Year of the monkey

Little Monkeys


We are now officially in the year of the Fire Monkey. As I mentioned on last week’s blog the New Year started on Monday. We celebrated by having a cashew nut in black bean sauce stir fry, with spring rolls, spicy rice noodles and kale baked with sea salt and garlic. We normally buy the tubs of seaweed but it had sold out, so we improvised with the kale and I think I preferred it. We cooked ours in the oven but I reckon Today’s Special Value offer from Cook’s Essentials (Air fryer) would do a pretty good job of it too.

Sophie came home with a present for me, the cuddly monkey pictured above. I was just about to thank her when she told me she had rescued it from the rubbish bin at work!!!! I thanked her anyway – kind thought. The other monkey is jade and was bought in Hong Kong years ago. He is a typical monkey sign in Chinese astrology with his knees buckled under the weight of carrying the world on his shoulders.

I had a tweet on air during the week saying that the monkey year is unlucky. It is certainly changeable but there will be lots of new opportunities and you just need to keep your eyes open for them and grasp them with both hands. America was born in the year of the Fire Monkey – make of that what you will.

My monkey New Year got off to a really good start with ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ being selected for a Valentine kindle promotion in Australia. Check my website for the link if you would like to share it with friends and/or relatives living ‘down under’. It has pushed my book into the top 100 of women’s fiction in Australia – I’m so chuffed. The promotion ends on Sunday in Australia and while we’re on the subject of things ending, we now only have single figure stocks of signed paperbacks online the QVC website,  and this is definitely the last available stock if you have been thinking of getting a signed copy. The latest book will not be sold on QVC but again check my website for details of how to get hold of signed copies through a bookshop called Chapter One.

Julia's books

Speaking of my website, my other half is running it and he has been experimenting with pictures. He created this one, which some of you may have seen on my Twitter feed. He’s also been playing with special effects and I love this pencil drawing effect he did on a picture of my lovely old cat Poppy. She’s a good girl but the boys, Milo and Wilfie, have been ‘little monkeys’ this week!

Drawing of cat

Firstly, Wilfie got into the cupboard under the sink where we keep their food. Unlike Milo, he doesn’t try and eat the food, he climbs behind the boxes and pushes them out onto the floor. The cupboard was quite full this week so he had climbed right to the back and come out with cobwebs on his head – I guess a spring clean is on the cards!


A couple of days later, Chris sent me this picture of the pair of them. They had somehow managed to knock over and break their very sturdy scratching post. Fortunately we have two as I bought them one each for Christmas last year so they still have that to claw in preference to the furniture – funnily enough, they have also been clawing the one lying prone on the floor.

Julia's cat

Whilst on the subject of cats, this is the February Yoga-cat pose from my calendar. I’m definitely going to give yoga a try this year – I reckon I could manage that!

Cat calendar

This week’s Fashion Focus
I want to draw your attention to a couple of TSVs coming up this week. I was in the TSV meeting when the Lulu Guinness bag was presented. Personally I LOVE the confetti choice – it reminds me of a Dalmatian. I have a feeling that option may go quite quickly.

Lulu Guinness Confetti Lip print Annie bag

I’m not actually working on Tuesday so will not be presenting it but I will be in on Thursday when we have the Attitudes by Renee offer. I love working with Renee, she has a slightly naughty streak to her. You probably already know but she also has the range Women With Control. From now on you will see pieces of WWC featured in ABR hours.


For this visit she is bringing a great pair of jeans/jeggings (158015) in her wonder jean fabric. They are slim leg, cigarette pant ankle grazers (probably full length on me!) and they have the tummy control panel. I have a feeling they’re going to be very popular so maybe order early online. They will be a great bottom to wear with all the ABR tops, including the TSV. On next week’s Fashion Focus I’ll be giving you a preview of the Fashion Week Runway shows which coincide with London Fashion Week from the 19th to 23rd February.

Fashion on Friday today is Coco Bianco, as mentioned on last week’s Fashion Focus, so I hope you will join me for the latest collection, after which today’s Spotlight on Jewellery features Butler & Wilson. It was lovely to catch up with Simon last Friday and can’t wait to see him again tonight.

Talking of jewellery, you won’t want to miss the latest collection from Lisa Snowdon, who was a guest during my last series of Spotlight on Jewellery.

love necklace


There are some beautiful pieces, my favourites being the arrow ring that wraps around the finger and a stunning love necklace (very appropriate for Valentine’s Day) but, rather than trying to describe them to you, see for yourself on this video that Will Gowing shot at the press preview of the range at Sexyfish in Mayfair last month…

[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube’s Help page]

If that has whet your appetite, tune in at 3pm on Sunday when I’m sure Lisa and Craig will keep you entertained.

This is my weekend off so sadly I will be missing the Elemis TSV and more importantly Keeley – it launches our Customer Favourite event at midnight tonight. I’ll also be missing Sunday’s Flower Power TSV from Richard Jackson. If you love your gardening stock up, it’s great stuff. I don’t have much in bloom in the garden just yet but thought I would share these white camellias with you – they’re real, not Peony!


I hope you all have a ‘LOVErly’ weekend – I will be spending it writing as I need 10,000 words before I’m back on your screens next Thursday at 3pm (Attitudes by Renee) and 5pm ( Murano Italian jewellery)

Much love

Julia xx


  1. Lisa February 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia

    Just a quick question…
    Your skin always looks amazing, I was wondering which skincare range(s) you use please?
    Apologies if you have already mentioned this previously.
    Ps, loved the photo of Milo and Wilfie with the broken scratch post, the look on his face as if to say ‘it was him, not me’.

    Love, Lisa xx

    • Julia Roberts February 19, 2016 at 1:36 pm -  Reply

      Hi Lisa
      Thanks for the compliment and of course I don’t mind you asking. I do change my routine from time to time but currently it is :
      Morning: cleanse – Elemis cleansing oil, tone – Liz Earle Instant Boost, serum – Decleor aromessence solaire, moisturise – L’Occitane Divine Cream
      Night: cleanse – Emma Hardie mornings balm, tone – Liz Earle Instant Boost, serum – Elemis Bliss capsules, moisturise – Elemis pro Intense night or oxygenating night. I use Decleor hydrotenseur around my eyes & Elemis white flowers eye make-up remover
      As I say I do tweak it from time to time – hope this helps
      Julia x

      • Julia Roberts February 19, 2016 at 1:38 pm -  Reply

        Hi again Lisa,
        That should say Emma Hardie Moringa Balm – didn’t check that spellcheck hadn’t corrected me before I pressed post comment
        Julia x

  2. Jean Pugh February 15, 2016 at 9:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,

    Love the photographs of the Cat’s, little monkey’s, Spring must be in the air. Who leads who on, or are they both as bad as each other.

    Oh the Lulu Guinness bag, what can I say, only I love it, lovely colours. There are some lovely shows coming up.

    Good news on your book, well done, you deserve it.

    Camellias are pretty, it is soon time to get gardening, I have lots of plants ordered with QVC, looking forward to them coming.

    Hope you got your writing done.

    Love Jean xx

    • Julia Roberts February 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      I have to say they are both as bad as each other! Check my new blog to see the replacement scratching post!
      Lots of other people agreed with my Lulu Guinness choice, it had gone by two minutes past midnight! Loads of fashion coming up over the next five days.
      I got almost eight thousand words done over my five day break – a little short of what I wanted so will have to make it up somewhere. Very happy with how it’s going though. My first book climbed to forty in the Australian romance charts so absolutely delighted.
      Happy gardening when all your plants start to arrive from QVC
      Julia x

  3. Joanna Downey February 16, 2016 at 10:42 am -  Reply

    Hello Julia, This is a double reply because my last one disappeared and is probably floating around the ether. Firstly, many congratulations on your Australian success, you’re now a global author which is very exciting. I had previously written that I loved your spotty Biba blouse but the website said it was sold out, daft me never thought to look to see if there was a show planned – there was and I missed out a second time! However, I did see your Coco Bianco hour; I love this brand, my favourite item being the ombre rose patterned dress it is totally confidence boosting and fantastic quality. I’ve heard you talk about being a Fire Monkey on a number of occasions and our expected grandson will be one too so I decided to “research” my Chinese sign, Earth Dog, which I share with my husband. We look as though we’re going to have a good year as long as we don’t indulge in debauchery… I love your cat tales – “cat tails” – and could imagine the boys planning the destruction of their scratching post. Sox ignores the one I bought him preferring a corner wall in the hall that has to be constantly emulsioned but I’d rather have a cat and patch up sessions than no cat at all. White camellias are beautiful, we have two and because of the very mild Autumn and early Winter they are heavy with fat and luscious buds so I’m hoping we don’t get any hard frosts. On Sunday I found a bluebell in full flower which is three months early and I thought that “A February Bluebell” sounded like a Victorian novella. I think I’ve wittered on for long enough, I’ll be watching Rene with her naughty streak and brand of positivity that comes through the screen. Love from Jo x

    • Julia Roberts February 19, 2016 at 1:49 pm -  Reply

      Hi Joanna
      It appears you’re not the only one having trouble leaving comments (see Tina below) – sorry about that, I will report it …again!
      Anyway… I’m so sorry you missed out on the Biba blouse again. My fault, I should have suggested trying during the afternoon that the show was on in the evening – QVC sometimes load things onto the system quite late. Glad you’re a fan of Coco Bianco – some really unusual eye-catching pieces without being OTT. Hope you enjoyed the Renee shows yesterday?
      Well the hard frost has killed the camellias that were in flower but there are more buds so hoping they will flower. I like the ‘book’ title by the way – I might have to pinch it!
      Don’t get up to any debauchery……….!
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  4. TINA S February 17, 2016 at 12:16 am -  Reply

    Hi Juiia,
    Enjoyed blog as usual. Hope you enjoyed your weekend off.

    • TINA S February 17, 2016 at 12:29 am -  Reply

      Hi Julia,
      I’ve been having problems leaving comments so the above was just a test to see if it went through.!
      Enjoyed the fashion especially as I’m on the lookout for a new outfit to wear to a Max Boyce concert I’m going to next month. He’s a really funny comedian and he’s another rugby fanatic like me!!
      I don’t know what we’re going to do this weekend as there’s no rugby.The boy’s are having a well earned rest after the fantastic game against Scotland Saturday.
      Our next match is a week tonight against France.
      All the best, Tina

      • Julia Roberts February 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm -  Reply

        Hi Tina
        Sorry to read you had problems posting comments again – as did Joanna (above) you may have noticed.
        There’s plenty more fashion over the next five days if you didn’t see anything you fancied for your Max Boyce concert – I’m pretty impressed he’s still working, he must be quite an age.
        Good luck in the rugby – Crystal Palace have an FA Cup game this weekend against Spurs – I think we need a minor miracle to progress!
        Speak soon
        Julia x

  5. Marian Bolton February 17, 2016 at 5:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    I’m so chuffed for you with the success of your writing, it just goes from strength to strength.
    Love the ‘pussy’ photos (not being naughty)! I don’t think I would be sticking my head too far in those cupboards though as I wouldn’t want to come across the spider that made THOSE cobwebs!! (No offense Julia!!)
    Speaking of offense and cobwebs, I’ll take a risk and tell you a little story knowing that, if I’ve gone too far, the blog police will get their big red pens out!
    We had to have a new cooker just before Christmas and it’s one of those that slots in the cupboards. Anyhow, we took the old one out and, as you can imagine, lots of cobwebs. I was wearing black leggings at the time. An hour or so later, Chris said to me, “oh look sweetie, you have a cobweb on your Deli cha cha” (use your imagination Julia) “you’re clearly not using it enough”!!
    Hope you get to read that and it makes you giggle. It certainly had me in stitches at the time!
    Marian xx

    • Julia Roberts February 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm -  Reply

      Hello naughty Marian
      Thanks for your happiness about my writing – I’m also chuffed to bits. I can’t tell you how happy I am when someone tells me they’ve read the books and enjoyed them. It makes all the hours of locking myself away in a room with just the computer for a friend, worthwhile.
      You got away with it – nobody realised what a Deli cha cha is – brilliant description and funny story. I would put a laughing emoji at this point but if I do my comment won’t post – gotta love technology!
      The cats have a new ‘fat boy’ scratching post, see new blog.
      Have a great weekend
      Julia x

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