Firstly, a big thank you to all of you who entered the competition to win the bejewelled Butler & Wilson jewellery box. It was an overwhelming number of entries, which goes to show just how much you love Simon and his fabulous jewellery. No wonder the brand has been around for 45 years as marked by this stunning cake made by Jo who runs our prep kitchen at QVC.
She cleverly copied Simon's mum's brooch for the topper, and I can confirm that I saw Simon eating a piece of it! I took my piece home to share with my daughter Sophie. Also indulging in a piece was our model Ali.
As you know from last week's blog we are celebrating the 19th anniversary of Butler and Wilson's fashion jewellery over the next three days.
In celebration we are running a competition to win this bejewelled jewellery box which I shall tell you more about later.
I've also been doing a little celebrating of my own. Last Sunday we finally met up for lunch with my best friend Denise for a late, late birthday celebration at Boulter's restaurant near Maidenhead.
We had celebrated my birthday there last year and intended to do the same in June but things have been hectic for us both.
After being up to my neck in furniture and moving boxes all week, it was lovely to put on a pretty dress and sparkly Butler & Wilson jewellery to attend the celebration of 45 years of Butler & Wilson, hosted by RBS bank in the city.
Simon never does anything by halves, so the room looked beautiful for his presentation on the history and inspiration behind the brand, while we all enjoyed afternoon tea.
I then hosted a short interview with him about his 19 years at QVC, before we all adjourned for champagne and canapés on a roof terrace with views of the city skyline... all very civilised I must say.
As always, it was a pleasure to meet so many QVC customers who were
all bedecked in B & W. There were several snake necklaces in the room and I may have mentioned the forthcoming snake bangle, that I have been wearing on-air lately, to the ladies wearing them. Here's a closer look...
Although enjoyable, I'm not talking about going out to eat in restaurants but rather dining al fresco every evening this week because the weather has been so warm. It's the first garden we've ever had where we are not overlooked at all, even though our neighbours are quite close by, so it has been bliss, particularly with my Lemon and Lavender Yankee Candle burning, which you can smell halfway down the garden!
We have been staying out quite late and Sophie remarked that it was a little on the dark side, so she and her dad strung up some solar fairy lights around one of our big trees for extra illumination. They look very Mediterranean and I'm thinking of buying some more lights to decorate the silver birches and the trellis. We will be all lit up like a Christmas tree - quite appropriate as it has been Christmas in July these last two days on QVC!
I remember the excitement and a certain degree of trepidation when Chris and I bought our first home back in 1985. It cost us a whopping £45,000 and I thought at the time how weird it was to be buying something that costs so much having only seen it for a total of about 30 minutes! It has been a similar situation with Daniel's flat and the sums involved are much larger, as you wouldn't be able to buy a garage in the suburbs of London for that sort of money these days.
We first viewed the flat in March, the day before Chris and I went on holiday, having seen only a couple of other properties that Daniel could afford, both of which were totally unsuitable. It had been difficult to organise a viewing as he works long hours at Crystal Palace and we had to fit it in with my work commitments too. We met the agent at 6.30pm and by 6.45pm we were back outside the front entrance.
"What do you think?" Daniel asked me.
"More importantly, what do you think?" I responded.
"I could see myself living there" was his response. It was being sold by tender, which meant he had to come up with a price that he thought was fair, put his bid in a sealed envelope and keep his fingers crossed. Six days later we had a mildly panicky phone call from Daniel saying his bid had been accepted!
Sometimes I wonder where my days off go and that is particularly the case this last week although, in fairness, there has been a lot going on. Last Saturday we set up all the equipment in the gym and I had my first workout ... aeropilates of course!
How lovely to once again hear Marjolein's dulcet tones talking me through the exercises, something I haven't had in two years because I haven't had a TV/DVD in the same room as the machine.
I think we are all familiar with the saying 'the writing's on the wall' but I am talking about something else entirely. When we moved into our house on January 10th (can't believe it's almost six months) I met the former owner for the first and only time.
We walked up our lane as she told me various things about the house and walks in the vicinity and before she left she said "Make sure you carve your name on the wall of fame." Apparently it's a tradition with the owners of the cottage to leave a mark in the brickwork. The earliest carving I can see is 1939 but a box housing the electric meter may well be covering earlier inscriptions. I think it is a lovely tradition and definitely one I will continue when we move on .... no plans to in the foreseeable future!!
It's funny, we spent such a long time searching for somewhere that felt like 'home' and this house really does, even though there are things we want to change eventually. And the garden, although not big, is an absolute pleasure to be in. The rustle of the leaves of the silver birch trees has a wonderful calming effect and I'm am so pleased that we haven't spoiled it by the addition of the gym.
Speaking of which, Chris has been hard at work this week laying the wooden flooring and it looks fab. It's my weekend off so I will be having my first workout in there tomorrow. The first thing that went up on the wall is the dancer's clock, a house-warming present from my friend, Nat!
Yesterday I got home from spending some time in Spain with my family. Although we no longer have a house in Javea, we all still love the area so we decided to rent a villa and have a family holiday. I flew out with Daniel and Sophie as Chris had a couple of gigs he needed to do before he joined us a few days later.
We arrived in Alicante early evening but by the time we had picked up the hire car and driven up the coast to Javea it was already 9pm so we just dumped our bags and headed off to one of our favourite restaurants on the beach-front called Lungo Mare.
Just before we got the bill (or should that be la cuente?) a gentleman came over to me and said, "I'm sorry to bother you but are you off the telly?" When I said "yes, QVC", he called his wife over who apparently thought it was me but wasn't 100% sure so had sent her husband over to ask! Michelle (pictured with me above) is a big QVC fan and loves Elemis in particular.
We ran into her and her husband, Derek, several times during our holiday as Javea is not a huge resort and on the final night she told me she had just had a text from her mum-in-law, who is currently recovering from a knee operation and had been really cheered up by receiving a bag of Elemis goodies that Michelle had ordered for her.
Just want to thank so many of you for entering the AeroPilates competition and BIG congratulations to Zara Podmore from Hyde. Hope you will love using your new machine as much as I love mine, Zara.
I'm away this week but will reply to all of you who have left comments rather than just competition entries when I get back next week.
It was my birthday earlier this week and, in celebration of that and the impending next visit of Marjolein Brugman, we are running a competition for the next few days for you to win an AeroPilates 4240 three-corded "Pure" Reformer with pull-up bar, which will normally be priced at £363 on the QVC website but is currently on Introductory Offer at £330. More of that later.
Thanks so much to those of you who sent me birthday cards and if you sent me an address I will thank you personally. In these days of texts and tweets, which are so easy and instant, but also much appreciated, it was lovely to receive such pretty cards to decorate my bookcase!
Tuesday was a beautiful sunny day spent with Chris, Daniel (fortunately Tuesday is his day off from Crystal Palace) and my mum, who had come to visit us at our new house for the first time since we moved in January, and then joined by Sophie in the evening when she had finished work.