A new chapter


At the start of each new year I always feel like it is opening a book at the first page. None of us knows what lies ahead in the story of the coming months but we have a choice of whether we just read the book or whether we add to it by our actions … more like a diary.

I don’t really make New Year Resolutions anymore but last year I did set myself five goals to achieve and I made a pretty good attempt at reaching them.

My first goal was to finish writing my novel and get it published. Well, part one of that is done and I’m working on part two. I have given myself three months to find a literary agent and if I don’t I will self publish my book and let you know how to get hold of it on here (always assuming you are interested). Only one person at QVC has read it so far, Kathy Tayler, and she said, and I quote, ‘I didn’t think it would be that good. It was like reading a proper book.’ It did make me smile!!

Chris has also read it and on the strength of it bought me a new ‘baby’ computer, a Packard Bell from QVC, as both of my books so far have been written on a programme called Ability Write, which then had to be converted into Word. The gift tag on my present read, ‘Get back to work – I’ll supply the tea!’ As an aside for a moment, do you write cryptic messages on your gift tags or just ‘to’ and ‘from’?


My second goal was to re-start a fitness programme. When we moved to this house, almost a year ago, we had boxes everywhere for several months so nowhere to set up my fitness gear. A priority was to get the cabin built at the bottom of the garden, which we had achieved by July so for the last six months I have been able to enjoy working out in my own space. It’s just as well really as my first four shows on QVC this year have been either Pilates or Spin Gym and it’s only the second day of the year!

Another Christmas gift, this time from the cats, was a rainbow maker to put in the window of the gym. I love rainbows so now I have my own whenever the sun is shining.

Rainbow maker collage

My third goal was to help my children onto the property ladder. It is so difficult these days for young people to have a home of their own so one of the reasons we down-sized last year was to be able to help them out financially. As you know if you read my blog regularly, Daniel bought his first home in July and has been settled there with his cat Wilfie for almost six months, although that is set to change as he has some exciting news, which I will share soon.

Sophie has been living back at home to help her save more money for her deposit and although she hasn’t found anywhere yet she has been granted a ‘mortgage in principal’ so it is a case of waiting for the right property at the right price.

Goal four was to turn our new house into a home. There is still so much that we want to do to the house but I am really pleased with the homely feeling we have already created. Painting the conservatory and fireplace, and the arrival of the new sofas the week before Christmas meant that we were able to accommodate Daniel, Sophie and the two mums (Chris’s and mine) for Christmas without too much upheaval. Sophie tried out the new sofa bed in the lounge and gave it the thumbs-up for comfort, as did Milo the cat who couldn’t believe his luck that he was allowed to sleep on his ‘mummy’s’ bed.

Cat in Santa hat

My final goal for the year was to organise another charity event, which I managed just prior to Christmas with the bake sale for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. Not on the scale of the swimming gala but every little helps.

So, I did pretty well at working through my list last year and over this coming weekend I will compile my list of goals for 2015 … I can highly recommend it as an alternative to New Year Resolutions as it is too easy to feel like you have failed if you break a resolution early on.

I need to head into QVC shortly as I am on air at 3pm today; a little earlier than is usual for me on a Friday. It’s a beautiful sunny morning so I will definitely be making use of another of my Christmas presents for the first time: my new sunglasses. I have had my previous pair of Prada sunglasses for almost five years.

I have never been a ‘designer’ person so was shocked when Daniel and Sophie clubbed together to treat me to them as a birthday present. In terms of price per wear they have been great value for money as I’m hoping my new pair will be. I had mentioned that I wouldn’t mind new sunglasses for Christmas so while I was buying some new fitness clothing at Sweaty Betty in Windsor for my Pilates shows, Sophie and Daniel lined up six pairs of glasses for me to try on. I had no idea of brands but the pair that felt most comfortable were Bulgari … eek! They had better last as long as their predecessors!


I feel very fortunate to have been surrounded by my family this Christmas and to have received such thoughtful presents. One other present I wanted to mention was from my mum. At eighty-eight she doesn’t get out much to go shopping so usually she sends gift cards. This year though she decided to buy presents and mine was a beautiful pair of earrings shaped like white feathers. If you read ‘One Hundred Lengths of the Pool’ you will know why these are so special to me and in fact white feathers also feature in my new novel, provisionally called ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’

Think of your list of goals for this year and good luck in achieving them.

Much love,
Julia xx


  1. Marian Bolton January 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Firstly, it’s good to be back and sorry it has been a while. A very Happy New Year to you and I’m also sorry that I missed your shout out for me to ring in or tweet during the 1am show on New Years Day. Luckily, my dear friend from Dale’s blog, Gail, sent me the recording of what you said. I’d love to tell you that I was out partying at the time but, truth be told, I was fast asleep! No, honestly, I was!! We’d had our friends Steve and Scott round the night before and I needed to recover!! So, to bed at 10:15pm we went on New Years Eve.
    Steve and Scott are also huge QVC fans and the after dinner conversation always turns to The Q. I get questions like “Which Presenter would you go up in a hot air balloon with?” (no prizes for guessing that one Julia!!) and Scott does some great impressions but we’ll say no more about that!!
    I was totally thrilled to get the opportunity to be part of the SpinGym trial and filming in December and thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the new Q Towers! Such a lovely place, and such equally lovely people. I genuinely love the SpinGym and now use for 5 minutes most days after my Pilates workout. I’m very jealous of your gym by the way. My ‘gym’ is my third bedroom but at least it’s warm and cosy.
    2014 was not a good year for me work wise. In fact it has to have been the most challenging, demanding and stressful years of my 35-year career for one reason and anotherI Still, I have now turned the corner thank goodness and things can only get better as they say. It’s a blessing my home and family life remained happy and stable and were my main anchor during a very difficult year. My mum had a few ups and downs but is in reasonable health for her age at the moment and still mobile.
    I completed an eight-week ‘Mindfulness’ course towards the end of the year which also helped tremendously which brings me on to my New Years resolutions. I fully intend to spend more time on the things that sustain me and less on the things that drain me! That means I’ll be back as a regular on your blog if that’s ok with you Julia!? And maybe Dale’s too!!!! Not sure how he’d feel about that though ….. one step at a time and all that!!
    I’m now looking forward to the Beauty Bash and have tickets for 20th in the afternoon. Will you be there? I do hope so, it would be lovely to see you again.
    Another resolution was not to spend quite as much on QVC. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m not doing too well with that one after buying today’s TSV and a handbag in the 10am show!!
    Bye for now lovely lady and good luck with achieving your goals in 2015.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

      Hi Marion
      Will reply in greater length over the weekend
      Happy New Year
      Julia x

    • Julia Roberts January 12, 2015 at 10:56 am -  Reply

      Hi Marion
      I was a bit pressed for time to reply to you properly on Friday but really lovely to hear from you again … I wondered where you ad got too ad then you cropped up on the Spin Gym footage on New Years Eve! I have also started to use it as an add on to Pilates cardio or treadmill sessions where I haven’t done much upper body. Mine is pink … I wonder if they will be bringing them to QVC. Sophie has been using it too and her cat Milo is mesmerised by it!
      Sorry to hear that you have had a rough time at work. It is never nice to go through bad times but the trick is to keep going until you reach the other side of a rough patch. If you stop you will just get dragged down by it.
      I love your resolve for this year and I’m honoured to be considered as something that sustains you so you are very welcome to post regularly on here.
      Unfortunately I am not at the Beauty Bash on the 20th. I have been asked to co-host an evening celebrating the testimonial year of Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper, Julian Speroni, an opportunity I couldn’t pass up as he as been such a tremendous servant to the club. I’m hoping to go on the 22nd.
      Wishing you a better year at work and much positivity for 2015
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  2. Jill January 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Julia to you and your family. Let’s hope it’s a good one for all.
    Jill x

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:07 pm -  Reply

      Thanks Jill and wishing the same to you and yours
      Julia x

  3. Andrea January 2, 2015 at 3:55 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Julia. Wishing you good health for 2015. Looking forward to hearing more about your novel.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:09 pm -  Reply

      Hi Andrea
      Thanks for taking an interest in my novel – everything has been on hold over Christmas and New Year but I will be back on the case for a publisher/agent next week.
      Happy and healthy new year to you to
      Julia x

  4. Jen Taylor January 2, 2015 at 10:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, l have always beenan avid QVC customer. You are a gutsy lady and great presenter. Wishing you success in achiving your goals, sure you will with your determination to conquer life’s challenges

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:11 pm -  Reply

      Hello Jen
      Thanks for your really kind comments. There are two ways of dealing with life’s adversities but only one appeals to me – facing them and dealing with them.
      Glad to hear you enjoy QVC
      Julia x

  5. Nikki January 2, 2015 at 11:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,

    Your blog really struck a chord with me. Like you, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions as I believe that it is one of the most effective ways to set yourself up for disappointment.

    Just before Christmas my Ex died and my perspective has been comprehensively reset for me. I have been reminded that life is not a dress rehearsal and if life is not the way we want it to be, we must either change it or our attitude to it. I have set myself some very clear goals (only 3) and they are whole year goals, set with the understanding that my progress will be greater some months than others and slower progress is not failure but perhaps an opportunity to check that I’m on the right track or that adjustments might be needed.

    I have read many of your blog posts in the past and find them helpful/inspirational/encouraging but haven’t said so before now and I felt this was the right time to say thank you and to let you know that if I have found inspiration or help then there are no doubt many others who also read and find benefit but don’t feed that back you.

    My very best wishes for a peaceful and fulfilling 2015.

    Nikki x

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm -  Reply

      Hi Nikki
      Firstly I’m sorry to hear of the passing of your ex which has clearly had a profound effect on you.
      We are obviously like-minded with regard to goals. There is nothing wrong with them but don’t be too rigid with time limits and be realistic with expectations both for yourself and other people. I must confess I have learnt this as I have got older.
      I’m not sure if anyone else finds my blog inspirational but it is gratifying to know that you do.
      Wishing you all the best with your goals for this year
      Julia x

  6. Anita Donohue January 3, 2015 at 10:31 am -  Reply

    Just love Q.V.C.
    Anita x

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:18 pm -  Reply

      Hi Anita
      Thanks for your message and glad to hear that you love QVC
      Julia x

  7. Anita Donohue January 3, 2015 at 11:39 am -  Reply

    Just love Q.V.C

    Anita x

  8. Anita Donohue January 3, 2015 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    Just love Q.V.C.
    Anita x

  9. Julie January 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    Thanks for this thoughtful, and very informative missive. I love the way you take the time to share parts of your life with us. I can’t believe you would not get a publisher, but if not please, please self publish..x

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

      Hello Julie
      Thanks for your comment about my blog – I am very aware that I have a lot to thank QVC viewers for and writing a weekly blog is just a small way of paying back.
      I will persevere with the agent/publisher next week but rest assured I didn’t spend eighteen months of my life to not have my book in print – if I have to self-publish I will, as Debs Flint did with great success. Thank you for expressing an interest.
      Julia x

  10. Valerie Shotton January 3, 2015 at 8:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia love your coat, is it from QVC?

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm -  Reply

      Hello Valerie
      Yes my coat is a Centigrade that I bought last winter. It’s a lovely bright colour and really warm. I have an hour of coats with Glen tomorrow at 5pm which I’m sure will feature Centigrade but not sure if we still stock this one.
      Julia x

  11. Jeanie January 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Julia and I hope 2015 brings you much health and happiness. My aim is to get my apartment finally sorted and tidy! I moved in November 2013 and i still have my spare room and “glory hole” to go through. It doesn’t sound like much but at times I find it daunting. However it’s got to be done so I’m being realistic and telling everyone that the end of March is my goal.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jeanie
      I know exactly what you mean as our loft room is still pretty packed with boxes and we have been here a year tomorrow. Good luck with your sorting out … don’t be afraid to throw things out too, we’ve had to and I’ve found it quite cathartic!
      Happy and healthy new year to you too
      Julia x

  12. TINA S January 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Happy, Healthy, New Year to you and your family.I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone so fast. The build up seems to start earlier each year and its over before you know it! I took the decorations down Saturday even though I know they are supposed to be up until 12th Night. I’m not superstious, and they look so depressing after the festivities that I always take them down early.
    I don’t make New Years Resolutions either, just a list of things I would like to happen in the forthcoming year. Top of my list was of course, hoping I sell the house and find somewhere else more managable nearer to where we want to live. The place we would like to live is so expensive as it is a popular sea-side location.
    As always I hope this year find us in good health and nothing else major happens with our present house as we haave had quite a few problems to sort out of late.
    I firmly believe we are in charge of our own destinies and if we want something bad enough only we can make it happen. And as the saying goes, life is short and we should be grabbing it with both hands and making the most of every single day!
    Good luck with the writing and finding a publisher.
    Love and best wishes, Tina S.

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm -  Reply

      Hi Tina
      Good to hear from you as always and wishing you all the best for 2015 including hopefully selling your house and finding your dream house by the sea.
      We’ll see how it goes with a publisher/ agent but the book will definitely be available to buy this yet
      I also took my decorations down early this year as you will read on my latest blog.
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  13. Lilian Bolton January 5, 2015 at 4:37 am -  Reply

    I don’t normally respond to anything but was very interested in what you had to say. I have made New Years Resolutions in the past but they soon went by the way. My son in law sets goals and keeps to them, he achieved his goals set last year. I have decided to do the same. I have not been happy with my full time job for some time, so have started a business which I intend to expand, so eventually I can run full time. I want to move home, so have put my house up for sale. Love your idea of a fitness room away from the house, which I would like to do and run my busines from. I would like a new car plus other goals I have set. Not bad for a lady who is nearly 65 years of age. Good luck with your book and goals. Lilian

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 4:51 pm -  Reply

      Hi Lilian
      Your never too old to set yourself new goals in my opinion. Your son and I are singing off the same song sheet and now you have joined us. I really hope you achieve all your goals but give yourself time it doesn’t have to be immediately.
      Good luck with the expansion of the business and Happy and Healthy new year
      Julia x

  14. Jean Pugh January 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Hope you have luck with your book. Lucky you with your computer, good make Packard Bell. And yes I often write cryptic messages on my tags.

    Yes your gym looks great, I expect you find it very relaxing in there and your rainbow maker will make it even more so.

    I expect it was nice to have the two Mum’s over for Christmas, and you had some lovely presents as well. Did all the Cat’s have a great time. What a lovely photo of Sophie’s cat Milo, what a beautiful cat.

    Hope Sophie soon finds a property. Well done on achieving all that you set out to do last year.

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Healthy New Year.
    Love Jean X

    • Julia Roberts January 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm -  Reply

      Hi Jean
      We enjoyed having the mums to stay – made it a real family Christmas.
      I haven’t had time to do any writing yet on my new computer but I’m off work from next Monday for three weeks so hopefully I’ll be able to make a start on my next book.
      Thanks for your good wishes and hoping you have a happy and healthy new year too
      Speak soon
      Julia x

  15. Carolecooper January 5, 2015 at 8:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julie your blog got me thinking about what to change this year and I have started a list in my head I have got about 4 things which I am going start off over next few week things like being more organised with my handbags and jewellery. I like your feather earrings off your mum it’s hard for our mums that they can’t get out as much as they use to so buying presents you must be made up. Happy new year to all your family Carole wigan x

    • Julia Roberts January 12, 2015 at 10:23 am -  Reply

      Hi Carole
      I’m pleased my blog inspired you to set goals for the year and so far you have done better than me as I have’t set mine yet. When I do it will definitely involve more writing as I really enjoy being creative.
      I loved the feather earrings from my mum – very very special and it made it feel like Dad was part of our Christmas.
      Happy new year to you and yours
      Julia x

  16. Yvie G January 6, 2015 at 4:40 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, I don’t like New Year very much, never have really, but especially this year. 2013/ 2014 have been the worst in my fifty nine years. My husband and family have been my rock these last few months and I am so grateful for that. My husband took me christmas shopping in a very large John Lewis locally, he made me cry when we got through the doors he said something which he has never said before !!! ‘ you can have whatever you want, anything, it doesn’t matter what you spend’. and for the first time in my life I didn’t want anything !!!! shocking isn’t it !! Just received my Diet Chef parcel, going to try to loose some weight and look after myself this year, fingers crossed, I have to try and it will give me something to aim for this year. Happy New Year to you. love Yvie G

    • Julia Roberts January 12, 2015 at 10:31 am -  Reply

      Hello Yvie
      I’m so sorry to hear you have had a tough time BUT whenever I’ve had a less than favourable year I welcome the New Year with open arms and try to feel positive about the opportunities that lie ahead as yet undiscovered. Sometimes I feel that life is about resilience, the ability to bounce back from whatever it throws at us hopefully having learnt something from each experience both god and bad.
      I really wish you a MUCH happier 2015 and I hope that Diet Chef will help you to achieve your goal of losing some weight. Let me know how you get on
      Julia x

  17. martin forbes January 6, 2015 at 6:11 pm -  Reply

    i dont aet goals julia just wish you and family happy new year.
    it does look bare withe the christmas tree down again.

    • Julia Roberts January 12, 2015 at 10:32 am -  Reply

      Hi Martin
      Thanks for the New Year wishes – I hope it is a good one for you too
      Julia x

  18. Margaret Boyce January 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia this is my first time writing to you I to love feathers I lost one of my lovely daughters to cancer on January 24 2014 days an weeks after her passing I would find feathers around the house which I just loved getting an new she was near have a good 2015 an good health

    • Julia Roberts January 12, 2015 at 10:41 am -  Reply

      Hello Margaret
      Thanks for your message and I’m glad you too have found comfort from white feathers. It’s amazing how they just turn up, sometimes at the darkest of times and offer reassurance.
      You are approaching a very difficult anniversary and I wish you strength to remember the good times.
      Julia x

  19. Vivien January 22, 2015 at 8:58 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, a very happy New Year to you.I was looking at the photo of your gym, and noticed your Pilates machine is on a stand and looks higher than the 9.6inches that the stand on sale is, also looks as though yours is on a base.
    I bought a Pilates machine maybe 12 years ago from QVC and loved it but after getting arthritis, and osteo too in knee joints, I can’t get down to the floor to use the mchine and so hasn’t been used in years.
    Could you possibly let me know the height from floor to top of the ‘seat’ of yours, as i’d like to be able to use mine again….it looks higher than 9.6inches.
    Best regards, Vx.

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