I hope this finds you as well as can be and that you’re coping with the lockdown as best you can without going too stir crazy. If you’re unwell, I wish you a speedy recovery.
I’ve been thinking about how glad I am that this didn’t happen when my three children were younger. Hats off to those of you that are having to cope with the rigours of homeschooling and keeping young children occupied within the confines of your home. That calls for all sorts of patience, energy and creativity.
I was on annual leave last week to help celebrate my 60th birthday, but of course, it didn’t go exactly as planned!
Over a year ago, I booked the house that features in one of my favourite films About Time. It’s a British romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Richard Curtis, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy.
The film is about a young man with the ability to time travel, in which the family home where he learns about this is a beautiful white house positioned above a beach in Cornwall.
In real life, it’s called Porthpean House and it’s available to rent. It sleeps 21 people and I had hoped to have my family and some friends with me to celebrate my milestone birthday.
The first person to drop out was Ali Keenan when she starting suffering from Covid-19-like symptoms, then gradually I had calls from everyone!
In the end, as UK travel hadn’t been banned at that point so insurance wasn’t any help, Olley and I decided to go anyway.
With 12 bedrooms to choose from, we could have enjoyed a different view every morning – and what a view! It’s such a beautiful place and it’s a shame that I couldn’t share it as planned, but it was a perfect place to self-isolate!
Pubs were closed, so there were no lazy lunches. But I had ordered plenty of food to feed the masses, so we enjoyed picnics in the stunning camellia-filled garden, wrapped up against the cold wind.
The garden was similar to how I imagine the Lost Gardens of Heligan would be – they’re only a few miles from the house and I’d been hoping to enjoy them, but of course, they were closed.
I hadn’t realised quite how captivating camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons can be, which you can see in these photos. It’s inspired me to add some to my own garden, with the help of Plants2 Gardens and Richard Jackson!
I did leave the property to enjoy an exhilarating coastal path walk. When the weather warmed up a bit I managed to have a go on my birthday present, which was a paddleboard from the deserted beach just a few steps down from the garden.
It was a lovely week, but memorable for me, although not quite the way I had imagined. My 60th birthday will go down in our family history as the day the national lockdown was announced!
It’s certainly a worrying time for us all. My daughter Bex is 30-weeks pregnant and a frontline locum hospital doctor while she’s waiting to resume her GP training, after having moved away from London to live in Cambridgeshire. When the advice for pregnant women was announced, she had to resign from the agency where she received her hospital shifts. The following day she started to cough.
Toddler Zoe and husband Dan have both had ‘it’ too. Sadly it meant that Zoe’s second birthday, the day before my big day, was restricted to the three of them and an online rendition of us singing Happy Birthday to her!
So many people have missed out in bigger ways than my family, I know, with weddings, holidays and all sorts of celebrations being cancelled.
Hopefully, we can all make up for it when this is all over, but for now, I’m relieved Bex, Dan and Zoe are all feeling better and it seems that the baby is still thriving. Zoe was born six weeks early, and Bex is really hoping to hang onto her new sister until closer to her due date in June.
I’m writing this on April Fools’ Day – it’s after midday, so no worries about being taken for one (a fool)! But it’s good news that the first of the month brings some more special deals at QVC.
We have a really generous 150ml size for just under £50 with no delivery charge, while the regular 50ml is normally £32 with £1.95 postage – and still has 59 five star reviews! Have a look here.
And remember that each week we have several Big Deal offers for you. It’s always worth going to our website to check them out. They launch every Sunday evening, so Monday morning is a good time to make that habit.
I’ve been busy buying in the past week, including Joules and Seasalt fashion at outlet prices for my sister in law’s birthday, Wilfreds Pies to help with solving the question of ‘what’s for tea today?’ and plenty from our Gardening department, too. I’ll maybe share some photos of what I’m doing in our garden next time.
Before I go, let me give you a couple of ideas on how to occupy yourself during this time!
Please give yourself a few moments to read lovely Ali Keenan’s latest blog and take part in a heart-warming competition she has set, with loads of wonderful beauty products to win. She remains as upbeat and positive as ever, even though she’s been really poorly with this horrible bug. All her latest news and details of her competition can be found here.
And finally, if you can bear the sound of my voice and have an hour with nothing better to do, you’ll find the latest QVC podcast where I tell you about my life before QVC here. I must say, Will Gowing is a brilliant person to chat to and the time went really quickly.
He started backstage at QVC shortly before I joined as a presenter almost 20-years ago and has been a constant cheery presence at the Q ever since. He’s such a lovely guy and has developed into a skilled interviewer (eat your heart out, Parky!!)
Check out the 27 podcasts episodes before mine. They’re all fascinating…
That’s enough from me now, though. All my best wishes to you all and I hope you find the strength to cope with whatever difficulties you are facing.
Do remember to ask for help and not struggle on trying to manage on your own – one good thing to come of this situation is the extraordinary kindness that people are showing to each other.
One of the reasons that I enjoy the film About Time so much is the underlying message that we should be the best we can every day and that being kind to each other is important for our own happiness.
Helping others makes us feel good, so say ‘yes please’ if someone offers to help. They wouldn’t ask if they didn’t mean it.
Take care, stay home and I pray you to keep healthy.