Objects of Desire Alison Comyn
The UTV Ireland news anchor talks to Andrea Smith about her favourite purchases
With the hours I work, it's hard to keep up with friends, so once a month I love to go for lunch with the girls. It's nice to empty my head of current affairs and politicians, and have a laugh, a chat and possibly a good old bitch! I don't care where we go, but we're spoiled for choice in Drogheda with Relish Café, Simona (cannelloni, €7), Stockwell Artisan Foods and the Salthouse (pork belly, baby potatoes and sauté red cabbage, €9.50).
I'm always on the go, live by deadlines and find it hard to unwind, so I love spa trips to have a facial, massage and swim. I was recently at The C Spa at the Carlton Hotel in Cork, which has a heavenly dry flotation tank (Ógra lemon polish wrap and float, €99).
I'm blessed that my sister Louise lives in the Seychelles, so I've been there five times and it's stunning. With the accommodation sorted, we can splash out every now and again, so last time we stayed for two nights at the Constance Ephelia Resort, which is the last word in luxury - we even had our own butler. If I ever win the Lotto, I'm going there for a week.
I just love a good handbag. When I got my first wage packet in 1998 from the BBC's Holiday programme, I went straight into Harrods and bought a small Louis Vuitton barrel bag for, I think, about £300 sterling. It felt like a fortune, but I still have it and it's perfect. My husband is fantastic at buying me bags, and I just got an incredible, golden-coloured Furla Linda tote from him for my birthday (Linda tote, €320, Brown Thomas). I'm so lucky he has good taste!
You can keep your fancy restaurants, because there is nothing nicer every now and again than getting two slices of fresh Brennans Bread with real butter and squishing an entire packet of Tayto cheese and onion crisps (six-pack, €1.97, Tesco.ie) between them. This was what sustained me during my very 'healthy' first year of studying broadcast journalism at Ballyfermot, with pot noodles for Sunday lunch.
I love bubbles, and you don't have to spend a fortune on a really nice bottle, such as the Conte Priuli Prosecco (€18.49, Marks & Spencer). I think prosecco tastes nicer than Champagne, and what you save on that can go into a handbag fund!
I really love Christmas, and for the past couple of years we've managed to escape with the children to visit some Christmas markets, including the Cologne market. They're very kitsch and packed with people, but the smell of glühwein and cinnamon sets you up perfectly for coming back to our own Christmas here. This year we're going to Prague for two nights, which looks spectacular. (Flights and three nights bed & breakfast in Prague, December 15-18, from €155, CassidyTravel.ie).
How to get Alison's favourite things on a smaller budget
Alison may love jetting off to Christmas markets abroad, but nearer to home, check out the inaugural 'I Believe' winter food, drink, craft and horticultural market (ibelieveinchristmas.ie) at Custom House Quarter from Nov 26 to Dec 23. It also benefits seven charities, so win-win.
Everyone deserves a bit of pampering, and the 'Winter Warm-Up' package at Buff Day Spa in Dublin gives you a back massage, Dermalogica mineral salt scrub and buff express facial, use of the sauna and spa facilities and a glass of bubbly or hot chocolate (€99, pamperme.ie).
Rod Stewart sang of handbags and gladrags, and, like Alison, we know that a good handbag is a thing of beauty and one of the most essential things a woman can own. They just make us happy! They don't have to break the bank though, as this fab red Sally Young tote is only €45 from whatthefrock.ie.
As Alison said, there's nothing like a girlie lunch to clear your head of pesky work stuff. Have a good bitch while still feeling virtuous by eating clean, delicious food at Counter Culture, Powerscourt Town Centre (mains €9-€15).