I’m not going to lie; as I sit here writing my blog, I’m feeling a bit emotional. Today would have been my dad’s one hundredth birthday. We lost him quite suddenly almost thirteen years ago and despite trying to focus on all the good times we had together and how lucky we were to have him for so long, I still miss him terribly. I’ve posted pictures of him before as a young man (he was very handsome in my opinion, but then I may be biased) but I went through my photo albums this morning searching for this picture of him holding our son, Dan. Dad’s smile really could light up a room and I love this photo because Dan, aged around eight months, was fascinated by my dad’s gold tooth. Excuse the background by the way, we were in the middle of renovating our first house and Mum and Dad had come down from Nottingham to help.
I know I’m very lucky to have had parents who loved and praised and encouraged me and my brother and sister to be the best versions of ourselves. They were fantastic role models even when times were not easy and the values they have instilled in me are what drive me to do the things I do and never give up on a dream. My one major regret is that Dad didn’t live to see my words in print in my books. It’s a funny thing, in our family Mum was always the one to write cards and tags on presents and yet this tag was written by my dad on this birthday gift from around fifteen years ago.
It inspired me to write my first book, One Hundred Lengths of the Pool, which in turn gave me the confidence to start writing novels; seven of them to date with an eighth underway. With Father’s Day on Sunday, I just want to urge you to treasure your dad if you still have him and if, like me, he’s no longer with you in person, carry his memory in your heart.
I am so fortunate to still have my mum, and to lighten the mood, I thought I’d share this picture of her that she enclosed with my birthday card last week. It was taken in 1947, when she was twenty-one years old and amazingly, she was able to describe in detail the colours of the dress she was wearing. I thought I would share it on here after seeing all the footage of Vera Lynn who sadly passed yesterday, but what a magnificent age to reach.
Just to go back to my birthday for a moment, we were able to invite my daughter Sophie’s family round on Sunday for a socially distanced barbecue – we even managed a game of ‘Heads Up’ using separate phones so as not to cross-contaminate! Katie and Dan had made this fabulous cake using layers of shortbread sandwiched together with buttercream and decorated with chocolate-dipped strawberries and raspberries, meringues and edible flowers… it tasted as good as it looked.
The cake was one lovely surprise, followed by another, courtesy of Amber, Sophie’s partner Reece’s daughter. I absolutely love this picture, made of individual faceted stones, and was convinced that she had done it from a photo of Wilfie such is the likeness.
I was so thrilled, it has replaced the wedding photo of Chris and I in our family room because it just seemed to fit there better – don’t worry, the wedding photo has moved to a new home in the lounge!
Talking of Wilfie, I’ve been promising you a video of him playing football for weeks, but he just hasn’t obliged, however we did manage to capture him doing a lazy ‘stepover’ and it seemed appropriate to post it with the Premier League returning to our television screens this week – I bet the viewing figures have been huge! My team Crystal Palace take on Bournemouth tomorrow… Come on you Eagles!
And there’s another link – this blog really seems to be flowing today! I took this photo of our lawn to send to Richard Jackson a few days after treating it with his amazing Lawn Magic and look who has snuck into the right-hand side of the picture.
It’s my eagle sculpture, who is closely guarding the Richard Jackson lilies I planted. There’s no sign of any flowers yet and my red ones aren’t out either, but that’s probably due to the lack of sunshine this past ten days, although apparently, we are due some next week. That’s good news for me as I have taken a few days off work from next Monday – mind you, that’s supposed to be to get on with some writing!
Just out of shot on the previous photo is the fabulous Luxform lamp post, which is coming up as the Today’s Special Value on Sunday. Initially, I was wondering if it was going to work in my garden, particularly as we have a fairly small decked area and it’s already quite full of the dining furniture and all my planters. But then we moved it down the steps to be level with the lawn and WOW! I absolutely love it.
There are two different light settings, the brighter white light, which I have it set on in these photos, or the flickering flame. The light illuminated on Sunday before Sophie and Reece left and Reece, who is a testing and commissioning engineer for Network Rail so knows a thing or two about electrics, thought we had connected it up to mains electricity – he was very impressed. There is also a planter in the bottom, so you can change the look of it seasonally with different plants.
That’s Sunday’s Today’s Special Value, but before that we have a brilliant shirt dress from Ruth Langsford as our Today’s Special Value launching on air tonight at 9 p.m. There are three different length options and it comes in a choice of four plain colours and two prints. It’s already on pre-order on our website so I’m hoping there will still be stock available for my two-hour show with Ruth tomorrow from 3 p.m.
I’m also really looking forward to two hours of Butler & Wilson fashion jewellery on Sunday from 5 p.m. even though Simon will only be joining us remotely.
Well, that’s about it for this week. Do join me tonight at 8 p.m. on my JuliaRobertsTV Facebook page where I’ll be getting stuck into reading you the first few chapters of Christmas at Carol’s and on Monday at the same time for the last in the current run of iQVC quizzes… I’ll try and go live in the right place this week.
Have a good weekend.