Monthly Archives: June 2012

strange yet satisfying

Not quite what Simba said in the The Lion King but close enough!  

weird organic goodies!

They were running “Buy One Get One Half Price” at my local Holland & Barrett, so I ended up buying more than intended…

  1. Organic Fairtrade Quinoa
    Pronounced “Keen-wah” and not my favouritest word (I’m used to saying “quin-no-ah” in my head and there are just words in the English language I’d rather not say because they sound a little poncy; ie. pilates, goujons, etc.)  But why purchase quinoa now of all times?  Well, I was reading quinoa recipes on handmadebytracie, and having tried it never, asked Tracie “What does quinoa taste like?” and she gave me some great information on what quinoa is and where I could possibly find it.

    Apparently quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and a wonderful source of protein if you’re strictly vegetarian.  When cooked, it looks like a cross between rice and couscous, and goes well with anything where you might have eaten rice and/or potatoes.  Also, what a lot of websites don’t seem to observe is the fact that quinoa looks a bit ‘creepy’.  Obviously they don’t want to tell you this when they’re trying to promote an expensive yet healthier alternative to meat, but those were my thoughts when I first saw those shoots popping out of the seed (baby snails… ha!)

    sweet red peppers, homemade onion bhajis & quinoa

    And the boyfriend actually liked quinoa as well!  It’s amazing what the Irish haven’t eaten (bwuh-hahaha!)  Unfortunately, despite my appreciation for this unusual superfood, I won’t be eating some for a while since I accidentally ate some quinoa past the storage date, resulting in a mild case of food poisoning.  (Argh!)  So learn from my mistake: quinoa should be refridgerated once cooled and stored up to 2 days in the fridge!

  2. Profusion’s “Himalayan Rose Pink Crystal Salt (Fine)”
    Pink salt, everyone!  I’ve never seen such a thing before and had to test it out!  The store assistant said it would taste the same as ordinary salt (and it does), but I like my food adventures all the same!  Very nice ingredient.
  3. Simon Rimmer’s “Onion Bhaji Mix”
    Bought this to cut down on the onions I overstocked on at the weekend (should really check what I do and do not have in the kitchen!)  An easy recipe for homemade bhaji and best made after cooling the mixture in the fridge (2 hours) as the bhaji ends up firmer and crisper.  If you like bhaji with more spice, tweak the ingredients as the mixture is made for the British palate so tastes a little bland compared to your restaurant or takeaway bhaji.
  4. Bragg’s Originals “Charcoal Biscuits”

    mmm, cowpats!

    Yes, biscuits made from charcoal!  Good for your digestion, it says, and not at all weird.  Tried some with mature Irish cheddar and they taste really nice!  The biscuits are slightly sweet, crumble nicely when bitten, and make your mouth look like a dentist’s dream (depending on the dentist).

peter jensen “heart” shoes

Not part of my food adventures but worth a mention all the same are these unique little shoes by Peter Jensen.  Came across them late on ASOS.com – what a shame!  I hope they release them again someday.

And hoping to join the gym this week, my dears, so I can finally do some swimming as being ill for the past few days has made me reassess my life and how important it is to be physically fit when working the Night Shift.  Swimming might even help me get past knitter’s and writer’s block, which happen a lot, and often, leaving me little to do with the time I have not watching football or sleeping.  Cross your fingers for me: I’ll get through this!  I like to knit and write!!

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the alberry case

I was idly checking my almanac and noticed how rarely I post on a Monday.  No issues at all with Mondays; don’t mean to avoid it by any means.  Just that Sunday night on the Night Shift is particularly hard and you’ll seldom find me awake with anything useful to say.

pom juice & garlic

Perhaps some pom juice will see me right?  What about some garlic?  I read somewhere that pom juice is meant to reduce stress and garlic cloves are meant to be good for your… eyes?  Skin?  Your hair??  Won’t cheat and Google but garlic is good for you and they’re really great buddies with olives and gerkins!

Looking at the jar, you probably think I’m eating them raw but assure you I’m not.  They’re pickled, my dears, and come soaked in brine.  When you eat them, they’re crunchy and pleasant and don’t taste like garlic at all.  It’s difficult to say what this garlic actually tastes like… it’s quite nice, believe me!

As for the pom juice… let’s just say I didn’t go crazy and buy another carton.  It’s drinkable.  It has a similar dryness to cranberry, though slightly sweeter, more sour, and far more bearable raw, straight from the fruit.  Instead of relieving stress I’m finding this juice stressful… why is it awful?  I thought it would taste nice!  Ah well, my juice adventure is over.  Pom juice isn’t great 😦

While watching France Vs. England match, I finally made my Blackberry case:

front view

bird’s eye view

rear view

I named this “The Alberry Case” as “The Owl Berry Case” didn’t look right.  Knitting with double-pointed needles was easier than I thought, and though the needle size was bigger than I would have preferred (4.5mm not 3.25mm), the owl turned out nice and the stitching even.

As I didn’t understand how knitting in the round worked with double-pointed needles, I had to set aside my own pattern for the owl and work with the one designed by Jammymummy.  Our Blackberry cases are similar but I tweaked the pattern to have a thinner stockinette along the bottom and created a handle like the one I saw by Slouchypouches.  The handle was very crude as I don’t know how to crochet; I merely watched videos over and over on YouTube where they were crocheting handles!  Having said that, it still does the trick and I’m satisfied with the outcome.  I would have liked a ‘fluffier’ yarn as the case doesn’t look quite the way I imagined.  At the moment it looks too clean and minimalistic – kind of like IKEA?

In making the Alberry case I discovered the difference between knitting straight and knitting double: with the former, you have a wrong and a right side and you have to flip the work around to build up a pattern; with the latter, there isn’t a knit to match your purl, you just alternate between them until the pattern is built.  Hmm!  I’ll have to revisit my efforts.

a work in progress


english vs. gaeilge

flapjacks made today

I was thinking about my time in Ireland so far and wonder if I’ve changed after more than a year and a half.  Since living overseas has changed me before, I suppose I must have changed here as well.

Let me run through some of the lingo I’ve learnt!  Unknown to the English, there are many words in their language which have gone AWOL in Ireland, and not because the Irish have rejected them.  Before the English came and transformed the Emerald Isle, the Irish had their own language and culture, with terms from those times slipping their way to the present and confounding many a foreigner, including the English!  At first, it was easy to exchange one word for another and to understand in context what that word was referring to.  However, if I didn’t ask (and often, I didn’t), I could spend a whole conversation completely out of the loop, only “copping on”, as they say, at the very last minute and thus appearing a tool to the Irish having gas.

Here are some words that formerly puzzled me:

  • the Gardaí (Irish police)
  • craic (fun; amusement)
  • yoke (thing; object you’re referring to)
  • your one; your man (that person; him or her over there)
  • banjaxed (broken; busted; low quality)
  • cakehole (mouth)
  • culchie (country bumpkin)
  • runners (trainers; sneakers)
  • gas (amusing or funny moment)
  • bold (naughty but not in a sexual sense!)
  • k*****r (derogatory term for a person)
  • deadly (really good; very cool)
  • gimp (derogatory term for a young male)

Facile, one might think, exchanging one term for another, but not so much when it comes to entire sentences.  If you came to Ireland for the first time, not having heard much Irish English, would you know what somebody means when they say to you “pass us that yoke” or “your one over there” without once denoting the subject?  Instinctively knowing which object or person the Irish are referring to is still somewhat of a mystery, and for a time, there were phrases I just couldn’t fathom from context alone.  So let me outline them before they “wreck your head”!

  • “What’s the story?” / “What’s the craic?”
    Basically “What’s going on?” or “What are you up to?” and sometimes used as a greeting.  Usage varies from person to person but I tend to say this as an alternative to “What the hell do you want?” when someone is asking a favour.
  • “Don’t be talking to me”
    I picked this up from someone at work who’s a proper Dubliner, and when he says this phrase, he doesn’t mean to stop talking to him literally; it’s just another way of saying “Tell me about it” when someone’s fed up.
  • “Come here to me”
    Again, not in the literal sense.  It means the person is about to start a new subject, sometimes of a gossipy nature, and they say it to prepare you for what is to come, which is usually, for someone new to Irish, relief after sudden confusion.
  • “Ah, sure!”
    A versatile phrase to communicate indifference or agreement.  Kind of like the British “Typical!”, though in a quieter, less peevish sense, and nearly “Shikata ga nai”, the Japanese for “It can’t be helped”.
  • “Cop on, will ya!”
    Or more commonly: “cop the f**k on”.  It’s the Irish way of saying that somebody needs to sort themselves out, get with the program or find themselves the common sense to understand an issue.
  • “Just for the craic”
    “For fun”, that sort of thing.  The Irish are up for anything craic or remotely craic and they like other people to be up for craic too.  If they invite you out, they remind you that it’s “just for the craic”, in case you might think the invitation could be for anything not craic-related.
  • “Giving out to someone”
    The equivalent of “having a go at someone”, which is to criticise or scold them for something they’ve done.
  • “Ripping the piss out of someone”
    I’ve used this one before in a previous post and it means “to take the piss out of someone”, usually in a sporting way.
  • “It’ll be grand” / “No bother” / “Not at all”
    In other words, “it’ll be fine” or  “It doesn’t trouble me”.  I don’t say this much, probably because I’m a cynical Brit, but hey!  The Irish say it all the time and have better things to worry about.
  • “I’m wrecked”
    A key phrase for anyone on the Night Shift.  Another way of saying you’re tired or haven’t slept or have had such a wonderful time that you don’t have energy for much else.
  •  “You’re wrecking me head!”
    Same as “You’re doing my head in!” and also used to shut someone up or complain that someone is giving them a hard time.

You know that word further up only in ***?  Well, that word (I recently discovered) is actually an insult and not just a casual word for a “townie” or “chav”.  There are few things in this world which will get the Irish goat, but people they describe as “k*****rs” happen to be one of them.  I once read this word in the Metro Herald and asked my boyfriend why they censored it and he explained to me how “k*****r” is a really serious insult, not only because it has connotations derisive to a traveller (the nomadic community here in Ireland) but also there are just some terms so bad that they cannot be typed in English.  So there you go.  Be careful with that!

“ah, sure!”



knitter’s block

Meant to write this post yesterday but couldn’t keep myself awake to finish it off.  That sunny weather I was talking about last week?  No longer here.  Wet and windy Friday has come, and with it, some laziness affecting my plans for the weekend.

With the Euro Championships underway, I’m tempted to simply put up my feet and watch it unfold or finally work on one of my stories.  I’m reaching this point, I think, where obsessing over an interest is actually wearing me out and making me wish I could do something else…   Is there such a thing as “Knitter’s Block”?  Can knitting too much bring this weariness on?  I really hope so.  I don’t want it seem like I’m just giving up…

To distract myself, I spent sometime on Etsy in search of a knitting bag.  Alas, I found other things…

yarn ball stamp by hoffeeandanuffin

love to knit necklace by fiore jewellery

very hungry caterpillar knitting needles by dotdotsmile

mushrooms & dolls needle organizer by elsie geneva

interior of elsie geneva case

Apart from the knitting case above, I would also love to own this coat by French designer Malam.  They have a line with goblin-shaped hoods, flared sleeves, and military trims that would set me back a staggering €340.00.

baroque chevron tweed coat by malam

Not on my shopping list, though the perfect alternative to buttonholes and zippers, is this nice, cosy phone case designed by Slouchypouches:

cable cellphone pouch

It astounds me that I never thought of this feature before!  (Knitting is really a form of engineering!)  Haven’t crocheted since my younger years but it can’t be harder than knitting with double-pointed needles – the kind I actually need for my Blackberry case.  Can’t believe I didn’t check this… I already own some double-pointed needles!!  Oh well, it’s what I get for being too excited, I guess, and trying to knit on my own without expert intervention.

retail therapy

Here’s what I bought from my favourite yarn store prior to all the drama:

  1. Clover Darning Needle Set “Chibi” 
    Just for the case that will stop me losing my needles!
  2. Clover Point Protectors  (small)
    Need these now I have needles less than 4.5 mm.

    1 & 2

  3. Debbie Bliss Cotton DK
    Really love this yarn so bought another in “Stone” for my Blackberry case.  I like how durable the cotton is compared to plain wool, as well as the fact it won’t bobble that much (or pill!)
  4. KnitPro Cable 60 cm
    Recommended by the store assistant.  My experience with circular needles is nil (don’t we know!) and she said 60 cm should be fine for something like a cowl, so hopefully I can make one without any sewing involved as I never did like a visible seam!
  5. KnitPro “Symfonie” Circular Needles 3.25 mm
    My preferred needle size for Debbie Bliss Cotton DK and probably a good size all around for someone who knits with tightly held yarn, something I really can’t help since I grip my pens the same way!

4 & 5

So what am I doing now, if it isn’t knitting?  Probably watching the Euros whilst wondering if footy fans will also need one of these…

ha!


what i know of the night shift

I was reading the latest post on A Big Life and felt inspired to write my own “What I Know About [Something]”, so here are some of the things I know about the Night Shift…

  1. Your social life is over.
  2. Or rather, you think it is, based on the folks up and about in their glad rags, regardless of the fact it’s not even Wednesday.
  3. Sleep replaces the weather in general small-talk.  You’ll talk about sleep and how little you’ve had since the last time you said so.
  4. If someone has had the same sleep, it’s perfectly fine to cackle and cheer like you’ve both saved the world from an asteroid impact.
  5. And if someone has slept far too well, you won’t hate them, no.  They’ll end up doing more work without really meaning to!
  6. But if someone hasn’t slept at all, treat them like a time-bomb or take the piss out of them constantly to help them stay awake.
  7. Staying awake is a feat that should never go unnoticed.
  8. You can handle more than one timezone and refer to no less than four clocks at a time.
  9. Woe betide those who leave their day shit on your desk.  Biscuits will be eaten and pens will be robbed – something you’ll deny when they ask you in the morning.
  10. Should the company ‘forget’ to restock coffee, tea or any caffeinated drinks, you’ll rant with the kind of rage only witnessed in a traffic jam.
  11. You’ll also do the same when there isn’t any milk.
  12. Whatever happens on the Night Shift, stays on the Night Shift.  It’s meant to be a mystery that the Day Shift cannot solve.
  13. Sometimes the Day Shift has to suffer so you act extra cheerful as you’re leaving the office, throwing them a wave or loudly declaring the weekend before they’ve had the chance to log on.
  14. Strangely, this can have the opposite effect.
  15. Socials from the Day Shift are considered with reluctance: you think they haven’t a clue what it’s like to work on the Night Shift.
  16. In fact, you don’t think anyone does!
  17. On the Night Shift you break many vows: no more microwave meals, exercise more at the gym, sleep when you get home, etc.
  18. Laughing at random is totally normal.
  19. “Smart casual” on the Night Shift means you’re attending an interview straight after work, low on morale or playing “fancy dress”.
  20. Should you store any food in the company fridge, you expect it to be there the following night (or else).
  21. You know an early house within walking distance of the office.
  22. The Day Shift complains they’re always broke while the Night Shift complains they can’t spend their money.
  23. Watching a film at the cinema isn’t weird in the morning, though you wonder why single middle-aged men always seem to be doing it?
  24. If a customer demands to speak to your manager, you solemnly tell them there isn’t anyone here…  
  25. Really, there isn’t!
  26. You’re stuck with daytime TV, and the sad thing is, you’re actually employed.
  27. Meeting up for lunch is sincerely a generous offer.  More so mid-week.
  28. Unlike the Day Shift, people argue less when they’re working on the Night Shift.  They’re just too sleepy…
  29. Without a sense of humour, you may cease to exist.
  30. Because the Day Shift don’t understand why people would even do the Night Shift, they treat you with respect that borders on thinly veiled fear.
  31. A meeting “first thing” is greeted with hostility.  To someone on the Night Shift, it means just before they’re due to go home!
  32. Wearing a coat on a damp, chilly evening will only result in a hot, sunny dawn and vice-versa.
  33. In the morning, the Day Shift squints from lack of sleep; the Night Shift does the same because it’s too bright.
  34. That promise you made last year is still a promise you made last year.
  35. And your main source of news is Google or Metro.
  36. If you don’t have panda eyes, you’re somehow cheating.
  37. You start online shopping and rarely visit a shop, which doesn’t count if you’re buying lunch before work at a convenience store or takeaway.
  38. When you get on public transport, you realise for the first time what miserable bastards the Day Shift actually are.
  39. If someone starts a fight or even thinks to argue with you straight after the Night Shift, you’re sure to take ’em on!  After all, they’ve only woken up while you’ve been conscious all day!!
  40. On the Night Shift, errands get done in one go or they never get done full stop.
  41. You soon lose track of what day it is in what timezone and can’t remember how you used to achieve this when calling overseas friends on Skype.
  42. Night Shift wages are better but you sometimes wonder if obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are all worth it.
  43. On the Night Shift, sleep deprivation is treated the same as a full-on hangover.
  44. What you eat says a lot about what you can buy before you reach the office.  How you eat it?  Not so much.
  45. You like telling customers what time it is where you’re working.
  46. Nights out with the Night Shift never seem to happen.  It’s either an early house or buffet breakfast and you’ve already done both.
  47. Being on the Night Shift is like being a superhero.
  48. The temptation to bring in a blanket, pillow and/or sleeping bag is occasionally strong.
  49. Management like to think you’re doing a great job on the Night Shift, if only to avoid having to do it themselves or even pay you a visit.
  50. It’s okay to diss the Night Shift but not in front of the Day Shift.
  51. And if the Day Shift asks how you manage to work those ‘crazy’ hours, you tap the side of your nose, as if it’s a secret.
  52. Booking annual leave is a regular maths problem.
  53. You find that people on the Night Shift are ‘special’ and more accepting than those on the Day Shift.
  54. You sort of don’t like the Day Shift.
  55. The Day Shift often leave the canteen in a mess when you’re expected to keep it clean.
  56. After working most of the night without the Day Shift around, their sudden appearance at 7.30am makes you uneasy.
  57. And quite offended when they switch off your music without even asking!
  58. As a writer in my spare time, I find having Writer’s Block is preferable to actually writing on the Night Shift.  You’re either too tired to write or you keep reading what you’ve written over and over.
  59. When you bring a playlist in for the Night Shift, you feel incredibly nervous, afraid that no one will like it.
  60. You’re not a doctor on the Night Shift and you’re thankful, though it doesn’t hurt to wish you could do CSI.
  61. And how do you know when you’re over the “culture shock” of living on the Night Shift?
  62. …when you’re still bloody on it!

owls and bananas!

Not sure why but the population of owl patterns available online is not very big.  All I want is the ability to knit an owl on  something flat like a scarf, except knitting one in the round appears to be the done thing these days and narrows down my chances of finding relevant search results.  A timely kick up the arse, no doubt!  I keep saying to myself all the time that I’ll learn how to knit in the round without ever really starting (don’t even have the needles, love!!)  Any road, I came across this blog where a knitter has kindly shared the pattern I need on their “Owl Washie”, which I slightly altered to suit my own purposes.

too-wit…

**OWL STITCH**

cast on 16 sts

definitions for “c4b” & “c4f”

k2, p2, slip 2 sts onto cable needle & hold to back of work, k2, k2 on cable needle

slip 2 st on cable needle & hold in front of work, k2, k2 off cable needle, p2, k2

* * *

1.) k4, p8, k4
2.) p4, c4b, c4f, p4
3.) k4, p8, k4
4. ) p4, k8, p4
5.) k4, p8, k4
6.) p4, k8, p4
7.) k4, p8, k4
8.) p4, k8, p4
9.) k4, p8, k4
10.) p4, k8, p4
11.) k4, p8, k4
12.) p4, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p4
13.) k4, p1, k2, p2, k2, p1, k4
14.) p4, k8, p4
15.) k4, p8, k4
16.) p4, c4b, c4f, p4
17.) k4, p8, k4

* * * 

…too-whoo!

Still have that cotton yarn from knitting the Emilia Kindle Case so planning to put the rest towards an owl-patterned Blackberry cover once I learn how to knit in the round…

So what else have I been up to on a typically soggy weekend?

my very own damp tray!

 Here’s my first ever damp tray, purchased from the Irish equivalent of Poundland, a UK discount store which has somehow found its way to Ireland.  With summer now rearing its hot and ugly head, it’s time for some products to help get rid of the heat and I bought this little item with the hopes of banishing damp from the muggy air around us!  I own two in lemon and lavender and keep them near the windows of the lounge and bedroom.  So far, nothing seems to be happening.  Instructions state the white crystals inside should last up to 6 weeks and should only be replaced once the crystals turn to gel.  If the Japanese use this produce without any problems then the damp tray is fine with me!

traffic light peppers… mmm!

Roasting bell peppers again, bwuh hahaha!! I really do think that it’s best to drizzle them with a bit of olive oil (or any oil of your choice!) as it stops the skins from getting too burnt and also adds to the bell pepper juices that leak out in the oven.  I’m making these for a salad I’ll going to eat for work.  One recipe said that capers would do the trick and so I have bought some to go with my peppers!  Mmm… tuna, capers, olives, gerkin, and roast pepper salad!

But what’s this…?

ew… pepper squid!

“ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring…”

“…BANANA LOAF!”  (God, I love that song.)  Work recently held a charity bake sale, and being on the Night Shift, any mention of bake sales or any events organised by the social club is akin to a death note from the Grim Reaper.  You’re like, “Really?  A charity bake sale?  Oh, um… sure!  Guess I could bake those souls an apple pie or something… hahaha…”  Yeah.  It doesn’t get done.  You just flick out the Night Shift card and guiltlessly consume what was made by the truly altruistic members of the company.  (“Guiltlessly” isn’t even a word; look how guiltless I am!!)  But this weekend was soggy and my fellow Night Stalkers may well be feeling depressed at the lack of joy to be had on a dark and rainy evening…

Whilst browsing through some patterns for a straight-forward owl, I stumbled on a wonderful designer by the name of Kate Davies, a Scottish lady who has created two of my have-to-knit items:

(get off my) cloud by kate davies

Kate says the hoodie was inspired by the weather icon formerly used by BBC Weather to mark a cloudy day and the title refers to a song by the Rolling Stones as well.  Really want to make that hoodie one day!

o w l s by kate davies

And I’m loving her purple owl jumper!  With two of my favourite things combined into one, I’ll be sure to knit my own in the very near future!


fancy nancy!

woe is me!

Lament the fact that I’m joking!  No way did I switch to Timeline – never shall, I tell you, NEVER!!  And no way will this post even mention my interest in knitting!  (Although I’ll get to that soon; it can’t be helped!)

very 21st century!

Let’s begin with my phone.  After many months of biding my time, waiting for that moment when my residency would pass more than a year here in Ireland, I finally went to O2 on O’Connell Street and purchased a Blackberry 9360 (purple).  Getting a new phone has been a long time coming for me and a fond point of reference in any conversation related to mobiles.  I’m surprisingly old-fashioned when it comes to technology.  I go by the motto “if it hasn’t broken then it doesn’t need replacing” and my conscience prickles with guilt whenever I feel tempted to replace my possessions.  I won’t show you what my old mobile looks now (too embarrassing!), but it’s a Motorola Motorokr U9 (purple) from the flip-phone generation, displaying clocks, screensavers, and music playlists on its front, which they say should act like a primitive touchscreen, though I can’t say it reliably did.

reconstruction of scuffed/battered mobile

While the phone still works, the “stickiness” of the buttons hugely annoys me.  You press the keypad then nothing happens, only to press it numerous times, causing it to (justifiably?) crash or type a million vowels in the middle of a text.  I wanted a new phone that didn’t do these stupid things, but even though I did, the idea of owning a smartphone wasn’t sitting well in my 2oth Century mind.  In this mind merely two decades old lay resistance to the gimmicky nature of the 21st Century smartphone.  Mobiles are meant to be more orgasmic than ever before, people keep telling me, thanks to their ability to constantly touch every little inch of it.  Ho ho!  Newsflash: we’ve always been able to ‘touch’ our phones!  So why are smartphones meant to be different?  Aside from giving teens that infuriating ambition to play their crap on the bus/Dart/Luas, what about smartphones is meant to be special?

Well, I guess it’s the convenience of finding out where you are without looking like a tourist in a city you’re meant to know like the back of your hand.  Call me a hermit, but the Night Shift (and human complacency) restricts my interest in overall travel.  I’ve begun to learn street names just recently from gazing out of the window whilst riding the bus or having to read and view maps carried by tourists.  To be Irish, or just a Dubliner, you have to know where you’re going, and if the person you’re trying to help doesn’t know a single street name then it doesn’t really matter if you give them accurate directions!

Another pro is having the internet for those last-minute queries or simply to help you out in a rare and tight fix.  For instance, I was shopping around for a Kindle last month and had to do all my research online before I left the apartment.  Had I owned a smartphone I could have easily done my research via free wi-fi on the bus and known which store to purchase all the items on my shopping list.  And if you’re stuck in the back end of nowhere with no credit or an inkling as to where the hell you are?  Why not use Google Maps to gain your immediate bearings or Facebook your friends with an urgent SOS?  With a standard flip-phone, I don’t think I could have managed any of that and so I was galvanised to make that important purchase.

The O2 rep was actually a Brit who has lived in Ireland for the past 6 years and frequently returns to his hometown, London.  I knew he was a Southerner from the moment he opened his mouth, and the more affluent type, from his general demeanour (it’s a Brit thing).  My decision to purchase a smartphone was probably cinched by our shared nationality and the fact that I hadn’t met a fellow Brit in goodness knows how many months.  From his sales pitch and small talk, I learnt a summary of his life from 18 upwards.  He studied in Australia then came back to England with the travelling bug and somehow landed in Ireland and stayed there.  He seemed pretty interesting and didn’t seem insensitive like so many sales folk I’ve met in the past, even cushioning the potential sting of having the piss ripped out of my phone by one of his more arrogant colleagues (I took the matter in good faith, mind you, but there’s a time and place for ripping the piss out of people, right!)  Anyway, the Blackberry’s good so far and I’m eating up battery life playing “Word Mole” and checking my emails 🙂

I’m also eating up mileage with my newly purchased bike.  Second-hand but the perfect size for a city apartment and better than forking out for something brand new then not ever using it!

at home in the kitchen!

It’ll need a good clean, I’ll admit, and perhaps some extra accessories such as rearview mirrors and a bike lock, but it’s all good to go and it’s all of it mine!  Bwuh hahaha!!  But I’m still scared of roads without any bike lanes 😦

So what else have I been buying with my night-time cash…?  

fancy nancy…

…maths paper!

super chunky yarn!

peppers for roast pepper salad!

Okay, so you can’t really see any peppers in the picture above, but roasting peppers I have in my electric fan oven!  Haven’t a clue if you’re meant to drizzle raw peppers with olive oil before you bung them in or if it’s even a crime to eat them with their softly charred skins on, but they taste sweet and strong in that delicate way that persuades a non-salad eater to keep eating salad.  (Boyfriend’s eating salad now with the help of home-made wedges and roasted peppers!  Genius!!  I’m bending him to my will…)

* * *

If you want a go at roasting peppers yourself:

  1. Cover a baking tray with foil
  2. Wash some bell peppers (or even paprika!)
  3. De-stalk and de-seed
  4. Slice in half and squash flat on chopping board
  5. Pop in the oven!

Optional: drench your peppers in oil and season a little with salt (just salt; not poncy coarse sea salt!)

* * *

As for what I have planned for my pad of maths paper and super chunky yarn?

To be continued…!