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Can you smell something?


My only day off this week was Tuesday and fortunately for me it was a gloriously sunny day which I took full advantage of. The sheets were off our bed the moment we were out of it and in the washing machine so that, by the time we had finished breakfast, they were ready to hang out on the line. You really know spring is around the corner when you start to hang the washing out on a regular basis and it comes in almost dry and smelling so fresh.

A second load went into the machine and once that was done we headed out to our local beauty spot, Virginia Water, for a walk. Although we didn’t walk all the way round, I was pretty tired by the time we got home, two hours later, so spent the afternoon tidying my desk and writing a few more words of my new novel, as yet untitled, before starting to make dinner… our new favourite, Lentil Bake.

A couple of hours after enjoying our dinner, as we sat relaxing in front of the television, Chris and I suddenly looked at each other and said, ‘Can you smell something?’ A burning smell had hit our nostrils at exactly the same moment. Panic-stricken, as I had finished off the Lentil Bake under the grill at maximum temperature, we rushed to the kitchen not knowing what we would find.

Relief flooded over me when I realised that it was not the grill I had left on but the gas ring on minimum after steaming broccoli. My Cook’s Essentials saucepan had boiled dry and had a burnt coating right across the base. At least it was only a ruined saucepan and not the whole kitchen up in flames! But we are talking Cook’s Essentials here and when I rinsed it, after it had cooled down, the non-stick was totally undamaged…very impressive!

GTech K9

Another QVC product that has impressed me this week is the Gtech AirRam K9, which is coming up as a TSV this weekend. Now that we have three cats living with us, it is a constant battle to keep the carpets and rugs free from cat hair particularly as house cats shed more apparently and neither Wilfie nor Milo like being brushed, unlike Poppy who regards it as a real treat.

Our rug in the lounge has a slight sculpted pattern on it, which is difficult to get the cat hairs out of usually, but not with the K9. I guess its name is making reference to the fact that it is good on dog hairs but I can confirm it’s brilliant for cat hair too. My one tip is that if it starts to leave fluff on the floor it is ready to be emptied, which, in itself, is a very quick and easy process. It gets the thumbs up from me for the rugs we have at home.

Cat nap collage

Talking of the cats, I just had to share these two pictures with you. Forget the saying ‘it’s a dog’s life'; I definitely want to come back as a cat! In truth, Poppy and Milo don’t get on all that well really. We have to more or less feed Poppy on demand as sometimes she won’t eat at all but other times she will polish off a whole tin or more.

Milo’s life revolves around food. He finishes his meals within a minute and then goes in search of any scraps left in Wilfie’s or Poppy’s bowls so we think he has become jealous of the many small feeds she gets a day while he is only fed three times. He has to eat in a different room from the other two or he would push them out of the way to get at their food but when he occasionally dashes past us to get at Poppy’s bowl we think it has scared her so she now hisses at him.

The two of them would never settle down to sleep together but Wilfie and Poppy will share a sofa as will Wilfie and Milo. I suppose it’s just like humans really, you can’t get on with everybody. The house is going to feel very empty when Dan has Wilfie back and Sophie moves out with Milo but I think Poppy is probably looking forward to having the house to herself again.

I’m not working this weekend and would normally be off until next Thursday but I am coming in especially on Tuesday as it is Liz Earle’s 19th anniversary with QVC … we are presenting the 2pm show together. I was reading her piece on our homepage in which she mentions my ‘perm’ in the early days on QVC.


So many people over the years have thought I used to have a perm but it’s not the case. When my hair is shorter and cut into layers it is really really curly as you can see from the photo. My mum loves it like that but I’m not a massive fan, which is why I tend to keep longer, although it is due for a trim when I visit Aveda next week.

I hope all mums enjoy their day on Sunday.

Much love,

Julia xx


  1. Annette Roberts March 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Great minds think alike, or maybe just Geminis?!!! Stripped the bed and washed on Tuesday also, so nice to have fresh linen dried outside, you can’t beat it, although for quickness I used the drier.

    You had a very lucky escape with your Cooks Essentials saucepan, easily done though, you get distracted, then… I normally put the plates under the grill to warm, then walk off and forget, some have a nice crackled effect now. Talking of Cooks Essentials, Chris burnt his hand on the saucepan handle and I remembered seeing something on Q and after much searching I found what I was looking for in the clearance section, for all of £6! Silicon Saucepan Handle Covers, brilliant invention, much better and safer than a tea towel and the best £6 I’ve ever spent!

    I don’t know what you are like with Poppy, Wilfie and Milo when they are sleeping, but I can sit and watch Bobby’s breathing for ages, find it so relaxing.

    Have a lovely day on Sunday, Chris has let slip that Bobby has bought me Ripper Street series 1 and 2 box set…he’s such a clever dog!! Are you enjoying Mr Selfridge? I normally record it, then watch it Monday morning whilst having my morning fruit and veg blast, because Chris isn’t keen on the period dramas, but I love them…things weren’t so manic back then.

    Annette x

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 11:55 am -  Reply

      Hi Annette
      I am loving this series of Mr.Selfridge although if I was a violent person I would want to punch Lord Loxley’s lights out and I don’t like Mr. ‘sanctimonious’ Grove either after the way he treated Miss Mardle! My Chris gets a blow by blow account of it if he has been working on Sunday night.
      I had a lovely Mother’s Day which I shall write about on this week’s blog only marred by my card from Daniel not arriving ….. at all!! He posted it first class in Swansea last Thursday and it still hasn’t made an appearance.
      Speak son
      Julia x

  2. T McMean March 13, 2015 at 9:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, You are blessed with beautiful hair. I wish QVC still sold Aveda products. The only way I can buy them is when we are visiting a big city . I know I can order them via internet but I am not comfortable doing this. I like to discuss what I am buying as have ended up with costly products no good for my hair.
    That is the advantage of QVC, you demonstrate and advise us. I like that you are truthful when describing products and ask the questions to merchandisers we are likely to want answers to.
    Look forward to seeing you soon on QVC
    Tanya XX

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 12:23 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tanya
      I’m just on the train on the way to Aveda now. I also wish we still sold Aveda products as it would be much cheaper for me particularly with staff discount!
      Thanks for your kind comments about my presenting style, I’m next on QVC on Friday at 5pm (Fashion on Friday followed by Spotlight on Jewellery). Hope you’ll be watching
      Julia x

  3. Jean March 13, 2015 at 10:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie,
    Sounds as if your day off was a busy one. Yes you cannot beat the smell of washing after it has been dried outside.

    You were lucky with your saucepan, it is easily done when you are busy. Good thing you did not burn your Lentil Bake. Good old Cook’s Essentials.

    You mention the G Tech, I have the handheld one which I got from QVC, it is great and so handy. My Collie loves it, the reason being the light on it, he chases the reflection on the floor, same if you use a torch, or you get a reflection from sunlight, he is a case.I am tempted, but have an Oreck upright, and a Miele cylinder one, both from QVC. I find them both great. Have you seen the G Tech advert where they are all dancing with the G Tech and one has a big upright cylinder.

    Love the photographs of all the Cat’s, they all look so relaxed. Glad Poppy is okay now. Had to laugh about Milo and his food.

    Gosh yes your hair is curly. You have nice thick hair.

    Mr Selfridge has been good lately, lots happening there.

    Have a great weekend, and try not to burn anymore saucepans.

    Love Jean X

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 12:12 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      Well the good news is that I haven’t burnt any saucepans this week … So far!
      Both Milo and Wilfie love to chase reflections. If we are sitting in the lounge and the sun is shining off our iPads they go crazy … not that we tease them of course

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 12:17 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      Having fun and games with my blog replies again not publishing the whole of my reply!
      I went on to say that I’m really enjoying Mr. Selfridge with all the intricate storylines. I’ll stop there in case the gremlins interfere again.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  4. TINA S March 13, 2015 at 11:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    We enjoyed a day out as well on Tuesday to our favourite place, Porthcawl, where we had our fish and chips treat. It was lovely and sunny which brought the crowds out in force. It was really nice to sit outside with a coffee. It is so relaxing sitting and watching the sea. All too soon we had to wend our way back home and reality!
    Unfortunately we haven’t received an offer on our house. The couple came back for a second viewing with a whole entreage ( I don’t think I’ve spelt that right?) in tow! Their parents and someone else, having a good old shifty into everything. One of the mother’s asked the Estate Agent if we would consider an offer which was £10,000 below our asking price. We of course had said we would not consider such a drop in our price. So it’s a waiting game again.
    Talking of games, we are playing Ireland tomorrow. Our Under 20’s beat Ireland tonight so let’s hope it’s a good omen. Our Women’s Rugby Team are on a winning streak and could be in with a chance of winning the Championship which we are hoping Wales are going to do also.
    Love the photo’s of the moggies.It really is a cat’s life, lol. There’s a lovely cat we always see on the front in Porthcawl. I took some cat treats with us one day but as is the way with cats she just turned her nose up at them!
    Yesterday was the funeral of Steve Strange, the 80’s pop star which was held at Porthcawl where he lived. There were quite a few pop stars who attended such as Boy George, Martin and Garry Kemp and Tony Hadley. We normally visit Porthcawl on Thursdays but decided to go today instead as the weather forecasters said it was going to be a nicer day. It wasn’t – it rained! They can never get it right. Actually it was a nicer day yesterday. If we had gone on our usual day we would have seen our old pop star idols. (Not in those sad circumstances though- makes me sound like a ghoul.)
    Well fingers crossed for tomorrow , my blood pressure will be up again!!
    Best wishes, Tina S. x

    • TINA S March 17, 2015 at 11:12 pm -  Reply

      Hi Julia,
      It’s me again- just to say we received an offer on our house today. Well I say an offer, they offered neally £12,000 under our asking price!!!! Needless to say I politely declined, So it’s back to the waiting game. On a happier note Wales won their game against Ireland on Saturday, so its fingers crossed for their last game against Italy on the weekend.
      Best wishes, Tina S.

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      I’m still laughing about the cat in Porthcawl declining your treats…. Milo definitely wouldn’t! I’ll have to look at where Porthcawl is on the map in relation to Swansea.
      Well done to Wales and good luck for Saturday. My boys also got a win at the weekend against a very poor QPR performance apart from a wonder goal.
      I’m glad you’ve had a couple of offers on your house – you never know they may up the offer slightly.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  5. Joanna Downey March 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, I can identify with so many things in your blog it was as though I had written it! I enjoy days when I can tick lots off my “To do” list and also love the first time the washing can be dried outside after months of using the drier or having it draped over an airer and that fresh air fragrance is sublime. I have failed to switch off various parts of the cooker over the years and ruined several saucepans and baking trays so can picture your dash to the kitchen, I have had C E pans for years and they are still as good as the day they arrived. Poppy and the boys look so lovely all relaxed and contented and how funny that Wilfie is at ease with both of the others. When we had “numerous” cats it was exactly the same and after many altercations they would settle down to an uneasy calm. As I have been with the Q since day one I remember you with shorter curly hair, I think you looked lovely then, as you do now, and both styles suit you but long and straighter seems more 2015. I suppose all mums and daughters have a preferred style, I loved our younger daughter with a bob – when she was little and I was in charge – mention it now and I get a very disapproving look. She’s getting married on 22nd December and so only having the lightest of trims, the days of the bob will never return..! I hope you enjoyed Mothering Sunday, love from Jo x

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jo
      I had a lovely Mother’s Day thanks and hope that you did too?
      I am just on the way back from Aveda and I had a cut today as well as a colour… only about three inches but it feels really short. My mum always kept my hair short as a child until I started dancing lessons where I needed it scraped back into a bun.
      I’ve managed to get through the week so far without damaging any more cookware!
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  6. Amy Wall March 15, 2015 at 11:43 pm -  Reply

    Another interesting blog Julia and Yeeaahhhhh Lentil Bake on the menu again. Pleased that your saucepan wasn’t ruined but then again it was one of Cooks Essentials so wouldn’t expect anything else. Hope you’re enjoying your time off and celebrating with Liz Earle this week. Nice photo of the younger hair but I do prefer the longer locks you have now. Take care xx

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm -  Reply

      Hello Amy
      We all absolutely love Lentil Bake but I don’t think Daniel would be so keen so we can only have it when he is not around.
      I’m getting a hair cut today but definitely not a short cut.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  7. Pauline Johnson March 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm -  Reply

    Your cats are so spoilt

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 12:25 pm -  Reply

      Hi Pauline
      The cats are not spoilt just loved which is the reason for having pets I think?
      Julia x

  8. Marian Bolton March 17, 2015 at 8:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    I always prefer to dry the washing au naturale (not sure that’s spelt right …. but you know what I mean!!). The weather is rather hit and miss though isn’t it. We keep getting a little tease of Spring around the corner then it all goes belly up again :-(.
    I recall a similar ‘burning smell’ incident a few years ago in the kitchen of our old house. Unluckily (or rather luckily as it turned out) for me) I was off work poorly with a particularly nasty tummy bug. I was laid comatose on the sofa and could smell burning. I went into the kitchen to find a plastic bag on top of the ceramic hob smouldering away. One of the cats had jumped onto the work top and managed to turn the hob on! Needless to say, the cooker and hob are now always turned off at the main switch after cooking. Don’t ask me what the plastic bag was doing on top of the hob!! Stupid or what!!
    I haven’t yet tried the Cooks Essentials range but my friend has a couple of pans and speaks very highly of them.
    Love the cats photos. All so cute.
    Mum is having a cataract op next week. She’s quite worried about it as she is completely blind in the other eye from glaucoma. It needs removing though as it is now affecting her sight a lot. Fingers crossed, all will go well. I had both Mums and Chris’ nan for Mothers Day so that took her mind of things for a few hours. I hope you were spoilt too! Casper bought his mommy a pot of bliss capsules! Who’s a clever boy!!
    Just checked out the TV guide and I see Elemis has a TSV coming up 12 April!!
    Marian xx

    • Julia Roberts March 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm -  Reply

      Hi Marian
      Clever Casper! I can’t believe I will be missing Keeley again – I work alternate weekends and I’m on all over Easter so will be off on the 12th … Boo!
      How lucky that your mishap with the hob and the plastic bag happened when you were in the house – clever cat though!
      Good luck to your mum for her operation. We do worry now they are older, mine will be 89 in August and is still fortunately pretty mobile.
      Julia x

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