This week will bring me a welcome change to the routine of my time at home since all our lives were restricted at the end of March. I’ve decided that the falling Covid infection rates in London, combined with the more relaxed guidance from the Government and the significant measures our management have put in place to keep all QVC employees safe, have indicated that the time has come for me to return to work at the QVC studios.
I’ve been joining my fashion show Morning Style from home on Wednesday mornings on a video call to stay safe, as I am asthmatic and diabetic and therefore at increased risk should I catch the virus. But I’m excited to be heading back to appear live from our studios – my first show will be the Morning Show on Tuesday, shared with Simon Biagi – at an appropriate distance of course!
I’ve had both sad and happy events during the last few weeks. I’ve been looking after my elderly aunty Barbara for the last couple of years, since my Dad, her brother, died. I helped her find a care home to move into when she decided last year, at 96 years old, that she was struggling to cope on her own. She celebrated her 97th birthday on Christmas Day but sadly wasn’t to make it to her 98th. She died at the end of April and yesterday I was one of only five mourners at her funeral. Although it wasn’t the celebration of her life that she would have chosen it was a beautiful and fitting ceremony, and I will organise a thanksgiving memorial for her in her local church when we are allowed to gather together in numbers again.
I do want to say how grateful I am to all the staff at the Sandfields Care Home in Cheltenham. Without exception, they cared for Barbara as though she were their own loved one, at a time when their own strength and resources are being tested to the maximum. They do a tough job magnificently well and it’s hard to express how thankful I am.
Similar thanks go to the NHS staff at Peterborough Hospital, who looked after my daughter when she went into premature labour with my second granddaughter. This is the happy event I mentioned, as after some time spent in hospital, baby Eliora Rose is now safely at home with Bex and Dan and two-year-old sister Zoe. It was a worrying time, and difficult for Bex and Dan as he wasn’t allowed in the hospital to support Bex with Eliora. And little Zoe couldn’t understand why Mummy, who has been at home with her 24/7 for weeks, suddenly wasn’t there. But we are all having to cope with situations we’d rather not and cope they did – and they are now a grateful, happy family of four enjoying getting to know the new addition. Eliora, or Ora, won’t be having a social media profile so no photos, I’m afraid, but believe me – she is beautiful! (Just like her sister.)
I’ve been making the most of the enforced confinement at home, along with the glorious weather we’ve been blessed with, to have a go at sorting out our garden. We’re very lucky to have a large outdoor space but we’ve lived here for over thirty years and I have neglected it in recent years. It’s bordered by woodland and I’ve kept it ‘natural’ and fairly low maintenance. But one thing I’ve always wanted is a vegetable patch – I’ve never got around to creating it, largely because I’m usually not here enough to keep on top of watering, as my husband Olley and I like to get away in our motorhome whenever we have a couple of days opportunity. Of course, that’s not an option at the moment, so I finally have an area to grow some fruit and vegetables.
Like many of you, I have found QVC wonderful for supplies and plants while the local garden centres have been closed. I’ve just received the Gardening Pick of the Month – some gorgeous African Daisies already in bloom and looking fantastic. They’re available until the end of May, so don’t delay if you fancy some instant colour in your garden – perfect for beds or containers. They’ve already received 34 reviews with 29 at five star and an average of 4.7.
It’s a good idea to sow fast-growing crops like lettuce and rocket every couple of weeks, to ensure fresh salad from the garden right through the summer. And if you don’t have space for a proper vegetable garden, maybe try something like the Veg Trug planter that I’m using for my herbs. It’s on Waitlist at the moment, but worth getting your name down in the hope we manage to get some more stock.
To bring some colour into my garden, I generally use containers and one of my favourite suppliers from QVC is Plants2Gardens, as the plants are usually a good size and garden ready with all the hard work already done for you. I received five French lavender plants a couple of days ago, which were brilliantly packaged and arrived in perfect condition, and the first flowers are already opening up. These are now out of stock, but there are six English lavenders available in early June.
I have found great solace in my garden over the past few weeks – getting outside in a green space is recognised as a good way to help stay on an even keel in troubled times and it certainly works for me. I appreciate that I’m luckier than many as I have my own space to enjoy, but I hope that you have found a way to keep some peace in your heart and mind.
So, after an absence of a couple of months, I will be back in the dressing room that I share with Ali Keenan next week, back sharing the Morning Show with Simon and back with Morning Style at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. I hope you can join me on Wednesday, not just for the great fashion we always try to bring you, but also for the Today’s Special Value, which is from the awesome Laura Geller make-up range. It’s a collection of customer favourites and contains the only make-up that I’ve been wearing while at home – the Balance-n-Brighten Baked Foundation. It smooths and balances the tone of my skin without looking or feeling like I’m wearing make-up. I love it! With a saving of £23 – over one third off the QVC full price – it’s well worth a look. If you can’t join us on Wednesday, take a look now as it’s available early on our website…
But I hope you can get to a television on Wednesday morning and tune in to QVC, where we’ll do our best to keep your spirits high and maybe even offer you some retail therapy in the form of some fantastic fashion!
Take care until then,