T’was an exciting week in the land of Colab and the ongoing book research.

A much-needed brush up on production procedures and methods was essential for chapter 8 of the book, so with a specific vendor in mind, the flights were booked and hotels reserved.

Now, I’m not going to go on about how hard the job is, or how stressful travel is in order to gain some kind of sympathy, but what I will say is that, these trips ARE tiring, and NOT glamorous. I think the only person who has the glamour job in Fashion is Mme Wintour, and for the rest of us mere mortals we do the late nights and early starts, the plane delays, the long walks from terminal to terminal, the strange taxi drivers and frisky security men.

So, with this in mind, Here is a brief recap of my trip to Portugal this week, all in the name of research.

In order to save money on flights (it’s me buying them now and not an employer) I headed for a German airline which for a bargain fee asked me nicely to change in Frankfurt and then head on to Porto later in the evening.

Knowing that Frankfurt airport is huge and a devil to navigate, I allowed enough time (ok, I hate being late – so, loads of time between my flights) which meant that for Tuesday, dinner was either a hot dog and some fizzy pop at a takeaway stand or a cocktail and bar snacks at the airport branch of the Sheraton.

Cocktail and snacks went down a treat, although I did have to battle with business guests recanting tales of their management meetings, and Swedish football fans glued to the big screen in the corner of the Lemons and Limes Bar. Still – it was enough to send me on my way to the front row of economy where I had a perfect view of how the business travel flies.

With it being 10.30pm, I was awake for precisely 20 minutes of the flight before I drooled and headflopped over my neighbour in the attempt to get some sleep.

On arrival at Porto, the driver, thankfully, was there to whisk me to the hotel 40 minutes further into the Portuguese countryside.

The cosy room was a vision of comfort and seclusion once I arrived and whilst I could have slept standing, clothed and with overnight bag in hand, I did the necessary and spent a further 20 minutes turning all the lights out. Note to Hotel; One light switch can do the job people…. no need for twenty.

Next day – bright and early, I was whisked to the factory where I spent the day working though production procedures, techniques, planning and trims. Now, as much as I would like to describe the details, infrastructure and layout of the above factory, I shan’t, It’s for the book, I need to formulate and turn the prose, and this, my friends takes time.

Relax – it will come, and hopefully you will like..

By the end of the Wednesday I was production’d out, let me tell you. However a glass of wine, excellent food and great company served a proper way to finish the day.

Note for those who are interested, If you travel to Porto and head outside of the town, into the hills of neighbourhood villages, there are no sign posts, no street names, and the most amazing restaurants are hidden in the middle of nowhere.

The one in question where I dined was next to a fabric mill, down an industrial estate, but nevertheless, had a view of a vineyard and amazing food! surprise!

1 hour after leaving the restaurant I was back at a different hotel about to check in. Now bearing in mind it was now 11pm and my flight was at 6am, my stay there was to be brief:

Here’s how check in went..

Me: checking in, the name’s Breuer

Hotel:  yes – staying for 2 nights?

Me: No, just the 1

Hotel: Really?

Me: Yes, really!

Hotel: Can I have your credit card

Me: Sure!, Can I have a wake up call tomorrow morning please?

Hotel: Yes, for what time?

Me: 4am!

Hotel: Of course!

Hotel: Ms Breuer, next time you stay, the breakfast will start at 7am until 10am,

Me: Thanks – good to know!

Hotel: Ms Breuer, would you like to use the gym?

Me: Does it look like I want to use the Gym, It’s now, 11.20 pm and I have to be up in 10 minutes, so it seems.

Hotel: I guess the gym is a no, ah so here is your card and the room is 233.

Hotel: Enjoy your stay!


And with that I headed to a beautiful room which unfortunately would only be required for sleeping and a super quick shower in around 8 minutes.

Thursday morning – with wake up call success, taxi’d and securitied, found me in an empty airport at around 04.30. ggrrrr

With no coffee, no food and no free wifi, I paced up and down the terminal walking like a runway model and finishing each strut with a Paris Hilton pose. Well, where else can one practice? Eventually the coffeehouse opened and an espresso was inhaled.

On the plane additional headflopping and dribbling was managed, and with the arrival at Frankfurt I tried to find some snack to nibble on..

Note to Airport – please make available non chocolate snacks at the magazine counters. Not everyone wants chocolate, some people like muesli bars and furthermore, SOME people are allergic to chocolate and beef jerky is not a true alternative. !

After further plane delays and more pacing  from me) the flight took off, landed and disembarked. I was on home turf.

In a dream world I would be chauffeured back home, lunch would be ready and a stack of magazines and mug of tea would be resting on the sofa. Alas Rather than heading back to my nest, to shower freshen up and relax, I headed straight into my consultancy job to be buried amongst fabric cards, spreadsheets and 106 emails. T’was a long day.

So there we have it, my research trip to Portugal in a nutshell. Busy, tiring but productive.

If you can find one glamorous aspect to that, please do let me know.