This week’s blog was already going to have Wilfie the cat in it, climbing into the box after I’d removed my new Davina McCall exercise bike, but I couldn’t resist putting the picture above in too.
This is my new, much-admired work bag with my initials on it that Chris bought me for my birthday, which is, incredibly, a month ago today! It lives in the hall when I am on my long run of eight days out of nine on-air, but this is the first time Wilfie has climbed inside it. It’s almost like he is saying, ‘Don’t go to work, Mum.’
The good news for Wilfie is that today is the last in my run of days and he is about to have five days of me at home, much of which will be spent in my loft room writing, which he loves as he lounges on the floor next to me. I have around 12,000 words to write to keep me on target to reach the deadline for my next book which is the end of July. I managed 3,000 words on Monday this week, so it is doable so long as I don’t get distracted. I’m not sure why Wilfie loves the top room so much as it is the hottest room in the house and he is wearing a permanent fur coat and, according to the weather forecast, it is going to be hotting up this weekend.
Luckily for Wilfie (and me) we finally managed to have the air conditioning unit fitted up there, as when it’s hot it’s like a sauna. We already have a unit in the family room because we live in a Victorian cottage with a south/west facing back garden and it gets very warm in the latter part of the day. The engineer was able to link the new unit to the existing one, but I did feel for him perched precariously on a ladder two storeys up, connecting the wires. At least he didn’t have the high winds of last weekend to deal with – every cloud etc.!
While on the subject of writing, two things; firstly, I’m going to attempt to do an Instagram simulcast when I start the reading of Carol’s Singing on my JuliaRobertsTV Facebook page tonight at 8 p.m. I’ve had a few people say that they don’t do Facebook, so we’ll give it a try and see what happens – please make allowances for this technophobe if it doesn’t work out. By the way, if you do ‘do’ Facebook, I’ve been asked by my publisher, Bookouture, to be part of a crime thriller panel of authors for a live broadcast on their page on Monday evening at 7 p.m., where you can ask questions about our journey to publication and our books if you’d like to join in.
But back to Instagram; you’ll find me at juliagroberts if you don’t already follow me and would like to see picture stories of my home and work life. I posted a video of me cleaning Wilfie’s teeth a couple of days ago and had so many responses saying there was no way their cat would let them do that.
It wasn’t by choice that I started cleaning Wilfie’s teeth. You may remember a blog post from a couple of years ago where I mentioned that he had to have teeth out because his are prone to decay – apparently some cats have more of a problem with this than others. The vet suggested teeth cleaning to try and avoid him losing more teeth and so far it appears to be working, as his teeth are positively gleaming. In a way it’s a shame that cats don’t smile, as he ought to be showing them off!
Speaking of smiling, I had a big grin on my face at the hairdresser’s yesterday.
I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous until I got to the salon and saw all the safety precautions they have put in place; taking your temperature on arrival, hand sanitiser, visors and gloves for the hairdresser, spacing, paying in advance to reduce contact etc etc. It is good to see how businesses have complied with the regulations as indeed we have at QVC.
It won’t be too long now until the beauty side of salons can re-open for treatments, but of course you can buy your beauty products from us and we have some more brilliant beauty Today’s Special Values coming up this week, one of which is already on pre-order. I’m not working tomorrow, so will not be doing any of the live shows for the fabulous L’Occitane Today’s Special Value. It’s a trio of three supersized products in the Almond fragrance; 950ml almond Shower Oil (which you can also use in the bath), 500ml almond Milk Veil and 150ml of the almond Hand Cream. It’s really good value for the supersizes… after the Today’s Special Value offer, these would cost £148 from us plus P&P, but while we have stock it’s£56.97 and on three Easy Pay interest-free instalments. As I mentioned, it’s on pre-order, launching on-air tonight at 9 p.m., and already has four 5 star reviews – don’t miss it if you’re a fan of the almond fragrance.
Then there is a Doll 10 make-up Today’s Special Value all day Tuesday and M. Asam on Wednesday, not forgetting the Liz Earle Today’s Special Value, which has been selected for our Beauty Day next Sunday – more on that on next week’s blog.
Can I just say that I really appreciate the comments you leave after reading my blogs – it’s good to know someone is reading them and enjoying them. Following the picture of the coffee and walnut cake I made for Chris for Father’s Day, I had a few requests for the recipe in your comments, so here it is:
Coffee and Walnut Cake
For the cake
7 oz self-raising flour
6 oz golden caster sugar
6 oz margarine
2 oz wlanuts (chopped quite small)
2 teaspoons coffee granules dissolved in a little warm water
For the icing
8 oz icing sugar
3 oz soft butter
2 teaspoons coffee granules dissolved in a little warm water
Small quantity of milk if required to mix
Walnuts (whole and chopped) for decoration
Cream the sugar and margarine in a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time then fold in the flour. Pour in the dissolved coffee – it should be a soft dropping consistency. Add the chopped walnuts.
Spoon into a greased and floured cake tin – I use a heart shape, but a 7 inch round is fine – and place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins at 170 degrees, fan assisted. Lightly depress the centre of sponge – it should spring back. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When cool, use a breadknife to carefully slice through the centre to give two round or heart-shaped cakes.
Cream the butter in a bowl and gradually add icing sugar, 2 oz at a time. When you’ve added 6 oz icing sugar, pour in the coffee mixture, mix and then add the other 2 oz icing sugar. If it feels quite stiff, add a few drops of milk to soften it.
Sandwich the two halves of the cake together with half the icing. Spread icing around the edges using a knife or palette knife and then spread the remainder of the icing over the top of the cake. Decorate with the walnuts as desired.
To be honest, I’ve stopped doing quite so much baking as I was feeling ‘a little bit heavy’, particularly as I’m less mobile than usual. That’s one of the reasons I ordered the Davina McCall exercise bike when it was a Big Deal last week. It arrived just after I left for work last Friday and Chris had put it together by the time I got home. Wilfie wasted no time getting into the box it came in the moment the bike was removed!
I haven’t been on it properly yet, apart from to set the right height for the saddle, as I want to run it past my physiotherapist first. I’m on quite a structured physio programme, but I thought the pedalling action would be good for flexibility of the ankle – I’ll let you know how I get on with it once Brittany has approved me using it at this stage of my rehabilitation.
Well, that’s about it for now. See you tonight on Facebook or IGTV (if it works) for the start of my Carol’s Singing novella, or if not, I’ll see you on air next Thursday.
Enjoy your weekend.