Back in the 1990s, when I was an energetic young journalist covering Russia and eastern Europe, there emerged the phenomenon of the ‘Biznessman’ or ‘Biznesswoman’. These characters, generally male, would huddle in hotel foyers wearing leather jackets and tell me about their money-making schemes. They didn’t make much sense to me, but I assume they paid off. Central Europe has been transformed and Russia seems to produce a new billionaire every day. So, ten years later, I have decided to become a Biznesswoman. I’m not sure that I will wear a leather coat or huddle in a hotel, but faced with a husband who thinks that writing books on wine and water is a money-making scam and children who insist on horse-riding, tennis and piano lessons – and that’s just on a Wednesday – there was no option.
My first ‘bizness’ is probably the one I am most excited about. It is called Renew Retreats. I came up with the idea soon after finishing my latest book, To Hell in High Heels. Never mind hell; I was taken to bed with a kidney infection, felt run down and ready to die. I looked around for a spa retreat that would rejuvenate me and found nothing that I fancied. So today with a few of the most inspirational women I met during my research for the book, including Tina Richards, a top London holistic dermatologist and Anna Cooper, a jet-setting yoga guru and psychotherapist, together with my friend and neighbour Mary Lesault, we have come up with the ideal five-day spa retreat.
Ten lucky women will gather at Le Couvent in Hérépian in the first week of May and be treated to massages (one rather exotic one involving a Kansu bowl and warm oils which I have tried and it is mind-blowingly good), yoga, one-to-one dermatological consultations, nutritional advice and inspirational talks by moi on, among other topics, how to unlock your inner French woman and anti-ageing tips. For more information you can visit our glorious pink website.
The other ‘bizness’ is more prosaic, but may prove more profitable. After seven splendid summers in Sainte Cecile, we have decided to take the children on a Grand Tour of Europe next year. This will include visiting my mother near Rome, my cousin in Stockholm, Bea’s best friend Norrie in the Savoie and anybody else willing to give us a bed for the night. To help pay for this jaunt we are going to rent out the house for the summer. I hope it is a good idea. If anyone you know would like to stay in an old stone farmhouse with a swimming pool and only cicadas for company (as well as Max the cat and Wolfie the dog obviously), you can find out more at www.creme-de-langeudoc.com by clicking this link.
Now where did I put that leather jacket? Maybe I can find a pink one….
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007