Anyone for a cookie?

I’m sure quite a few of you have been doing a little more baking during lockdown, provided you’ve been able to get the ingredients, but I honestly thought it would be me rather than my son, Dan, doing the extra baking! I’ll tell you more about these yummy chocolate chunk and pecan nut cookies later in the blog, but first I wanted to share some of the fabulous shows and events we have on QVC over the coming few days.

If you watch the gardening shows I present, you will know how much I love my garden, and I feel very fortunate to have had this outdoor space whilst the weather has been so glorious. When I haven’t been working out the plot for the new book I’m about to start writing, I’ve been outside reading and enjoying the sounds and smells around me. This ceanothus attracts the bees so there is the constant industrious hum of them buzzing around while the air is heavily perfumed by my neighbour’s white lilac tree, situated on our border very close to our ‘al fresco’ dining space.

We’ve had a few lunches outside, but last night, prior to the ‘clap for our carers’ at 8 p.m., we had spaghetti bolognese (made with Quorn) accompanied by champagne… again, I’ll tell you more about that later! Our spring garden has been so pretty with all the de Jager bulbs and a couple of days ago I noticed the first signs that our tree fern is about to unfurl its fronds. These furry nodules don’t look particularly promising but I’ll post another picture in a couple of weeks time and I’m pretty sure you will be amazed.

I have a couple of gardening hours with Micheal Perry tomorrow at 4 and 5  p.m., which hopefully will feature the Thompson & Morgan Gerbera Today’s Special Value if the stock lasts that long.

Our plants having been proving very popular, understandably, as we have a huge variety and we deal with well-regarded growers. All our plants are direct dispatch so they do take a little longer to reach you, 7 – 10 days rather than 3 – 5 and there are occasional slight delays in these difficult times, so please bear with us.

Talking of these difficult times, thank you so much if you’ve felt able to contribute to our ‘Giving Back’ initiative to help raise money for the National Emergencies Trust to help people in real need at this time. Our initial target was £125,000 (a donation of £50,000 from QVC, plus a pledge of £2 for every £1 donated by you) but thanks to your generosity, we have now increased that target to £200,000 – please see the message from His Royal Highness Prince William on our website for more information – together we can make a difference.

So, lots of gardening shows tomorrow, but none on Sunday as it is The Great Beauty Event. We have a Judith Williams Today’s Special Value for the day and lots of other favourite beauty brands featuring, including full-hour shows from: Doll 10, Perlier, Nails Inc, Shay & Blue, L’Occitane and Laura Geller. I’ll be with you bright and early at 9 and 10 a.m. Even if you’re fully stocked with beauty products, they make a thoughtful gift for others and can be sent directly to the recipient for birthdays, anniversaries, thank yous and congratulations, which brings me nicely to the cookies and the champagne.

As well as a full-time role in HR for a well-known department store/supermarket, Dan’s girlfriend Katie has also been studying for her Level 4 diploma in Paralegal Studies. Not only has she qualified, she has done so with flying colours, finding out this week that she achieved a ‘Distinction’.

Understandably, Dan is very proud of her and would normally have gone out to buy her some flowers but obviously that’s not possible at the moment, so I came up with the idea of buying iced flower biscuits from an online company I’ve used before. Unfortunately, they couldn’t guarantee a delivery date so Dan said, ‘let’s make some cookies instead.’ Fortunately, we had all the ingredients and Dan’s first attempt at baking biscuits was as good as his first attempt at coffee and walnut cake a couple of weeks ago – maybe he’s missed his calling! That was also the reason for the champagne celebration with last night’s dinner. Incidentally, the photo of Katie was taken on her birthday before lockdown, in case you were wondering.

I was also indebted to Katie this week because she coloured my hair for me on Tuesday. I’d been putting it off as I’ve never home-coloured before, but I was starting to run low on Color Wow and anyway, it was starting to get to the point where my ‘roots’ were almost an inch. She did a really good job, applying with a brush like the professionals do – that should keep me going for a few weeks!

I’ve now run out of my self-published full-length novels to offer for free on your Kindle, so tomorrow’s offering will be the very unseasonal ‘Christmas at Carol’s’ novella. At around 20,000 words – it won’t take you long to read and might transport you back to happier times before the current upheaval started.

Before I finish, I just wanted to highlight a couple more things coming up on QVC this week. Butler & Wilson is back on Tuesday – unfortunately I’m not working Tuesday, but Butler & Wilson World is on with Chloe at midday and Debs Flint will be with Simon ‘ virtually’ at 6 p.m.

Also, we have Diamonique Day on Thursday. The Today’s Special Value is a pretty droplet pendant necklace from the Escape by Melissa Odabash range – it will be available on pre-sell so maybe check our website early. We all need a bit of sparkle in our lives at the moment, so I hope you’ll join me at 5 and 6 p.m. on Diamonique Day, as well as some of my shows before then.

Stay safe and much love,
Julia xx

13 Responses

  1. Hi Julia It is great to see you back at QVC! Thanks for the free downloads which is really kind I read Alice in Theatreland last week it was brilliant. I had already bought the liberty sands trilogy which I enjoyed but this is my favourite. Take care Shelly x

    1. Hi Shelly,
      You are most welcome re the free downloads – I was trying to think of some small way to help encourage people to stay at home. I’m only able to do this with my self-published books which I’ve now run out of, but I hope you download Carol’s Singing before midnight Wednesday, even if you leave it until later in the year to read.
      So pleased to hear you enjoyed the Liberty Sands trilogy and particularly liked ‘Alice’ where I was able to draw on my experience of being a dancer in the 1970s.
      Julia x

  2. Hi Julia,
    Hows the ankle getting on, seen you wearing trainers, i suppose they give you support soon be back in your toes posts. 2 weeks ago today ( sat) i broke my little pinky toe on my right foot, caught it on the step going indoors, after a few unprintable expletives Ian said look down , my little toe was at right angles. ! We strapped it to the next toe and went to A & E where an X Ray showed a diagonal break, armed with dressings and 2 toes strapped together properly by the nurse, i waited while Ian brought the car round to the entrance. Very quiet in the hospital a very strange almost earie feeling too. Strange times at the moment. So i have been enjoying the lovely sunny warm weather over the last nearly 2 weeks topping up my Tan from Mauritius, talking of Mauritius remember the couple we met while looking around the Maritim Resort, i had a lovely email and photo’s from them, they went to Grand Baie a bit further up the coast they loved it a bit more lively and some great hotels and beaches, think it’s only about 30/ 40 mins away from where we were . (They live in Florida by the way ) So will take a look at them. We also had an invite to the wedding when and where they decide where to have it. ! Sound like us can’t decide where to have our Vow Renewal. I suppose you booked somewhere for you 1st Anniversary, so difficult to know what is going to happen, we were hoping to go to Cyprus in Sept for our 8th Anniversay but doubt somehow it will happen, but we have book marked but not booked a holiday to Mexico it’s Ian’s 60th in Feb next year, we decided against Sunscape although it looked very nice. Love the photo of your son’s girlfirend, she is a very pretty girl, hows Sophie getting on any mention of wedding bells yet. ! Are you still going to get a little doggie, i saw a Dalmation on one of our walks (before the toe break) and thought of you straight away, hopefully when your ankle is properly mended. I wouldn’t be without our 2 collies, love them to bits.
    Well better go and get my book and sun cream, Sun out
    Bye for now.
    Kathy x

    1. Hi Kathy
      Nice to hear from you and so sorry to hear about your broken toe – I hope it’s on the mend?
      Unfortunately, I won’t be in toe-post sandals for a long time. Although the bones have mended in my heel/ankle it wasn’t a simple procedure I had done. I had to have tendons inserted under the muscle in my ankle as mine were badly frayed so there was a great deal of swelling while my body got used to something ‘alien’. The consultant has said the swelling should have gone by June, which is great news, but I will still require support for my ankle for up to 18 months following surgery – I’m 3 months in so a long way to go and lots of physiotherapy.
      We didn’t have any plans to go away for our 1st anniversary as we were supposed to be holidaying in Spain with Dan & Katie and Sophie, Reece and the children a few weeks prior, but that now is cancelled of course. I had wondered about a gathering at home so maybe we’ll do that if lockdown is lifted. Thanks for your comment about Katie and I must say I agree. Sophie is happy with her family – wedding bells were a long time coming for her parents!
      Keep in touch
      Julia x

    1. Hi Marie,
      I hope you managed to get the Melissa Odabash necklace? When something is highlighted in our blogs it’s a link that takes you directly to the website to order.
      Julia x

  3. Hi Julia,
    Lovely to see the photo’s of your plants blooming. It really lifts the spirits to be able to get out into the garden. I love Lilac trees as it takes me back to my childhood when my grandparents had one. As you say the smell is fabulous. I managed to get one last year. I also got Wallflowers for the same reason. I just love them. Its funny how certain smells can transport us back ! Hopefully the garden centres will be re-opening soon as they have in other countries.
    Am also missing the hairdressers as I am well overdue for a hair cut. I keep my hair quite short and had made an appointment the very week the lock down was announced. I’m so desperate for a cut that I let hubby trim the back. I’m trying to resist using the clippers on it.
    Missed seeing Wilfie this week. Hope he’s behaving himself. There are 3 cats that cut across my garage roof every night. I’ve been leaving cat treats for them. They are quite timid and bolt at the least thing.
    Well I’m off to read my book before I turn in. Am on my last book as I’ve run out of new books . Will try and order some until the book shops re-open!
    Take care and keep safe. Hopefully things will start getting back to normal sooner rather than later.
    All the best, Tina S. xx

    1. Hi Tina
      One of my honeysuckles is now in full bloom, another fragrant plant I adore, along with jasmine and osmanthus… actually the list is endless!
      Fortunately, I’d had a trim at the hairdresser in early March in readiness for returning to work but my roots are the issue. Dan’s girlfriend, Katie did a great job applying the colour but the product didn’t give as good coverage as my normal Aveda colour. My hair grows so quickly, it will need doing again soon.
      I still haven’t been able to catch Wilfie playing football, but I posted a photo of him as a kitten on my latest blog to keep everyone going 😂
      Julia x

  4. Hi Julia those cookies look lovely its just lucky I dont have all those ingrediants to hand i think that when this lockdown is over we will all be on diets i now have a large notice on my fridge that says Keep Out sadly its not having much notice taken of it oh well if thats our only problem its not a problem if you know what i mean so many families are having a bad time so we must all count our blessings /// its lovely to have you back on screen we miss all our favourites when they are not there just hoping everyone there at qvc although missing are well and just self isolating ….love seeing pictures of your garden and have really enjoyed all the gardening shows i received my Miracle Gro compost yesterday so have started potting up just waiting on my Geraniums now anyway Julia take care and keep well and by the way your hair is beautiful love Pam xx

    1. Hi Pam
      You’re right, I think gyms will do great business when all this is over. I feel very fortunate to have our little home gym at the bottom of the garden which has seen a huge amount of use from Dan, Katie and of course me on a daily basis. At last I’m starting to feel like I can manage some of my old fitness regimes… Aeropilates, treadmill and my Instride Walker too, not to mention the Bodyblade.
      I did some planting on Saturday, but still have a bit more to do – I have to pace myself with both my wrist and my ankle.
      Thanks for the kind compliment about my hair
      Julia x

  5. Hi Julia

    Lovely to see you back on QVC, hope your ankle is getting on OK.
    One thing that does worry me – since your return you haven’t been wearing your wedding and engagement rings – just wondered why?
    Keep safe

    1. Hi Jackie,
      No need to worry – I don’t know if you know, but as well as my ankle operation I also fell off my crutches and broke my wrist. Although the bones are healed, I still have swelling and can’t get my rings on at the moment – I do mention in on air from time to time.
      Thanks for your concern
      Julia x

  6. Thanks Julia, I can stop worrying now ! I wasn’t aware you’d broken your wrist, so hope this heals well and the swelling subsides so you can wear your gorgeous rings very soon.
    Incidentally, love your tree fern, bet it wasn’t a QVC purchase !!
    Take care

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