January started with my QVC friend and colleague, Natalie, appearing on my favourite quiz show, ‘The Chase’. Lots of us gathered in one of the meeting rooms at the Q to watch as Nat proceeded through to the final chase although, unfortunately, she left empty-handed.
I was delighted to be asked to co-host the Julian Speroni Testimonial evening at the Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon. Jules has been Crystal Palace’s number 1 goalkeeper for the past ten years and thoroughly deserved the reception he received. Two days later I was at the annual QVC Beauty Bash – wait a minute… isn’t that my Centigrade coat?? This year I will be going on the afternoon of Tuesday 19th so hopefully I will meet some of you there
I had booked time off in January, hoping to book a holiday, but instead used my free time to help our son, Dan, find somewhere to live in Swansea before starting his new job there as Head of Foundation Phase for Swansea City FC.
In February we started a series of shows on QVC called ‘Spotlight on Jewellery’. The series ran for a number of weeks directly after Fashion on Friday. It was so popular that it returned for a shorter run in the summer and is back again at the end of January.
In March I was invited to give a short speech and present prizes at the British Polio Fellowship’s Indoor Games in Leicester, in my role as ambassador. I was pleased to meet so many QVC viewers among the fellowship members.
April started with some fantastic news health-wise. The dosage of my oral chemotherapy drugs had been increased in January resulting in me reaching complete remission, although since that result minimal trace levels of CML have shown up in my blood tests which was slightly disappointing. I am still on the higher dose of medication and that is the reason that I am not doing evening shifts at the moment at QVC.
Towards the end of April I had a week booked off from QVC so we decided to go to Cyprus and visit Keeley, from Elemis, while we were there. She really did look after us and my Chris enjoyed drawing dinosaurs for her son, Kaya, to colour in.
May was a very exciting month for me. My long-held dream of writing a novel was realised with the publication of the Kindle version of ‘Life’s a Beach and Then..’. on 18th May. Thanks so much to everyone who has bought and read it, and also for the fabulous feedback with more than a hundred positive reviews on Amazon. I also joined Facebook in May so have made lots of new ‘friends’ – still getting the hang of it though!
May also saw my team Crystal Palace finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time ever, which really put a smile on my face and I continued to smile on a night out with my daughter, Sophie, a bunch of QVC friends when we went to watch Lulu in concert – she was amazing!!
At the beginning of June we finally had some wardrobes fitted in our bedroom having hung our clothes on temporary racks for the previous eleven months. We also bought a Victorian fireplace on eBay which Chris had to go and fetch from Newport in Wales … we really have had a Welsh connection this year!
We also had a lovely family holiday in a villa in Portugal, where I enjoyed my birthday before returning to the UK for the paperback publication of ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ and a celebratory party. It was lovely to have Simon Wilson and Liz Earle there and some friends from QVC and Crystal Palace, and a big thank you goes to ‘Villa Di Geggiano’ in Chiswick for hosting it for me. I also went on Debbie Flint’s ‘Back To You’ Facebook chat – was that really six months ago? I must do it again soon.
In July my plan to get on with writing book two in the Liberty Sands trilogy was somewhat scuppered because my other half had to have a minor operation. He couldn’t do anything at all for two weeks – it really made me appreciate how much he normally does for me and how wonderful long-term carer’s are. It was also the month where I learned that my Professor, who had helped me through my journey with CML, was retiring – I was really upset and have to admit to shedding a tear or two.
It was a relief to get into August. My book became available to purchase on the QVC website as a percentage of my profit is going to one of our internal charities, Bloodwise. They help raise money for research into new treatments for the 137 different types of blood cancer. Will Gowing shot a lovely video which you can still watch if you search item number 705211. August was also the month we celebrated Butler & Wilson‘s 20th Anniversary, which kicked off on Simon’s birthday. I was originally scheduled to present two of the four shows but in the end did three due to presenter sickness.
The summer seemed to go very quickly, probably due to the rotten weather. I think we only dined al fresco once this year! I wanted to do something special to mark World CML Day which is the 22nd of September. I decided to increase the donation from each book sold on the day (kindle or paperback) to £1. Thanks if you purchased on the day – so far we’ve raised over £1,000 from book sales and it is ongoing.
At the end of the month I helped organise a photo shoot for my other charity British Polio at the Crystal Palace training ground. Goalkeeper, Julian Speroni, and First Team Coach, John Salako, posed with myself and paralympian, Anne Wafula Strike in a fashion collection featuring football studs and football pump needles to raise awareness of Post Polio Syndrome. In October we also went on the pitch at Selhurst Park in the half time of the Palace v West Ham game. Thanks to my fellow Palace fans for their attention and applause.
October 1st was QVC’s 22nd birthday and shortly after that I took a week away in a small UAE called Ajman which is next to Dubai but much quieter. It was a lovely holiday and I even met someone reading my book on the beach!! The month was rounded off with a trip to Cardiff for the BPF Post Polio Syndrome Day.
In November I really enjoyed being part of the Liz Earle mini-series and of course our biggest Today’s Special Value offer of the year from Elemis. Which team were you Sweet Orchid or Frangipani? Wilfie and Milo had no hesitation in choosing their colours.
Just prior to my main event of the month, the publication of my second novel, ‘If He Really Loved Me’… on the 25th, my other half spent many hours working on a webpage for people to be able to find out more about my books. You can take a look at it here www.juliarobertsbooks.co.uk Again, I’ve been blown away by your response to the new book – 21 five star reviews on Amazon within the first month. I’m so pleased that you seem to love my characters as much as I do. I have started the final part of the trilogy but I’m giving myself a much needed break from writing over Christmas.
And so into December… I had managed to dodge the bug that has been flying around QVC until ten days ago but it got me in the end! Unfortunately it meant I missed the QVC Presenter lunch but there’s always next year…
2015 has been a truly amazing year for me – thanks so much to all of you for being part of it.
Much love and Merry Christmas