Objects of desire... Claudia Carroll
We talk to the author of Meet Me In Manhattan about her favourite purchases
My favourite thing in the world is seeing shows. I'm just back from a trip to New York with my mum and dad, where we saw Wicked and Les Miserables. I'm looking forward to Druid's programme of four Shakespeare plays in one day in Kilkenny (tickets from €40; KilkennyArts.ie), and seeing my pal Marian O'Dwyer in By the Bog of Cats at the Abbey (tickets €13-€45; AbbeyTheatre.ie).
There is never any food in my house, but there is always fresh flowers. I treat myself to three bunches of long-stemmed lilies for €8 every week from the sellers on Grafton Street, as they're my favourite flowers. It brightens my heart to see their little yellow faces in the vases, and the house always smells lovely.
Treating my parents
My mum Anne and dad Claude have both had health scares recently, but thankfully they're doing well now. My favourite thing in the world is to treat them, as I adore them and feel so blessed to still have them. We love going to the Westin Hotel on Westmoreland Street, as they do a lovely afternoon tea there (from €28pp) and are so nice to us, plus they have great wheelchair access for dad's chair. The Orangerie at the Radisson St. Helen in Stillorgan is another favourite place of ours for lunch (mains are from €10.50 to €24.50) and it's very accessible for elderly people.
The most painful part of my credit card bill is always caused by books, as I'm a divil for downloading to my Kindle (available from €79 to €220 from Currys.ie). To make things worse, if I like a book, I also buy it in paperback, so there are piles of books everywhere in the house. My most recent purchases include A Time for Friends by Patricia Scanlon (Eason, €17.99) and The Dress by Kate Kerrigan (e-book, €2.66), which were both wonderful. I also highly recommend Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (€10.99) and Each And Every One by the lovely Rachael English (€10.99).
Don't laugh, but I live in tracksuits and trainers the whole time because I work from home. They're my uniform. My favourites are a battered Nike pair, (€30-€150, LifeStyleSports.com) because I absolutely live in them, walk in them and go to the gym in them and they owe me nothing. I also love to wear North Face fleeces to keep me warm (€50-€100 from NorthFace.ie) because my house is always freezing, regardless of whether it's summer or winter.
I'm a Netflix addict, although it's not expensive (€8.99 monthly) but, God, it's worth every cent. I'm working my way through Orange is the New Black at the moment and I'm addicted to it. I also like to have a glass of wine to unwind the odd evening, and my favourite is Lindeman's Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon (€12.69, Tesco.ie).
Hair and beauty
I've been colouring my hair blonde for so long now that I don't have a clue what colour it really is, but I have a vague idea it's mousy brown. Niamh from David Marshall Hair Salon on Fade Street does my colour (full tint from €70) and I've been going there forever. My natural skin colour is pale and freckly - typically Irish - so if I need a boost, I get a spray tan from Orla at Mimi's Beauty Room in Sandymount (full body tan, €20). Once you get over the initial embarrassment of standing in a little paper thong in front of someone else, you're grand.How to get Claudia's favourite things on a smaller budget