My friend all but screamed at me: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I looked down at the potato in my left hand and the knife in my right and resisted the urge to state the obvious. To be fair she’s probably never before seen anyone peeling potatoes with a bread knife. Well, we all have our little peculiarities, don’t we? And this is not just any bread knife – it’s a 23 year old Kitchen Devil Roast Meat & Bread Knife.
Kitchen Devils are inexpensive and brilliant! Who knew it would still be going strong after all these years? I do have other knives (of course!) but I use this knife for pretty much everything that needs cutting, chopping, peeling or slicing. It even comes on holiday with me (i.e. when we go self catering in this country – can you imagine the furore if I tried to take it through an airport scanner)? I also take my ancient rim whisk since self catering establishments never have one. I don’t always use it – it depends quite what catering I’m doing – but when I need it, it’s there.
I also take a bath mat – yes really. I don’t like those thin towel-like ones with no rubber backing, so in it goes.
Then there’s brown sauce for cruise holidays! This is because they never have any on the breakfast table and when you ask for it they give you a tiny spoonful. It gets embarrassing saying, “more please …. still more!” It also takes ages to arrive and by then breakfast has gone cold. Given the excellent, often outstanding, level of service and the unlimited choice of foods available in generous quantity, I have never understood this strange little quirk but it’s the same on every cruise line I’ve been on. I should add here that we do not plonk a bottle on the table – rather open a discreet sachet or two much to the amazement of others who invariably exclaim, “What a good idea”. A discussion about cruise lines’ reluctance to provide sauce then usually ensues! (A tip for other cruisers – another option is to pop up to the self-service restaurant and get a couple from there before going into the waiter service restaurant).
My list of holiday essentials also include a pure silk pillowcase. I started sleeping on one of these years ago when I read that, unlike cotton which draw moisture from the skin, silk can help reduce wrinkles. Whether this is true, I have no idea but I like the feel and I like the fact that it stays cooler than cotton. Silk is also naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites. These pillowcases come with me wherever I happen to be sleeping. Fortunately, being light as a handful of feathers, they can travel even when I’m only taking hand luggage.
My Babyliss heated hairbrush also come everywhere. Dryer and styler all in one I deem it an essential even though I always hope not to need it as I always try to seek out a hairdresser when away from home. I have a ‘regular’ in Brixham and another in Madeira. When I’ve been on a cruise I have, in the past, used the on-board salon but a few years ago I refused to pay the ridiculously high price of a blow-dry (over £40) . I find that it’s much cheaper and very convenient to pop into a local salon early in the morning once in port and have never yet had anyone say that they can’t fit me in. Half an hour later I’m coiffed and ready to enjoy the day. The Babyliss comes into its own for a quick boost to the bob in between salons!
I never travel light in terms of skin care and always save the little containers from samples as these are ideal to decant products into. I have used those tiny perspex travel pots you can buy but I’ve read that some products deteriorate when exposed to light.
Reading material – so important! Although I prefer (a million times over) real books, the Kindle app on my ipad is very useful (again especially when flying with only hand luggage), and sometimes a recent publication will be on offer for 99p when the paperback is selling for several pounds.
Something that never used to figure is chargers. Nowadays we have chargers for phones, ipads, toothbrushes …. and guess what we did on our recent Brixham holiday – left the lot in a drawer in the lodge! They very kindly sent them on to us.
And finally … always taken but never used (so far) is an emergency dental repair kit. I have o idea how well this would work, or indeed if it would work at all but it’s a well travelled bit of kit!
No wonder my husband always asks, “How can we possibly need all this?”