First, don't miss my current competition to win a copy of Julie Cohen's fun new romance, 'The Summer of Living Dangerously' – see my last blog. Also this week…
– Debbie does fruitcake! Inspired by KitchenAid's Amy Wilcock!
– Some amazing responses online from you guys
– Dover Street dancing 'n' dining with the girls!
– One of the best films I've ever seen – 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'
– And another funny from YouTube!
Flint's fruitcake fix
OK, so as you know, I ain't no chef! But this week there was some inspiring cooking, which I observed (OK, I stirred a couple of things, handed up the spatula, oh and tasted a lot!) during our KitchenAid shows. So suddenly, a day later, a strange desire overtook me! I found myself making my second ever fruit cake!
Now I didn't have enough zest – I had a lemon but was supposed to have an orange as well – but I hoped it wouldn't matter too much. Despite the fact that, bless her, our WI whizz , Aga-expert, and Masterchef judge extraordinaire, Amy Wilcock, DID say that the thing most people do wrong is not read the recipe book properly! Anyway it came out LOOKING OK, just have to taste it now! NB the recipe for her Ice Cream and the Tomato Sorbet are at the bottom of this post.
Hope you enjoyed the shows – but I have a question for you. If you love your KitchenAid, WHY is it so good? What have you made? And what's the biggest difference compared to your old mixer experiences? Let me know – not being a master baker, unlike Julia, I'm fascinated! Leave me a comment below – especially if you've never left one before!
Anyway – how shall I decorate the cake? Any suggestions? It's a Waitrose ready-to-bake pack, with weighed out ingredients, from just before Christmas, so it's got all the Christmas cake icing etc, but am wondering if there are any clever twists I can put on a rich fruit cake?!
During the KitchenAid show, and also the fast-selling Rhonda Shear Intimates shows, we had some wonderful comments from our regulars out there! So I'd like to say a huge thanks to all our lovely people online. Over the weekend especially, we had some fabulous input from primarily my Facebook friends, and on Twitter. So keep it up!
Special thanks to all the ladies who make it all so worthwhile – too many to name, but here's a little snapshot of a couple of them from my Facebook page! (click on the image to open it in a larger window to have a read!).
Dover Street dancing 'n' dining
Now not only did I spend a lot of time online this week, (as usual! Including chatting to a very interesting Hollywood scriptwriter from LA – OK, from Edmonton, but he works in LA and is very funny!).
But I also had my share of gallivanting. In fact my galli was suitably 'vanted' on Thursday 1st when pal Shyama and her pals and me went to the famous Dover Street Bar and Restaurant in London, quite near Piccadilly. We were impressed with the grub (see EAT below), and then even better, a lovely stint on the dancefloor.
Motown and Soul are almost my favourite types of music, specially for dancing, and the live band suitably entertained us! LOVE big band style!
Heaven on the big screen – do go and see 'Marigold Hotel'!
Or more precisely – 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'! One of the most amazing films I've seen in a long time. It hit me where it was supposed to, making me laugh out loud on so many occasions, then immediately swapping to some of the most earnest heart-tugging moments – good job I brought tissues!
Soooo glad I saw it – really, really uplifting, and a MUST SEE for anyone – especially if you're over 60 or if you're feeling a bit fed up about getting older! The stellar cast included Bill Nighy – one of my favourites – whose understated hen-pecked husband delivered one of the most memorable performances of his career.
And the British institutions that are Judi Dench and Maggie Smith amongst others. Wonderful. Beautiful. Makes you fall in love with India and want to go 'find yourself'. And find the Marigold Hotel along the way. So good, it's one of my main features this week. I really think it's the highest mark I've ever given on a film – 9.5. Don't miss it.
– I loved being on this weekend with 'Loose Women's' Andrea McLean – and her fabulous 'realistic' range of Diamonique – had a great laugh during the show – she's truly lovely and a real professional.
More of her range soon but check it out online. Andrea also mentio ned she loves the Liz Earle range too! Who was in with me that night as well.
– Also, did you spot our lovely plus size model Joy in this week's paper, talking about being happy with her size? And with the type of clothes she looks so fabulous in on QVC, like 'Attitudes by Renee', for whom she's a regular, who wouldn't be happy with it!
And this comes in the week that we heard in the news that our vital statistics have changed enormously over the past 50 years or so. In the 1950s, according to a National Sizing Survey, they were 37-27-39. Whereas now, according to a study by the Vitality show, they are 40-34-40! Add a couple on the hips and you might have me! Lol!
– If you missed her on 'The Morning Show' this week, the lovely Katie Fforde's interview about 'Recipe for Love', her smashing romance hardback book, (set in the world of cookery shows, funnily enough), is still available online – click on 'video presentation' to see the interview. Then buy the wonderful book!
She's one of our top women's fiction authors – no wonder – hot off the press – Katie's just won the Romantic Novelists' Association award for Best Novel for 'Summer of Love' – well done Katie!
– Do you want to be on the telly? This new Channel 4 show sounds a really interesting prospect – basically, are about to take a big step in your life and are looking for help or inspiration? If you click on the picture you'll be able to read more, and all the contact details are on there too. Good luck if you decide to get in touch with them!
– How funny this is?! Doing the rounds on Facebook this week. What's yours? Do add a comment below immediately – so you don't forget – to tell me what your band name is! Mine is – guess what – Purple Chilli Prawns! Hehe! A friend of mine said he had 'naked jammy dodgers'! Haha!
– Leighton's nails – for those that wondered where my usual Jermyn St got to this week on air, you can thank Leighton Denny for his 'Glitterazzi'!
– 'Solo Cougar's Survival kit' #12 – a very clever little book, called 'Smart Dating – how to find your man'! It's a bit tongue in cheek, but quite a good read – you can find it on Amazon for £7.99.
My pal Jo bought me one, as she thought it was great! Includes things like The Mansearch Checklist; cyberspace encounters – a guide; and your comprehensive Relationship Action Plan! Fun read – give it a go!
Blooper time – well it's a dip back into the archives this week for you – not sure if you've seen this video of some bloopers from years gone by, but if you haven't, take a look at some of the special moments from when QVC UK was only 3 years old!
Spot old original faces – Paul Lavers, Kara Tritton, Katy John, Steve Whatley and yours truly as well as a couple of the other ones who 'never went away'! Love the Joanie sketch – priceless! What other memorable moments stick in your mind from way back when?
WATCH – Apart from the fabulous Marigold Hotel, as above? Well, how 'bout this one for picking a winner! Anyone recall what I said back in mid-December about a certain group of Irish dancers called Prodijig?! How fab they were on Sky 1's 'Got To Dance'? Well I must be psychic! On Sunday they were named the winners of the whole series!
So this week, the other thing I'm recommending for you to see on catch-up TV or on YouTube, is the final of 'Got To Dance'. Now I'm not a dancer, and never was one – I can bop a little but – not a lot of people know this (!) – I can't even jive! So I watched on with admiration as some of the country's best dancers of all ages and types of dance entertained the nation on one of the biggest dates on the UK dancing calendar – and of course with the hunky Adam Garcia and the fabulous Ashley Banjo, what's not to like?! Here's the winning performance – go Prodijig! Breathtaking!
Also well worth watching is the amazing spectacle of runners-up, Fear of the Unknown – a visual feast – I really did have to watch this one twice…
What's your favourite?? And if that wasn’t enough, how incredible was Ashley's Diversity? Their interval performance was the best I've ever seen them – truly awesome and what a great show. Let me know your faves below. Meanwhile, do watch this – a proper jaw-dropper!
EAT – Dover Street Dishes
As described above, it was a fab night, made even 'fabber' (!) by the five course dinner our Groupon vouchers afforded us! Mine included a delicious fresh salmon dish – a snip at just £30 – told you, it's always worth watching out for those daily deals!
Am sure there are lots of you who've been to Dover Street when they've had other types of live music – if so do tell me what you thought! Very tasty food though – recommended, especially with the live entertainment too! If you were going there, what would you have chosen from the menu?
QVC – for the first time in ages, I'm not working this weekend! Am planning to do some gallivanting! More updates next week… However, do look out for Silver Day on Tuesday.
Then I'm back including on Wednesday night as our Elemis mini-series continues – I have the two hour show at 8pm and I can't wait – amazing smells fill the air and you come away all relaxed! No wonder it's such a top salon brand! One of my fave Elemis products is the Frangipani Shower Creme – makes skin soooo soft!
And if you're a comfy sandals fan, do join me on Thursday night at midnight to see the new Lotus Footwear Today's Special Value launch – it'll get you through the summer for sure – perfect for when (if?!) we get some nice weather again!
And finally… this week I are been mostly using – our Cuisinart Soup Maker! What a clever little automatic soup maker this is – even for someone 'simply' like me! It cooks it then blends it up! This week I are mostly been eating – the huge quantity of vegetable and garlic soup I made – bit too much garlic but at least the vampires will stay well away! Lol!
Next week – 'The Ghost' – out on DVD – Pierce Brosnan takes on a mighty role as part of Roman Polanski's political conspiracy thriller… and hey, anything with Pierce in can't be half bad! Plus – catching up with old buddies, and what happened when Andrew from Gatineau got all embarrassed on air!… (leave comments below – very easy – try it!)
Amy Wilcock's KitchenAid mixer recipes:
Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
1 jar of zesty lemon curd
500ml double cream
500ml ready made vanilla custard
4-5 meringues broken into pieces
Lightly whip the double cream in a KitchenAid Mixer until soft peaks form then fold the vanilla custard, lemon curd and meringue pieces in to the cream spoon into an ice cream maker and churn until ready.
85g caster sugar
600ml homemade tomato sauce – anything you like but full of flavour
Tabasco sauce to taste
Make the stock syrup bring the sugar and water to the boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
Mix the stock syrup into the tomato sauce and season to taste. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Serve with prawns, a salad, avocados etc.