Not the 60th birthday I had in mind…

Hi there!

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.

Our Beauty Pick of the Month is something I will be ordering. Even without overseas travel, I use SPF 50 on my face, and the Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation formula is my choice.

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.

Love, Kathy

30 Responses

  1. Hello Kathy, thank you for sharing your lovely blog. And wishing you a happy belated 60th Birthday. The photos look lovely. Stay safe. And thank for all the tips

  2. Hi Kathy

    It is my husbands birthday today. We are having fun regardless. Pie and mash for his birthday meal. Our first Chunk of Devon pie. I am sure it will be a gourmet delight. I just wanted to say how much I love the film in your blog too. I love Bill Nighy in his fatherly role. It really does make you think. All we have to do is be the best you can be. Happy days.

    1. Hi Jean, Happy Birthday to your husband, and well done for having fun despite everything that is happening.
      I agree that the relationship between Bill Nighy’s character and his son is one of the things that makes the film special – I always cry when Tim goes back to see his Dad for the final time…! I think the message about being the best you can be, and most importantly being kind, is one we can all learn from.
      All the best, take care, Kathy x

  3. Hi Kathy, what a shame about your birthday celebration, an expensive trip for two but at least you got to go. Looks incredible. I listened to your blog on Monday, was brilliant you have had a very interesting life. I am glad your family stay well especially Bex. I have been doing as much gardening I can without visiting a garden centre which of course are closed. Thank goodness for Qvc and Plants2Gardens, my favourite plant supplier at Qvc. I have lots of plants from them in my garden my favourite is the standard Polygalia I bought about a year ago and it’s never been without at least one flower on it usually even more. A good buy if it comes back into stock. Let’s hope things improve soon, I miss my three grandchildren very much and one of them had her 8th birthday on Wednesday. We sang happy birthday and saw her blow out her candles via an Alexa, bought from Qvc of course! Take care. Debbie X

    1. Hi Debbie, thanks for your comments and taking the time to listen to my podcast. It was a shame about my birthday plans but there are many people suffering much worse, the important thing is to stay safe and look after each other as much as social distancing allows us to. I agree about gardening – I’m lucky enough to have a garden and I find I feel much better when I’m out in it. I too love Ken and Plants 2 Gardens and I also bought the Polygalia last year – isn’t it a fabulous plant? Always in flower even through the winter…
      I hope your granddaughter enjoyed her birthday despite you not being with her – the internet at least allows us to keep in contact with each other. I’m not always a fan of social media as so many people use it to be unkind in unnecessary ways, but I think it’s really come into it’s own recently and helps people to not feel too lonely.
      I hope you stay healthy and well, do take care, Kathy x

  4. Hi . Oh dear poor you try working in the nhs, staying alive is all you want and pray for anyone who is sick and self isolating on there own , I am not over concerned about missing or changing holidayS and birthday plans, just think you might get another one, not everyone else will , perhaps a little more thought before some presenters put pen to paper at such a torrid time .

    Many people will watch and read your presenters blogs think before speaking be kind not everyone is as privileged as you

    1. Dear Sally, I’m sorry you felt what I wrote was inappropriate- I certainly didn’t mean to sound sorry for myself and I’m fully aware how lucky I am.
      I’m also aware of what it’s like to work for the NHS as my pregnant daughter Bex is a doctor who has been treating Covid-19 patients in hospital, until she caught it herself. Luckily she has recovered and her unborn baby appears to be ok too.
      I agree with you that being kind is important for us all, and I’m sorry that you felt this blog was less than it should be. I sincerely hope you are managing to stay well and coping with self isolation, if you are in that position.
      Best wishes, Kathy

  5. Ah Kathy, so sorry to read about your friends and family not making your trip away, Bless you.Looks like you made the best of it though. I hope you had a lovely Birthday.I feel so sorry for people having to cancel plans.Lets hope we all stay well though.I will have to listen to your podcast, you’re such a lovely lady, Take care, xxx

    1. Hi Sand
      Thanks for reading my blog and don’t worry, I still had a lovely birthday with my husband! More importantly, we are doing our best to stay well while we hear increasingly disturbing updates on the number of people who are unwell with this horrible virus. I hope you are ok too, take care, Kathy x

  6. Glad you managed to celebrate your birthday, albeit in a different way, Kathy. We’re definitely living in crazy times at the moment. My daughter is also NHS, at a London hospital; I’m so proud of her, but it is a constant worry. Hope you manage to enjoy the sunshine this weekend. Take care and stay well xx

    1. Hi Cherry, I hope and pray your daughter stays well, in fact I hope that for all our children and loved ones. She deserves your pride, but as you say – such worrying times. Let’s count our blessings, make the most of what we have and stay safe at home if we possibly can.
      Take care, Kathy x

  7. Hi Kathy, Happy Birthday too you and thank you for sharing your lovely photos. Glad to here your family are all okay, a worrying time for. Nice to have a new baby to look forward too. Grandchildren are wonderful. Take care x

    1. Hello Susan, you are absolutely right about grandchildren!! I only have the one, Zoe, at the moment, but she is delicious! I’m so looking forward to the birth of our second granddaughter, due in June. I’m glad you enjoyed my photos – thanks for letting me know.
      All the best to you
      Kathy x

  8. Yes Kathy, I was to celebrate my 65th birthday with a fabulous cruise, which of course was cancelled. In these uncertain times we have to count our blessings. I have the most wonderful family, with 4 lovely grandchildren all keeping safe and well. Excited about tomorrow, the weather is going to be sunny and warm. The garden furniture is out, and I’m going to spend the day with my wonderful husband. I might even have a few G and T. Keep safe and well. xxxx

    1. Hi Diane
      So sorry to hear about your cancelled plans, but as you say, we have to look to the positives at a time like this. Hopefully you may be able to enjoy another celebratory holiday at some point, but meanwhile enjoy your grandchildren (remotely for course!) and stay safe, and enjoy the sunshine. Those of us with gardens are so lucky…I bet those G&Ts went down well!
      Take care
      Kathy x

  9. Hi Kathy
    I too had a special birthday this year a little bit bigger then yours ( in numbers I mean)
    My husband had a family party ready to go and for my special present we were going on a
    River cruise up the Rieini and on to Venice but of course all had to be cancelled
    But never mind the sun has been shinning which means summers on its way
    With out this awful virus with any luck
    I love which img you all on qvc. Hope you all keep we’ll take care x

    1. Hello Susan, such a shame about your birthday plans, although you know there are others suffering much worse, it’s hard not to be disappointed. I feel for all the loving couples who have had to postpone their weddings, but of course, it is those fighting this awful virus that my heart goes out to the most. And all the NHS staff who are doing their absolute best to help everyone.
      I’m writing this in my garden with the sun on my back feeling lucky and hopeful – take care and stay well.
      With my best wishes
      Kathy x

  10. Hi Kathy! What a lovely blog – you’ve taken some stunning photos which are great to see rather than my current four walls! Many happy returns for your birthday – I’m a ‘Christmas’ baby, so during this strange time, people now have an inkling of how that feels for us lot, lol! Everyone must just stay safe and keep positive, we will get through this! Take care all xxx

    1. Hi Sarah, so glad you enjoyed the photos! My aunt was born on Christmas Day (she was 97 last year!) and I’ve always made a special fuss of her as I feel she’s drawn a slightly short straw!
      Staying safe is the most important thing, and I hope you manage it. Sending you my best wishes
      Kathy x

  11. Hi Kathy sorry that you had to celebrate you 60th away from your family .I am also having a big birthday mine will be my 80th and it on a Sunday May 10th and I go to chapel so I am missing out as they would have sung to me also I was having a meal out with all my family .Never mine the social distancing is more important .Love and take care.xx

    1. Dear Margaret – your eightieth birthday! Congratulations. I’m sorry you won’t be able to go to chapel but I wonder whether someone would help you organise meeting some of your friends online, and they could still sing to you. My daughter’s church have regular meetings on a system called Zoom when they all get together online while staying safe in their homes.
      If not, you’ll all have to get together when this is all over, and I’m sure they’ll still wish you Happy Birthday.
      Do take care, with very best wishes
      Kathy x

  12. Come to think of it we are so lucky to live in this Beautiful Country and you with all those wonderful pictures have shown us that a stay at home holiday in a Beautiful place right on our own Shore is not a bad idea to get our Country back on its feet hopefully after this covid 19 is over we all have learned Empathy for each other and please let as many as we keep well and healthy, Belated Birthday wishes to you and you look great on your paddle board a 60 you will never forget xx Pamela

  13. Hi Pamela – you’re so right. My husband and I are lucky enough to have a motorhome and we love to travel around the beautiful UK, making the most of what is on our own doorstep. So many hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and tourist businesses are going to need us to stay in this country to support them when the lockdown is relaxed.
    And I agree with you: let’s hope and pray as many of us as possible can stay healthy, and also that people learn how important looking out for each other with kindness and empathy is.
    And thanks for the paddle board compliment, but you didn’t see the photo of me falling in – I think I need a bit more practice!
    Take care
    Kathy x

  14. Belated happy birthday Kathy, I really enjoyed your blog and your pod-cast. I had my birthday yesterday and enjoyed facetime and zoom catchups from family and friends and to finish my husband cooked me a lovely dinner to cerebrate.

  15. Dear Kathy

    Happy happy birthday!!! It s lovely of you to share your happy times with us all especially since you’ve had a roller coaster couple of years and it s great to see you always with a smile no matter what. It hides the pain we feel when our children are vulnerable and e specially when they ‘re working in front line services. It sounds to me like your Bex s faith will carry her along with her mum s sound counsel!!!! She ‘ll be fine ready to take on her finest role, mum to 2 beautiful girls!!!

    Have you read the poem by Matthew Kelly from Wigan council and read on audio by the actor Christopher Eccleston.. It s amazing about our nhs and the war we ‘re in… Very moving and poignant.

    You ‘ll see, all things work together for the good and God will show is all new things during and after all this . I m thankful for His help in my life and for the Easter .message of Hope and Salvation for u s all…

    Time to stop and reflect on this mad fast world. The birds are still busying and singing their beautiful songs for us, spring is still blessing us with wonder….

    We didn’t celebrate Christmas last year until end of February as I d been rushed in hospital Christmas day with organ failure, damaged heart all because of a virus that turned to pnemonia..

    Well, all the presents were wrapped and put in front of the fire place ready for the family to arrive.. There they stayed until I came home!!!!! Such a joyous time we had all being together. My grandchildren all day round me have me hugs and my eldest grandson said ” grandma, thank you for my presents but the best present of all is you being home!!!

    Priceless… And when we get together again, it will be super special..

    For now, I have kiss prints on the window!! Gorgeous. I m isolated for 12 weeks so I can only take it a day at a time.. Every is pulling together, some shop, some phone, we all pray!!!!

    Is nt life wonderful, we have kindness and love we have everything. Faith hope and love and the greatest of these is !ove…

    So I send love to you Kathy and Bex and all your family…

    God bless your Easter time… And always

    Christine. Xxxxxxx


  16. Hello Kathy belated 60th birthday wishes i thought the photos were lovely my daughters 50th was last week like you so looking forward to the ocasion take care. Xx

  17. Hi Kathy, was talking to some folks about my time at Soton Uni yesterday and started tracking down (sounds so much better than online stalking) a few people from those days. Ended up reading this article (blog) and like most people wondering in a few years what we will be saying about the year that was…2020 ! Don’t know whether my memories are ones that you will feel so fond about, when I captained track & field at Soton and would be calling on you in the mad house you shared with all my basketball buddies to try to persuade you to have a run in the cross country or on the track for us. Well it’s put a smile on my face this morning. Andy

  18. Hi Kathy

    Sorry this a belated birthday wish.

    I have been trying to contact you to let you know that Roy Frost from Bulmershe sadly passed away last Wednesday. Mum wanted you to know.

    I know this is a public blog but could not find another way to let you know.

    I don’t know if you remember that I used to work at the Travel Channel.

    I cannot tell you how proud he was of all your achievements.

    Take care Darling

    Alison Marshall (Frost)

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