Monday, 23 November 2009

Random acts of kindness - and chocolate

My friend S. and her partner are down in Manchester at the moment, selling her beautiful handmade bath and body products at the big Christmas Market. By all accounts it is pretty dismal down there, what with the millenial floods and the recession. She sent me this text today, to post on my blog, relating one of those 'random acts of kindness' that makes life worth living.

Imagine the scene: a damp, discouraged trader standing in a wooden market booth, on the pedestrian precinct in Manchester, in the gloom and drizzle. She has to do this every day for 6 weeks.

S. wrote:
"A customer was saying how my rose hand cream reminded her of rose creams. I said to her that mentioning rose creams made me think of violet creams  [S. has a passion for all things smelling and tasting of violet]. The customer said that Selfridges have a Charbonnel & Walker concession, which sells rose and violet creams and we both drooled at the thought. The customer thanked me and then, without purchasing anything, left. 10 minutes later the lady returns with a single, perfect violet cream for the poor, damp trader. All is now well in the world and the trader has something worth more than the sale of a jar of hand cream."

I suppose S. would have liked to sell some handcream and get a violet cream, but maybe that would be greedy. I wish the mysterious violet cream lady could know just how much her random act of kindness meant to S.

By the way, if anyone is interested in some rather gorgeous bath and body products as a Christmas pampering treat, for yourself or someone else, I can recommend S's products (and no, I am not on commission! I am a genuine fan.). They are all made of totally natural ingredients, and because S is one of those (sickening) people with a real eye for presentation and design, everything looks stunning as well. Funnily enough, she doesn't do a violet range .....

You can buy from her website: Pringle and Fairweather. Or if you are in Manchester, you could go and find her on New Cathedral Street outside M&S. And her partner is in Albert Square, selling her 'diffusion range' (is that the right term???) Fanny and Claude's Fabulous Concoctions, which isn't available on the website. If you do see them, say 'hi' from me. Oh, and take her a violet cream.

And whilst on the subject of violet and rose creams (I am a rose girl, rather than violet), I can't resist raving about Whitakers Confectioners in Skipton. We used to go there as a treat when we were children. It's one of those wonderfully old-fashioned confectioners, with everything from humbugs, to fudge, to champagne truffles. We were too young for fancy chocolates then. What we always got was a sugar mouse - white, pastel pink, or pale yellow, with a string tail.  As a grown up, with pretentious airs and graces, I have graduated to their very sophisticated violet and rose creams. Although you can get Whitakers Chocolates in shops and supermarkets now, including the violet and rose creams, they have a more glamourous range, which you can only get in the shop, in heavy, plain card boxes, with the little crystalised violet and rose petals on top. Unfortunately they don't seem to be available on the website - so you'll just have to go to Skipton for a jaunt! Great market, interesting castle, canal boat trips - as well as violet creams - so well worth it.

And my final word on violet creams. Here's a picture of a print I have hanging in my study. I don't buy many pictures - I don't have a confident taste in 'art' - but this made me smile so much I bought it.
The title of the picture is 'Cup of Tea and Violet Creams'

The print is by an artist called Louise Quirke .
 A picture that features chocolate, dogs and bed, ticks all the boxes for me.


  1. I saw violet turkish delight today in Watt's coffee house in Carlisle- kind of tempting :-)

  2. On the violet theme, when I was in Paris on holiday this summer, I ate some violet ice cream, which was perhaps the most ambrosial substance I have ever had the good fortune to taste. I also had a violet Kir - i.e. white wine with a dash of 'Creme de Violette' rather than the usual Creme de Cassis. Looked beautiful but tasted like a glass of wine with a Parma Violet sweet dissolved in it. Not great.

  3. We just wrote about `a place of safety' for our writers' group homework and nearly everyone brought bed into it!