Thursday, December 9, 2010

I *guess* today would be a good day to wrap presents and write Christmas cards... It's definitely a day for doing things around the house. Finally finished off a tiresome work chore - and even nipped into town last night to see a play and have a drink. Yay! In fairness, I was very pleased with myself: back home, I had a ham simmering gently away in a broth of Coca-Cola! Had picked up the ham in Dunnes yesterday for €6, and when I got it home, I thought: it's now or never. You see, Nigella Lawson includes the recipe in her book, How To Eat, but I've always been too uneasy at the thought of placing good, wholesome, expensive (!) meat into a concoction that is cheap and artificial-looking. So I was quite giddy last night. And today, it's still standing in its cooking liquor, looking very sorry for itself. The next step is to make and apply the glaze, and then stick it in the oven. Before then, I must decide whether I'll reheat the cut of meat fully, or throw on the glaze, bung it in the oven and hope I don't catch food poisoning from half-reheating meat. Blegh. I'll let you know how I get on.
To serve with the ham, I have some Brussels sprouts (75c), tomatoes (€1.50 for 6) and a red onion (50c) with which I'm hoping to make a nice dish by Cafe Paradiso's Denis Cotter...
Not too shabby for a Thursday night dinner...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

God, it's so warm and cosy in here... I've armed myself with the papers, got lots of provisions, so should be able to hunker down here until the morning. I work Saturdays and, given that the snow wasn't going anywhere, decided to leave the car at home yesterday. Getting to work wasn't so bad, but leaving the office and getting home at a not-very-late-at-all 8.15pm was horrific. Ended up abandoning wait for the train and getting a taxi home from the city centre after I panicked and started believing that the bus service had been halted. The only redeeming feature of the whole saga was the lovely veggie curry waiting for me at home. It was Friday, in the end, before I made it, so it had taken on all the gorgeous flavours of the charred aubergine and the cardamon by the time I sat down to eat it last night. The perfect end to a hellish day...
(pic thanks to infomatique via

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Well, it's chaotic out there - anywhere beyond my front door, they tell me. Buses running intermittently, trains under pressure, feral kids roaming the streets looking for thirtysomething women to pelt with snowballs... Grr... Dublin is definitely experiencing An Event. My secret addiction, discussion forum, is chock-full of up-to-the-second weather reports (including my own for my own corner of the northern suburbs), and it's simply impossible not to feel like you are in a disaster movie of some sort.
All this cold weather has at least one unintended boost: it's impossible to spend money! Mounted an expedition to the supermarket yesterday and stocked up on provisions. Had modest scrambled egg/veg sausage/beans feast yesterday; and today, I've just stood up from a lovely butternut squash soup. Now all I have to do is finish an article I'm writing, and make the veg curry I've got lined up for myself. Simples...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow! Or a modest scraping of it, at any rate. Other parts of Dublin are, if facebook/twitter are to be believed, suffering sub-Siberian conditions. I'm lucky. I'm off work today, and got no place to go, no appointments to keep.
But after being hit with a €750 repair bill for my car, and a fairly lavish few days with my family in Galway, I'm definitely stony. And spotty.
So between the weather and my finances, finally cleaning my flat and cooking something substantial for myself (not just surviving on the cut-price M&S ready meals I happened upon on Sunday) is a must... I can do this

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ended up going for a hat-trick of Indian takeaways last week. Appalling. So, by the weekend, I was ready to try to rein it in again. Friday lunchtime, I had pasta leftovers, the same on Saturday. And then on Sunday, I did some baking (not an unqualified success this) and invited a friend over to help me consume some of the fruits of my labour. Yesterday, I allowed myself to be led to the poshest, most expensive sandwich bar near my office, which is in the poshest, most expensive part of Dublin. Before I was aware of anything, I'd parted with €7 and had just a small sandwich, a bitter coffee & an apple to show for it. ouch. So last night, on my way home from work, I called into the posh supermarket near my home, picked up 2 veggie ready meals for €6, a little fruit, some posh egg pasta, some toilet paper and a side dish of carrot & turnip (don't judge me: I was able to place half in the freezer, and bring half to work where it added not much zing to my frozen shepherd's pie). That haul set me back €17. Yikes.
So as late as I was for work, I made sure to gather my lunch together. It even helped me feel okay about topping up my train ticket by €20... which was the only money I spent, apart from 80c for a treat at work...
Of course, this is just piffling stuff. Apparently, the representatives of the EU bailout team - a sort of advance guard - will arrive in Dublin later this week, just in case our Government changes its mind about a digout from Europ. Good times, eh?
Well, I'm off to bed: heading to Longford in the morning to see an old friend. And the children who will have to care for me in my old age...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Strange couple of days...Spending remained quite modest on Monday: lunch was the €6 coffee & panini deal in Insomnia (which is the D4 version of a recessionista lunch) while groceries for my dinner came to about €8 (including €4 for Parmesan). Today was slightly different: brought generous portion of frozen shepherd's pie to the office for lunch, spent €3.50 on a side dish in the posh deli next door to the office, and spent about €9 at the chemist... but then treated myself to huge Indian takeaway on the way home. Like €12 or so. Just weird...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Huddling over my laptop, listening out for much-anticipated storm to hit my corner of north Dublin... It's been all over the papers & broadcast media for days now that Sunday night/Monday morning will be a mutha of a toodoo. Heard from Galway that it's pretty rough, and saw on the 6 o'clock news that the weather was pretty, ah, fresh up in Donegal, but apart de cela... nothing. The important thing for me is: it's meant me spending close to Nothing today. In fairness, I did rather overdo it the two days before that, including €40 which just disappeared out of my wallet on Friday night when I went to the - wait for it - cinema!
How? Due to poor time management, I ended up taking a taxi to picturehouse. Then €10 for ticket (The Social Network, thanks for asking, yes, it was very good), followed by a burger and 3 glasses of wine. I mean, really - is it just me or does that strike anybody else as incredible?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Erm...Not a great day, moneywise. Or calorie-wise, either I suppose. Met my Mum and my aunt in town for coffee before work. Very gallantly, I allowed my pensioner mother pay for my cup of tea and bagel (hadn't had a chance to get into the bank, kids, not my fault), and walked - or splashed - my way to work. Finally liberated €100 at lunchtime and slipped into my regular coffee shop where I dropped €7.50. How? I felt bad about spending "just" €5 when all I had were 2 crisp €50 notes. I know, I know... really, that should be Rule #2 There's no Minimum Spend. I need to remember that cash won't actually burn a hole in my pocket.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Well, this is interesting... I've been surviving on €100 since last Wednesday, and I may just last until tomorrow (Monday). Really, my biggest extravagances have been food: sprang for lunch with my friend on Wednesday. Naughtily got a takeaway on Thursday & Saturday (but I'd been working late I can hear myself whinge), and treated myself to reasonably priced (for D4) lunches at work. Oh, and I had to get petrol last night. Today, I've yet to have anything to eat, but I still have 1 carton of hummus left from early last week - if I shell out for slightly fancy bread, I should be able to hold off going to the ATM until tomorrow. And as my laser card isn't working (hmm... need to talk to my bank about that), the only alternative to living very frugally today is putting goods on the credit card. Which in itself isn't usually A Bad Thing. It's just that I was living on it for a good 2 weeks, and when the credit card comes out, it's very hard not to justify its use by buying other items for the week ahead.
We'll see how I get on...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just. Don't. Ask. Don't ask about how I ended up coming home from town yesterday with a skirt when all I wanted to do was return a blouse and 2 CDs. Or about why I ended up spending €9 because I had a yen for some fruit (okay, a smoothie, which seemed too skimpy to order by itself in my local rip-off cafĂ©, which is why I ordered a €5 bagel alongside...). Or forgot to send my brother a birthday card. The important thing is that although I indulged in an Insomnia latte & sandwich combo (and really, €5 in Dublin's swishest postcode is pretty good), I'm back on track.
This evening's tea was the leftover paella from last night. And I have the makings of a gorgeous wrap tomorrow. Did enough grocery shopping until at least Wed lunchtime this evening, and feel confident that I'll be eating very well until then without spending much cash.
Tonight's haul at Tesco came to €13.78 doesn't sound too thrifty, but it does include washing up liquid and cotton wool; tea bags, coconut milk and chickpeas (to replenish the pantry) and Tesco's own-brand of moisturiser which cost €1.86. In design terms, the moisturiser is almost comically stark (I'll take a pic and upload), so I'm curious to see how well it works. The fact that it was in among the goodies aimed at teenagers rather depresses me, as it reminds me that I still have the "problem" skin most thirtysomethings have shaken off by now, but let's see how it goes...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

So... it's been a long time since I was last here, and to tell the truth, I've been quite bold... Today was actually a pretty good day: I only spent €7.20. €2.20 on newspapers (I work in the media; today was my first day back at work after a holiday, and I needed to play catch-up) and €5 on the sandwich & coffee deal at my local coffee shop.
I know - what's Rule #1? Don't waste cash on those pick-me-up fancy coffees. But you have no idea how naughty I've been over the past few days and weeks. I'll just say "credit card" and "new camera" and let you draw your own conclusions. What's worse is it's not over yet. Badly need to get my capsule wardrobe up and running, and my car insurance is due this month, so my plans to pay a large wodge off CC are unlikely to come to pass.
Look. I've the makings of a nice veg paella for tmw, which should see me into Monday. In the meantime, it's a matter of making out my meal list for the week and shopping accordingly.
Wish me luck!