A brilliant birthday weekend


Wow! What a fabulous weekend we all had with my mum as she celebrated her 90th birthday. It reiterated my belief that the most important thing in life is spending time with people you love.

Saturday started with the drive up to Nottingham, where mum lives. She was expecting Chris and me, but she had her first surprise of the day when Sophie and Daniel arrived a few minutes after us, as they had travelled up separately. It had been quite tricky convincing her to prepare extra new potatoes to have for lunch with the asparagus quiche I had made – Chris and I had to pretend we were really hungry.

After lunch mum opened our cards and presents. She loved her new Radley handbag and was intrigued by what could be in the big cardboard box. On last week’s blog Chris (a QVC-er , not my other half) guessed correctly that it was a Bernini fountain, although Linda’s suggestion that it might be a kitten made me smile… I don’t think Tabby, my mum’s cat pictured below, would have been too amused though!

Tabby the cat With mum and her fountain

We followed the instructions to put the fountain together for mum and twenty minutes later, it looked like it had always been in her garden.

Then it was time to head over to my brother Richard’s house. As far as mum knew, we were just having tea with him, his wife Remy, and Richard’s two children Lee and Samantha. So imagine her surprise when my sister, Lynda, her husband Geoff, and three of their children, Becky, Rachel and Christian, arrived after travelling down from Scotland. Mum was pretty overwhelmed to be honest.

Chocolate cakeRemy had done a fantastic job with the food and everything was rounded off with champagne and a traditional Roberts family chocolate birthday cake.

It was so lovely to spend time with our extended family, and even the weather was kind.

We said our goodbyes to mum as though we were travelling back to Berkshire, but in fact we were heading to a small hotel in Bingham – I’ll explain in a moment.

As an aside, my best friend from West Bridgford Comprehensive School, Anne Middlemiss, lived on Perry Grove in Bingham. If anyone knows her, please put her in touch with me on here.

So, the reason we stayed over was that we had organised a surprise lunch for mum at my brother’s golf club the following day. Once again, it was family members but we had also invited mum’s friend and neighbour Valerie and Chris’s mum.

Birthday meal

With FinlayWe drove to Spalding to fetch Audrey on Sunday morning and arrived in time for another very startled expression from mum. It was a fabulous two-day celebration and so good to catch up with so many of the family, including my newest great-nephew, Finlay – scrummy, isn’t he?!

Monday was a relax and recuperate day, but on Tuesday I continued writing my short story and I’m delighted to say it is now finished. It will be available as an ebook only, initially, in September so check my website here for more information on how you can get hold of it.

Focus on Fashion today is all about Label Lab at 5pm this afternoon, always assuming we still have stock available. Kathy featured some pieces on her blog earlier in the week and it was used for styling yesterday during the Accessorise with Ashling show.

Here are my favourite pieces: this chiffon top Chloe wore on-air yesterday that’s available in Black or Grey, and this feather print jersey top – which I will definitely have to order… if you’ve read the Liberty Sands Trilogy you will know why!

Label LabFollowing Fashion on Friday, it is the penultimate Spotlight on Jewellery of this series. June Poster, who popped by last week’s show briefly, has many more Frank Usher designs to share today. Laurie Wickwire is bringing some stunning diamond pieces and Kerry Fermor is also joining us with this Extraordinary Life silver bangle (which was so popular last November) and their charm necklace.

Extraordinary Life bracelet and necklace

Speaking of jewellery, don’t miss the Butler and Wilson 21st anniversary shows this coming Sunday and Monday. My shows with Simon are at 2pm on both days, and there is free P&P on everything with some special event prices too.

Sorry, I haven’t got time for a run down of my on air hours for the coming week but I must dash or I will be late for my Molton Brown show at 3pm.

Have a great weekend,

Much love,

Julia xx


  1. Linda Watkins August 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, What a fab birthday your mum had! I bet she was so pleased to see everyone, I am now reading the second book in the Liberty Sands trilogy which I am thoroughly enjoying, look forward to the Butler and Wilson anniversary shows this week, might treat myself! Linda xx

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 10:50 am -  Reply

      Hi Linda
      I hope you enjoyed the Butler & Wilson shows – I wonder if you did treat yourself?
      I hope you are enjoying ‘If He Really Loved Me…’ – are you a paperback or a kindle girl? The reason I ask is that the 3rd book will be on a 99p price promotion on kindle from tomorrow for the Bank Holiday weekend. No pressure to buy if course, just giving you a heads up.
      Much love
      Julia x

  2. martin forbes August 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm -  Reply

    hi julia hope you and debs flint on yourlast blog enjoyed your trip to the theatre hope you enjoyed yourself at your mums in nottingham how is sophie settling in to her new place isit aflat or house how idaniels football team coming along hope you and chris are well iam not bad are you ddoing xmas in august 25th at all
    all the best

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 10:55 am -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      Debs & I had a great time at the theatre – we’re hoping to do it again soon.
      Sophie and her cat, Milo, are happily settled in her flat now and it’s close enough for her to have dinner with us once or twice a week, which is lovely.
      Dan is no longer at Swansea – he is back at Palace for the moment.
      I was supposed to be on air for one hour of Christmas in August but I’ve damaged my big toe so can’t work for a few days.
      Glad to hear you’re ok
      Julia x

  3. janice reeves August 19, 2016 at 10:14 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, What a wonderful surprise for your Mum she will have very fond memories to look back on, just wondered if you could tell me is the pink blouse you have on in the picture with your Mum, from QVC I have seen you in it a couple of times, and its very pretty and would like to purchase if possible, love Janice

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 10:59 am -  Reply

      Hi Janice
      Mum certainly enjoyed her birthday weekend, spending time with her family. She is quite ‘traditional’ so has spent most of this week sending out thank you cards!
      The pink blouse us by ‘Together’ – I fell n love with it the moment I put it on. Unfortunately it is currently sold out but hoping they will re-order as I’ve had loads of comments about it.
      Julia x

  4. Jean Pugh August 20, 2016 at 7:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Wow it sounds and looks as if your Mum had a super birthday. What a lovely surprise for her to have all the family there to help her celebrate . Ninety what a great age, she looks well in the photo with you.

    What super presents, a lovely handbag and the water fountain, which I am sure she will enjoy when out in the garden.

    Her cat Tabby is gorgeous, reminds me of a cat we use to have, he was called snoopy.

    More writing, goodness how do you fit it all in.

    Looking forward to the Butler and Wilson shows.

    Love Jean xx

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:05 am -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      Sadly not all the family could make it down to Nottingham for Mum’s birthday but it was an amazing turn out. Simon Wilson remarked on how well she was looking in the photo – dud you catch his shows?
      Tabby adores Mum but she’s not really that friendly towards other people – I think she regards it as an intrusion on her space when we go and visit – cats!!!
      I enjoy reading – it doesn’t feel like work although in some ways I guess it is. The new short story was inspired by my mum so can’t wait for her to read it.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  5. Gill August 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm -  Reply

    What a lovely blog and nice to see pics of all the family. Your Mum looks wonderful for 90, and I bet she really enjoyed her birthday surprises with all the family. I know Bingham, I think I had a relative who lived there, a school teacher I believe. I lived in West Bridgford and went to Jesse Gray school. The headmaster Joe Pegg was a friend of my late father. I have a few relatives left in the Nottinghamshire area, one near Hucknall, another in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and an aunt in Derbyshire. I live in Kent now but have lovely fond memories of growing up in West Bridgford. I have read your books, loved them, couldn’t wait for the third one to come out to finish the trilogy. Well done, a lovely story and very well written. I will post a review on Amazon. Nice to see you more frequently on our screens of late, looking good too.

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:11 am -  Reply

      Hello Gill
      I’m sure we’ve conversed on here before haven’t we? I seem to remember talking about Jesse Gray school and Mr. Pegg, my headmaster.
      Did you like the Nottingham references in It’s Never a Too Late to Say…? I have vivid childhood memories of the Embankment and the Memorial Gardens as my maternal grandma actually lived on Green Street. Thanks for offering to do a review – really essential for indie authors, so much appreciated.
      Thanks for your kind compliments – feeling pretty good at the moment apart from my poor toe – more if that on this week’s blog!
      Julia x

  6. Valerie Shotton August 20, 2016 at 5:13 pm -  Reply

    Lovely celebrations with your family, Julia. Could I please ask you is your dress QVC, it’s lovely. Thank you xx

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:13 am -  Reply

      Hi Valerie,
      My pink blouse is QVC (Together) but my purple Paisley dress is Per Una from Marks and Spencer. Hope you can get one
      Julia x

  7. Fran Whitehead August 20, 2016 at 5:48 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia what a lovely surprise for your Mum and to be able to share it with the family. Re your friend Anne (obvious I know) have you done a search on Facebook? Good luck.

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:16 am -  Reply

      Hi Fran,
      Thanks for your suggestion re searching for Annie on Facebook – I have tried but a) I’m not very good on Facebook b) I think she married an Ambassador so not sure where in the works she is c) I have no idea of her married name.
      Still hoping someone knows her and will put us back in touch
      Julia x

  8. Sandra Holloway August 20, 2016 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Finley is very cute,but they grow up much to fast such a shame. I have just seen lab label and orded the feather print top (thank goodness the lady on the phone was used to whispering as hubby was downstairs) lol but I had to have it, funnily enough I was flicking through the TV and spotted you on molten brown wearing the feather print top and thought I love Julia’s top and was going to call up and find out where it was from and I was delighted to see it on lab label and got very excited that’s the shopaholic in me. Have a wonderful week
    Love Sandra x

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:19 am -  Reply

      Hi Sandra
      I’m so pleased you managed to order the Label Lab feather top – the whole show sold out apart from a couple of lines on advanced orders. Hopefully you will have it by now – I hope you love it just as much.
      Julia x

  9. karen kennedy August 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm -  Reply

    Your mum looks lovely Julia xx

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:20 am -  Reply

      Thanks Karen – I think so too! Amazing for her age
      Julia x

  10. pamela Richards August 21, 2016 at 9:28 am -  Reply

    Julia your mam looks wonderful, and happy family and friends are just the best tonic for a long and happy life.

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:23 am -  Reply

      Hello Pamela
      Thanks for your kind words about my mum. Nobody lives a completely charmed life and she has done so well to battle breast cancer, shingles (with associated complications) and more lately plantar fasciitis. Hopefully we, as a family, have helped with love and support.
      Julia x

  11. Sue Huskisson August 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia. I haven’t written to you before but felt inspired to by the wonderful photos and description of your mum’s 90th birthday celebrations.
    I lost my mum when I was 11 (53 years ago now but no less hurtful by the passage of time) and it’s lovely to see how your mum is treasured. We only get one so we should treasure them!
    Anyway I’ll get off my soapbox now!
    I love your fashion hours because you describe the items so well and are honest about who they would or would not be suitable for. Not all the presenters do that so it is much appreciated!
    I haven’t read any of your novels but I did enjoy 50 lengths of the pool and I can remember you on ” the price is right”.
    Bye for now Julia. Love Sue xx

    • Julia Roberts August 25, 2016 at 11:31 am -  Reply

      Hi Sue
      Thanks so much for posting on here. I’m sorry to hear you lost your mum at such a young age – I can’t imagine how dreadful that must have been for you with consequences lasting a life time. Sending you a big hug.
      I’m pleased you enjoy the fashion shows I present – I’m only offering opinions as to who I think garments would suit – we’re all titled to wear whatever we want and I must confess to a few ‘clangers’ in my wardrobe over the years!
      I can’t believe you remember me from the Price Is Right – that U.S. Over thirty years ago now! Glad you enjoyed 100 Lengths of the Pool. If you fancy trying my novels on kindle they are all 99p on kindle from tomorrow for the Bank Holiday – no sales pressure just a heads-up fir a reduced price.
      Do write again
      Julia x

  12. Lindy lou August 24, 2016 at 11:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    What a wonderful surprise for your mum! I’m sure she was delighted to be surrounded by her nearest & dearest on such a special day. She looks amazing & much younger than her years. Lovin yet another cat pic, so cute! Tabby is not disimilar to my cat Ruby, but her nature doesn’t match her pretty face unfortunately!
    Enjoyed the B & W shows & agree with Sue above – no matter what the show, you describe all the items brilliantly which is so helpful when deciding whether to place an order or not. Looking forward to seeing u on air soon. Lindy Lou. x

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