Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope everyone has a great time tonight and a fantastic 2010, personally I'm happy to see the back of 2009, it was a crazy mix of highs and lows..

Fashion wise 2009 was hugely inspirational from the Alexander McQueen's fantastical catwalk show at London Fashion week to the range of designer/high street collections such as Christopher Kane for Topshop and Jimmy Choo for H & M..We saw Danni Minogue come to the forefront of fashion, week after week on X Factor with her classy hair styles and unique outfits. Her razor-sharp sleek bob caused a surge of women reaching for the scissors and she blew Cheryl Cole out of the water every time with her combination of sexy but stylish dresses that embodied her grown up sophistication and confidence.. 2009 did see Cheryl's own star continue to rise and it must be noted that her style of teeny weeny dresses and bouncy hair has inspired many..

Vintage became widely accessible to many and was not just reserved for stylish students, the recession spawned a huge interest in charity shops and swap shops, while high street chain Penneys reached cult status in Ireland. In response to the recession women started searching for value as well as style, and realised that mixing high street, vintage and designer was the best way forward..

Women such as Lady GaGa and Michelle Obama made their fashion mark, GaGa daring to outdo herself every time with her outrageous and provocative costumes, while Michelle Obama proved that a woman can be interested in both fashion and politics..

Kate Moss continued to hold her own despite facing criticism for sporting wrinkles in her mid 30s!..Other ladies sparkled under the sartorial spotlight for their quirky looks, most notably Alexa Chung and my personal favourite Olivia Palermo..

The skinny versus curvy debate raged on as celebrity magazines continued to lambast any star who had so much as gained or lost a few pounds..not unrelated to this was the death of actress Brittany Murphy, who's skeletal frame and apparent addiction to plastic surgery highlighted the pressures women everywhere face, from the media, their peers and themselves. We also lost Michael Jackson, a king of iconic costume looks - his death was also linked to a dependency on pain killers and his life long poor body image.

We saw a return to the 80s with strong silhouttes and big shoulders came back with a bang, while platform shoes, leggings and leather dominated the high street..Statement jewellery, Blazers and men's brogues were my own favourite pieces, while I gave jumpsuits and body con a miss - beautiful but dangerously unflattering for me!

Ladies like Beyonce and more so Holly Willoughby inspired me with their ability to keep it real, dressing for their shape and flaunting their curves in flattering and beautiful outfits, not afraid to reveal legs and boobs with the greatest of confidence in their shape.

Overall it was an amazing year for fashion, a year that my interest and knowledge peaked as I spent the best part of 2009 sitting on my couch reading fashion blogs! ..Big up to my favourite ladies Blanaid and Whisty for transforming the Irish fashion blogging scene, while across the water, and provided me with endless enjoyment and inspiration.

Hope everyone has a happy and stylish New Year and the best 2010 ! xx

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Above is the very jacket I bought on sale in Zara a few days ago, glad to see Olivia P championing the military look as well, her chicness is so inspiring..I love how she's added a dash of colour to her outfit with the neon clutch..

It was reduced to €39.00 at Zara in the Pavillions Swords, love it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just posted my last three column's below, have neglected to update the blog over the past few weeks, as I've been so busy with Christmas and the new job! I plan to evolve the blog in the New Year and post my columns on the side bars linking to the Herald website, leaving the blog free for fashion posts and other ramblings..can't believe the column is almost a year old, so glad it's still going strong !

Anyway, here's one of the dresses I bought in the sales, French's simple structure and classic navy colour is right on trend with the military look of the moment and it's versatility will take me right through to summer..had a great splurge in the shops over Christmas, including a black draped jersey dress from which I wore on Christmas day, a pale peach satin razor petal cut skirt from A-Wear for just €30, studded black heeled ankle boots from Zara, a red silk dress from Warehouse with a gift voucher I received, new elbow length grey wool gloves, a knitted headband perfect for cosy ears on frosty days, a black military dress jacket with white piping from Zara, and a khaki green parka jacket from H & M for rainy mornings at the bus stop! Needless to say I am a happy bunny, Santy and everyone else was very good to me!

Had a lovely few days at home over Christmas, ate lots and lots of great food including the usual turkey spread, my mam's pate and the best Beef Wellington at my boyf's on Stephen's night..drank lots of champagne and devoured a ton of cheese, ate endless purple roses with cups of tea, ate my entire gift box of Lauderee Macaroons in front of the telly, snoozed in my slippers at the fire, walked my dog around the icy lake, enjoyed catching up with my oldest friends and listened to my lil bro dj in our local pub..heading back to the apartment tomorrow and still have New Year to look forward to..hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and have a great New Year! xx Niamh ..

It's hard to believe I'm in my apartment a year. It was on New Year's Eve last that I packed up 26 years of belongings and left the family home, swapping house rules for romance by moving in with my boyfriend. I've never been a fan of New Year but last year was a good one, as I popped Prosecco and he cracked open a can, to toast our new adventure. We celebrated with plastic cups sitting among his one suit case and my many boxes of 'stuff' that didn't make it into the hired skip during the big move.

It was a big step of course: first, moving out of home which was a long time coming, and, second, by moving in with himself. I suppose, metaphorically, moving in on New Years meant a lot to me, new beginnings and all that. For him it was practical to spend Christmas at home while still getting settled into the new place before returning to work.

Losing my job two weeks later meant that I had lots of time to potter around buying hand towels and candles, while now having rent and bills to pay spurred me into relentlessly pursuing new job options until I found one.

A lot changed in Ireland last year as we know, and we have just re-signed our lease for 2010, paying £200 less then we started on, having negotiated a good deal with our landlady in keeping with the current climate. It is a renter’s market indeed at the moment, and not surprising that landlords are keen to keep tenants at a reduced cost rather than risk an empty space.

Whatever way the market continues to evolve will be interesting .I'm certain that we could have moved on and found somewhere cheaper for next year. Indeed there are two bedroom flats available for a lot less; but it's taken till now for it to really feel like home. Plus, while moving in on New Year’s was romantic in my eyes, it's not very practical and I doubt there would be much help on offer should we want to relocate on the 31st again.

Now we can celebrate the New Year fully settled in our apartment, not sitting on boxes and with real glasses, celebrating the end of a crazy year employment-wise and excited for what 2010 may hold.

I’ve got carried away with having a salary again after six months and even bought real champagne this time!
So Christmas is upon us and the festivities are in full swing. However, while friends are winding down and rolling into work hung-over, I've been busy taking everything in at my new job.

I've enjoyed getting back into a routine of working hard and doing what I love. Between Christmas and the new job, I'm a tad excitable at the moment. One thing I do miss from the last few months though is sleeping in - especially on these cold mornings!. Ironically, I do my best work in the mornings, I simply hate the shrill of an alarm clock in my face and it's not something I've ever got used to.

While at school I was dragged out of bed sulking and was scolded many a morning for showering and rushing out the door in twelve minutes flat, usually with wet hair and no breakfast. At college I welcomed the chance to live by own hours, I learned fast that I could sleep in and still work hard, studying in my own time to achieve the results I wanted.

Working nights for many years took me totally out of the alarm clock loop until I started my first PR job a few years back. I soon realised that being as organised as I like to be, and in order to get the most out of the day and do a good job, then I had to give myself time in the morning. I preferred to be early and get a head start on the day and by the time the recession came around and I found myself back under the covers I had matured enough to even make breakfast a regular occurrence.

Now I've returned to early rises, and my boyfriend is surprised at just how much time I take in the morning - I like a full half hour to sit watching the news over breakfast. Don't get me wrong, I still hate that first minute when the alarm goes off, it's forever ingrained and I half expect my mam to appear ready to pull the quilt off me.

It's only a split second and once I'm up I'm fine, thankful and excited for my new job. There's plenty of time for lie ins over the Christmas break anyway - but if I don't stop enthusing over my job I'll have everyone else asleep as well!
Often, it takes years of drama to realise that certain friends are no good for us, a person who is simply ruining your self esteem or is toxic to be around. However, I’m glad that at 27 , I’m really lucky with my bunch, a mix of school, college and other friends who are the best in the world.

It’s hard to believe that my longest standing friendship is close to approaching it’s 25th year! 24 years of neighbourly bliss began at three years old when the Scully’s moved in beside us. However, my friend wasn’t greeted with the nicest welcome from my toddler self and when she made a dive for my favourite toy on that first meeting, well, she got a bite to remember. Mrs. Scully was horrified and whisked her daughter off to the doctors who was so alarmed at the severity of the bite he thought it had come from an animal! Woops!

I can't remember the aftermath but I have few childhood memories that don't involve her and her sisters so we must have made firm friends pretty quickly afterwards.

While I was living frugally for the last six months, the recession afforded me plenty of time to catch up with all my friends, a nice break from the usual cycle of working long hours and constantly playing catch up.

I suppose though, it’s not a coincidence that I've made some of my best friends in the last three or four years - as I really got to know myself.

We all seem to have gravitated towards the same area in town too, which helps with the mid week meetings. After hearing 'friends of friends' stories about drunken dramas and bitchiness I'm grateful I don't have any of that hassle in my life – it’s best left in the past with dodgy school photos.

Since being back at work though I've had less time during the week to skip back to Skerries or jaunt around town and am looking forward to heading home for Christmas.

The girls next door and I have a tradition we've kept still, 25 years on. I hop over their wall every Christmas morning to see what Santy brought them, still in my pyjamas. It's not quite at 6am anymore and is now accompanied with a hangover, but nevertheless it's something we look forward to.

We always have a laugh at the years gone by – and I’m slagged over the scar on her arm!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Totally want either of these wedges as well by the way, in a totally crazy shoe mood at the moment, but would play it safe with an all black outfit..thoughts anyone? They had similar ones in Office a while back, but I wasn't so sure, they're probably gone now and I'm too late..The Leopard ones are definitely more to my liking, simply with black tights, black blazer, black skirt and red lipstick. Festive indeed.
just realised the save draft option! woops to anyone that got five or six alerts to a new post on the last one as I rearranged the pics a million time!
Came across this latest fashion atrocity in the papers today...British Style Icon??!! Eh, no..

.....That's more like it!!...

Pics courtesty of,


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

...speaking of shoe boots, how hot does Olivia P look here in these stone coloured suede Louboutins...I really thought owning a Mulberry Bayswater would satisfy me for a long time to come..turns out it doesn't work like that! I want!

Loving Olivia P right now though, she always looks effortlossly stylish and radiant..she has a great eye for accessories too and has inspired me to detangle my four drawers of jewellery and rediscover all the vintage jewels I bought in San Francisco back in the day, as well as doing a 'rusty bangles from Penneys' clearout ahead of Christmas..

I'm totally having a high heel moment right now..the higher the better, and while you still won't catch me tottering around work in them too often, or venturing too far away from a bar/house/taxi, my bag fetish is slowly being eclipsed by shoes and there are some outfits that just won't cut it with flats. The Christmas season in particular calls for some seriously HIGH shoes and the festive footwear on the highstreet never fails to impress..between sequinns and studs there is plenty to choose from this party season but I reckon a simple pair of wow inducing leg lengtheners is the way to go..

These Topshop Alexus Chelsea Platform Shoe Boots are on my Christmas Wish list, retailing at 80 sterling and €120 (hang on - is that the correct conversion?!, eh no..) I think I know which side of the border mine will be purchased on. I've tried them on a few times while out and about and I love how the smooth leather chunkiness looks with more delicate fabrics like lace and silk. Also despite being scarily high, the platform does help for unbalanced wobblers like me while also elongating the leg to endless lengths..They will be perfect for Christmas day when I won't be hobbling far from the Kitchen..
After several welcome interviews in the last few weeks, I was made an offer which I have accepted with great excitement. Santa came slightly early and gave me exactly what I wanted for the New Year - a full-time job.

I'm literally covered in bruises from pinching myself with excitement and, after six months of keeping afloat with free lancing, combined with many quieter weeks where I gloomily accepted the dole, this job couldn't have come at a better time for Christmas.

As this goes to print I will be in the middle of my first day. I expect for exhaustion to hit me in my first week like a steam train, as I adjust once more to alarm clocks and early nights - but I absolutely can't wait.

The past year has been a career rollercoaster, being let go from two jobs. The first was a long drawn-out process with many whispers and stress-inducing rumours which cast a dark cloud over last Christmas. The worst case scenario – that several of us were to be let go - came immediately after the holidays, coinciding with me moving into my new apartment.

Luckily, I wasn’t out of work for long, but no sooner had I settled into my next job then I was handed the much more shocking news that they were regretfully unable to renew my contract after the initial three months.

This one hit me harder in some ways as it was so unexpected, but I soldiered on and spent the last six months building on my CV, working from home on different projects.

Armed with several references but no job I built up my freelance portfolio and did what I could, making a firm promise to myself early on - I would make the most of this period in my life and not see it as a depressing slow down in my career. Instead I made sure I did all the things people complain they never have time to do and, apart from possibly five bad days over six months, I did pretty well.

The good news of my new job, however, is still marred by the fact that several family members and friends are still struggling with their own recession troubles. I’m just glad that I can now spoil everyone over the festive season, and hopefully far into the New Year as well.

Fingers crossed with this job – that it’s a case of third time lucky for me. I’ll keep you posted!

I have learnt that I'm never happier then when I'm making lists. At work, I was never far from my to-do lists, post-its and highlighters and now working for myself I continue to carry a book with ideas and lists everywhere and am bordering on OCD with sub-lists and mini-lists and so on.

I love it.

This year being semi freelance/semi- unemployed, I relished in challenging myself to get the most out of my finances in the run up to Christmas, and took great pleasure in composing several lists a few weeks ago.

Who I needed to buy for, how much I needed to spend, what nights out were planned that I had to attend, where could I cut back and be creative with gifting? It's the first time for decorating my own place, while making sure my neglected roots are perfect at least for the festive season is also a priority I won't compromise on.

Christmas is undoubtedly my absolute favourite time of year and a lack of disposable funds and the gloomy recession is not going to stop me from enjoying it. In fact, I think we all owe it to ourselves to enjoy it more than ever this year.

No Christmas party and no kriskindle with colleagues is something I'll miss out on, but I'll also have much more time to enjoy the festive spirit. The coming weeks leave me with plenty of hours to soak up the atmosphere around town.

Being broke won’t stop me enjoying myself.

If I'm honest, it's not just the lack of a full-time job that has me being so organised - I've always been like this - but for the first time since losing my job, I am looking forward to being off, and, as always, taking the positive from a situation.

However, in the past week I've had three interviews and am pinching myself with excitement to hear back and daydreaming about the future, should I be made an offer. It's a nice dilemma to be in and I realise how lucky I am that after six months of searching for the perfect position, interviews have come along in threes like delayed buses.

It looks like I could be working hard in the run up to Christmas after all, which will mean a change to my festive finances - and a chance to rewrite my Christmas lists!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After the frugal year I've had some might say (me!) that I deserve a little Christmas treat. Call it a celebration of my new appreciation for money, and also to celebrate my new job starting on Monday - yay!

So basically after a year of hiding my visa in the back of the drawer when it comes to shopping, and making do with stuff I only really needed, for Christmas I've asked Santy for something special and thankfully he's struck a deal with me. The Mulberry Bayswater. Santy knows that after six months of free lancing combined with welfare payments, that something this amazing will be well appreciated by moi. He also happens to be friends with a little helper who works in a certain department store that sells the Bayswater beauty - and she gets a whopping discount throughout December which justifies this purchase massively. Add to this a small sum that I will put towards it myself and Santy is getting a great deal. Me, I'm getting my very first investment bag, that will last me for years and years. I know I won't tire of it as I've already wanted it for at least three years and regularly visit said store to admire its leather loveliness and fine structure. It will save me many years of purchasing high street bags and as I intend to eat, sleep and talk to it, it will be the best recessionista buy ever - and a beautiful end to a crazy year.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The recession has been hitting retailers hard. While the shops are often full of browsing ladies like me who have more time than money, the reality is that footfall doesn't necessarily equal profit. Not surprisingly, more of us have been flocking North to shop and with Christmas on the way that number is set to surge higher.

Recent figures show that the number of households heading up the North has increased by 25% and while some may argue that it is disloyal to our local retailers, unfortunately many people simply don't have a choice - the lure of cheaper goods is too attractive for struggling families. While I do think that we should support locally when we can, and I do, I have no qualms with crossing the border in order to save big money.

I headed up there myself last Thursday, availing of Iarnrod Eireann's €10euro mid week special.

For me it is the cheapest option of all - with my dad working there, I get accommodation in his apartment, a lift back to Dublin on Saturday as well as taking advantage of some quality father/daughter time, which sometimes leads to free clothes if I'm lucky.

My dad isn't one for wasting money, and since we were old enough to work, we paid our own way. He seems to have softened with age though, along with developing a love for shopping! He has been seduced by the Belfast high street and often picks up little bargains for myself and my mam.

For example, a while back I spotted my perfect winter coat, but with a €40 difference from the UK price mocking me from the tag, I emailed the details to my dad to be met with point blank refusal. I wasn't surprised; sure he hadn't bought me a coat since I was forced into my school gabardine. However a few days later, while caught in a shower, he took shelter in the very shop in Belfast. Seeing the coat with his own eyes, and having been charmed by the lovely shop assistant, he agreed to buy it as an actual gift, a once off for his struggling recessionista!

Of course I’d visit him wherever he worked, the Belfast bargains are just a bonus to my trips. Last week I arrived with my mother’s long list of goods needed for the festive season and with me helping him beat the Southern crowds and get all the Christmas shopping done in one weekend – I reckon he got the biggest bargain of

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

With all my free time this year, I've become an increasingly avid telly addict. For years I worked nights and missed out on discussions about big shows that were airing at the time. I don't think I caught as much of a glimpse of a Saturday night show for months on end – if I wasn't working a Saturday, I was making the most of having the night off.

That changed two years ago, when I began the Monday to Friday routine and then last year, like the rest of the country, I became addicted to the X Factor.

This year it's worse, I am X Factor manic, and not ashamed to admit it. Every Saturday myself and one of my equally obsessed friends take turns in providing nibbles and drinks to watch the show. Sometimes we are all dressed up and join the lads in town afterwards, sometimes we are happy to slob in tracksuits with a take-away, the show providing us with all the entertainment we could possibly need.

Other friends consistently text throughout the show, no need to ask if I'm watching, the texts start to flow from the same people each week. It has been the perfect excuse to happily stay in on a Saturday to save a few pre-Christmas pennies, more so this year during the current credit crunch.

People complain that it's a pantomime, a money-making machine, a karaoke contest, lacking in talent. Most of them watch it regardless, perhaps just less obsessed. On trips home for Sunday dinner, my dad has balked at my ritual of turning on the TV and ignoring my family while the results are revealed each week. He's stopped moaning about it though, having realised that several of his colleagues, people who usually prefer to watch Newsnight, are equally enthralled by such frivolities as Danni Minogue's hair, Cheryl's dress and Simon Cowell's controversial comments.

It's pure shiny happy fun, there's no doom and gloom in the X Factor studio, everything about it is feel-good, from the bellowing balladeers to the blinding smiles of their newly-whitened teeth.

Even men of the moment, Irish twins John and Edward, have fans squirming in their seat each weekend for a few hours of fantasy land fun as they navigate the way clumsily through their dance routines.

The figures for this year’s show have surged as people continue to get drawn in by its magic and the surrounding publicity wheel.

Who cares if it's not the real world. Isn't that the whole point?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So I just thought I might do a little post on my trip to Amsterdam last weekend..I am literally the luckiest girl ever to be brought away like that despite being a part time employed recessionista..

I have to say it was the most beautiful city, I was totally surprised as I had no expectations of it whatsoever - I was expecting vomiting stag parties and seedy bars, but that was confined to a small area and still wasn't as bad as Temple Bar!

The whole city had such a relaxed, laid back vibe, mellow and chilled with the sound of the canal water lapping and the bicycle bells ringing across the bridges.

We walked and walked and ate and ate, soaking up the pre-Christmas atmosphere, wandering through the Christmas market, admiring the twinkling street lights and festive outdoor ice-skating rink.

Style wise the fashion seems to be a mix of trendy and practical - you won't see too many women in heels considering the main mode of transport is cycling. It was cold and I spent most of the weekend in brogues and a woolly hat I bought there in H and M. Something I noticed which I also thought about people in Paris and Milan, is that they really embrace the winter. The cold didn't have a biting breeze like Ireland but still it was frosty - yet everyone continues to socialise outside, sitting under heatlamps in front of cafes and bars, walking the streets, cycling, shopping and people spotting, all cosily clad in on-trend coats, chunky knitwear and fashionable yet durable boots, all accessorised with stylish shades for the winter glare.

Many Irish tend to still shiver their way through the winter months in less than warm coats and hoodies, the boys especially. But I'm really feeling that winter can be the most romantic time and Amsterdam confirmed that for's made me want to invest in more coats and boots for my wardrobe at home, considering I spend a lot of time either walking around town or braving the elements with my smoking friends, if you dress for the cold there's no reason it should be a bad thing!

The hight street in Amsterdam was impressive too, usually in other European cities I have found a lot of the fashion is confined to boutiques and markets. Amsterdam offered great vintage and boutiques as well and we found some lovely trinket and book shops in the Jordaan district. Our hotel was also located right next to the designer district, similar to Rodeo drive it was a mile long of the ultimate designer offerings from Prada to Mulberry, Burberry, Gucci, Vuitton with slightly cheaper shops such as Karen Millen and Tods nestled in between. The high street was a long cobbled meander of shops including River Island, Zara, Warehouse, H and M, Vero Moda along with a huge variety of shoe shops, particulary local shoe boutiques offering a massive array of boots. Boots are everywhere, more so then here!

Of course I had to settle with browsing but I did buy a few Christmas decorations along with a new hat and gloves! all in all a wonderful city and definitely worth a visit.....It's got me thinking abou the cities I've been to thoughout my life. I still reckon San Francisco is my favourite but because I spent four months there I got to see it in a different light. I loved Sydney and of course New York, London and Paris are unique. But I definitely put Amsterdam ahead of Milan, Barcelona and Melbourne. I'm smitten.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something positive has been happening lately, a kind of autumnal optimism that seems to be spreading infectiously despite the recession.

Two friends - whose career brakes had been slammed on a year ago - have both finally found good jobs, after a difficult 12 months of searching.

And while another friend has lost his job, he seems to be attracting lots of freelance work - catering to the growing demand for cheaper services from professionals with no overheads. Ironically, his job loss came just as his office extension at home was completed, a good sign!

Three former colleagues have also landed exciting new positions; one is even heading for London. It's worth mentioning that many of these jobs were not publicly advertised, but rather are a result of contacting companies directly, something that has also paid off for me in the past.

I myself have had a busy few weeks filling in at a radio station and was delighted to hear in the midst of my peer's good news, a slot on the radio where a recruitment specialist argued that the recession was being overhyped by many. Now, granted you can't deny the facts, but he simply wanted to remind people to look for the positives and try to remain upbeat and hold off becoming despondent.

My little brother, as regular readers to this column will know, has spent the last year on a recession roller-coaster - swaying between frantic job searching and ignoring his CV for weeks on end. Now after a fast year, his dole has finally been stopped. While living at home means the welfare are totally justified in stopping his payments, I can't help feeling a bit sorry for him. There's nothing more disheartening than relying solely on your parents for financial hand-holding.

I've been telling him to hang in there, things will get better for him.

Just take my friend who lost her job in the spring. Now a full-time fashion blogger she has been hitting the style headlines in recent weeks with her rising profile. While being interviewed for a monthly fashion magazine last week, I'm pretty sure she is starting to see the silver lining on her own job loss, just as the London bound lady must also be. Casting my mind back to the day we lost our jobs together, I'm sure she is now, too, realising my favourite saying holds some truth - everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes we just may not know the reason at the time.

A friend is currently experiencing a stress overload - juggling a demanding full-time job in the music industry with two part-time 'gigs', leaving little room for precious 'me time'.

Luckily she had time last Friday night for a quick catch up. I found my friend slumped on the couch in her pyjamas, surrounded by tissues, Berocca and her Blackberry, hoping that an hour of downtime between appointments would ward off her heavy cold.

We both expressed some envy about each other's current work loads. Hers seems gloriously rewarding at the moment while I have so much free time between freelancing that it's hard to remember what a full week's work is like.

Considering I spent my life to date with several jobs and college courses at the same time, this more relaxed timetable has taken some adjusting to. No alarm clock, no commuting, no rushing, alas no big wages - but any work that comes my way is from the comfort of my own couch and, if I'm honest I’m enjoying my new work, life balance, for now.

My friend was in a similar situation last year but work-free weekends and lazy evenings are now a distant memory for this rising star.

I've been catching up with overdue friends, had more time for my family and ultimately have loved working for myself, from touting for potential PR clients to freelance writing. My departure from full-time work coincided with my relocation to the city, meaning endless hours of either power walking, strolling or browsing the city's streets, from Donnybrook to Dun Laoghaire - each and every shopping centre, market and boutique in between.

All the while I'm earning more then enough money to fund my city lifestyle - albeit less lavish. Don’t get me wrong – I would like to get back in the fast lane at some stage – I just believe in making the most of things right now.

I'm savouring this time, - that I really am young and free - because it’s likely at some stage I will be, once again, like my friend, complaining about commuting in bad weather and cancelling dates due to exhaustion.

Some morning in the future when I’m rushing through town with wet feet before 9am, I want to look back on this time and know that I made the most of every second of the slower paced year.

The year I learnt how to live on less money but, with more time, managed to have more fun.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I was sorry to see on the news that a school in Cork has now asked girls to bring their own toilet roll to class, to help cope with rising costs in the recession. It's understandable the school must cut back where they can to lessen the strain on educational resources: however, I can't help but imagine awful situations where girls are left hopping in the corner, dying to use the bathroom but being refused for forgetting to bring toilet paper in their bag.

Extreme perhaps, yet it reminds me of my Dad's stories about school in the Fifties, how he walked there barefoot across hot coals for six miles each day. I know for a fact he had a bicycle but he uses his dramatic tales as a reminder to us of how lucky we were growing up.

The Cork story is an indication of how expensive essential items have now become. For years, my Mam was alarmed at my expensive toilet roll habit - grabbing it to dry my hands, absentmindedly, as well as to cleanse my face twice a day.

“Use the cotton wool,” she would scream at me!

I thought she was overreacting until I moved in with my boyfriend who is now equally appalled at the amount that gets used for everything from blotting lipstick to cleaning the kitchen counter.

“Use the jay-cloth,” he screams at me!

Girls, it seems, have wasteful habits, despite our knack for spotting a bargain. I woke at 5am last week to hear my boyfriend and his friend discussing over a bottle of whiskey their girlfriends’ wasteful ways. I overheard our friend reveal his lady likes to have the hot water on all day while out at work. '”And she likes the heat on all night when we're in bed,” he exclaimed aghast.

I grabbed my slippers and a glass and headed to join this ridiculously exaggerated conversation and defend my friend in her absence.

There's no talking to them though: apparently I throw out countless edible foods because I follow the use-by-date on the pack. One squeeze of Fairy Liquid is all I need, jay-cloths last for months if you wash them … these are all things I have yet to learn.

My boyfriend has been very good though since my salary has drastically decreased. There are certain things however he refuses to buy, jay-cloths, Fairy Liquid and toilet rolls, these are always left for my visits to the shops, even if it means hopping all the way home like those poor girls in Cork might be.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Woops, I've been neglecting the blog of late after promising myself I would up the anti on it and make more regular posts! I've been soo busy though between landing a new free lance PR client - - check it out, trying to get my column done this week as well as landing a couple of weeks work filling in as a researcher at nice to come home feeling tired!

Haven't had as much time to indulge in blogs and magazines as usual this week but while doing some X Factor research for work I came across this picture of Cheryl Cole, in my eyes, having an unlikely understated style moment..I've mentioned before I'm not a huge Cheryl fan, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to avoid her, especially as I am a huuge X Factor fan..I do absolutely adore her here though, pictured in a maroon wool Vanessa Bruno dress teamed with Rupert Sanderson heels..she looks demure and elegant with the structured dress adding great curves to her teeny frame..I had recently spotted a similar shaped dress in Warehouse that would work wonders on girls with actual curves (ahem me!) and it's on my hitlist for the Christmas season, perfect with my new spotted sheer tights from Oasis!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sales of men’s pyjamas have risen by 30% in the last year, indicating a link between the recession and a trend for cosier nights in. I’m not a fan of men in pyjamas – t-shirts and boxers will suffice. It’s a squirm I seem to have picked up from my Mam who never bought the boys in our house pyjamas and if they received them as presents they would mysteriously disappear before long.

I am, however, a big fan of pyjamas for myself! For years after a busy day at work the first thing I would do upon arriving home was free myself from the constraints of binding clothes and sometimes be in my pjs as early as 7pm on a winter’s night. Mostly it was a hybrid of a pyjama- tracksuit outfit, a trend I know most of my friends have adopted for nights they are staying put.

It’s not surprising then to hear that sales in women’s pyjamas have tripled in the last decade, given the amount of girls who love nothing more then settling on the sofa in fluffy flannel ensembles instead of restrictive skinny jeans and tights.

However, the outdoor pyjama wearing fad in Dublin, is not something I condone – it is the ultimate sign of laziness. I recently witnessed two girls in their late 20s at a local shopping centre on a busy Saturday afternoon – both clad in pink pyjamas, fluffy slippers and complete with full length dressing gowns and smug smiles. As numerous honks sounded from the car park, they seemed delighted at receiving such attention for their ridiculous look.

Now working from home I admit that my pyjamas often stay put ‘til after lunch. But I would never wear them further than my front door. I know the recession has slowed down life for many people, myself included, but really there is no excuse for this outdoor pursuit.

As well as the demand for regular pyjamas, retailer Debenhams has reported an increase in sales for boudoir inspired lingerie. Suspenders, fishnets and basques have all become increasingly popular in the last two months, confirming perhaps that couples are spending more evenings at home together in the face of the recession.

More time for romantic nights in is definitely a perk of the current climate and most women don’t need an excuse to get excited about lingerie. I just hope the pyjama goons around town don’t catch on to this current sales surge and start going to Spar in silk stockings and lacy bras instead.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th of October, sees the 'Secret Boutique' in Dublin open its doors to the public. With a range of statement pieces from labels such as Pink Soda and the amazing Irish designer Pauric Sweeney, the 'Secret Boutique' promises fashionistas an intimate shopping experience to remember.

The 'Secret Boutique' is a private space in Dublin's city centre, giving lucky customers the opportunity to avail of specially discounted goods several times a year. For autumn/winter the 'Secret Boutique' has a collection of Pauric Sweeney's gorgeous bags, like this electric blue python leather style. With his designs decorating the arms of Agnys Deyn, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lopez, Dublin style mavens can also feel like a star with one of his hand crafted stuctured totes for a recession-tastic price.

You can become a fan of the 'Secret Boutique' on facebook or email me for more information on the secret location! Shhh..

Monday, October 5, 2009

Since the recession began the trend for 'clothes swapping' has emerged as increasingly popular with a range of swap shops and swapping parties happening across the country.

The current climate has encouraged many girls to part with some of their best loved but unsuitable clothing, the need for cash finally forcing them to accept they will never again wear something that has hung in their wardrobe for too long! I have become a willing swapper in recent months due to my cash-starved account with all the job hopping and swapping this year!. Like myself, many women may take a few years to really 'find' their style and figure out what works for their figure, resulting in a huge pile of unwanted clothes that may never again see the light of day outside an overcrowded wardrobe. Swap shops hello, hotpants good bye!

The Frock Exchange in Skerries opened in May of this year in response to this growing demand. This stylish swap shop is drawing dedicated shoppers from all over Dublin and further afield with a variety of clothes, shoes and accessories from a host of designer and high street labels.

Situated on Thomas Hand Street in Skerries, just twenty minutes north of Dublin airport, The Frock Exchange offers the best in casual and occasion wear with labels such as Armani, Prada, Chloe, Gucci, Diane Von Furstenberg and Valentino flying off the rails for a fraction of their original prices!

Ladies who bring clothes or shoes in good condition to The Frock Exchange can discuss with owner Louise a price they are happy to sell their garments on for. The shop then operates a sale or return policy after one month and gives 50% of the cost back once the item is sold, a great incentive for hoarders to make an extra euro during the recession!

The Frock Exchange is open from Tuesday to Friday 10am til 5.30pm and Saturday 10am til 6pm. Contact number is 087 253 9632 or email enquiries to

Another swap shop currently causing fashion chaos in the city is the Swop Shop in Temple bar, where an actual bartering system takes place rather than any cash exchange. This is Dublin's first and only fashion 'exchange' store, offering customers the chance to swap like-for-like clothes. For example, a customer wishing to offload an item from Savida can swap it for something of a similar worth, Vero Moda perhaps.

However, owner Adele doesn't generally accept too much from Dunnes or Penneys as the stuff is so cheap to begin with that it is hardly worth passing on second hand. Swop Shop has a great variety of styles and sizes with an impressive collection of designer goods. If a swapper doesn't find an item they like initially they will receive 'swap credit' for next time they visit the store. Love this place!

For more information visit

Image here is Sara Berman animal print satin tie dress from Urban Outfitters now available at Swop Shop

My X factor obsession is starting to take hold again after judges' houses left me more than excited this weekend! My style crush however, unlike the rest of the world is not the overstyled and predictable wag Cheryl Cole, but rather cheeky presenter Holly Willoughby who has a more relaxed and fun approach to her outfits without needing to starve herself to slim into them..

Im bored with Cheyrl if I'm honest, I think she needs a hair cut and I can't help but feel she consults a stylist every time her lipgloss needs re applying. Holly on the other hand seems to really know her own body and while her style is centred around floral and fifties style dresses, she knows what works for her and sticks to it without ever looking dull.

I too am a big fan of the dress this past couple of years, since discovering the flattering effects it has on my figure..skirts and dresses are great, if, like me, you prefer to show off your legs and waist while concealing a bigger bum. It's all about working your best bits!

I love that Holly wears a lot of high street on the X Factor as well, she has great taste - in fact this season she has appeared in three of the same dresses I already have! If only I had that hair as well..

While fashion this season has seen a return to 80s trends, in the Irish music scene there is a revival for all things 90s, thanks to tribute band Smash Hits!

Smash Hits! are a unique and entertaining tribute to the golden era of early 90s dance, pop and R'n'B, made up of experienced musicians performing the best of classic tracks from artists such as Vanila Ice, Snap, House of Pain and MC Hammer! Since bursting onto the scene in May they have played at both Oxygen and Electric Picnic as well as landing a residency in Tripod...for a nostalgic trip down your teenage memory lane check out their next Dublin gigs in Tripod on Oct 3rd and the Sugar Club on Oct 17th or keep your ears peeled for nationwide dates!

While perfoming on stage, lead female Orla Breslin, also a member of Irish band Republic of Loose, digs out her chokers and bumbags for true 90s style..scrunchies and puff jackets have also made an appearance! In real life however Orla prefers to skip the 90s style favouring sequins and leggings for ROL performances and a more laid back look when she's not singing..I caught up with Orla to get the spill on her style..

How would you describe your style Orla?
I would say it's girlie with a bit of a rocky edge.

How much would you spend a month on clothes?
It depends really on the month and if I get to go abroad, on average I would say 150 euro.

Any recessionista tips you want to share with us?
Keep an eye on the sale rails and join a covers band so you can wear all your old clothes! Not a fan of vintage stores anymore, used to love them but find the style has gone a bit stale. Also, never buy vintage shoes, have done it so many times and always end up paying to have them reheeled and resoled - just buy them new!

What are your favourite shops?
Topshop and American Apparel.

Do u have a style icon?
No one in particular, but I recently saw a picture of Zoe Kravitz and thought her style kicked ass.

What five things in your wardrobe could you not live without?
My black and gold studded ankle boots from Topshop, my AA hoody dresses, my brown leather satchel from Barcelona, my quarter inch jack gold pendant and my black hooded leather jacket.

What's your best fashion buy?
Best buy is a black sequined mini dress from Joanne Hynes which I wear to death and was worth every penny.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Have developed a slight obsession with French Connection this season, which doesn't quite fit with my recessionista status. Although it's more expensive then most high street shops they always seem to deliver with high quality pieces that are both trendy yet quite timeless as well. They don't fall our of shape or look too worn after just one season as well.

I think it's also because I'm a perfect fit in my size in French Connection and don't need to suck my self in like I do in some of the cheaper European high street stores. I find that Topshop, A - Wear, Warehouse and FC are best for this while in Penney's I can often go a size smaller!

Which shops do u find are best for sizes?

My wish list for this A/W contains nearly all of the collection at FC but this dress is probably my favourite...Titled the 'Sweets' dress it comes in a lovely lipstick red shade that I am lusting after for the coming festive season, while the black one is practical to take you from your desk to the dance floor by simply adding some glitzy accessories..

It retails at 85 sterling so is well worth ordering from the UK website rather than paying over the odds in Ireland..

With many people currently struggling with a range of stressful changes in their lives - be it drastic pay-cuts, signing on or taking work wherever they can - anyone with a relatively secure job arouses little sympathy about their cushy position - whether or not they have job satisfaction is of no real concern.

I, however, was all ears when a friend complained about her finance job that left her feeling bored and unchallenged, despite earning good money. I understood how deflating it must feel to have worked so hard in climbing the ladder to end up demotivated and unsatisfied in the work place.

Having recently married and relocated to London it's not hard to be envious of her champagne lifestyle. She and her man, both with good jobs, found a perfect apartment in trendy Camden and when they're not sampling the best of London's bars and restaurants she is busy shoe shopping to update her Louboutin lined wardrobe.

Her picture-perfect life that she had worked so hard to achieve was being hijacked by the recession in a different, yet equally disheartening, way to mine. Weekends spent strolling on Primrose Hill were blighted by having to endure a job that wasn't quite her preferred area, regardless of the pay.

Was it too much to ask that she be stimulated by her work, as she once had been?

After months of moaning it came to a head in a dramatic twist. An email detailing her misery was sent shooting off into cyberspace to each and every member of her team – including her boss. She had accidentally hit ‘send all’ instead of the one trusted colleague the dramatic rant had been intended for!

What followed was awkward, until a few days later a colleague revealed there was a job going in a nearby company. Within hours she had secured an interview and subsequently landed the job - after thinking she was destined to spend the recession unhappily trapped, ironically, she found something more suited to her then ever before.

She had unintentionally constructed her own exit and got her career back on track.

Perhaps it's a lesson to anyone stuck in the wrong job who is afraid to take the plunge and look elsewhere.

However, while her keyboard catastrophe resulted in a happy ending, perhaps emailing the entire office isn't the best approach to taking charge of your career.

Bizarrely, her mistake took her in the right direction: this girl just has a knack for landing on her feet - always in designer shoes.

I've recently started watching the Hills - I know I'm about three years too late with this. Despite it being painfully obvious that most of it is staged and scripted, I'm hooked for two reasons - the fuzzy feeling that envelopes me while viewing snapshopt of LA's blazing sun against the backdrop of rolling hills which reminds me of my time spent there - and more importantly, the fashion.

Lauren is definitely my favourite and while I haven't seen the show until now I am well aware that she and the girls have become firmly established as regulars on fashion pages across the world.

Her style has really evolved in recent months and she has a knack for pulling together effortlessly cool yet feminine outfits always with a pinch of California cool.

This outfit she wore to NY fashion week really caught my eye. I love how the turquoise leather clutch adds a funky injection of colour against the monochrome..I also love how the leather jeggings totally add an edge to the prettiness of the polka dot chiffon blouse.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm delighted to hear that heels are taking a break from the top of the fashion charts - it has emerged that during London Fashion week flats were favoured by designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Meadham Kirchoff and Sienna Miller's Twenty8Twelve label on the catwalk.

Indeed Sienna has long been a fan of a more comfortable shoe, photographed more often in slouchy boots and cute ballet flats proving that flat can be stylish as well as practical. I do absolutely love the architecture and vertiginous beauty of sky scaper heels, but spend most of my time in flats. Stumbling and falling on your ass ain't sexy in my book..that's why I'm so glad to add to my growing collection of ballet pumps, flat boots and converse with this season's on trend brogues and studded ankle boots..

Top of my wish list this month is a pair of red studded ankle boots from Topshop, inspired by these lush leather ones from Chloe..Penneys are doing great studded flat ankle boots as well as suede fringed moccasin boots in tan and stone and sexiness with not a blister in sight.

After nipping into Dunnes on Henry Street yesterday I have to say I am totally in love with their A/W collection, particularly the latest offerings from their Savida range.. Savida seems to have had a little bit of an overhaul this year and boy have they come up trumps.. Dunnes has adopted all of this season's hottest styles and trends for their Savida collection..think the best in sparkle with sequinned mini skirts, jumpsuits and leggings and full on glamour with glitzy embellished shoes and sexy satin camisole vests..

As always, Dunnes have included the best in Autumn/Winter staples with a variety of cosy knits and chunky scarves along with stylish structured coats, fine knit Italian wool cardigans and fashionable but comfortable dresses that work well for the office or dressed up for a night out. Military detail and 80s inspired shoulders feature heavily in Savida's new collection which is a mix of high fashion and good quality clothing - all at affordable prices..

My personal favourite is the grey military style wool coat for just €60 but the knitwear image above also has me excited for colder weather!

Get thee to their new flag ship store on Henry Street for the ultimate shopping experience or to one of their many branches nationwide..

I am huge fan of Swarovski - I love how their exquisite crystal jewellery can totally transform a simple outfit by adding glamour and gives a wow-factor like nothing else..

This latest bracelet from Swarovski is no exception - displaying the distinctive pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer it has been stylishly embellished with tonal pink Swarovski crystals and pink enamel. It goes on sale as part of Action Breast Cancer's Breast Cancer Awareness Month for October.. not only will it generate funds for an excellent cause but it's sparkly loveliness will brighten up your day every time you glance down at your wrist..

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New figures reveal that one fifth of people claiming the dole are under 25 which implies the worrying possibility of a lost generation of graduates, just as was the case in the Eighties.

While many under 25s are sure to be despairing at the current economic situation there are many more, like my youngest brother, who are devoid of any real fear and simply get on with things, living for now rather than becoming consumed with worry.

The invincibility of early adulthood affords him a more carefree attitude and with no real responsibilities or, indeed, negative outlook on the world.

He sees no point in worrying and I’m trying to come around to his way of thinking. Electric Picnic sold out in the end - nearly every under-25 I know attended the festival which is testament to this ‘live for today’ attitude that my brother and his friends have adopted.

While he won't admit it, I know there are times he is climbing the walls with boredom but with most of his friends available to hang out with, I know these periods are rare amid his hectic social life

For the record, he is looking for work. I have been helping him update his CV as he does realises his future is important – yet he won’t allow the state of the jobs market interfere with enjoying life here and now.

Of course the phone has yet to ring as it does for many more 22-year-olds like him, I’ve been trying my best not to think about his future, I know he has the ability to become whatever he chooses once the economy picks up. Plus there’s not much point in my energy being wasted on worrying while he spends his weekends frolicking around forests in Co. Laois and living his life to the full.

Earlier in the year I used to hound him aggressively about work: I was like a broken record constantly being ordered to button it by my parents. I was taking my own recession frustrations out on him I suppose. This has all ceased in recent months, not because I have seen how difficult it can be to get work, but because I don’t want to be responsible for jeopardising his cheery demeanour.

Rather than scold his commitment to attending every festival and social gathering this summer I have decided it is a far better mental state to be enjoying life somewhat modestly then curled up in bed consumed by the black cloud of doom.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What is it about the Breton top that epitomises style in such a simple way?

there are very few pieces as easy to wear as the Chanel inspired cotton striped tee yet it oozes Parisian chic and goes with everything..I've been living in mine since I bought it in French Connection last month. I was very picky about finding the perfect one - the quality of the cotton, the right combination of stretchiness as well as a flattering factor, the exact width between the stripes and so on..

FC's is the best I could find for a high street price, I love it so much I'm considering buying a second one!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Despite the blazing sunshine I've already been searching for the perfect Winter coat..I finally found it earlier this week in French Connection - a black version of this 'Lark Jacket'. Priced at €220 it's a bit beyond my means at the moment but on checking the website I see it's only 150 sterling in the UK..Fuming I then discovered this converts to only 170euro! Striking while the iron was hot I sent a pitiful text to my dad up in Belfast a few nights ago about how much I needed it only to be laughed down the phone.

However - the next day while sheltering from the Belfast rain what shop should he happen to take cover in - only FC! My dad is a massive fan of shopping, usually for himself and has more shoes than any girl I know. His mood seemed a lot cheerier and so with some charming negotiations he agreed to go halfs and buy it for me at the Sterling rate..we've yet to finalise the terms but I've a feeling a lunch on me should do the trick instead..the coat is currently en route to Skerries for my collection on Sunday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Had about 3 hours work to do today so once that was out of the way spent a very pleasant afternoon sauntering around town with my shopping partner and good friend Ceri May..the weather was amazing !!! in between stopping for coffee, tapas and enjoying free Moet Snipes in Brown Thomas at a D and G event, we were on the hunt for the perfect dress for her 30th..we still have six weeks left to find it but are enjoying all the shopping in all I could justify buying was a copy of Grazia so I am completely envious of these butter soft leather ankle platforms that Ceri treated herself to from Nine West..oh these girls with their full time jobs! they make her look super tall and they are extremely high but the platform (just seen) balances them out nicely..she is hoping to get in a few days of wearing them bare legged with different dresses before the opaques make their return for a long winter..

Grazia style hunter didn't find us in town but my nose did get a little sunburnt..

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Check out my new brogues which finally arrived today after ordering them from Schuh! I'm very excited at a flat style being so fashionable right now, as despite loving the sexy architecture of heels I don't wear them very well and usually end up falling on my ass..I'm definitely a flats girl and these tan leathers make a refreshing change from pumps and are perfect for running all over town in, with dresses and jeans..the leather is super soft and they are priced at €65 from Schuh..I reckon I will be living in these for autumn so they are well worth shelling out for..I've already got my eye on a wine pair at Office and a patent candy pink pair from Topshop..I think one pair will have to do me for now though! :(

All my nearest and dearest's birthdays are clustered around the same dates. It causes a shock to the wallet during the best of times, but this year I have to be hugely creative with my gifting and celebration of their special days.

Two of my best friends share a birthday in October while two others share the same date in June. This has usually meant great weekends drifting between parties to ensure I don't miss out!

However, beating that is the fact all of my immediate family, along with my nanny, favourite aunt and godchild, are all within a few weeks of each other. A serious credit cruncher indeed!

My dad, godchild and youngest brother all celebrated within days of each other recently. I reconciled with my brother that we wouldn't worry about presents this year - with him not working and me adjusting to my new casual work routine. I knew he would be satisfied with a vodka next time we met in the pub.

Dad got a cheap shirt between the three of us and thanked us by taking his troupe for dinner, not quite sure how it ended up that he would pay for his own birthday meal.

I decided however that my godchild wasn't going to suffer because of the recession and I dashed about town snapping up the remains of the TopShop sale and searching for sparkly cupcakes and girlie treats.

Being able to spoil someone you love is just as fun as receiving gifts. I wondered how my youngest brother would manage celebrating his new girlfriend’s birthday last week as well. He is not the best when it comes to remembering important dates and with no job it could prove particularly difficult.

The birthday card he bought for dad lay unwritten on his bedroom floor three days after dad's day had passed and it's doubtless whether nanny will even get a birthday text in the coming weeks as he saves his credit for his leading lady.

So I rang him with some wisdom on how it’s the thought that counts and not to worry about not working, just be sure to remember her special day.
Turns out I needn’t had bothered, he had a weekend away booked and paid for – flights to Brussels and festival tickets all organised.

Astonishingly he had been saving his dole for a few weeks, not as hard when he lives at home. He was determined to push the boat out for her birthday, job or no job.

I guess it proves nothing stands in the way of new love - not even unemployment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We girls are terrible for spending money on gyms and exercise classes only to see it wasted after the initial motivation has worn off. I once spent €90 on a Pilates course and left after the second week. Many of my friends still spend money regularly buying diet aids, attending Weight Watchers or joining over-priced boot camp sessions all in the hope of achieving their ideal body.

When the rest of our money goes on vodka and pizza, it is an eternal uphill struggle.

Two of my best friends and I had an idea to motivate each other, after constantly complaining that we wanted to get fitter and lose half a stone. One is my gay best friend who looks perfect to me but likes to join in our girlie ranting, while the other is a girl who, like me, wouldn't mind shedding a few pounds.

The word diet is banned but luckily our healthy living plan won't see any competitiveness among us as these really are the best kind of friends. She is that rare precious friend who finds joy in seeing me do well and vice-versa with not a sniff of bitchiness between us. Both of us are pretty comfortable in our skin but feel that keeping the weight off is an increasing battle in our mid-20s.

The plan is to weigh ourselves at his house every Saturday, while during the week we will be upping the anti from power walking to running, and shunning any school-night drinking.

As many friends and colleagues over the years have agreed, breakfast and lunch is easy to smugly munch on Ryvita. It’s dinner that presents the problem.

As I'm working from home right now I need to be extra vigilant with snacking and once I've had my dinner I'll be hiding while my boyfriend fills his lean frame with a cream-drenched carb fest each night.

It’s hard living with a highly metabolised food lover who’s a whizz in the kitchen.

As my female friend and I are both food junkies who love wine and find exercise a chore, we reconciled with ourselves a long time ago that a size 8 was never going to happen and made peace with our size 12 curves, but we would like to be more toned and fit version of our curvy selves.

Our efforts might not go according to plan, but at least it’s a chance to have some recession friendly time together that doesn't involve spending money on eating, drinking and cheaper than going to the gym!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm fairly disappointed that I had to sell my Electric Picnic ticket due to my being broke! I enjoyed the festival so much last year and was all set to for a weekend of sparkly sessions and muddy madness. You never know though, there's still time to wangle a ticket somehow! One thing that should definitely be on any festival chick's essential beauty list is a good lipgloss to take you through from morning to, well the next morning! A hat and sunglasses will hide a multitude of session sins but a slick of shimmer gloss can help keep you looking lovely long after the sun has gone down. My lipgloss of choice at the moment is this delicious Superstay Powergloss by Maybelline. (€12.53) It lasts for a festival friendly 12 hours! Maybelline's Express finish nails in Chocolate Frost is also perfect for disguising dirty festival fingers, although with my nails I would need to apply falsies to get the most out of this look! Priced at €6.01

I have always been a fan of sequins, whether they are in season or not and have a number of shimmery and sparkly shrugs and jackets, most notabley a circus like jacket in dazzling red and royal blue I bought in a vintage shop in Belfast for 10 pounds last Christmas. I haven't quite figured out what to wear it with yet but my navy sequin shrug and special white crocheted sequin cardigan from Topshop five years ago have had many outings, despite now missing several sequins! it looks like this season sees a return to this trend and among the items I am most coveting is this trophy jacket from the Autumn/Winter collection at Topshop! I'd pair it with black skinny jeans and a black vest, with maybe just a cocktail ring for a little added sparkle. I want!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I reeaally want this pair of nude t-bar Laboutins currently on sale at the! Life is so not fair! they have been teasing me all day with their classic loveliness and even though I know they would be a lifelong investment and well worth the recession-tastic reduction from €610 to €244 the fact that I bought milk on my visa today means I probably shouldn't be shopping this week..I have been checking them out all day but not surprisingly they have now sold out in my size..there are plenty of other pairs in this amazing sale though along with the other usual designer goodies..prepare to lust and weep at at how quick they are selling have been warned.

I have been watching too much Oprah recently, in between my increasing load of freelance work. I have always been fascinated by Americans but an episode last week left me intrigued rather than just the usual cringing at how they applaud every remark and guest who reveals a dramatic life story.

Oprah sometimes raises important issues and this particular show focused on class and how many Americans are struggling with downward mobility and social exclusion following job loss and financial strain.

Usually I’m laughing at the screen, promising to stop watching rubbish in my pyjamas all afternoon. However, I was amazed at how much emphasis the Americans place on their social class status. Guests were close to tears as they explained how losing their jobs had seen friends disappear from their lives. Invites for play dates with the kids and dinner parties were cancelled.

Surely a real friend wouldn't care if you are working or not?
Unless you are sponging off your friends, which none of these people was, it should not affect real friendships. The show highlighted the highly superficial social circles that the American identity is built on.

Thankfully, in my experience, we Irish aren’t as clear-cut with our class structure. The psychologist on Oprah clearly stated that if you earn a certain amount you belonged to a certain class. I think that it has become increasingly irrelevant to judge and label someone based on this sole factor.

People now go through life earning varied amounts of money perhaps in several careers. For me alone I would certainly be a social contradiction - a college graduate with no proper job, a northsider who now lives in D4, sister to a first-class graduate but also an unemployed brother who’s yet to figure out his path in life.

Nothing is simple any more – Ireland now has highly educated and qualified men claiming the dole while among the richest people are drug dealers and crime lords. This confirms why money should not be a marker of one’s status, or at least people should not be judged solely on their income.

Oprah’s show highlighted everything that is wrong with America perhaps but, on a lighter note, it does make me feel better about my own situation. Another episode had a couple who owed €90,000 on their credit cards, both unemployed.

I felt instantly better about my own debt and headed straight for Dundrum to buy something on my visa, proving for sure that American talk shows really are a bad influence.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The price war between supermarkets is raging as products at knockdown price are thrust in front of our face at every store.

The amazing value on offer is unavoidable – top-branded products cello taped together, vying for our attention, half-priced, three for two, four for three, extra free. It's all brilliant, particularly for those who are still earning big bucks but also for those having to adjust their spending habits.

When I began shopping for my own groceries, I didn't know the price of a pint of milk, or any household item. I knew approximately how much they cost but, because they were necessary items, I usually fired them into the basket, handing over my laser without question, tired from a long day at work.

Now that I have become accustomed to a more frugal life, I also have time to shop around and know exactly the difference on most items in all of the big supermarkets and the smaller pound shops.

“Look how many pot scrubs I got for a euro,’’ I exclaimed to my boyfriend who looked at me puzzled and replied: “We only have two pots and even when you do use a scrub you still leave marks on them.’’

Hmm … fair enough but I still inform regularly on my amazing finds, enjoying this game of bargain hunting. Where can I find the best value shower gels and not the cheap nasty ones that cause a rash? Our bathroom is overflowing with unopened beauty products cluttering up the small shower.

He, the boyfriend, is also bemused as to why I can't squeeze three extra days out of the toothpaste and why I throw the milk out with enough left for a cup of tea. These are bad habits of mine!

I remember as a child regularly going to McDonalds with my grandfather, who always discretely pocketed the ketchup and salt sachets. It was a shock to see him so committed to saving and not wasting. But he was of that generation that came through World War 11 and rationing and such.

I remembered this last week while on a mini staycation with friends. For the first time in my life I took home the soaps and shower gels from the B&B. I felt slightly ashamed but also tried to explain to my boyfriend it was only because of the recession and we had, after all, paid for our room - including the bath products.

‘‘The last thing we need right now,’’ he sighed, ‘’is another bottle of shower gel.’’

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Thursday night some friends lured me out, not something I've been doing too much of on a week night since becoming a recessionista. However, they assured me that not even a bottle of cheap wine was needed beforehand as we were off to Dicey Reilly's on Harcourt Street for €3 drinks AND a free platter.

I arrived to a lively bar heaving with a post-work crowd all eager to cast off the stress of the day. The bouncers won’t catch too many people sneaking a naggin in here in their handbags either, as a variety of popular drinks was all on offer for €3 with no catch. The free platter was a much welcomed bonus, as an assortment of greasy goodies were presented before us for devouring, all because we had freely reserved a table, ensuring elbow room in the thronging crowd.

When I left latish the queues were still snaking all the way down the street, a sight now rarely seen in mid-week Dublin. It reminded me of just three years ago, when as a student I had always been out on a Thursday evening, as well as the entire weekend.

A full-time student with a full-time job living at home rent-free afforded me that lifestyle. Now my luck has changed, less money with rent to pay in Ranelagh, my 20s seem to be going in reverse!

While it’s great to see a bar pull such a crowd on a week night, other bars are not so lucky and I was sad to learn recently that one of my favourites had closed. The Coast Inn in Skerries, Co Dublin, was the first pub I ever set foot in: as a child we were brought on many a Sunday afternoon for bacon fries and splash coke over crushed ice – a novelty in Fingal of 20 years ago.

It was also the first place I drank as an adult and the first place a guy ever took me for a drink. It was also the scene of many nights out in the years that followed – most notably the legendary Christmas Eve crowds that saw the whole town sneak out for a pint before Santy.

Unfortunately small town pubs have to battle for commuters who are city-bound mid-week and even cheap drinks make it a struggle to survive.
It does seem to be working on Harcourt Street though, with the suits and pencil skirts downing shots all around me. There were a lot of hangovers in town last Friday.
For once I was happy I didn’t have to be up early!