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.
Lots of you commented on Twitter and on here about the show that I did with Joan Collins last Friday. It is amazing to think of the icons of the film industry that she has worked alongside through her long and illustrious career, and she is still working hard.
Along with her Timeless Beauty range that she presents for QVC, she is currently filming for the TV series 'Benidorm'. Her stylist took this shot of the two of us together and I liked it so much that I have cropped it and used it as my avatar on Twitter.
She was very funny in one of the breaks in the show. We were running a promo for the Spanx TSV and Joan asked me if I wore them. When I replied that I was wearing them right then she reached across and pinged my waistband ... I kid you not!!
On my last blog I showed you the demolition of the hideous old ramshackle concrete garage at the bottom of my garden ... was that really only two weeks ago, because at the bottom of my garden now is the new log cabin which is going to be my gym.
The lorry arrived bright and early on Tuesday morning and unloaded all the timber on to our driveway, and then the guys had to carry it round to the back garden manually. As you can see from the picture, there were timbers lying everywhere! By the late afternoon the first stage of the build, the base up to window height, was complete ready for the electrician to do his first fix the next morning, so they had an 'early bath' as it had started to rain!
The day has finally arrived for the demolition of the old garage and greenhouse at the bottom of my garden. Here's the funny thing, the space at the side of my house is not wide enough to drive a car through so why have a garage, complete with inspection pit, where you can't get to it? Most peculiar!
Anyway, its days are numbered as the builders and skip have arrived so it will soon be carted off and just be a distant memory to be replaced with the garden room in a couple of weeks' time - very exciting!
On Tuesday I took Daniel with me to double-check on the paint colour I have chosen for the new structure, a pale pearl grey with darker grey around the windows and on the doors. He approved of my choice so fingers crossed it will look good when it's done.
Yesterday I was very brave. This has nothing to do with endless blood tests and worse that I have endured over the past couple of years, but rather a little cosmetic procedure called 'threading'. My daughter Sophie has this done regularly and she kept encouraging me to go for it as I can no longer see that well to pluck my eyebrows and it's a job that sets my teeth on edge.