My (mumbles incoherently) birthday is fast approaching, and as I always do, I like to stop and check the milage on the old chassis, ponder the steps I have taken, and the ones still hopefully, left to come. This year is no different, but what I have noticed is I have more of an appreciation for simple things, simple foods, simple places, not simple people, they will always drive me nuts. There is nothing delightful in the village idiot.

Some of the simple things I have come to appreciate are chips/crisps. Potato chips, plain sea salted chips. Kettle chips have this one down perfectly. Potatoes, oil, salt! Sorted! Don’t get me wrong, their other flavors are wonderful, but in some way they miss the point of a potato chip.

Popcorn! Need I say more. Puffy kernels with sea salt!

Oysters, with lemon, and tabasco pepper.

Vanilla, not the artificial stuff most people associate with vanilla, but the sweet subtle flavors from a vanilla pod.

Lavender, fresh grown on my terrace, when door is open and wind is blowing, lovely scent.

Blueberries, never really appreciated these before, friend on last tour made some fresh blueberry pancakes for me, I ate about 6 of them, and kept texting her how much I appreciated them. If they weren’t so small, I wouldn’t mind peeling them and just eating the skin. Note to self, task for domestic slave. 🙂

Truffles! Smelly things that they are, but so delightful and subtle.

Marseilles Soap, brilliant stuff, I can clean just about anything with this stuff, from floors to clothes.

Crisp white, bleached and starched  to within an inch of its life, linen on beds. Nothing like it.

White, couldn’t live with it in a house, but do appreciate it in small doses.

A good kiss. Not the kind that you try to force, but the one that just happens naturally.

A good cafe, that just isn’t trying to be trendy and hip, here I forgive short latte spoons. In all honesty, they aren’t all that bothered if you stay or go.

Book shops, small ones.

Cookies, homemade.

Hamburgers, greasy.

Milkshakes, thick.

Chocolate, for breakfast.



I am all packed, ready to head off to Ireland on my new tour, took vitamins, took shower, and went to make a cup of coffee. And my Nespresso coffee machine is dead! Now for those of you who know me, with my lattes, and espressos, will understand why this is a major emergency. I am basically a caffeine junkie, one who needs her morning fix. Ok, so I am calmer now, I had a back up system and some ground coffee in the freezer, so I can at least have a cup before braving the wilds of airport travel and train travel in Ireland. But as soon a I get back I am getting a new on, and this one fixed. NEVER again will I be without a proper espresso machine.

Hot Water revisited, and Funny Names for things.

Hot Water revisited, and Funny Names for things.

I have seriously come to the conclusion that even though it sounds like we are speaking the same language, there are some things that get lost in translation. Or in definition, is more like it. Allow me to explain. Let’s take as an example the word rock. One of its meanings is-This is the one I had in mind at the time:
rock |räk|
1 the solid mineral material forming part of the surface of the earth and other similar planets, exposed on the surface or underlying the soil or oceans.
• a mass of such material projecting above the earth’s surface or out of the sea : there are dangerous rocks around the island.
• Geology any natural material, hard or soft (e.g., clay), having a distinctive mineral composition.

Now with this in mind, I will embark on my latest adventure. I was in the lovely county of Tipperary, in the town of Cashel. And having some free time on my hands I went to visit the Cashel Rock! You can see where this is going? So, armed with camera, water and comfy shoes, sun hat, and shades. I set off up the hill, looking for this rock. Now considering it is a tourist attraction, I figured it would be a rather large rock, a fair assumption considering there was a thriving shop at the bottom of the hill, and loads of lovely little B&Bs. Well I walked up the hill, entered gate, walked around this rather ancient keep saw the chapel, the cross, and still no rock! Ok, I figured maybe I missed it. I went round the back, looked over the edge, looked up even, still no rock, now I was beginning to feel cheated! Just to be on the safe side, I did another look round, until finally in exasperation I asked someone, where the Rock of Cashel was? They blinked thinking I was taking the piss, and answered, this is the rock. I said, “Where, I don’t see a rock. Is it a small rock hidden in a cupboard? “Then the penny dropped. It wasn’t a rock (see above definition), it was the entire keep that was called the rock! So basically I have been for the better part of an hour or so walking on, in, over, under and around the Rock, I was beginning to feel like a preposition. The poor couple I asked were looking at me a bit funny, I am sure they are still wondering if I was all there.

Ok, this of course got me to thinking, of some more attractive names to call the place, seriously think about it; I love rocks, so I was inclined to trek up a hill to see one, now think of the tourist who isn’t interested in rocks, and would miss a wonderful piece of history. So, I have decided to offer up a few alternative suggestions for the name The Rock Of Cashel.
The Cashel Keep on the Rock
The Hilltop Castle of Cashel
The Rock, but not really a rock but a series buildings, including a chapel and cross, of Cashel
Hilltop View of Cashel.
Just to name a few.

And last but not least. The hot water issue, I am still amazed at the ways they come up with in Ireland to complicate the getting of hot water. It is NEVER straight forward, in addition to flicking switches, and turning knobs, now I have encountered the pulling of strings! Oh for feck’s sake! Oh and of course the string isn’t in the most conspicuous place, sometimes it is in another room all together! If it wasn’t for a kind gentlemen who came to visit me and told me what to look for I would have still been washing myself in the bloody sink. Ah the joys of a traveling escort.

My Cat.

My Cat.

My cat, god love the furry fuzzball, is one of the stupidest creatures know to man, or so I use to think, until I finally sat down and looked at some salient facts.
Fact 1, stupid though he is, he has out lasted my other 4 cats, out living two cousins, having gotten lost twice and was returned once, and rescued once, and being kept over the preference of the other two European short-hairs-Hades and Zeus. Hummmm
Fact 2, is simply adored by all who sees him, and fussed to death.
Fact 3, we keep buying toys in the vain hope he will play with something longer that two bats of his paw.
Fact 4, he is getting on in age, and was never a spry fellow to begin with, so we keep helping him up on to our various beds, and chairs.
Fact 5, he doesn’t get thrown over the balcony for scratching up the furniture! He gets yelled at, but he just looks at you with the ‘Wha, wha’d I do?” Look, and all is usually forgiven.
Fact 6, we keep feeding him!

So you can feel the question coming here, who is the stupid one, me or him? He can’t help it! And neither can I. He is just so adorable. And yes that is him making himself comfortable is one of my well known famous brand bags!

Days of the Week

Days of the Week

There is nothing I love more than laying in bed on a Sunday Morning. I know how cliche this sounds, but I have tried it on other mornings and it just isn’t the same. I love to get up early, put on my favorite pink fuzzy slippers go into the kitchen make a sinfully wickedly strong cup of espresso, then return to the bed and nest for the rest of the day in pink pajamas. Bliss! I have tried to do this on other days of the week, but it just doesn’t seem to work.
Monday mornings are the worst, so many hurried and harassed people rushing to work, as if it is the last place they want to be.
I love Monday mornings for work, I often find I am busiest on a Monday, I guess after having to spend the weekends with the wives, kids, family and girlfriends, my clients are busting to get a bit of undercover lovin’. I am turning people away, cause they all want to come at the same time!
Tuesdays, can be even busier, because some people take a three or four day holiday and stay away ona Monday, so when they return on Tuesday, plus those I couldn’t get to on Monday, can make Tuesday a rather busy day. By the end of Tuesday, I am usually looking forward to Wednesday, which we ladies call Wanker Wednesday. It is usually the worst day of the week, I get more No-Shows on a Wednesday than any other day. I have gotten to the point that I usually don’t take most appointments seriously on a Wednesday, plus I also NEVER begin a tour on a Wednesday either.
Now Thursday is for some the end of the week, so again they want to get it in before having to go away for the weekend. So Thursdays can be quite busy, or you can have exhausted the client base by then, and it is completely dead.
Friday, again a bit like Thursday.
Saturday, Oi! I stop working on or around 12, because I want my phones off before the pubs close. If it is drunk and has a mobile with internet, it will call! Dear god the amount of messages that are left by drunken men on my phone is comical at best, and down right sad a worst.
Which brings me right around to my favorite day of the week Sunday! Time to go and make that second cup of coffee.

The Art of the Well Batted Lash

The Art of the Well Batted Lash

I have just made a discovery! Don’t laugh, but here goes…. False Eye Lashes! I know the damn thing have been around for years, much talked about and used in the ’60’s, and ’70’s! But up until recently I just couldn’t be asked to be asked. Until recently, when having make up done for a shoot, some were applied, and BLOODY HELL! Sitting before me in the mirror, wasn’t me, but this doe-eyed, diva with fans attached to her eye lids. Absolutely amazing! I was transformed. So I decided to try them out at work. After about an hour of poking myself in the eyes, sticking the lash to my brows, and getting glue all over the place I finally got the right eye on. The left one was thankfully a whole lot easier.

Still the same effect! Youth and beauty were mine for 5 euros and 95 cents. My god that all beauty treatments were a this simple and cheap. This whole process got me to thinking about our obsession with looks and the cheats we girls have learned over the years to get over. I personally thing the most significant break through in this fight against aging is…. wait for it…. Hair Color! I know this for a fact! I unfortunately started going gray at about 18 years old, so hair color has been my one salvation. But now coupled with dermabrasion, face lifts, butt lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, lipo-lite, acupuncture, and god only knows what else, looking thirty can last for years to come. Yippie! Cause I am truning the big 3-0 this year, and I was beginning to despair. Love and Kisses Violette

The Economy and My Skin.

The Economy and My Skin.

I will be the first to admit, if I have money I will spend it! Point. But now that businesses all over are slowing down, and money isn’t flying in the door. I am a more cautious on what I spend it on these days. Example, skin care for me has always been a major expenditure, no matter what my economic situation has been. I remember being at university and having to choose between buying my face cream and food for the week. I bought the face cream, because I though “If I look good, some one will feed me. :)” I know, I was a tart from way back!
But lately I have began to rethink things, and do a bit of investigation, and have began to realize that there are cheaper alternatives to some of the more expensive brands out there that are on par if not better.
I have always loved the idea of using natural products on my skin, so I have used everything from Clarins to Sisley Clarins being on the lower end of the scale in term of price and Sisley being totally off the charts in terms of cost. I either out grew them, or moved on to products that were more suited to my skin.

Then I discovered Ren this stuff is delightful, all natural no preservatives, works like a charm, and is not cheap. What got me hooked was a body care item I tried called the Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra Nourishing Body Oil. Dear God this stuff is like rose scented liquid gold! I mean it just absorbs in your skin leaving it silky smooth, soft, refined and smelling like a bower of roses. Just delightful after a hard days work. But it is also 55 euros a bottle! Yikes. But as I started to notice my last precious drops dwindling, I decided I must begin to find a cheaper alternative to this stuff. Love it though I do, it is really an extravagance that is best left to my clients wish lists.

Thus the hunt began to find less expensive alternatives. Went to the local cosmetics counter, no joy! Went to some more exclusive boutique pharmacies, no love. The drops were going fast and a sense of urgency was starting to develope.

Ran into Boots, quite quickly to pick up some last minute items, massage oil, tampons, body lotion, nail polish, etc. And as I was looking I came across one of their own brand lines called Boots Botanics, rather unstylish insepid green packaging, clear transparent bottles, or tubes. But the stuff in those less that lack-luster containers is like manna from heaven. I mean the Quenching body lotion does what it says it does! It hydrates my skin all day for about 5.79 euro! And it lasts and lasts, and lasts. Plus there is always some special going on, so you get your bonus points! It is seriously a win-win situation.

The question remains will I retrun to purchasing more expensive brands when all returns to normal? Maybe, but at the end of the day I think the difference really is knowing the value of money and getting the most for your dollar, euro, or pound. Boots Botanics gives great value for money. And the stuff works! and works well!