillowy Southern accent—the 38-year-old Bailey explained that he’d been the victim of corrupt police officers and prosecutors in his former home of Dothan, Alabama. He wasn’t a murderer, Bailey said, but he’d never had a lawyer who could help him prove it. Robinson’s legal career up to this point had been limited to three years spent doing entry-level work at civil litigation firms. If Bailey was telling the truth, his case represented exactly the sort of miscarriage of justice that would vindicate her recent decision to get back into practicing law after working as a stay-at-home mother for most of her 30s.

4. Anthony Bourdain’s moveable feast

Prepare to be totally awed and jealous of former chef Anthony Bourdain, as you read this fantastic profile of him and how he travels the world in search of the most delicious cuisines.

(New Yorker, approx 63 mins reading time)

But over the years he has transformed himself into a well-heeled nomad who wanders the planet meeting fascinating people and eating delicious food. He freely admits that his career is, for many people, a fantasy profession. A few years ago, in the voice-over to a sun-dappled episode in Sardinia, he asked, “What do you do after your dreams come true?” Bourdain would be easy to hate, in other words, if he weren’t so easy to like. “For a long time, Tony thought he was going to have nothing,” his publisher, Dan Halpern, told me. “He can’t believe his luck. He always seems happy that he actually is Anthony Bourdain.”

5. Hi, I’m Tom!

shutterstock_401549950 Source: Shutterstock/Tinseltown

If you were to believe this profile, Tom Hiddleston is very, very earnest. And positive. And nice. And still heartbroken about Taylor Swift.

(GQ, approx 20 mins reading time)

He heats up some Bolognese for me and we make our plan for the day, which I correctly predict will involve another walk through another astonishingly beautiful park. Yesterday, it was Regent’s Park. Everyone knows about Hyde Park, but do they know about Regent’s Park? No, and I must see it. In the park, I pulled out my old Olympus digital mini tape recorder, and Tom Hiddleston looked at it and whistled in admiration: “Hello, Olympus! This is a great Dictaphone!” He’d used one to test himself on accents when he was at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

6. Never forget

Imagine having a memory that meant you could never, ever forget anything – no matter how small? Meet the people with perfect recall.

(The Guardian, approx 36 mins reading time)

Price was the first person ever to be diagnosed with what is now known as highly superior autobiographical memory, or HSAM, a condition she shares with around 60 other known people. She can remember most of the days of her life as clearly as the rest of us remember the recent past, with a mixture of broad strokes and sharp detail.


Weston Cast Court photocall A visitor looks at a cast of David in London. Source: Philip Toscano

Sam Anderson writes about how he’s just a little bit obsessed with Michealangelo’s David, and how its imperfections could lead to its downfall.

(New York Times Magazine, approx 43 mins reading time)

The trouble is the David’s ankles. They are cracked. Italians first discovered this weakness back in the 19th century, and modern scientists have mapped the cracks extensively, but until recently no one claimed to know just how enfeebled the ankles might be. This changed in 2014, when a team of Italian geoscientists published a paper called “Modeling the Failure Mechanisms of Michelangelo’s David Through Small-Scale Centrifuge Experiments.” That dry title concealed a terrifying story. The paper describes an experiment designed to measure, in a novel way, the weakness in the David’s ankles: by creating a small army of tiny David replicas and spinning them in a centrifuge, at various angles, to simulate different levels of real-world stress. What the researchers found was grim. If the David were to be tilted 15 degrees, his ankles would fail.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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