Well around this time I always do my review of the year, as you’ll see below. But first, a bit of looking back at Christmas! I hope yours was wonderful, or at least you got a break. Mine was unusual for me this year since I worked it, instead of working over the New Year. But having New Year off will be a golden opportunity for me to take a little break, since 2019 included a bout of exhaustion for me. Too many ‘Debbie days’ as Craigy would put it!
We had a tremendous time. Here’s just one of many wonderful moments from my Christmas. Boxing Day featured daughter Lauren turning up with family and a visit back to my sisters for a Christmas music quiz, which we do annually. This year, we divided the questions into decades. Turns out my music knowledge ends when you get to the noughties and the 2010s. The next day, 27th, was spent with both of my children and their children. Pure happiness and joy. My best present – specially created photo albums with pictures of granddaughter. You? It’s all over for another year, now got to get stuck into some serious fitness for 2020. Looking forward to seeing Bruce from Bodyblade on the 7th/8th!
So what of 2019?
It’s the year in which I celebrated being back at QVC for ten years (16 in total, but they don’t count the initial period!), I helped Medical Detection Dogs once more with their shopping list of products for the doggies that help humans, had surprises galore, and lost a treasured pet.
Fun family time
The long overdue family reunion with my Dad’s remaining sisters. Both Eileen and Jean came along in August. It was especially poignant, because not long afterwards, we lost lovely Jean. It’s so great to have these memories though and thank goodness we got to see her in the summer. Eileen said she loved the get-together and I’m so grateful we made it happen. Another big one next year, and as I’m one of 16 cousins, it should be huge!
Book of the Year – The Two Lives of Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen
What can I say? The book I loved and predicted would be a major book group fave, has now been optioned for a Hollywood movie! And it’s not just potentially happening, it’s happening! They’ve already got production people attached to it. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Meanwhile, if you want to read a belter of a clever book – a book for our time, without being ‘woke’ – the same life told from two different angles: one, a woman, and the other as if the main character had been a man, with Julie’s usual empathetic characters and compelling plot. Get this one.
A really well-constructed and unusual one, featuring ‘heir-hunters’, a topic that fascinates me – The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing. I do hope there will be more from this clever author, and definitely in this time period, it’s partly set around WW1. A current day heir-hunter discovers a tangled web of ancestors and several surprising and tragic secrets, and it includes flashbacks to different eras in the 20th century. Who knows, maybe this time next year I’ll have finished my own 5th novel, French or Dutch, also set around then and just afterwards. I live in hope! Lol.
Watch of the Year
Oooh so many choices this year! But the stand-out movie in the end, I decided was a current one: Last Christmas. I adored this film. I didn’t guess the twist (and I pride myself on guessing film plots) but I’d handed myself over to just enjoying it. Romantic, great music (George Michael, naturally) but most of all, I loved it for the hilarious cameos that took it to the next level. Saw it twice and will probably see it again over yuletide! Catch it in cinemas now if you can.
As far as theatre was concerned, I loved a play Sheena (one of my best mates in Devon) and I went to see at Okehampton Merlin cinema, a double hander one act play starring Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings called ‘Hansard’, about an MP and his estranged wife in their country home, finally revealing their innermost secrets, one day in 1988.
I adored ‘Fleabag’. What more can I say. I even bought the scripts in a hardback for one of my best friends. If you haven’t seen Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s incredible two-series-long tragic-comedy about real women and their dramas plus the funniest script and featuring a (very) hot priest, see it on catch up.
There were many others but these were the stand outs for me this year. You?
Podcast of the year
I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to podcasts this year, of all different descriptions. From health (Liz Earle) to politics (Brexitcast and For the Many by Iain Dale, plus Spectator Coffee House Shots, to name just three). A special mention goes out to our very own Will Gowing and his QVC interviews. Histories and exposes, funnies and ‘how I got here,’ from Tova to Simon Wilson, and a few presenters so far too. Ali Keenan is in one of the latest ones!! Go here to listen!
Vlog of the year
There were honestly too many, and I always love my writing hols in France at Chez Castillon near Bordeaux, even when the temperature hits 40 degrees like it did this June! But the vlog that truly captures the fabulousness that was my holiday of the year – of the decade actually – is this one.
From the Caribbean cruise we went on in February, where Mum, Sis, their partners and I floated down a bayou and held alligators, I held a snake, we went diving to the coral reef near Grand Cayman, and walked through Mayan ruins. Truly the holiday of a lifetime. See more pics on the two blogs, including this one here.
So we’re doing one like it again next year! This time for my birthday in May, the South Caribbean including St Lucia and Antigua. Plus, I’ve decided that for my 60th, two years after, I’m going to take a mini-sabbatical and cruise round the world for a whole month. Or two… depending on budget, and on the grandbabies…
Because the highlight of the year has to be watching my two adorable granddaughters becoming little people. Blake is now nearly two-years-old and Phoebe is 14-months-old, and they have turned into the light of my life. Just like every other grandparent I’m sure, I just love them to bits and want to keep filling up my baby-love silo with superb cuddles and activities that make my heart sing. Looking forward to more time with them in 2020!
And thanks to my sister and family for a wonderful surprise birthday party in May – it really took me by surprise and I burst out crying! A real treat and made me feel so special!
(A final, more diverse, highlight would have been the turn out in the political world, but I don’t do politics on here! Suffice to say, I’ve enjoyed helping my local MP in Devon with some tips on videoing…!)
And a sad memory was the loss of my lovely 9-year-old Labrador Gracie, pictured here with her sister in March. Such a lovely creature, now with Holly and Patch over the rainbow bridge. I love spending time with my one remaining Labrador, Daisy, though, and looking forward to some fab walks with her when I get back to Sheepwash.
Favourite product of the year
Since the Ring doorbell and the Amazon Alexa have had my vote previously, and there are so many top beauty products, including the Hairfix Supersize of the Month (still available if you’re reading this in December!) I’ve used it to great effect, it helps to stimulate the follicles around my hairline, and now my brother Glenn is trying it!
Or the generic ‘trapeze’ dress design that I’ve loved and raved about all year from Nina Leonard. Fabulous choices online and great for those in between occasions, I’ve worn several different ones to the varied do’s I’ve attended this year. Just love the pockets and the shape is amazing for my body. Go here to search them.
Also the hot tub I finally got to put up in a scorching period this summer in the back garden in Devon. Perfect for those winding down times you dream of. Hope I can get it put up again and we have a nice summer again next year…
Yes, it’s next year when I’ll be doing my next blog! I’m looking forward to…
- The new puppy arriving at brother Glenn’s family house (where I stay when I’m in London working at QVC), and another trip to see the MDD pups in Milton Keynes.
- Getting back in shape. Bruce is back from Bodyblade in January with his top workout device (the best I’ve ever known, if you only buy one, get this one.
- The cruise holiday in May! Jennie, my yoga pal in Devon, is looking forward to joining me as a treat for looking after Daisy so often for me.
- Initiating a ‘Himalayan Balsam’ countryside clean in conjunction with the Devon Wildlife Trust, helping them banish this invasive intruder from our verges and woods, in conjunction with the CWO – looking forward to their conferences and stuff too.
- Finishing my flipping 5th novel French or Dutch! And hosting two top London agents down in Devon for an ‘ask an agent’ weekend. Quite an achievement, considering the success of March’s ‘pitch to a publisher’, it seemed like a good idea!
- And who knows, another grandchild…?! I live in hope!
This weekend and next week on QVC
Saturday – go here to see and buy the new Ruth Langsford double rib V-neckline jumper, already on early bird link.
Sunday – Homedics are back with the Travel Stretch Mat – Simon tested it in our presenter lounge this week.
Monday – Skechers are back with the Skech Air Dynamight Trainer.
Tuesday, New Year’s Eve – get your peggies sorted with the Smile Science Pro whitening treatment.
Wednesday – New Year’s Day – Pack Mate are here with the 12-piece vacuum bag set.
Thursday – we have the Isaac Mizrahi Live scallop hem long sleeve knitted jumper.
Friday – more keep fit with the Cubii Jnr seated elliptical trainer – fabulous product for the sedentary or office workers.
Friday at 9pm – and finally an early bird launch midweek for the Saturday TSV, from Sealy – get a new mattress or whole bed, ready for Sleep Better Springtime!
Big Deals old and new
Absolutely Famous 3/4 length sleeve rib knit hacci top
Hairfix three-piece Deep Silk Volumising collection
Emu Beach Alston mid height boot
Cozee Home Velvetsoft embossed four-piece duvet set
Kin & Co printed brushed Venechia long sleeve shirt tail tunic
Dr Botanicals Ultrasonic Pod aroma diffuser and humidifier
Silentnight Breatheasy memory foam pillow
Simply Beauty Precision single hair epilator
Have the most wonderful New Year and may QVC put a smile on your face in 2020. Even if it’s not quite the way Dale did with my blooper of the year… here it is again. Priceless!
— Dale Franklin (@dalefranklintv) December 13, 2019