05 Dec

Banking On Christmas Stress

It’s not the lack of money for groceries that gets me in the end because I don’t notice the difference. It’s the stress; the feeling of tightness in my chest when I think about the bills, the weird anxiety when I consider getting the car past the NCT, and the massive gulp when we pay the mortgage every month. Then absolute screaming frustration when another niggly thing crops up that we have to pay for, that I have to fit into the budget. Somedays I feel like I’m wandering around in an empty house, in an empty town, in an empty country, with nobody to talk to about how it feels to be constantly worried about money. Read More

18 Aug

Let Me Tell You A Story

A long time ago in a kitchen far away, tucked into a corner of North County Dublin there lived a woman who didn’t know what she was going to do with her life. Nearly 8 years ago now, she waited for her first born son to arrive, and rubbed the curve of her belly, and wondered how things were going to be when she went back to work after having her first baby.

She worked in an office in the City Centre you see, as a PA for a property company, which was as far apart from food blogging as you could imagine. Read More

27 Jan

Fitness Challenge Update

FITNESSI know that quite a few people had asked me how I was getting on with my fitness challenge so it’s time I updated you! I’ve been trying to be more active with a view to increasing my fitness levels, and consequently my general health. I just didn’t realise how much this Winter would throw at me! Read More

06 Jan

9 Things You Need To Know Before Starting A New Exercise Programme

New Exercise ProgrammeYou might have decided that 2016 was the year you wanted to get fit, or exercise more, or joined a new class or even (gulp) decided to start a new exercise programme and join a gym. It’s been a couple of months since I bit the bullet and decided to take control of my own fitness levels, giving me a bit of experience when it comes to starting from scratch.

Even if these few tips don’t come in useful right now, they might do in the future so maybe store them away until you need them. Read More

31 Dec

Thank You

THANK YOU!In 2015 I (in no particular order):

Recorded some awesome radio with The Sodshow, including special editions from Bloom 2015 in the Phoenix Park. Also I was the Executive Producer for some live sessions from Bloom Fringe in The Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. Something I will always be proud of.

Was invited to do two live cookery demonstrations at Taste of Dublin by Glenisk.

Chaired two judging panels at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2015.

Spoke at a blogging event with We Teach Social on How To Stand Out From The Crowd.

Joined my friend Rory at a blogger’s table for TV3’s The Restaurant for an an episode that will be aired in the New Year (insert nervous titter here).

In August my weekly series of Shopping Tips made the leap from the blog to print media and I joined The Irish Independent Choice Magazine as a regular with the Smart Spender column.

Put some serious work into the allotment layout, grew great fruit and vegetables, reared 2 herds of pigs for the table with the syndicate, and enjoyed sharing what we grew and ate. I didn’t do this on my own I should add!

I was invited by The Irish Times to swap my budget supermarket ways and shop in M&S for a week, then write about it. An article which has generated loads of interest.

Contributed once again to the Lidl Ireland seasonal magazines with my product reviews.

Took my thrifty travel ways across two European countries with my family (more on that again in the New Year).

Continued to work with the great team in Flogas Ireland on the Flogastronomy blog.

There’s far more than that but these are some of my writing/blogging highlights. I’d be here all day if I started listing my family achievements!

Without your support by reading, sharing, and commenting I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much. The milestones of the past year seem so long ago now. It was only when I was going through my goals for 2016 that I realised how far I’d come.

The year ahead is filled with more uncertainty than usual for us. Just before Christmas my husband was put on protective notice as his job lost a major client. I’ll admit I’ve shed more than a few tears with sadness and worry over what is to come. This makes me all the more grateful to be able work with my own fantastic clients. I know that we are well prepared for whatever happens, more so than most, thanks to our experiences when I was made redundant 7 years ago now.

The plan for 2016 is not to survive, it’s to thrive, no matter what.

So that’s my word and motto for the year that approaches: THRIVE

I hope that you have had a Happy Christmas and that you have a peaceful New Year celebration.

Thank you.

Caitríona xxx

16 Dec

Finding My Voice Again

inspiration MonMore than a couple of years ago I lost my voice.

Not that I lost the ability to speak, or express myself. More I lost my singing voice. Music was a massive part of my life when I was younger. I actually thought at one stage that I might study voice fulltime; I trained hard, I sang professionally at a few weddings, I also sang with some award-winning choirs, recorded some albums with them (with a solo too).

I’m not comfortable explaining exactly why or how I lost my voice. Let’s just say that one day I could sing, and then I couldn’t; and so it has continued for many years since, long before my eldest (now 7) was born. Read More

01 May

Photography Confidence

Let me explain about this photography confidence that I felt I had lost. Regular readers will know that last year my first cookbook was published and I put my heart and soul into that book. I wrote the book at a time when things were very bad for us and it gave me something to focus on.

I am not the world’s best photographer. I’m the first person to put my hand up and admit it. Putting my words, and my pictures into print made me feel exposed. Ask yourself, how would you cook, style, and photograph a cookbook containing nearly 150 recipe images on your own with a cheap DSLR? There were times when I thought I was going to crack from the pressure to perform. The internet and cookbooks are full of perfect pictures, beautifully styled and presented. Many cookbooks have a small ratio of images to recipes but I didn’t have that luxury. Read More

22 Apr

Homegrown Food Is Pretty Fantastic

Purple Flowering Beans

Purple Flowering Beans

When we sowed our first seeds in the front postage stamp garden six years ago, I never would have thought that we would be where we are today. What started off as a bit of a project; to grow a few things to eat in the Summer, to show the children how food was grown, and to get back to our roots (see what I did there) has blossomed into a way of life. Homegrown food is pretty fantastic.Now we have an allotment; it’s 10 metres x 20 metres (200 sq metres), and this year for the first time the role of tending to the allotment is shared equally between my husband and I. Up until last Summer having a wee one and working on a book meant that I was limited in what I could do. However he’s now a big three year old who is happy to stay on the plot, play with his toys, and not go running off.

Blackcurrants

Baby Blackcurrants

Read More

31 Dec

Coming Over A Bit Pollyanna

You’ll excuse this slight interruption to the regular “2014 in review” and “2015 predictions/resolutions” blog fayre. I’m coming over a bit Pollyanna.

“It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt” was ringing in my ears as I gracefully tumbled fell arse over tit off the bed when trick-acting with the boys a week or so ago. I ended up with my legs in the air and my back landed on a steel-toe-cap boot belonging to my hubby which was at the end of the bed. His foot wasn’t in said boot I hasten to add. I roared and the boys thought I was messing. Read More

02 Dec

All Hail My Cup Of Tea

The day didn’t start well. Today that is.

We had run out of milk. Well there was a small amount but the kids needed it for their breakfast and I had no cup of tea. I should have known at that stage that the day was on a downhill trend.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow account of how disastrous my day has been so far, I’m going to just stick it in bullet form so it doesn’t sound so bad.

  • Tea (or lack of)
  • Buggy off balance (tipped over on the way home from the shops as I overloaded it)
  • Rodents
  • Terrible Three Meltdown
  • Toilet Training Mishaps
  • Burnt Jam
  • No Dinner Yet
  • Dog Poo On My Shoe
  • Headlice Letter
  • Delivery Man Roulette

On the plus side I now have a cup of tea so the world is slowly turning to rights before I condition and comb my own hair as a precaution as I’ve only just got the boys to bed after doing theirs.

So my day hasn’t exactly been the most glorious experience but you know I’ve had worse. I think I should go off and do the lottery or something as my luck can only change tomorrow. In the meantime maybe this might make your day a bit better?

Fancy tickets for a family of four to the “All Hail King Julien” Premiere and a 1 Year Netflix subscription? Read More

21 Oct

Temptation Everywhere!

I dropped the 6-year-old to school and I walked home with the small boy; like we always do.

Yesterday I had to nip into the Supermarket for some messages on the way and my heart sank. Right at the front door there was floor to ceiling displays of sweets and chocolate based on a Hallowe’en theme. It was a couple of metres long and I have to walk past it to get to the fresh fruit and vegetables. Couple that with the massive aisle ends of chocolate (most popular brand in Ireland), also of fizzy drinks, and the cash register gauntlet of sweets and chocolate it’s difficult to say no. My boys know not to ask, but it’s not that easy for everybody. Read More

19 Oct

Being 100% Honest With Myself

It’s a vlog update on my fitness goals. I’ve done my second Park Run, and have learned a few very important lessons.

 

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