Reaching out…

It’s been a funny old week with quite a few people I follow on social media mentioning that they have been feeling a bit low. Maybe it’s to do with the realisation that we have now passed the hundred days mark since lockdown began and our world shifted. Although things have certainly eased a bit, we are not out of the woods yet and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling nervous about the next steps, so I thought I would share with you one of the motivational plaques that I have hanging on the wall of our downstairs loo.

‘Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations’… true, but it is the signpost I want to draw your attention to: Love, Hope, Faith, Believe, Knowledge and Strength. I know they are only words, but they are powerful ones and looking at this plaque several times a day makes me count my blessings and look ahead to the beautiful destinations that may be just around the corner.

Talking of beautiful destinations sets me thinking of Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Claire Sutton and I were lucky enough to be chosen as the presenters to front live broadcasts from the newly-opened Atlantis Resort in 2000. You may have heard Claire’s announcement on The Morning Show earlier this week that she was departing QVC after twenty-two years. I watched from home and must confess I felt pretty emotional. This photo was taken on the ‘wrap’ day after we had finished broadcasting all the live shows back to the UK. From that group photo, it is only Chas, our soundman (who is standing behind Claire and myself) and I who have been with the company throughout. Emma, at the front in sunglasses, returned to QVC after a break away to have her family.

Claire and I both came from similar working backgrounds; we were both professional dancers, so how funny that this photo popped up on my Facebook timeline this morning to remind me of a post from three years ago.

I’d put it on there after someone had made a comment about my novel, Alice in Theatreland, which is set in 1976, that I should have done some research into the fashion of the mid-1970s. If they had done their own research they would have known that I was a dancer throughout much of the 1970s, so not only did I know about the fashions, my ‘story’ was accurate in other aspects too, like the audition process back then, and the behind-the-scenes insecurities. This photo was taken when I was working at The Stork nightclub in 1975, which is what I based The Ostrich club in the book on – just the location, the storyline is completely fictional.

Not only was I aware of the fashion of the 1970s, I used to make a lot of my own clothes because dancers were often ‘resting’, and I was usually short of money. Funnily enough, Glen Campbell and I were talking about a similar period in fashion on our show together yesterday… I wonder if you ever unpicked the side seams of your already flared jeans to insert floral fabric!?! It was so lovely to see and work with Glen yesterday for the first time this year! This photo of us is from two years ago (thought I’d better mention that in case you were worried about social distancing), but I am wearing a Denim & Co. dress, which is the brand we were showing yesterday.

Although it was the first time I’d seen him in person this year, we do follow each other on Instagram where he often posts about the delicious food he makes. In fact, he commented on my picture last week of the halloumi burger and fries dinner that Chris had made me. Here’s another of Chris’s efforts, Asparagus and Bean Strangozzi.

It’s a dish I usually do, but I’ve been so busy writing, he has been doing all the cooking for the past ten days or so. This one has a Thai flavour to it, with the sauce made from peanut butter and light soy sauce along with chilli and spring onion – a very fine first attempt.

He’d be the first to agree that he’s not a ‘natural’ cook, but as long as he reads it properly, he can follow a recipe. He’s also a bit of a messy cook, which is why these lids from Kochblume, coming up as a Today’s Special Value on 16th July, will be ideal when he’s in the kitchen. They are quite ingenious as they prevent pans from boiling over – brilliant for rice, pasta, potatoes and peas etc. They can also be used to sit vegetables in to steam, with the normal pan lid over the top, and can be used in the oven to 230 degrees and in the microwave. I’ll be letting him loose with them this week!

So, as you may remember, I took a few days off to get some writing done on my next book and I’m pleased to report that the words flowed. I was very disciplined, even working outside in the shade throughout the heat of last week. My target over the nine days was eighteen thousand words, equating to two thousand a day, and I’m pleased to say I smashed it, achieving almost twenty thousand!

I shared this on an Instagram Live last evening, which you can watch if you’d like (juliagroberts) as I always put them up as videos afterwards. It’s lovely to get the live comments though, although I didn’t realise you need to physically scroll up to see them until near the end – technophobe strikes again. Amongst other things, I was talking about cleaning Wilfie the cat’s teeth (I’ll do a video for next week if you doubt me on that one), and also lamenting that I hadn’t heard from my local salon to book a hair appointment. I don’t know if they were watching, but I had a call this morning and I’m all booked in for Thursday… Hooray!

Of course, the beauty side of their business is still not allowed to open but fortunately QVC have great beauty brands and products to help you care for your skin at home. Coming next Tuesday, we have a Rio Facelite Today’s Special Value – it’s a flexible mask that uses red light and near infra-red to help get the best out of your skin and your beauty products.

Speaking of which, I have an hour of Elemis tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m., followed by Diamonique with lots of stunning new pieces at 4 p.m. The only downside to that is that I will miss the Crystal Palace match on TV… on second thoughts, maybe that’s not a downside after their last two performances!

Enjoy your weekend, whether you decide to stay in or go out,

Much love,
Julia xx

11 Responses

  1. Hi Julia
    Just took a photo of your plaque, l am going to try and look at it everyday, l am just going through chemo myself, and my 16 year old grandson who had a cancer operation yesterday, l am hoping that after this difficult road the sun may come out and shine for us both.

    1. Hi Judith
      I’m usually a bit slow with blog replies, but I just wanted to wish you and your grandson all the best.
      I’m glad my plaque struck a chord with you and hope it keeps you positive moving forwards.
      Love
      Julia x

  2. Lovely blog as usual. Look forward to reading next novel. Just saw your Yankee Candle show with Rosa. So great to have her back.

    1. Hi Anne,
      I’ve been busy writing this morning – another stint this afternoon, but still really flowing.
      It was so lovely to see Rosa & some gorgeous new Yankee Candle fragrances that I hadn’t smelt before too
      Love
      Julia x

  3. Hi Julia,
    I love the inspirational plaque. The sentiment is very true. It should be the foundations of our lives today. No matter what our race, religion, age , upbringing etc., without these we have nothing. Love, hope, faith, believe, knowledge and strength will be needed to carry us through these hard times and help us be better for it! Knowledge is power, and we will need it in bucket loads in the days to come. We need to get back to caring for one another and being kind to each other.
    Glad you’ve got your appointment with the hairdresser. I’m just glad I’ve got short hair and have been able to do it myself. I would have had it cut 3 times by now with my hairdresser!
    Tomorrow we are allowed to go further than 5 miles so hope to get a bit of sea air after all this time!
    Enjoy your days off and hope the writing is flowing.
    All the best, Tina S. xx

  4. Hi Tina
    I’m so pleased you like my plaque – the walls in my downstairs loo are covered with inspirational messages for my ‘down’ days which we all get from time to time.
    It’s a relief to be getting a professional colour on my hair & a bit of a trim too.
    I hope you manage to get out to the coast – with or without your fish & chips
    Love
    Julia x

  5. Hi Julia,
    Hope your keeping well in these strange times. Well my little toe has now healed after being broken, still have a bit of trouble wearing closed in shoes ie trainers as they press on the toes, so only wearing them for dog walking, then back to my Betula’s ( remember them ! ). Have a couple of pairs of the Sketcher toe posts too. I have really been enjoying the lovely weather we have been having, 30 + dgs… like being abroad isn’t it. Talking of abroad last time i wrote we had book marked a Mexico holiday in Feb for Ian’s 60th, we have now booked it, hopefully all will be ok to travel and be safe. We were hoping to go to our home in Cyprus for our Anniversary in Sept but really prefer to stay in this country at the moment, so we have booked a cottage near the sea in South Devon instead. The dogs are already booked in their hotel so might aswell take advantage of that. We have been all over North and South Devon and when i was a little girl we used to go to Dawlish, so we are going there for a couple of weeks.
    Ian’s back at work now, he’s been busy at home redoing our drive way, placing railway sleepers for edging ,, looks amazing just a bit of planting to do. Well done on getting another 2 books to write, i enjoy a good romantic novel ive just finished a book by Jane Mansell. Excellent ! Ive read about 20 books over the last few months, they have now gone to my local Waggy Tails dog charity Shop. Just looking at the photo taken in the Bahamas, i have been there 2006 in fact, a friend of mines sister in law used to live on one of the Abaco Islands called Hope Town, me and a friend stayed with them for 2 weeks we had to get a little plane over from Nassau, to the island . Beautiful weather the whole time, we did go over to Paradise Island before our flight home… Have some amazing photo’s what memories. Of course the islands were nearly destroyed by a Hurricane early this year, but Christine and family are back in the Uk again after living there for 20 years.
    Well i must stop rabbiting on, look forward to reading your new novel.
    Take Care
    Kathy x

  6. Dear Julia,
    Looking forward to seeing you present lovely Anna Griffin and can’t wait to see the new 48 “Treasure trove”
    Birthday card box… the outside looks beautiful too…plus 60 sentiments …I’m always running out of those….good luck.

    Also good luck with your new book..

    Warm wishes

  7. Lovely Blog well done Julia ‘ So very true Difficult Roads lead to Beautiful Destinations .
    Good Luck 🌹

  8. Hi Julia
    Love Qvc have been a member from the beginning it’s like part of our family .i was wondering if you could persuade the powers that be to introduce more clothes for men. It is lacking in this area whenever I tune in it’s all about women’s clothes. Not that I mind in the least my husband always comments on my clothes from Qvc it would be lovely to say this Qvc parcel is for him. More shirts trousers etc in all sizes would be lovely. I know you do men’s shoes and a few items but I think men should have a slot for them selves. I’m sure some of the designers would love to show their men’s designs. I would love to have the opportunity to buy for my husband and family members I only shop for my clothes and anything I need from Qvc. You and the Other presenters Tell us exactly what we need to know so we can make our choice . No flannel just the truth Even if it’s not what the designer wants mentioned. Or not even thought of . Keep up the good work all of you keep well

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