Poppies…

The first poppy of the summer always brings a lump to my throat as it reminds me that we no longer have my beautiful cat, Poppy. We lost her just over two years ago, at the grand old age of twenty-two years and nine months and we have an enamel poppy in the garden to permanently mark where she lies. But when the real ones start flowering, I find myself thinking of what a lovely natured cat she was and how accepting she was when we first got Wilfie. I think he missed her terribly for the first few months, constantly going to the places where she used to sleep. So, this week, instead of the usual photo of Wilfie (he still hasn’t played football by the way) I thought I’d post one of our beautiful girl… I hope there are lots of flowers with her in cat heaven.

I don’t know how anyone else’s poppies are doing this year, but mine are going crazy! I only ever planted one, but we have loads of self-sets and they are all smothered in buds. We have a very colourful few weeks ahead, as not only will the poppies be out, but I’ve also ordered the ‘Gardening Pick of the Month’ osteospermums… two lots, actually, to fill in any gaps.

My garden has been the best ever this spring and I was so chuffed with the alliums I’ve grown for the first time, I featured them in the picture round of my new iQVC quiz on my @JuliaRobertsTV Facebook page, the first of which was last Monday.

I wonder if any off you stopped by to test your QVC knowledge and if so, how highly you scored? My presenter boss tells me he scored 43 out of 50 and that’s with insider information! He correctly guessed who this baby has grown in to – can you?

There will be more ‘young’ presenter photos on this week’s quiz but not necessarily naked!!!! If you enjoy quizzing, do join me at 8 p.m. on Monday.

However, before that, I have my Friday night reading, also at 8 p.m. So far, I’ve read self-penned short stories, but tonight will be a bit different… I’ve been given permission to read the beginning of my latest book a week ahead of publication. So, if you like my DCI Rachel Hart series and fancy a taster, join me later on my Facebook page.

This is a working weekend for me and of course it’s a long one as it’s Bank Holiday on Monday. We have a day-long ‘Got To Have It’ event with themed Home, Beauty and Fashion Got To Have It shows – the Today’s Special Value that day is a Skechers slider sandal, ideal for outdoors but also a good option for summer slippers. There are also general Got To Have It shows and I’ve noticed that Lee Hohbein is a guest for these so expect some fantastic electrical items. Speaking of which, we have a Nokia smartphone Today’s Special Value tomorrow. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a Nokia in the early days of mobile phones. Mine was a 3210 – how about you? I had a brilliant ‘flower power’ case on it with the word ‘FAB’ – I wish I’d kept it. The Today’s Special Value couldn’t be more different from those early offerings and you can check it out on air from 9 p.m. tonight.

This Sunday, we have a beauty Today’s Special Value. If you need more volume in your hair, the collection from Tweak’d might be right up your street. I was chatting to Eilidh at work yesterday, from a safe distance of course, and she was saying how much her hair liked the treatment. My issue is not so much volume but the rate at which my hair grows, meaning we had to do another self-colour treatment. I say ‘we’, but Dan’s girlfriend, Katie, did it for me. Once again, she did a very professional job and we tried a different brand this time, which has grabbed well, giving better root coverage so I will be able to rest my Color Wow for at least a couple of weeks.

There is another beauty Today’s Special Value coming up next Wednesday, this time from Laura Geller. It’s ‘The Champions Four-Piece Collection’ and has four hero products in it: Timeless Skin is the latest addition to the Spackle primer range, Balance-n-Brighten Foundation in your choice of colour, Baked Highlighter in French Vanilla and Italian Marble Lipstick in Honey Bun.

It’s already available on our website to pre-order at under £45 and has the benefit of two interest-free Easy Pay instalments. I have a whole hour of Laura Geller at 3 p.m. on Wednesday – it would be great to have your company.

One or two of you have been asking for some of the recipes of my recent baking, so here are my coconut tarts:

Coconut Tartlets

Pastry:
4 oz self-raising flour
4 oz wholemeal
2oz butter
2 oz trex white fat
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of cold water

Filling:
2 oz margarine
2 oz caster sugar
1 medium egg
1 and a half oz desiccated coconut
Half oz self-raising flour
Strawberry jam

Pastry method:

Mix flours and salt in large bowl and rub in butter and trex to create breadcrumb texture. Using a knife, mix in the cold water to form a dough. Turn out on floured surface and roll out fairly thinly. Using a cutter cut 12 rounds and place in a patty tin. Place half a teaspoon of jam in the bottom of each. (Use remaining pastry to make jam tarts or a jam turnover).

Filling method:
Cream margarine and sugar until smooth, then add egg and beat lightly. Stir in coconut and flour then spoon over jam to completely cover.
Bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees, (170 degrees fan), gas mark 4.

We didn’t have a movie night this week, as Wednesday evening was so warm that we decided to stay outside listening to music after an al fresco dinner, but normal service will be resumed once the weather changes.

So finally, the most recent photo of my tree fern. It’s impressive how much it has grown when you think of the first picture from around a month ago. And I also promised you an update on the progress of my Richard Jackson lilies. I’m actually a bit worried that I may not have planted them deep enough as they seem to have sprouted quite quickly, but that will remain to be seen.

I hope you all have a good Bank Holiday weekend and remember to join me on my Facebook page for the book reading tonight or the iQVC quiz on Monday, or both if you’re looking for something different to keep you amused.

Much Love,
Julia xx

17 Responses

  1. Lovely memories of your cat Poppy, I understand the heartbreak! we lost our Princess Bella three years ago and I look at her photo every day. They are a such a joy when they are with us. Now hopefully doing what they all love hunting, eating and sleeping plus of course cuddles!!

    1. Hi Michele
      What is the saying… better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I feel so blessed to have had her for so long.
      Love
      Julia x

  2. What s lovely picture of Poppy, she was such a gorgeous cat. She reached a grand old age . It is so sad when we lose them. The poppies are a lovely way to remember her, xxx

    1. Hi Sandra,
      She was only a couple of years old in this photo – I’ve often posted pictures of her as an old lady but wanted to share this – she was so pretty
      Love
      Julia x

  3. Coconut tarts look nice. I will try them with egg replacer instead of eggs as I am intolerant of eggs. Should work ok

  4. We never forget, do we? We lost our Magpie cat at 18 the same week as Poppy left you. I sent you my sympathies then and I send them again now. We now have two wee beasties who are brilliant company (translation: borderline lunatics) but the pain of losing their predecessors never quite goes away. The price we pay, I guess.

    I maintain Wilfie is waiting to see how Project Restart goes before refreshing his footballing career.

    Very best wishes

    SheMag x

    1. Hi SheMag
      I think you could be right about Wilfie and project restart, although he did have a sneaky little play one time when I was unable to film him!
      I remember feeling devastated when we lost Dylan but we already had Poppy so the blow was lessened slightly. You are right though, it’s the price we pay if we want to have pets.
      Love
      Julia x

  5. Hi Julia…..first of all can i say a very well done on a brilliant quiz on monday eve, as I’ve watched QVC since day 1 i had to join in …i actually scored 48/50 which i was pleased about , my hubby said i should have scored 50/50 the amount of time i watch QVC lol, i will be looking forward to next monday!
    I love ready your blogs and as a cat lover myself, have enjoyed seeing photos of your cats, poppy and Wilfy, i can’t believe its been 2 years since you lost beautiful Poppy i remember ready your blog when you lost her and feeling your sadness as i to know the pain well, i lost my first cat Maddie in 2011 age 18…and sadly this time last year i found out my beautiful cat ponny was in end stage kidney failure, after showing only a little lost weight as a symptom, the vet thought she might have thyroid issues but on taking blood tests revealed the awful news, she had some treatment and she vet came 3 times a week to give her fluids and injections but after a week of not eating and going downhill so fast we had to make the decision to have her put to sleep on the 8th july she was only 7 years old, i was totally devastated miss her so much! But as a family whose home feels empty without a feline friend after a short time we rescued a little grey kitten and my son named her Luna, you never replace the cat you loose but having Luna ( who has just turned 1) has filled a hole in our lives and we love her to bits!
    After reading your blog as a coconut fan I’m definatly going to be making those coconut tarts they look delicious, i hope mine turn out as well as yours!!
    Anyway have a lovely weekend and i look forward to joining you for week 2 of the quiz, thank you for taking the time to put the quiz together it really is enjoyable and much needed especially in the situation we are living in at the moment…
    Stay safe
    Love Sadie xx

    1. Hi Sadie,
      I’m so pleased you enjoyed week 1 of the iQVC quiz… 48/50 is seriously impressive! I’m just putting together week 3 now so I hope you’ll join me for that on Monday.
      So sad to hear that you lost ponny at such a young age – Wilfie is just coming up to seven and we would be devastated if anything happened to him – I’m glad you now have Luna to fill the hole left.
      I wonder if you’ve made the coconut tarts yet? They are my son’s favourite cakes but I don’t make them often.
      Love
      Julia x

  6. Hi Julia,

    Thanks as always for your blog & recipes. So good knowing you are a fellow vegetarian so I can follow with confidence.

    I must say your Poppy was the most beautiful cat – she looked so content in your photo. I hope that she is playing amongst the flowers where she rests.

    Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sun : )

    Big hugs, Joanna xx

    1. Hi Joanna
      Thank you for saying Poppy was beautiful- she was, inside and out.
      I wonder f you’ve tried the coconut tarts yet? – suitable for non veggies too 😉
      I’m glad you enjoy my blogs
      Love
      Julia x

  7. Hi Julia,
    Your blog brought a lump to my throat reading about your treasured Poppy and how you have a lovely reminder of her in your garden. My cat ,Chloe was 13 when we had to have her put to sleep. It broke my heart. I have always had cats while growing up but she was my “baby” ! I would phone my husband from work and the first thing I would say would be ” where’s Chloe? “. She’d be the first to be greeted when I got home after a long shift. Just as well I have a husband who is understanding . He tolerated the cat but didn’t realise how fond of her he was till she was gone. It’s been over 20 years now but I still miss her and have her photo’s on my fridge.
    We have some lovely poppies too and some that the birds must have seeded as they are not the type we planted. They come every year in my front garden the small yellow coloured ones.
    Well I’m getting used to my short back and sides haircut but I didn’t use the bright burgundy colour as I was too afraid after I saw the colour it stained my fingers! So I will have to get the usual boring colour I normally use.
    All the best, keep safe, from Tina S. x

    1. Hi Tina,
      It is amazing how attached to our pets we become – I still think of Dylan who we lost in 2000… in fact all the cats we’ve had, Charlie & Daisy are much missed but Poppy was our most recent loss so still the most tender – having the poppies in the garden really does help though.
      Disappointed in you not being more daring with your hair colour, Tina 😉
      Love
      Julia x

    1. Hi Pamela,
      I’ve not really had much time off what with working at QVC and writing, but every available minute I’m in the garden – I especially love al fresco lunches and dinners.
      Love
      Julia x

  8. Hello Julia
    I hope you won’t mind me asking but I wondered where you got your worktop from and what is it called ? I’ve been looking for a work top for 2 years and not seen one I like until now It’s gorgeous …

    Kind regards
    Caroline

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