The wild and windy week…

I was back at QVC yesterday after a few days annual leave which included a week in the Lake District with my son Dan, his girlfriend Katie and Quin, their dog. We drove there straight after I finished Fashion on Friday on the Style Channel two weeks ago.

I’ll come back to that in a moment, but first I just wanted to say that I managed to get the Frank Usher dress I was wearing for that show after all the amazing comments I received on social media. It was a bit out of my comfort zone but that’s what our fashion event earlier this week, Reset Your Style, was all about. I’m doing a two-hour show tomorrow at 5pm recapping the event which is good for me as I missed it.

So, back to the Lakes visit. We didn’t arrive at the cottage we were renting in Shap, on the edge of the Lake District until after midnight, but what a welcoming place it was. You can sometimes be disappointed if the place doesn’t live up to the photographs but if anything, it exceeded our expectations. It’s a good job really as the weather couldn’t have been much worse in terms of wind and rain. At least we didn’t get the predicted snow on the morning we set off for the drive home, but we did have constant rain and gusty winds for the first two days of our stay.

The Monday was Valentine’s Day (I’ll come back to that later) and was a much kinder day weather-wise. We drove to Keswick where we had lunch and then walked by the side of Derwent Water. We visited four different lakes on our visit and although all were beautiful, I have a particular soft spot for this view. The person you can see in the distance is our son and on the end of the lead is Quin, their Dachshund/Jack Russell cross, who thoroughly enjoyed all the long walks and lying in front of the fire when we got ‘home’.

Tuesday was also a reasonable day weather-wise when we visited Ambleside and the serene and vast Lake Windermere where this photo and the one at the head of my blog were taken. Wednesday, however, was a total wash-out as storm Dudley hit. We’d gone to Grange-Over-Sands for a walk by the coast but had to cut it short as we were drenched within thirty minutes. At least it meant I could justify spending some time writing my next book while my Centigrade coat dried out in front of the range cooker.

Thursday was probably our best day – the calm before storm Eunice – and we took full advantage by heading to Ullswater. The younger members of our group decided to climb to a high vantage point for a better view of the lake, but my ankle wouldn’t tolerate it, so Chris and I walked by the side of Ullswater on flatter ground. That said, we had walked almost seven kilometres by the time Dan and Katie picked us up in the car. I was extremely grateful that I was wearing my Skechers boots – so comfy!

We drove back during storm Eunice and the conditions were pretty dreadful. We saw two lorries on their side which had closed the M40 in two places. I was horrified that some people thought it was ‘clever’ to exceed the reduced speed limit, put in place for the safety of all road users.

Although we saw lots of snowdrops while we were away, we didn’t see any of William Wordsworth’s famous daffodils, but I picked these from my garden on Sunday once Wilfie had gone home to his ‘pawrents’. I didn’t want a repeat performance of the tulips episode from my last blog! These were grown from de Jager bulbs, a show I’ll be presenting on Sunday as part of our gardening event. And speaking of daffodils, Happy St David’s Day for next Tuesday if you’re of Welsh heritage.

So, the daffodils survived Dudley and Eunice but sadly, my Crystal Palace gnome didn’t. I got him when Roy Hodgson was our manager and named him Roy in his honour. Maybe him getting broken was a sign because we played Watford, Roy’s new club on Wednesday evening and smashed them 4 – 1 in our first league away win this year.

I mentioned we have a gardening event on Sunday but prior to that we have a gorgeous Liz Earle TSV launching on air at 9pm tonight. It features my favourite Liz Earle aroma, Bourbon Vanilla and Clove Bud in the body wash, body cream and Cleanse and Polish, plus eyebright and your choice of moisturiser. I’ll be on air with Caroline at 2pm tomorrow but you don’t have to wait until then to order as it’s already on presell.

Before I finish, just a quick mention of Valentine’s Day. I mentioned it so often on air that I had bought Chris some speciality cheese for his present as he LOVES cheese, but I wanted him to have a surprise too, so I ordered him these biscuits from a well-known biscuit company. They turned out to be very apt as we had several ‘fried egg’ breakfasts while we were away. We normally have poached eggs, but I didn’t take the poacher and I’m never very successful at the ‘dropping into boiling water’ method. To be honest, I think Chris prefers fried to poached anyway.

I also thought I’d share the card I got for Chris… I’m pretty sure a few of you can relate to it!

I’ll see you on air later for Fashion on Friday with Danni Minogue.
Much love
Julia xx

7 Responses

  1. Hi Julia,

    Lovely blog as always and your photographs are great.

    Sorry the weather was not too good for your visit to the Lake District but glad you found Shap.

    My husband Chris and I have stayed at the Shap Wells Hotel three times and it is in the middle of nowhere and is so peaceful.

    In the grounds of the hotel they have red squirrels which are beautiful.

    We always take monkey nuts for them when we visit.

  2. Hi Julia loved your blog super photos and a thoroughly deserved break with your family. A shame about Eunice but time with your family making memories far more precious. I too managed to get the dress well out of my comfort zone but seeing you have me the confidence thank you. Glad you are back watching you as I send this love. Sue xx top

  3. Have too add this comment Julia wowzer you look fantastic in the blazer Do I sense another shopping spree looking highly likely xxSue

  4. hope you enjoyed your time off julia i certainly did ps gb curlings menand ladies ladt day won silver and gold medals 2 medals better than nothing.

  5. Dear Julia

    Just want to say how lovely you looked in the Monsoon dress and orange outfit you wore on the gardening programme today. I’m going through a bit of a dreary phase and hope to come out of it positive and vibrant and with your attitude.


  6. The lakes are fabulous and all different but equally serene. I went up there in August and bought a lodge near Carnforth – we have now “done it up” as it needed TLC – we are so happy with it and where it is. It’s such a nice area up there – so much to see and do. Glad you enjoyed it xx

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