Blimey… it’s okay this side of the hill!

31

I can still look back at all that was… yet there’s acres of newness ahead of me. How very exciting.

I’m starting to write this at Venice airport, as you do! However to try and capture this past week or two will I think be impossible but I shall give it a fine old go!

Firstly, thank you all so very very much for all my birthday wishes here on my blog and on my Twitter feed @clairesuttonqvc… I felt very thought about, spoiled and cared about… the theme of this last week and a half for sure!

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So, my birthday party was fabulous, I LOVED it! The venue was beautiful, the preparations had all gone according to plan and the cherry blossom tree that QVC had so kindly loaned me was lit from below and looking magnificent. Fairy lights twinkled plentifully and little tea lights dotted around made for such a pretty picture, though my friends son who took some pictures for me is currently revising for exams so I await photographic evidence, though in my memory bank it was just beautiful!

The beautiful table decorations so very kindly loaned to me by the gorgeous Julie at Peony Flowers completed the cherry blossom theme, she had even added some pale pink peonies in, just to balance my addition of pink in my cakes.

My cakes were a feat of engineering, the most delicate of roses and pretty flowers were artfully created by my fabulous sister-in-law. We made the 460 mini cupcakes on the day before but managed only to decorate about 90… So the amazing Katherine took the remainder home and with all sorts of apparatus to pipe pretty petals somehow managed to complete the cakes. They were adorned with edible glitter and gold leaf a plenty and I was so happy as my plan had come together! I had conjured up the idea of making a cake table, with a mannequin decorated with faux flowers and real eucalyptus and ivy sprayed with gold , and as with all good mannequins it would be sporting a tutu of course, à la dancer. Then… the tutu would hold all the florally decorated cupcakes. Well, this was what my head told me… Obviously as per most of my creative ideas I need Dan to ensure it can actually work, as “quite how will the cakes be supported on the tutu darling?” Hmmmm that bit was not in my head… just the fabulous end result!

Birthday cake

Luckily he made it happen and voila! Here is my cake table adorned with some of the cakes before Katherine arrived with the rest! Not sure any photos recorded the fully laden result but I was pleased Maddie had at least captured it at this stage.

I had a photo of me from my dancing days blown up into a life size stand up which was so bizarre when Maddie stood next to “me” as it looked more like Maddie’s face than mine!

Speaking of Maddie, she and my niece Pips my had hatched a plan to do a “flash mob” as a surprise for me. They had secretly messaged a random selection of the guests, filmed themselves doing the routine and broke it down into a tutorial so everyone could learn it. I have now been shown the messages that were going back and forth between everyone and it is amazing that they pulled it off! There were some pretty nervous people apparently on the night and the stress levels of some of the chosen ones were  huge apparently, so a cheeky rehearsal took place whilst the entrance to the room was carefully watched in case I walked in and caught them  all practising!  I was grabbed during the evening and told to sit on a chair on the edge of dance floor as Bruno Mars started to play, at first I thought “Aahhh how lovely Madds and Pips have made up a routine for me…” until my friend Charlotte joined in and then another 4 people etc etc etc. All you can hear is my shrieking and shouting as I spotted more and more of them joining in! Colin and Ali Keenan were fantastic at it (no surprise there! though I suspect Kathy Taylor was rather relieved she hadn’t been put on the hit list!!) It was totally fabulous and I think was the most perfect surprise for me!

Everyone had told me to just make sure I relaxed, enjoyed my party and that it was up to everyone to have their own nice time, so I heeded advice and seemingly judging by the messages I had flooding in the next day a good time was indeed had by all with lots of catching up with old friends going on.

The following day, lots of us breakfasted together and then arrived back to our house en masse  to relax in that fantastic sunshine we were blessed with. It was a lovely part of my actual birthday with friends and my family all just mooching about and chatting with each other.

I then ceremoniously and emotionally revealed “Revolution”, the most stunning sculpture that because of the generosity of my wonderful family and friends now stands gloriously in all her nakedness in my garden… I fell totally in love with her when I saw her in a gallery and amazingly and with incredible secrecy my friends Julie, Lindsey and my Mummy engineered a collection which meant she became mine… once again proof that dreams really can come true.

Tears were definitely a part of that day as when Dan gave his gift to me, a trip on the Orient Express from Paris overnight to Verona and then onto Venice, they flowed freely!!! Lucky just doesn’t really seem a spectacular enough word does it!!!!! Think it may become my new middle name.

After a couple of days at home which passed in a haze of happy deliciousness! I finally managed to pack, not easy you know when one needs a full on evening gown plus black tie for Dan as well as all the appropriate outfits befitting such a posh trip with all the right glam footwear, yet being on my feet all day sightseeing meant appropriate footwear was needed for that too. I think Skechers fitted the bill perfectly. I checked the forecast and squealed with delight at the temperatures meaning I also needed to pack for heat!  Luckily with my Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial still beautifully delivering for night time and Ultrasun’s April beauty pick of the month – Anti Pigmentation Face with SPF50 formula I could at least travel light on the skincare front. I am definitely going to be mindful of my perfume application as I reckon that’s why I have  some pigmentation marks now and hopefully these will lesson with this wonderful protective and caring new formula.

Amanda Lamb holdall

When the buyers heard I was off somewhere special they passed on a beautiful leather holdall by Amanda Lamb for me to try out. It is super smart and was a great size for all my extra things. I was particularly grateful for the longer adjustable strap to be able to pop it on my shoulder when we negotiated through the busy streets to our hotel in Venice. When our luggage was lined up on the platform in Paris I felt we looked just the ticket! Mind you I didn’t spot any other Kipling suitcases onboard in monkey mania, it’s a fabulous case which means I can squeeze so much in, think our fellow travellers were missing a trick!

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So off we set off to Paris and lived the dream… it was all I hoped it would be and then some, it was luxurious, extravagant, romantic and perfect.

Honestly to capture those six days away in words is too much so I shall let the pictures do the talking. The detail, the food, the ceremony and service onboard The Orient Express was sublime and to awaken with views of Switzerland wrapped around us was incredible, with little else to do but just look and absorb.

We left the train at Verona and the care Dan had taken to choose our apartment in Verona became apparent, the pleasure the city gave us was simply wonderful, more divine food, stunning weather and just the opportunity to have each other’s uninterrupted company was such a treat.

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After a couple of nights we headed to Venice where the busy atmosphere contrasted beautifully with the peaceful calm of Verona. We breathed it all in, marvelling at the spectacular and awe inspiring architecture and history. Dan even found the little restaurant we had happened upon 10 years earlier, we made sure we returned to and relived the memories.

I have arrived home rested, reinvigorated , full of love and feeling incredibly happy and I can’t wait to bring a little of that joy with me to QVC over these next few days where I shall be on air with you during the 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th.

I wonder now I’m 50 if I will bring maturity to my presenting??!!!! I suspect not, why change the habit of a lifetime!

Much love to you all,

Claire xx

31 Comments

  1. Dawn Tindle April 11, 2017 at 1:04 pm -  Reply

    Lucky lucky you to have such a wonderful time and to share the beautiful pictures too. Such a thoughtful husband to carry through a lovely treat and memorable occasion for you to treasure.

  2. Rebecca April 11, 2017 at 1:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire what a beautiful blog i really enjoyed reading it and looking at the beautiful pictures. What a lovely party outfit you had you looked fab x😀

  3. Loraine Plumb April 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire i have written to you before not sure if you remember ? one word beautiful photos are lovely so happy for you having such a nice time and thoughtful husband my husband is special too so we are lucky sent we there is a big holiday to Florida coming up early next year for my husband and me we are fortunate that our daughter Clare and husband Geoff are coming with us as lovely granddaughter Willa also son Gary and his girlfriend we have been many times when they were younger so will nice to visit again we have a villa booked it’s both our special birthdays and sons 30th also married 40 years so alot t o celebrate . But for now we are off to Wales good Friday until Monday all of us together again anyway best wishes to you all love Loraine xx

  4. Christine milnes April 11, 2017 at 3:10 pm -  Reply

    Looks like you had a wonderful birthday your pictures were lovely missed you on QVC but lovely seeing you back.x

  5. Angela bell April 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    What a beautiful birthday you had Claire. Xx

  6. Denise April 11, 2017 at 6:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful Birthday celebrations. Wow what can I say apart from it sounds amazing and a true trip of a lifetime with many happy memories for you to treasure. Being 50 is great. For me it was a time to actually get on and do all the things I wanted to instead of thinking oh I’ll get round to it one day. As I said I don’t mind being 50 but as I face the next decade later this year I’m not so sure how I feel about that one!!
    Lovely to see you back on screen.
    Love and best wishes
    Denise xx

  7. theresa April 11, 2017 at 7:33 pm -  Reply

    Wonderful to hear you had an exceptional birthday with your beautiful family and friends. The sculpture you got looks beautiful anf the pictures you showed are lovely. One last thing Claire dont ever change, take care x

  8. Teresa Burrows April 11, 2017 at 8:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire .What a fantastic birthday trip,so magical on the orient express. That’s what i call a 50th to remember. No need to ask if you had a good time can tell by your face. Very many belated birthday wishes to you. Best wishes and love to you Teresa x

  9. Helen Dovidio April 11, 2017 at 11:38 pm -  Reply

    Wow!What a fabulous trip,lovely photos and you looked amazing in that evening dress on the Orient Express.Definately a birthday to remember and a great way to start the next chapter in your life.Lucky lady!

  10. Teresa Karasavvas April 12, 2017 at 8:55 am -  Reply

    Claire it all looks fantastic and what a lovely reminder of it all to have your beautiful sculpture. I hope you think of your “special” birthday everytime you look at it. You are lovely lady and you deserved a special time. Don’t worry about maturity – it is good to still be a bit child like – I still am loving soft toys etc!

  11. Christine April 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire you are lucky girl. Everything looks wonderful, and the trip and train looks fabulous.

    Take care X

  12. Rebecca Bryant April 13, 2017 at 4:46 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire thankyou for sharing such a beautiful and wonderful time with us. Your blog is filled so much with joy and happiness. It really is such a pleasure to read. I am so pleased you had such a wonderful birthday. And such a special time away with Dan. You are and make such a wonderful couple together. And your joy and happiness in life just seems to spill over and fill our own lives with the same. It really is wonderful being able to read and share so much with you. Thankyou Clare. With all my love and many best wishes from Rebecca XX

  13. Claire Sutton April 13, 2017 at 11:40 am -  Reply

    Hi Dawn,
    Yup he sure is a lovely husband and had planned all the details so perfectly for me , I will have to refrain from telling him off about anything for quite some time!!!
    Lovely to hear from you,
    Claire x

  14. Claire Sutton April 13, 2017 at 11:42 am -  Reply

    Rebecca,
    Thankyou so much, I knew that was the outfit soon as soon as I saw it! Proper party frock ( a grown up version of what I would have had as a child)
    So nice to hear from you ,
    Claire xxx

  15. Gillian April 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, what a lovely blog, made great reading about your birthday celebrations! Wow, what a fab time you had, especially on The Orient Express, lucky you and you looked fabulous in your dress. You are truly blessed to have the love of Dan and your lovely family. Your joy and happiness always shines forth on QVC, and no, please don’t ever change, we love you just as you are. Age is only a number! Belated birthday wishes, love Gill xx

  16. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Lorraine, oh I do hope you are having a super time in Wales this weekend and how fabulous to have Florida to look forward to as well with all your family together…these are priceless memories, make sure you take loads of photos:-)
    Super to hear from you again,
    Love Claire x

  17. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:28 pm -  Reply

    Ah that’s good to know Christine!!
    Xxx

  18. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm -  Reply

    I really did Angela, and am living on the cloud still!! Xx

  19. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Denise, lovely to hear from you! Great advice to get on and do things..I will try and heed that for sure, and I’m sure with thoughts like that you will breeze into your next decade perfectly!
    Much love,
    Claire xx

  20. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm -  Reply

    Theresa,
    Thankyou for your lovely
    words…I guess at 50 I am what I am!!! With love xx

  21. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:40 pm -  Reply

    Teresa, oh it was everything I thought it would be in my head…and some! Yes…still smiling! :-)) xx

  22. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    Oh I was so lucky Helen wasn’t I ! And cheeky Dan getting that shot in my dress as I sauntered down to dinner! I’m very pleased , may even pop it in a frame as a memory of such a phonomonal trip xx

  23. Eileen Mahoney April 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm -  Reply

    wow wow wow!!! I really enjoyed this blog and cannot think of a more PERFECT way, in any way at all, to celebrate a momentous birthday. I actually had tears when I read about the time and effort your daughter went to for the special surprise of the flash mob dance….what a FANTASTIC present – soooo sweet of her! And then what a fab idea for all your friends to pitch in for the sculpture, something you really wanted and would appreciate and would remind you of them and the day for years to come. And then as for your husband…….what can be said?!?!? The time and care he took to plan a perfectly magical holiday. I love my husband dearly but no way would he ever dream that up much less be able to plan it with such meticulous detail and pull it off down to the last detail! You look absolutely glowing in all the photos and I loooooove the party dress and the red dress you wore. Just the most perfect week. You are one lucky lucky girl in every which way!
    ps can I be cheeky and ask where the taupe bedroom is – Paris or Verona or Venice? Would you share the name of the hotel as I want to keep for future reference – as well as the green bedroom which looks absolutely gorgeous!!! Thanks Claire and enjoy the year and next decade!

  24. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm -  Reply

    Teresa, she keeps catching my eye in the garden and I found myself chatting to her the other day!!!! I do love her there. Thank you so much for writing, take care from one youngster to another!
    Claire x

  25. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm -  Reply

    Christine, believe me I know it!!!
    With love
    C xx

  26. Claire Sutton April 14, 2017 at 3:46 pm -  Reply

    Rebecca,
    That was so lovely to read and Thankyou …I chatter away and it is the nicest thing to hear that it’s appreciated 🙂
    Xx

  27. SUE BRUCE April 30, 2017 at 6:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Clair, I’ve just watched celebrity countdown and saw the lovely Dee Dee from pans people and was struck by how much she reminded me of an oder version of you, her looks voice and mannerisms. Are you related please?

  28. Eileen Mahoney May 1, 2017 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire. Not sure you saw my message above (April 14 3:44) as it was put up this page onto late….Could I have the names of your hotels? No worries if you’d rather not….Thank you.

  29. Claire Sutton May 9, 2017 at 9:06 am -  Reply

    Hi Sue, I’ve just googled Dee Dee and I can see what you mean, tho it was only a picture I saw! No we aren’t related ( not that I know of anyway!!! ) xx

  30. Claire Sutton May 9, 2017 at 9:11 am -  Reply

    Eileen , Dan used Cortè Realti through trip advisor for Verona. Our Venice hotel was lovely tho I can’t recall the name- I will cone back to you if I do – but when I was 40 we stayed in the Danielli just by St Marks square .. now that was stunning tho I recall a G & T was about £30 !!!! X

    • Eileen Mahoney May 11, 2017 at 9:13 pm -  Reply

      thanks so much Claire – i appreciate it!!!

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