We booked a beautiful little cottage by the sea on the Isle of Wight, all three children managed to put their busy lives on hold for a few days and off we went, across the water!
We enjoyed incredible weather and loved the island so much we'd like to live there!
It's rare, now, to have us all together for longer than a few hours and the pleasure we have as parents, watching our grown-up children getting on so well and listening to their friendly banter is something many of you will understand, I'm sure.
We found so many lovely places: coastal path walks and beaches, pubs and restaurants full of friendly people. Bex and I braved the slightly chilly sea in several places – we both love to swim outdoors. And we all ate some delicious food – fresh fish and ice cream standing out in my memory, but not at the same time, of course!
A highlight for Sarah and me, though, had nothing to do with Olley!
You may know that Liz Earle, one of our most popular skincare ranges on QVC, is based on the Isle of Wight and they had invited me to look around their new headquarters and enjoy lunch and a facial with them.
Sarah was included too so we both headed to Ryde, which is their base. The recently custom built building is called The Green House, with good reason. As you might expect from a company as forward thinking and environmentally aware as Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare, an impressive level of thought has gone into building a business home for the future.
And the main entrance has an incredible living wall beside it – a massive vertical union flag created with a variety of green foliage plants. Beautiful!
Around three hundred people work there, but thanks to the innovative methods of providing for their needs, the annual energy bill is close to that of a three bed roomed house.
Rainwater is collected and stored in huge tanks then filtered and used for non drinking purposes, such as flushing the loos. What a sensible idea! Why purify water that has no need for it? I know what our home water bills are, so I can imagine what those of a big company might be…
And most impressive is their way of dealing with food waste from the bistro which serves delicious meals made from locally sourced ingredients. Geoff Day, who showed us around, is so proud of having zero carbon miles for this, thanks to his Rocket!
It's a futuristic metal container which digests all the waste and produces a compost perfect for using in the company vegetable patch and also the woodland that Geoff and other staff members are managing alongside The Green House. It's a haven for red squirrels, bees, orchids and other wildlife.
I was really impressed with the working conditions as well. The packing for mail orders is done here and the room is airy and bright, happy people wrapping bottles in tissue paper and putting into labelled boxes.
They do a few minutes of stretching exercises together at the beginning of each shift, to help avoid repetitive strain issues, and they enjoy a goody bag of the products they work with each month. A great and caring company to work for.
And a great one to be a guest of, when a facial is offered. After lunch Sarah and I were whisked off to the Liz Earle store and beauty salon where Jenna and Nicole were waiting to take us to heaven and back!
I have to admit to hearing a little snore coming from somewhere(!) while I was enjoying the most relaxing of facial massages.
The aroma of the Superskin Concentrate that Jenna used on my face was so soothing and combined with the gentle massage and the glass of lunchtime prosecco that I had indulged in, the land of nod beckoned for a few moments.
All too soon it was over and Sarah and I were ready to head back to our men. But not before we said a big thank you to Sarah, Lotti and Emma who had been the most generous and hospitable of hosts. We had enjoyed a wonderful day.
I do hope you are enjoying what you are doing at the moment – good health and happiness to you!