I’m back


After a three-week break from work I’m back on air this afternoon at 5pm and what a day to come back to. Today is Jewellery Day and everything on air is on 3 Easy Pays. Not only that, but my new show ‘Spotlight on Jewellery’ premieres at 6pm. Last week I set a competition to win this romantic bracelet and necklace set from Nour, perfect with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Thanks to all of you who entered but there can only be one winner and she is Amanda Porter. Congratulations Amanda, and yes the unpacking went very well.

Amanda was of course referring to unpacking all Daniel’s things in Swansea last Friday. Because he has moved into a furnished place there were only a couple of pieces of furniture he needed to take, one being his bookcase as he has a huge book and DVD collection. While I was busy unwrapping all the pots and pans etc. in the kitchen and making up the beds so we had somewhere to lay our weary heads, Daniel was painstakingly organising his books and DVD’s on the bookcase in the spare bedroom in alphabetical order!!!

The funny thing is that I thought the bedroom furniture could be arranged better to make the room feel bigger so before we left on Wednesday, Dan’s dad and I moved everything around taking great care that the books that had been removed were put back in exactly the same place. It is a lovely little flat and already feels homely.

He had the weekend off which gave us the opportunity to locate Sainsbury, Morrison’s, B&Q and Tesco and we also met up with Lynne, one of my twitter followers, who had offered her advice on areas to live in close proximity to the Academy training grounds. Monday was his first day in his new job and so far so good.

Snowy garden

A few people have mentioned that it rains a lot in Swansea but there was also plenty of sunshine while I was there although it was bitterly cold. We had a snow flurry or two but nothing settled unlike home where Chris took this picture on Tuesday morning before catching the train down to Swansea to see the flat for the first time.

We also had a drive to Mumbles just along the coast for a very bracing walk along the promenade … I think we’ll be doing that more often in the warmer months. Funnily enough I mentioned it to Craig when I saw him at work yesterday and he revealed that his mum was born in Mumbles and apparently it’s one of Kathy Tayler’s favourite places to visit in the UK – small world!

Well, last week I ran out of time to post my Lentil Bake recipe and anyway I had forgotten to take a photo of it so when we got home on Wednesday I made one for our dinner. It’s pretty simple, very economical and extremely tasty.

Lentil bake

Lentil Bake (serves 3-4)


  • 6oz red lentils
  • half a teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 2oz margarine
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 medium onions
  • 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • a dozen fresh basil leaves
  • 3oz mature cheddar
  • quarter pint (or metric equivalent) sour cream

Place lentils in a pan with enough water to cover them (about an inch) and mixed herbs. Bring to boil then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until tender, adding a little boiling water if they look too dry.

Saute the onions in the marge until translucent then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, basil, softened lentils and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Turn into a greased ovenproof dish and spread with sour cream then top with cheese. Bake on 180C/Gas 4 for 15 mins and finish under the grill for a crispier topping.


Santa Julia wine bottleI served with steamed broccoli and a glass of Santa Julia Malbec – yummy.


Well, back to the usual routine for a Friday – I’ll see you at 5pm (no fashion today as it’s Jewellery Day) with Andrea Mclean and then Spotlight on Jewellery at 6pm.

Have a great weekend.

Much love,

Julia xx


  1. Lorrayne Davies February 6, 2015 at 4:19 pm -  Reply

    A lovely blog as ever. Will definitely be giving your lentil bake a go. Best wishes, Lanie xx

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:32 pm -  Reply

      Hi Lanie,
      Glad you enjoy reading my blogs. I wonder if you have made the Lentil Bake yet and if so whether you enjoyed it? It has become my Chris’s new favourite dinner!
      Julia x

  2. Heather Stapleton February 6, 2015 at 4:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Your Lentil Bake look’s delicious will be giving it a go very soon, sorry I took so long in sending you my carrot cake recipe, I do hope you get too make it & enjoy it let me know if you do, take care, nice to see you back.
    Heather xx

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm -  Reply

      Hi Heather,
      With so much going on I can’t remember where the Carrot Cake recipe is? ( or is it just age causing me to forget things?) Did you post it on here or was it in a letter? I hadn’t made carrot cake for ages but I did one for my bake sale just before Christmas (Crank’s recipe). I’ll do yours next time if I find the recipe. Hope you enjoy the Lentil Bake
      Julia x

  3. TINA S February 6, 2015 at 11:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Glad to hear Daniel is getting settled in Swansea. Contrary to popular belief, it does not always rain in Swansea or Wales! It just seems like it does sometimes,lol.
    Mumbles is a lovely place. There is a fantastic Ice-cream parlour towards the pier called Joe’s Icecream Parlour. It’s famous for its delicious ice-cream and well worth a visit when you are there again but in the warmer weather though! Mumbles is where Catherine Zeta Jones is from. She has visited quite a few times as her parents are living in the house she had built in Mumbles. You follow the road right the way through Mumbles where there is an icecream parlour and coffee shop and its a little further on. She has been seen a few times in Mumbles with Michael Douglas.
    I’m glad to say that so far we have missed the snow although we have had a few near escapes.It has been bitter cold today but lovely and sunny.I went to my local park to feed the swans and ducks and the pond was frozen over.
    I was gutted earlier as Wales lost to England in their first match of the 6 Nations.
    It must have been freezing there as the kick off wasn’t ’till gone 8pm. Also, Stuart Lancaster, the Engand coach insisted the roof be left open! He said that the Welsh singing was too loud making it hard for his players to hear each other.
    I left a comment on your previous blog but was amazed to see there wer 746 comments on there because of your competition. I didn’t enter though.
    Well nice to see you back after your break. I didn’t watch much of the jewellery as I was out today and then this evening of course I was watching the rugby.I wouldn’t like to have been in Cardiff today!!
    Best wishes, Tina S.

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      Hopefully you have got over losing to England in the rugby now? Who do you have next? Am I right in thinking England have Italy?
      You are not the only one who has mentioned Joe’s Ice-cream parlour so we’ll definitely have to give it a go when the weather warms up.
      Maybe Daniel will meet a Catherine Zeta Jones lookalike while he is down in Swansea!!!
      He is coming home tonight as he has an A licence training session in London tomorrow …. he will really be looking forward to seeing Wilfie and vice versa I’m sure.
      I did read all the comments on last week’s blog but haven’t got around to answering them yet … I will though.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  4. Annette Roberts February 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    So nice to see you back again and glad to hear that Daniel has settled into his new flat…what a good Mum and Dad he has there. South Wales has some lovely areas to visit.

    Thank you for the lentil recipe, will definitely give it a try and maybe add some very small diced carrots to it also. I’ve had a lentil cottage pie before now and that is scrummy too.

    Your Chris took a lovely picture of your garden covered in snow, we had very little here, just a light dusting, but my friend had 8″ where she lives…had my winter tracks for 3 years and not had chance to use them yet!!

    My dental surgery went well, luckily he didn’t need to give me as much’ happy juice’ as Chris, just enough to take the edge off things…really don’t know why I was so scared, surprising really after the ops I’ve had. I’m now sporting a lovely plate whilst everything heals, mouth is pretty sore on both sides and I’m drinking with a straw. As for eating that’s a whole new ball game now, pardon the pun. Lots of soup and now I’ll try your lentil bake, which will be just the job, because I’m having to take little bites. I have lost 2lbs since Thursday, who needs fancy diets, just some dental surgery and a straw LOL!

    You certainly look well after your break.

    Annette x

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm -  Reply

      Hi Annette
      I’m glad your dental surgery wasn’t as bad as you had feared and as you say the Lentil Bake will be ideal for you as it is very soft.
      We really haven’t had much snow here which I’m glad about as I have no idea where my Winter Trax are after the last move!
      Re Daniel and his move … that’s what parents do, help their children if possible. He is back tonight just for 24 hours but looking forward to seeing him as he has been poorly with laryngitis.
      Hope your teeth are settling down
      Julia x

  5. Jean Pugh February 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    I expect you are happy now that Daniel is settled in Swansea. Sounds as if he has found a nice place. Has he taken Wilfie with him.

    The photo Chris took of the garden covered in snow is nice. We only had a little bit of snow that really did not come to anything. Shame as I was looking forward to taking the dogs out in it, as they love it.

    It is marvellous how all the bulbs are beginning to come up, despite the snow and frosts. Some of the shrubs are covered in frost and you think oh dear will they survive, and they do.

    How is Poppy, better I hope. I was reading about why Cat’s like boxes, something to do with when they feel stressed it gives them security, and also their instinct to hide from predators.

    Take care.

    Love Jean XX
    P.S Your Lentil Bake looks yummy.

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jean
      No Daniel doesn’t have Wilfie with him at the moment so we have the three of them here, Poppy, Milo and Wilf. Milo and Wilfie are brothers so they get on pretty well, and Poppy and Wilfie get on but Poppy is not keen on Milo which is a shame really as most of the time he is a dear little thing.
      Check out my blog on Friday as I took a great pick of Milo and Wilfie curled up in a box together earlier today … So cute!
      I don’t think we’re done with the cold weather yet so hoping all the new young shoots on the plants will survive.
      Julia x

  6. Emily curtis February 8, 2015 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Glad the move went well and welcome back to our screens we’ve missed you in my home that lentil bake looks so yummy when I do my food shop tomorrow going to get some lentils etc.. And have a go at it I hope it freezes well as I’m the only vegetarian in a home of 6 and there’s no way I’d get them to eat lentils thanks for the recipe have a great week love Emily

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:53 pm -  Reply

      Hi Emily
      It’s nice to be missed! I don’t know if the Lentil Bake will freeze – someone asked me on twitter also … they are going to try it and let me know. It definitely reheats on day two as Sophie took some to work for lunch and reheated in a microwave – she said it was yummy. Hope you like it too
      Julia x

  7. Helen Murphy February 8, 2015 at 7:12 pm -  Reply

    Being a Swansea girl have to recommend Joe’s Ice Cream either on St Helen’s Road or down in Oystermouth, you can walk through there on way to Mumbles. Family are all still there but I am in Kent, though grew up in Croydon, Dan is doing me in reverse!!! Lots of beautiful beaches there and the Gower is just wonderful, you have to stay longer next time!

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:57 pm -  Reply

      Hi Helen
      As I mentioned to Tina earlier I clearly have to give Joe’s Ice-cream parlour a go when the weather gets a bit warmer.
      How funny that you are Daniel in reverse – well at the moment anyway. Football is quite a ‘mobile’ career path if you want to get on. I’m hoping he will have at least a couple of years in Swansea and I’ll definitely be exploring the Gower beaches … I’ve always wanted to!
      Julia x

  8. Jill February 9, 2015 at 11:32 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Thank you for the Lentil Bake recipe. I’m looking forward to trying it.
    Nice to see you back.


    Jill x

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 4:58 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jill
      Thanks for the welcome back. Hope you enjoy the Lentil Bake if you try it
      Julia x

  9. Amanda Porter February 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Thank You so much for the beautiful Nour jewellery prize, not received it yet, I shall be scouring the street for the postie!
    Glad your visit to Swansea went well and i’m sure Daniel appreciated the better room plan. You’ll enjoy the breaks there in the summer. Lentil bake looks scrummy, may just give that a go.

    Regards, Amanda

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm -  Reply

      Hi Amanda
      Hopefully you will have received your Nour jewellery prize now as I think it was being posted earlier this week – hope you like it and congratulations again.
      In fairness I think the changed room plan will be better for me when I stay with Daniel so it was a tad selfish really.
      Enjoy the Lentil Bake if you make it – Chris keeps wanting it for dinner!
      Julia x

  10. Karen February 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm -  Reply

    I am making the lentil bake now!

    • Julia Roberts February 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm -  Reply

      Hi Karen
      How was it??
      Julia x

  11. martin forbes February 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi julia hope daniel has settled in to his new place and enjoying his new joba swanseea training academy hope you chris and sophie are well has sophie got new place yet to move into

    • Julia Roberts February 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      Daniel is settling in well at Swansea City – working very hard as everything is new to him but I’m sure it will settle down a bit. His lads have their 1st match with him as manager this Sunday against Coventry. Sophie hasn’t found anywhere she likes yet at the right price but still looking.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  12. John Draper February 12, 2015 at 9:48 pm -  Reply

    Thanks for the recipe Julia. My wife and I tried it for dinner today and it was delicious. If you have any more lovely veggie recipes for a couple who are trying to cut down our meat intake we would be very grateful.

    • Julia Roberts February 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm -  Reply

      Hi John
      I’m so pleased you and your wife enjoyed the lentil bake – we had it for dinner again last night. I will post some more recipes on here periodically.
      Julia x

  13. Jill February 13, 2015 at 7:24 am -  Reply

    Hello again Julia,
    Lentil Bake was scrummy! It will be a regular at teatime.
    Jill x

    • Julia Roberts February 19, 2015 at 11:28 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jill
      Glad the lentil bake was a success.
      Julia x

  14. AMANDA PORTER February 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    The Nour jewellery arrived, thank you so much, it is absolutely beautiful, more gorgeous than in the pic. And I am so pleased that I Won, still can’t believe it!
    The lentil bake was great, you should bring out you own recipe book!
    Ha!Ha! cheeky girl on the flat front, that’s the way to do it, what do boys know about decor anyway!
    Thanks again and have a lovely weekend.
    Amanda x

  15. Julia Roberts February 19, 2015 at 11:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Amanda
    Great to hear that you were pleased with your Nour prize -really pretty.
    Who knows maybe one day I will put together a collection of my favourite recipes – all vegetarian of course – perhaps for charity?
    Enjoy wearing it
    Julia x

  16. AMANDA PORTER February 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Glad to hear you would consider publishing a recipe book for charity, I’m sure it would sell really well.
    Maybe for a polio charity? I know you suffer with the lasting effects of this awful disease, as does my husband. He had polio when he was six weeks old and has suffered the repercussions ever since. Nasty.
    Keep well, and have a lovely weekend.
    Amanda x

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