Better Late Than Never

73

Many apologies that my blog is a few days later than usual; once again, we had huge problems on Friday (my normal blog day) which I think may have affected some of your replies too. From your comments, it seems that you really enjoyed the first instalment of my 25 year countdown to QVC’s birthday on 1st October, Part Two of which will be coming up later in this blog.

There were also some lovely comments about Chris and my engagement. The picture above is of the family and my friends Denise, Steve and Nat ‘on the day’, but as promised, here are some closer photos for you.

Rather than me explain the story behind the design, I’ve decided to quote Alison O’Reilly’s post on Instagram (I’m @juliagroberts if you’d like to follow me on there and Alison is @bijouxjewelsuk):

“Lots of our wonderful QVC viewers and friends will know how important family is to Julia and every element of this incredible ring is of a special significance to her… the spectacular D colour centre stone and shoulders, which are cushion cut, depict her partner Chris (40 years together!) and their beautiful children, whilst the two round brilliants nestled underneath the gallery keep Julia’s parents and their influence on her close by. So what about the lady herself?… Well, the ring is mounted in platinum, the strongest metal there is, and I added this reference as a tribute to Julia who, just like my late mum, really is the glue that holds the family together through all of life’s ups and downs.”

Thank you, Alison, for the story in a nutshell, for the stunning ring, and also for your kind words.

Speaking of words, I hadn’t been able to write since we lost our beloved cat, Poppy, but on Monday I managed a couple of thousand words. If I’m honest, it was a bit of a struggle, so it could delay the next book, but I would rather get it right than rush to get it in to print – I hope you understand if you are eagerly awaiting the next one and I still expect it to be printed at some point this summer.

So, onto Part Two of my history of QVC UK. My memories of QVC’s second year are less clear than the first year and it has been difficult to locate photos – that’s the problem with moving house three times in four years after being in the same house for seventeen years, which we had moved into in September 1994, a year after I started at QVC. I was a very busy bunny at the time, presenting three shows a week for my local cable television channel, producing and presenting features for Sky Sports and working four days a week at QVC. For the first three weeks that we lived in our cottage in Woldingham, I only ever slept there! Thank goodness the children had been allowed to start at their new school before we moved into the area, so I was at least able to help them settle in before work turned really manic!

In the early days, we followed QVC America’s lead in a lot of the products and shows that we did and Oktoberfest is a good example of that. Although we didn’t actually sell beer, which is the reason that Oktoberfest is held in Munich annually, we sold lots of other German products: cuckoo clocks, Hermann Bears, beautiful lead crystal glasses and Hummel figurines all spring to mind. Actually, I have a small collection of Hummel figurines… somewhere!

So we didn’t sell beer, but we did sell wine and I’m pretty sure it was in the run-up to Christmas 1994 that Katy John and myself co-presented a wine show. I am not a big drinker, and after sipping several of the wines on offer, I was feeling a little ‘tiddly’! We were selling a boxed set of two champagne flutes and Katy said something along the lines of ‘what a lovely pair!’ I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression ‘corpsing’ when someone starts to laugh uncontrollably? Well, that was me. We were about to go into the review of products that we used to do at the end of each show (do you remember?) and the giggling became contagious so neither of us could speak. I think they just showed the pictures of the products with music playing!

Speaking of Katy, I unearthed this picture which was taken at a charity ball that she organised at The Waldorf Hotel. Katy isn’t in the picture but I’m sure most of you will recognise the much-younger versions of myself, Debs, and Jilly. Kara is the other female in the picture but who is the man with his ‘harem’? It’s chef, Glyn Christian, who was a regular on QVC presenting cooking shows and products like microwave ovens. It set me thinking about some of our other cooking guest presenters in the early days. Anyone remember Greg and Max? And did you know that Ken Hom used to sell his woks, utensils and cookery books on QVC? I learnt a great stir-fry tip from him which I still use to this day: instead of using stacks of oil when I’m cooking the baby corns (which I don’t like too crunchy) at the start of my stir fry, I use only a few teaspoons and then add boiling water over a high heat and cook until all the water is evaporated, then carry on as normal – brilliant!

Kitchen shows were very popular on QVC… sandwich makers, toasters, kettles and coffee machines all featured regularly, and I must confess the cappuccino maker filled most of the presenters, with the exception of Debs Flint for whom it always seemed to work, with dread when it appeared on our ‘PAL’ sheets (our list of products for the show). There was nothing wrong with the machine itself, but if it hadn’t been cleaned properly from previous uses, the milk would block the flow of steam and it wouldn’t froth. The perils of live telly! Incidentally, there will be a new recipe on my next blog – hopefully Friday!

And while talking about froth, does anyone remember the carpet cleaning foam, presented by David Addis, and also the Big Green Clean Machine? Cleaning products have always been popular on QVC, even when they were doing it ‘invisibly’. What am I talking about? Ionisers, of course, to clean the air that we breathe in our homes – we used to sell them in their thousands. I wonder if any of you still have one?

I’m going to focus on some of the early jewellery ranges on the next instalment, but one of the earliest ranges we ever sold was Butler & Wilson, which we had as individual pieces before Simon started doing the full one or two hour shows! I have a show with him this coming Friday afternoon at 3pm, but it is Butler & Wilson World – the bags and clothes, rather than the jewellery, like the new top pictured above. I wonder what he’ll have to say about me getting engaged?!

Please continue to leave your comments on your memories of the early days of QVC.

Much love,
Julia x

73 Comments

  1. Brenda Watson April 25, 2018 at 7:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie it brought a lump to my throat when you said about being unable to write since you lost Poppy 😢 🐈.It reminded me off the time my cat 🐱 died and I broke down crying at work when I was supposed to be showing the new boss around these fur babies really get into our hearts x

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

      Hi Brenda,
      You are so right – we are gradually coming to terms with life without Poppy – Wilfie is still looking for her in the places she used to sleep though
      Love
      Julia x

  2. Jo April 25, 2018 at 7:11 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Julia, great photos ! ☺ x

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

      Thanks very much Jo 😊

  3. Helen April 25, 2018 at 7:18 pm -  Reply

    1st post ever on a presenters blog, but have been with qvc since the start my mum and I loved watching fashion and jewellery together. Very sadly I lost my wonderful mother but I wanted to congratulate you on your engagement. I too have been with my partner 39 years but engaged for 20 will we ever marry who knows. We are very happy. Your ring is stunning congrats again.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm -  Reply

      Hi Helen
      Thanks for posting on my blog and apologies for the tardy reply. So pleased you are still watching QVC after all these years.
      Thanks for the congratulations – ours definitely won’t be a long engagement. I love my ring
      Love
      Julia x

  4. Peggy Goodman April 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations, what a beautiful ring and the story is amazing.
    Bring on the next gooo/bad/good 40 years.
    Looking forward to your wedding.
    Our thoughts are with you all over the loss of Poppy, we know the loss of a loving family pet.
    Take care, be well and happy.
    🌟🦋x

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm -  Reply

      Hello Peggy
      I’m glad you liked the story behind my ring – no date set for the wedding yet but it won’t be a long engagement!
      Thanks for you comment re Poppy – we are gradually coming to terms with it.
      Love
      Julia x

  5. Linda Harvey April 25, 2018 at 9:16 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Julia your ring is beautiful.
    One of my first purchases from QVC was a Kim & Co Royal Blue Glitter Top I still wear it now at Christmas and it still feels as good as new.
    You are still my favourite presenter after all these years.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:07 pm -  Reply

      Hi Linda
      How fab that you still wear your glittery Kim & Co top after all these years.
      Thanks for your kind comments too
      Love
      Julia x

  6. Diane shaw April 25, 2018 at 9:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia congratulations to you and Chris on your engagement your ring is gorgeous lots of love to you both at this special time love di xxx💕

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:08 pm -  Reply

      Thanks very much Diane – I love my ring… I keep looking at it, especially in the sunshine!
      Love
      Julia x

  7. Antoinette Browne April 26, 2018 at 9:13 am -  Reply

    Hello Julia. All of you look fabulous in the photo. Once again congratulations to you and Chris. What an amazing couple. God bless you both.
    Antoinette x.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

      Hi Antoinette,
      It was a really lovely evening with special people.
      Thanks for the congratulations
      Love
      Julia x

  8. ann cain April 26, 2018 at 9:20 am -  Reply

    Julia the first item I brought was a ring it is like a Whorl nut whip chocolate and I am sure it was 18grt gold.I have been watching QVC from day one,I am so sorry to hear about Poppy hope you wiil feel a little better.xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm -  Reply

      Hi Ann
      I wonder if you still wear your ‘walnut whip’ ring? Fab that you’ve been watching us since the beginning.
      We are slowly coming to terms with life after Poppy.
      Love
      Julia x

  9. ann cain April 26, 2018 at 9:28 am -  Reply

    I am so sorry I didn’t congratulations to you and Chris on your engagement you ring is stunning.xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm -  Reply

      No probs – thanks for the congratulations, and I agree, I think my ring is stunning too
      Love
      Julia x

  10. Vanessa April 26, 2018 at 1:35 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations to you bothx I did notice your were flashing your ring on the telly
    last week! It’s very similar to mine, but mine is round cut 18ct yellow gold with a centre stone of 7mm and two smaller ones 5 mm each and its 41 years old this year and still sparkles like crazy. Ps. lovely ringx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm -  Reply

      Hi Vanessa,
      I hope I wasn’t ‘flashing’ it around too much – the stones have a mind of their own! Glad you approve of the ring and thanks for the congratulations
      Love
      Julia x

  11. SheMag April 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm -  Reply

    You’re doing all the right things, Julia. Carry on taking things at your own pace. We are doing the same…we are working on the same grief as you, as I noted in my comment on your Poppy blog. This, too, will pass. Fx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

      We are gradually adjusting to life without Poppy – it breaks my heart to see Wilfie looking for his ‘friend’ in all her old sleeping places though.
      My heart goes out to you too – we’ll get there eventually
      Love
      Julia x

  12. Geraldine carron April 26, 2018 at 8:08 pm -  Reply

    Julia congratulations to You and Chris on your engagement I love your ring it looks really lovely from Geraldine carron

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm -  Reply

      Hi Geraldine,
      Thanks for your congratulations – I love my ring too
      Love
      Julia x

  13. Kim Phipps April 26, 2018 at 8:15 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations. You write beautifully! So nice to look back. Enjoy all the hoopla, it goes so quickly. You’re my fav presenter. Love to you and your family.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:20 pm -  Reply

      Hello Kim
      What lovely compliments – so pleased you enjoy my writing. Not sure there will be too much hoopla – maybe just family and close friends on a beach somewhere.
      Love
      Julia x

  14. Tessa Goddard April 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm -  Reply

    Huge congratulations to you both, I love the story behind the ring design and the ring is beautiful, hope you both have many more happy years together xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:22 pm -  Reply

      Thank you Tessa,
      Alison was a joy to work with putting the idea behind the ring into a design – I love it
      Love
      Julia x

  15. Jane April 26, 2018 at 8:31 pm -  Reply

    I knew I used to see you on occasion at Sainsbury’s Chelsham lol. It’s a small world.
    Loving your ring and the meaning behind it. Just beautiful.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:24 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jane,
      You should have said hello – I’m surprised you recognised me without my telly make-up though.
      Glad you like the story behind my ring
      Love
      Julia x

  16. Lorraine gray April 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm -  Reply

    Many congratulations Julia and Chris on your engagement.
    Yes, your ring is stunning. Alison has done you proud!
    Very sorry to hear about the passing of your dear cat, Poppy.
    Such a good age though and had a wonderful life with you and your family.
    Best wishes, love Lorraine Gray. XX

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

      Hi Lorraine,
      Thank you – I agree with you about Alison & my ring.
      We are starting to come to terms with life after Poppy and you’re right she had an amazingly long life and was much loved.
      Love
      Julia x

  17. Lynne M April 26, 2018 at 9:10 pm -  Reply

    Beautiful words! Congratulations xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm -  Reply

      Thank you very much, Lynne x

  18. Cathryn April 26, 2018 at 9:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia I am so sorry to hear about Poppy and know what you are going through. I lost my cat Honey last week and was told about her joining the angels whilst holidaying in Sri Lanka. I miss hr so
    Much – she was my little angel on earth. I go to work in London each day but know there won’t be a friendly greeting to come home to. Please keep smiling and remember the dear memories you have of Poppy❤️God bless Cathryn

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:32 pm -  Reply

      Hi Cathryn,
      So sorry to hear your sad news. We lost our previous black & white, Dylan, many years ago while on a family holiday in Florida so I know how you must have felt. We are starting to look back with fondness without getting too upset and I hope you are too
      Love
      Julia x

  19. Lynn April 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm -  Reply

    Many congratulations to you and Chris. Beautiful ring. I remember you talking about Chris and the children in the early days, as did other presenters. That seems to have stopped now. Anyway, be happy xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm -  Reply

      Hi Lynn,
      Thank you. I think I still talk about my family quite a lot on air but not all viewers like it, I’m afraid.
      Love
      Julia x

  20. Kim Shinner April 26, 2018 at 10:28 pm -  Reply

    Congrats to you both, [though I did think you were already married lol],so he’s making an honest woman of you..:) and sorry to hear about your poppy hugs xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:35 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Kim,
      I’ve never hidden the fact that we’re not married – the time just seems right now.
      We are starting to cope with life after Poppy now.
      Love
      Julia x

  21. Melita Burgess April 26, 2018 at 11:02 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations to you Julia. After 40 years together you deserve a lovely ring. May your happiness continue for you both x.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 8:37 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Melita,
      I don’t suppose much will change … except being able to gaze at my beautiful ring
      Love
      Julia x

  22. Harshika April 27, 2018 at 12:38 am -  Reply

    Congratulations on your engagement Julia 🌹 and I remember and always watching qvc since the Ist time you presented on qvc and I’m addicted of shopping 😀

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

      Hi Harshika
      Thank you for the congratulations. So pleased to hear that you have been with us from the beginning and still enjoy shopping with us.
      Love
      Julia x

  23. Lorraine Giles April 27, 2018 at 7:37 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Congratulations on your engagement best of luck to you both. Your ring is beautiful like to wish you all the very best. xx ☺🌹

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 10:55 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Lorraine
      I agree about the ring – such lovely stones, thanks to Alison O’Reilly – I’m a very lucky girl
      Love
      Julia x

  24. Rhiannon April 27, 2018 at 9:30 am -  Reply

    Congratulations Julia on your engagement. What a gorgeous ring. I love reading your blog , very informative!! I started watching in 20001 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have bought many many products mainly beauty products as I’m a beauty junky!!!I think that you and Simon from Butler and Wilson make a great team !! I will be watching the show today. Take care xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 10:58 pm -  Reply

      Hi Rhiannon,
      So pleased to hear you enjoy reading my blog and great that you have been watching QVC for such a long time.
      Sorry the show wasn’t with Simon (I was mis-informed) but hope you enjoyed the show with lovely Nikki
      Love
      Julia x

  25. Christine April 27, 2018 at 9:39 am -  Reply

    Congrats on your engagement, the ring is lovely – will we be able to buy something similar on QVC in the future? I have the tanzanite ring diamonique copy of Princess Diana’s and get many complimentary comments. Have watched from 2003 and like all presenters. Especially enjoy when you are on with Simon Wilson and to see his sister Margaret from Scotland occasionally sitting in studio.Love his tops.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 11:01 pm -  Reply

      Hi Christine,
      Thank you – not sure if QVC will be doing something similar in Diamonique…. maybe😉
      I always love seeing Margaret when she comes in and working with Simon goes without saying. I love his tops too – I wonder if you treated yourself this time?
      Love
      Julia x

  26. Lynette Slade April 27, 2018 at 1:40 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations to you both stunning ring xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm -  Reply

      Thanks very much Lynette – I love my ring too
      Love
      Julia x

  27. Kay Stapleton April 27, 2018 at 3:12 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations to you both wonderful news x our fur babies are big part of our life’s heartbreaking to loose them xx

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 11:04 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Kay. You are so right about our fur babies – desperately sad when we are forced to say goodbye to them
      Love
      Julia x

  28. Christine Brown April 27, 2018 at 6:14 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Julia, I had noticed the ring and thought?? so when is the big day? Just to add I love your books, read them all and waiting for the next.

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 11:07 pm -  Reply

      Hi Christine,
      We haven’t fixed a date yet but it won’t be a long engagement!
      I’m so pleased you enjoy my books – it’s been a funny old year writing-wise with a few things happening that have completely interrupted my creative flow but I promise at least one new book (probably two) by the end of this year
      Love
      Julia x

  29. Julie April 27, 2018 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Congrats on your engagement recently. Love your ring. Suits your hand. I just love rings & can imagine a lovely eternity ring along side it. When are you getting married????? I’ve been married a happy 35 years & known my fella for 40 yrs. time goes so quickly. Grab every moment being together. Plenty of laughing together is what keeps us young. Love your jewellery shows. Manage to catch your hours on air by checking QVC TV GUIDE. marvellous.
    Don’t ever leave QVC. It will ever be the same without you. Been watching since the very beginning. Makes me feel old!!! Well all the best. Keep laughing.
    Love Julie xxx💍

    • Julia Roberts May 9, 2018 at 11:14 pm -  Reply

      Hi Julie,
      Thank you for the congratulations – I think my ring is perfect for my hand too. We haven’t fixed a date yet but it won’t be a long engagement! You’ve been together the same amount of time as us.
      So pleased you enjoy watching my shows. I don’t have any plans to retire just yet but the day will come…. eventually… and the channel will of course survive my departure as it has when others have left.
      Love
      Julia x

  30. Beverley Klymkiw April 27, 2018 at 8:00 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations Julia on your recent engagement. Your ring is beautiful. It’s our 40th this year and can’t believe how those years have flown by. Sorry to hear about your loss of Poppy. We lost one of our cats last year so I know how heart-wrenching it is. Our fur babies are really part of the family and it does feel like a bereavement when we lose them. I was watching you present perfumes the other day and thought how professional you were describing the different scents and who would like each one. It must be one of the most difficult things to sell on tv, but as always, you made it look easy. Thanks for all the wonderful years of shopping on the Q. All the best to you and your family and your upcoming wedding.

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 10:54 am -  Reply

      Hi Beverley
      Thanks for the congratulations and I agree, my ring is really pretty. I didn’t want anything too big and flashy just simple with lovely stones. Congratulations on your 40 years too.
      We are gradually coming to terms with life after Poppy – it’s hard though.
      Thanks for the compliments re my presenting and for shopping with us.
      I’ll keep everyone updated on here re wedding plans
      Love
      Julia x

  31. ECMarsh April 27, 2018 at 10:26 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations, wishing you and Chris the best. Lovely ring and the memories of the early days of QVC. Have been watching from 1994. How things have changed and all of us have changed too. Collectable dolls was one of my favourites with Kara. Sad about your beloved cat but you have your memories to cherish. Good luck X.

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 10:57 am -  Reply

      Thanks for your congratulations – I love my ring… so pretty.
      How fab that you’ve been watching since 1994 – going through all my old storage boxes has brought back so many happy memories. Kara was great with the dolls wasn’t she – I still have some Pauline collectable dolls, somewhere.
      Love
      Julia x

  32. Jeanne April 28, 2018 at 2:38 pm -  Reply

    I always presumed you were already married. What took you so long?
    Anyway many congratulations on your engagement Julia.
    Love QVC and have been watching & buying since it started x

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 11:00 am -  Reply

      Hi Jeanne
      The time feels right now, as simple as that really.
      How brilliant that you have been with us since day one – I hope you are enjoying the ‘old memories’ blogs… so much more to come.
      Love
      Julia x

  33. Molly Dawson April 28, 2018 at 4:31 pm -  Reply

    Congratulations to you both on your engagement and your ring is gorgeous. I started buying from QVC in June 1996 and I can remember you measuring the garments that you were selling with a tape measure. Things are done a lot differently now xx

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 11:02 am -  Reply

      Hi Molly,
      Thanks for your congratulations.
      Oh yes…. we used to be behind a big desk and lay the clothes flat to measure – at least our measurements were always accurate! Do you remember what your first purchase was and do you still have it I wonder?
      Love
      Julia x

  34. Jo Farrow April 29, 2018 at 8:38 am -  Reply

    Congratulations to you both – I love your presenting style and adding your personal stories.

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 11:04 am -  Reply

      Hello Jo
      Thanks for the congratulations and also for your kind compliments
      Love
      Julia x

  35. martin forbes April 30, 2018 at 10:10 am -  Reply

    congrattulations on your engagement hope sophie daniel are well too how are you and sophie settling in to your new places as wew say in aberdeen fit like how re you iam well sorry to hear that your cat poppy passed away how old was she.

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 11:07 am -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      Thanks for the congratulations. Daniel & Sophie are both well thanks and good to hear you are too.
      Poppy had an incredibly long life, she was just short of her 23rd birthday – that makes her about 114 in the equivalent human years!
      Love
      Julia x

  36. Elizabeth keenan May 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm -  Reply

    Hiya Julia
    Congratulations to you and Chris.
    Your ring is beautiful and what a
    Lovely story.
    I bought an ioniser back then Julia lots of things were bought from QVC.
    Much love
    Elizabeth 💜

    • Julia Roberts May 10, 2018 at 11:09 am -  Reply

      Hello Elizabeth
      Thanks for the congratulations – Alison did a great job helping me to interpret my ideas into a design – so happy with it.
      We had an ioniser too – no idea where it is now though .
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  37. Patricia Morris May 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, congratulations, I heard about your engagement whilst watching a Diamonique show today. Alison was showing a gorgeous solitaire and mentioned it was similar in style to your engagement ring. I wish you both great happiness now and for the future. Love Patricia x (love qvc too) x

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