17 Dec

The Big Christmas Food Shop

If, like me, you’ve got that slightly rising panicked feeling about Christmas Dinner and what the last shop before Christmas Day will cost, stop now and have a little read of Day 17 of my Christmas With Caitríona series.

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01 Dec

December 2018

With the Toy Show being on last night Christmas season has officially kicked off in Ireland; in fact I have a Christmas party to go to tonight. The kids are obsessed with Christmas and their pure joy and delight in decorations in the shops and music playing on the radio is brilliant. As usual for the start of December though I don’t have the decorations up and I’ve no Christmas Tree in the sitting room quite yet.

I know I’m not the only one. I suppose it’s a hangover from the days of being so stressed out about money that we tried not to put the decorations up early or the presents under the tree until we had them bought. It felt like we were making promises to the kids (and to ourselves) that we just couldn’t keep.

The memories of tossing in turning in bed at night wondering how to borrow from Peter and pay Paul will never go away. I hope that they never do because I understand now that they have (a) brought me to where I am today and (b) know exactly what it’s like for those who are struggling at the moment.

Over the next month I’ll have something new each day for you to read or watch. I’ll share my tips on how to prepare for Christmas on a budget; how to not to be a Mammy-martyr in the lead up to the big day, how to ask for help gracefully, and some budget present ideas for all ages.

For today, the first day of December, I’d like to ask you to add 1 small extra item to your grocery shopping this week to donate to your local food appeal. It needn’t be something expensive, even if it’s an extra tin of beans or a bag of rice. If you’d rather not add an extra item in, why not see if you have something in your cupboards already that you’d like to share. Here’s the list from the St Vincent de Paul for their food appeal (this is also suitable for the Lions Club food appeals). Click here for the St Vincent de Paul list.

I’ve got some bags of pasta and some tins of beans which will be brought to our local collection point this week.

Chat tomorrow. Cxxx

05 Aug

Learning From A Two Week Digital Detox

Originally published in October 2015.

Sure it’s only two weeks I said to myself as I mailed my essential contacts to let them know that I wouldn’t be available for a fortnight. I set up a blogpost so that readers would know what I was up to. Then I deleted social media applications from my smart phone. Yes. I deleted them so that I wouldn’t be tempted to use them. I turned off every single notification I could, after I’d made sure to take a note of all-important passwords. Yep I was ready to become disconnected.

In August 2014 I did something similar, but this time it was for a whole fortnight. It wasn’t just me though, my husband had agreed to go on a digital detox with me. When I think about it we are constantly connected to the online world. When I’m in the kitchen working I have podcasts running in the background, when I’m out and about I have the phone with me in case somebody needs to contact me and it’s irresistible not to check the phone on a busy day, particularly when I spend so much of my day outdoors. In the evening we sit down for a while to watch TV and often end up dual-browsing/observing what’s on the telly without actually taking it in. Don’t think that this is unusual, in my experience it’s a fairly normal description of an average household.

I’ve had enough with this always-on lifestyle though. It bugs me when I don’t feel present, parenting mindfully and being in the moment means that I shouldn’t have a blinking phone or camera in my hand to document it or discuss it online. Watching TV is fun with Twitter open on the phone but it’s intrusive and resting at night was becoming more difficult as the phone was in my hand until I went to bed and again first thing in the morning. Read More

05 Jan

What Happens From Here?

I’m starting 2017 in a state of flux because so much is up in the air. What happens from here? How will we manage our mortgage/bills and what are my plans for the future?

It’s a question I’ve been asked quite a bit over the past few weeks or so, since we finally got our letter and confirmation from Ulster Bank that we were indeed on the wrong interest rate for about the last 6+ years. We have been wrongly charged, we know that we ended up in arrears, needlessly for a substantial part of them. 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

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

30 Sep

Make The Most Of Time

I wish I could just press a pause button.

I look at the boys and I think that this is the best age. The 2-year-old is so much fun. He’s great at getting what he wants, especially if it involves tickles or kisses. He’s transforming from my precious miracle into a little man; and while it fills me with so much pride to see him growing up, I want to bottle him up. I often say he has just two speeds: Awake and Asleep. Read More

25 Sep

Walking A Marathon A Week

I’ve set myself the challenge of walking a marathon a week. It’s not as difficult as it sounds, in fact walking is becoming easier the more I do it. Read More

05 Aug

Time For Reflection

Since January my life accelerated at a ‘Turbo-Fast’ pace.

You’ll excuse the kids’ film reference, I spend my days with 2 small boys after all.

It became hard to stand still, take stock, make time for reflection.

I’ve been feeling very tired and because I was so busy I became bogged down. The housework mounted.

What I’m saying is, I’m taking a break from my blog for a few days. Just a few. I need to get stuck into the house. Clear out the stuff that we’re suffocating under; make way for more light and air.

The aim is that when I’m done, I’ll have found the bottom of my wash-basket, consciously coupled hundreds of socks, cooked a few meals without recipe testing, drunk a mug of tea from start to finish without sitting in front of the computer. That kind of thing.

When I reach the end, if I’ve done things right; I’ll have a clearer house and, as a consequence, a clearer mind.

See you on the other side. In a few days.

Featured image is one I took at Bloom 2012. Just because.

01 May

What Will I Do When Things Get Better?

People keep on asking me what will I do when things start getting better. Will we have more money to spend on groceries?  I don’t think we will. Read More

09 Apr

It’s Not A Dream

I originally wrote this blogpost at the end of 2013 and it’s worth revisiting now as tomorrow I officially launch my first cookbook, “Wholesome”. Read More

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