Fiona Dillon – The Life Authentic
Writer and ‘Mum’ to Freddy Buttons, Fiona Dillon is on a mission to help educate children about food and where it comes from. In a world of computer screens and social media, Fiona’s passion for tradition and passing on, what she refers to as, “life skills” is refreshing. Fiona Dillon’s life is one filled with love, laughter, family and good food – what makes life, for her, authentic.
While still working in the corporate world, Fiona relocated to the Carlow countryside with her family in 1999, leaving the leafy suburb of Dublin’s Ballsbridge behind to bring up her young family outside of city life. As with all plans, life can oftentimes get in the way when you least expect it, and this moment came for Fiona when she and her husband lost their business at the start of the recession in 2007 – a business they had “worked day and night to build”.
“I remember at the start of those dark days feeling so ashamed. I had failed, and Ireland is not a country that embraces failure. I remember wondering if we could afford a turkey that first Christmas. I remember trying not to cry in front of my children.”
Despite the hardship and uncertainty, Fiona reflects on the positives that this time had on her family. “I will never forget all that extra time that I had with my children, discovering all the fun you can have without having to spend lots of money. I will never forget the true value of growing your own food – the gratitude I felt every time I harvested food for my family. I will never forget my husband’s resilience, determination and strength; hand on heart I love him more every day.”
Although initially, Fiona admits, she had no clue where to start, it was during this time that she learned to rear 2 pigs and a turkey for Christmas, keep chickens for fresh free-range eggs, harvest honey from her very own beehive and grow an array of fruit and vegetables on their land. She even learned how to pluck chickens!
In 2010 she began blogging to “let my friends know what I was up to in the country”, making her one of the original Irish food bloggers. After publishing numerous cookbooks, Fiona decided to turn her hand to writing books for children that educated and informed as well as entertained our future generations.
In 2015, with support from Glenisk, Freddy Buttons was born and after growing success in Ireland, has recently launched in China and is soon to be released as a TV series. “Without these struggles, Freddy Buttons would never have come to life.”
Having experienced a journey of ups and downs, crossroads and stop signs over the past 11 years, Fiona is no longer phased by the thoughts of failure. “Failure just guides you in another direction and, to me, another direction is another adventure. Nowadays, I live for adventure!”
It has been quite the journey for young Freddy Buttons and his Mum, Fiona Dillon; we are very much looking forward to their next chapter.