Our exotic visitor


'Fireman Dan' knitted jumper I wasn't going to mention birds again BUT we had a very exotic visitor to the garden this week and I wondered if any of you will recognise it from this description?

It's about the size of a Magpie and is a limey/olivey green in colour with a very bright orangey/red on the top of its head and extending slightly down its back. It also has a longish thin beak and a very loud, tropical-sounding cry.

I'm wondering if it's a caged bird which has escaped?? It certainly doesn't look native to this country, in fact when it was pecking away at the lawn, a Magpie landed beside it and seemed quite nonplussed by it!! Any idea what it might be?

If any of you were watching my Veronese show last night, you may have heard me mention that I have started knitting again. I used to knit a lot when the children were little, in fact I came across my old bag of patterns while I was searching for my knitting needles and that brought back memories I can tell you! Fireman Sam, My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Turtles… and that was just for Chris!!!!!! Only joking!

'My little Sophie' knitted jumper Seriously though I used to knit for everybody. Sophie had expressed an interest in learning to knit, so over the Christmas period I taught her. She is left handed but it's not really a problem as I knit left handed too. If you're wondering why, I learned by watching my grandmother so I mirrored what she was doing. It's a little weird to watch but it works, and now Sophie knits the same way.

The moment Sophie had mastered the technique, her brother was asking if she would make him a snood – the neckwarmer that all the footballers wear! Fearful that it might be a bit of a wait until she finished her scarf and his snood, I volunteered to do the latter.

Earlier this week I finally found a wool shop (there are so few around) and made it on Tuesday in time for his football coaching session on Wednesday. As he left I said, as a joke, "They're a tenner each if anyone else wants one!!" You guessed it… I just finished a second one and am very worried that the order book might fill up further after training today!!

I don't know how much time I will have for knitting this weekend, much too busy launching the Decleor TSV with Fiona on Saturday midnight. I've been trying out the new night cream which is gorgeous, and also putting Prolagene Gel under my face and body moisturiser, and I'm liking the results.

Enjoy your weekend,
love Julia x


  1. Susan January 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Lol what a knitting revival in your house!! I have to admit I had a bit of a chuckle when i imagined all those ‘macho’ footballers wearing snoods! My Mum and Gran cannot believe people are wearing them again!! I haven’t made a purchase though as I am more of a fan of nice cosy wrap-a-round pashminas! We found a load of knitting needles and wool over the New Year too but I am way too busy to take it up till the summer anyway. Definately more people doing it though now I think. Hope the bird finds its way home – it does sound like maybe someone’s pet has escaped. Poor wee thing. Maybe he isn’t though – maybe just a tropical bird in escape from the southern heat! Mad thing if it is.
    Take care,
    Susan x

  2. Ginny Booker January 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Julia, My computer has been acting up so here I go again! My chat to you about the birds went missing! In Valley Forge, Pennsylvania we had DRUNK black birds in our home. They had been eating the Dogwood Tree berries after the lovely flowers had bloomed. What a mess my house was after that.Since then a thingy guard goes on the chimney tops no matter what! In Minnestoa where I also lived, the home of Blond hair and blue ears, it was the Bears! If they could figure a way in your home or business for a look about for food they were there. My dear old neighbor on our lake had a real bad time on day. I went to see her with a cake and came upon her facing two bears in her beautiful dining room eating her fish dinner! They were looking at themselves in the wall to wall mirror over her side board. I am telling you now I thought we had seen our last days. Her mouth kept opening and shutting and thankfully no noise came out. I thought she was going to have a bad turn. They did not smell us since the fishy smmell was so powerful. We were looking through a crack in her bedroom door. They finally got bored and left!! By the way Gill, the red squirrels did the same thing to me doing by boat house up or there’s! Really saying bad words!!The wild life in Minnesota want it all for them!!
    Annette, I saw the Markon boots on Julia as well. Have them in tan and olive. Wish I had bought another pair in black. I did try the Ara, nice but not tall enough. Markon come back! I am still on the boot hunt. I was measuring as you were that day ! 15 inches! Got more Spanx tights at Figleaves. My last pair my friend pinched . Maybe Qvc will get us Spanx Tights. I feel I am in goods hands shopping with you guys!Will watch you and Fiona! LUV,Ginny
    Told Anthony he was our Pilgrim but going on a better ship than the Mayflower! Sweet that he called you JR! LUV that!! I think like you about the pretty bird in your garden Sounds tropical!!

  3. gill hunt January 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm -  Reply

    hi julia, your exotic bird sounds very much like a green woodpecker, they feed by digging their long beaks into the ground and catching ants with their long tongue. You lucky thing seeing that in your garden we have to go to clumber park to see them. We have greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers in our garden but never as yet have we had a green woodpecker. We have just sent off to the rspb for a garden survey pack where you collate all the birds that visit your garden, by the way the green woodpeckers call sounds like a high pitched laugh,is that what you heard? speak soon julia love gill

  4. Angela Blood January 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm -  Reply

    hi Julia.I too have recently taking up knitting again.I havent’ knitted anything since my grandchildren were babies, more than 17 yearss ago but I’ve started to have a few aches and pains in my fingers and thought knitting might keep them supple.I’m really enjoying it again. Any chance you could ask the craft buyers to include knitting in their hours please. As you say wool shops few and far between.Regards Angela

  5. Kathryn sheehan January 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I was going to sugest the green woodpecker too, looking at my birdie book. We have the Black and White spotted variety in our garden we live near the woods and a natural bogg, but a friend living about 5 miles away has the green variety visiting hers and doesn’t see the Black and White variety, beautiful arn’t they.I also saw the Figleaves web site for the spanx tights but forgot to mention it sorry. Have received my Tiana B TSV dress in purple, ordered the size 8 as the sizing is quite generous (more like a 10 really)i am a 10/12 like you but i only have 37″ hips now so have loads of room. Looks good with jeans and stirup pants and Emus. Do you know when the next Ronnie Nicole show is? (another one of my favourites) All the best.
    Love Kathy x

  6. Kate January 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Very interested in the knitting as I too used to be an avid knitter when my nieces & friends children were small. Knitted two 6ft sq shawl on night duties & when stretched on my living room carpet I had to move out until they dried. Must investigate the attic for my needles etc. Funnily enough I never liked anything I knitted for myself!!!!
    Look forward to the cottage industry progressing
    On the bird front, the starlings don’t bother to wait for me to retreat inside before they dive bomb me & the feders!!!

  7. Ginny Booker January 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm -  Reply

    Julia, Just a quickie!I wanted to answer the stuff you asked me. Yes, you would look GREAT in any white jeans! We are the same size and I have had my RL blue label ones for years.If the KM ones do come in colors for the spring maybe trying on first would definitely be best. Also before you even think of cutting your fringe( bangs!) clip in one of those Ken Paver’s Tru2life ones. Then you will see what it is like. I let mine grow out when I moved back here because my hair like yours is so curly the whole thing just went nuts anyway. My husband who never says much said the other night that we both looked the best to him curly.He thinks if God made us curly it was for a reason. Trouble is he does not have to put up the problems! I have no time for trying to make my mop go any other way. Good on you Gill for spotting the Green Woodpecker. We have them and their young( so fun to watch the mother feeding) but not the green ones. Long tailed tits at lunch the past few weeks in numbers. In and out quickly. Off to the critters, Ginny xx I did watch the cashmasoft shows but no dresses. I do knit as well but no time. Like you said the knitting shops have all closed down and I would need help. It has been too long!

  8. LyndaR. January 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm -  Reply

    Hello Julia, yes I think Gill may be right about your birdie being a Green Woodpecker, we have them visiting our garden here in Suffolk too.As well as cuckoos, owls and the like.During the summer months we hear the sky larks, but they are flying so high it takes a pair of “bins” to see them.To me it is the real sound of summer on a still summers afternoon/evening,when the sky is that lovely azure blue, with not a cloud in sight.Beats the sound of a Green Woodpecker any day!:)
    Your knitting revival has also happened in this household too!today I finished sewing up a chunky cardi type jacket thing for myself.An up to date item I hasten to add. 🙂 and am now about to embark on some Aran cushion covers.Yep bobbles the lot! what started the covers was a “westie” doorstop knitted and kitted out in the Aran pattern.I bought it because, guess? yes I have a “westie” boy! (who’s nearly 15:().I’ve found some good sites on the internet to buy wool,and delivery is very fast too.So good luck with the snoods Julia.I think they’re fab.Just right for this cold weather.Be good, take care.
    Love Lynda.xx

  9. pauline January 22, 2011 at 7:43 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Like you I used to knit and five years ago my niece asked me to knit an aran jacket for her baby which was then due in 6 nweeks trying to get wool and a pattern for a first size aran jacket proved to be difficult but with the help of the trusty internet I managed to get several premature size patterns plus two what I would call proper jacket patterns with a hood which were received most gratefully and they have been passed around several of her friends it’s lovely that hand knitted garments are making a comeback.
    Love to all

  10. Marcia Rose January 22, 2011 at 9:59 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia it definitely sounds like a green woodpecker that I get in my garden in from time-to-time

  11. Alana January 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    How funny that you’re getting orders from the football lads!Your knitting made me think of my mum who used to do lots of knitting and now knits now and then, last year she very kindly knitted me a lovely hat, scarf and gloves set!Which I regularly got compliments on over the Christmas period when we had all that snow. Just to think how expensive they would be to buy in the shops and not have that same touch of being ‘home-made’.
    Looking forward to the Decleor TSV, I mainly use Elemis and Liz Earle but do enjoy using Decleor’s hand and body cream.
    If you have anymore recipes you’d like to share, please do put them on!:-)
    Take care

  12. Iris January 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm -  Reply

    I think you have got a green woodpecker in your garden. We often have one pecking for insects in the lawn. I used to do a lot of knitting in the dim and distant past when my sons were small. Crosstitching and paper craft now fill my spare time in the winter when I can`t do anything in the garden.
    Love from Iris

  13. sylvia January 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    I think your bird sounds like a woodpecker aswell.We have had one almost daily in the trees in our garden and it looks like that.
    Talking about knitting.My auntie used to knit jumpers every year for my sister and I for our xmas—-Well the sleeves were so long that they were at our fingertips and the neck was so tight we were nearly strangled trying to get them on.We used to dread opening up our parcels Lol.Happy Memories eh.Take Care Julia x

  14. Pauline Johnson January 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia is your bird one of the parrots that escaped from Heathrow a few years ago and have bred like mad we gets lots in our garden. by the way we have heard no more from our bird in the loft, went up there but could find no trace it us a mystery,looking forward to having a few days break on the 4th Feb to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary at one of the Warners hotel,hope to have a couple of spa treatments with Decleor products.Speak soon.
    Love Pauline

  15. steve January 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Hope your well, i think Gill maybe right sounds like a Green woodpecker to me, i cheated a little! I have a game keeper in the family, my brother. I am a big believer in net working lol.
    Is this your visitor Julia?
    My brother keeps a quail and ostridge farm, the ostridge’s are free range and rome around the house and gardens, they are very inquisitive things and intelligent too! They seem to be very arrressive to certain colours (anything black!!) BBQ’S are an experience there! I always where a white shirt! and i have started to leave my car parked in the village they stand over five feet and have a fixiation in pecking the black hood lol
    You have a great weekend too, steve X

  16. Wendy Rumble January 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi there, yes Julia undoubtedly a Green Woodpecker, we get a few of them here and in the summer can hear their ‘laughing’ call all the time, a little like the Mallard Duck – what’s a Mallard Duck ? did I hear you say Julia, only joking !!! I have been watching birds all my life and recognise most of our birds by now (am 63 next month 🙁 ) Must just add it IS ESSENTIAL that we feed our birds all year round now (as advised by R.S.P.B.) and that’s because apart from a frozen ground preventing them getting worms and the like, there’s no fruit or insects (we’ve killed many of them off anyway) – precious little actually and every day we feed them peanuts,seeds,suet,dried insects and fruit and what’s their favourite, they’re just like us girls – you’ve guessed it – CAKE!! One hard winter we lost two thirds of our Sparrow population in this country! They used to be everywhere remember ? Anyway won’t bore you anymore but they return the favour giving you hours of entertainment watching their antics. So keep feeding those birds Julia and they’ll no longer be exotic but daily visitors to your home :). Luv Wendyjane

  17. julia roberts January 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Susan
    No more oreders for snoods just yet, but I have started knitting a little baby jacket for one of Sophie’s friends who has just had her first baby.
    Gill recognised my description for the bird – it is indeed a green woodpecker, so not as exotic as I thought!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  18. julia roberts January 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ginny
    How scarey must that have been having wild bears in the house …. the closest thing I have are teddy bears and boy do I have a lot of those! Always preferred them to dolls even as a small child. We did once have a squirrel in our bedroom – we think it had come in through the open window. Our cat Daisy ( no longer with us ) was going crazy trying to catch it – I’m kind of glad she didn’t as I think she may have come off worst! If I remember rightly it was Sophie who finally got it out – she’s a brave one!!
    Thanks for the heads up on the Spanx tights I’ll check that website out too.
    Anthony finally heads off to warmer climes on Tuesday – living the dream, lucky boy!!!
    much love
    Julia x

  19. julia roberts January 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Gill
    Clever girl!! I googled the green woodpecker after reading your message and you are spot on. It hasn’t been back since Thursday but hoping we’ll see it again.
    My nephew Deryk ran the bird observatory on FairIsle until this year – I wonder if you’ve ever seen any of his or his Dad’s articles in the magazine?? Deryk was also on a BBC2 programme about birds on FairIsle, perhaps you saw that if you are interested in ornathology??
    speak soon
    Julia x

  20. gill hunt January 25, 2011 at 10:49 am -  Reply

    hi julia,I do try to catch as many programmes about birds and wildlife in general as i can so theres every chance I have seen Deryks programme,I know you have family living in Scotland,do they see the golden eagle or the sea eagle? I would love to visit Scotland for the wildlife but I am not very good at travelling, last year we went to mid wales to visit a red kite feeding station at Gigrin farm which was amazing.Ginny your encounters with wildlife sound wonderful what great memories you must have. On the subject of your knitting Julia my 5year old grandson is just outgrowing fireman sam,I didnt realise he was that old, speak soon Gill.

  21. sarah webb January 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm -  Reply

    could you share your snood pattern julia?

  22. Una January 27, 2011 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Gotten round to watching a wee bit TV this week.
    PLEASE tell me you managed to persuade Sam to get a pair of Ladybird Emus for Mr Wilson, can you imagine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Just watching the live Beauty Bash. Of course its going to come live from Scotland next year isnt it??!!!!!!!
    Got my first Gossip watch the other day, and Im so happy with it. I just wanted a watch that I dont have to worry about. i am so lucky, and have a watch that cost well in excess of £1000, but sometimes Im a bit worried, especially when I am wearing sunscreen etc, so,its nice to have a little watch thats just there. I have to say, the quality is amazing. i didnt realise the strap is genuine leather, all in all, i just love it, and it cheered me up, so thats priceless. I cant believe I got 2 for under £22.00 including postage. Im keeping the cream one and sending the pewter to my daughter for her birthday.
    I just havent felt like watching TV for a while, but its nice to be watching you again. You are looking so well.
    Love Una x

  23. Annette Roberts January 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Hopefully 2nd time lucky…I’ve posted on this blog and a previous one earlier this week, maybe the gremlins have set in!
    Love the knitting, I’ve tried myself in the past but get stuck on all the shaping etc and give up in the end!
    Try as I might to stay up and watch the Decleor TSV, I fell asleep again and woke up to find QVC on the Zone finished!!! Having our morning coffee and watching the repeat I just want to say ‘Thank You’ for the mention…Chris did a double take and said it was nice of you to mention me and I agree too!
    I have ordered and received the single option of the prolagene gel because the other items in the TSV just wouldn’t get used and my sister doesn’t do beauty products at all… now if it had been systeme corps or algeromes in the TSV, then yes I would have purchased it as I still use both. I’m a Liz Earle girl for facial products at the moment.
    Hope you have a brilliant time with Alison and QVC customers today at the beauty event… lucky devils!
    Annette x
    Ginny, you were so lucky to have purchased 2 pairs of Markon boots…sooo jealous!

  24. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 10:48 am -  Reply

    Hi Angela
    Good to hear that you too have taken up knitting again after a long break – not sure if it will help your achy fingers, but with other parts of the body they do say ‘use it or lose it’ don’t they!
    Sophie ordered some wool to continue her scarf on line but I will mention it to the craft buyers – it would be nice to have a bit more variety in craft .
    Julia x

  25. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 10:51 am -  Reply

    Hello Kathy
    You girls are all so good on your ‘birds’! Glad you liked you purple Tiana B TSV – I did mention I thought it was a little roomy ….. I would not normally fit into an 8.
    We have a Ronni TSV on Saturday 19th February – haven’t seen it yet but will keep you posted!
    Julia x

  26. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 10:55 am -  Reply

    Crikey Kate,
    Not sure I would like being dive-bombed by starlings – much too like ‘The Birds’ movie.
    I must admit that I have knitted more for other people over the years, but I have done a few really nice things for myself and there are some great patterns around …….. have I tempted you to start again??
    Julia x

  27. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:01 am -  Reply

    Hi Ginny
    I will definitely try on the jeans first and preferably with someone else present cos we can never really see what our own ‘bottoms’ look like even when twisting round!
    Great suggestion about the Ken Paves fringe – I do fancy doing something a bit different with my hair but I just can’t decide what!!
    I’m hoping we will have a few more varieties of birds as the Spring approaches, and really hopeful that we will get some Blue Tits like we always used to have at our old house.
    I think knitting is like riding a bike – you never really forget how to do it.
    speak soon
    Julia x

  28. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:07 am -  Reply

    Hi Lynda
    I’m ashamed to admit I wouldn’t recognise either a cuckoo or a lark. If we are going to continue to have so many feathered friends visit I am going to have to buy a reference book!
    I knitted Chris an Arran Cardigan years ago and then one for Danny when he was about 6 – tricky but satisfying when you finish it!
    Still no more snood orders – probably just as well as I haven’t really got time to do them …….. even though they only take a few hours each.
    Good luck with the cushion covers
    Julia x

  29. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:14 am -  Reply

    Hi Pauline
    Someone else knitting Arran – I bet that looked so cute on a baby.
    There are some lovely patterns and yarns around now aren’t there which means we can use our craft and make something wearable instead of looking a bit old fashioned. I crochet too but it is much more difficult to find decent patterns – shame really cos it’s so quick.
    Julia x

  30. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:16 am -  Reply

    Hi Marcia
    Yes it’s the green woodpecker so not so exotic after all although not that common – I’ve never seen one before ( or maybe just never noticed one before!? )
    Julia x

  31. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:22 am -  Reply

    Hi Alana
    I bet you’ve had your hat, scarf and gloves out again this week – it’s turned so cold again hasn’t it! Not sure if you will have bought the Decleor TSV as it was more of a face one. I’m still LOVING my Decleor handcream and Systeme Corps.
    Do you like soup? – or is it just ‘naughty’ cake recipes you are after?
    speak soon
    Julia x

  32. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:26 am -  Reply

    Hello Iris
    How nice to hear from you on my blog!!!! Thanks for the calendar by the way. I have it on my dressing room wall, and the other day Kathy Taylor stopped by for a chat and remarked her Mum always has the same one!!! – small world.
    Yes we solved the mystery of the bird – definitely a Green Woodpecker after the insects in the lawn.
    keep in touch
    Julia x

  33. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:29 am -  Reply

    Hi Sylvia
    I once had a dress ( not knitted ) that was so tight around the neck I used to call it ‘strangly’ and plead with my mum not to make me wear it – shame as otherwise it was quite a pretty dress as I recall!
    I hope the people I knit for like their things …… you’ve got me wondering now!
    Julia x

  34. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:32 am -  Reply

    Hello Pauline
    No it’s not a parrot but a green woodpecker.
    Congratulations on your wedding anniversary – have a lovely break and enjoy your Decleor treatments …. I wonder if youy got the TSV last weekend?
    love to your hubbie too
    Julia x

  35. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:38 am -  Reply

    Hi Steve
    That website might prove useful if I get anymore unusual birds visiting – also quite helpful for anyone who is now wondering what a green woodpecker looks like!
    Does he keep the Quail and Ostrich for their eggs …. please say yes, you don’t want to upset this sensitive vegetarian!
    Just laughing at the thought of you being attacked a la Rod Hull and Russell Harty ( or was it Michael Parkinson? ) – not funny I guess when you are on the receiving end!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  36. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 11:43 am -  Reply

    Hello Wendyjane
    Isn’t that awful about the sparrows. I have seen a couple in the garden but they used to be so commonplace didn’t they. I think we see more in Spain than we do here along with Swifts ( or maybe Swallows as you so rightly assumed I am definitely no expert! ) and some really tiny green birds that I have no clue about!
    There’s never any cake left in our house although the raw pastry remnants were wolfed down in a matter of minutes when I was making mince pies over Christmas!
    I’ll keep feeding them
    Julia x

  37. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi Gill
    Not sure what type of eagles Deryk and Co. watch but as you probably know I am a big Eagles fan myself!!!!!!!!
    How cute is that picture of Dan in his Fireman Sam jumper – there was also one of him in his Fireman Sam hat but……..! It’s amazing how the character has stood the test of time – Dan is now 24, so that picture is 20 years ago!
    Julia x

  38. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Sarah
    I’m at work at the moment and the pattern is at home but I will put it up over the weekend
    Julia x

  39. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Una
    So good to hear from you – hope things are getting a little calmer for your family now?
    How cute were those ladybird boots?? – never mind Simon. I need some!
    Did you enjoy the Beauty Bash shows?? We have had some brilliant feedback from you guys at home so I think there are definitely plans to do it again ….. wouldn’t it be great as a round the country roadshow!
    Great value those Gossip watches – I have a couple in pink and purple but not the leather strap ones.
    good to have you back
    much love
    Julia x

  40. julia roberts January 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    Wonder what happened to the previous posts?? Still you got me in the end. Have you started using the Prolagene yet and are you noticing any benefit? It’s quite funny that you were watching the repeat and heard your name check – but I’m glad you did.
    The customer event was really good yesterday – did you catch either of the shows? We have already had very good feedback from you guys at home so hopefully we will do it again.
    You could always start with a scarf – just straight up and down!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  41. Nicky January 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julia,
    Glad that you have rediscovered knitting – you will find it so relaxing and therapeutic in your busy life. I have been hooked on knitting for the last 10 years since I was stuck in hospital for 2 weeks with my twins at the end of the pregnancy. Would have gone mad with the inactivity except I taught myself to knit! Trouble is, it’s time-consuming and addictive and if you are knitting the housework piles up! Your fringe idea – no I don’t think a full fringe as it is going to be hard to maintain with your curly hair. A ‘grown out’ side fringe would give you some different styling options I guess but don’t really need a fringe from the point of view of forehead problems or face shape. Or what about layers if you want a change? Thanks for replying to our messages even though you so busy,
    love, nicky

  42. Alana January 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Yeh any soup recipes you have would be nice, especially on these cold days we’re having! And some more ‘naughty’ cake recipes would be lovely!lol!
    Thanks in advance for any recipes you post.

  43. Una January 30, 2011 at 9:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    We are getting there. Still cant believe that last year was so bad, but we are still standing, just!!
    Really enjoyed the beauty bash, looks like everyone had a great time.
    I did actually write to QVC, suggesting a roadshow but didnt hear anything. We have to shout louder maybe!
    LOL, can picture you with your gorgeous dresses, showcasing some diamonique, and secretly wearing your little ladybug emus!!!!!!
    Love Una x

  44. Jill Wheeler January 31, 2011 at 7:12 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia. Yes, definitely sounds like a woodpecker;we have them in our garden;and I think I live quite near you;I’m in Purley?I’m intending to take up knitting again-when I get time. There used to be a great wool shop in Banstead;don’t think it’s there anymore;where did you find one locally? Take care, Love Jill in Purleyxx

  45. Annette Roberts January 31, 2011 at 10:17 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Got to see the afternoon Beauty Bash and thought it was brilliant and you looked very slim in your dress and boots!
    Trouble with me and knitting, I get very bored easily and tend to start something and not finish… I’ve got the back of a jumper somewhere, but haven’t a clue where it is.
    Not used the prolagene gel yet, not sure whether to use it on it’s own or mixed with the Aqueous cream I’ve been using. I do have some Systeme Corps and haven’t tried that yet… I get into a right old panic about using things in case it’s not the right thing to do and sit there thinking ‘shall I, shan’t I, what if!’, I’m a complete nightmare!!
    This will make you laugh… Chris took me to the local homeware store, they sell everything for the house, garden, outdoor clothing etc. We walked down one aisle and at the end was a row of four wheeled mobility scooters and there was a lovely bright red metalic one and I said to Chris with a straight face “Can I have one of those to get round the shops with?”. The look on his face was picture, “you’re not having one of them!” he said and I burst out laughing! I won’t tell you what he said next….
    Annette x

  46. Sharon Gasparutti February 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Yiu reminded me of my mum who tried to teach me to knit and I still haven’t conquered it. However the majority of my family apart from my youngest son James like me is left handed and the rest are all right handed which infuriated my dad when trying to teach to write by using my right hand and boy, I did get into trouble. In fact I remember a few time getting a heck of a slap of it too.
    However, with our James I just let it go as he is his own ‘master’ and I do not think that giving a hiding never did any good.

  47. julia roberts February 2, 2011 at 12:07 am -  Reply

    Hi Nicky
    Thanks for the ideas about my hair – I am definitely going to have a ‘play’ with a few Ken Paves bits when they are over in a couple of weeks.
    I wonder if you ever knit anything for yourself, or is it just for the twins??
    Haven’t finished the baby jacket yet but have now started on the sleeves so getting there.
    Happy knitting
    Julia x

  48. julia roberts February 2, 2011 at 12:22 am -  Reply

    Hi Sarah
    As promised ( albeit a bit late ) here is the snood pattern:
    On 12 mm needles and using Wendy serenity super chunky ( which has 20% Alpaca so really soft ) cast on 56 stitches.
    Row 1 : knit
    Row 2 : purl
    repeat rows 1 and 2 5 times
    Row 13 : K1, slip 1, K1, psso, K to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1
    Row 14 : purl
    repeat rows 13 and 14 4 times ( 46 stitches )
    Row 23 : knit
    Row 24 : purl
    repeat rows 23 and 24 3 times
    Cast off and sew up using mattress stitch.
    It’s really quick to do – just a few hours – and unisex.
    Hope you enjoy making it
    Julia x

  49. julia roberts February 2, 2011 at 12:34 am -  Reply

    Hi Alana
    Here’s a recipe for a quick vegetable soup:
    Dice 1 potato, 1 carrot and 1 onion and thinly slice a leek.
    Soften in 1 oz of marg/butter for about 5 mins.
    Pour on 1 and half pints of vegetable stock( 1 stock cube and half a teaspoon of marmite ) and bring to boil.
    Simmer for 30 – 40 mins
    Using a slatted spoon remove a heaped spoon of veggies from the liquid – blend the rest and then stir in the veggies you removed. Serves 4 and is a real winter warmer.
    Today I only had time to do rice crispie cakes:
    Melt 100g of dark chocolate and 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter in a bowl over boiling water. Stir in 2 cups of rice crispies. Divide into 15 cake cases and set in fridge.
    I’m eating one now as a snack – yum!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  50. julia roberts February 2, 2011 at 12:40 am -  Reply

    Hi Una
    Good to hear things are improving and glad to hear you enjoyed the Beauty Bash shows. I really hope we will take QVC ‘out on the road’ more this coming year – Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, Newcastle etc etc etc I just think it would be brilliant!
    I am usually quite good at wearing the ‘whole’ outfit BUT occasionally I wear a gorgeous evening top with my jeans beneath desk height ……. ladybird emus would be something else though!
    Julia x

  51. julia roberts February 2, 2011 at 12:45 am -  Reply

    Hello Jill
    Yes Purley is not far from me at all. There is no wool shop in Banstead but the nearest one I found was Maxime in Carshalton Beeches so not too far for you either. Good luck with it if you decide to start knitting again
    Julia x

  52. julia roberts February 2, 2011 at 12:53 am -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    So pleased you enjoyed the Beauty Bash and thanks for the lovely comment – my trusty Markon boots again!!
    I’m quite good at finishing what I’ve started ( with the exception of my book which is still nowhere near finished! ) even though I tend to have several things on the go at the same time to stop me getting bored!
    Not sure if you can mix your prolagene with acqueous cream? You can definitely mix it with Vitamin E oil or of course with your systeme corps.
    Your poor Chris – you are such a tease! Remember who helped you when you couldn’t move around much!!!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  53. Jill Wheeler February 2, 2011 at 11:14 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia, thanks for telling me where the wool shop is. The one in Banstead was called Maximes’ too;maybe they just relocated. It was the tiniest, narrow shop but crammed to the rafters! It was on the corner,opposite to where the re-built Waitrose is. I must have a trip to Carshalton Beeches. Thanks, take care, Jill in Purley.

  54. Alana February 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Thanks for the recipes. Will give the veg soup a try, I’ve made rice crispie cakes before but never tried putting peanut butter in them, will have to try it.
    Thanks again.

  55. Annette Roberts February 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    You’re so lucky being able to finish things, I always seem to start off with good intentions, then see something else and start that, it goes on and on…
    I took the plunge last night and tried the Prolagene Gel before bed and then again this morning and the scars definitely felt different, not as tight feeling. I also had a physio appointment this afternoon, so plastered Arnica Gel on before I went!
    She said I didn’t need anymore appointments because of all the manipulation, but the ankle still doesn’t flex as much as it should which could be down to the position of the metal plates. If it doesn’t improve in a months time, it may be a case that they will have to be removed in order to get the flexibility back…not the best news! I will be working my little butt off over the next few weeks trying to get more movement back!!!
    As for Chris, it was nice to get my own back winding him up, after all he’s had a captive audience for months and has wound me up something rotten!!!
    Annette x

  56. Annette Roberts February 4, 2011 at 10:50 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Just a quick note to let you know that after speaking to Chris about the Aero Pilates machine last night and feeling that the incline of the Total Gym we already have, would put too much pressure on the joints, I have this minute ordered the 4 corded Aero Pilates machine to try out and think that Chris may give it a go too. Just hoping it will fit in one of the rooms!!
    speak soon
    Annette x

  57. julia roberts February 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm -  Reply

    Hello Sharon
    We never tried to change Sophie from being left handed – it can be a nuisance for her sometimes as the world seems to be geared towards right handers but they cope don’t they. It is funny that I could teach her to knit ‘my’ way – if I’d learnt the traditional right handed way i don’t think she would have picked it up so easily!
    Julia x

  58. julia roberts February 6, 2011 at 11:21 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jill
    I might see you in there – fyi they are closed on Mondays
    Julia x

  59. julia roberts February 8, 2011 at 12:30 am -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    Great news about the Aero Pilates machine – let me know how you get on with it. When you are using the cardio board 1 cord is gentler on your legs but tougher on your tummy.
    Take it really easy to start – I think the heel lowers may be quite good for mobility in your ankle – see what you think.
    Julia x

  60. julia roberts February 9, 2011 at 10:35 am -  Reply

    Hi Alana
    I wonder if you tried the soup yet?? A little heads up, we have a TSV slow cooker coming up next Thursday which would be brilliant for doing soup in.
    The peanut butter in the choc crispies cakes just stops them being quite so sickly and gives a slightly nutty flavour … I like to think it gives them a tiny bit of nutritional value instead of just being naughty!!!
    Julia x

  61. marie mckelvie May 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm -  Reply

    hijulia.i used to hate knitting i luv it now.and try differend yarns.have u sean those large knit kneedles like half a broom stick?would like to try them!!any change of your snood pattern ple?i just got some bobbley for a cusion.in rustie colours.take care marie

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