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From London to K Club and my Swiss Chalet ... this Dragon needs a break

THIS week has been one of the busiest yet as I've been trying to balance looking after my sick son Patrick (13), with my work commitments and launching the second series of RTE Dragons' Den.

The poor little mite has had a stomach flu all week and he's not quite over it yet, so I've been popping in and out of our house in Monkstown to check on him in between meetings.

I'm very lucky in that we have a full-time housekeeper, so she's been helping out when it comes to looking after him when I can't be there.

Myself and Patrick and my daughter, Grace (15), flew back from London on Sunday afternoon after spending a few days over there with my mother during the kids' mid-term break from school.

We had a lovely time shopping, going to the theatre and to the Ivy for dinner, as well as doing some sightseeing.

I had a very exciting evening on Sunday when I got back to Dublin because it was my first time to see the debut episode of the second series of Dragons' Den, which aired on RTE television last night.

One of my co-stars on the show, Niall O'Farrell, held an exclusive gathering at his house on Shrewsbury Road so myself and my partner DJ Carey had a wonderful evening catching up with everyone from the sound crew to the make-up artists to the gang from Shinawil.

Niall really put on a good show. He hosted supper for about 40 people with lashings of wine and Champagne and then we all went down to his personal screening room -- which is located right beside his underground swimming pool -- to watch the episode.

Myself and DJ were very sensible and went home by about 11pm. I like to go to bed at about 8pm three or four nights a week. I always find that my bedroom is kind of my sanctuary. It's where I relax. I might not go to sleep at 8pm but I will bring my cup of tea and my book or watch a bit of TV for a while.

I have to confess I do sleep with my Blackberry under my pillow so I'm never completely off duty. I'm a bit of a news junkie, so I like to have it close by. My week was very full of meetings. On Tuesday, I drove down with my PA to Mount Juliet in Kilkenny. I have a house there, so I had some meetings in relation to that. That evening, I was due at the Davenport Hotel, where I gave a speech to some ACA (chartered accounting) students. That took about 45 minutes so it was about 7.30pm before I got home and 8.30pm before I had caught up on all my emails and phone calls.

My working hours are very varied but I always make sure they fit in around my family -- that's the most important thing.

It was more meetings on Wednesday morning and then an afternoon at the K Club for me, where I had a lovely lunch with the ladies and presented some trophies. I'm lady captain of the club, although I have to admit I haven't had much time to concentrate on my golf lately.

Thursday, of course, was the big Dragons' Den launch day. I joined fellow dragons Gavin Duffy, Bobby Kerr, Sean Gallagher and Niall O'Farrell, to officially launch the show at the Shelbourne Hotel that morning. I had to be up nice and early to get in and get my hair and make-up done.

That's the funny thing about being the only female on the panel, I always have to be early to get mine done first because the men don't take too long. I'm not typically a woman who spends my time getting dolled up, I'm more outdoorsy and can usually be found playing golf or walking.

I do have a reputation for being tough on the show, but that's just for the cameras.

In reality, we're actually all quite down to earth and approachable. I think the second series is going to be huge though because from the very beginning there's great banter between us. We all know each other's nuances and quirks.

We shot the show before Christmas and throughout January so it's been a quick turnaround but the bar has definitely been raised.

Unfortunately, I couldn't stay too long at the launch as I had to be on a one o'clock flight to Geneva in Switzerland.

It was a very long day as I had a meeting and then I had to get a train to Zermatt, which is a three-hour journey.

I have a Swiss chalet overlooking the Matterhorn, called Chalet Grace which I rent out.

I will be staying in Switzerland until Tuesday so DJ and the housekeeper will be looking after the kids while I'm gone. It sounds very glamorous but I will actually be spending most of my time working.

The whole town shuts down for lunch between 12 and 2 every day, so I will go for a walk up the mountains and bring my book and have lunch.

It really helps when it comes to de-stressing, which is important to do from time to time when you have such a busy lifestyle.


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