Advantages Of Online Shopping

It’s fun going places during the summertime. I don’t mind driving to the next town when the weather is nice. However, during wintertime I prefer to stay at home as much as possible. That’s the time for me to order groceries and have them delivered to my doorstep. ūüėõ

In¬†Groceries Delivered¬†I’ve told you that, while we were yet living in Dublin, I’ve often placed an order at¬†Tesco¬†and/or¬†Superquinn¬†to have it delivered to our door. We didn’t own a car back then and the deliveries were such tremendous help. They saved us money not spent on bus tickets and we were spared from having to carry home the heavy items.

Another thing we save when shopping online is time. It takes time to drive to the stores and back. It also takes up a lot of time, looking for the items and, if they aren’t available there, searching for alternatives or having to drive to another store to find them. I noticed that, even to get a weekly shopping done, I will usually spend 3-4 hours outside the home while I could be loading the¬†virtual¬†shopping trolley in under an hour. Delivery? That’s no problem and done within 10-15 minutes!

Well, having things like eggs, flour, milk and honey brought to your doorstep might not be that thrilling but it does have its advantages. On the other side, it’s exciting to receive something you’ve ordered by courier, isn’t it? Even if it’s just a certain kind of chocolate or an unique kind of soap, we can’t wait for the parcel to arrive, can we? There are things we would love to have, we sort of miss, things that remind us of Germany – things that we order online and receive by post. Now that is exciting and sometimes unpacking the items even feels a little bit like Christmas… ūüėČ

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Vets

It was time for Missy to get her annual booster, so we drove up to Dublin on Monday.

“You are driving all the way up to Dublin just to visit the vet?”

“Yes.”

“Why? Can’t you find one here?”

We just happened to live in Tallaght, Co. Dublin first before moving to the South East of Ireland later on. Back then we didn’t own a car and that’s why we needed a vet within walking distance. Our friend highly recommended a veterinary practice to us. We thought we’ll give it a try.

A few years back our sheepdog hurt his dew claw and needed surgery done. I tell you, I was so nervous! It was Rapsy’s first time to lie on the operating table. We went to the Animal Hospital¬†and they handled things quite well.

I find it comforting, while I’m a bit of a nervous wreck because of something that happened to my dog/s, the vet remains calm and explains every detail to me. A vet should also explain the steps of how to care for the pet. Then, of course, you don’t want just the sole medical advice but also want the vet to see things from your (the pet’s owner) point of view.

“If it would be my dog I would/wouldn’t…”

I’m thinking of another time, when Rapsy became quite ill. My nervousness during the dew claw incident was nothing compared to the one that hit me when I didn’t know if my dog would continue to live and be healthy again or would have to be put down in the near future. Because time had not been an issue back then, I was able to drive to Dublin for the treatment.

You might or might not find a good vet in short distance to where you live. About half of Ireland’s population and facilities are in Dublin ‚ÄĒ some more are spread all over the country. The chance that you will find a specific vet or animal hospital is higher in the capital. In emergency cases you might have enough time to drive to Dublin but it’s best to find yourself a good one close by as well.

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Storm Callum

About this time last year (16th October 2017) ex-hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland. This year a storm called Callum is on its way. A status orange weather warning has been issued for all coastal counties, a status yellow for the other counties in Ireland. People are advised that high winds (gusts of up to 130km/h in this case) can be dangerous especially around coastal areas.

Once a storm warning has been issued: take it seriously, make necessary preparations inside and outside the house, and take extreme care while driving on the roads.

Preparations

Around the house and in the garden: Are there any objects which could be taken up by the wind and swirled around? Move them into the shed, into the house or into the garage. Remember the bins, too! Put them down on the ground or, if they are empty, put them into the shed or into the house. Think of garden furniture, flower pots and all lightweight objects: secure them or, if there is enough room for them, bring them into the house.

Check your supply and buy: batteries, candles, gas bottle/s (heater, hob), food cans and water bottles – be prepared in case of a power outage. Good thing to charge and keep phones and other gadgets charged all the time.

Drive very cautiously: Keep control over your car and watch ahead and stay alert. Expect spot flooding, high winds (especially from the side), fallen debris on the road and beware of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

Be careful while walking: wear hi-viz / bright clothing! Watch out for sudden gust that could blow you unto the road or knock you over. Think about your pets, too. When walking your dog be aware that he might be a little beside himself.

Looking back to 2017, I find that¬†Ophelia¬†hasn’t been as bad as we had expected it to be.¬†However, storm¬†Brian,¬†which hit the isle just a few days later, did a lot of damage and brought spot flooding along with it. By the way, I’ve published two posts at my AbleToPerform¬†blog. One is called¬†Storm Coming In¬†and is about¬†Ophelia,¬†the other is called¬†Blown Away¬†and shares a few thoughts about how¬†Brian¬†destroyed something that I had to let go…

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PPSN

Living in Ireland you will eventually need a PPS (Personal Public Service) number.

Who will need to know this number and what is it used for? 

People and organizations like your bank, your employer, the HSE, the National Driver Licence Service and Revenue will need to know your PPS.

  • Employment and tax purposes: Your employer will ask you for this number. However, you do not have to share your PPSN with a potential employer. It’s only once you are hired that s/he is in need to know your number. If you are self-employed you will have to have a PPS, too.
  • Bank: Some banks will ask for this number as soon as you apply for a bank account while other will ask you for this number later on. However, sooner or later they will need it especially if you are earning interest with your savings and they do have to pass on this information to the¬†Revenue¬†office.
  • Public Services: Once you are applying for welfare social services, free travel pass, housing grants and more, the public services will seek your PPS.
  • Driving Licence: Beside other documents you will need your PPS number to apply for driving licence.
  • Health Services: if you are applying for a¬†Medical Card¬†or a¬†GP Visit Card,¬†you will need to have your personal public service number at hand, too.

Where can you get it?

The document can only be issued by the¬†DEASP (Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection)¬†is send out by post.¬†However, you will need to go to your county’s¬†PPS Allocation Centre¬†to apply for it.

To find out more detailed information, go to Personal Publish Services Number (Welfare.ie)

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Future Posts

I’m thrilled to see you here!

Over the past two weeks I have moved some of the old posts of 4inIreland to this new Carmen In Ireland blog. The transfer is complete now. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Future posts will include a wide range of topics that fall into the categories you already know from the old blog:¬†Events & Locations, Food & Recipes, Nature and Weather, On Ireland’s Roads, Shopping¬†and, of course more on¬†The Irish¬†(culture) as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing you here, too. Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to share about¬†Life in Ireland.¬†

 

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Brack – Irish Sweet Bread

This is a Tea Brack. The recipe calls for self-raising flour and it is baked in a loaf tin. To find a recipe using yeast, please scroll down a little bit. 69DB8950-E1EF-41CC-8EBF-F4E6F4567126

Ingredients:

  • 120g (3/4 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 120g (3/4 cup) self-raising white flour (or else use regular white flour and add 1/2 tsp baking powder to it)
  • 130g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp spices (e.g. cinnamon, pimento, allspice, etc.)
  • 300g (3/4 to 1 cup) dried fruit, soaked in liquid overnight (see no. 1)
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

  1. Put 300g fruits and 250ml black tea (or coffee) into a large bowl, mix and let soak overnight.
  2. The next day, stir in brown sugar and the egg.
  3. Add flour (baking powder if required) and spices and mix well.
  4. Spread into a prepared (greased or lined with baking paper) 2lb loaf tin or use a silicone baking dish.
  5. Bake at 170 C for about 60 min.

Let cool on a rack. Freshly cut slice tastes really good if you spread some butter and/or jam on it.

Store in airtight plastic container up to a week.

Tea Brack Recipe Using Yeast

I meant to post only one recipe of Brack¬†but I have discovered this one, too. It calls for yeast instead of self-raising flour, is round in shape and baked on a baking sheet (not in a loaf tin). It reminds me a lot of what we would call a¬†Fr√ľchtebrot¬†(Fruit Bread) in Germany.

Ingredients:

  • 300g Whole wheat flour
  • 150g White flour
  • 1 tsp spices to taste (allspice, cinnamon, pimento, etc.)
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • Dash of salt
  • Dried fruits, soaked in liquid overnight (see no. 1)
  • Nuts (optional)
  • 150ml water (additional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Put 300g fruits and 250ml black tea (or coffee) into a bowl, mix and let soak overnight.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, spices, dry yeast and salt.
  3. Stir in soaked fruit (incl. remaining liquid).
  4. Add nuts (optional)
  5. Slowly add water (150ml) und 1 tbsp olive oil and mix.
  6. Shape into a round bread. Line baking sheet with baking paper, place dough on top. Let rise for 45-60 minutes (until double)
  7. Bake at 180 C for about 40 minutes.

Let cool on a rack. Freshly cut slice tastes really good if you spread some butter and/or jam on it.

Store in airtight plastic container up to a week.

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Keeping Warm In Winter

Warm up from the inside out: avoid cold foods and drinks. A cuppa hot chocolate, tea or coffee will help our bodies to get warm. Instead of salad, eat some cooked, warm veggies and, for in between, eat hot soups.

If you don‚Äėt have a slow cooker yet, I would suggest that you‚Äėll buy one. I love to cook with it; during winter because it keeps the steam to a minimum and during summer because it doesn‚Äėt heat up the kitchen so easily. You can use it to cook the soup/s and to keep them warm all day.

To keep your body warm when going outdoors, wear several layers of clothing and don’t forget the gloves and hat.

Get some extra blankets/throws for your home. I like the fluffy (fleecy) kind. During winter we use them on top of our mattress and sofas and as blankets. Our dogs got their own ones, too ‚ÄĒ they prefer to lie on them instead of on the cold floors. ūüėČ

Hot water bottles: they are great for the cold season! When the evenings and nights are cold and the heater is already turned off, fill them up with hot water and place them in your bed under the duvet or snuggle up in a blanket that‚Äės warmed up by a hot water bottle.

In winter the days are not only colder but also shorter: the mornings are longer dark and it is getting dark early in the evening. I prefer a light-flooded home; you probably do to. Of course we don’t want to black out the rooms unnecessarily. However, especially during very cold days, drawing the curtain can help quite a bit. If we don’t want to spend a fortune on heating, we will have to choose: do we want more light or (more) warmth inside our homes. By the way, if you do get curtains, look for¬†thermal¬†or¬†lined¬†ones. They will be of good use during summertime, too.

Whenever the sun is shining, I leave the doors to the rooms that are on the south and west side wide open. That way there is not only more light but also cozy warmth coming into the rooms and the hallway.

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But when it is really cold outside, I draw the curtains or even leave some of them shut all day, e.g. the one at the front door, or like the ones in our living room and offices.

Whenever the sun shines brightly, the temperatures in our sitting and living room can easily rise to 20¬įC, even up to 22-23¬įC. In the afternoon this will change and so I draw the curtains again, to keep the warmth inside our home and to avoid unnecessary heating costs.

During winter I prefer cozy heated rooms over daylight. Yes, at times this means that not much daylight is flooding into our home. That’s why we have bought¬†daylight¬†bulbs. They will make the rooms a lot brighter than the common ones:

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The picture doesn’t show how well they do that. But if you look at the lamp you will see that the light ray is white and not yellowish. The bulbs aren’t that cheap but they are well worth getting for winter.

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