12 Dec

A Sort Of Minimal Christmas

Just to warn you this isn’t a big pontificating blog about how you shouldn’t buy stuff for Christmas for your kids, or how my family is better than yours. Of course I’m going to think my family is awesomely flawed (like every other family) but I’m biased. 😉

I am one of the biggest Christmas nuts there are out there. I plan for the next Christmas from St Stephen’s Day, I start saving from 1st January; basically I blooming love Christmas. I love the lights, the family time, the music, the telly, the children’s awe and wonder. It’s blinking brilliant (not just the lights).

There are a few things that we do over the month of November/December though to make for minimal Christmas stress, in particular for the kids, but it’s a side benefit that the parents do well out of it too. Read More

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

14 Jun

Holding Our Breath For A School Place

holdingIt’s gas isn’t it? How something so small can make such a big difference? Just 1 little school place. 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

09 Oct

Freddy Buttons Book Review

Freddy Buttons is the creation of writer Fiona Dillon. He’s not just a figment of her imagination, oh no, Freddy is very real. Just ask my boys!

Fiona knows her stuff, is also a quintessential Irish Mammy, grows her own food (obviously), and writes expert columns for the Irish Country Living, and Home Farmer Magazine. She’s also written her own how-to book entitled Food From An Irish Garden published by Orpen Press in 2014. Read More

03 Sep

Learning To Walk Alone

It’s been 7 and a half years since I first carried a child inside. In Irish/Gaelic the term for pregnancy is “ag iompair clainne”. Literally translated this means “carrying a family”. When my first child was born, I still carried him in a sling, in a carrier, and he then eventually graduated to the buggy. At the time he just about was ready to walk independently without the buggy on standby his little brother arrived. And so I continued to walk with my children. Hand-in-hand, side-by-side. Read More

08 Aug

Disconnnected

If you’ve been around for some time, then you may remember that last year I took a break to find the bottom of my wash-basket. Although I did find the bottom of the wash-basket and several hundred pairs of socks, the idea was to become disconnected.  That was the more difficult task but made a huge difference to me personally. As a result I made some changes to the way I work and the time I spend with the family.

It was so successful that as a family, we have decided to disconnect from things for a little while. My husband has taken time offand the kids have a long endless list of things they would like to do with us over the next few days. I’ve committed to only checking my mails every now and again, breaking from social media, and being more present. From a work point of view I’m still available to clients, in fact I’m working on an exciting new project that I’ll fill you in on soon.

To be honest with you I had thought that if I worked ahead I’d be able to schedule loads of content on the blog, youtube, twitter, facebook etc. That way (in my head) you all would be none the wiser. Scheduling so much stuff was going to give me massive stress and workload before I switched off. Also because of my commitment to the family to disconnect I wouldn’t be able to respond to any comments or queries after posting an update. That’s something I feel is an essential part of what I do.

The blog is just me. I guess if I’m taking a break then the blog will too.

It’s really important to take this down-time; to invest in our family, to invest in myself. Life will go on without the blog updates and social media bits ‘n bobs. So this is the best way to explain to you that I’m going to be quiet for a little while.

I hope at the end of this self-enforced break I’ll be back with recharged batteries, new inspiration, and better blog posts/videos and much more.

Disconnected

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

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