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!