Making it happen in 2015…

February 21, 2015 § 2 Comments

planten und blomen

Hello,

I hope you’re all doing really well. This picture was taken two weeks ago now, in the park “Planten un Blomen” in Hamburg city centre. We were just out for a Sunday stroll, enjoying the bright, clear weather when we came across this outdoor skating rink. How much fun is that! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind recently, between pressure at work and family visits. I cannot believe it is almost the end of February already.

japan trip

It’s just 40 days to go now until our Japan trip! It is almost completely planned and we fly from Frankfurt to Osaka which was very reasonable actually, just 425€ each way per person with Lufthansa! I normally wouldn’t consider Lufthansa because the prices tend to be way out of our league, but we were pleasantly surprised and booked back in January. We havent’ yet bought our “21 day all-you-can-rail” JR rail pass tickets but will do this when we’re paid at the end of the month. They’re quite pricey, but we didn’t want to spend all of our time in the (famously crowded) cities and we will be traveling around for 3 weeks, basing ourselves in 3 spots. So we figured it would be a good investment, rather than buying single tickets everywhere (which we did for Italy). « Read the rest of this entry »

A happy and healthy 2015 to you!

January 8, 2015 § 2 Comments

Co. Mayo

Happy new year to you all! I hope 2015 found you in full health! I was off for a week off work with the Flu before we traveled home for Christmas and then on my return I caught the cold. I don’t think I’d ever had the flu before, but, what I did learn was that pretending to sleep, or even better, actually sleeping, seems to ward it off.

This year we drove to France and took the overnight Ferry, (Stenaline) from Cherbourg to Rosslare. In total it’s about 1400km each way. Despite the cost of two hotels and petrol, this was significantly cheaper than flying and renting a car for 14 days. We saved around €750 – €1000 on car hire and the best part was that we were able to take all our belongings with us, including a some wine and beer as gifts on the way over, and some treats from home for ourselves on the way back. One little thing we learned however, was to eat our main dinner before we boarded for the return journey since the food, although reasonably priced didn’t agree with by boyfriend’s digestive system. Would I do it again? Yes, provided we were staying a minimum of 2 weeks.

We spent New Year’s on the blustery, but beautiful Achill Island but chose to stay in Westport, Co. Mayo. This would have been much cheaper had we planned ahead, but this was the first year that my boyfriend and I decided to finally take some time out for ourselves during the holidays and go away together for a few days, just the two of us. Achill is in a gaelic-speaking region of Ireland and is about 40km north of Westport. It’s connected by a land-bridge, so you can simply drive onto it. No ferries required! The secluded beach past Keel was the highlight, where I’d love to return to one summer to see if I can spot some basking sharks!

I have never seen these long. dark, thick 'pinecone-like' plants growing anywhere else.

I have never seen these long. dark, thick ‘pinecone-like’ plants growing anywhere else.

It was a lovely few weeks off and I’m curious to see where 2015 will take us :)

Sealed Pot 2014 Challenge Results

December 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

sealed pot challenge, saving money

Drumroll please….we saved €200.84 this year in our little sealed gravypot! This kicks last year’s €64 squarely in the butt. I’m delighted! It means that we saved on-target €2 a week! We’ve decided to bag up the coins, take it to the bank and lodge the money and take a weekend away together in the new year:) And guess what, we’re going to up the ante to a €3 minimum a week for 2015! Woooo!

« Read the rest of this entry »

Lazy and inexpensive Christmas Postcards

December 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hello, I hope you’re all keeping warm and are well! I made some Christmas postcards this weekend and thought I would share with you how I did it. The idea of postcards came about because last year’s DIY Christmas cards ended up costing me a holy fortune on post (approaching €5 a card!) so I swore that next year’s season’s greetings will be done in another, cheaper, format.

Using photoshop I edited a photo of the two of us that we were wearing big knitted jumpers, sort of like this one below…vintage-jumper-patterns-christmas2-1
(we don’t actually own any kind of Christmas jumper) but if you did, then you could just take a photo of this – LOL!

Then I took them to our local drugstore (Budni) and they have a photo printing service where you can print out greetings cards, for a very reasonable €0.27 a card. Then with a permanent marker and a ruler I made some lines for the address, kind of like this below…

postcard markings

This way the postage only cost €0.75 a card – which is a much more reasonable way to let your friends and family know you’re thinking about them this time of year. And who doesn’t like getting post that’s not a bill? :)

 

Last Day Off

November 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hamburg Alster Bay Germany

Hello! It’s my last day off from work now and I’m trying to do a mixture of my to do list and nothing at all. The slow cooker will soon be on making an adapted version of this korean pork and potato stew recipe and I will be out doing yoga and looking for party shoes for an upcoming wedding over the Christmas holidays, maybe start picking up a few Christmas gifts… :)

You’ve to go away to come back

November 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

coastal walk, ireland, ireland east coast, travel, hiking

A Coastal Walk, East Coast, Ireland. The cut green grass you see on the right belongs to a house that had geese roaming around their driveway. So picturesque!

Hello and good morning! I’m just back from a short stay with friends and family back in Ireland and am now enjoying two extra days off for myself! Bliss!

It wasn’t too cold there just yet and I even got to enjoy this lovely dry evening on a walk with the dog. It was really nice just to catch up with my close family and closest friend, because generally over the Christmas period, things get a little bit hectic with expectations of visits and I end up driving around like a crazy person from Dublin to Belfast and still in the end, feeling guilty that I didn’t get to see EVERYBODY.

Last night we had a splurgey meal in a restaurant we had wanted to try for some time now and it was a really nice way to end our break. My plans for today include: staying hydrated and relaxing. I might get a few groceries and enjoy cooking a meal for us later on in the evening. Last weekend I finally sent out some job applications. A company I have always wanted to work with contacted me (that NEVER happens!) so that was the “invitation” I seemed to be waiting for, to get my behind in gear and get out there again :) That gave me the motivation to apply for a second job in a place I would love to work, so the ball is now rolling.

Mistletoe!

October 20, 2014 § 2 Comments

mistletoe

A very good Monday morning to you all… I’ve been successfully ignoring the shops slowly starting to fill up with Christmas items, but this guy stopped me in my tracks yesterday when I was out for a walk… mistletoe – growing wild in the middle of the city! I don’t normally bring my phone when going for a stroll but I was waiting to hear from a friend and caught this beauty! Look at that blue sky too, it was just a beautiful day. We had visitors all weekend, so there wasn’t a huge amount done around the house.

Flylady’s “Cruising Through the Holidays” journal was emailed around (for free) this week too, so the holidays are on their way. I must get started on that as well. We will have a wedding to go to while we are home for the Christmas period, and i did NOT want to buy anything new, although one of the visitors really put me off and now I don’t know whether to persist with plan A or get something else (secondhand!) I wanted to have a nice vintage style and invest any money into a new coat.

I didnt take many pictures of London when I was there, but I would give a tip as to a decent budget hotel where we stayed which was the Travelodge in Southwark. Walking distance to London Bridge, Westminster (20 mins or so), nearby cafe’s where you can get a fry for around a fiver (saves on lunch!) . We visited the Tower of London which was fascinating, we saw Beefeaters, ravens, the old armoury but gave the crown jewels a miss because the queue in the rain was far too long. Our very kind hosts told us that it’s possible to get in for half price if you have this ticket, but we weren’t organised enough and ended up paying full whack… oh well!

tower bridge memorial

war memorial at the tower of london

Tower of London

Our next trip is in 2 weeks time, when we return to Ireland for a long weekend. I can’t wait! I’m also sloooooowly planning our long-awaited trip to Japan 2015 which will hopefully coincide with me quitting my job finally, I started to look for a new job last week. Wishing you all a happy and productive week!

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JACK MONROE: COOK, CAMPAIGNER, GUARDIAN COLUMNIST, MOTHER, AUTHOR, ETC.

Winner of the... Women of the Year Enterprise award. Observer Food Monthly Award for Best Food Blog. Marie Claire Woman At The Top award. Fortnum & Mason Food And Drink Award. YMCA Courage & Inspiration Award. Red Magazine's Red Hot Women Award. #17 Independent On Sundays Pink List 2013. And the 100m race when I was about, seven...

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