It’s no longer scrimping when it’s scraping…

Superscrimpers

I’m all on for saving money and getting good value. My friends know me for being frugal which can sometimes border on tight, but even I wouldn’t sink to the depths of some of the ‘scrimpers’ on Superscrimpers.

A few series ago I used to enjoy it. There were beauty treatments that only required the raiding of a cupboard and cleaning tips that meant you didn’t have to spend a fortune on branded limescale remover or pass out under the toxic fumes of Mr Muscle oven cleaner. But now they have just lost it.

Last week it was make your own chutney. Fair enough it looked nice and it was using fruit that would otherwise have been thrown out, but the ingredients needed to make it taste good cost more than buying a buying a jar of it from Tesco. Star anise and cinnamon sticks are not spices that are just languishing around your spice rack (at least they are not in my house). After chucking all these ingredients in to spice up the humble apple, she then proceeded to explain how it needed to be left to cook for an hour. An hour to make some spicy apple paste? I mean, who has the time?

Sewing machine

Now I don’t have a sewing bone in my body. My attempts to knit scarves have ended up with long pieces of wool that would be more at home on the back of a pantomime donkey. Plus there are always so many holes in these attempts that even a homeless person in the height of winter would throw it back in my face. So I admire these ‘scrimpers’ with their sewing machines that can transform something pretty crap into something wearable.

That is until a picture frame was brought out. She held it up to the camera and proclaimed how it shouldn’t be wasted and a few simple steps would transform this useless item into something amazing. So I watched as she took a piece of material and wrapped it around the frame. Was this some sort of new felt art or a modern art movement I had missed that didn’t require vinegar? She wrapped and then stapled. Rubbing it proudly she attached something to it and held it up to the screen.

“Now there you have it, your own customised earring holder.”

I’m sorry…what? I mean who the hell needs an earring holder? Is there some unknown crisis in the jewellery world where earrings are regularly bent or broken due to the lack of an earring holder? Are ears crying out for this measure and we just don’t know about it? I don’t even know what the next segment was, as my mind was still trying to figure out how and why this poor picture frame had been subjected to this sorry role. I know it doesn’t have actual feelings, but how would you feel if someone stapled a blanket to you and hung feathers and metal off you for eternity? It’s just wrong.

Last night there was how to dress your table for a party. Now I don’t know about you, but if they manage to get cutlery I’m doing well. But this ‘scrimper’ seemed to think this was something a huge proportion of the population are or at least should be doing. All that was needed to achieve this cost-free creation were cotton reels and some wire. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I have ever managed to get to the end of a reel in my life so have no idea what kind of things she’s sewing to achieve this. Perhaps questions should be asked in case she is in the midst of a Silence of the Lambs-like project.

Anyway after folding and winding the wire it was threaded through the middle of the reel and then a piece of paper with a name was stuck into it. This creation just seems to be etiquette gone mad and despite it looking pretty I don’t think I’d like to go over to a friend’s house for some dinner and be told where to sit. I’m not at a wedding after all. If that’s not a control-freak in action I don’t know what is.

Lemons

But the thing that amuses and annoys me is not being able to get through an episode without a lemon appearing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wheel being fixed, somewhere in the background a lemon will appear. It’s the God for all scrimpers, the Achilles heel if you like. If they are not within inches of a lemon at all times then its game over and they turn into insane overspenders that blow all their savings on a timeshare on Mars. Not only are the obsessed with the lemon, but also the gauze that it comes in which has been lauded as a replacement scourer. Seriously guys it’s a scourer. I’ll lend you the 8o cent for a whole pack of them  in Lidl.

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Vending machines are evolving and that’s no eggs-aggeration…

This week the world seems to have gone mad. Between a spate of toddler rapes in India alongside a convicted murderer, who then went through another trial only to be released, and has now ‘written’ a tell-all autobiography, the earth seems to have been turned upside down and shaken like a snow globe.

Perhaps I am just getting older or more jaded, but this week I am deciding to opt out of the horror and instead focus on the whimsical. In this instance  – an egg vending machine. You heard me right, across Ireland there are machines popping up, touting eggs with the frequency of Jedward in pantos.

Egg vending machine and hen

Seeing that vending machines have traditionally been used to sell over-priced Haribos and bottles of water, I wonder how someone made the leap to the humble but delicious egg. Was there a meeting at a farmers mart or a conference at a coop that brought this idea to the fore? Was there a conversation between a vendor salesman/woman and a farmer that went like this:

“You ever thought of trying to sell them in trays?”

“They are sold in trays.”

“Yeah, but I mean in a vending machine. Put a reasonable price on them, place them outside supermarkets and petrol stations and see what happens.”

Pause for a chew on a long piece of straw (because that’s what all farmers do don’t they?)

“So it would be a tray within a tray?”

“Exactly, 30 eggs on a tray delivered from a tray. It’s like slots of heaven for protein lovers.”

So the first one started and then it seems to have caught on; a virus for the egg world. Although saying that I have never seen one and am now going to go on a  hunt across Dublin to find one. It will be an egg hunt of a different kind without the bunnies and chocolate.

Egg vending machine

This strange new relationship between eggs and vending machines has got my mind a whirring – what other unlikely things should you ‘in a universe of anything is possible’ be able to find in a vending machine? These are my top 8:

1) Babies – Do all women really need to go through the pregnancy thing? Can fertile women not not have as many babies as they want and then put them up for sale? I mean its straight forward and transparent. They could come with certificates like the Cabbage Patch dolls did years ago with a brief synopsis of their interests such as badminton or caber tossing. I mean really its only the end result of  an egg so it has be be alright, right?

2) Drugs – I’m not talking the stick it in your arm and then remove yourself from the world type, but the milder more sedative type. Prescription drugs should also be in on that. No more disapproving looks from the chemist when all you want is a Neurofen to stop your tooth from shooting out of your mouth like a rocket. No more forced responses of “No I am not operating any heavy machinery this evening”. Marijuana would probably be the most popular choice and like the coffee shops in Amsterdam, you can choose the strength and get them already rolled in a spliff that rivals the Spire.

Marijuana

3) A Pedicure – When your feet are just aching from trekking around the place or a night out trying to walk in heels that “really don’t hurt” there is a machine with a pull out stool that you can stick you tired feet into. I don’t care if it’s fish down there, a pair of unknown hands or puppies caught out in a violent lick, I want it.

4) Politicians – As part of their contract, politicians should be obliged to spend one day a month in a vending machine. Based on a voting system some may be in there every month and others barely once a year. People should be able to pay for questions that are posed via a speaker and any political speak response will be punished with a sharp electric shock that makes the machine shudder. If that’s not democracy in action I don’t know what is.

Cartoon politician

5a) Falafels – for no other reason then I love them and would like to have access to the fabulous chickpea balls at all hours of the day. Along with the salad and garlic sauce of course.

5b) In line with the food idea the ingredients to a full Irish fry up in one handy pack would go a long way to making my mornings a veritable wonder.

5c) A picnic basket for those days when you just want to laze in the park and take in the sun. It should consist of deli products alongside a nice bottle of wine, blanket and all the necessary picnic utensils. A fly swatter could also be included for those time when midgies just won’t quit.

6)  Umbrellas – When you live in a country that only knows how to rain, a machine that spits out umbrellas would be a life saver. I cannot count how many umbrellas I have either lost, left on public transport or thrown into a bin in anger after a gust of wind turned the damn thing inside out. You can never have too many umbrellas.

7) Dinosaurs – Yes I know they are extinct, but how cool would it be to have a T-Rex displayed in a vending machine? His small hands waving and huge array of teeth gnashing. Of course I don’t actually know of any metal, plastic, glass or element known to man that could actually contain a dinosaur, but it’s still on my list.

T-Rex image

8)  Robots – this has be robots that do things, like a perfect replica of you that goes to work or to a meeting you really don’t have the energy or motivation to go to. Or ones that run around the house like fast electric turtles and clean while you put your feet up and watch TV.

There are probably many more, but I fear I am being driven to a silly place so will stop there. Now, off to find those wretched but intriguing machines that sell eggs.

10 things you should be allowed do in public

10 things you should be allowed do in public

I am loving this new viral that’s going around showing people dancing in public as if they were in a nightclub or in their front living room. Some of them are being coy, a waggle of the hips or stolen punch in the air and then there are those who want to be seen, share their erratic sways and lunges to the world and don’t really care what people think. They could be mad, possible escapees from the nearest mental home, but hopefully they just have thrown off the shackles of society’s unsaid rules and are doing what they want to do, when they want to do it.

Dance like nobody's watching

I for one am too aware of the people around me and what they might think. I am a wound up ball of decorum and awareness that even a lion would have trouble unravelling with a few paw swipes. So to celebrate them and their brave maddery I decided to list (and I do like the odd list) ten things that we should be able to do in public without shame or repercussion.

1)      Wear pyjamas to work – This would be luxury. Imagine sitting at your desk warm and snug in flannelette pj’s? No more tights, skirts/dresses that ride up or trousers that are just getting too intimate. Instead you could be there working away with a cup of tea and slippers. I concur that this may not be great for some jobs such as a fireman (due to the flammability) or a policeman (due to the fact they would be laughed out of the place), but if we all get on board pyjamas would be normalised and nobody would blink an eye.

2)      Use all the rides in the playground (as an adult) – I have done it, but only at night when all the kids have gone home. Why is it when you reach a certain age having fun on a horse that throws you back and forth is no longer allowed? Slides and seesaws are devices created for fun. They shoot you to the ground and launch you into the air for God’s sake, what isn’t there to like? Adults should be allowed to have a go on a merry-go-round on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Kids or no kids.

Slide

3)      Eat dinner with your hands – What’s all this knife and fork thing about? If it’s good enough for people in India to eat with their hands then, it’s good enough for me. I’m not talking about laying into a three course meal like a polar bear, but utensils can be annoying and clink a lot. I think there is a niche in the restaurant market that is severely lacking  – a hand only buffet with free bibs. Who’s with me?

4)      Hopscotch across cobblestones – All cobblestone areas (and Dublin has a lot of them) should be marked hopscotch only zones. Large blocks and numbers should be drawn across them with a Frisbee as the marker. Failing to do would result in a punishment such as having to rub your stomach and head at the same time for two minutes.

5)      Pole dance – Similar to the hopscotch zone there should be a pole dancing zone, preferably near water or docks so the wind helps swinging. Clothes should be greatly encouraged. In the snow they can be used to string a web of Christmas lights.

pole

6)      Pick your nose – I know it’s gross, but people do it. I have seen them trying to cover it up with a cupped hand or tissue, but we all know what’s going on under there. I’m not saying we should suddenly all embrace our noses and poke around in them while at a meeting or interview or start dining on it like whelks at the seaside, but it’s just green goo, your green goo.

7)      Have outbursts – Whether that be a quick joyful squeal or irritated grunt, venting is okay, healthy even. Violent outbursts I am not for and should be restrained with handcuffs or a whack to the head with something heavy but soft.

8)      Walk away – By this I mean if you are dying of boredom in a conversation or just having to put up with someone being offensive or letchy you shouldn’t have to stay and be polite. Leave that person there like a fish seeking water, let their mouths flap to themselves. Perhaps your move would make them revert to point 7 and get it over with. JUST. WALK. AWAY.

Bus

9)      Throw an item out the window that takes up a seat  – This is a personal annoyance. People that put all their bags onto a seat as if it needs one. Unless there is a child in it or an ill puppy take it off and put it on the bloody ground. All forms of transport should allow the chucking of seat hogging items and windows should open sufficiently to allow it. That or just have a button you can press that allows for this type of emergency and chuck it out the door. I think it should be purple with ‘IGNORANT’ written on it.

10)   Read out loud – Some books are too good to keep to yourself. If it’s funny or powerful we should be able to share it with the world. Pavements, transport, restaurants should all become places that allow and embrace the spoken word even if there is no real audience and no mic.

And to think I was going to write something on Maggie Thatcher today! Is there anything you would like to do in public, but feel is too out there? All additions to my list are welcome!

I cleared, I painted, I realised my flat was full of Ikea

Paint

I cleared, I painted, I realised my flat was full of Ikea

I spent this weekend painting. It is the first stage to moving out of my flat and into the domain of co-habitation. It started off well. I felt energetic moving possessions from one room to the other while covering furniture in discoloured sheets and blankets. While he went to buy the paint – or more so exchange it due to me buying magnolia, a colour that was quickly guffawed at with a “you’re not planning to put that on the walls on are you?” I never realised that magnolia was the leper of the Dulux world. Lesson learned.

So I moved and shoved, packed and wrapped. As furniture was dislodged from its home for 5 years what was under it wasn’t pretty. Dust had given birth to children that procreated to produce grandchildren. It had become a Brady Bunch collection of dust balls. I still have no idea where all the bloody dust comes from and how it accumulates so fast. If anyone does I would love to know. Please just put me out of my misery.

Anyway, when the paint arrived we got tucked in. It became a rolling mania of white matt proportions. It was satisfying, covering up the strange hue of yellow that had somehow gathered without me noticing. He tackled the high bits and me the low ones. It was team work in stripes. An hour later the walls were covered. It was a paint scented brightness that I had not seen since the day I moved in. The flat was new and shiny. We were dentists and the walls were the teeth, but without the bad breath.

Then the ceiling was mentioned. A feat that seemed past my weary arms and hands. Who knew you could cramps from holding a roller too tight? Thankfully he offered and I happily announced I would clear the kitchen for the next whitening experience.

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The ranter went relentless and it wasn’t pretty

This weekend I was coined as relentless. I nagged and didn’t seem able to stop while being unaware I was doing it. This was not good. It didn’t help that I was irritated and had a lot on my plate but – relentless –  is not a word I want to be alongside, never mind crawl all over. On consulting with my good friend dictionary.com I found out its many meanings and started to feel worse.

re·lent·less

[ri-lent-lis]

adjective

that does not relent; unyieldingly severe, strict, or harsh; unrelenting: a relentless enemy.

Origin: 
1585–95; relent + -less

Synonyms 
rigid, unbending, obdurate, adamant, unyielding. See inflexible.

Antonyms 
merciful

So not only am I unrelenting, strict and harsh, but according to its antonym I am unmerciful. I have subjected my boyfriend to a day and a half of pecking like a dominant bird in a nest that doesn’t want its sibling to live so it will get more food. It was a revelation to me. I started this blog because I like to rant about things that matter, silly things I notice and people or events in everyday life that are just irritating. But I never wanted to become a nag. A relentless nag at that.

Bird pecking

So at what point does ranting become henpecking? How do you know where the line is and how not to know to cross it? I just thought I was giving out a little bit at the weekend. Perhaps giving out a little bit too much ‘I know more than you’ advice. But when I sat back and thought about it he was right. I was being relentless. It was as if all the things that irked me slightly all came to the forefront like a mob being let through the doors to buy a new iPhone. The clambered over each other and wouldn’t relent until I expelled them from my rapidly moving mouth and eye rolls.

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The fashion world has resurrected the crop top and I’m running for cover…

The fashion world has resurrected the crop top and I’m running for cover…

We’re caught in a big freeze, a winter wonderland of Bing Crosby imaginings. It is cold, slushy and wet but yet somehow beautiful; sky’s ultimate orchestra.

Snowy road

As a result of this arctic anomaly, people are donning layers from thermals to bobbled hats; woollen socks to balaclavas. But in spite of this the shops are full of clothes for the spring. Mannequins are now wearing skimpy dresses, thigh length skirts and vests. When looking for a jumper you will now find a blouse. Need a pair of trousers, try on these shorts for size. Or perhaps a pair of shoes is what you need, will these sandles do?

I don’t understand it. Do retailers and fashion designers not look outside? Just because fashion has their ‘seasons’ or cycles does it mean that everything warm has to disappear? Are they somehow under the impression that because they have produced a lacy, see-through nylon number that the sun will bat all the clouds and rain away and take its rightful place in the sky? Do they not realise Ireland doesn’t actually have bloody seasons?

Perhaps they know more than I do though seeing as while trudging through a snow shower last night I spotted two women, dolled up for a night out. Coatless, hatless and gloveless (a condition I would rather rent my womb out for, rather than be in at the moment) and in 6 inch heels they walked or more hopped protesting at it being ‘baltic’. Instead of seeing a grim evening of artic proportions when looking out their window they must have seen a beach in Rio. Did they actually mistake a window for a poster?

Crop top

To top it off I read today that crop tops are back. Crop tops? The only people that should wear crop tops are, well, nobody. It is half a t-shirt. It’s a top that was measured wrong. It’s a piece of clothing that ran out of fabric. The problem is people will be wearing them because they are in the shops. A shorn piece of fabric dangling from hangers that girls and women will flock to and dare to wear out. Any hint of sun will see Dublin filled with oyster and orange coloured stomachs and bellies not knowing what they have done to be put on show, not knowing quite where to bend or fall. It will be a flesh fest. One in the same line as guys who take off their t-shirts in a rare blast of heat and wander around M&S.

I think a prayer may be in order. To delay this inevitable fashion infliction. One to the snow or hailstone gods to please stick around for a bit longer….

I watched Bear Grylls and I didn’t like it….

Rainforest

I watched Bear Grylls and I didn’t like it….

I discovered Bear Grylls this week. I had known of him and seen images of him in soggy combats and a sludge covered face, but up till a few days ago had no idea what he did in his programmes.

This episode followed him trekking through a jungle in Belize. The weather was torrential; the kind of rain that makes you think there must be someone in the sky just holding a hose over the world. He looked exhausted, soaked to the skin, freezing but yet kept on going. He forged through the delicate ecosystem like a bull in a china shop or more appropriately in his case an elephant in a rainforest. As he walked he talked, rapidly and with the excitement of a child with ADHD. The camera work added to this because at times it was shaky, following him in a kind of epileptic fit that made the watching experience all the more disconcerting.

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