I’m starting today’s blog with some lovely family news. While they were away on their dream holiday in the Maldives, which had been postponed by a year due to the pandemic, my son, Dan proposed to his girlfriend, Katie and she said yes! We are so happy to be welcoming Katie into the Maxwell family – as my mum put it when they rang to tell her the news within hours of getting back from holiday, ‘she’s one of us’, which I hope is a good thing!
I have to say a big thank you to our fabulous Alison O’Reilly, who designed the stunning ring which Dan had to smuggle out to the Maldives in his sunglasses case so that it would be a surprise for Katie. She had expressed an interest in having a sapphire ring if they ever got engaged as that is the birthstone for September, the month they first started dating. I’m sure you’ll agree, that is not just any old sapphire… it’s truly a stunner!
Alison also designed my beautiful engagement ring and, as mentioned in my previous blog we celebrated the fourth anniversary of our engagement earlier this month. I also mentioned that I had another anniversary approaching.
It’s ten years since the 360 health check that highlighted an ‘issue’ with my blood. I took the call on Friday 13th April while I was at work and on Monday 16th April I was at UCLH for further blood tests. The bloods were checked while I waited, and I was then called back into Dr. Gavin Ling’s office where I received a preliminary diagnosis of suspected Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, which could be confirmed by undergoing a bone marrow biopsy that he recommended I had there and then.
This photo was taken the next day. It was at the leaving do for one of my favourite ever people that I’ve worked with in my 28 plus years at QVC, Dickie. I was feeling quite fragile, both emotionally and physically, but there was no way I could miss his send off. I hadn’t mentioned to anyone what had happened the previous day, but I’m fairly certain Dickie knew something was up.
My follow-up appointment for the results of the biopsy was with Professor Anthony Goldstone on April 26th. It confirmed the preliminary diagnosis, and my treatment began immediately. I always remember the ‘prof’ saying in answer to my question about prognosis, ‘You’ve got a good fifteen years if you respond well to treatment. You should easily make 70!’ It seemed a long way in the future, but I’ll be 66 in June so I’m rather hoping he was erring on the side of caution.
What his words did do though, once I started to feel okay after the initial onslaught of the oral chemotherapy drugs, is spur me on to do things I’d always wanted to do. Like writing my books, who knows if Life’s a Beach and Then, my first book would ever have been started, let alone finished and self-published if I hadn’t had that time limitation hanging over my head. I’m currently almost done with the first draft of my tenth novel, which is due out in the autumn. By the way, if you live in the Margate area, I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker at the Birchington Literary Festival on May 1st, which is an appropriate date, as it’s a first for me.
So, having seen plenty of my family over the Easter weekend, we’ll be meeting up again next Tuesday to celebrate me making it through another year since diagnosis. We may also raise another glass to the happy couple (there have been quite a few already) and toast our daughter, Sophie, who is about to start a new job. It’s all happening for the Maxwells at the moment.
One thing we won’t be toasting is Crystal Palace in the final of the FA Cup. Dan and I went to Wembley for the game last Sunday but despite the amazing atmosphere created by the ‘red n blue army’ we just couldn’t manage a win on the pitch.
I’m still so proud of what my team have achieved in their first season with Patrick Vieira at the helm.
Well, the house feels very quiet now that Quin and Wilfie have gone home from their ‘holiday’ with us. It was lovely having them to stay, but it did make me realise that a dog is much harder work than a cat!
I’ll also be scattering some Richard Jackson grass seed in the little brown patches (not sure where they came from) after the Richard Jackson Moss Killer has had a chance to work. It’s been so lovely to get out in the garden in the fabulous weather we’ve had, albeit for short breaks from my writing desk!
I’m heading into work shortly for my shows, including the Fashion on Friday double-header at 5pm on main and 6pm on Style. I had loads of compliments on the Finery dress I wore last week. I’ve been hankering after it for a while and finally took the plunge getting in both the red and the navy stars option. Finery is fast becoming one of my favourite brands, although Monsoon have some gorgeous styles this season.
If beauty is your QVC ‘thing’ though, I hope you can join us this coming Sunday. We have some of your favourite brands, featuring Molton Brown, Nails Inc, Liz Earle and Laura Geller to name but a few and the Philip Kingsley Today’s Special Value on the day is already available to order on our website. It’s featuring a gorgeous Mango and Hibiscus fragrance which smells like an exotic holiday! There is 500ml of the Body Building Shampoo, 500ml of the Moisture Balancing Conditioner, and 150 ml of the Elasticizer, all in the fragrance, plus 150ml of the Elasticizer Booster Conditioning Treatment, which you use in place of regular conditioner between Elasticizer treatments. If bought individually from Philip Kingsley, it would be £160 so our Today’s Special Value price is saving over £100 and it’s on five interest-free easy payments to spread the cost.
Just a quick mention before I go of a new beauty product featuring this weekend. The brand is Frances Prescott and the product I’ve tried is called TRI-BALM. It cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturises and is a balm in a stick. I’ve applied it all over the face and left it for ten minutes, which is a pleasure because it smells divine.
Enjoy the weekend and of course Bank Holiday Monday on May 2nd and I’ll be back with my next blog in a fortnight.
Loved reading your blog didn’t realise what you have been through what an inspiration you are. Congratulations to all the family on the engagement a very happy event indeed. How I was routing for the Palace at the weekend Patrick certainly doing a good job for you.Perhaps he ought to have managed my sons team they might be doing better Arsenal (sorry). Sue xxxxx
Sorry for the late response. Obviously disappointed that Palace didn’t make the FA Cup final, but overall so happy with Patrick Vieira as a manager. Also delighted for Wilfie Zaha scoring the winning goal against Man U in the last game of the season.
Happy times for our family – they’re already checking out wedding venues!
Congratulation to your future Daughter in Law and Son, beautiful ring and lovely setting to propose.
Is it really 10 years since you were diagnosed, How scary though to be told 15 years, lets hope you have more than 5 years. I’m sure you will. I reach pensionable age in August filled out the form on line and have received an acknowledgement receipt.!
Sad news here, Ian lost his dad a little while ago with his type of Leukemia, so very sad which is why i didn’t mention it before, its Ian and i’s 10th Anniversary in Sept and he so wanted to be here to give us a special Gift / Envelope We do have the gift but won’t open till Sept 22nd. Just need to put his 5 bed house up for sale now. So we really needed our holiday to Mexico which was Fabulous perfect weather lovely hotel, we stayed at Akumal Bay and Wellness Resort, not the one you stayed at. Small hotel which we loved . Our friends Wedding party was at Secrets Akumal near by stunning hotel but Huge. !
We visited Tulum Ruins much smaller than Chichen Itzah ruins . then spent the rest of the day on the beach. We will return definitely. I didn’t realise you went to Mauritius, loved the photo of you under the brolly. We are booked for Mauritius this Oct/ Nov ( Not flying B A ).
for 3 weeks. One week in the South and 2 weeks on the west coast. And back to our home in Cyprus in a couple of months. We are not For Sale , but have had an interesting offer.
Anyway keep well and Healthy Julia.
Love Kathy. x
Love you Julia you always look amazing keep safe
Very proud of my son for managing to organise the ring & proposal and keep it all as a surprise for Katie.
I’m sorry to hear about Ian’s dad – so sad that lives are still being lost to leukaemia despite all the advances in treatment.
Wow! Like me, you’re packing in the travelling missed in the past couple of years! It was lovely to be back in Mauritius – fairly sure it will be the last time for a while though as so many places yet to see. Akumal bay is lovely and although I wasn’t crazy about the hotel we stayed in, our room opened directly onto the beach which was fab. Did you read The Woman on the Beach? Akumal was the inspiration.
I’m deferring my pension until I feel ready to retire – no idea when that will be but I think ‘I’ll know’ if you get my drift.
What happy news! Hope all goes well for Sophie as well in her new job.
Thank you on behalf of both of my children… all seems good at the moment 😊
Hi Julia! What a beautiful ring, congratulations to the happy couple. So glad that you are feeling well – you look lovely in the Finery dress. I haven’t taken the plunge there yet, too busy embracing the lovely Danni Minogue petite range!
Always love your Fashion on Friday shows, although it’s usually a bit later when I catch them.
Stay safe and well, much love xx
Sorry for the delayed response.
I have quite a few fave fashion ranges on QVC at the moment, Finery, Danni, Monsoon, Phase Eight, to name a few. Glad to hear you’re still enjoying the FOF shows (as I affectionately them)!
Tbh, the ring is even more beautiful in real life 💕
Hi Julia, you look amazing in your turquoise/ green dress. Looks like you’ve lost a great deal of weight? What did you do. Especially impressed by your skin waist!!
Thanks for your kind comment. It must have been the style of the dress making my waist look skinny 😉although I’m really pleased with my weight loss tbh. Just calorie counting and at least 30 minutes exercise every day (treadmill, Aeropilates, swingy Brenda Dygraff machine, swimming on hols). I’ve reached my initial goal weight but am aiming for another 3kg by July, then I’ll stop.
Oh I love that ring , beautiful, congratulations. Wish diamonique would one just like that , that’s affordable
It is lovely isn’t it. I’m pretty sure Diamonique have done something similar in the past, although maybe not quite the same blue.
i am sorry to hear of your recent health scare .i do follow your blogs but am not very good with computers so i hope you receive this.you are a very special lady with a loving family who willhelp you through this. good luck xx.
Apologies for the delayed response. Touch wood, my health this year has been a vast improvement on the past two years… that said, my June diary is full of health check-ups!
You’re right, I’m lucky to have such a supporter family
Always uplifting to read your blogs Julia. You give me hope that health issues can be overcome. They don’t half come thick and fast post 60 😊. I’m retiring on 13th May, but hoping to do something part time to keep the brain ticking over. Always loved my job but time to do something different l think. I’ll be taking some time out to enjoy the Summer and your books are on my list to read… Indulgent time to myself after 42 years or work x
Apologies for the slow reply. You will be retired now, so I hope you are making the most of your newfound freedom 😊
I also hope that you will find a satisfying part-time job and that you’ll enjoy my books if you get around to reading them.
Hi Julia, I met you many years ago at a salon in Tamworth. You are pretty amazing to have coped well with your illness. Love the fashion on QVC with you. Meditation is good to do, you may already do that. All my best wishes to you for the future. Kind regards Ellen.
That would have been at Keeley’s salon circa 2005/6.
My fave saying is, ‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger’ – it certainly has made me more appreciative of what I have!
I don’t meditate per say but I do love the ‘thinking time’ I get in my gym.
Hi julia hope you and family arewell congratulations to daniel your son on his engagement remember in the early days of qvc dan and his sister sophie when did one of your qvc shows live in the early days.
I will pass your good wishes on to Dan & Katie 😊
Hard to believe Dan was 6 and Sophie 5 when I first started at QVC!
I hope you’re keeping well
Congrats on your happy family news. And next a wedding! New clothes!!
Also to Marla dress in Cerise was fantastic today. Hope you pressed the buy button!
All the very best. XXXX
Apologies for the late response… I was also too late for the Marla dress in cerise 😕
Katie s already checking out venues for either next year or 2024!
Hi Julia what can I say what a inspirational and strong woman you are, you are looking beautiful, also congratulations on your sons engagement to his fiancee, also my young son thought you was in your early thirties, keep doing what you are doing in every way.
Sorry for the late reply!
Thank you for your congratulations for my son and his fiancée & also for your kind compliment.
Give your son a big hug from me 😜
Hi Julia, watching a thursday show on sunday 12th June and you look are SO rocking the gloriously happy yellow linen sky air top from Phase Eight. You look ab fab gorgeous! We all need such colour in our lives i feel! im now pondering some yellow or rainbow diamonique to match! And I do have some of the radiant cerise diamonque that would work so well withi it! oooo!
I love linen and that is so clever and flattering! Thank you! It made my weekend.
And such a fun show you two have such rapport too! very best wishes Emma and blackcat Mimi!
Hello Julia, I don’t really like to contact presenters but I do have my favourites. You are one of those. You are very genuine on screen and honest regarding merchandise and I can feel your enthusiasm which is why I am a longstanding customer. Just wanted you to know this. One last thing, where did you get those black shoes you always wear. I have searched every where!
Keep safe ,bless you Susan x